Breathless Page 12

No girl had ever affected him this strongly.

No guy had, either, but this was the first time he’d been alone with a boy he felt attracted to, and it was like his senses were trying to latch on to the opportunity.

A boy who thought Nick felt threatened by his presence.

Nick wondered what would have happened if he’d lost the defensive looks in the truck. If he’d sat in the cab for two minutes. If he’d—

Quinn, he thought. Focus on Quinn.

Right. His girlfriend. Who needed rescuing—both from boys and herself, apparently.

She wasn’t far. The wind brought him the scent of a campfire, and he followed that. Adam followed him, silent but very present.

And there was Quinn, passed out on a fleece blanket between two guys. She was still fully clothed, but tension hovered in the air, making Nick pause to size up the situation. Big guys. Drunk guys who stopped laughing when they caught sight of Nick and Adam.

Now Nick regretted not bringing Gabriel.


“Thanks for the call,” said Adam, his voice easy, as if they hadn’t walked into a tense situation. “We can take Quinn home.”

The one guy, the darker haired one, sneered. “We didn’t call for a couple of fags.”

Nick froze. It wasn’t like he hadn’t heard the word around school—usually as a joke in the locker room—but it hit him very differently when it was directed at him. When he’d been walking along having . . . thoughts.

Adam didn’t hesitate, he just walked over and started picking Quinn up. “I’m sure Quinn didn’t, either, but apparently you two showed up.”

Both men were on their feet. The dark-haired one went after Adam.

Nick was quick. He caught the guy’s arm, but he didn’t fight him. “Hey.” Wind whipped around him, responding to his emotion. But he was used to placating his twin, and he kept his voice easy. “Chill out. We’re just here to take her home.”

The guy swung around and punched him in the face.

Nick hit the sand before he realized he was falling.

Damn, it hurt. It hurt about a bazillion times more than when Quinn had done the same thing. He hadn’t even been expecting it. At least when he tried to stop his twin from fighting, Gabriel listened.

Nick found his footing in the sand. Now he was pissed, and the air enjoyed that, pulling sand into tiny tornadoes at his feet. The wind turned ice cold, coming off the water like it was blowing from a glacier.

The other guy, the one with lighter hair, had grabbed his friend. Adam had Quinn, and he looked like he was wrestling with whether to put her down and help. He’d moved back, toward their motorcycles and the tree line.

“Go,” Nick said to him. “Get her to the truck.”

Adam glanced between him and the guys on the beach. “I’m not sure that’s the best idea.”

Nick wasn’t sure, either. He wasn’t a fighter, not really. And what was he going to do? Suffocate them? Freeze them to death? Blast them with sand?

“It’s all right,” said the light-haired guy. He still had a death grip on his friend, but his words had a hint of slur. “Take her home. I just wanted to make sure she was okay.”

“Yeah,” said Nick. “Looks like it.” But he glanced at Adam and took a step toward the trail. Adam met his eyes, and they shared a moment of silent agreement.

Adam didn’t want to fight, either.

And that was refreshing.

The dark-haired guy swore. “I’m going to kill those—”

“Run,” said Nick.

Adam ran. Nick was right behind him.

And then they were tearing through the darkness, leaping into the truck.

And then they were gone.


Nick had to fight to keep the truck near the speed limit. He kept checking the rearview mirror, looking for motorcycles or any sign of danger.

“They can’t follow us,” Adam said. “At least, I don’t think they can.”

Nick didn’t look away from the road. Quinn was a heavy weight against him, buckled into the middle bench seat. He had a pretty good sense that she was drooling on his shoulder.

“How do you know?”

“I disabled their bikes. Maybe.”

Nick looked over. “How did you do that?”

Adam shrugged, and it looked like he was trying to hide a smile. “Yanked some wires. I don’t know.”

Nick smiled. “Smart.”

Adam snorted, and his voice turned a bit self-deprecating. “Yeah, not too bad for a ‘couple of fags,’ huh?” Before Nick could say anything to that, Adam looked over again. “Sorry to drag you into that. The guy sounded okay on the phone.”

“I’m just glad Quinn wasn’t hurt.” Though she smelled like a frigging distillery.

“Are you okay?”

Nick shrugged. He could already feel swelling starting on his jaw, and blood was a bitter taste on the side of his tongue. “It’s not the first time I’ve been hit, and it probably won’t be the last. I’ll be all right.” Gabriel would probably shit a brick when he got home, though.

“He was going to hit me,” said Adam, and there was something like wonder in his voice.

“I’m happy to hit you if you feel like you’re missing out on the full experience.”

“No, just—” Adam hesitated. “Thanks.”

Nick shrugged again, uncomfortable. He wasn’t used to being the rescuer. “I wasn’t trying to fight him. I thought I could talk him down.”

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