Genres: Gay / Science Fiction / Futuristic / Action / Adventure / Series
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (17k words)
New Release 35% Discount (One Week Only)
The sequel to Amber Allure’s Best Seller A Favor For A Friend...
On Alkya, a planet a long way from Earth, the Division of Investigation—Other Worlds—has set up a base where hundreds of personnel live and work. Among them are two men, Major Jake Archer and Captain Bart Hilton, who are part of one of the survey teams.
On a mission with their team surveying a series of ruins, Bart and Jake have yet another disagreement when Jake refuses permission for Bart to investigate certain buildings. A disgruntled Bart, however, disobeys the major and enters a ruin he is particularly interested in, believing it will reveal something of the language of the long-disappeared inhabitants.
But soon Bart realizes he’s made a mistake when he becomes trapped underground with no-one knowing his whereabouts, and he’s then subjected to a cave-in, and this time Bart doesn’t believe he has any chance of being found, let alone being rescued.
When Jake returns from his patrol, he realizes the captain has disobeyed his order. Jake’s anger at his lover’s action is short-lived when Bart cannot be located. Eventually, the team tracks Bart to one of the ruins, but they find no trace of the man himself. Knowing they need help, Jake contacts the Alkya base and an engineering squad is sent to assist Jake’s team in a search-and-rescue effort. Will the men be able to find Bart before it’s too late?
Bart strode purposefully away from Jake, his back rigid with anger. How dare he? He wasn’t a child, so why did Jake persist in treating him like one? God, there were times when he wondered why the hell he even liked the man, let alone loved him!
Jake knew how much Bart’s work meant to him, yet he still insisted in treating it like…a…an encumbrance. How much had his work contributed to their knowledge? How much had they learned because of his expertise in archaeology and culture and because he made it his life work to study every new language, every odd icon, glyph, marking—or scratching as Jake chose to call it — they came across? Jake liked to denigrate his career choice, even though it produced a lot of useful information, and the major damned well knew it.
Why did Jake enjoy annoying him like this, hurting his feelings…feelings he claimed to care about? Damn the man!
Why didn’t Jake believe him when Bart told him there could be important information in the other small buildings in the temple complex? Didn’t he think Bart knew—better than he did—damn it, how unsafe the structures were? He’d done this work for over fifteen years and had been on more digs than he could remember, but still Jake thought he took unnecessary risks.
Bart wasn’t a fool nor was he incompetent.
Bart couldn’t remember the last time Jake had questioned Delia’s ability; he simply waved his arm in the air and told her to get on with whatever it was she wanted to do. He couldn’t be bothered to listen to her reasons and explanations. He trusted her competence.
Why didn’t he treat Bart with the same respect? No, Bart was just supposed to shut up when he was told, work where and when he was told and his opinion on the mechanics of his job was overruled at the drop of a hat—or cap if you wanted to be pedantic.
And this man is my lover?
He knew Jake was still watching him from the hill just above the temple complex, so he marched straight into the main building, which Jake had already decided was the only one perfectly safe place for him to investigate. As Bart entered the dark interior, he glanced back in time to see Jake give a slight shrug before he turned away to begin another patrol circuit of the large site.
As usual, Carl was keeping a close eye on Delia as she did her version of digging in the dirt with the assistance of Ron Eisley. No one denigrated her work. No, she was collecting important samples. Bart gave himself a mental shake. It wasn’t her fault and he shouldn’t get snarky with her over Jake’s attitude.
He waited about fifteen minutes, knowing that would put Jake on the far side of the complex site and out of visual range of the particular building Bart wanted to investigate. While he waited, Bart went over his ideas concerning the site.
The main structure appeared to be a temple, though Bart had agreed it was possible it was a palace when Carl had made the suggestion. However, Bart stuck to his opinion it was a temple, and it seemed probable many of the other structures would have specific uses as part of a complex. Making assumptive comparisons, Bart concluded the buildings might have been used for the storage of records, a library, and living quarters for the priests. Likely there would have been more mundane uses, too, such as storehouses, kitchens, even a barn. Possibly there would also have been other smaller temples, maybe a mortuary temple or chapels for the use of the nobility. From the layouts of temple complexes he was familiar with, he believed the particular building he was interested in could be the one where the records had been kept. In truth, there was no way to know what he might find until he investigated.
Bart knew Jake would be furious if he found out what Bart was up to, but if Bart was cautious, the major shouldn’t ever know Bart had gone into a “forbidden” building.
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