Excerpt: Hot Shot
Story two of The Billionaire and The Bodyguard
– – –
“Ladies and gentlemen, excuse me,” Marek says in a booming voice Mitchell wouldn’t have guessed the man possessed. Marek passes the champagne off.
Russo looks over and sees them, finally.
The reaction is instantaneous. Russo is up on his feet, scrambling undignified over the back of the loveseat. He pulls Mitchell into an embrace, his back to the crowd. The guests in the room have gone practically silent — curious about what’s got Russo out of his seat — and Mitchell can feel their eyes on him as one of Russo’s hands settles at the small of his back.
Russo fits their bodies together, the lengths of their muscles pressed against each other — and Russo is warm and broad and a little softer than Mitchell had maybe imagined. He smells like fine milled soap and faint lime aftershave, and his lips brush the bodyguard’s ears as he whispers, “Sergeant Mitchell Graves,” in a voice lower and more adoring than Mitchell has heard him use. It’s a far cry from the rough tone he uses to negotiate, or the mellow timbre his voice had taken on during dirty talk just hours ago in the office.
There is relief in the touch, in the repetition of his name that feels somehow like praise — but at the same time there is heat. Mitchell’s breath is catching oddly in his chest as Russo squeezes him, as the man’s guests stare openly.
It occurs to Mitchell that this is the first time they’ve actually touched each other —
— But no, his mind corrects him. The first time had been hours ago, in the library, Mitchell searching Russo’s body for injury before tending to the man that Mitchell had put down into a pool of his own blood —
It seems like a dream now in the crowded townhouse, feeling the heat of Russo’s leg through his suit pants.
They only separate when Marek places a hand on both of their shoulders. They turn to him, and Mitchell wonders if the embrace had gone on in reality as long as it felt.
When they turn to face the crowd, Marek drapes an arm across Mitchell’s shoulders. Russo, smiling wide and bright, links arms with Marek across Mitchell’s back – and Mitchell is especially aware now of his shorter height between them, his narrower back, his age.
“I’d like to introduce you all to the man who saved my life,” Russo announces. “Sgt. Mitchell Graves.”
There’s a raucous round of applause at that that dies down only as Russo begins to say something else.
“So if you think my policies are shit once I’m elected, be sure you address your hate mail correctly,” Russo continues. “That’s G-R-A-V-E-S.”
The crowd laughs appreciatively at that, clapping, toasting. A stranger presses a cold beer into Mitchell’s hands. His face feels hot and tight as both Marek and Russo press their hips into his. The room is so loud and all eyes are on him.
A hero’s welcome.