The first chapter of Boy of Fire & Ash
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"Boy of Fire and Ash" is an MM spin-off of Burn for Me
Included in the Bully God anthology
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“You have to be fucking kidding me.” There is steam billowing from the hood of my car, and lights are blinking at me from the dash as I fly down the freeway at eighty miles an hour.
Quickly, I pull my car off the road, stopping on the shoulder and jumping out before the damn thing explodes. This is what I get for being a stubborn asshole who refuses to buy a new car, even though this seventeen-year-old BMW has seen better days—much, much better days. If I call my best friend, Everly, right now and ask for help, she’s definitely going to rub it in my face. She’s been on me to replace this thing for years, but I’m being stubborn about it.
At least it’s unusually cool out for August. Standing a safe distance away, I pull out my phone and find the roadside assistance number. Fifteen minutes later, the lovely girl on the line informs me that a mechanic in town will be here in less than an hour to tow me to their shop.
This has really been the year from hell. Whoever said your thirties were supposed to be your best years was either delirious or high off their ass, because it would seem turning thirty-four last November set off a domino effect of bad luck.
In June, we lost our beloved editor-in-chief at the Florence Journal after he retired and moved to Florida, and instead of handing the job over to me—as it should have been, considering my twelve years of experience as a lead journalist, they gave it to that toolbag, Patrick from The Herald. They outsourced our new EIC when I am more than capable of taking on the position myself, and what’s worse is that I’m about ninety percent sure, Patrick is a homophobe. More than once, he’s denied my story requests because the articles would be better suited for—quote-unquote, someone with more guts.
So, I quit.
Excited for your first day tomorrow?
Everly texts me while I wait.
I want to vomit every time I think about it.
That’s normal, she replies with a laughing face emoji. Couldn’t be any worse than my first semester.
God, I hope not. When Everly started her teaching job at Florence University, she had one of her biggest enemies as a student, who turned into her biggest tormenter, who then turned into the ‘love of her life.’ Now they live together in some twisted domestic bliss, and I’m fairly certain they have some pretty kinky shit going on in the bedroom, so I’d say it turned out all right.
For her, at least. Settling down, with a college student no less, sounds more like a nightmare than all the bullying he did to her in those first few months, but that’s just me.
I don’t have any mortal enemies from my past, so I think I’m golden.
Just be your charming, brilliant, funny self, and they will love you.
Why the fuck is my best friend so amazing to me? Where did I go right twelve years ago when we met, because I could use a little good luck like that in my life right now.
Thanks, babe. That helps. Love you.
Love you too. Seriously, Thomas. Don’t be nervous. You will be great.
Just don’t fuck your students. I know how young you like them.
Bitch. You have absolutely no room to talk.
While I’m smiling down at my phone, I hear the rumble of a truck approach. Damn, that was fast. I’m leaning against the car, pretty convinced it’s not going to blow up since the smoking has stopped, when the driver of the tow truck jumps out, and I’m struck speechless.
I was expecting a typical mechanic—middle-aged and greasy. Not a Greek God in blue coveralls.
He’s damn near the tallest man I’ve ever seen in my life. With broad shoulders and thick biceps, I can’t seem to tear my eyes away as he stalks closer. When I do force my gaze to his face, the first thing I notice are the scars etched into his features. It looks like someone took a box-cutter to what must have been a flawless facade with those high cheekbones, a sharp jawline, a chiseled nose...
“Mr. Litchfield?” he says in a rich, deep voice. Jumping up from my position against the car, I take a couple steps toward him.
“I got a call that you need a tow to the shop. What seems to be the problem?”
“Well, a lot of smoke came out of the hood, which I’m assuming is bad, so I pulled over right away.”
“Can I take a look?” he asks as he passes by me, leaving behind a cloud of his masculine scent.
Upon closer inspection, I realize he’s young, or at least younger than I thought at first—maybe early twenties? I also notice his lips are full and perfect. There’s a slash through the top one, and I instantly find myself wondering what it might feel like against my tongue.
“Oh, yeah. Go ahead.” I hold a hand up, gesturing to the front of my car.
He hesitates, glaring at me with his brows pinched together. “I need you to open the hood for me,” he says in a bold command that sends a flash of heat all the way down my spine.
“Umm…” I open the driver's side door and crouch down in search of the lever to unlock the hood. I fumble around for a few seconds but can’t seem to find it.
“You don’t know where the hood latch is, do you?” I feel his presence behind me, and a wave of frustration rolls through me. I’m having a bad enough day/month, and I don’t need to be humiliated by a kid with a tow truck.
“I just forgot where it is,” I mutter. Pulling a handle, I hear a pop and stand up, relief consuming me. As he pins me between his body and my car, he looks down at me with a look of amusement on his face, and I notice that I barely come up to his chin.
“That was your gas tank.”
Kneeling down again, I fumble for the handle, my temperature rising and making it difficult to focus. I freeze when I feel his arm brush mine. He’s towering over me from behind, and I breathe in the scent of cologne mixed with oil and gasoline. One of his hands lands on my arm as he crowds me, and though there is grease between his nails and caked into the prints of his fingers, I notice that it’s softer than I expected. It takes him exactly one second to find the lever under the dash, which results in a popping noise from the front of the car.
In my defense, I’m more of a ‘drop it off at the mechanic and let them deal with it’ kind of guy.
“Thanks,” I mumble as he walks away.
He inspects the car’s engine, pulling out and opening up parts I have absolutely no knowledge about, and I can’t seem to shake this sudden unnerved spell he’s put me under. How have I never seen him around town? Surely I’d remember a guy like him. He must be at least six-four, maybe five, and those scars. His chin-length black hair hangs in his face as he messes around underneath the hood, and I try my damndest to look interested in what he’s doing, but I can’t imagine it’s very convincing.
“Try to start it for me.” Again with that commanding tone.
I drop into the driver’s seat and turn the ignition. The car sounds like it wants to start, but all it does is pop and rev without moving into a steady rhythm.
“Cut it!” he yells over the noise. Doing as he says, I take the key out and climb back out of the seat, just as he flips his hair out of his face.
Okay, that was hot.
“Looks like your radiator,” he says while inspecting the engine.
“Okay.” As if I have any clue what the fuck that means.
“I can tow it to the shop for you. I don’t think I have the parts, but I could have it done in a couple days.”
“That would be great, thanks.” I keep staring at his face, no matter how hard I try not to. I mean, it’s pretty damn hard not to. Those scars are not like any I’ve seen before, and the reporter in me wants the story—the whole story. It literally looks like someone carved into this poor kid’s face. And they’ve faded to a light hue which means they’re old, probably something he got as a little kid.
“You can ride to the shop with me, unless you have someone coming for you…”
“No one is coming for me,” I blurt out so fast I surprise myself. What the fuck was that all about? It’s like I was trying to announce that I’m single, as if he fucking cares. That’s clearly not what he was asking. He’s not hitting on you, you fucking pervert.
He slams the hood shut, and I notice the way his gaze lingers on me for just a second, and it’s enough to send chills down my spine.
When he goes back to his truck, he throws it into reverse and lines it up with mine. I watch in some sort of erotic fascination as he hoists the chain out of the truck, setting everything up on my car and effortlessly chaining it to the rear of the truck.
Did he just make loading a tow truck sexy?
If I were in the middle of a dry spell, I’d assume this strange interest was due to needing to get laid, but I got lucky, not once, but twice this weekend. In fact, that’s where I was headed home from, a sleepover at my FWB’s—friend with benefits. Nico and I have been carrying on a no-strings-attached hookup for a couple years now. It’s completely casual and not at all coupley. He’s pushing his late twenties, and I keep waiting for him to give me the nudge that he’s ready to settle down, but it hasn’t really happened yet, and honestly, I don’t know how I’ll feel when it does. I like Nico, and we have a good time together, but the idea of forever with him doesn’t exactly get me excited.
“Ready to go,” Mr. Tall Tow Truck Man barks, jerking his head toward the cab of the truck and signaling for me to get in. As I step up into the seat, the first thing I notice is just how much it smells like him, a combination of cologne and grease with a hint of mint and air freshener. I don’t know why, but it reminds me of my teenage years, and I’m hit with a wave of nostalgia, inciting a wave of memories of making out with various boys in cars that smelled like this. I’m pretty sure I gave my first hand job in a truck like this. Back then, I was so sexually pent-up and frustrated, desperate to get it out, I let any guy who wanted to touch me have his way. They were good fucking times.
The mechanic is staring at me with a quizzical brow, and I glance his way after buckling my seatbelt.
“What is it?” I ask.
“You’re the one who looks like you want to say something.”
“No, I don’t,” I argue.
He laughs. “Yes, you do. You’re judging my truck. I’m sorry it’s not as nice as your early 2000’s BMW.”
“I was not judging your truck,” I snap. “I was just remembering something…”
He laughs again. “You have some fond memories in tow trucks, Mr. Litchfield?”
“That’s a forward question.”
“Sorry,” he mutters as he puts the truck into drive. We turn onto the freeway, merging with traffic, and I notice immediately how eerily quiet it is in the car now. He was being casual with me, which was unexpected, and I reacted too harshly. So now it’s awkward, and I regret it. The kid was just being friendly. It’s not his fault I’m off today, in a bad mood and a serious funk.
“Not in tow trucks specifically,” I add, desperate to break the tension. Then, my blabber mouth just keeps rambling. “But something about this one brought back memories of high school. I must have dated someone with a truck that smelled like this.”
The words slip out before I can really think about what I’m saying.
Why did I say that? Why the fuck did I say that?
I wince, knowing that I just made things even more awkward as I’m sure he’s putting two and two together now. Girls don’t normally drive trucks like these.
“Good memories, I assume?” he asks with his eyes on the road.
When I glance over at him, I notice how tightly he’s gripping the steering wheel and clenching his jaw, clearly indicating his discomfort. God, let this ride end quickly.
“Yeah, sure. They were good memories,” I mumble.
He turns to look at me. “What? You don’t remember?”
“It was a long time ago,” I reply.
There is a subtle smile as he looks at me again. Then his eyes travel from my face and down my body, as if he’s sizing me up. I feel the hot sting of his judgment, and I swear I am all too tempted to dive out the window of this moving vehicle and into freeway traffic.
“How long ago?” There’s no longer a cruel look on his face; now it almost seems...flirtatious, and I notice that he has warm amber-colored eyes that look like the cat-eye rocks I used to collect as a kid. The irises shine in different shades of brown and red like a burning fire.
“Well, let’s see. I was a teenager…” I do the match quickly in my head, “fifteen years ago.”
His eyebrows shoot up. “That was a long time ago.”
“Oh, fuck you very much,” I reply, and his laughter fills the truck. My nerves dissipate as I realize he’s being genuine, not a homophobic asshole like I expected, and his teasing me about my age is almost coming across as...sexy, somehow.
“Sorry,” he says, still laughing, and I can’t help but smile. “It’s only been one year for me.”
“One year since you were a teenager?” I ask, rolling my eyes. “Enjoy your youth while it lasts. Blink and you’ll miss it.”
He nods his head, seemingly contemplative. Then there’s another few minutes of silence, which he breaks when he asks, “So, you haven’t been in a truck since you were a teenager?”
“Um...not really. I’m not much of a truck guy.”
“Obviously,” he replies.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You didn’t even know how to pop the hood of your car. I assume you’ve never driven a truck.”
“I could drive a truck,” I toss back.
“I believe you.” When he looks at me, his grin is so deep in his cheeks that it creates dimples around the scars. I find myself staring at them, fascinated by how they stretch across his face, and my fingers itch to trace the lines of each one.
I feel strangely comfortable around this guy now. I like his flirty banter, although I know I have no right to because he’s not flirting. Even if he was gay—which I guarantee he’s not, he’s not my type.
I don’t really do the slum-down thing. My type is more like Nico, fit, young, and flexible. Slightly submissive and easy to manipulate—in bed and in our relationship.
We turn into the parking lot of the mechanic shop and pulls right into the first bay. I’m surprised to see it quiet and empty. He puts the truck into park, and I expect him to jump out, but he pauses in his seat. The moment stretches as he stares out the window. “For what it’s worth,” he says, finally. “You don’t look thirty-four.”
“Thanks,” I reply quietly.
His head turns my way, and our eyes lock. I’m lost in those amber brown irises for a moment, waiting for him to say or do something to break the sudden tension. But he doesn’t. Instead, we bathe in the uncertainty between us because there’s something about it—or him, that feels both hot and cold, ice and fire in my veins. But it’s the fire and strange anticipation that makes its way down to my groin.
He finally jumps out of the vehicle, and I take my first full breath in minutes.
I sit in the truck for a moment, letting this strange feeling wash over me, willing the sudden arousal in my pants to chill the fuck out.
When I finally hop out, he’s already unloading my car off the back of the truck, so I busy myself with walking around and looking at everything. It’s not a big shop, and it’s isolated on a road just outside of the city center. It’s in good condition though, cleaner and newer than I expected.
“You run this place by yourself?” I ask.
He laughs. “No. I’m just the only guy willing to work on Sundays.”
“What’s wrong? You don’t go to church?”
That dimpling grin stretches on his face again, revealing perfectly white teeth. As he looks up at me, he replies with a small shake of his head, “No, I don’t.”
I watch him maneuver the car until it’s parked in the bay and hoisted six-feet in the air, and I realize that I could easily watch this guy at his job all day long. It’s like foreplay—this sensual dance of muscles and effort and sweat, those strong yet nimble hands moving with deft skill and experience, imagining them working the same way on my clothes and my body.
He catches me looking a few times, but I play it off as just interest in what he’s doing, and he seems mostly unfazed.
“If you’d like to meet me in the office,” he says casually, “we can fill out some paperwork before you leave.”
Is that his not-so-subtle way of trying to get rid of me? Giving him a nod, I head in the direction of the entrance. Going through the black door on the side of the garage, I find a small office, immaculately clean, with a broad wooden desk, a computer, and a couple chairs for customers. But I don’t sit down. I’m feeling too restless. I’d rather just settle this now, call my Uber, and put this shit show of a day and very strange encounter behind me.
Just as I pull up the Uber app on my phone, I hear him coming in. With my back to the door, I hear the distinct sound of the door closing and the lock clicking. Everything in me freezes, and my head gets caught in a vicious battle between fear and anticipation. This could either be a very good thing or a very bad thing.
The space is swallowed up in silence as he takes another heavy step closer to where I’m standing. My heart seems to be the only thing in the room moving as I wait for what comes next. I’m either about to be fucked or murdered, and my body is wound so tight in arousal and anticipationg it doesn’t seem to know the difference.
I don’t know why, but I expect him to say something, to flirt with me some more or ask me out, but he doesn’t. Instead, he pounces.
His large hand takes me by the throat, pulling me backward until I’m up against the hard wall of his body. Then soft lips are devouring my neck, and what comes out of my mouth barely sounds human.
I’m fifty-percent turned on and fifty-percent glad to be alive.
Okay, maybe ninety-ten.
His groan is loud in my ear, and his kiss is ravenous, warm lips and tongue sucking eagerly on my jaw and then my earlobe. I’m thrust into the sensation of complete euphoria.
One hand is still on my neck, holding me in a punishing grip so I can’t move—not that I’d want to, while the other is traveling down my side until he reaches around to the front of my body and cups my quickly growing erection through my pants. Then, he grinds himself against me, squeezing me tight in his hands. The hard length of his cock is crushed against my lower back.
I’m five-eleven. Almost tall, and definitely not short. In this guy’s arms, though, I might as well be four feet tall by the way he’s handling me, and I don’t hate it. Right now, I don’t hate anything because I’m being groped by a perfect stranger, not even old enough to drink alcohol, in the office of a mechanic’s shop. On a fucking Sunday.
“Fuck,” I groan out when he strokes his hand down my dick with perfect precision. Please fucking take it out, I pray. And like a sign from God himself, my handsy mechanic fumbles with the buttons on my jeans. They’re unzipped in seconds, and his hungry hand digs into my boxers for my aching cock.
Once he has his giant fingers around me, I thrust forward. He strokes me hard to the rhythm of his grinding against my backside. His lips keep up their assault on my neck, and my hands don’t quite know what to do. I reach back with one hand and grab onto his hip, pulling him harder against me, while the other one slides up his arm until I reach his head, skating through his soft hair and tugging his face closer.
“Take your fucking pants off,” he bites out in a sexy command.
I tense for only a moment. It’s not that I have a problem bottoming—it’s just that I’m not usually so eager to do so. But apparently, when this guy says jump, I say fuck me.
Digging my thumbs into my waistband, I shove my pants down fast, taking my boxers with them. He lets go of my cock and fumbles in his back pocket, and I hear the familiar crinkle of a condom wrapper. When I glance back, he has it pinched between his teeth along with a packet of lube.
Our eyes meet for a heated moment, but he quickly averts his gaze, looking down as he opens his coveralls. Desperate for a look at his body, my eyes follow the zipper, but they don’t get very far. His hand grasps hard at my face, turning me forward, so I can’t see him.
“Put your hands on the fucking desk.”
Obediently, I slide my palms along the cool surface, my body frozen in anticipation, and my mind lost in a fog of confusion and arousal. It can’t seem to keep up with this sudden whirlwind of events, and I don’t really care. I don’t need my mind to try and rationalize my decisions right now.
Suddenly, his hands are on my ass, spreading my cheeks, and he actually fucking growls in approval.
Am I dead? Did I fucking die and this is what my brain has conjured up as heaven? Fucking pinch me.
Something slick and warm slides along the cleft of my ass, and I shudder when the head of his cock prods my entrance. Pressing my hips back, I practically impale myself, and it occurs to me as he breaches the tight ring of muscle that I don’t even know his name. But I let him in anyway. My body opens for him like he commanded it to do.
He lets out a hearty groan as he slides in another inch, and I’d be groaning along with him if I could breathe—but the sensation is too intense. It burns, but the pain lies because all I feel is pleasure.
He holds onto my hips as he fucks me deeper another few inches. When he rubs against my prostate, my knees practically turn to jello. With torturous control, he retreats and leisurely slides in again. It’s a slow torment—I wish he’d just let himself go.
“Fuck me,” I say through gritted teeth.
His movements pick up speed, causing my hands to keep losing their grip on the desk as he pounds into my body. I’ve never loved the feeling of being used and so selfishly fucked before, but the idea of being this twenty-year old’s fuck toy has some strange appeal to it. With all those fucking scars and those bright eyes and wicked smile, I get off on the idea that my body could bring him pleasure, and I want him to take it.
His hand is back around my throat, and I’m pulled upright until I’m pressed against his chest. His mouth is next to my ear.
“You feel so good around my cock.”
I groan again, his filthy words sending shockwaves coursing through my body. He reaches around for my dick, moving in rhythm with his thrusts and squeezing the head on every upstroke. The fronts of my thighs are digging into the desk, but I don’t fucking care, because he’s right; I do feel good around his cock, and his tight grip on my dick is making it hard to think straight.
“I’m gonna come,” I moan.
“Paint my desk with it,” he replies, and with a couple harsh slams of his body in mine, I’m done. The climax nearly knocks me off my feet, stealing the air from my lungs as wave after wave of pleasure courses through my veins. I don’t just spill cum all over the surface of his desk—I’m pretty sure I saw some reach the floor on the other side. A moment later, his thrusting slows and I feel him shiver out his orgasm, a loud gasping groan echoing against the four walls. My neck is still locked in the vise grip of his large hand, my pulse pounding against his fingers. I’m almost afraid I won’t be able to stand on my own when he lets go.
“Jesus,” I gasp as my body recovers, my heart rate slowing and my lungs finally taking in a full breath of air.
He pulls out and quickly turns around, leaving me exposed. My muscles ache as I lean down to reach my pants around my ankles to pull them up. I hear him remove the condom, tossing it into the trash by the door. When I glance back again to see his face, he’s already zipped up his coveralls and is avoiding my gaze.
Neither of us say anything. I mean, this isn't my first stranger quickie, but I have a feeling it might be his.
“So did you need me to fill out some paperwork or…”
“No,” he grits out, “I have your number. I’ll call you when your car is ready.”
And just like that, he walks out of the office. I can barely move for a few moments, but when I finally regain the ability to think and breathe and function, I pull out my phone and order the Uber, hoping they’ll arrive quickly to avoid any further awkward interaction. Then, I take a minute to clean up my mess before I exit the office.
Just as I cross the garage, my ride pulls up, and I glance toward the mechanic one last time before disappearing into the car. Too bad he doesn’t even bother to look up at me as I leave.
While I’m in the car on the way to my house, I pull up my text conversation with Everly.
Well, I had an interesting morning…
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