-Den of Thieves Excerpt-
Derek Watts flew Joss Kincaid’s Twin Otter plane past the skydiving landing zone and banked into the turn to make his approach to his friend’s private airstrip. Below him, Joss and his boyfriend Milo Malone, or is that fiancé now since the letters in white athletic field chalk clearly said, ‘Marry me?’
“Is that… are they…” Foster Torres sat in the co-pilot seat after promising not to touch a thing and leaned against his window to get a better look. “Holy, fuck they’re—”
Foster covered his eyes with his hand. “I can’t unsee that. Even from this height.”
Derek chuckled. “I guess this means we’re going to have to wait a little longer on that cake.”
He lined up on the airstrip and decreased his speed as he went in for the landing. Foster had a tight grip on the door handle and the edge of his seat, his eyes squinted nearly closed. “I have landed this bird before, you know.”
“Yeah, but we’re coming in awful fast.”
Derek shook his head. “It just feels fast this close to the ground.”
They touched down, with only a squeak from Foster as Derek decelerated and brought the Otter to a stop near the hanger.
“We’re here.” Derek shut the engines down and prepped to leave. They’d worry about refueling later.
They climbed out of the plane, chucked the front wheel, and started walking toward the hanger. Foster glanced back at the dirt road that led up to the landing zone. “How long do you think they’re going to be?”
“As long as they want. It’s not every day you get a marriage propos—”
A man stepped out of the open doors at the rear of the hanger.
Not a man. Maximilian Huff.
“Oh, hey. Who are you?” Foster asked.
Max didn’t answer, and Derek didn’t bother to fill Foster in. Hard to do that with the wind knocked out of you, your mouth open, gaping like an oxygen-starved fish. Max stood there with his thumbs tucked into the front pockets of his jeans, his worn leather jacket unzipped, and his reflective sunglasses covering his eyes. He’d filled out. Not the twenty-something kid he’d been ten years before. But he was just as fit.
And just as sexy.
Max stepped in front of Derek. When Derek stuck out his hand to push Max away, Max fisted his hands in Derek’s T-shirt and swung him around, Derek’s back hitting the side of the hanger.
Foster held up his hands. “Whoa, hey, um—”
One withering look from Max shut Foster up. Then Max slammed his lips against Derek’s, taking the kiss deep when Derek opened his mouth in surprise. Derek didn’t fight back. He sank into the kiss, his dick immediately hard.
Max still smelled of tattoo ink and disinfectant. An intoxicating combination that Derek, for some reason, had never been able to resist. Max wasn’t only Derek’s ex… he was Derek’s kryptonite.
His worst mistake.
And his biggest regret.
Max broke the kiss first, a cocky, satisfied smile on his lips as Derek fought to regain his breath and his mental balance.
“So, um, I take it you two know each other.” Foster slowly backed into the hanger. “I’ll just be in here…”
Whatever else Foster said was lost to Derek as Max raised his sunglasses to the top of his head, revealing dark circles under his piercing blue eyes. “You never could tell me no.”
Derek wanted to tell Max to fuck off. Instead, he grabbed Max by his jacket and switched their positions, cutting off Max’s arrogant chuckle when he covered Max’s mouth with his. A drop of sanity brought Derek back to himself, and he pulled away before the feel of Max’s hard-on against his hip had Derek doing things he’d years ago promised himself he never would.
“How did you find me?”
“Google. I stopped in at your office. Your partner told me you were here.”
“Fucking hell.” Taking on a business partner had seemed like a good idea at the time. Derek was seriously reconsidering that at the moment.
“You know,” Max said. That low, sultry voice had always drawn Derek’s attention. “I never should have left.”
Those words. Derek had dreamt about hearing them in the weeks and months after Max had disappeared. Max’s eyes drifted to Derek’s lips, then came back up to his eyes.
Before Derek could fall into another ill-advised kiss, he took a step back, needing the distance to give him a modicum of clarity and ask the important question. “Why are you here?”
Max’s gaze dropped to the ground before meeting Derek’s again. “I need your help.”
“Fuck.” A rueful laugh escaped Derek. “I should’ve known you didn’t come back for me.”