Promises Part 3
A bounty hunter’s partners to lovers’ story.
The hunt is on… and he’s the prey.
Bradford (Ford) King was sure he had the rest of his life mapped out. Though he was no longer a SEAL Lieutenant, his brother was home safe and he had a job that still allowed him to satisfy his hunger for hunting bad guys. Life was simple, no distractions or complications – at age forty-six – that’s all Ford wanted. What he didn’t want was his work partner, sniper/watchman, Dana, giving him s**t all the time.
Dana Cadby had grown up labeled a roughneck from the wrong side of the tracks. He’d fought, scrounged, and survived despite a father that constantly told him he couldn’t. Dana pulled himself up by his own boot straps and made a name for himself in the marksman community. He’d been Duke’s bounty watchman for five years. It was his job to ensure their safety, watch their backs. At thirty-three, he was trusted, well respected by his peers, his bosses, his friends… so why couldn’t he earn the same respect from his partner?
Dana knew he was bisexual before he graduated high school. He also knew he was attracted to the huge, 6’3”, SEAL from the moment he and his brother came to join their team. It wasn’t easy for him to tamp down his immediate reaction to Ford’s thick muscles, full beard, and dark eyes. Still, Dana exhibited nothing but professionalism towards him, not wanting to make his ‘straight’ partner uncomfortable. So why did Ford constantly give him hell?
After Dana took back his ex-girlfriend, he’d noticed an intensification in Ford’s bad attitude. One that turned aggressive and downright antagonistic, and Dana was damned if he’d just lay down and take it. He was gonna make that man respect him if it was the last thing he did.
When Duke sends Dana and Ford out to track down their most dangerous bounty yet, they both embrace the fact that they make one hell of a team… but they fight tooth and nail against the powerful intimacy brewing between them.
Beware: If Ford and Dana connect completely, god help the fugitive who’s in the sights of the hunter and his watchman.
This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA.
Quick was giving them take-down pointers while he demonstrated on the other martial arts instructor employed by the gym. Ford kept dumping Dana on his back every time he came at him. Although Ford never cracked a smile, it still looked like he enjoyed seeing Dana down there. His face a mask of frustration and pain.
“Dana, stop letting him get his hands around your thighs, goddamnit! You’re overthinking it.” Quick barked.
“Pair me with Duke or something. How the hell am I going to take Ford’s big ass down?” Dana fussed back, slowly getting back up on one knee.
“Are you saying you can only take down smaller men? If you are, than you are useless to me.” Quick was in Dana’s face, his forehead bumping into him while he pushed him back. “What’s size have to do with skill? You’ve seen me take down Brian and Ford. Both of them are bigger than me. You’ve seen Duke take down men twice his size. It’s skill and confidence, Dana, and you’ve got both of those in spades, so use them. Now get your ass back in position and stop bitching or I’ll have you riding a goddamn desk while the real men do the work!”
When Dana got back in front of Ford, the bastard couldn’t resist returning the wink Dana gave him in the locker room. “Now, be sure to take it easy on this old man.”
“Fuck you.” Dana grumbled, crouching down again.
Nope. I’ll leave that to your primadonna girlfriend.”
Dana stood up wondering what the hell business that was of Fords’. “Jealous?”
Ford scoffed an angry breath. “Of what? Being a fool just to get some bougie-ass from a stuck-up bitch.”
Dana rushed at Ford like an idiot, shoving his shoulder into his midsection trying to take him down. He felt Ford fold his heavy body over top of his back and drop all his weight, slamming him down to the mat, face first. The air rushed out of him and he struggled to breathe with the massive man pinning him down. Ford’s reverse bear-hug had Dana’s arms gripped so tight, he felt like he was being constricted by an anaconda. The crazy part was Dana didn’t hear or see anyone coming to his aid. Obviously this wasn’t a technique they were learning.
Ford’s mouth was by his ear, his hot breath fanning over his heated skin. “Pretty shitty sneak attack, boy.”
“Why are you always talking shit about her, huh?” Dana hissed, his face flat to the mat. Ford’s hold around his entire upper body kept him from being able to do anything but snarl his angry words. “Why, Ford? You’ve been an ass ever since I got back with her.” Dana struggled getting more pissed off by the second. “Answer me motherfucker! Why don’t you want me with her?”
“Because you deserve better than that.” Ford said too quiet for the other guys to hear and let Dana go.
When Dana rose up, he saw Ford’s broad back, heading towards the locker rooms. Quick stood with other guys, a confused expression crossing his face before he turned away shaking his head in disgust. When Dana walked by, Duke grabbed his arm. “Whatever the fuck is going on between you two, you better fix it and fast. I need the two of you working together, not against each other.”
“It’s all good, boss." Dana said with little conviction and headed to the back of the gym.
Dana was coming through the locker room doors just as Ford was coming out. He hadn’t even bothered to change his sweaty gym clothes. Dana frowned, hoping they could talk this shit out. He refused to let Duke pull him off the streets because they had personal beef. Ford might be okay with that but he sure wasn’t. Dana grabbed Ford’s thick bicep when he tried to brush by him. “Hey.”
Ford looked down where Dana’s hand held him. It took a few tense seconds before Ford’s eyes traveled up Dana’s upper body to his face. When they finally locked eyes Dana thought he saw something in Ford’s hard glare but it was gone before he could process it. “Did you mean what you said?”
“I never say anything I don’t mean.” Ford’s voice was gritty and harsh but his words weren’t. “You deserve better than her.”
Dana couldn’t help looking down at Ford’s firm lips, the sexy, dark stubble surrounding them. He wasn’t sure when they’d inched in closer but somehow they were face to face. “Did you have someone better in mind, Bradford?”
Ford’s mouth parted a fraction but nothing came out. When it looked like he was about to answer, the locker room door burst open – a maintenance man - breaking whatever link that was building between them. Ford pulled his arm away and turned back to the door, never answering Dana’s question. If only they weren’t interrupted. Dana growled annoyingly. All he’d needed was ten more seconds to confirm his crazy but hopeful suspicion. Did Ford find him attractive? He’d assumed Ford was straight, but he’d also never seen him date anyone or even spoke of any hookups. Dana was bisexual but very few people knew that. It’d been several years since he’d hooked up with a man. Even longer since he’d had a relationship with one.