...Gordon had waited, watched Bard drift back into slumber, but this time it was a healthy sleep and not the frightful mock death of hypothermia. He hesitated, knowing Brad needed both the sleeping bags to protect him in his current fragile state, knowing that even more warmth would helpÖand yet not trusting himself. Being so close yet keeping his hunger in check would be the hardest battle heíd ever fought. Could he do it?
With a slow, exhaled breath, almost a sigh, he peeled off his outer suit, but kept the liner on when he turned the heaters down a couple of notches and slid back into the combined bags. Bard made a slight sound and turned onto his side, edging closer to Gordon once he settled into place.
::Gawd, Bard. Youíre killing me. Do you have any idea what a struggle Iím going through here? I never thought weíd be this close, not ever. Likely we may never be again, but Iíd be taking unfair advantage, wouldnít I?::
He didnít speak the tormented words aloud, but he had a distinct feeling that somehow, in some inner part of himself, Bard heard him. The captain shifted, one arm sliding back toward Gordon. Then his hand settled on Gordonís thigh. It was too much. Gordon wrapped his right arm around Bardís body and gathered the other man snugly against him. There was just one thin layer of fine silk-like fabric between their skins, between Gordonís throbbing cock and its goal. Bard moved slightly, mumbled something. Gordon froze.
ďItís all right, bud. I donít mind.Ē
Had he heard right? He didnít dare ask. The slurred words might have been spoken in a dream, might not have been meant for him at all, much less the things he was thinking of doingÖ The smooth skin of Bardís shoulder and neck, inches from Gordonís face, drew him like a magnet. Before he could stop to think, he moved enough to press his lips against the closest spotóthe curve where shoulder arched into neck, a somehow vulnerable spot, a tender yet sexy spot.
Beneath the smooth, cool skin, he could feel the slow stir of blood and life. Even here in the frozen hell of Gelada, Bard smelled clean, no lurking musty odor like unwashed bodies and old sweat. There was a scent almost sweet, pure and fresh, like a pine forest or a mountain meadow on Bardís skin and in his close-cropped hair. Gordon inhaled it, for a moment letting himself drift away to long-ago memories, a time before soldiering and a harsh life had taken his innocence and joy.
Somehow Bard seemed to have kept his goodness, managed not to be sullied and warped by the politics, the violence and the stark, ugly realities of a fighting manís existence. Maybe that was the measure of true aristocracyÖthe ability to hold on to something finer when your whole world fell to pieces around you. At any rate, those were the qualities that had drawn Gordon from the day Captain Welstaad had assumed command of the unit, now almost two standard years ago.
Gordonís lips explored farther, testing and tasting the texture of Bardís neck, the shape of his ear, the stubble along the side of his jaw. Gordonís hand splayed across the other manís flat abdomen. He felt the solid muscle, then traced the line of hair that marched down Bardís chest, past his belly button and on to his groin. Its texture was crisp but not wiry, and although he couldnít see, Gordon knew the color would be brown lit with glimmers of copper and gold like the rest of Bardís hair. Ever so slowly his hand quested lower. He found the thatch of thicker hair and then the warm shaft that came alive at once to his hesitant touch.
Suddenly he knew Bard was not asleep, not even playing possum anymore. At that moment, Bardís hand also shifted. He found Gordonís cock, pressed his palm against it through the soft fabric, rubbed its length. Gordon gulped back a groan as that caress reverberated through his whole body. Every cell, from his toes to the top of his scalp, came to tingling life in an instant.
They couldnít do this. Someone could come to check on them any moment or the wasps could attack orÖbut there was no way in deep freeze hell that he could deny himself this time. It might only be onceóit could only be onceóbut he would have it to remember for the rest of his life. Yes, oh, God, yes...