Tinder: (n) material for starting a fire; readily combustible material.




“AW, JEEZ. Not this guy again.” Chris Matthews slid down lower in his chair and glared at the instructor of his monthly class.

The guy had a bad attitude; that was for damn sure. It wasn’t Chris’s fault—or the rest of his crew’s, for that matter—that they had to take a class a couple of times a month to fulfill state requirements for continuing education. Firefighting was constantly changing and shifting with the times, and all firemen were required to complete forty-five clock hours’ worth of training every year to keep their certification current.

Most of the time, Chris liked his classes. They were taught at the station while he was on shift, usually by the nurse educators from the local hospital, and involved anything from burn wound care to what to do if they encountered a meth addict on one of their calls. Sometimes the classes were practical instead of medical and were taught by either a retired captain or academy instructor. Chris appreciated the refresher courses on stuff like swift-water rescue and fire behavior. He’d only been on the department for a little over two years and knew that he’d just scratched the surface on what he needed to learn.

Until now, Chris had never gotten the impression that any of the instructors didn’t like their job. That was before his most recent class started. Last month, they had to start a sexual harassment course due to the influx of new female firefighters into the department. Not that any one of them had to worry about Chris coming onto them. He’d pretty much figured out he was gay by the time he’d graduated from college, despite a few failed attempts to convince himself he liked women.

Now, at thirty, he’d had enough cock to know that women were the last thing on his mind as far as sex went.

But the guy teaching this harassment class didn’t give a shit about that, Chris could tell. He’d started off last month by introducing himself as Morgan Daniels, and that was about the only personal information he’d offered before scrawling SEXUAL HARASSMENT: STATISTICS in capital letters across the board and diving right in. Chris had no idea if this guy even worked for Oceanside Fire.

Chris studied him surreptitiously now under the guise of pretending to take notes. Daniels was pretty good-looking, if Chris was trying to be objective. About six feet tall, dark hair that was beginning to gray a touch at the temples. Age was hard to tell. Late thirties, probably? Chris had no idea. He also had no idea why he was checking the guy out, since his attitude had turned Chris off from the beginning.

“Matthews!” Daniels suddenly barked. “Approximately how many sexual harassment cases are filed each year?”

Fuck. “Uh. Five hundred?” He scanned his notes quickly, hoping he’d written it down.

He got a wry look by way of answer, and Daniels turned to the rest of his crew. “How about the right answer from someone who was listening?”

“Fifteen thousand,” Tucker McBride piped up, sending Chris an apologetic face.

Chris barely refrained from rolling his eyes. It figured Tucker would know. Half of the cases were probably against him.

He and Tucker had a little bit of history; nothing anyone would write home about, but enough that Tucker was as reserved as possible around Chris. If anything about Tucker could be considered “reserved,” that was. No wonder Chris had spent the first year at Station Nineteen panting after him. Until Tucker’s partner, Chancellor Shanahan, had made it clear in no uncertain terms that Tucker was off-limits. Shanahan was a captain for the department and although he worked on a different shift at a different station, Chris made sure to steer as far clear of Tucker as possible, despite the close quarters of their jobs.

Chris slouched even lower, feeling his neck come into contact with the back of his chair and trying to sneak a look at his watch. This sucked. It was bad enough he had to work on the first sunny day that spring had given him, but to be stuck in a classroom was even worse. He’d much rather be out on the new motorcycle he’d bought himself two months ago.

Shuffling of books and papers alerted him to the fact that the lecture had come to an end, and he quickly began to gather his supplies to make a hasty exit. Maybe he’d go out to the small basketball court for a while and shoot some balls in the sun.

“Matthews” came the stony voice, “stay for a moment, please.”

Great. Maybe not.

Chris sighed and looked up to see Daniels perching on the edge of his desk, arms folded across his chest and an impenetrable expression on his face. The rest of his crew gave him sympathetic looks as they filed out of the small station classroom.

He stayed where he was and waited. Daniels didn’t move from the edge of the desk as he said, “This class isn’t a joke, you know.”

Chris blinked. “I know that, sir.”

“You don’t act like it. How long’ve you been with the department?”

Chris resisted the impulse to ask him the same question, knowing damn well the man wasn’t with the fire department at all. “Two years. Sir,” he added, despite the bitter taste it left in his mouth.

“You have a full career ahead of you, Matthews. You want to screw that all up because some girl decides to call harassment on you? I suggest you listen well while you’re here.” He seemed to be finished after that, looking down to clear some paperwork off the desk.

“Why are you such an asshole?” Chris blurted out before he could stop himself, and then cursed internally. All he needed was for Daniels to report him to Rich, Chris’s captain, and he’d get written up.

But Daniels just arched a brow and said calmly, “I hate firemen. Any other questions?”

Chris blinked. “No.”

“Good. See you next week, and don’t forget your paper on sexual harassment statistics.” Daniels gathered his briefcase and stood.

“Uh, I didn’t hear you assign that homework to us,” Chris said, still sitting in his chair.

“I didn’t. Just to you. See you Monday.” And then he left, leaving the classroom door standing open behind him.



HE LEFT it to the last minute, of course, but the overtime shift he’d worked on Friday hadn’t helped matters any. Chris scowled at his reflection in the bathroom mirror late Sunday night. He’d worked on the fucking paper all day, turning down an invitation from a friend to go for a motorcycle ride, and now it was finished.

And it sucked.

But he was so tired that he didn’t care; he just wanted to crawl in bed and sleep for a week. His last two shifts had kept him up nights, and while Chris knew it was part of his job, it still didn’t make getting through the day any easier.

He stripped off his shorts and T-shirt and crawled between crisp sheets, glad he shelled out the extra cash for a housekeeping service to keep his place looking decent. He worked a lot of twenty-four-hour shifts, enough so that his small house in Oceanside didn’t get really dirty, but cleaning was the last thing he wanted to do on the days he was home and not at the station.

It was going to be one of those nights he was too tired to sleep, unfortunately, which Chris discovered as soon as he tried to relax. His eyes refused to close and he stared at his ceiling for a while, wondering if the tiny crack in the corner would prove to be a problem if there were an earthquake. When he realized his eyes were starting to water from not blinking, he heaved a disgusted sigh and turned to his side.

His eyes lit on the bottle of lotion he kept by the bed. He usually didn’t leave lube lying around, not with the housekeepers in once a week, but the lotion was fairly inconspicuous. Chris reached out and pumped a handful before turning to his back again and lowering a palm to his cock. Might as well take the edge off.

He hadn’t even known he was half-hard until he touched himself, and then he sprang to life almost immediately. The lotion was cool and slippery but not too greasy, a benefit of buying the more expensive stuff. Chris coated himself well and began to stroke, eyes closing.

Random images flitted through his mind as he tried to pick one for good jerkoff material. He used the thought of his old boyfriend sometimes; Brian had had a great mouth on him. Sometimes Chris thought about the guy who made his coffee for him at his favorite coffee place. He was pretty cute, with longish shaggy hair and green eyes. And once in a great while, Chris thought about Tucker. Shit, who could blame him? The guy had dimples so deep you just wanted to stick your finger in one of them, plus the longest fucking eyelashes Chris had ever seen. Add in the thought of Tucker going down on his partner and it was a fantasy in the making.

Chris wanted to pick one of those. They were familiar. They worked. All he wanted was to get off and then maybe relax enough to sleep. But the face that kept flashing into his mind wasn’t one he even liked. Dark hair, graying at the temples. Stony expression. Wire-rimmed glasses. Flat stomach, trim waist, nice ass….

Fuck! He couldn’t believe he was hard over thoughts of Morgan Daniels, but somehow his hand moved faster over his prick and his breath came a little heavier as he pictured him. Nice, quick strokes, just the kind he liked, and the slippery precome at the head only adding to the perfect friction. Chris sucked in one last breath and squeezed his eyes shut tight. Almost, almost. He was close. He could feel it just behind his balls and in the pit of his stomach.

And then there was the welcome bright flash of climax as he came, surprising himself with the intensity. Chris could only lock his muscles in place as he spilled over his fingers, trembling against his orgasm.

He took a long time coming down, feeling his come dry stiffly on his belly and trying not to think about… well, what he’d just thought about. But it didn’t mean anything. It was just a stupid fantasy, only meant to help get him off as quick as he could. Christ, Chris couldn’t even stand the man in person. The fact that he was good-looking had no bearing on that.

He was still telling himself that when he fell asleep.