Taking Chances - rejoin Rory and Chance as they rush out to Arizona to check up on Cannon in this Pulp Friction Bonus Book, tying 2013 to 2014.
Available at All Romance Ebooks
They've been through too much in the past year, and when it comes to the men they consider family, Chance and Rory aren't taking chances.
"If you're so worried about him and why he hasn't come home, then call him and ask." Rory didn't even look up from his tablet, just continued sketching with the little stylus as though what we discussed wasn't important.
I knew better. Sure, Cannon was my baggage, but for some strange reason, he'd become Rory's friend. Maybe trauma bonded them together, or maybe it was something else. Maybe they liked gossiping about me or running me down behind my back. Fair enough. They both had reason to complain when it came to Chance DuMont. "You wouldn't mind if I called him?"
Rory had been jealous as hell of Cannon when he'd first re-entered my life, and maybe it was vanity that made me miss that jealousy now that Cannon was all the way across the country in Flagstaff.
The nonchalance pricked my temper, which was a precarious thing at best. I let my boots hit the floor, to give him a chance to rethink his attitude. He remained still, perched in the window seat of our office, knees bent to support the computer, head a graceful arc as he kept focused on his work. His blond hair was lighter than ever, bleached near white by the sun, and he'd continued to let it grow after deciding not to return to the force even after he'd been cleared for active duty again. No doubt he'd been influenced by Sin, that devilishly sexy new bartender at Chances Are.
As always, just the sight of him, so young, so strong made me think of other things. I couldn't maintain anger, not when every time I looked at Rory I remembered how fragile life was, and how easily things we cherished could be lost.
"Rory." If he didn't heed the warning in my voice, then chances were we were in for a good time. Often he played this game, pretending not to heed my commands, luring me into a sensual game of delayed gratification. Some people might call him manipulative, or me a sick bastard, but in reality, we were perfect together.
My pulse picked up, just a hint as my unease found focus in a familiar emotion.
Finally he turned, meeting my stare with a steady green gaze. I'd thought he was teasing, hinting at a desire to play, but that gaze made it all too clear. My lover wasn’t thinking about the pleasures of the flesh.
Sighing, I let the lazily stirring sensuality fade. He was right. Our friend took precedence. "I'm calling. But you should admit you were concerned too."
A faint smile crossed his full, lush lips. Lips that had always felt more than right encircling my dick. And that was more imagery than I'd needed at the moment. Adjusting my position in the chair to something more comfortable, I frowned at him. "Fine. I'm worried too. But he's more likely to tell you if something is wrong."
I wasn't sure about the logic in that, but I leaned back in my chair and turned on the computer. "I'm not going to use that Skype thing though."
"You mean you still haven't figured it out after we went over it again last night?" Now he did put down the tablet and swing his legs to the ground.
"No. No. Don't get up. I don't need to see Cannon while I talk to him anyway." I stared blankly at the computer for a moment before snatching my phone off the desk. "Why can't we all just be happy with things doing what they're supposed to do?"
"What are you talking about?" Rory rose gracefully and came over to stand by my desk and look over my shoulder. I froze, wondering if he'd think it strange that I still had Cannon on speed dial.
I shook myself back into action. Don't be stupid, DuMont. Chances are, Cannon Malloy is in Rory's contact list too. Cannon's image, in dark green scrubs, popped up on the screen as I thumbed through my phone, and Rory reached over my shoulder, tapping to connect the call.
"I mean phones that are for talking to people, televisions for watching shows, computers for er…typing and whatnot…" The phone rang three times as I tried to remember my argument when Rory's temptation surrounded me. His scent, so clean and fresh, the heat of his body, the…
"Are you still complaining about smart phones and televisions and how they all make our life easier?" Rory laughed as Cannon answered in his place.
"He is! Constantly! How are you, Cannon?"
"Other than being awake and apparently expected to be coherent at sunrise? I'm good. Is there some kind of emergency or is this just a family call?"
Oh God. I'd completely forgotten the time difference. Family. Yeah…I nodded, even though he couldn't see me. We were family, weren't we? Some modern bastardization of the traditional family unit that was. "Yeah, it is. Got you on speakerphone in the office. As for the hour, just consider it payback for all the crack of dawn phone calls you made. Like that one when your car was buried in the snow?"
"But it’s okay. The secretary hasn't arrived yet so you can tell us all your adventures in Gay Flagstaff." Rory leered comically at the phone, even though Cannon couldn’t see him.
Swatting my lover's thigh, I steered the conversation back to where it needed to go, suddenly anxious to clear up what was keeping Cannon away so I could take advantage of that secretary's absence after all. "We haven't heard from you for a while, except that weird email about eggs last week."
"Thanks for that, by the way." Rory leaned down, resting his chin on my shoulder. I set the phone on the desk and pulled him into my lap instead. "I found a few different recipes to try, and I'll let you know how it goes. You know, real Hollandaise sauce is super rich, about a dozen eggs in it."
Rolling my eyes, I rested my hand on Rory's trim stomach. It wasn't like either of them needed to worry about weight and fitness. "So what's the story, Cannon? How're classes going?"
"Classes are great. Finished actually. I just have some interns to supervise this summer, and a weekly seminar to lead. At the end of August, Melissa Redfern's maternity leave is up, and…"
Our friend's voice trailed off. "Then what?" I prodded, sensing something behind his hesitation.
"I’m not sure. I don't really want to think about it yet. I'm trying to just have fun and enjoy my time here."
That was so unlike Cannon that Rory and I looked at each other, just to confirm we'd heard right. "Is that so? Spontaneity is a new thing for you." Rory put it into words.
Good thing he spoke first too, because all I could think of was to remind Cannon to use condoms for all this fun or he might be sorry later. Which probably wasn't the most encouraging thing to say, and damn it, Cannon did deserve fun after what he'd been through.
"Yeah, and so is relaxing. Rory…Chance…you've no idea how good it feels not to actually be responsible for people's lives every damned day."
I snorted. "I think we both get that, Cannon. Law enforcement may not put a scalpel in your hand, but it does make you responsible for others."
"I'm not saying other people don't have responsibilities, face their own dangers." He blew out a frustrated breath. "I know danger and death aren't job related. Just a while ago I walked in on a professor being held at gunpoint for God's sake."
"What? What the fuck, Cannon?" I dumped Rory off my lap and snatched up the phone. "Don't you have any common sense—"
Giving me a dirty look, Rory cut off my lecture, probably because his own past was too raw. "What's his name, Cannon?" He changed the subject gently, apparently hearing something in Cannon's comment I missed in my worry over the gun.
"Whose name?" Could you hear someone blush? I swore, just the tone of his voice gave it away.
"The guy who's making you enjoy yourself?" Rory refused to back down.
I paced around the office.
"There's…" He sighed then laughed a little. "Okay. There is someone, but it's just fun. Just…"
"He was just too busy having fun," Rory teased, but I could see the concern in his gaze still. Rory was still joking, but I caught the serious tone of Cannon's voice. And why not? Hadn't I heard it hundreds of times when we were together as I tried to reassure him about the safety of our meeting places?
"This guy…Cannon, he isn't the professor you just mentioned, is he?”
Silence. "Yeah. But that's not a problem anymore. The kid was just nuts. Finn took care of it. Anyway, I'm more concerned about the weird shit going on here."
He was quiet for a minute. "In fact, I'm glad you guys called. Maybe you can answer something for me. A while back, they found some animals…mutilated. And some kid set fire to a shed."
"Did they report it to the authorities?"
"Yeah, I assume so. I wasn't paying attention. I'm not really bothered about that, though."
Exasperated, I closed my eyes and counted to ten. "Cannon? What was your question?"
"You took abnormal psychology, right? There's this guy up here…and I think he's got problems. Seems like either he's a sociopath, or a severe case of PTSD…"
Rory closed and locked the office door. I raised my brows; he just smiled, pulling a straight-backed chair to a position a foot in front of the door. Interesting.
I returned to my desk chair, setting the phone down on the table. My attention was definitely divided now as I watched Rory strip off his apple green tank top, revealing a smooth, hairless chest. He'd taken up waxing right about the time he'd decided that he needed to get his nipples pierced. I was a big fan of both new styles.
Tight white denim followed the shirt, and I caught my breath as Rory stood before me, tanned all over from sunbathing in our backyard, wearing just a thin silky looking white thong that left little to the imagination.
He wasn't rushing, and I was definitely enjoying watching him neatly fold his clothes and put them on the coffee table in front of the window seat, lean muscles flexing and relaxing as he moved naturally about the office.
"Do you think I might have been suffering from PTSD?"
Cannon's voice shook me from the fog of sensuality. I jerked my gaze from Rory, who was stripping off the thong with deliberate slowness, and cleared my throat. Cannon couldn't hear my heart drumming in my chest, could he? "Most likely…" Damn it. Still husky, and definitely a tone Cannon would recognize.
Rory smirked at me, and I raised my hand, five fingers outstretched. Yeah. He'd earned the extra waiting time. The smirk turned to a broad grin as he glanced conspicuously at the clock over my desk. On cue, it chimed the hour.
Oh he'd timed it well.
"What the fuck?" Cannon's exclamation was followed by a veritable thunder of loud noises, banging, shouting, angry voices. Then the line went dead.
ABOUT PULP FRICTION 2014
Laura Harner ~ Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ T.A. Webb
The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends.
The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Firestorm (Fighting Fire: 1)
Cold Snap (In From the Cold: 1)
Blown Away (Whispering Winds: 1)
Higher Ground (Earthquake: 1)
Bonus Book: Kismet and Cartwheels
Bonus Book: Taking Chances
Out In The Cold
Cold Day in Hell