I enjoy doing the AMBERPAX collections because it’s neat to see how different everyone’s stories are when we all start from the same place. To Love a Hero drew me in right away because some of my fondest characters are soldiers and I was pleased to write another one (or two as the case may be).
Now, one of the guys in the story is called Horse. I tell you, these guys name themselves and I fought Horse on his name and I fought him hard. I can’t have a hero in a contemporary story whose name is Horse. I was adamant. He was just as adamant that while it wasn’t his actual name, it was his nickname and it was the name that everyone knew him by. Everyone. Because anyone who dared call him by his real first name received a beat down and didn’t do it again.
At the risk of him somehow managing to come to life and giving me a beat down for divulging it, I will share that his real name is Horace. Horace Grundy the third. Yeah, I’d go by Horse too.
I hope you enjoy James and Horse!
Blurb: When he arrives home from a long stint in the hospital after losing his right arm to an IED blast, Sergeant James Miller certainly doesn’t expect his keys not to work and a strange man answering his door, only to learn his boyfriend has dumped him. Yet that’s exactly what happens, and James is just happy that he can count on his old platoon buddy to have his back, and a spare bedroom he can use until he gets on his feet.
Horace Grundy the third—“Horse” to anyone who doesn’t want to get his butt kicked—is retired and has a tidy house on the beach that he calls home. The place isn’t big, but he figures there is plenty of room for James, even if he has always fancied the man.
Thankfully, the two of them fit together well, and soon the roommates become more. But James’s past isn’t ready to let go of him yet, and the new lovers are caught off-guard when James’s ex-boyfriend suddenly reappears in his life. Can James and Horse’s new relationship weather the storm?
Horse pushed the couch so it was angled across two walls, still facing the TV, which gave him room to put both rockers by the window, side by side. He could almost picture Jim’s grandparents in them, rocking together. He put Jim’s bags on the bed in the spare room, and then went back out to make sure the truck was secure.
He couldn’t believe Jim’s man had done him like that. Well, unfortunately, he could believe it. Jim wasn’t the only friend Horse had whose relationship had crumbled beneath the stress of being deployed.
It was still shitty as hell and Jim didn’t deserve it. Horse wanted to break some heads.
At the same time, Jim was free now and Horse had wanted the man since they’d first met. He wouldn’t call it a crush because he was a fucking soldier, but he’d been hot for Jim since the start.
Horse poured himself another cup of coffee, grabbed a bag of cookies, and turned on the TV.
Jim headed in a few moments later, shaved and wearing a pair of shorts and a tank top. The man looked fine. He was lean, with a belly to fucking die for, blond hair a little shaggy, but the stubble was gone. Wow.
Yeah, Horse was still hot for the man. He wasn’t going to jump Jim’s bones two seconds after he’d been dumped, though. That would be fucking creepy.
He looked at Jim’s stump. It was smooth, the surgeon had done a damn good job.
“Wanna look?” Jim walked right up, put what was left of the arm in Horse’s hands. It had been blown off at the elbow, and the surgery had taken another inch and a half or so. It was warm, alive, the flesh healthy. Instead of taking away from Jim’s appeal, it made the guy even hotter.
Horse slid his hand over the stump. “They did well by you, man.”
“They did. It doesn’t hurt. I was lucky.”
“And you’re having good luck with the prosthetic?” He continued to hold the stump, stroking Jim’s skin idly.
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m learning. I imagine it’ll always be easier just to use my left arm, but it works.”
Horse finally let go and patted the couch cushion beside him. “Grab a seat.”
“Thanks.” Jim plopped down, sighed like he was a hot air balloon losing all its air. “God, it’s good to see you.”
“You, too, Sarge.” It had been well over a year since Jim had been sent stateside with his arm blown off.
Horse changed channels, finding a marathon of NCIS just starting up. “This good?” He was easy, really.
“Uh-huh. Like Gibbs. Reminds me of you.”
“That pretty boy? Me?” Horse laughed it off, but he was pleased.
“Yeah. You.” Jim settled back, eyelids heavy.
Horse sat back, grinning like a fool.
smut fixes everything
Finding the Way Home by Sean Michael is now available at Amber Allure.
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