Book Four in the Arctic Love series
Radimir has loved Aleksandr for more than a decade. Long convinced that Aleksandr will never love him in return, however, he has spent the years drifting from bed to bed, unable to settle when what he really wants is out of reach. And has been all the more out of reach since an impulsive, ultimately disastrous night together while out hiking. And will definitely be forever gone when Aleksandr returns to St. Petersburg.
Aleksandr wishes he could forget the night he gave in to a long-held desire for his friend, but more than anything he wishes that one night had led to so much more. But Radimir is a player, and Aleksandr doesn’t want to be simply another conquest.
Then family turmoil strikes Aleksandr hard, and he realizes the stability he’s always wanted was there all along…
Radimir dove into the water and managed to swim half the length of the pool before he had to swim back up for air. He ducked back under for the second half, quickening his pace until he reached the end where he briefly came back up for a breath of air, before plummeting back under to kick off from the wall to start back around. He used to swim at least fifteen to twenty rounds every evening in the pool. It was his time to relax, to get the knots out of his muscles by soaking and swimming in the cool water.
Today though, he wasn’t there to relax, he was there to swim off some frustration. Frustration brought on by the brown-haired, green-eyed man still living with him—the man he’d had his eyes on for years, but who didn’t seem to notice him in return. It was damn frustrating to have him so close, while he in reality was so very far away.
Bloody hell, he cursed as he kicked off from the wall and started back again. Aleksandr had been visiting for almost a month now and the only thing Radimir knew was that Aleksandr certainly wasn’t interested in being anything more than a friend. Aleksandr was bisexual, that Radimir knew, but Radimir was obviously not his type.
At times like these, when he was so frustrated he just wanted to grab Aleksandr and shake him, a part of him wished Aleksandr would just leave. That he’d go back to St. Petersburg and leave Radimir alone to wallow in the misery of his unrequited desire.
Aleksandr had been talking about leaving lately. He could, now that the Governor had finished the poaching investigation, and both Radimir and Aleksandr had been declared not guilty. It was their three so-called mates who’d done that deed. And that was something that angered him too. How could his mates come here, how could Nikolai who’dlived here, just go out and shoot polar bears? They’d shot and killed three and that was three too many.
When shooting the last one, they’d also put the lives of one of Radimir’s mates from Longyearbyen as well as his boyfriend in danger. They’d actually shot Jørgen’s horse. Radimir couldn’t even bear thinking about what would’ve happened if they’d missed the horse and hit one of the two men. He wasn’t sure if they’d even aimed for the horse. What if they’d actually aimed at Jørgen or his man?
Radimir felt a chill go down his spine, and his sexual frustration over Aleksandr’s obliviousness disappeared at the ‘what ifs’ his mind conjured. Those were the worst. Even worse than the fact that the Governor had thought he and Aleksandr had been a part of the poaching to begin with, which he and Aleksandr most certainly had not.
Radimir shook his head slightly and then gasped in some much needed air as he came up from under the water before going back down. He tried to empty his mind, of the poaching his so-called mates had been doing and to Aleksandr’s damn obliviousness towards him. Fuck, all of that was something he really wanted to get out of his head, for just a little while, if it was at all possible.
It was, because as he started swimming faster, his muscles begun to burn—and that was all that was on his mind. When his arms were so numb he almost couldn’t move them anymore, he admitted defeat and got out of the pool. He was the only one in there, and as he entered the showers, he saw to his relief that he was the only one in there too.
He turned the hot water on and stood under it, letting it soak him, hoping his muscles would loosen up a bit. When he wasn’t hurting quite as much, he reached up one hand and started massaging his neck. It hurt, it hurt like a bitch, and it didn’t really get any better, so he turned the shower off and went to get dried off and dressed. Packing away his swimming trunks and wet towel, he grabbed the small bag and made his way out into the warm end-of-May weather. Well, warm for the arctic that was. It would probably be cold compared to anywhere else in the world, but up on Svalbard, it wasn’t so bad.
He walked down the main street, ulitsaIvana Starostina, until he got to his small flat. Walking inside, he stopped in shock as he spotted Aleksandr sitting on the sofa, shirtless so his pale skin and hard muscles were on display, reading a book. All of Radimir’s pent-up sexual frustration rushed back to him, and his muscles suddenly felt tenser than ever.
Aleksandr looked up at him, green eyes unreadable. “Hi, mate. Have a nice swim?”
Radimir half-nodded, half-shook his head, then dropped his bag to the floor and practically fell down on the soft sofa. He groaned as his muscles protested his movements, but he simply couldn’t find a more comfortable position. Swimming like a maniac probably hadn’t been such a good idea, on second thought.
“You okay?” Aleksandr was still looking at him.
“My muscles hurt like a bitch,” Radimir murmured.
Aleksandr closed his book and turned to face Radimir. “Take your shirt off and turn your back to me, mate. I’ll massage you. Soon you’ll be all better.”
Radimir gave him an uncertain look, but he wasn’t about to say no to having Aleksandr’s hands on his naked skin. So he slowly worked his shirt up and off, with another pained groan, then turned so that he was sitting with his back to his friend.
Aleksandr’s hands landed on his shoulders and Radimir closed his eyes, revelling in the feeling of them being there and in the warmth emanating from them. But then Aleksandr squeezed, and he gave another pained groan. Suddenly the feeling of Aleksandr’s hands against his skin wasn’t as nice anymore.