**Cover Art by Anne Cain**
Fire cost Jared Kenny his home and all his memories of the man he’d loved for over half his life. But it also brought firefighter Adam Collins and the purest blue eyes Jared had ever seen.
Despite the best efforts of his department, Adam and Jared had to watch while Jared’s house burned to the ground. Something about the man touched Adam and made him want to follow up and protect him. Later, when the two of them gave in to their passion, it burnt them both to ashes. But Jared runs… from Adam, from his past, and from everything their future together could hold.
Jared wants to start a new life, taking only his newfound passion for glass and the obsession for a finding a particular shade of blue. But when Adam is injured on the job, Jared knows in his heart the blue he’s been looking for represents the love he once found in a young firefighter’s eyes.
Somewhere in the distance Jared was cursing violently, “Fucking… Damn… Fucking… Damn it… How the fuck…?”
Adam was prepared to run. Footsteps thundered up the stairs, and then Jared tore open his door and jumped on Adam’s bed. In seconds, the man was standing on tiptoe with his back to the headboard wall, staring down at Adam with eyes so wide Adam had no trouble seeing the way the whites surrounded the brown irises.
“What?” Adam demanded. “What the –”
“There were mice,” Jared told him, running a shaking hand through his hair. “Plural, more than one mouse, running across the guestroom floor like it was the fucking Serengeti and I –”
“Come down here, Jared.” Adam stood next to the bed, aware that he had nothing on but his shorts. Adrenaline was coursing through his body, making his hands shake.
“I only opened the closet to hang up the suit I brought,” Jared said, panting. “But suddenly they were everywhere. Running. Their feet were so loud I could hear them batting against the floor.”
“You heard mouse feet?” Adam tried to calm his racing heart.
“Yes! I heard mouse feet.” He covered his ears with his hands. “I can still hear them.”
“No, you can’t, Jared, that’s my heart.” Adam sighed and rotated his shoulders to loosen the tension he was feeling. “That happens when someone is sleeping and you scare the crap out of them. Come down here.”
“I can’t do that, Adam.”
“There are no mice up here.”
“How do you know that?”
“It’s a physical impossibility. They can’t climb stairs.” Adam hoped Jared would ignore him, because that was a baldfaced lie.
“You are so full of shit.” Jared’s mouth curled into a snarl, and it was so incongruous, so irredeemably out of character that Adam laughed. “What’s so funny?”
“You snarl badly.” Adam held his hand out, but Jared stayed where he was. Jared wore only jeans, and now that he could see it, his body was as thin as Adam had feared it would be. He could see the hollows inside Jared’s hipbones where they barely caught hold of his jeans enough to hold them up, and it made him look younger than he was.
Actually, Adam thought, swallowing hard, it made him look fucking hot. Jared’s skin was creamy and pale, and either he waxed or shaved; he was almost hairless everywhere else except his pubes, clearly visible above the top button of his well-worn jeans. When Adam’s eyes traveled back to Jared’s face, he caught a hint of embarrassment, maybe even a blush high on his cheeks. Withouthis reading glasses — with his hair mussed — he looked less like a businessman in his late thirties and more like an underwear model.
Adam leaned over and gripped Jared’s hand, pulling him to the edge of the bed. But instead of pulling him down off it, he pressed his lips to the skin just above the hair on Jared’s lower abdomen. He dropped Jared’s hand wrapped his arms around that slim frame, and glidedhis fingers up and downJared’s thighs and hipsand around to the back, where he could cup Jared’s perfect ass in his hands. He opened his mouth and started to lick the skin he could reach,while breathing in the scent of man and fear and sex.
“Oh. Hey…wow,” Jared stammered. “No.”
Adam backed away, lifting his hands. “Sorry.” He caught his breath and looked up into Jared’s eyes. There was something unreadable in there, always had been, and he’d been drawn to it from the very beginning.
Adam looked him right in the eye and told him. “I want you. I guess I always did.”
Jared gave a little headshake, as though he didn’t believe what he was hearing. He put out a tentative hand and barely grazed the side of Adam’s face. “You are a beautiful, beautiful boy, Adam.”
Adam leaned into the touch, savoring its sweetness. “I was thinking the same thing about you. Kiss me.”
“You don’t have to keep me; I’m not a stray cat.”
“I know that.” Adam pulled Jared off the bed and into his arms, forcing the smaller man to wrap his legs around him or fall. “If you were, it would solve our mouse problem.”
“Shit.” Jared laughed againstthe skin of Adam’s neck.
“Come here.” Adam pulled Jared in for a kiss. He pressed his mouth against Jared’s without pressure at first, trying out the fit, exchanging murmurs for puffs of air, and finally touching a tentative tongue to Jared’s full lower lip and asking for entry. He gained access and found that when the man surrendered for a kiss, he surrendered his entire body in a way that few men ever had in Adam’s experience. It made Adam’s heart beat faster. He liked a contest in bed, sometimes, sure. But Jared touched something primitive and protective inside him and he wanted to explore it. He broke off the kiss and Jared’s head dropped back, exposing the delicate skin on his throat where his Adam’s apple bobbed when he swallowed. Adam caught the back of Jared’s head and threaded fingers through his wavy hair.
“Geez.” Jared sighed. “You probably ought to know it’s been a while.”
Adam carried Jared to the bed and knelt with Jared’s legs still wrapped around himHe knee-walked and nudged Jared’s unresisting body toward the pillow, moving him with strong thighs and grinding against him.
“You’re supposed to say, ‘For me too’,” Jared informed him.
“Am I?” Adam stopped what he was doing.
“Yes,” Jared whispered. “Lie to me.” Jared’s gaze didn’t leave his eyes.
“I can’t.” Adam frowned.
Jared cupped and held Adam’s face between his hands in a way that made Adam feel as uncomfortable as it made him feel precious. “How old are you?”
Adam lowered his gaze. “Twenty-four.”
“Twenty-four.” Jared studied him. “I’m thirty-seven, Adam. I don’t want your honesty.”
Adam pressed his lips together to keep from saying anything.
“I want your strong, young body and your lies,” Jared continued. “Does that insult you?”
“Does it matter?”
Jared sighed. “No.”