Copyright © 2018 by Hayden West
The hot, arid breeze moved around him, not doing much in the way of offering relief. Braxton Davidson and his team were suffering through the Jilal, the harshest dry season of the year in this country. He hated it and longed to return to his ranch in Idaho and get some of the nice cold winter air it would have. Not here, not in December. Snow at home and where he was, equatorial heat.
That wasn’t the only thing that Idaho had that Somalia didn’t. Travis Saunders. He bit his lower lip and blinked away the blowing grit. He hated that he continually thought about Travis. Surely the man didn’t want to see him. Not with how he had left things between them.
He snorted. There wasn’t anything between them now. Hell, he’d been very blunt when he dropped that bombshell on Travis after their night together. He’d called it many things, a mistake, a one-time thing. But never once did he say what had truly been on his mind. That was his forever man. There wouldn’t be anyone else for him other than Travis.
Hell, I don’t even know if he’s single. He may have someone in his life now.
Red settled over his eyes, and he realized he didn’t need to think that way in regard to Travis. Especially not in this moment when he had other things requiring his attention and focus. He pushed away the memory of the blond-haired rancher who had at one time been his best friend.
They’d grown up on neighboring ranches. Their parents and sisters were also friends, so it was always a toss-up whose house they would be at. In middle school and high school, they’d played sports together, gone out on double dates with girls and even done prom together with their dates.
It wasn’t until he had come home from his first overseas tour that it had changed. He had woken to a very explicit dream of him and Travis together. His cock, hard and throbbing. As he’d been jacking off, Travis had walked into the room.
It wasn’t anything new for them to do that together, guys did. This time though as it was the man he had been dreaming about who’d come into the room, he’d been torn between finishing and trying to pretend it was normal or stopping and acting affronted.
When he spied the thick length of Travis’ uncut cock in his shorts, he held onto that image, shut his eyes and finished jacking off. That whole day was one he wouldn’t forget. They’d gone riding and when they were back for the barbeque dinner at his family’s house, both of them were trying to pretend everything was fine between them.
After the meal and once everyone had gone to bed, he’d been out in the gazebo, just hanging out with a beer. Travis showed up. It went from there to sex to him making his friend feel like the worst person in the world. He hadn’t been home since.
This was his fifth tour.
“Boondock. You’ve got company on your six.”
He didn’t move. Instead he sent up a quick prayer they wouldn’t see him. “How many?”
“I count four. Want me to light them up?”
“No. Let’s pray they walk right on by. We’re here for our tango. Not anyone else.”
“Roger that. Hold your breath. They’re just about on your ass.”
He knew he was well covered but did as suggested anyway. He wasn’t about to throw away a two-week stakeout because some locals were walking close to him. The crunch of their shoes on the dirt rang next to him, and he narrowed his eyes, keeping the maximum of swirling dirt out.
After a few tense moments they had moved on and he was again by himself out in the middle of the damn desert while his team watched his back. It wasn’t easy, this job of his, but he loved it and wouldn’t change it for the world.
After another two hours of barely moving, Shareed was in view. Moments later the man collapsed to the ground, the well-placed bullet ending his life before anyone knew what had happened. As his bodyguards scrambled to find the shooter, Boondock and his team were humping to their exfil.
In the belly of the helo, he accepted the offered water bottle and drank it down with gratitude. Meeting the gazes of his men, he smiled. “Mission well done, ladies. Let’s get the fuck out of here and see if we can’t make it home for Christmas.”
“Fuck yeah,” Lance Unders hollered, whooping it up with his deep Texas drawl.
He stretched out his legs as the men laughed and joked.
“What about you, Boondock? Special plans for the holiday? Hot woman to find?”
He smiled. “Just heading home to the ranch. See my folks and my sister.”
“Sounds almost like it belongs on a Hallmark card, sir. Almost.”
He laughed. “And here I was thinking a coffee commercial.”
“Either way, sir. I hope you have a great holiday.”
Yeah, so did he.
On the carrier they were stopping off at on their trek back, he called his sister to let her know he was coming.
“It will be so good to see you, Brax.”
“Thanks, Carrie. Don’t tell mom and dad. I want to surprise them.”
“Got it. Anything special I can have in the house waiting for you when you get here?”
“Nope, anything that doesn’t come out of a pouch or have sand in it will be just fine for me.”
“Call me when you land. I can come get you if you’d like.”
“I’ll do that. Gotta run. See you soon. Love you.”
“Love you too.” She hung up the phone but not before he heard the tears in her voice.
For a moment he debated calling Travis. What was the point? He’d surely run into him in town once he was back. Then he could apologize for the ass he’d been.