Short Circuit (Riders of Tyr #7)

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Challenging

Nathan

Nice try, pretty boy! I am this close to shouting out as Stig is walking to the pool bar with that girl. And by the look Ava throws at him, she is not buying it either. This is all a show meant for a specific audience. Me.

I know it must be hard being gay amongst all these buff, macho men, but him putting on the show is not just to protect his privacy. He is trying to drive me away. Which is probably the best idea. So, all I need to do is get back on track, do what I came here to do, get him to help out and then - poof - be gone like the morning mist cause he is starting to get on my nerves.

“Tell Stig he knows how to find me when he is done,” I throw at Ava and gather my things.

“You are leaving so early?” Ava says over-sweetly.

“I got some shit to do,” I growl to warn her off.

She raises her hands in surrender but that smile stays in place. Drop it, I warn her and I am glad to see that she got the message. I rush into the pool house and change into my clothes. With a little bit more frustration than I was meant to have just because someone is putting up a charade to hide what he truly wants. His funeral.

And yet, when I go out, I can’t help but look at him, still in that skin-tight bathing suit, still pretending that he is enjoying the company of that random girl.

His pretty head turns and he looks my way. In his eye, I see that he knows I am pissed at him and he is quite happy with himself. I am too old and my life is too difficult already for this kind of shit. I came here to have Ava help me. I know Ava. Ava is a friend and she is... well, she is a woman aka NOT a distraction. This was all a mistake.

I go to Ava that stands to greet me. Her look is serious which means she knows I am not in the mood.

“You are leaving, right?” Ava asks. “For good, I mean. Look, if you need help, I can-”

“It’s fine. I’ll deal with it.”

“I know.” Her look is almost sad. “You will deal with this. Alone.”

What the hell is this shit she is giving me?

“Damn right, Ava. I will deal with it alone.”

“I remember those times,” Ava says unfazed. “But trust me, Nat. You can’t keep going like this.”

Fuck her and her perfect life with her perfect husband and her perfect daughter!

“Watch me!” I growl and make a move to leave.

“Not so fast!” Ava grabs me and hugs me.

That hug mellows a bit of the bitterness in my mouth. Ava’s life was far from perfect. Way too far. She was even more of a lone wolf that I am. But she found the one thing we were both missing and didn’t know: love.

I hug her back and close my eyes at the contact. I hate her. I hate her because she is right. It’s so damn easy to be alone. I go, I come, I work, I eat, I sleep, I work again. So easy and so... empty. Empty and pointless and aimless. And all that became so fucking clear when I saw Ava with her family. Ava who I thought was a kindred lone spirit. But she was a shadow before. Now I see it. Now she is truly alive. And she is hugging a shadow.

“I have to go,” I say and push her slightly away.

“You don’t have to,” Ava says smiling sadly.

My eyes drift to the other side of the pool, to Stig still talking to that girl. Though his attention seems to be on me and Ava. And he scowls.

“I really have to,” I say to Ava and all but run out of the escort.

I reach the door and make plans on what to do now. Not with my life, that ship has sailed. With the case. I still need help but I am not going to risk my sanity looking for it by-

“Where the fuck are you going?”

Stig. I half turn, avoiding to get an eyeful of his mouthwatering body. I seriously need to get the hell out of here cause I am in no mood to re-evaluating my life.

“Something came up,” I lie. “It seems I don’t need your help anymore.”

“Bullshit.”

Tell me about it.

“And what’s it to you? I’ll tell Tor we are good and I will honor the agreement without you having to suffer anymore.”

Stig walks up to me and there is no way to avoid looking at him unless I want him to know how much he affects me. I make an inhuman effort to be all “my eyes are up here” not that it is helping. His eyes are so fucking mesmerizing. And with that explosive mixture of anger and lust, they are simply irresistible.

“Suffer?” Stig toys.

“You got company waiting, right?” I point at the pool.

Stig frowns as if he doesn’t know what I am talking about but then comes to. He almost forgot his cover.

“She can wait.”

“No, go. I am good.”

“Except you are not, old man. you are bad. Very bad.”

He leans to me. What the actual fuck is going on? He did all that shit to drive me away, I am ready to literally drive away and he doesn’t want me to? This game is getting too tiring. And yet, my whole body disagrees. In fact, my nether regions find this game very amusing provided it ends up with a nice, explosive, mind-blowing orgasm.

“What’s wrong, old man? You seem a little breathless,” Stig teases more.

I let my eyes slide down his body. Down his colorful tattoos that promise of heaven in his arms, down his nipple rings that keep his nipples peaked, down that barbell piercing on his navel. Oh, his dick is definitely pierced, I instantly know and get hard in my jeans.

“I got shit to do, pretty boy,” I say and I do sound breathless cause on the top of my list of things to do is Stig.

“What do you need?”

You and your fucking pierced cock. Now! The answer comes way too quickly. But this is bad. Never before have I felt urges like these for a guy. I never ever daydreamed about a lover. A what? My fucked-up brain offered the word “lover” instead of “fuck”. So, yeah, I need to get the hell out of here pronto!

“Forget about it,” I turn my back on him and go for the door.

I don’t get the chance. Stig grabs me and throws me against the wall. Still with that mixture of anger and lust. He is fuming and frustrated and we are both flustered and bothered. What started as a game with a closeted man, is unraveling fast.

“You called me,” he seethes. “You asked for help.”

“And I am telling you to drop it. So why don’t you?”

Confusion clouds his face. You and me both, man...

“I was told to help out,” Stig shakes his head. “Ordered to help you. So spill. I do my shit, you get your help and we go on with our lives.”

Simple, right? Except now, going back to my life doesn’t seem so grant. It makes me miserable to think that I would have to go on without... I take in his face. He is so freaking handsome. The Riders do make an impressive bunch but no one has that boyish charm that Stig has.

“OK,” I try to dispel the atmosphere. “I followed your leads. Nothing there. Only a laptop that I can’t access.”

His eyes light up in the prospect of a challenge.

“Where is it?” He takes one step back.

“Wanna get dressed first?”

I really really really need him to get dressed if I am to focus on work. Though, seeing his face dissolve in a teasing smile, I regret I asked. We are in this weird contest of “who can get the other harder” and it is fucking with my resolve.

“Why, old man?” Stig’s voice drops.

I like his voice. It’s smooth and he has that delicious Scandinavian accent. He talks slowly, swirling his words and taking his time as if thinking intensively. And right now, teasing me? It’s irresistible.

“I wouldn’t want you to catch a cold, pretty boy,” I fire back.

“And here I was thinking you like what you see.”

“Do you want me to like what I see?” I challenge.

Boom! His teasing demeanor changes once more. He has taken it a bit further than he meant to.

“You got the laptop on you?” he coughs.

I reach for my bag and hand him the laptop. Stig takes it and walks in an office next to the entrance. He leaves the door open, goes round sits on the leather and drops the laptop on the desk. And after that, he is completely focused. Which means he is doing the one thing I love hating: playing with his lip ring.

"Fan!

“What?”

“The hard drive is encrypted. You are dealing with some serious shit here. These guys are pros.”

“Is there something you can do?”

He shakes his head and focuses on the screen again.

“Nothing. He has locked it with some kind of biometrical encryption. We need the actual person and even then...”

I was late.

“Let me get dressed and we will go to Tor.”

What?

“How can Tor help me with this?”

“He can’t. You still need me, old man. But to come with you, I need to ask Tor.”

“Come with me?”

He gathers the laptop and walks around the table.

“Got a problem with that?”

He is too close and too almost naked and he smells too much of vanilla for me to have the slightest problem with that. I am guessing the problems will soon come.

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