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Raven wasn t a little guy by any means, but I wasn t even the tallest
of the group. Val and Mal beat me by an inch. The others were all
taller than Raven, except Iago, who was the same size with just a little
more bulk. But it was funny to watch Raven groan and rub his back
after Val s  love tap.
I glanced over the schedule and saw we had weapons testing in
less than an hour. We quickly finished eating, cleaned up after
ourselves, and I led the way over to the armory. Raven excused
himself but made sure everyone had his cell phone number if they had
any issues.
It was kinda funny since none of them had cell phones to call him
with. Who needed that on deployment? The bills would be
50 Joyee Flynn
astronomical, for one. Two, most of us didn t have any family, really,
so everyone we d want to talk to was right with us. Raven said he d
get with Davin and get them a list of options for phones by the end of
the day.
 I wonder if we rubbed him like a genie if we could get anything
we wanted? Mal asked as we watched Raven walk away.
 You rub the lamp, not the genie, idiot. Iago snickered as we
headed to our testing.  Besides, I think Finn would be very upset if
anyone else rubbed his man.
 He s not mine. I hissed and checked to see if anyone else was
around.  You heard what he said about trainees and mavens or others
of higher rank. Hell, I m not even officially a trainee yet.
 Doesn t stop you from watching him as if you hope to stamp
your name on his forehead one day. He snickered and jumped out of
reach.
 Just keep it quiet, okay?
 We d never out you. You know that, Iago said, looking hurt that
I d even think otherwise.
 I know, buddy, I replied and threw my arm over his shoulder.
 It s just complicated, and I don t want to make things any worse.
 You love him, don t you?
 I think so, I whispered as they got closer to me and intently
listened.
 Well, I m sorry we won t keep fucking like rabbits, but I m
happy for you, Finn. You deserve to fall in love and have something
real.
 I don t think Raven believes in real, I replied, and then wanted
to smack myself for admitting that. These guys needed to trust Raven
and know he was a good guy. If they knew he d been less than perfect
to me, not only would that never happen, but they d probably rip him
into shreds.  I don t know what s going on yet, but I ll let you nosey
asses know when I do, okay? Are we done with the Oprah moment?
Higher Rank 51
 Finn and Raven, sitting in a tree, Mal sang as everyone else
started humming.
 Oh, for fuck s sake, I growled, and threw my hands up in the
air. They laughed and followed me along as I stormed to the farthest
point of the east wing of the compound. We walked out the door and
about three hundred yards to their shooting range with attached
armory.
The armory itself was like a large six-car garage that had a keypad
and was locked up like Fort Knox. The order had a small gun hold in
the compound, but this was their main supply. I glanced around at my
team, which included the twins for me now, and saw they had the
same thought I did when I d found this out. Stupid.
 Yeah, they need one of us to run security for them, Mal
grumbled as we stopped in front of the door to the armory.  This is
not where they should store their gear.
 I agree, I said with a nod, proud of how my guys recognized the
massive mistake in having their weapons away from the main
building. Just then the weapons trainer, Ambrose, stepped out and
froze as he stared at all of us.  Hey, Ambrose.
 Um, hi, Finn and muscled men, he stuttered as his eyes went
wide. Ambrose was a small guy like Josh, so I understood why he
wasn t used to my crew as trainees.
 I change my mind about the cook. I want the twink, Iago said as
he pushed forward.
 Behave, I growled as Mac spoke.
 Too late, you called the cook. I call the weapons cutie. He
elbowed Iago and gently took Ambrose s hand, raising it to his lips
and brushing a kiss over it.  My name is Macbeth Crenshaw, my
friends call me Mac, but you can call me anything you want, sugar.
 Hi, Mac, Ambrose whispered, and I thought he might almost
swoon at my friend s gesture. I d never seen the little guy react like
this to anyone. He was very, very quiet and kept to himself. Hell, I d
only talked to him a few times, and I d been out here at the range
52 Joyee Flynn
daily since I got here.  I m Ambrose Maynard, but I d love it if you
called me yours, or your sex slave.
 Focus, guys, I hissed as I saw Raven and the Eldest
approaching.  Officer on deck.
 No deck here, Finn, Mac growled, and kept his eyes on
Ambrose.  Are you free for dinner later, sugar?
 No he s not, trainee, I said firmly, and pulled him back.  Sorry
about that, Ambrose. I think Josh got to them this morning, and now
they re all thinking with the wrong head. They seem to be trying to
jump anything that moves.
 Right, yeah, no one would want me otherwise, Ambrose
whispered, and took a few steps back.
 Ambrose, wait, I called after him as he booked it into the
armory.
 Smooth move, Ex-lax, Mac snarled, and went after him.
 I didn t mean it like that, I yelled, throwing my hands up in the
air.  I m just trying to keep all you horny Neanderthals under
control!
 You said they were cool here with being gay and hooking up
with other members, Iago said pointedly.
 Was I the only one who heard Raven explain about being a
trainee and the rules against relationships with mavens, trainers, or
higher-ups?
 That doesn t really apply in your case, Finn, the Eldest, James,
chuckled as they joined us.  Mavens, apprentices, and trainers are fine
for your team, since you re far from young trainees.
I couldn t help but glance at Raven at this announcement. If we
got the clear for mavens, did that mean he was still off-limits for me?
Regrettably, his face gave away nothing.
 And who is this delectable morsel with Raven? Iago purred.
Unfortunately, he got four answers at once.
 Dude, you already called the cook. Val snickered.
Higher Rank 53
 Is everyone horny but us after Josh s display? Ty asked and
shook his head at the same time as his twin.
 He s my boss, Raven answered, trying not to laugh.
 He s like the Captain, you asshole, I growled.
 Okay, wait, can I get one answer please? Iago asked, glancing at
all of us as he took a step closer to the Eldest.  So he s off-limits, I m
guessing? And screw the cook, he said he s straight.
 I m Raven s boss, James answered as he looked at Iago with
laughing eyes.
 Shit, sorry, sir, Iago said as he moved to stand at attention.
 Not at all, he replied, waving off the infraction.  I m glad
you re all settling in this easily. I can tell you that this isn t quite like
hook-up central as Josh might have implied with his antics this
morning. He has fun giving people reason to walk around with their
mouths hanging open.
Yeah, that was an accurate way to describe Josh.
 Eldest, this is Iago Miller, I said taking the pause to introduce
everyone. Just as I wrapped up, Mac and Ambrose came back out of
the armory. I introduced Mac and went over to Ambrose and pulled
him off to the side.  That s not what I meant, Ambrose. I was trying
to apologize for them trying to jump you like wild dogs. They re
normally a lot more subtle. You have to know how gorgeous you are,
but 
 You think I m gorgeous? He gasped, interrupting me.
 Yeah, you re beautiful, I answered with a smile.  If someone
didn t already have my heart, I d follow you around like a puppy until
you gave me attention. I didn t mean to upset you. I was just trying to
keep them calm because I know you re kinda quiet. Plus, they just got
off deployment, where they had to hide that they re gay, and then they [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]