FBI Special Agent Aaron Pearce, tall, muscular, a lone wolf with an attitude, is assigned to protect Mark Beecher, a witness to the plans for a terrorist attack. The discovery of an unknown informant within the FBI's ranks, however, forces the two men to hole up in a loft apartment with only one another for company.
After long conversations and their shared attempt to unravel the puzzle of the terrorist group's next target, Pearce and Mark find they cannot deny their mutual attraction. Pearce gives in to his passion, sleeping with the man he's sworn to protect and going against his training as he risks heartbreak once again.
When the informant reveals himself to Pearce and takes him hostage, Mark finds he cannot run and leave Pearce to die. Instead, their roles have been reversed and now he is the only person who can save Special Agent Pearce.
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1 . This novella is exceptional - great action/suspense!
Posted May 27, 2010 by Jon Michaelsen , Atlanta, GAThis novella is exceptional - great action/suspense - not to mention hot sex/love-story! It's the first I've read from Hank Edwards, but it will not be the last...!
June 02, 2009
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Excerpt from Holed Up by Hank Edwards
The shrill, sudden buzz of the fire alarm drove needles of icy fear into Mark's entire body, and he froze with one foot outside the conference room door. His stomach clenched, and he had just started to turn and look back into the room when someone grabbed his upper arm and pulled him inside. Pearce efficiently moved him out of sight of the hallway and up against the wall, standing in front of him and pulling his gun from its holster. Agent Bata said something about a fire alarm and then Agent Pearce turned his head, the man's dark brown eyes locking with Mark's for a moment, but that was all it took. Mark felt something stir inside him and stretch eager fingers up and out; something that, up until that moment, had been dark and dormant. It had been a long time since he had felt an attraction for someone, and never this fast. He had kept any sign of weakness or insecurity sheltered from sight outside the walls he had built around his heart, masking the way in with sarcasm and a sharp tongue. He had been hurt so many times -- most recently by Eric -- it just didn't seem worth it.
Pearce leaned in close, and for a thrillingly horrifying second Mark thought the man intended to kiss him. But instead, the agent said loud enough for only Mark to hear over the braying fire alarm: "It's okay, I'll get you out of here. Just stay close to me, okay?"
Mark nodded, and Pearce looked away, scanning the room and the other agents. Finally, he heard Pearce ask Agent Bata, "Is there a freight elevator in this building?"
Bata nodded and motioned for Pearce to follow. Pearce turned and leaned in close again, closer than before, and whispered into Mark's ear, "Follow me. We're going to the freight elevator. If anything happens, stay with me, no one else. Got it?"
Mark shivered at the wet heat of Pearce's breath and cursed the swiftness of his erection despite the situation. He nodded and, adjusting his messenger bag to hide his condition, followed Pearce as Bata led them down the hallway, both agents with guns drawn. A few steps down the hall, Pearce turned and motioned over Mark's shoulder for the other two agents, the ones who had been guarding the door, to stay behind.
Mark followed Pearce and Bata through the crowd of agents and directors dutifully making their way to the exits. The fire alarm buzzed, and at certain spots along the wall, strobe lights flashed. They exited the office through a secured employee entrance and found themselves in the main elevator lobby. There were two stairwells in the building, and the evacuating crowds flooded both. Lines of vaguely anxious people had formed at each stairwell as they waited for those on the lower floors to clear out. Pearce reached back and grabbed Mark by the arm, pulling him along behind as he shouldered his way through the slowing crowd. Mark followed and tried not to think about the man's strong grip and how it might feel on his cock.
Around the corner from one of the stairwells, Agent Bata stopped at a large gray elevator door. "Here, this is the freight elevator." He pressed the call button and turned to find Pearce's gun in his face. "What? What are you doing?"
"Hey!" Mark exclaimed and tried to step forward, but Pearce held him back.
"Quiet," Pearce said without looking at him. "Bata, holster your weapon and step back from the elevator."
"He's been helping me since I came to the FBI," Mark protested, and Pearce grabbed him by the front of his T-shirt and pulled him around to press him up against the wall beside the doors to the freight elevator, never taking his eyes off Bata.
Bata raised his hand holding the gun and slowly placed the weapon in his shoulder holster. "It's okay, Mark. I understand what Special Agent Pearce is doing."
"It's nothing personal, Bata," Pearce said.
The elevator sounded its arrival and Mark jumped. Pearce pushed him into the elevator car and backed in after him, his gun still leveled at Bata. "I just don't know who I can trust around here."
Mark looked out at Agent Bata with wide, frightened eyes as Pearce pressed the button for the third floor. As the elevator doors closed, Pearce locked eyes with Bata and said, "I'll be in touch."
Once the elevator started to descend, Mark punched Pearce in the shoulder, but with his messenger bag around his shoulders he didn't get much force behind it. Pearce turned to him, brown eyes simmering with annoyance. "What the fuck was that for?"
"Because you're an asshole, that's what," Mark shot back. "You didn't have to point your gun in Bata's face. He was acting in my best interest."
Pearce shrugged and turned away, fixing his eyes on the floor numbers above the door. "I don't know anyone in this office. Until I'm working with someone I know and trust, we do things my way."
"Oh, and your way involves getting me out of a building that may be on fire by taking the freight elevator?" Mark folded his arms and glared. "Every third grader knows not to take the elevator when a building's on fire."
"Yeah? Then whoever tripped that alarm to rabbit you into the open wouldn't expect this move, would they?" The car stopped at the third floor, and Pearce slipped the hand holding his gun inside his leather jacket as the doors slid open. "Come on. We need to be quick. Once we're outside, we're heading to the street, got it?"
"Why didn't you take us to the first floor?"
Pearce pressed the button for the first floor and pulled Mark into the hallway as the doors slid shut and the empty car descended to the lobby. "Because that would be the second thing they'd expect us to do."
They merged with the crowd in the stairwell, Pearce gripping Mark's arm so as not to lose him in the swell of people. Mark felt sure he was going to have bruises in the shape of Pearce's fingers on his biceps by the end of the day. On the first floor, they squeezed out the lobby doors with the rest of the office workers and stepped off the curb into the slushy mess of Michigan Avenue. Mark followed Pearce as the agent trotted across the street and ducked into the lobby of a bank. They stood just inside the doors and watched people exit the FBI building across the street and make their way into the parking lot. A trio of fire engines pulled up, blocking the street and the exit for the parking lot, and several firemen dashed inside the building.
"Shit," Pearce whispered. "They blocked my rental car. Fucking firemen, thinking they can just park anywhere."
"They are protecting people," Mark whispered back.
"Yeah? So am I, but do I get special treatment?" Pearce turned and looked around the lobby of the bank. "Uh-oh."
Mark turned to follow Pearce's gaze and saw the bank security guard giving them a long, cool stare. Mark whispered, "I think we should go."
Pearce nodded. "I think you're right. Come on."
They stepped outside into the cold wind, and Mark asked, "Now where? You just said your car's blocked in."
"I'm thinking on my feet here, okay? Just go with it." They made their way down the street to an intersection. A bus pulled up, hissing to a stop before them to deposit a group of senior citizens, as down the block a construction worker started up a jackhammer. Something small and sharp stung the back of Mark's neck and he winced, raising his hand to feel a small trickle of blood.
"What the fuck...?" He jumped as another bullet struck the wall behind him, fragments of brick again stinging his neck and the sound of the shot masked by the jackhammer.
"Get down!" Pearce shouted and pushed Mark down as he drew his gun. People around him screamed and ran for cover. "Get down! Everyone down!"
Pearce shoved Mark toward the entrance of an alley and stumbled after him, both of them staying low. Just inside the alley, Pearce pressed a hand to Mark's chest to keep his back flat against the building and turned to look into the street.
"Where is he?" Mark asked.
"I don't know."
A volley of bullets struck the sidewalk and wall at the entrance to the alley, and Pearce pulled Mark down to his knees, falling over him to protect him. The heat coming off Pearce's body surrounded him for a moment, and even as bullets chipped at the bricks and cement a yard away, Mark felt safe.
"Are you hurt?" Pearce asked once the shooting had stopped. He got up and pulled Mark to his feet. "Did you get shot? Are you injured?"
"N-no," Mark stuttered. "No, I'm okay. I'm not hurt."
Someone shouted in the street, and Pearce pushed Mark against the brick wall face-first. He then leaned against him, and Mark could hear the man breathing hard behind him, feel the wash of warm breath on the back of his neck as the round bulge of the agent's crotch pressed against his ass. Even as another round of bullets tore up the mouth of the alley, the more primal part of Mark's mind considered what it would be like to hear Pearce breathe like that as the man fucked him.
"Okay, here's what we'll do," Pearce said. "We're going to run like our asses are on fire down this alley for as many streets as we can, and when we come out the other side we're going to take the first bus we see, got it?"
"Uh-huh," Mark replied. "Did you see who was shooting at us?"
"No," Pearce told him. "And I don't think we have much time. Let's go."
Just as they pushed away from the wall and turned to run down the alley, a car screeched to a stop in the street. A man wearing a ski mask leaned out of the passenger-side window and opened fire with an automatic weapon. Bullets zipped past them, kicking up garbage and shards of brick and mortar. Pearce threw Mark behind a Dumpster and fell in behind him.
When there was a break in the shooting, Pearce leaned quickly around the Dumpster, letting off two shots from his own weapon. Mark held his hands over his ears and squeezed his eyes shut. How the fuck had this happened? Sirens sounded in the distance, and Mark heard the screech of tires as the attackers drove off.
"We have to go," Pearce said and pulled Mark to his feet.
"But the cops are coming," Mark protested as Pearce dragged him down the alley. "They can help us, right?"
"Dude, you don't get it, do you?" Pearce snapped in his face. "You can't trust anyone anymore, okay? No one. Anybody we meet -- FBI, police, elected government official, Martha Stewart, anybody -- could be looking to have you killed. Got it?"
Mark pulled his arm out of Pearce's grip and turned to continue walking. "Yeah? So where in that category do you fall?"
"Somewhere between Martha Stewart and elected government official is my guess," Pearce grumbled.
They arrived at the opposite end of the alley and Pearce gestured for Mark to wait. The agent leaned cautiously around the corner and peered up and down the block. Two police cars sped past, sirens wailing and lights flashing, heading toward the FBI building. When they were gone, Pearce waved for Mark to follow and trotted across the street to duck into the alley. Once they were a few streets away from the scene of the shooting, Pearce stopped to reload his weapon, and Mark squatted with his back against the wall, catching his breath and trying not to shake.
"Look," Pearce said. "I know this sucks and it's nothing you asked for. I get that, okay? But here's the situation: Unfortunately, I'm the only guy you can trust right now. I may be an asshole, but keeping you alive is priority one for me, so we're going to have to find a way to get along."