Reid clutched his phone at the hotel-room desk, staring out the gridded windows onto London below. Sullivan was in the shower, readying himself for the day—something Reid had beat him to after they’d returned from breakfast. His hair dripped water onto the shoulders of his hoodie and ran a ticklish line down his nape.
The London Eye rotated in the distance, big, dominant, all seeing.
Had it peeked at them through the curtain gaps last night? Had it seen how desperately Reid had exploded? Could it know how much more of Sullivan Reid needed?
He bowed his head and swiped through the Sam Baton book he’d finished on the plane, to that one particular scene . . .
“Come on, sexy-sexy, reveal yourself,” he murmured. “I have questions that need answering.”
His thumb skipped through the pages.
“Argh!” Reid spun on the wooden desk chair, startled, and fumbled to turn his screen off.
Sullivan paused, towel slung around his hips, damp skin glistening in the mid-morning light. He dropped his hand, presumably meant for Reid’s shoulder before his abrupt turn. “Were you enjoying a private moment?”
Reid stashed his phone between the leather cushion of his chair and his ass cheek. “Here?” His laugh came out robotic. Panicked. Robotically panicked. “Where you could catch me?”
“You seem awfully flushed,” Sullivan bent, cutting the distance to his twitching lips to a half foot. “And I wouldn’t mind catching you.”
Sullivan clasped the back of Reid’s chair. “What questions do you need your kindle app answering?”
“Reid.” The chair skidded and bumped as Sullivan drew it out and swiveled him around. He knelt at Reid’s feet, planted hot hands on his knees, and met his eyes. “Spit out every sexy, sexy detail.”
Reid groaned. “You heard that.”
“Piqued my interest—among other things.”
Reid flushed and dropped his gaze to the bulge in Sullivan’s towel, eliciting a rumbly laugh.
Sullivan steered Reid’s chin up, expression keen, waiting for his answer.
“Um, I’m ready to go out, are you?” He squirmed to a stand. “I’m buying you lunch, remember?”
Sullivan cocked his head and studied his slick wet hair. “It’s not yet ten.” His weight bore down on Reid’s thighs as he pushed to his feet. “But dry your hair. I happen to have organized a little something.”
An hour later, Reid and Sullivan were fast-tracked inside the London Eye—to Cupid’s Capsule. Glass wrapped around a steel oval skeleton, with a small table set in the middle, and Reid watched nervously as the doors whomped shut, and they were left alone. Just the two of them and all of London.
The capsule smoothly lifted, and Reid swiveled his shocked expression to Sullivan, who braced the wall frame like this wasn’t his favorite place to be. He wore ass-hugging jeans, sturdy walking boots, and a faux leather jacket—the same as Reid’s bracelet—that stretched magnificently over his chest. “A little something?”
“It’s a half-hour round trip.”
“You hired an entire capsule. You planned this.”
“It’s my birthday.”
Reid eyed Sullivan’s whitened knuckles from gripping the wall so hard. His heart thumped crazily in his chest, throat, ears.
It might be his birthday, but Sullivan had recalled how much Reid had enjoyed this with his Grams. He had done this for him.
“The view. Do you like it?”
The city glittered and sparkled beneath them. Sunshine stamped squares into the capsule, drenching Reid where he stood before Sullivan, its warmth nothing on what Sullivan had created. Reid bit his lip, looking at him. “It’s the best I’ve ever seen.”
“Is the inquisition mandatory?”
“I think so, yes.”
Sullivan grunted, but a glitter in his eyes betrayed him. “I wanted to thank you. For helping on the Aquarian. For being a good role model to Joanna—most of the time.” He smirked, and Reid cursed himself once more for the liqueur incident. “I want to thank you for encouraging me to attend my reunion.”
“Was worth it, in the end?”
Sullivan sighed. “I’d built up in my head how difficult it would be. But it wasn’t. Not with a friend by my side.”
“A best friend.”
“A best friend with benefits.” Sullivan laughed, chin lifting, gaze jumping toward London—greater London. His laugh morphed into a groan and he slunk to a stool and planted himself in it. “Enjoy, while I sit here and study the wood of this table.”
Reid smirked and sat across from him, intent on making the next twenty-five minutes easier on the man. “In the hotel room. I was searching for a scene I read on the plane from Second Time Around . . .”
Sullivan’s gaze shot to his.
“It’s not that I want to replay the scene verbatim . . . but I wanted an idea how to initiate something like that.”
Reid swallowed nervously. “The one between James and David, where James tells David to undress and David does it, then he tells David to get on his knees, and David does it, and then he tells David to . . .” Heat burned up his neck.
Sullivan quirked his brow, heights no longer an issue, apparently. “Say it.”
A tiny thrill wormed in him at Sullivan’s direct tone. He bit his lip. “He tells David to suck him and he does, and after James comes, he cups David’s head softly and tells him . . . tells him . . .”
Reid was drumming his fingers over the table, faster and faster and Sullivan rested his hand over the back of his. “I know the scene. I know what James tells David. Is being called that what you want?”
“If I deserve it.”
Sullivan squeezed around his fingers and thumb. “You would.”
Reid swelled with shivers. “What, uh, turns your crank?”
Sullivan leaned in, holding his eye steadily. “Everything about you. From your misadventurous nature to your clueless sexy flirting. You are optimism and humor, irritating and wondrous. Generous to a fault.”
This capsule really held the warmth, didn’t it? “I didn’t hire out an entire London Eye capsule or pay for an extra flight over here.”
Sullivan grinned. “You’re buying lunch, remember?”
“Yeah, I am, birthday boy—” A sudden thought halted Reid and his eyes pinged to Sullivan. “It’s your birthday.”
“Another thing I love. The way you so excitedly state the obvious.”
“We’re in London.”
“Ditto my previous comment.”
“Don’t you want to see your parents? Spend part of the day with family?”
“Not unless you want to spend the day in a graveyard.”
Reid blanched. “Your parents are dead?”
“Yes. I’m sure I told you.”
“I’m fairly sure I would have remembered.”
Sullivan grimaced. “They died a year before Riley. They were in their late seventies—had me late in life.”
Reid frowned and glanced out over London. He remembered him and Grams at the window, her hand squeezing his. So soft, so loving. What do you want from your life, Reid?
Reid glanced at Sullivan, fiddled with his bracelet, tightening, tightening, tightening.
“What would you like to know about them?” Sullivan asked.
Reid jerked out of his unbidden wish. “Oh, nothing. It’s fine. I shouldn’t have asked. You don’t like talking about your past. You’re a man of steel emotions.” Reid’s breath caught with a croak. “Maybe you didn’t see the point in talking about your family. I’ll be gone by the end of the school year.”
Sullivan frowned. “My parents feel forgettable, Reid. When I think about family, I think about those who’ve been there for me and Joanna. I think about Riley and the Aquarian, I think about Carlos and Gael witnessing—blessing—my marriage. And recently I think about—”
Reid’s heart pounded in his ears and gut, and his toes curled. What? What did he think about?
Sullivan rubbed his jaw. “What I don’t think about are my parents. They raised me, educated me, left an inheritance, but they never loved me for me. Not my mum, and especially not my dad.”
Oh. Reid nodded dumbly, absorbing that.
Sullivan stood, rounded the table and sat on the lip. He cupped Reid’s cheek and brushed his thumb over the hollow under his cheekbone. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about my parents.”
Reid’s breath fizzled. “I . . . get it.”
Absolutely. “We both have daddy issues.”
A surprised chuckle hopped out of Sullivan, and he tugged Reid to his feet. Until they both stood an electrical inch apart. “Are we still on for lunch?”
“If Carlos and Gael are important to you, maybe we should invite them along?”
Sullivan cradled Reid’s cheeks, hardened skin at his thumbs stroking him. “Today, I just want you.”
Their noses bumped, breaths feathering their lips softly. “That can be arranged. But—”
The kiss whispered over Reid’s mouth, and he gasped. Sullivan tightened his grip, deepening the kiss, each stroke of his tongue against Reid’s making him shiver, the tip of his cock tickle.
“But?” Sullivan hummed into another kiss. “You were saying?”
“But prepare for a barrage of personal questions.”
Sullivan stiffened, but his voice remained steady. “A barrage of questions? You mean beyond what turns my crank?”
“Way beyond. Light years beyond.”
“As long as they’re not about my parents or Riley, you can ask me anything.”
“It’s my birthday.”
“Fair enough. So, hypothetically, if you met the right person and remarried . . .”
Sullivan searched vainly for a way to escape the capsule, but one hundred and thirty five meters above ground offered little option.
“Would you want another kid?”
“Reid,” Sullivan said, laugh-groaning. “Jesus.”
“You have to answer. But, if it makes you feel better.” Reid leaned in and whispered, “It’s your party. So you can cry about it if you want to.”
~ ~ ~