Home > Off Base (Out of Uniform #1)(4)

Off Base (Out of Uniform #1)(4)
Author: Annabeth Albert

    “Guys.” Zack threw back the shot with a full-body shudder. And damn but those muscles were sexy when he moved. When he’d first met Zack, he’d noticed his ropey forearms first. Pike was definitely a hand/arm guy, and Zack’s were sexy as fuck with the sort of vein and muscle definition that only came with serious work. But now his biceps were bigger, shoulders more defined, and he had this new way of standing where it seemed like he physically took up more space. Hell, even his neck was ripped, and Pike really needed to focus on Zack’s answers, not his muscles.

    “So no girlfriend waiting back in Arkansas? No hotties on the hook down in San Diego?” Pike pushed before he tossed back his own shot.

    “Fuck no.” Zack’s tongue had become looser with each drink.

    “Ever had a girlfriend?”

    “Nah.” Zack shrugged and stole the last fry. “Too busy.”

    The “too busy” part sounded like a well-rehearsed line, but Pike nodded. “Yeah, I hear you. No girls in high school or college though?”

    “There were some girls at church. Went to a few dances. Not really my thing.”

    “Girls or dancing? Because I saw you earlier—you’re a good dancer.”

    “Thanks.” The tips of Zack’s ears, bared by his blond crew cut, flared pink. His short hair always made Pike want to pet it, see if it was as soft as it looked. “And I dunno. Maybe both?” He sounded unreasonably sad, then brightened, a rather fake smile firmly in place. “I’ll figure it out, man. By the time I’m ready to settle down, right?”

    “I am never settling down.” Pike laughed because the other option was to let his heart hurt for this guy who was so clearly twisted up in ways he couldn’t even see himself. Been there. Done that. Didn’t get the T-shirt. “And now I’m going to dance. Join me?”

    “Dance? With you?” For someone with lightning reflexes, Zack could be rather slow. And adorable. “Together?”

    “No, not together.” Pike patted him on the shoulder. “Dial back the horror. Come dance.” Zack’s mouth quirked like he wasn’t sure whether to trust Pike, so he added, “Maybe we’ll find you another hookup potential. Come on.”

    “Okay.” Zack followed Pike, steps decidedly looser. Pike was barely buzzing himself, but he resolved to slow Zack down. True to his word, Pike put several feet of space between them on the dance floor. Zack was a surprisingly good dancer—innate rhythm and all those muscles turning fluid. He’d been good with the woman earlier, but on his own with the shots on board, he was almost hypnotic. Pike bet Zack was an amazing swimmer—he had the body for it, and Pike would have killed for a chance to watch him do his SEAL long-distance swims. It didn’t take long for two teen-looking women to dance up on either side of Zack, and the helpless look he shot Pike was almost too much.

    Pike grinned back at him. Zack could extricate himself with three steps to his right, but that would mean getting closer to dancing with him. Problems, man. Thank God, Pike didn’t have them.

    The song changed and a tall, skinny goth guy danced closer to Pike. Across from him, Zack’s eyebrows went up. Oh this could be fun. Pike gave the goth guy a seductive smile he made sure Zack saw too. Eyes firmly on Zack, he started dancing with the guy, stepping a bit closer than he might otherwise.

    The other guy, bless him, caught on quick and pulled him in tight, mouth dipping close to Pike’s ear. “Are we making your boyfriend jealous or is he the kind to like watching? Because I could be down with that.” He gave a deep, rumbly chuckle, something that ordinarily would have turned Pike on. And he did like this guy’s style.

    “Jealous,” Pike said, then because the guy seemed nice enough, added honestly, “Not a boyfriend.”

    “Yet.” Goth guy gave him a wink, dark hair falling in his eyes. Yeah, if Pike wasn’t hung up on Zack tonight, he would totally be in favor of pursuing this far easier prey.

    The man was too tall for them to easily fit together, but they managed to stay close enough, and Pike made sure Zack saw every flirty touch they exchanged. Showing off for him was more intoxicating than the Fireball, making Pike’s blood hum. Eventually the girls drifted away from Zack, and the other guy got a gleam in his eye. Oh yeah. Pike had an idea what he was thinking, and followed him when he danced a few steps toward Zack.

    Zack’s eyes went wide and he bit his lip, impeccable rhythm faltering, but he didn’t step back. The three of them danced together, the goth dude touching Pike and turning him to face Zack so that they made a sexy little sandwich. Zack was still too far away to grind or anything like that, but he was close enough that Pike could feel the need rolling off him. He hooked a finger though Zack’s belt loop, pulling him closer still. Behind him, the other guy was hard, grinding against his back, touching his sides and arms as they moved together.

    Any other night and Pike would be plotting how to get the guy back to his place, which wasn’t far away. But tonight all his attention was on Zack and how he responded to Pike’s nearness, body going supple, hips matching Pike’s rhythm. Fuck yes. Each song seemed to make the energy between them more charged.

    Eventually, the other guy leaned in. “I’m going to get another drink. You guys?”

    “I could go for a beer.” Damn. He was rather thirsty.

    Zack nodded slowly and followed them to the bar.

    “I’m Chris,” the goth guy said as they waited their turn in the thick crowd around the bar. The place had really filled up while they’d been out dancing. “Any chance you guys want to go to Micky’s with me? One of my friends is dancing go-go there tonight, and I’m supposed to meet up with a group of friends there. But afterward...” His voice trailed off, invitation clear in his dark eyes.

    “Go-go?” Zack’s voice cracked. Man, it was almost too fun making Mr. Big Shot SEAL lose his cool.

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