Sam Sloan's mouth watered as he watched Officer Nick Green pull the tight black Durango Police Department T-shirt over his head and off. Damn. Glistening with sweat, Nick's ripped and sun-bronzed torso almost sent Sam to his knees.
Despite Sam's older brother, Vince, being nearby, Nick looked directly at Sam and winked. "It's a hot one today."
Swallowing around the lump of need in his throat, Sam nodded. "Yeah."
Vince turned and looked back at his best friend and his little brother. "Are you two coming or what? We're not gonna make it to the campground by dark if you don't move your asses."
Sam rolled his eyes and picked up his backpack. Hiking through the wilderness for an entire day wasn't what he'd had in mind when his brother had suggested they go camping. The only reason Sam had agreed to go in the first place was to spend time with Nick before Sam had to return to Notre Dame for his senior year of college.
If Sam could have had his way, he would have camped with Nick on a king-sized bed at the hotel where they'd parked their car. Not that Nick would willingly join him in a weekend romp, but the fantasy served to entertain Sam on his way up the stupid mountain.
"Chill out." Nick used his T-shirt to wipe his face and torso. The action drew Sam's attention once again.
He's trying to kill me. Sweet baby Jesus, Sam wanted to lap the sweat from Nick's body with his tongue. "Why can't we just camp here?"
"You want to roll down the side of the mountain in your sleep, dipshit?" Vince asked. "The waterfall's only about another four and a half miles. If we hurry, we'll make it in plenty of time. So stop bitching and let's go." Vince resettled his pack and turned to continue up the trail.
The idea of skinny-dipping in a pool of cool water was the only thing that propelled Sam forward. Since Vince had graduated from the police academy and started working for the Durango Police Department, he'd become more of a cop than a brother.
A warm hand landed on the small of Sam's back. He glanced over his shoulder right into the greenest eyes he'd ever seen.
"Don't push yourself too hard in this heat. If you need to stop, I'll deal with Vince."
"I'm okay," Sam told Nick. He really wasn't, but confessing to Nick that his wimpy body was ready to drop dead from the heat and exertion was out of the question. How could a strong, physically fit cop like Nick understand how it felt to be a short, skinny clarinet player who attended Notre Dame on a music scholarship? Hell, Sam wasn't even in the marching band. He much preferred to sit in the orchestra section of a well air-conditioned auditorium. Although Vince had never come right out and said it, Sam always knew how ashamed his brother was of him. Wasn't that precisely the reason Vince had always sent Sam to his room to practice before running out to play some sort of ball with his friends?
Nick continued to stare at Sam for several moments before dropping his hand. "Just don't let anyone push you into something you're not ready for."
Before Sam could ask Nick what the hell he meant, the handsome man took off up the mountain. Their new order gave Sam the perfect view of Nick's ass. He groaned under his breath. Why did he have to fall for his brother's best friend and partner? It was bad enough they were both cops, but riding in a patrol car day in and day out had brought the two men closer together than Vince had ever been with Sam.
When Sam had returned from Indiana for the summer, Vince's new friendship with Nick had really bothered him, but over the last few months, he'd grown to understand it. Of course, that didn't mean it didn't hurt. It sucked to know Vince had replaced him with a guy who could do all the things Vince loved to do but Sam couldn't. How important was it in real life to know how to throw a damn football anyway?
If Nick weren't so hot and nice, Sam would easily hate him. Unfortunately, Nick was everything Sam wasn't, athletic, tall, muscled and freaking gorgeous.
After another tortuous hour of hiking his ass off, Sam's foot slipped between two rocks. His forward momentum propelled him towards the ground at lightning speed. He wasn't coordinated on a good day, but today, he'd stuck his hands in his pockets to keep his ever-present erection from pointing the way toward the campsite. With the ground coming up to meet him, Sam struggled to free his hands.
Smack! Sam barely managed to turn his head to the side before striking the rock. The impact to the side of his forehead was the last thing he remembered before his world went black.