Judas Steer

an excerpt

The first bead of sweat that broke loose ran from the man's temple to the sharp angle of his tight, square jaw. It hung on for an anxious moment, during which Parker realized he had been holding his breath, waiting to see where the bead would land on the solid expanse of bulging hard muscle that formed the casually spread, naked thighs beneath it.

Eyes hungry, Parker hoped it would splash high on the man's leg, giving him a reason to follow its descent. He didn't actually need a reason, it was a public sauna. An on site, twenty-four hour, fully outfitted gym, pool and sauna, a perk of working for a huge corporation that promoted employee health and fitness.

But Parker still insisted on playing this game with himself. Seeing how much restraint he could muster, how long he could hold back his physical desires without the other guy suspecting. What it would take to make him finally get up and leave, towel artfully wrapped around his hips while his hands covered his growing erection. Then a warm shower to cover the quick hand job before he toweled off, dressed and made his way alone back to his peaceful but empty apartment.

Working sixteen hours days was great for his work and reputation as a dedicated researcher for the company. Not so great for his personal life. If he thought about it, his current lifestyle of nothing but work and sleep was pretty pathetic for twenty-nine year old, moderately successful forensic scientist. So he didn't spend much time thinking about it.

And there was no time to look for dating material outside his immediate circle. All of his close associates were either female or straight men. There wasn't anyone he was interested in anyway. Or there hadn't been until three weeks ago when Sir Brawny & Buff started showing up in the gym every night. Parker had nearly dropped a free weight on his foot the first time B&B had strode into the gym and began his warm up. By the time the other man had ended his routine almost two hours later, Parker had hit the head twice to jack off. Which was the only reason he'd managed to stay in the sauna with the guy for six whole minutes before leaving weak kneed and dizzy, still half hard and aching.

It didn't help any that they were always alone, the last hardcore exercise junkies in the place. Or the only people that worked long hours into the evening and still had energy to burn. Parker worked out so his body would be exhausted enough that his mind would have to shut off to sleep. He was toned and wiry, but his short, slender frame would never compete with this guy. B&B was all muscle. Muscle, muscle everywhere.

But there might as well have been a big neon 'do not disturb' sign tattooed on the guy's chest. They had been alone together working out in the gym five and six nights a week for two hours and the guy had yet to do more than stare Parker in the eye for ten seconds and nod a wordless hello. Talk about your strong silent type!

Of course, Parker hadn't offered any attempts at conversation either. He'd been content to ogle covertly and fantasize. No one else in the gym meant privacy, but it also meant no witnesses to murder if the guy took offense to Parker's... appreciative interest. But then the guy would actually have to notice before he could be offended and Parker made sure that wasn't going to happen. No way. He wanted to see his next few birthdays.

Licking his lips, Parker tasted the sharp tang of his own sweat. He closed his eyes and let his muscles relax, feeling the knots in his neck and shoulders from hunching over microscopes and keyboards all day start to unwind. This was always the perfect ending to his day, the way he unwound, the only activity truly draining enough to shut down his mind and body. Besides sex. And sex was nowhere on the immediate horizon. One handed sex didn't count. It was rewarding but not exhausting.

The sauna was big enough for ten people, all wooden slant flooring and two tiered benches. In the center of the room was a small sculptured pedestal filled with steaming hot rocks. A tiny basin that filled with water automatically was artfully designed into one side and a ladle hung from a part of the sculpture.

The sudden hiss of water hitting hot stones filled the air. Startled, Parker looked up under half-closed eyelids to watch B&B replace the ladle, towel slung low around solid, molded-from-rock hips and ass. So low and loosely wrapped that when B&B stepped away the towel slipped. B&B casually grabbed one end of it and instead of re-wrapping it, threw the towel over his broad and brawny shoulder.

Full frontal exposure. No steroid user here! It was just like Christmas. And man, would Parker like to play with that toy! Christ, this guy was one complete package. Too bad he didn't have a personality to go with the body.

Parker's breath caught in his throat. He prayed the grunt of appreciation that escaped couldn't be heard over the hiss of the steam.

The guy radiated power, even an element of danger. Parker found that thrilling, different. He'd never been attracted to guys like this before, but then he'd never socialized in circles outside of academia and scientific research. He found it amazing a guy like this was in the same workplace as he was. He knew the guy worked there, he'd seen one of the female techs trying to chat him up in the hallway yesterday. Parker had panicked at the thought of having a conversation with the guy outside the isolated exercise wing. He'd walked right by, avoiding eye contact, blood rushing in his ears too loudly for him to catch any of the conversation between the other two.

What did Broad & Brawny do here? Security? Not likely. He was too controlled, too deliberate. This guy's whole demeanor screamed intelligence and stealth with a good dash of lethal force thrown in for good measure, at least in Parker's lively imagination. A bodyguard for one of the head honchos maybe?

Parker shook his head. He was spending too much time looking at the world at a microscopic level. But man, he would like to get a closer look at this guy, a much closer look.

Every muscle group on the man's body was developed to perfection, and not from just working out in any gym. Parker could see scars on his barrel chest, back, and his beefy left arm. They didn't look like they came from any surgeon's scalpel. A long, jagged, barely healed scar decorated his now bare right hip. Hips that were leaner than his wide, swaying shoulders with gluts rippling with constrained power as the man walked.

Parker knew this because, instead of returning to his old seat on the bench across the room, B&B was walking toward Parker. Slow and deliberate. Was that a little swagger in those rock formations other people called hips and thighs?

The appreciative grunt turned into a strangled cough at the back of Parker's throat. The swagger was slight, but since it made the stiff, gloriously jutting erection sprouting up from the dark nest of hair bob and sway, Parker couldn't help but notice—the tiny swagger and the not so tiny hard-on. Not anywhere near tiny.

He swallowed past the sudden constriction in his throat and concentrated on dragging his gaze away from the flushed and gleaming circumcised shaft before he drooled on himself.

Self-consciously, he crunched his own towel into a concealing ball in his lap. As his gaze pulled away, he'd meant to look at the ceiling, but some alien magnetic force invaded the room and forced what he knew was a wide-eyed stared to meet the man's gray-blue gaze.

Steely gray looked less... well... steely up close. More blue, with a glint of humor and a splash of something Parker would have called interest in someone else. And was that the beginnings of a sneer or... a smile on those firm, sweat moistened lips?

Without a word, Broad & Brawny dropped to the bench beside Parker, cock at full mast, proudly on display. B&B leaned back against the wall and got comfortable. His towel became a pile of crumpled fabric on the floor. A slick hard knee bumped Parker's thigh but he was too busy trying not to stare to react to the touch.

"Hey." The voice was a little softer than expected, masculine but with a smoothing timber to it. It lessened some of Parker's trepidation. "Name's Dallas."

A large, smooth hand crossed over Parker's lap, fingers spread and grip waiting perilously close to Parker's own stiff soldier. He automatically reached out and shook hands. The heat of the guy's skin was like Parker imagined it would be picking up one of the steaming sauna rocks, slick with penetrating warmth that was almost a living entity on its own.

"Ah... hi." His voice was raspy, partly from the thick air clogging his lungs and partly from surprise.

"Come here often?" The tone was light but the laser blue stare demanded an answer.

"Huh?" Parker blinked, uncertain what he should say. He decided to play it safe. "Ah, every night, same as you."

The small smile spread into a dazzling grin. Dallas leaned his head and shoulders down closer to Parker and gently added, "It was a joke. You know, lighten the mood, break the ice. A come on line."

"Oh. Sorry. I don't... go out much." Sudden he felt like he was back in high school. "Not recently." How much of dork did that make him sound like. "Not like never... just not... recently." Oh, yeah, that was soooo much better.

"Tina says you work about 90 hours a week. Hard to work in a social life with those hours. Hell, it has to be hard to work in sleep and food with those hours."

"Tina?" Trying to ignore the sweet, staggering sight of a bead of creamy white sitting on the dusky pink crown of the thick cock only inches away, Parker fixated on the part of the conversation he didn't already know all about.

"Yeah. Says she's known you for three years? The little blond I was talking with when you breezed by me in the hallway yesterday afternoon?"

"Oh, yeah." Parker stammered and tore his gaze away, fighting the urge to lick his lips. "Sorry." The image of Dallas' cock pressed to his lips clouded his mind. He was woefully aware he sounded as if his IQ had dropped fifty points. "Tina works in testing."

Parker looked at his own lap. Fisted white knuckles wrapped in the towel stared back at him like little glassy eyed aliens. This whole conversation belonged on another planet. Surreal and bizarre.

"Testing's not my field of interest."

"So she said." In the silence that followed, Parker squirmed, trying to relax. He shot a glance at his companion to find Dallas studying his face, a thoughtful, tentative look on his rugged features and a flash of something indefinable in his eyes.

Parker felt a slight tightness in his chest. Lord, was this guy coming on to him? He hated being scrutinized, evaluated. If it involved anything other than his intellect, he always felt as if he came up short. Especially when the person doing the physical scrutinizing was bigger, broader, beefier, and better looking. Not that he was skinny or ugly; he worked out every night, but mostly cardio training, not to put on bulk or build muscles like this guy sported. Parker liked to think of himself as small but wiry.

The faint smile was back on the big man's handsome face. It tugged one corner of his mouth higher than the other, bringing a dimple to life in one cheek. Parker realized a faint white line on the upper lip was an old scar, deep through the vermilion border of Dallas' lip. What had hit him so hard his face had been split wide open? And why?

"She had a lot to say about a lot of things." There was a flash of humor in that. Unexpected, revealing a glimmer of the man Parker hadn't anticipated.

Dallas rolled his shoulders. Parker could hear his spine flex and pop. He wondered if all that power and strength came out when the guy was in bed. That proud weapon standing up saluting between his legs was like a freaking light saber, long thick and no doubt deadly. Parker had to swallow hard to keep his throat from closing up.

"But we weren't talking about work."

"No?" It was almost a whisper. He wondered where this conversation was going but at the same time, almost afraid to find out.

"I think she was trying to wheedle a date out of me."

"Oh..." Bingo. The guy wanted info on Tina. That's what this was about. Damn it. "She's... pretty."

And folks, this is why fantasies are called fantasies. They never become reality. So much for the imagined sauna blow job.

"A little over enthusiastic maybe, but... nice." He studied the folds of the towel in his lap again. Pretty soon he wouldn't need it to cover anything more shocking than a limp cock. "And... and pretty."

"Pretty is nice." Dallas didn't seem to notice Parker's discomfort and lackluster disinterest. "She talks a blue streak though."

"Yeah." He took a deep breath and wiped a trickle of sweat of his upper lip. He darted a look to his left, catching that small, slightly asymmetrical smile again. Those dark eyes really should stop staring at him with that warm, intoxicating glint. "I-I like... quieter people."

"She's not really my type either."

He chanced another glance. Yep, that warm, 'I'm looking at you' stare was still in the guy's eyes. Parker ran his tongue along his lower lip, then stopped when Dallas gaze dropped to follow the movement then returned to study Parker's face. "You like them quieter, too?"

"Um-um." Gaze pinning Parker in place, Dallas made a nondescript wave in the air that conveyed nothing.

The words tumble out before Parker could stop them. "You like them uglier?"

There was short, stunned silence than a pleasant rumble of laughter shook the bench. Dallas' upper arm rubbed against him, transmitting the vibrations so their skin touched in a thin layer of combined sweat. It felt like static electricity crackled between them, making Parker's arm tingle.

"No." Dallas shook his head once, the sweat trickling off his angular jaw to splash on his chest, disappearing in the patches of dark chest hair. "Holy Christ." It was said softly, low, disbelieving, but Parker heard it and flinched. Was he that much of a dork to this guy? "Not uglier." His gaze searched Parker's face for a moment, their arms still touching. The warmth of the room was suddenly suffocating as Parker imagined he saw more than idle curiosity burning in Dallas' intense stare. "I just like my dates to be more... male."