Halos and Heroes Ch. 23Halos and Heroes Ch. 23


Thank you all who have been reading and following along. I always appreciate getting Thank you all who have been reading and following along. I always appreciate getting feedback. It helps with becoming a better writer and it’s always an ego boost, so feel free to reach out. I will always respond!

The usual spiel: This isn’t a stroke story, (more porn with plot.) Be warned, it’s very long. 33+ chapters, and many sexless ones, which is why it was originally published under novels/novellas, but readers asked for it to be put under gay male due to content, so here we go.

This book is dedicated to all of the brave service members and their families who sacrifice so much every day so that the rest of us can enjoy the liberties that they swear to protect and uphold.

Although references in this novel may be made to actual places or events, the names, characters, incidents, and locations within are complete works of fiction. They are not a resemblance to actual living or dead persons, businesses, or events. Any similarity is coincidental. In an effort to do the United States Army justice, and to show my respect to my country, I have applied all possible efforts to merge fact and fiction to entertain, while portraying the military, and the hardships and achievements of soldiers, with respect, dignity and accuracy to the best of my abilities. It’s my hope that I’ve done you all justice, and that all of the creative licenses taken with this novel are understood to be the efforts of imagination, and not any judgment or disrespect against the U.S. military. Thank you all for your service.

Confession is always weakness. The grave soul keeps its own secrets, and takes its own punishment in silence.

—Dorothea Dix

Trying to make a relationship work in the military had been a series of covert maneuvers; learning schedules, and identifying times when Devlin and I could sneak away and not be missed for as long as it took one of us to drill the other into the bathroom wall. There was little wining and dining unless we were both safe on leave, and even less time to enjoy the afterglow. Forget spooning as if we were meant to fit together. It’d worked at the time because I’ve never been much of a cuddler. Being on constant high alert in hostile territory meant I slept light, and even the slightest touch would rouse me from precious sleep.

Ben wouldn’t have any of that. Whenever I moved in the middle of the night, he followed me like a drone locked onto its target, so there was never a time that we weren’t touching. And it wasn’t all him. If I woke up and had moved too far away, I remedied that immediately by draping myself over Ben’s back, or urging his head back to my chest. I liked the warmth of his breath ghosting over my skin, reminding me of where I was before I drifted back into sleep.

That was how we were when the first rays of sunlight crept through the blinds. Ben’s head rested low on my shoulder so I couldn’t see his face, just the top of his head. The sweep of soft curls tickling my face were soft and cool, but his body was warm where it was lined up along every inch of my chest and hip. Every time I inhaled, I caught the now familiar hint of his cologne overlaying the more pungent scent of sweat and sex.

I hated to move, but now that I was fully awake, I needed to stretch and work out the morning pins and needles prompted by sleeping like conjoined twins.

When I kissed the top of Ben’s head, I felt his slow, sleepy smile against my skin. He protested when I moved him, but settled back down after I pressed a second kiss to his shoulder.

“Just need to stretch out a little.”

“Sorry. We were a little vigorous last night.”

“I don’t care. It was worth every ache and pain.”

When he leaned in, I didn’t pull away with worries about morning breath. I just accepted the soft brush of his mouth and the way his body melted into mine.

Tempting as it was to just sink into the pillows and the warmth his body offered, I really did need to stretch, and send Sofia a text about when I would be home. Ben grinned when I relayed that.

“Who knew responsibility could be sexy.”

I took my cell when he grabbed it off the nightstand and handed it to me. Ben waited patiently while I typed a brief message out to Sofia. After I gave him back the phone, I stretched my arms over my head until I felt my back and shoulders realign with that satisfying pop. Relaxed, I glanced over at Ben. He rolled over and lifted onto one elbow so he could rest his head against his hand. He was close enough for me to stroke my fingers along the rough stubble along his cheek, before I placed my hand over his heart.

“I’m feeling possessive,” I admitted.

Ben curled his hand around the one I had on his chest, and lifted it to brush a slow kiss across my knuckles like he had last night.

“Good. I told you, there hasn’t been anyone else for years.”

“And why is that exactly?”

“Aside from the obvious black and white reasons?”

“You’re seriously going to try and play that buca escort card now?”

Ben chuckled. “I’m reserved when it comes to romance. And selective. It’s not like I go around propositioning men in my parish.”

“Why me then?”

He shrugged. I could’ve sworn he was blushing, but the room was still too dim to tell.

“An unfair advantage I guess. Everyone who I met at church or around town who knew your family always spoke highly of you, and with genuine respect for the sacrifices you made for this country. It painted a picture that I liked.”

“I apologize for any inaccuracies.”

Ben nudged my ribs again, and I poked him back.

“Tell me something about yourself no one else knows,” I said. The impulsive words should’ve embarrassed me, but I didn’t back down when Ben grinned.


I nodded, and his smile widened. “What do you want to know?”

I shrugged. “Anything really. Just want to even up the playing field since you know so much about me. What do you like to do when you’re not busy being a messenger of the Lord?”

“Because that happens so often,” he teased. “Hmm…I paint. That’s actually how I met Sofia. We were taking an advanced course together.”

“Are those all your paintings downstairs?”


“You’re good. Have you ever considered selling them?”

He gave a modest shrug. “Thank you, but I don’t think what I paint is that marketable—mostly landscapes and religious themes.”

“Well if you ever want to explore the world of nudes and need a model, I know a guy.” I winked and he laughed.

“I’ll keep that in mind. Hmm what else… I read a lot. And I work out every day. I like to stay fit.”

“Isn’t vanity the Devil’s favorite sin?”

“It is, but the Bible also says that we must use the gifts that God has given us to serve others.” Ben’s eyebrows lifted with his grin. “This is me sharing my gifts with you.”

He got the smile he was looking for. “You can share them anytime.”

“My my. When you go in, you go all the way don’t you?”

“Are you complaining?”

“Nope. Okay, same question for you.”

“In my spare time? I’ve always been into cars. I like watching the shows where they overhaul old junkers. I don’t read much since I’m not into fiction, and I get tired of seeing depressing stories in the news. You already know I like to run every morning. It helps clear my head, and keeps me fit enough to run like hell when people with guns are after me.”

“You’re a civilian now. You should be safe enough to slow down a little.”

“I’ll wait for you to remember that I live in a house filled with women, and then we’ll revisit that statement.”

I loved Ben’s laugh. Full out, like a kid laughed, without any inhibitions to tone it down. Dimples rewarded me for the lazy swipe of my hand over his abs.

“May I ask you something?”

I nodded, trying not to tense although I knew damn well that any conversation that started that way wasn’t going to be sunshine and rainbows.

“The tattoo on your back…” Ben paused and the world suddenly felt as small as the Disney ride claimed it was. I swore I could even hear the puppets singing through the buzzing in my ear to mock me. Little sons-of-bitches.

“Yeah…what about it?”

“All the names written in the dog tags…are those men from your unit?”

I nodded. “My team got ambushed in territory that wasn’t supposed to be hostile… Only two of them survived, not counting Devlin or Connor.”

Ben allowed me to pause for as long as it took for my voice to recover from the crack in my voice.

“I’m sorry, Sam.”

I forced myself to reassure him by sliding a hand down his arm. “It’s okay. We all knew what we were risking as accepted that.” “It’s okay. We all knew what we were risking. We accepted the creed.”

“The creed?”

“The Ranger creed.” I paused before reciting the words that I’d held close to my heart for years, and wore in a second tattoo that started just below my shoulder blades. A sign of pride that I still held strong even after everything I’d been through.

“Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit-de-corps of my Ranger Regiment. Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite Soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than any other Soldier. Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong, and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task, whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some. Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained Soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress, and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow. Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall alsancak escort defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country. Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission, though I be the lone survivor.” I breathed out slowly. “Rangers lead the way.”

Ben’s expression softened when I met his eyes. “Intense.”

I shrugged. “I’m sure you took special oaths when you became a priest. It’s the same thing.”

“Hence why on that first night you said that you wanted to be respected for your decisions, and don’t want to believe in any kind of destiny.” He leaned in for a light kiss. “I get it now…”

I nodded and then just let the silence lay between us for a minute, but when Ben gently brushed my cheek with his hand, I turned into the touch and pressed a kiss to his palm.

“How long can you stay?”

“You tell me. I’ve already practiced for my walk of shame.”

My smile deepened into a laugh that was muffled by Ben’s mouth as he rolled on top of me to pin me to the bed. “Let’s give your running legs a break. Hang out with me today. I have to do laundry.”

“Sounds sexy.”

“Oh, baby, you have no idea. Wait till you see me fold. It’s a revelation.”

I laughed again before I gave into the deep, hungry kiss that Ben laid on me. Past memories were forgotten in a rush of heat as he pressed his weight down harder to sink me deeper into the mattress.

Ben’s hands swept over almost every inch of my skin. His mouth and tongue took care of the forgotten spots, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to know where he was headed when the kisses he trailed down my chest continued southward. I was glad since my brains had never been one of my spotlighted qualities. They weren’t worth a damn now anyway as my mind exploded with scenarios of every possible way Ben could blow my mind by blowing me.

“Want to play? I promised you the VIP treatment if you came over.”

“What’s on the menu?”

“Whatever you want. Full room service is included with your stay.” He grinned against my belly button, licking a lazy ring around it when my abs contracted from both the contact and the promise.

I squirmed as his lips moved down the happy trail of my body. When he flicked his tongue just below the head of my cock, I looked up at the ceiling so I couldn’t see the pleasure in his eyes and lose it in less than a minute.

“Breakfast in bed?”

“For you or me?” Ben teased, looking pleased when our eyes met again, and I sank my hand into his hair to guide his head closer as my answer. His laughter warmed my skin.

“Your order is being kept on file for future reference to ensure your continued patronage and pleasure,” he murmured. He hadn’t shaved yet, so the scrape of his cheek against my inner thigh was rough when he nuzzled it before sliding my cock into his mouth.

I pushed myself up on my elbows to watch him exhaling hard around my flesh in order to take me deeper, pulling up for a moment, only to plunge even farther the next time he swallowed me down. After what Ben had shared with me regarding his past career, it shouldn’t have surprised me that he was a master with his mouth. But not wanting to imagine him with anyone else encouraged a selfishly delusional state, and every stroke of his tongue was a sensual shock. He upped the ante when he slowly sucked his index and middle finger into his mouth alongside my cock. The wet friction made me moan as I arched up into his mouth.

“Yeah, handsome,” I said, spreading my legs for him without hesitation to invite his slick fingertips to tease my entrance with unhurried sensuality.

I’d never been into extensive foreplay before. Wham, bam, thank you man, had worked just fine for me in the past. This level of reverence was foreign, but not unwelcome, especially when Ben sucked me off with the gratitude reserved for drowning men who’d found dry land.

Ben didn’t spend as much time prepping me as he had last night—probably remembering my inclination to take control if he didn’t move fast enough. His lips around my cock kept me satisfied right where I was, and my interest only grew when he pressed those slick fingers into me. He curved them deep, twisting and circling until I pushed back against him, and the play of mouths and hands became awkward enough for him to have to make a choice.

He chose wisely.

My cock jumped right on board with the plan. It was happy to curl into the concave space of Ben’s belly as he messed with getting the condom on before pressing into me so deep there was no physical way for him to get any closer. I tried anyway, arching up as I scraped my hands down his spine and gripped his ass just to make sure he wasn’t denying me even an inch.

Ben swept a row of kisses along my clavicle bornova escort and up to my throat, where he nipped sharp enough to make my cock jerk against the hard expanse of his abdomen. He kept it on that safe edge, though I wouldn’t have minded if he’d pushed me harder.

When his eyes closed, I snuck a peek to watch the concentration work across his features. A naked Ben was a thing of beauty, and with him distracted by his mission to make me lose my mind, I allowed my gaze to launch a complete visual investigation of the way his jaw ticked. About the way the tiny beading of sweat forming along the bridge of his nose highlighted the subtle sunburn he’d gotten from spending the day at the beach with my family. Lean, hard muscles rippled under his skin, and there was no break in that perfect golden brown color that people spent entire summers trying to achieve. There was a cluster of little brown freckles on his left shoulder, and a rose-colored birthmark just below it. Within moments I’d memorized the way he swallowed hard with a graceful arch of his spine every time he moved within me, but I’d be happy to rediscover it all over and over again. I turned my head to nuzzle at Ben’s neck. The first nip was gentle, but the second left the imprint of my teeth in that smooth flesh. Ben groaned and exposed his throat so I could see the blood rising up beneath his skin. It’d bruise for sure. He’d be able to hide it beneath his collar, but it was still satisfying as fuck because it meant that he was mine until it faded.

I didn’t realize I’d said that part aloud until Ben pulled back to look me in the eyes. He cupped my right cheek, and his thumb rubbed against my lips when I turned into his touch. I nuzzled into his palm, trying to hide from the words. I should’ve known better than to think that Ben would let me.

He dragged my silence from me with a cant of his hips that drove him deeper. When he pulled completely out so his dick teased my entrance, I mourned the loss of heat and pressure for half a second before he pushed back in hard enough to leave me breathless. I tried to reach a hand down between us to relieve the burning ache at my groin with a few hard tugs, but Ben’s hands caught mine and slapped them firmly against the mattress. Trapped in three places—lips, hands and cock—left me groaning Ben’s name. He held me down, pushing my arms over my head to use them as leverage to drive harder into my body before slowing the pace down. Way down.

On and off he switched things up. Slick with sweat, Ben slid over me, refusing to let up on his quest for my pleasure until I was begging. I couldn’t gather my thoughts long enough to do more than tighten my inner muscles around him, but vindication was mine when he groaned.

I loved the erotic hitch in Ben’s voice when he said my name. New drops of sweat beaded his forehead and cheeks, rolling slowly down the clenched line of his jaw and the curve of his neck. Straining against his iron hold made my shoulders ache, but it was worth it when my tongue caught the drip and lapped the salty flavor away so I could have another bit of him inside me.

“Samuel,” Ben said again. His hazel eyes had bled dark, the glints of gold coming out in them like the color of good whiskey.

“Yeah, Ben,” I answered, though the efforts were rhetorical on both our parts. We didn’t need words. I knew exactly who I was with and what was happening between us. Every stroke of his cock into me, the pull of his lips, and the torrent of muddled Spanish in my ear told me he needed the same thing I did—to call someone home.

Picking up the pace, he drove his cock into me until I arched up, meeting him stroke for stroke. Each time I thought we’d found a rhythm to the end, Ben changed the angle until I was close to screaming from the frustrated need to fall apart for him. I scraped my hands down his spine. Whether it was the bite of my nails, or the breathy way his name slid off my tongue, the lock on his control broke. Ben captured my mouth in a clumsy meeting of lips and teeth that was too fast, too wet, but I loved it. Relishing the fact that he was as close to losing his mind as I was, I pushed the envelope harder.

“Is that all you’ve got, sweetheart?” I whispered, nuzzling his ear. “This is what you want me to give up everyone else for?”

The narrowing of Ben’s eyes was the only warning that my tease had hit home. The room spun when he pulled out fast and flipped me to my hands and knees. Exhilaration rippled down my spine when I realized I’d judged a book by its holy cover and was going to pay for it. I hadn’t believed that Ben could give me what I craved— angelic people didn’t do well in my world—but the firm bite of his hands on my hips invited me to the second part of this dance and reminded me that all demons had been angels once.

Ben didn’t move after that initial thrust that sent him balls deep, but the tremor in his hands told me that the control he showed was for his benefit, not mine. He was trying to keep himself on the edge without falling, wanting to direct my pleasure for as long as he could. I loved that glimpse into his more dominant side. Another day, I’d be happy to explore just how willing he was to take full command over my body. But there was a time and a place for everything, and right now I didn’t want it slow, gentle or careful.

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