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Marty And The Pilot

Marty And The Pilot

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Marty And The Pilot

évaluations:
4/5 (1 évaluation)
Longueur:
183 pages
2 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Oct 15, 2015
ISBN:
9781910224502
Format:
Livre

Description

Marty Bell knows what it’s like to be bullied. He was the shy, overweight kid at school, and those memories have helped turn him into an excellent teacher – though he’s never spread his wings beyond the remote northern village where he grew up.

The last thing he needs in his life is the reappearance of Devlin Surtees, leader of the gang who made his schooldays so tough. Dev is the glamorous village hero now, flying acrobatics planes and fighter jets for the RAF. He’s just as spellbinding, handsome and infuriating as Marty recalls.

But the years have transformed both of them, and their old enmity blazes up into a powerful attraction. The sex is great, and Marty’s beginning to wonder if the schoolteacher and the stunt pilot might have some kind of future – until a terrible secret of Devlin’s comes to light, and threatens to drag both of them down into a vortex of the past.

Éditeur:
Sortie:
Oct 15, 2015
ISBN:
9781910224502
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Harper Fox is the author of many critically acclaimed M/M Romance novels, including Stonewall Book Award-nominated Scrap Metal and Brothers Of The Wild North Sea, Publishers Weekly Best Book 2013. Her novels and novellas are powerfully sensual, with a dynamic of strongly developed characters finding love and a forever future – after an appropriate degree of turmoil. She loves to show the romance implicit in everyday life, and she writes a sharp action scene too.

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Marty And The Pilot - Harper Fox

Marty And The Pilot

Harper Fox

Copyright Harper Fox 2015

Published by FoxTales at Smashwords

Marty And The Pilot

Copyright © October 2015 by Harper Fox

Cover art by Harper Fox

Cover photo licensed through Shutterstock

All rights reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from FoxTales.

FoxTales

www.harperfox.net

harperfox777@yahoo.co.uk

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Table of Contents

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Marty And The Pilot

Harper Fox

Dedicated to Diane K

with love, as always

Prologue

July 2005, last day of summer term

There goes Devlin, mixing up sports day with the sodding Olympics again.

Marty Bell jumped hard. He made room, nonchalantly as he could, for Bill to sit beside him on the wall. Yeah, he agreed. What a dick.

Together they watched the distant figure hit the final stretch of the four-hundred metre dash. He was way ahead of the pack, a flash of tanned limbs and expensive white sportswear. He broke the tape and disappeared into a sea of adoring classmates. Marty tried to think of something else dismissive to say. His mouth was dry, his own sports kit—last year’s supermarket special offer—tight on his skin and uncomfortable.

A hot summer silence fell, grounded in fading cheers from the track. Bill was humming to himself, his expression innocent. Marty took no notice. Gradually the hum shaped itself into words, an off-key song. "Marty and Devlin sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-... Ow, mate! That’s my only clean shirt."

I know. Marty noted the grass stains with satisfaction. He waited until Bill had clambered halfway up the wall again, then gave him another shove. This time Bill was ready and grabbed Marty’s T-shirt on the way down. They hit the ground in a tangle, giggling and snorting.

William Allen! You are a disgrace, as ever, to this school and everything it stands for.

Bill struggled to his feet. The gym teacher’s words were harsher than her tone. She looked resigned, well aware that for every athletic Devlin Surtees she had a thousand sorry tadpoles like these to prod, cajole and threaten around the sports facilities of Otterbeck Secondary. Yes, Miss Reeves, Bill concurred. Sorry, Miss Reeves.

Well, your team’s on next for the relay race. Tidy yourself up and get down to the track.

She turned and marched away. Bill, who although no coward knew what was good for him, waited until she was out of earshot. "Three sodding bags full, Miss Reeves. Why aren’t you a disgrace to the entire planet, Marty Bell?"

Because boys like me don’t exist to her. Marty left the bitter realisation unvoiced. It was an adult thought on a sunny teenage day, and, like many of Marty’s recent discoveries about himself, had no place in his little Otterbeck world. I cut a deal with her, he said lightly, brushing grass off his shorts. I’ll come down and do the comedy stuff with the other fatties—the sack race and the egg-and-spoon—if she’ll leave me out of the rest of it. Plus I’ve got a shift in the refreshment tent. You’d better run for it, Billy—God forbid the little stick shouldn’t get passed around the track.

Bill’s face shadowed. You’re not one of the fatties. You just need—

Marty chucked a handful of moss at him. Do me a favour and bog off. I don’t know what I’ve got to do to convince people like you and her that I don’t care.

Bill jogged away. Marty had hurt his feelings with that last jab. He was sorry—Bill didn’t deserve to be lumped in with the people like you, with the gym teachers and dieticians and everyone else who conspired to make Marty believe the world would end because he weighed two stone more than the average kid of his age. He scrambled back onto the wall. It was one of his favourite retreats, sheltered by rowans, their frothy blossoms just beginning to firm up into rich red fruit. From here he could see without being seen.

Devlin was tackling the pole vault now. The pits were only a few yards away and Marty could pick up the chatter from the crowd. Devlin’s father was right in the middle, being courted as ever by the Otterbeck headmistress. Some kind of Royal Air Force brass, he was, an old-school wing commander with a mint to spend on leaky roofs and new laboratory gear. He was pointing at his son. My boy this and my boy that drifted up to Marty in his eyrie. Marty didn’t know whether to be jealous or relieved that he wasn’t the focus of such intense parental attention. His own dad, who’d passed on to Marty his build and his appetite for fish and chips, had found a mate to talk to and benignly forgotten his only son’s existence.

Devlin took up position at the end of the run. For once, Marty looked past him. Otterbeck village was tiny, the school and its playing fields a smaller patch still. Beyond them blazed the moors, just beginning a song of purple heather that would build to an autumn symphony, orange brackens locking horns with it across the colour wheel until, wandering over its huge expanse—Redesdale in the Northumbrian south, out and away across the Carter Bar border to the Eildon hills beyond—you hardly knew whether to cry or go blind from its beauty.

He drew his attention back to Devlin. For the first time, Otterbeck’s star athlete seemed diminished. He was poised with the vaulting pole in his hand, the warm breeze ruffling his dark hair. His eyes were fixed on his father, and beneath his tan he was pale. Marty thought suddenly—God help you if you don’t do this; and instead of awe and envy, a passion of sympathy went through him. He wished he could lift that beautiful tall frame up on wings of his own and fly him over the waiting bar, gleaming in the sun and impossibly high.

Devlin began his run. Before he’d taken two steps, sand exploding up beneath his trainers, Marty knew he would make it. He just had that look about him—success in advance, heart thrown over the bar before his feet left the ground. He planted the tip of the pole neatly into the pit, grabbed it in both hands and leapt.

He didn’t even brush the gleaming bar. His hips lifted so high on his first thrust from the pole that he briefly eclipsed the sun, half disappearing into its glare. He let go, arched his back and took flight.

Marty wasn’t a sports fan. He’d never understood what made big strong lads howl and weep when one of their heroes missed a goal. Devlin dropped out of the sky, landed with a thump on the crash mat and broke into raucous laughter, and Marty lost the threadbare coat of dignity he wrapped around himself to get through his days at school. He pushed off the wall, regained his balance with an effort and punched one fist into the air. "Whoa! Yes! Dev!"

The dark eyes fixed on him. One eyebrow went up. An expression of infinite amusement gathered on the handsome face. Other heads turned too—a couple, then a dozen, and then all of them, with the exception of Miss Reeves, who was dashing frantically back and forth asking if anyone had been filming, because that had to have been a record for Devlin’s age group. The wing commander made a grimace of disgust at the plump little kid who’d sprung up like a puffball mushroom among the trees, and Marty—sickened at himself, blushing furiously—turned and ran away.

***

He got over his mortification in time to take part in the comedy routine. He came third in the three-person sack race, aware he could have gone for silver but taking a dive to save Jenny Jones, the only kid in his year bigger and clumsier than himself. She’d had so much fun today that her eyes were red with weeping, and she bounced past him in her hessian potato bag with a genuine shriek of joy. Billy Allen, who also seldom held a grudge, came forward with due pomp and sarcasm to hang a bronze medal round his neck.

After that, the refreshments tent felt like an oasis. It was coming up to teatime so he resolved to make a job of it, dismissing the bored fourth-former who’d apparently spent her entire shift spilling orange juice across the trestle tables. He wiped the surfaces down and covered them with a sheet of cloth left over from the kindergarten banner-making class. In a corner he discovered the china on loan from the kitchens. He set out two long rows of cups, saucers and cake plates. The effect of that was nicer than he’d thought, so he added spoons and knives, made sure the urn was full and coming to the boil, and looked around for inspiration.

Beyond the marquee’s folded-back doorway, cornflowers were nodding in the breeze. Centaurea cyanus, Marty thought lovingly. He knew them and their Latin names, just as he did most of the other species that struggled and bloomed against the odds in his harsh moorland world. Rosebay willowherb, Chamerion angustifolium. Argyranthemum, the marguerite daisies that brightened the verges on overcast days. Glancing around like a thief in fear of observation, he crept outside and pulled up a handful of each. Someone had abandoned an empty pint glass on the turf. Quickly he rinsed it out and pushed the flowers inside.

The haphazard look was fine, but Marty could see that just a little adjustment—tall willowherb to the centre, the daisies and cornflowers spread around the outside—would show off his collection to advantage. It wasn’t important. Certainly it wasn’t fit work for a young man on sports day. Nevertheless he set down the glass on the table and rearranged the satiny heads, his own tilted to one side, briefly and completely absorbed.

Marty!

He jolted out of his trance. A graceful shape had arrived in the marquee’s doorway, broad shoulders and narrow hips blocked out in dazzle against the blue sky behind. Heat washed through him—a perfect mix of embarrassment and pleasure, because if he still could wish the ground to open up and swallow him, he also hadn’t been aware that Devlin Surtees knew his name. He set down the flowers, heart beating fast. Er... Yes. I mean hi.

Hi. Devlin stepped into the tent. His hair was still damp from his shower, and he’d changed into jeans and a pristine white shirt. I just wanted to say... He came to a halt a yard away from the trestle, shrugging awkwardly. Well. It was nice of you to give me a cheer back there, that’s all.

Marty would have given him anything. He couldn’t even think where to start, but his hands began for him, automatically filling the teapot from the urn. He loved Devlin for coming here, loved that his little shrug had been diffident, not quite graceful. He just loved him. Would you like a cup of tea?

Instantly he could have bitten his tongue off. Of course Devlin wouldn’t want a cup of tea. He’d want a pint of artisan beer, or a dry martini under the stars in Cancun, or whatever and wherever young gods were drinking these days. But he smiled at the offer, stepped up close to the trestle and took the edge of the cloth thoughtfully in both hands. Not at the moment. Actually, there was one other thing. I’ve got a bit of a bet on, and I was sure you wouldn’t mind helping me out.

Pink cotton wool, the colour and softness of pure infatuation, had wadded itself around the alarm bells in Marty’s mind. He was slightly deaf with it, and the choked giggles from outside the tent came to him harmlessly, stripped of their meaning. What do you want me to do?

Have you heard of the tablecloth trick?

Of course he had. He’d never seen it in action, and he couldn’t connect it with his situation now, despite Devlin’s grip on the cloth. He was too busy trying to read the expression in the hazel-grey eyes fixed on his. God, they were lovely, fires of mischief muted by—what? An odd regret, a plea for mercy in advance of the crime...? At last the penny dropped. Oh, no, Marty muttered, backing off from the table. "Please don’t."

I’m really sorry. I wouldn’t, only it’s a bet, and you don’t want me to look like a sucker in front of those jackals, do you?

No, but... Marty glanced wildly over his shoulder to the doorway, now full to bursting with grinning faces, Devlin’s gang of jocks and troublemakers. Please. They’re not my things, and—and I tried to make them look nice.

Again came that flicker of remorse, as if despite his wicked grin, Devlin would have rather been elsewhere. Don’t be such an old lady. Anyway, trust me. All your precious things will be all right.

And they were. Devlin snapped the cloth towards him. The fabric shot out from beneath the cups and saucers with one sharp hiss, leaving everything—teapot, urn, the pint glass of flowers—intact. Wow, he

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