Runes of Redemption by Deirdre O'Dare
(I included both covers; the first book's portrays Aron and the second one Clay. You can see they share nearly the same eyes!).
Blurb: As head of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Paranormal Operations Unit, Clay Chiles has found a place where he can serve with honor and a surrogate family to replace the one he never truly enjoyed. When he meets Elven warrior Arondel and begins to build the partnership he had never hoped to find, life seems good. Still for two life-long loners to merge their lives, hearts and minds, an occasional conflict is bound to arise.
Clay’s discovery he has not only a father but a half-brother on Arondel’s home world of Elvenheim creates new and different challenges—can he accept and trust relatives so different from all he has known? Can they accept him? Finally, faced with incredible tasks and dangers, Clay and Aron are torn asunder. Will the strength of their still- fragile bond be enough to bring them through hell and back to one another’s arms?
"This is it. The energy level is higher than it was on the other side, so this is where we have to start the sealing." Aron drew a small book from a pouch on his belt and flipped the ancient-looking vellum pages until he came to the one he sought. Clay edged closer, squinting to read the runish script over his shoulder.
"This looks and sounds really old. I'm not sure I can even pronounce all the words," Clay said.
"Don't worry. I'll do the speaking. You just need hold onto me and feed me as much energy you can. When I start to move, come with me. I don't want you to be left behind here."
The light faded quickly as the dull sun slipped below the distant ridge. "We have to start now," Aron said. "I haven't memorized this so I need to see to read it. Grab my left arm and hang on for dear life."
After giving the caution, he began to chant in a low sing-song voice, the strange syllables ringing with power. He felt Clay's hands gripping his upper arm tightly and then the slight sizzle as the other's energy began to flow to him. A small glowing patch of light began to shape itself in front of them, illuminating the stone.
When he reached a kind of crescendo in the chant, he shoved the book under the arm Clay grasped. Extending the other, he laid one hand flat on the stone. Lifting it, he sketched some symbols over the stone's surface. They gleamed like blue flame.
"Now," he whispered. He thrust his arm into the stone and followed it, leaving Clay no choice but to come along. The stone did not seem large enough for them to pass through it, but somehow they did. As the same dark whirling maelstrom swallowed them, Aron shouted a final word and slashed a glowing red sigil in the darkness. An explosive crack of sound morphed into a clashing boom behind and then around them.
His eyes were still dazzled by the flare of brilliance and his ears ringing from the roar when he felt ground beneath his feet again and inhaled familiar scents of juniper, creosote and other desert foliage. If they were not back in Texas, it was somewhere very similar.
When Aron's vision cleared, he saw they stood at the foot of the same pale cliffs. Now there was no hint of difference in the face of the rough stone. When he extended a hand toward the spot the gate had been, he could feel no trace of energy or power.
"We did it," Clay yelled. "We really did it. Oh, my God, I think we just demolished our first gate."
They danced around for a few seconds, slapping each other on the back and whooping like crazy boys. It was almost anticlimactic, but Aron wondered if they had simply been lucky.
"Beginners luck," he murmured. "Don't get over-confident. There'll be others, and some of them will no doubt be better guarded, more complex. There are many other races and forces out there, most with high skills and incredible powers. I think this was a very basic Trogue-built gate. They're not known for finesse, as you might guess."
Clay made a growling noise, mixing contempt and disgust. "I wouldn't have guessed they even had enough knowledge and skill to do such a thing."
"Don't be misled. They appear very primitive, limited in their intelligence and powers, but there's more to them than meets the eye. I expect the troops seeking to kill or capture all of them back around the base camp have their hands full. With the counsel of Alex, Manuel and Haldane, perhaps they'll not be too careless, lacking in caution. If they are, some of our folk will surely be killed."
With that sobering thought, their brief euphoria faded. Exhaustion set in. They'd hiked at least twenty miles over some very rough terrain and then poured out a flood of energy in enacting the closing spell. When he sensed Clay waver beside him, Aron caught his partner's arm.
"I think we'd best find a spot to rest and wait until tomorrow to return to the main camp. More time passed while we were on the other side than you might think. There's no way we can get back to the base before dark, not even close. I don't fancy tramping through this rugged region on a moonless night, even if my night vision is better than most."
Clay did not argue. "Yeah, I'm tired," he admitted, "and you must be, too, even with your super-elf powers. We have enough water and we can get by without food."
"I can," Aron agreed, "and if you've been practicing as I told you, you can draw enough strength from the earth's power grid to sustain your elf half. The human half will have to bite the bullet."
He set off at a deliberate pace down the hill, scanning the terrain for a sheltered spot and probing for the ley lines to provide the sustenance they'd need. It did not take him long to locate a likely spot, a niche between a couple of large boulders fallen from higher on the ridge. In the small hollow there, leaves and dead grass had collected to form a mat.
"Here, this will do for tonight." They sank to the ground together to sit. Aron drew his ground cloth out of its pocket on his belt and spread it over the natural mattress of dead vegetation. They both drank deeply from their canteens and then shifted to lie on the cloth, side-by-side. "Normally, I prefer to lie alone, but since it's you..."
"We'll rest better together," Clay finished. "I'm not nearly as depleted as I was when you rescued me from the Trogues, but it's still good to lie close, perhaps share a brief bit of pleasure as well as resting."
"Spoken like a true elf. We may be solitary in many ways, but we still appreciate a good partner, a true soul-friend, when we find one. And we do enjoy our amorous sport."
Aron turned on his side and reached to draw Clay into his arms. He still marveled to sense how good, how right it felt when the smaller man came eagerly into the embrace and reached to draw them even closer together. They might still clash at times over work and the terrible tasks ahead of them, differing on methods, tactics and priorities, but their bodies knew no such conflict, which seemed a precious miracle.
Clay's eager touches skated over Aron's body, finding a spot to slip underneath his tunic to the front overlap in his trousers. Soon, the human's deft, long-fingered hands--one part that revealed his elf heritage--found Aron's prick and began to stroke, bringing it quickly to life.
Aron bit back a moan of pleasure. Had anything ever felt better than this particular lover's caresses? He could not bring to mind any equivalent. Bliss, pure and simple. For a few seconds, he lay passive to enjoy the sensations, but soon he had to reciprocate. The zipper on Clay's military fatigue-style pants slid down with the faintest sound. He delved into the opening and soon clasped Clay's cock, ringing it with his fingers only to begin a slow rhythm, drawing his grip from the base to the head and then back down. He danced his fingertips over the sensitive surface, especially just beneath the head, until Clay began to quiver, muted sounds emerging from his throat.
Aron muffled them with a hard kiss, grinding his lips against Clay's, then thrusting his tongue between Clay's lips as they parted. Drawing back, he murmured a phrase in Elvish, repeating it in English when he realized what he had done. "Yes, plead for me, beg. Who else can do for you what I do?"
"And only I can make you feel what you're feeling now," Clay returned, while his nimble fingers worked their own magic.
Soon simple caresses, even mutual masturbation, were not enough for either of them.
Aron twisted, an agile roll and reverse, placing him head to feet with Clay. His mouth replaced his hand, first only his lips surrounding the head of Clay's cock, while his tongue tip traced steaming patterns around the most sensitive spots. Clay's hips bucked as he thrust, demanding deeper penetration and more contact. Aron obliged, widening his jaws to take in more, until the tip bumped against the back of his throat.
The elf knew Clay, despite being aroused to the brink of ecstasy, would not be an idle recipient of Aron's incredible skills. His partner had his own art and his unique tricks. He moved enough to find Aron's twitching prick and set to work on it like he would eat an ice cream cone, lick by greedy lick.
When he sensed Clay's climax was imminent, as was his own, Aron took a final strong draw, as if to suck Clay's very essence from him. He felt his lover's body convulse and release instants before he, too, came. Afterward, they twined together in sated, boneless unity for a time before they untangled and moved again to lie side by side.
Each time they made love, their connection became stronger and each act more intense as they grew more closely attuned. Their telepathic link began to let them feel both their own and the other's passion and pleasure, mixing them to the point neither could truly say where his own sensations and emotions ended and his partner's began.
Soon Clay rolled to press his back to Aron's front as they drifted into the shallow trance in which they drew sustenance from the earth's vital currents. Aron felt Clay slip into a deeper sleep. He smiled in the darkness. His arm tightened across Clay's body, one hand splayed to span the human's chest. He felt his partner's heartbeat with every fingertip, the rhythm both lulling and stirring him.
From long habit, he'd remain alert enough to detect danger long before it drew close enough to harm either of them, but still, he rested, relaxed in the novelty of this new connection with another being.