David is lonely, bored, and a virgin. He lives through books, but fears life is passing him by. Then one night he's attacked by a gang and rescued by a real-life hero. Sexy, mysterious Seth seems to have stepped right off the pages of an adventure novel. Yet he has no place to call home. When David invites him in, a thank you dinner escalates into passion, and Seth makes all David's pent-up fantasies come true.
Seth wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his life loving and protecting David, but his brutal past makes that impossible. Just being around Seth puts David at risk and Seth will stop at nothing to keep him safe, even if it means breaking his heart.
David is determined to keep Seth off the streets and in his bed, but all is not as it seems. Seth has terrible scars he won't talk about, and sometimes, he wakes up in the night screaming. When David discovers Seth is linked to a murder, he's determined to learn the truth, but he may find out more than he wants to know. How far is David willing to go, to rescue his hero?
This is a reprint of the first three David and Seth stories -- Hero, Stay and Scars, originally published by Torquere. It's a prequel to Rust Belt, though some scenes overlap and are retold through the other character's point of view.
Seth had never experienced anything like that before in his life. The sex he’d had in the past had been wildly varied, but never anything better than furtive, mutual release. What he’d just done with David—it was...There was no point in trying to put a name on it. It was in a category all by itself.
Now they lay side by side, sticky and spent, catching their breath, waiting for the room to stop spinning.
After a long, blissful silence, David sighed and moved his hand to Seth’s back, stroking him.
He couldn’t bear David’s revulsion, not now. Seth rolled onto his back, pretending the movement was just part of a stretch as he reached his arms up over his head and arched his spine. Maybe David hadn’t noticed his scars.
But there was no getting anything past David. He lay on his side looking at Seth, his head propped on one hand, that little crease of determination appearing between his brows. “Someone did that to you.”
Seth froze, suddenly remembering David’s hands on his back last night, stroking him. He’d been in such a daze after that first orgasm, it hadn’t even sunk in. But now... He couldn’t move, couldn’t get up, couldn’t do anything but stare at David and shake his head. “Did...?”
“Those scars,” said David, his face grave. “They’re from a whip, or something like it.”
Well, that was it, then. Hot shame poured through Seth, and he looked down at the rumpled sheet between them. How stupid of him. It would have been over soon, anyway. But he’d wanted...he’d wanted David to think he was attractive. He’d wanted David to remember him as the guy who’d made him shout and writhe in passion and release. Not as the ugly, damaged wreck that he in fact was.
Seth was even more appalled with himself when his vision went blurry. Tears. Again. Wonderful. Way to follow up the best fuck of your life, asshole.
“Hey,” said David. And then Seth felt David’s arms around him, pulling his hot, wet face into the crook of David’s neck and then...then stroking his back. Tracing the scars there with featherlight touches. “It’s okay.”
Seth shook his head. He tried to break away, but David held him tight.
“Listen to me, Seth. Just listen. I’m not going to ask you what happened. I don’t care. I just want you to know that I will never, ever do anything like that to you. Do you understand?”
Seth tried to parse the words. They made no sense.
“I might accidentally hurt your feelings by saying or doing something stupid,” David went on, his hands still gently stroking up and down Seth’s ruined back, “but I’ll never intentionally hurt you.”
There was a pause during which Seth continued to sort through what David was telling him and became more and more confused.
“And if I ever find the person who did that to you, I’ll kill them.” David’s voice was quiet, sincere, 100 percent believable, and suddenly the rest of it clicked into place.
Seth lay there still and stunned in David’s arms as reality reconfigured itself into something he had never believed possible. David wasn’t rejecting him, wasn’t grilling him for details or trying to figure out what he had done to deserve those marks. He was taking Seth’s part without question or hesitation. And he wasn’t repulsed by Seth’s disfiguration. He touched those marks gently, caressed them. Nothing Seth knew about the world supported any of this, and gravity was due to fail any second now.
Seth put his arms around David and hung on.