Secret Fire (Uniform Encounters 5)
By Morticia Knight
Police officer Zach and Fire Marshal Daryl would be perfect together—if they would ever quit fighting long enough to find out. A devastating fire and the secret behind it almost keeps them from getting what they really need—each other.
Mesa police officer Zach is a fun-loving guy. Now that he’s hit the big three-oh, he’s looking to stop the hook-up train and find someone he can get serious about. When a mutual friend suggests Fire Marshal Daryl, Zach assumes he must be joking. The surly marshal has given cranky a new meaning. It’s unfortunate, though, since he is one fine-looking man.
Daryl has sworn off relationships ever since he caught his ex-partner cheating. He’s always taken everything in life seriously—from jobs to relationships—and is afraid he might be alone in that regard. Certain he can’t risk love again, he panics when he sees his secret crush Zach approaching him at a police versus firemen softball game. He’s nervous, as he is socially challenged with a tendency to blurt out the wrong things. It gets worse when he realises their shared buddy gave Zach a push. He assumes that Zach is only talking to him out of pity.
Zach has been pissed off at Daryl ever since they got into a verbal sparring match at the park. Yet, when Daryl comes to his aid during an explosive fire, Zach wonders what secrets might be hidden beneath the layers Daryl has built to protect himself from the world—and love. A night of passion turns into the possibility of something more as they struggle to find their way to one another. But all of that is threatened when there is a devastating fire that causes many people to lose their lives. As they work together to uncover the truth, someone thinks they’ve asked too many questions—and plans to stop them before they can ask any more.
“You want me to grab us another beer? There’s something I’d like to discuss.”
A look passed over Daryl’s face that appeared to border on fear.
“Is that because I’m going to need it?”
Already standing, Zach bent to give him a quick peck on the lips. “Relax. It’s nothing bad.”
Looking uncertain, Daryl nodded. After getting the beers and sitting back down again, Zach considered Daryl. The vulnerability in him was more present than ever. And the seriousness he had initially assumed meant that Daryl was boring and hostile, Zach recognized as being something else entirely. It was actually more of an indicator of the depth of feeling inside of him. A person I can get serious about.That didn’t mean they still shouldn’t discuss things—especially things that related to the intimate part of their relationship.
“Last night was easily the best, most erotic, satisfying night of my life.” He chuckled. “Especially once we got to the part where I was satisfied.”
Daryl frowned. “But?”
“Um, so, are you like a Dom or something?”
Daryl widened his eyes. “What? You think I got a dungeon in the garage along with the treadmill?”
“Don’t dungeons need to be underground?”
Daryl shook his head and rubbed his hand across his beard. “I don’t know what is involved with dungeon etiquette and I’m most certainly not a Dom.” He frowned at Zach. “Is it that you like to top too?”
“No, that’s not it at all. I’m perfectly happy with the assignment of roles in our relationship. I was just curious because that was pretty intense last night. I’d like to know what to expect, what you expect from me.”
Zach could see that Daryl was lost in thought, frowning, his lips pressed in a hard line. “You really liked what we did last night?”
“My God, yes. I don’t know how else to express it to you.”
He nodded. “Then would you like to experiment some more with me, doing things like that?”
Zach sucked in a deep breath. He was trying to remain detached and conversational about the whole subject but his dick had its own ideas.
“Define ‘things like that’.”
Daryl shrugged. “Whatever you want.”
“How about whatever we want?”
“Yeah, okay.” He paused, a struggle seemingly going on inside him. “Just so you know, I’m not a true BDSM guy or anything like that. But I like being the top, controlling my man, controlling his pleasure. Things like tying up, blindfolding.” Daryl coughed and wiggled in his chair, his face flushing. “If you ever wanted, I wouldn’t be averse to trying other things like spanking or… You know…plugs, dildos, whatever you want.”
After Zach was sure that his jaw hadn’t hit the ground of the bar, he gaped at Daryl. He rubbed the back of his neck and glanced about the room, his embarrassment a tangible thing.“Fuck.”
Daryl peeked at him. “Too much?”
“Not at all. I haven’t done a lot of that stuff before, but hearing you talk about it leads me to suggest we get the hell out of here, put in some practice then do some shopping online at Kinky Toys R Us.”
“Is that a real shop?”
“I have no fucking idea.” Zach stood. “Let’s worry about it later.” He clapped his hands. “Why are you still seated? Let’s go.”
Daryl snorted. “I enjoy you, Zach.”
“I’ll be more enjoyable tied to your bed. Time’s wasting.”
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