Angel DeLucca is one of the most sought after gay bachelors in Virginia Beach, but when he tries to find true love, no one takes him seriously. After a one-night stand goes wrong, he comes into contact with hunky, straight, firefighter Maximus (Max) Strong, and Angel’s mission in life is now clear.
Max’s older, protective, brother, Ryker secretly craves the attention and praise of a Master. Angel’s Security Chief, Master Dom, Sebastian ‘Bass’ Bagetteli, shatters that secret with their first intense encounter.
These men’s stories will unravel in a whirlwind of romance, bondage, revelations, action scenes, and very hot sex.
‘…This story proves that love surprises and delights when you least expect it. Thank you A.E. Via!’ By: Extremely Picky
‘…cannot get enough of A.E. Via. Will be waiting (impatiently) for the next book. combining all that sexiness with an actual storyline is rare and very much appreciated.’ By: Crazy2Read
‘I loved this story from beginning to the end. This was the first time reading this author , but it will definitely not be the last! Hot hot.’
Max heard the female computer-generated voice come over the PA system, announcing an alarm was triggered at one of the clubs on the strip. He jumped off his bunk, still a little light-headed from his release. He glanced up at the clock on the wall. Five minutes to midnight. He raced to get on his uniform as he listened to his Captain bark out orders to the other fighters. Max silently prayed it wasn’t a real fire. He knew the clubs on the beach were packed with tourists, some of them holding hundreds of people. “Strong! Are you waiting on a fucking engraved invitation? Get your ass out here now!” his Captain yelled for all to hear. Max emerged from his bunk room in his blue uniform shirt with the fireman’s crest on his chest. In bold lettering on the back was ‘Virginia Beach Fire Department. His dark blue polyester uniform pants fit nicely over his firm ass. He raced to the bay area that housed their rigs and the lockers that held each of their turn-out gear. “What’s the code?” Max asked the incident commander as he suited up next to him. “Code Silver, but, we’re treating it as Gold because of the capacity held by this particular establishment.”
Max knew all the codes like he knew his alphabet. This code meant that an alarm was tripped but there is no report of a fire or smoke. Great, a false alarm. One of the little punk club-goers thought it was funny to pull a fire alarm and watch everyone scatter.Fucking wasting my goddamn time. Max hated those types of calls. It required him to have to suit up and race to a scene for no apparent reason except to shut off an alarm and take a statement. Max hopped in the side seat of the rig as the bay doors opened. Both rigs emerged slowly into traffic, sirens and lights blaring so loud he could barely hear himself think. “Where are we headed?” Max shouted to his second lieutenant. “Club Blue Moon.” The deep voice yelled back. “The largest, most popular fucking club down there.” The lieutenant rolled his blue eyes, and Max saw the concern etched in his rugged face. The many years of disastrous, fatal fires were etched in every crevice. Wonderful…a thousand people in the middle of the street. Max had never been to the poplar nightclub he saw advertised everywhere in the city, but he’d heard it was super nice. Luna told him it was a gay club, but his brother told him it wasn’t. Max remembered his brother’s comments on the night sensation. “Everyone and their grandmother go there, Max. I fucking love it. Definitely some of the hottest ass in town can be found in there,” Ryker bragged. His older brother Ryker was gay and out, so Max figured it probably wasn’t a club he would want to frequent. Max braced himself on the overhead ‘oh-shit-bar’ when the rig turned right onto the strip and maneuvered around the tourists jaywalking across the street. It was a goddamn headache trying to get around the egotistical motorists that cruised the strip in their freshly shined pussy-mobiles at a whopping fifteen miles per hour. Honk, honk, honk… Zander leaned on the horn as they slowly made their way to Eighteenth Street. The men could already see the massive crowd gathered behind a row of police cruisers a couple of streets up.
Max knew this was not going to be the last time they’d be dispatched to the strip. They were going to be flooded with fake fire alarm calls, alcohol poisoned parties, someone caught in the undercurrents while swimming without lifeguards on duty, jellyfish stings, bar brawls, car accidents, you name it—they were going to see it all this weekend. Because it’s the fucking Fourth of July and people love a reason to get out of their stale daily routines, get shit-faced, and live on the edge for a day or two—especially since most of them had a four day weekend. Finally, they made it to the club entrance on Sixteenth Street in a total of twelve minutes.
The police officers tried to fend back the large crowd that had no doubt been forced out of the club before they finished getting their groove on. Crowd control was not the fire department’s responsibility and Max couldn’t be happier for that fact right now. He jumped down from his seat and waited for the incident commander to come from the second rig. He quickly dispatched the other fighters to fully gear up with face mask, oxygen tanks, and solid steel pikes. Regardless, if they were told it was a false pull or not, they didn’t take chances. Nine bulky fighters made determined steps into the club, completely ignoring the three beefy security guards at the front door. Damn those are some huge fuckers, Max thought. “Max, the Captain told me that you will be acting Sergeant on this one,” his commander informed him. He couldn’t help but smile as his best friend Pierce nudged him in the side—his way of saying congratulations on the promotion. Max nodded in affirmation at the Commander and told Pierce he’d wait for his call before he tried to locate the club owner. Pierce was the second lieutenant and responsible for overseeing the other fighter’s actions while inside, and reported directly to the Incident Commander when the scene was secured.
Once that call was made then Max could exercise his new job responsibility of securing a statement of accounts from the owner of the establishment, which apparently the stupid asshole was still inside. Approximately two and half minutes later Max heard the high-pitched alarm stop screaming, and the crowd erupted in loud applause. “Hell yeah! About damn time…now let us back in!” Some idiot standing in front of the now happy crowd shouted at one of the nearby officers. Quickly responding, a thick-bodied officer nudged him back a few feet and barked at him, “Shut up!” Max shook his head and chuckled lightly. He retrieved the forms for the owner to sign and the citation pad just in case he felt the owner should be cited for the false alarm. When he finished gathering his documents he heard Pierce’s deep voice come through the radio loud and clear. “Area secured, secondary uniform personnel and club staff may enter only…no patrons at this time. Over.” “Copy that lieutenant. Over,” Max spoke into the radio on his shoulder. He walked through the frost-stained glass double doors and was almost knocked off his feet by the club’s immaculate interior. He was immediately relieved this was a false alarm because it would be a tragedy indeed to have burned this place down. He did a quick survey of his surroundings and counted at least nine flat screen forty-seven inch high-definition televisions strategically placed around the lower level. The black and white marbled dance floor looked large enough to fit five hundred sweaty bodies.
The outer perimeter was littered with various tables of different sizes. Each white marble tabletop was accompanied with several burgundy cushion-back chairs. Max tried to remember to keep his mouth closed as he studied the angel-decorated white columns which provided support for the second level. The infinite number of red, green, and blue strobe lights still flickered around the immaculate club even though all the lights were on. He noticed a glass ceiling-to-floor wall on the right side of the upper level that had closed drapes to prevent anyone from looking inside of what appeared to be some type of room or office. If the first level looked this grand, he could only imagine what the sec— “Don’t fucking tell me to come down, I want that bastard arrested!” Max’s thoughts were interrupted as he spun around toward the deepest growling voice he’d ever heard in his life.
He instinctively moved in that direction while taking in the scene on the other side of the oblong glass-top bar. Max saw Pierce, three police officers, and the Incident Commander talking to a man who from behind looked like one of those underwear models for Calvin Klein. He was sure it was a man despite the beautiful black hair reaching to his round ass. What the hell? Why would I call a guy’s hair beautiful? Or describe his ass? Shit, anyone would notice him, I mean he doesn’t look like any man I’ve ever seen. Max couldn’t help but notice the expensive black slacks that tapered at the man’s narrow waist and hugged his butt. The silky black short-sleeved collared shirt looked like someone had grabbed the man from behind because it was pretty wrinkled in the back. Max made his way to the commotion just in time to see Pierce put up both his hands in a placating gesture, trying to speak calmly to the irate man. “Sir, I know you’re upset, but yelling at us is not going to help. We need to get some more information from you so we can try to locate him.” “Yes, so one more time Mr. DeLucca. Why was the gentleman in question up in your personal office if he wasn’t staff?” a police officer interrupted Pierce’s rationalization. His lip turned up in disgust, already assuming the answer and not the least bit affected by the harsh glare radiating from the man’s dangerous, smoky brown eyes. “I’ve told you twice already. I’m beginning to think you’re just getting off on my fucking story!
The man approached me downstairs, we exchanged words, he asked me if we could go someplace a little quieter, and I directed him to my office.” Max watched the dark man try to quench his anger while he recounted the events that took place right before his alarm was pulled. His staff began making their way back in, but they kept looking over at them with concern on their faces. Max could see Mr. DeLucca was trying to stay calm, perhaps for their sakes. However, his red face couldn’t hide his anger…or his humiliation. “So what exactly were you doing up there in the quiet office Mr. DeLucca?” Nasty cop again. It was obvious to Max and everyone listening that the cop wasn’t in favor of Mr. DeLucca’s sexual preference. The cop had a hard scowl on his face to match his suspect’s menacing stare. Only the cop’s dull green eyes were not as enticing as Mr. DeLucca’s chocolate irises. The cop braced his legs apart as if ready to react if need be. Max made direct eye contact with the angry club owner, and he immediately felt as if he was put into a trance.
The pupils in the man’s eyes were so dark that they practically drowned out his sclera. Max could barely see the white in the man’s gaze. Max squirmed uncomfortably. After too many minutes he managed to break the contact as he looked around to see if anyone else noticed their silent exchange. Holy Shit. Why the hell is he staring at me like that? Fuck me. He looks so damn intense. Fuck. “Mr. DeLucca, over here.” Max saw the cop rudely snapping his fingers in front of Mr. DeLucca like he was a child, making him break the mojo he was working on Max. “I must have to ask you again, since you are focused on other things. What were you doing in your quiet office with the alleged man?” “Playing goddamn Monopoly…what the fuck do you think we were doing?” DeLucca growled back hard. Max couldn’t help but chuckle at the serious man’s witty reply. “Is there something you want to interject here Mr. Strong, because I’m trying to question a suspect.” The cop gave Max an angry look for his little outburst. Max felt his face heat to a sweltering temperature. Damnit, now I’m sweating. “Actually, Sergeant Strong is here to take a statement from the owner of this establishment, who we understand now to be a victim of vandalism,” Pierce interjected before Max could respond. His best friend always had his back. Max didn’t speak, waiting for the officer to digest that Max had a higher rank than him at this scene. The cop had no choice but to stop interrogating Mr. DeLucca until after Max was done talking to him.
Max had his own questions to ask and his forms needed signatures so his firefighters could be released to leave the scene. He was sure the officer knew the protocol because he flipped his notebook closed and stomped off with his posse following on his heels. Now that the homophobic interrogation team was gone, that left Max and his best friend Pierce. Finally, Max was able to address the interesting looking man. “Good evening Mr. DeLucca, I am Serg—” “Call me Angel,” he interjected swiftly, uncrossing his nice sized arms from over his strong chest. His posture was a lot less defensive now, appearing to Max that he was comfortable talking with him. Angel…huh…that’s fitting. Max found himself blinking rapidly at his last thought. Jesus. Get it together man. There’s no reason why this man should be flustering me like this. He’s just a man. He had to clear his throat a couple of times before he could continue. Max was always commended on the professionalism he exhibited when on a scene. Even the most irate victims—whose home and possessions were burning down to ash right in front of their faces—responded to Max’s calm demeanor. “I wish I could say it was a good evening Sergeant Strong…but whatever.
What questions do you need answered? I’m sure your men have more important and pressing issues to attend to. Despite what that asshole cop was insinuating, if I didn’t invite that guy up then he never would have left disappointed enough to do what he did. I apologize that you and your men had to waste your time.” Max was still staring at Angel closely, as he was slowly mesmerized by the way Angel’s full lips formed his intelligent words. The man was admitting his fuck-up, but still did it in a way that showed his regality and strength. Max just stared slack-jawed, not knowing how to respond to Angel’s confession. Max even forgot Pierce was still standing there as he heard his friend loudly clear his throat before speaking. His best friend tried unsuccessfully to hide his amused smirk. Shit. “Umm…Angel, is it? It’s quite all right. None of what happened tonight was your fault.
I’m sure once Max picks his lip up off your bar he will somehow manage to get his forms signed and take care of everything for you.” Pierce looked comically at Max. “Uhhh, yeah…Max, I’m going to clear the scene and have the rigs head back to the station. I’ll leave you the SUV. It’s parked in the alley on the side.” Pierce laughed as he headed to the front entrance. Max knew his face had to be bright red at being caught gawking at the beautiful man. He pulled his gaze from Angel and began spreading out his forms on the bar top. Max regrettably had to clear his throat again before speaking. “Mr. DeLuc…I mean Angel,” he switched up. “Would you mind terribly signing these documents for me?
They simply state that the alarm was not pulled by you or a member of your staff, but was an act of malice by one of your patrons. That eliminates you for being cited for inciting a crowd or for a false alarm. You can also begin to let your customers back in if you wish.” “Sure,” Angel said. He came to stand directly beside Max at the bar and reached his hand out to take the offered pen. Max was immediately overwhelmed with the enticing smell of coconuts, and suddenly wanted to ask the bartender for a pina colada. Damn, why the hell does he smell like that? Max found himself taking an unconscious sniff in the man’s direction. It must have not been very discreet, because the striking man paused mid-signature and slowly raised his smoldering eyes to meet Max’s. “Do you like the way I smell, Sergeant Strong?” he purred with deep sensuality. “What…um…no…well…uh,no I wasn’t smelling you,” Max lied. “Don’t lie to me,” Angel demanded with a sexy smirk playing on his sinful lips. Max shivered and dropped his eyelids involuntarily. Okay, this can’t be happening to me right now. I’m not attracted to men. Max chanted that statement in his head several times, but his body was evidence to the contrary.
Max’s cock was at half mast and he was hyper-aware of the ticklish droplets of sweat dripping behind his ears. He could not figure out why he was responding to this man this way. He looked Angel directly in his face since they were both about the same height. “Why did the man leave your office so disappointed?” Max asked the question before he could think better of it. Damn! Why the fuck did I ask him that? Shit. It was Angel’s damn eyes that were screwing up his brain-to-mouth filter. If Angel was shocked by his question he didn’t show it. He stepped in closer to Max, leaving only a few inches between them, and answered without hesitation. “He wanted something from me that he didn’t deserve, and I wasn’t willing to give him.” “And what was that?” Max whispered, now intrigued. “Control.”
Duke Webb has run the most successful bail recovery agency in Atlanta for over twenty years. That’s because he has a team of trained, competent hunters backing him up to keep his name feared on the streets. But Duke knows that nothing can go on forever. His hunters are in committed relationships and ready to settle down, and so is he. That’s what leads him to start his new training program.
“That’s the new vision for Dukes. Veterans operating and tracking behind the scenes with a new powerhouse apprehension team on the streets.”
Brian and Quick are the first to offer up two new recruits.
Kellam Knight has studied martial arts under his sensei, Quick, since he was eight years old. A tossed-out reject from high-society, Kell has a problem fighting on the right side of the law. If he sees an injustice, he has to correct it. He doesn’t have to run and cower from his enemies anymore, he’s a fighter who can protect himself and others. When Quick offers Kell the opportunity to join Duke’s training program, he’s all in. Except he’s not prepared for the straight, over-confident, extremely disciplined, sexy man Brian has recruited to be his partner.
Tyrell Jenkins’ world was flipped upside down when his father never returned home from his last deployment. He’d been Ty’s teacher, mentor, his guide to living a righteous life as a good man. His father didn’t raise him to be like every other young, stereotypical male in Atlanta. Instead, he’s been taught to be respectful, to speak the language of real men. When Brian King – his father’s most trusted comrade – finally comes to him with the truth, he doesn’t come alone. He comes with trained men hidden in the shadows… and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a brotherhood unlike any other.
“Did you pass?” Kell asked Ty the moment he stepped out of Duke’s door. He’d been waiting for him to finish the Georgia exam on Brian’s computer. He was sure Ty passed, since it had taken him less than twenty minutes to complete the one-hour test.
Ty turned in his direction. His smile was full of that ’swagalicious charm when he said, “If it weren’t for your bright eyes, Kell, I wouldn’t be able to see you in the dark.”
Kell stood still as Ty approached him. His coat was buttoned over his broad chest, the sheep’s skin collar was flipped up to protect his neck from the cold. His golden-brown skin and sweet almond eyes got darker the deeper into the shadows he came. Kell retreated farther, pulling Ty where he felt the most comfortable. His partner followed. Kell leaned against the side of the building with his hood low and his scarf over his mouth. Ty stood towering over him, his thickness shielding Kell from the wind.
“Yes, I passed.” Ty’s harmonious laugh drifted across Kell’s face. “We’ll be in the gun range in the morning with Dana, then we’ll observe him doing a couple of those backlogged retrievals.”
“Sounds like fun.” Kell whispered.
“Agreed. I’m looking forward to it as well.”
“I like the way you talk, ya’know.” Kell confessed. “You’re very intelligent.”
Ty smirked. “You’ve commented on my style… my language.” He stepped closer to Kell and put one hand against the brick wall next to his head. He leaned in close, his eyes blazing, “Did you think I’d wear my pants hanging off my ass and a puffy black coat loaded with Uzis and Tech9s underneath? Did you take one look at me and believe I’d only be able to speak Ebonics and street slang?”
“What the hell are you talking about? Why would I think—?” He shoved at Ty’s chest, realizing his partner was messing with him. Ty caught his hand and held it. Kell exhaled sharply. He felt his wrist squeezed before Ty pulled his hand closer to him. They couldn’t see anything in the dark, but he knew Ty felt them. His blades. The hunters all had their own arms, whatever they were most comfortable with. These were his.
“You just keep surprising me, don’t you? I think you like doing it.” Ty purred rubbing over Kell’s wrist. “Are these…?”
“Demon’s Daggers,” Kell said breathlessly. “Throwing knives.”
Ty’s strong hand still held his palm up while he blindly caressed the stainless-steel blades around his wrist. “Are you a master with these too?”
Kell could’ve sworn Ty was turned on, but he couldn’t see his facial expressions. He could only feel him. That’s why he’d lured him there, into the darkness of the night where the face could lie all it liked. Kell was in the shadows to feel Ty’s body’s response to him. The body will betray the mind without its consent.
Ty may’ve said he wasn’t ready to have Kell up in his head, but his body was saying something else. It wasn’t a lie how close Ty was standing to him. He couldn’t fake the heightened rise and fall of his chest, or the slightly labored breath ghosting across Kell’s cheek with every hushed syllable he spoke.
“Would you like to see?” Kell asked.
“I can’t see anything right now.”
“You don’t need to see.” Kell took a chance and placed his other hand on top of Ty’s. He was thankful for his fingerless gloves as he gently brushed his fingers over Ty’s smooth brown skin. “You just need to listen.”
Kell turned so his back was to Ty’s chest. He didn’t lean in, wanting to see if Ty would fill the small gap. He did. Felt Ty lean his tall frame over him and place his lips against his temple. Kell removed his hood. With Ty’s hand on his waist, his body vibrated.
“Show me.” Ty ordered gently.
“You ready?” Kell smiled into the dark.
“I am.” He could feel Ty’s smile behind him.
“Place your hand lightly on my left shoulder. Don’t press. Just touch,” Kell instructed, coolly leaving Ty’s other hand on his waist.
When he felt Ty’s warm palm lie delicately over his shoulder, Kell flung his left arm out as if he were tossing a dart. The sounds of his blades slicing throw the air before piercing the bark of the tree several feet in front of them broke the silence. Ty’s breath hitched next to his ear.
“Where’d it go?” Ty asked. His voice heavy with something else besides wonder. “Do you know?”
Kell kept his hand outstretched in the direction he’d thrown his blades. Of course I know. He placed his other hand over Ty’s, telling him to keep it there and led him into the shallow forest around Duke’s building. When Kell got to the tree, he took Ty’s hand and placed it on the cool handles of his daggers. Both of them.
“You threw two at a time?” Ty pulled the devil’s tip from the bark.
“Yes. Would you rather I’d thrown more?” Kell admitted he liked showing off for Ty. “And, by the way, yes. I like surprising you.”
Ty gave Kell his seven-inch blades and let him replace them in his wrist sheath. He took his hand and led them back out the way Kell had. When they were in the parking lot under the street lights, Ty turned and faced him.
They were silent. Neither of them speaking, just watching each other.
“What are you doing to me?” Ty whispered.
“I could ask you the same thing,” Kell responded. He had no clue what was happening between them but whatever it was it was fast and it was consuming.
AE puts her love of alphas into a MM Paranormal romance for the first time!
An Enemies to Lovers
Shifter, Vampire True Mates story.
Justice Volkov is the youngest Alpha Zenith to ever lead the wolf shifters. Following in his father’s large paw prints was a responsibility he met head on. Now at age thirty-three, he is alpha of the alphas. As a direct descendant of the original Siberian pack, his wolf is bigger and stronger than Justice, himself is sometimes able to control.
“His wolf howled long and hard but Justice kept it inside. It felt like a bass drum beating against his rib cage. The harsh breaths, angry snarls and the determined pacing inside him was overtaking him. All the while… his mate kept calling.”
Justice takes his role of leadership and his legacy very seriously. He has little time for romance, not to mention a true mate. His packs are his priority. With a human government trying to regulate them, an uprising of rogue shifters, and a violent team of scientists trying to experiment on them, Justice has his hands way too full.
Chadwick ‘Wick’ Bentley is not enthusiastic when the captain of his escort tells him he has to leave his comfortable London home and go back to the States. As the Vampire King, he has no choice but to get his species back in line before they cause anymore chaos. At over two-hundred years old, Wick is no one to trifle with, but his smooth, charismatic manner makes him quite unique, despite the negative reputation vampires have. Wick has had nothing but time up to this point. He doesn’t feel the need to make issues pressing. Nothing is urgent in his life. Until he meets Justice. His beloved.
“Natural enemies can’t be mates.” Or so Justice thought. He knows his skepticism and rejection is hurting his mate, so while he fights their connection, Wick gets help from a source very close to Justice to help him win his beloved’s heart. Wick is a force all on his own, but when he’s blessed with a special gift from the Mother herself, not even Justice’s powerful wolf can prevent the prophesy from being fulfilled.
This story DOES NOT contain/mention MPREG.
It does not end on a cliffhanger and has an HEA.
Warning: This book is MM paranormal: If you don’t like hot men shifting into large wolves, or vampires feeding from their mates, this may not be your read.
“I appreciate your dedication, Ramon. I always have. But we are not coming to fight. I chose the five of you to stand behind me with Captain Ermanno while I earn my beloved mate’s trust. Under no circumstance are you to become hostile with any shifters, now or in the future.” Wick turned in the front passenger seat to look each of his officers in the eye, adding a distinct, warning hiss. “Even if advanced on. Do not retaliate. Anyone who harms a shifter, I will see spends eternity in a wooden box.”
They all nodded in understanding. There wasn’t a hint of the scent of fear or stress in the large SUV, only the determination and focus of his men. There was no need for any of them to be afraid. The men Wick and his Captain chose were the best of the best in his Escort; in their entire species. They’d been well briefed on the subject of his fated beloved and without second thought, each one of them immediately reminded Wick of their unbreakable allegiance to him. No matter what the situation.
“Isn’t the beloved supposed to already trust and care deeply at the first scent of you?” Another vampire asked from the last row.
Wick didn’t like anyone thinking that there was a malfunction in the link between him and his mate. Technically, it was true. His mate should already be craving him. Wick believed Justice was aching, because heaven knows Wick was barely able to shield his worried scent, he was in such a state behind his mate. “Justice and I are not ordinary beloved souls. He’s the Alpha Zenith. It was silly of me to expect him to fall into my arms and tilt his head back for me.”
“You’ve never steered away from a challenge, sir,” Wick’s Captain said, his shaded eyes still on the brightly-lit, well-worn path that led to the Humboldt Pack’s land. The sun was still shining but setting quickly. In the blacked-out windows, Wick’s vampires were safe.
As they came around a sharp bend, cabins and log buildings came into view. There were five large shifters standing at the entrance cautiously watching them approach. Wick saw the one on the end pull out his cell phone and make a quick call.
“He probably called the Alpha,” his Lord Protector said.
“I’m hoping he did,” Wick answered. “Make sure you slow down a little more and stop several feet from them.”
His captain did as Wick instructed. The shifter was asked to come around to Wick’s side so the sun wouldn’t filter in and touch Ermann. “I’m here with a gift for your Alpha Zenith. He already knows I’m coming.”
Two large brown wolves ran down the side of the mountain and communicated something to the shifters at the gate, because they stepped aside and told Wick how much farther he had to go to get to the Alpha’s side of the property. As they drove over the worn dirt road, they heard warning howls go up. Wick wouldn’t take offense. Vampires were on their land, of course they’d make sure the pack was tucked away safely.
Instead of worrying about that, Wick looked around at the beautiful scenery of the Humboldt’s vast pack lands. Acres and acres. The rolling greens where they’d cleared the trees were nothing short of beautiful. Cabins were everywhere. Farms and livestock were being tended. Wick saw at least two schools, and even a couple makeshift stores. But he believed that packs still used a type of bartering system – amongst other packs at least.
“They’re looking a little hostile, Captain,” Ramon noted, turning and watching all angles of their vehicle, especially Wick’s side.
“They’re just going about their jobs. It’s curiosity. Nothing more. Vampires probably don’t visit every day.”
Wick was about to agree with his captain but his words stopped just short of passing his lips when he caught sight of the row of shifters standing in front of a large two-story home with sand-colored, handcrafted logs and a huge wrap-around porch. Better craftsmanship than any one-hundred story skyscraper he’d ever seen. The gathered shifters looked to be the pack’s hierarchy. They stood in a sort of diamond formation with his beloved standing in the front. Another large man was to his left and Wick assumed that to be this pack’s Alpha because the man on Justice’s right was his brother and beta. Wick remembered him from the police station. Several more men, and even a few women, spanned the line. All looking strong and ready for whatever was about to happen. Aside from the few men milling about working or surveying the grounds, this area of land was void of any other pack members. Like they’d been tucked away to safety.
Even through the dark windows the shifters could see them. The sun was just at the tip of the tall redwoods behind the cabin, casting the open space in an array of striking golds and ambers before it disappeared for the night. This was the moment he’d waited for. Wick hadn’t tried to use his link with Justice, scared to attempt it only to find it gone. He’d felt the apprehension from his beloved when he thought of how they could possibly live and exist together when they were so different. Wick wasn’t all that different from his gorgeous mate and he was about to show him. Wick opened the door and stepped out, the bright sun hitting him in his face. He tilted his head up and smiled at the romantic sky. The warmth felt lovely on his typically cool skin. The gasps and murmurs of disbelief were easily heard… including his beloved’s. That was lovely too.
“You can walk in the sun?”
It took everything in Wick not to drop down to his knees and thank the Mother right then and there that their link was still alive. “There’s a lot I can do. Maybe you’ll let me show you, beloved mate.” Wick sighed inside. For the first time, Wick didn’t feel the dreadful feelings Justice had given off before.
“May I address one of your packs, Justice?”
Justice stepped forward, his brother at his right a mere step behind. Aleksei Volkov was a hulking alpha in his own right and could clearly defend his AZ if needed. Wick was sure his own second was counting down the seconds until the sun set and he could leave the refuge of the SUV and stand at Wick’s back like he was supposed to. His mate nodded once, still eyeing him carefully. Wick didn’t want to turn away from the look of longing and desire he saw in Justice’s miraculous eyes.
Wick finally pried his coal-colored eyes away. He looked at each shifter’s unique face, committing them all to memory. They would all be an extension of him soon. In a tone as silky as satin and smile that was nothing short of mesmerizing, Wick addressed them, simply. “Greetings.”
THIS INSTALLMENT OF BLUE MOON CAN STAND ALONE
The Story of: HAWK, PIERCE, SHOT & FOX ALONG WITH THE OTHER BEASTMASTERS
Pierce aka Strategic Intelligence Specialist, Backhander is back to flush out some of the DEA’s most notorious criminals, and he has one helluva’ team backing him up. The country’s most decorated Navy Seals…the Beastmasters.
Pierce is more than capable of doing his job, but he has one insanely hot distraction that continuously causes him to second guess his hidden orientation. Dane Aramis, call-sign, Hawk. Hawk can see what most people can’t, and whether his sexy Pierce wants to admit it or not, he can see the brilliant man’s desire runs deep for him.
However, when Pierce and the Beastmasters are on their final assignment, the last person they expect to encounter with the opposition is rogue assassin…Omega. The man is unstoppable, and when he comes too close to what Hawk holds dear, the Beastmasters call on the only man that can control the lethal assassin. Omega’s faster, deadlier brother, Alpha.
Bringing Alpha back into society may be disastrous for everyone involved. But, Hawk is willing to take that risk to keep Pierce safe.
Review ~ By: Evelyn Wilson
This book was awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes the second book is not as good as the first in the series but Blue Moon and Blue Moon 2 are equally good reads. I chose this rating because this story is awesome. It is steamy, sexy, and have a delightful storyline. IT IS DEFINITELY A MUST READ.
Review By: D C Mitton
'Reviewed for Love Bytes Same Sex Romance Reviews Reviewed for Love Bytes Same Sex Romance Reviews. I loved this book, and I love this author. One note though. Even though this is a standalone book, I really wish I had taken the time to read Book 1 in the series. Ms. Via is a fantastic author, and did a great job with the back story, but I did find myself stumbling over who some of the supporting cast were. She is an excellent author and it is well worth your time to read both books if you can.
So where do I start. I enjoyed the way Ms. Via wove together several different stories within the book into one cohesive package. We had the story of Hawk and Pierce, we had the story of Fox and Shot, we had the story of the Beastmasters and Backhander and we were teased near the end with a sideline story of Call and Alpha…which I hope will continue in Book 3. Sprinkled through those stories were big hairy chested tattooed men (my favorite kind), some pretty darn steamy sex scenes, Russian Mafia, secret assassins, sex slaves, guns, explosions, and all around action! What’s not to love?
Throughout the book, we jump from character to character, gaining perspective from each partner’s end in the Hawk/Pierce and Fox/Shot sections. The author writes well. I found she was skillful in making me annoyed at the characters sometimes because they wouldn’t just come out and tell other person what was what! Men. None of us listen to each other, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.
While all the main characters of this book got equal time, by far my favorite character was Hawk. From the time he pinned Pierce to the side of the eighteen wheeler while he was explaining the difference between his weapon and his gun, I was hooked. By the time we got to the steamy sex scene when he introduced Pierce to some man on man lust, I think I had a serious man crush. I’d love to have been a fly on that wall! I’ve a feeling that anyone caught in his unique gaze would do pretty much anything he wanted.
Enough spoilers. To find out more, buy the book! As I said at the top, I loved the book and I recommend it, as I do all of Ms. Via’s works. She writes well, and has a great editing team. Enjoy it!
Pierce – code name Backhander – watched the fierce and calculated leader of the Beastmasters ready his team. He and Call were secured in a command center on eighteen wheels issuing orders to the Beastmasters.
There were technically seven ex-Special Forces SEALs who made up the team, however there were eight present, because if Shot was going to be on assignment there was no way that FBI Special Agent Fox wasn’t going to be assigned to the mission to back up his lover.
When Pierce came out of retirement after a lengthy career with the DEA to help his best friend retrieve his kidnapped lover from a deadly drug lord, his former boss had pleaded with him to work one more job with the team of his choosing. But it was never just one more job. The war on drugs was a war that would continue for centuries with an ever-rising casualty count. When one drug lord fell, another would immediately and violently rise to reign in his place.
Pierce didn’t want to strategize takeovers for the government anymore, he just wanted to fully retire, travel and see the world, enjoy lighter, stress-free days – hell maybe even have a relationship. Pierce returned to duty as a Lieutenant with the Drug Enforcement Agency – an extremely high-ranked strategic intelligence agent with a secret identity. All the raids and sieges that Pierce had single-handedly orchestrated made him a very high-value and wanted target.
He’d come to the aid of the Beastmasters and made the take down of the notorious East Coast drug lord Pedro Valenzo a success – which of course now meant he was back on the radar, and no matter how hard you tried to lock down classified information – shit still leaked out. Word across the country was – Backhander was back and he had one helluva motherfucking team.
“Hawk has a visual. Look alive Beasts.”
The deep voice came across everyone’s earpiece, including Pierce's. He tried not to shiver in response to the baritone whisper, but goddamnit. Their long-range eliminations specialist wasn’t always a pleasure to work with – quite the contrary. The man was an arrogant prick.
Call checked and received confirmation that all men were in position before his own melodic voice came across the feed – their commander and leader. “Either men will learn to respect us as conquerors or they will die by the Beast.”
That was their go. When the two SUVs came around the bend, Fox and Shot fired their M39s from two-hundred yards away. Their bullets hit in perfect sync, starting a few feet in front of the first vehicle and traveling up the asphalt toward it, the bullets destroying the concrete like it was paper – a clear warning to the driver – stop or die.
Fox and Shot's enhanced rifles were firing a rapid sixty rounds per minute. They let several rounds hit the front bumper and hood before they eased off the triggers. Pierce shook his head at the Agent and SEAL, smiling to himself. Bad asses.
Pierce brought his binoculars back up. Inside one of those vehicles was Pavlo Sherminsky, former Russian mafia lieutenant; a drug smuggler who was currently so far on top of his game that he’d even begun trafficking in women and children, selling them right here in the United States. The DEA and FBI couldn’t even get a jaywalking charge to stick on this sonofabitch; he was more lawyered up than a politician caught in a bath house – that’s where Backhander came in.
His job description had changed since his return to duty. He no longer went for the clean bust and arrest. Criminals were getting smarter every year and finding ways around the law, some of them suing the state and wining on claims of false arrest when the prosecution failed to convict them. Pierce’s job was to issue a stern and severe warning – either stop your crimes against the U.S. or be buried in a shallow grave.
Deportation was sometimes used for foreign drug smugglers and traffickers, but many of them didn’t go so easily. Pierce’s intelligence team could do everything from initiating a tax audit to revoking US citizenship, but his muscles – the Beastmasters – were his extraction team. Criminals like Pavlo and Valenzo were like a disease plaguing the country. Sometimes you had to completely eliminate the cancer or else it would continue to spread regardless of any preventative measures.
Pierce could see movement inside the darkened SUVs but there was no way he could confirm that their targets were in them. Only one person could see that.
“What do you see Hawk?” Call asked.
“There are four in the first vehicle and two in the second one. Sherminsky’s in the second vehicle in the back seat. Blow the first vehicle, Shot and I’ll take out Sherminsky’s driver. Groundsmen you move in and take him after we hit the driver,” Hawk commanded.
“Negative. That’s a negative, Hawk,” Pierce hissed into everyone’s ear. “That is not the plan. There will be no casualties. I want Sherminsky apprehended and the others detained for questioning.”
Before anyone could respond, shots rang out in the night, muzzle flashes coming from the first vehicle as they fired rounds in Shot and Fox’s direction. There was no way they could hit them – hell there was no way they could even see them. It was night and Shot and Fox were too far away, crouched down on the roof of a deserted store. The road was completely abandoned, and the couple of local businesses that were still operational were over fifteen miles away and were closed for the night.
Pierce dropped his binoculars and looked at Call. Although Pierce was first in command, Call was the leader of the Beastmasters, so he tried to respect that. If he needed to override the intense man’s decision he would. “I need those men alive, Call.”
“Shot, give them another warning,” Call instructed.
“Ten-four,” Shot replied.
Shot aimed at the front driver side tire and squeezed the trigger. He demolished the tire and continued to spray bullets into the concrete; traveling up the sides of the vehicles, stopping only after taking out the back tires of the second vehicle.
“This is fucking ridiculous. This man is selling young girls to pedophiles and forcing children to run smack for him… take his ass out, or I will,” Hawk added.
“He has a point, Pierce. Now we’re under fire. These guys are not going to come quietly and spill their guts to you. Our job is to help you take these guys out, we’re eliminators, not interrogators,” Call pointed out.
“They have information that I need to acquire for my superiors. We need to know how the drugs and the women are getting in and out of the country,” Pierce stated combatively and got back on the coms line.“Hawk stand down. groundsmen move in,” Pierce instructed.
“Ten-four,” Toad’s dark voice confirmed. Toad was one of the Beastmasters whose job was to move in on foot and apprehend suspects. He was a hulking two hundred and eighty pounds of solid muscle with biceps that could snap your neck if he got you in his chokehold.
Pierce brought his binoculars back up and watched from their trailer up on the hill. He saw Toad’s large frame emerge from behind an abandoned building with two other Beastmasters, Shade and Lucky on his six. Moving like SEALs, their Glocks aimed at the back windows, approaching the vehicles from the rear.
“They’re readying weapons in the first vehicle,” Hawk supplied, not waiting for a response as he lit up the front windshield of the first SUV with his 50Cal sniper rifle. The armor piercing bullets exploded inside the first vehicle, demolishing any and all bodies that were inside. Pierce’s hand was squeezing the binoculars tight as he watched with his mouth hanging open at the accuracy and precision of Hawk’s massive weapon. He was firing from over five football fields away.
The blasts were contained to the front vehicle only. Shade, Lucky and Toad never even ducked as they yanked Pavlo and his terrified driver out of the second vehicle and onto the ground, confident that Hawk’s bullets would never stray from their intended target.
“Target secured,” Toad announced.
“Load ’em up. Lucky and Shade, dispose of the vehicles,” Call instructed. The large man turned back to Pierce. “Is there a problem Backhander? You look as if you just had a root canal done without meds.”
“There has to be order when carrying out these operations, Call. We had a plan and in a matter of seconds it was shot to hell by your cowboy, who likes to get his gun off,” Pierce hissed through clenched teeth.
“We don’t question what Hawk sees. If he says the men in the front were about to make a move and had weapons at the ready, it’s his job to neutralize that threat. We learned not to second-guess his sight a long time ago… and you shouldn’t either. It might save your life one day.”
Call turned to the other Beastmaster in the eighteen-wheeler with them, manning the controls. “Viper, nice job. Bring in Shot and Fox from their position.”
Pierce hopped down from the trailer and looked out over the deserted landscape. They were completely secluded, and honestly they could’ve taken out Pavlo and his men and rid the United States of a menace to society. The Beastmasters had done well in gathering the surveillance, knowing when and where Pavlo would be making his detour to get to his meeting site.
Pierce’s main objective for this mission was to gather intel and information. He wanted to know who Pavlo was meeting with and then find out who their bosses were. Now he’d have to question Pavlo and hope the Beastmasters could apply enough incentive to make the man talk and then scare him out of the country.
Shade and Toad had a very unique set of skills. Ways of making a man feel things he’d never thought he’d feel in lifetime. Only a small percentage of those feelings was pain… the rest was unadulterated fear.
Pierce watched as Shot and Fox walked up to the back of the trailer, their sniper rifles draped over their backs. Agent Fox was with the FBI and had been specifically requested by Pierce to assist with any operations that would involve him needing a sniper. Fox’s jet black wavy hair had grown just a few inches longer and his face was more than a little handsome but always appeared deep in concentration. He had on dark cargo pants and an FBI t-shirt underneath his vest. His gold shield was attached to his belt along with his regular service weapons. The man was the best in the bureau, but when he was put next to Shot, they were a force to be reckoned with.
Isadore DeLucca – SEAL name, Shot, was Pierce’s best friend Max's father-in-law. His son Angel married Max a year ago after Pierce, the Beastmasters, and Max had rescued him from the clutches of a drug-lord. Angel was not an easy target, that’s why it took ten men to subdue and take him. Angel was a spitting image of the handsome man in front of Pierce now.
Shot had his long, thick ponytail braided down his back, mixed in were a few strands of gray which made him look distinguished; but it was his was his dark brown eyes that made him look deadly. Shot wouldn’t think twice before putting a bullet in your head – the bigger the hole the better. Beside him was his lover, Special Agent Fox. No one labeled the two of them a couple or in a relationship. Men like them had a hard time dropping their guard and trusting someone enough to fully let them in. Shot had definitely suffered too many knives in the back and most were from so-called friends. Fuck partner was more of an accurate term, and holy hell, when they came together... The men sounded like they were coming through the damn ceiling.
Most of the time, the entire team stayed in Pierce’s headquarters back in DC. Resting only short periods of time in the large rooms located on the upper floor of the gutted, abandoned warehouse, everyone ready to go at a moment’s notice.
“Nice work guys,” Pierce said when they got into range.
“You pissed?” Agent Fox smirked at him.
“Should I be?”
“No,” Shot spoke up. “You’ll learn to trust Hawk. He made the right decision. Taking out the first car was smart. Was there really a reason to make this a firefight? They weren’t going to come willingly, so Hawk took them out. If Fox or I could’ve seen inside the vehicle, we would’ve done it first.”
“It was my call to make, not his. I think he just likes getting his gun off,” Pierce huffed.
Shot and Fox exchanged knowing glances and climbed up into the back of the truck without another word. Pierce shook his head at them, he had no clue how the hell those guys made it work. While they all waited for the groundsmen to clean up the mess,
Pierce stood for a while looking up into the sky, contemplating what the fuck he was even doing out here. All he wanted to do was retire and live a peaceful life on a secluded lake somewhere, maybe with a Great Dane and a parrot. What-the-hell-ever. Anything would be better than this shit.
Pierce turned around and bumped right into the man that had made his last few months a living hell. Fuck. Was he that deep in thought that he hadn’t heard Hawk’s own SUV pull up?
Pierce didn’t say a word. He stared into Hawk’s majestic eyes trying to appear as if he didn’t care and wasn’t affected by them. He watched the purple flecks dance around Hawk’s multi-colored irises. The array of browns, hazel, green, and even gold could put you in a trance at his will. Or maybe it only affected Pierce that way. The colors seemed to change with the man’s mood. Viper told Pierce that when Hawk was aroused, the purple was more vibrant, it was the man’s own personal aphrodisiac – and it fucking worked. Not only could Hawk’s eyes give you instant wood, his vision was impeccable, like nothing Pierce had ever seen in his thirty-five years.
His comrades said Hawk was blessed with sight and perception by a witchdoctor in a Quimbandan villiage when he saved the women’s daughter from being raped by rebel insurgents.
However, Pierce had a hard time believing in that type of thing – witches and warlocks – but hell, he did believe in what his own eyes could see. The average naked human eye can see the faint glimmer of light from thirty miles away. Hawk could easily quadruple that – so explain it; he could not.
“Something on your mind, Backhander?” Hawk’s eyes stayed on him, locking him in place. Stay cool.
“Yes. I commanded you to stand down. I wanted those men alive for interrogation. Dead suspects can’t help me,” Pierce said while staring at Hawk’s forehead.
Hawk raised one corner of his sexy mouth and stepped in closer to him. “I follow no one’s commands. My allegiance is to the Beastmasters, not the DEA, not the FBI, not the CIA, and for damn sure, not you.” Hawk accented each statement with a step closer to Pierce. “You’re fooling yourself if you think by running off a few high-ranking smugglers and traffickers that you’re making a difference. When you cut off the snake’s tail, he grows another one.”
After repeatedly backing up from Hawk’s advances, Pierce’s back was up against the side of the eighteen-wheeler. It was just him and Hawk, the dark stillness of the night, and one massive-ass gun at his side. The rifle was over half the length of the man wielding it.
Pierce looked down at the weapon and back up into Hawk’s eyes. “Do you have the safety switched on on that thing?”
Hawk snorted at Pierce’s comment. “Safety? No. Why? Are you afraid of my weapon, Backhander?”
Damn this man has no respect for personal space.
“You need to back the fuck up.” Pierce tried to inject some venom into his voice. Hawk had his entire body pressed up against him, his six-foot four inch height making his shoulder length brownish-blond hair fall down onto Pierce’s face, cocooning him from the cool breeze coming off the mountains of Roanoke, Virginia. “
First, I want to clarify a couple of things, Backhander. This sexy beauty beside me is my weapon, and don’t you worry, it would never be used to harm one hair on that pretty little head of yours. Now this is my gun.” Hawk thrust his cock hard into Pierce’s front, making him grunt at the pain and holy fuck, the pleasure. “You keep accusing me of ‘liking to get my gun off’, right?” Hawk smiled down on him. He lowered his plush lips to Pierce’s ear and groaned against it.
Pierce closed his eyes. God help me.
“You keep shooting of that sexy mouth of yours Backhander, and I’m going to show you just how I get my motherfuckin’ gun off,” Hawk hissed.
Pierce pushed at Hawk’s much larger frame but of course he didn’t budge – he never did.
“Back-off damnit. I told you I’m not interested,” Pierce argued weakly.
“I see differently, beautiful. But that’s okay.” Hawk backed up. “I’ll leave you to it, and watch you come around.”
Hawk made his way to the back of the eighteen-wheeler and hoisted himself and his weapon into the trailer. Pierce tried not to look at Hawk’s ass in the loose army fatigues, or the way his back muscles rippled underneath his army green t -shirt. Pierce didn’t look away fast enough and he knew he’d been caught ogling.
Hawk flashed him a shit-eating grin, and winked at Pierce right before he slammed the metal doors. Cocky bastard.
Book 2 is recommended to read first.
The Story of ALPHA, CALL, OMEGA & LION ALONG WITH A COUPLE OTHER FAVORITES
It’s been a couple years since Commander John Marion – the US Navy’s most decorated SEAL – hung up his dog tags, choosing his cherished Alpha over war.
Call and Alpha have settled comfortably into their carefree lives nestled in the mountains of South Carolina. No more combat for the Commander and no more ordered killings for the deadliest assassin in the world.
However, nothing stays peaceful forever.
When Alpha’s brother Omega comes to their secluded home with a distressing message from their Order, Alpha has to answer the call. But what neither of them expect is for the Order to send them a new assassin, one just as deadly as both of them, to seek their counsel and bring them back Persia.
Lion’s commanding presence was not at all what any of them anticipated. Especially Omega. Lion realizes what Omega is to him right away, but the stubborn man fights his every advance. Lion knows he and Omega have to connect if they’re going to be victorious. He was sent to bring back an army but if he can’t get his cherished to yield to him, they are sure to fail.
Call refuses to let Alpha fight a gang of rebel assassins without him. Omega will fight by his brother’s side, no matter what… and Hawk saw them coming for his help before anyone else. Together they’ll fight the toughest opponents they’ve ever faced. As always… these badass warriors are up for the challenge.
This book ends in a HEA and does not end in a cliffhanger.
•Please place the Graphic Art (Poster: RELEASE DAY BLAST) on the homepage within this title.
Call crouched low and pressed his back against the rough bark of the tall Spruce tree and trained his ears to any possible movement in his vicinity. It was too damn dark to see anything. What I wouldn’t do for some night vision goggles right now. But he didn’t have that luxury. He refocused on using his natural senses. He took in a deep but silent breath. Held it and closed his eyes. He heard the suave, lightly accented voice in his head.
Don’t underestimate man’s ability to use the earth as his cover, his weapon, and his shield. Call glided back into the indent in the dense bushes and hunkered down, practically belly crawling to lower ground. He had to stay out of sight. Had to wait for the perfect opportunity to switch from being the hunted to the hunter. Right now. He was the prey. He’d taken a different, jagged route into the vast acres of protected wildness in hopes of throwing his hunter off his game.
He heard the echoes of the Thompson River. Its smooth trickling sounds, different from those of other rivers. Damn. Have I already gone this far? Fuck. Call stilled, his eyes widened at the sound of movement to his left. Goddamnit. Could be an animal. It was Fall and there were plenty of deer, bear and various other wildlife in the Jocassee Georges. He wished those clouds would break so he could get a little moonlight.
His heart beat frantically and he slowly pulled his Ka-Bar from the sheath strapped onto the side of his camouflage fatigues. He listened some more. The sound of crackling leaves on the wilderness floor reached his ears. Snaps and crunches of fallen twigs. The steps were measured. Calculated. They were not the steps of a four-legged beast… they were those of a two-legged man. A stealthy man. Fuck.
Call was up on his feet in a millisecond and sprinting back towards the river. He’d only gotten a few feet when a searing pain hit his left leg. The feeling didn’t have a chance to register in his brain to realize that he’d been caught, because a split second later another shot struck him in his back. An organ shot. He’d bleed out in five minutes or less. “Fuck!” Call screamed to the wildlife flittering above him. He was so close to making it this time.
He turned around and looked down at his leg then back up at the dark forest behind him. He didn’t see his hunter. He squatted down and pulled the canteen from his tactical backpack. He took a long swig of the water and listened to the sounds of the night. He didn’t hear his approach, but he heard the smooth voice.
“You’re dead commander.”
“No shit, Alpha. How’d you do it this time?”
Alpha stood directly behind him, squatted and put his arms around Call’s strong neck. “I can smell you,” he whispered.
Call chuckled deeply. “Get the fuck outta here.” He could feel Alpha’s sexy grin against the base of his throat.
“Seriously. You’re wearing my favorite aftershave. It’s spicy and strong. A scent like nothing else out here.” Alpha gently kissed Call’s pulse, now evenly beating under the damp skin on his neck.
Call pulled Alpha around to his front and the sleek man didn’t hesitate to straddle Call’s large lap. He gripped the back of Alpha’s head. The black, wool skullcap he wore kept him from running his hands through the dark strands of his lover’s hair. Call gently kissed Alpha’s soft lips. They placed languid kisses on each other’s faces. Call knew Alpha loved him more than anything in this world. He never knew such a love could exist, especially for a damaged man like him. The way he looked. He shouldn’t be with a man as beautiful as Alpha.
“I can taste your thoughts, John,” Alpha murmured in his Persian accent against Call’s scared cheek. “Why do you think these things when I’m touching you? Licking you. Fucking you.”
Call leaned back and rested his elbows in the soft soil, staring up at his partner. The moon had emerged from behind the dark clouds, just in time for him to feast on Alpha’s beauty. He shook his head. He had to stop doing this to Alpha. They’d been together two years now. How many times did he need to be reassured that Alpha wasn’t in love with the marred skin which covered the entire left side of his body? He was in love with the man within.
When the almost mythical, legendary assassin breached Call’s headquarters and showed himself to him and his team, Call had thought he’d never seen anything more stunning. But just like there was more to his lethal assassin than his outward appearance, the same applied to him. Call was one of the Navy’s most decorated SEALs. Commanding the country’s elite team, The Beastmasters, for fifteen years. He had dedicated his life to his country, just like his assassin’s had been dedicated to his Order. They both fought for justice and equality, sometimes pitting them against the same criminals and terrorists. Only, Alpha did it a little differently. He had only the laws of his Order to follow. Call had the laws of his country and the orders of his own Commander-in-Chief to follow. So when they encountered each other face-to-face for the first time two years ago while Call and his team were backing up Pierce’s – code name Backhander – mission, Alpha had showed himself to Call. No one having ever laid eyes on the world’s deadliest man… and lived to give a description.
Alpha had put his trust in Call before the man even knew him. Only knew of Call’s reputation. That’d been enough back then. Alpha’s words and actions should be enough for Call now, certainly after all this time. Call snapped upright and gripped Alpha’s forearms and yanked him into his solid chest.
“Yes,” Alpha growled, letting himself be handled by the big soldier. “That’s right. I’m all yours.”
Call rolled them and positioned himself on Alpha’s hard body. The man may be three inches shorter then Call’s 6’4” and under weigh him by almost fifty pounds, but his lover was all firm muscle. A body trained from birth by the Order of Imuma Aga Khan. He dug his hands inside Alphas thin, black pants that enabled him to move so freely, it sure as fuck was a convenience when Call quickly needed to get to Alpha’s thick cock. He was already hard for him. Aching and throbbing. Damn, they had it bad for each other. Alpha tilted his head to the side and let Call bite his throat. A surge of power rolled through Call anytime he had Alpha pinned under him. Fuck, the man’s name alone was an aphrodisiac to a man like Call.
It takes more than perseverance to recover from tragedy…you also need love.
Following a horrific accident that leaves him blind, renowned chef Prescott Vaughan loses his fiancé and all hope for his career. Recovery and confidence in his skills come slowly, along with feelings he hasn’t experienced in a long time when he meets his new neighbor, Dr. Rickson Edwards.
Unlike Prescott, Ric is open about his attraction to men yet has issues that complicate their relationship. A brief separation threatens his hopes for an eventual reunion when Prescott befriends the handsome aspiring chef Blair McKenzie, who wants more than cooking advice.
Ric doubts Pres can let go of the charming southerner, but after an encounter with the sinfully sexy man, he can’t help his attraction as well. Pres feels he must choose but realizes…does he have to?
This book is not part of a series.
The main characters from this book will be supporting characters in Nothing Special IV
Ric was one hundred percent exhausted. Even though he was still off the surgery rotation, he was swamped down in the ER handling small traumas. Halloween night was one of those nights the hospital dreaded…along with every other unofficial holiday. Every one of the hospital staff was either there or on call, andRic handled everything from sugar overdoses to gunshot wounds. Jesus Christ, the damn bar fights are the worst. Assholes getting drunk and pummeling each other—in silly-ass costumes—until they are either pepper-sprayed by the cops or one of them gets brutally injured.
Ric was in deep thought as he made his way into his building. Everything about the shift had royally gotten under his skin. His coworkers had steered clear of him and his foul mood. He’d barked and growled at the nurses and orderlies for everything, whether it was their fault or not. If he hadn’t run into Prescott and his smoking-hot date, then perhaps things wouldn’t have gone so bad. It’d never dawned on him that Pres would eventually move on. Ric was the one who had sworn off relationships since he stormed off Pres’s yacht. How could I be so stupid? Of course he would move on. I just didn’t expect it to be with a man. Sure as fuck not one that looked like a six-foot-two Texas god.
Ric got pissed every time he thought of that man’s face or that sexy accent. His body shook, and his hands clenched. Ric couldn’t say for sure if his panic attacks hadn’t gone undetected by his coworkers tonight or not. However, if Ric was being totally honest, he couldn’t care less. It was five in the morning, and all he could think about was crashing hard. He didn’t even stop and get breakfast at his favorite diner for fear of falling asleep at the counter. Ric trudged through his building lobby and tried to give smiles to some of the staff, but doubted he managed to pull it off. He decided to bypass the stairs, which he usually took in his continuous effort to avoid Pres, but today he just couldn’t make the trek. He was bone tired. Ric leaned his head back against the elevator paneling and watched the numbers light up all the way to floor ten before his eyes drifted shut for the rest of the way. When the doors opened, he came face-to-face with Prescott’s Texan. Fuck me.
Instead of the gorgeous prick getting on the elevator and leaving, the cocky bastard took a couple steps back and leaned against the wall on the opposite side of the hallway and stared openly at him as if he hadn’t a care in the world. His hazel eyes scanned Ric up and down, taking in his disheveled, stressed-out appearance. “Do you have a fucking problem?” Ric growled, refusing to pretend to be cordial to the man even though he was a complete stranger and had done absolutely nothing to him. The man had the nerve to smirk at him and shake his head as if pitying Ric, or perhaps throwing it in Ric’s face that he’d definitely had a better night than he had. Ric did try to hide his anger at knowing the man had slept with his Pres. Why the hell else would he be leaving at five in the damn morning? Unless he delivered newspapers or milk, he had absolutely no reason to be on this floor this time of morning. Bastard. “No, I don’t have a problem,” he drawled slowly, making sure to put extra enunciation on the “I” part of his sentence. “But, obviously, you do. Or else you wouldn’t be scowling at me for no reason.” “Fuck you,” Ric snarled, stepping just a little closer.
He wanted to tear the man’s lips off for talking with that accent. Then he wanted to rip his hands off for daring to touch his Prescott. The man’s probably a male gold digger. “Did you enjoy taking advantage of Prescott? Did you get what you came for?” Ric growled like a rabid animal three inches away from the man’s face, but he’d be damned if the asshole didn’t even flinch at his showcase of fury. No reaction whatsoever. The Texan had one hand casually tucked in his jeans pocket, kicking back one side of his stylish blazer, while he lazily rubbed his other hand over his taut chest and washboard abs that showed through the thin material of his un-tucked dress shirt. Ric hated to admit it, but the man looked well fucked, and he wore it well. “How could you do that to someone like him?” Ric fumed, and it took everything in him to control his rage. If I hit him, no one would know. There’s no one around, no witnesses. It’d be his word against mine. “I knew I’d peg you in less than five minutes.”
The man spoke with one dark brown eyebrow cocked up. He ran his fingers through his bed-tousled dark brown hair and let out an exasperated breath. “Excuse me?” Ric blinked. “Now I know why you were too stupid to hold on to Prescott Vaughan. You were too busy feeling sorry for him. Instead of you seeing a brilliant man, a world-renowned, accomplished chef who happens to be one of the most talented men to ever set foot in a kitchen, you see a needy, helpless man. Ahhh. Now it makes perfect sense.” “Don’t try to act like you know me because you don’t,” Ric growled, still trying to be mindful they were in the hallway of the floor that he lived on. The Texan pushed off the wall and closed the few inches between them. His six feet, two inches of height had him eye to eye with Ric, and the man showed no fear. His handsome face was now a mask of furious anger. “I saw you treat him like shit on the bottom of your shoes last night. I watched him beg you for five fuckin’ minutes of your time, and you spat in his face.
Now, you have the audacity to say I’m mistreating him? Fuck you,” he snarled right back at Ric. Just as fast as the man’s anger came, it disappeared, and he composed himself to reveal that smirk that Ric selfishly rejoiced Pres couldn’t see, because it was sexy as fuck…and the man knew it. Ric watched his competition push the elevator button as he rubbed his hand over his morning stubble before speaking again. “You know what they say, don’t you, Doc? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and Prescott Vaughan is definitely a rare, precious treasure.” The Texan inched in even closer, which surprised the hell out of Ric since they were practically nose to nose. Ric was smacked in the face with a faint soap-and-water fragrance that made his eyelids flutter and his own dick jerk to life. Ric’s half-lidded eyes were riveted to the Texan’s plush lips as he leaned in and whispered directly into Ric’s open mouth. “If you don’t pull your head out of your ass and claim Prescott Vaughan like he wants, I won’t stop until I’ve fucked the sexy strawberry ten ways to Sunday and there’s not a single trace of your existence left in his mind, because with or without you, he needs love, and I was the one there last night to lick his sweet tears when you walked away.” The elevator doors opened at his final words, and the smooth Texan took a few graceful steps backward into the elevator and gave Ric a sexy wink right before the doors closed. Fucking asshole, Ric thought.
e tried to drown his demons, only to find they could swim. Life isn't always fair. Llewellyn Gardner knows that first hand. He was on the fast track—college dreams, a boyfriend—until one night of extreme passion changed everything. Eight years later and out of prison, he still lives with the aftershocks of that night. Everywhere he turns there’s another reminder of crime people insist he committed, so he runs away to a new town to start over.
For Shane Smith, Jr., owner of Smith Construction, there’s something about the gorgeous, misunderstood man with the overly expressive eyes and dark past. Shane sees the good in Llewellyn— it’s why he hired him—and he isn’t going to let the man cut himself off from the world.
Llewellyn isn’t sure what to think about Shane. After years of protecting himself from being tricked twice, he’s worried. What will happen if Shane doesn’t believe the truth about his past?
“Llew, don’t break anything!” Moss halfyelled, halflaughed while his boyfriend chased him around his parents’ mansionsized home.
“Your ass is mine when I catch you... literally!” Llewellyn yelled as he rounded the large kitchen island. His boyfriend was his best friend as well as his lover. In the small town of Emporia, Virginia, they were likely the only gay students in their high school. That anyone knew about. A kid that moved there from Los Angeles a few years back was gay and unashamed of it. He was colorful and flamboyant because he felt free to be himself. The community had been so cruel to him and his family, that they were run out of town so fast Llew didn’t remember the pretty boy’s name. He did remember being envious, though.
It was by sheer accident that Llew and Moss discovered each other’s sexual orientation in the first place. They were football teammates and both attended a party hosted by one of the cheerleaders during their freshman year. Rosie Jameson’s parents were traveling salespeople who left her and her twin sister home alone every couple of weeks. So that meant at least twice a month the teenagers had something fun to do in their drearyfilledwithretirees town. Llew and Moss got shitfaced drunk, and ended up alone in Rosie’s father’s den watching WWF Smack Down. Moss couldn’t hide his hardon while watching the oily, ridiculously hot, and ripped wrestlers writhing and rolling all over each other in the small wrestling ring. When Moss looked horrified that Llew had busted him and was ready to bolt, Llew smirked at him, and pulled up the hem of his long hoodie, exposing his own erection. The conversation they had that night changed their lives. They didn’t immediately fall in love, but things progressed fairly quick ly from that point.
They were so young back then; they just wanted to be friends. They needed someone to talk with openly, a friend they could drop the mask with. The mask they had to wear twenty- fourseven with everyone else.
When Llew got pneumonia in their sophomore year, neither his mom nor dad could afford to take time away from work to stay home with him all day. Moss was there every day before and after school, taking care of him the same way a significant other would. Llew knew then that things had changed between them. He suddenly saw Moss’ blond shaggy hair as sexy instead of messy. He’d noticed that his friend’s once scrawny frame had benefited from their hours in the weight room after school. Now his best friend was seventeen years old, with fashionably tousled hair, bright blue eyes, and a tightly packed body.
“Stop chasing me, I’m tired.” Moss rounded the corner of the media room, and hurdled over the couch in the formal living room like the track star he was.
“Then stop running,” Llew huffed back, quickly closing the distance when Moss slowed down. Llew tackled his boyfriend onto the plush carpet, pinning him beneath his much larger body. He gripped both Moss’ wrists together above his head, and used his other hand to push back the long bangs that had fallen over those blue eyes. He loved Moss so much. They’d been inseparable from the moment they met six years ago. Seamlessly transitioning from friends to lovers, now all they talked about—well, Llew talked about—was leaving for college where he could love on Moss freely.
When they first moved to Emporia, Llew’s father owned a small landscaping business and was contracted to service the mayor’s property. Llew was ticked off he had to help his father every summer. Kids would tease him when they looked out their windows or rode by on their bikes on their way to the YMCA pool. While he hauled away overflowing bags of cut grass, Moss had come out of his mansion and started shooting baskets at the hoop in his immaculately paved driveway, but not before giving Llew a bottle of water and extending him an invite to play along. Although Moss was wealthy, the son of the mayor and sixth generation heir to the McGregor Empire, he never looked down on the working class like his parents did.
The mayor and his wife weren’t bad people; they were wonderful to the townspeople. In spite of that, they always felt that their son could do better than the company he chose to keep. After Llew’s parents died last year in a car accident, they took pity and stopped giving him and his older brother dirty looks. His now twentysixyearold brother was his only living relative and had moved back home to take over their father’s business and make sure Llew graduated.
“You get sexier every day, babe.” Llew ground his stiffening cock into the hard thigh beneath him. “What time are your parents coming home?”
Moss opened his eyes. The usually bright blue irises were the color of the sky before a thunderstorm, dark and smoldering with lust. “Mmm. In about an hour.”
“Damn. I could fuck you so hard right now.” Llew spread his legs wider, and drove down hard, pulling a strained moan from his boyfriend.
“Would you throw me around first? Slam me against the wall and take it has hard and fast as you wanted?” Moss moaned, his hips rising up to meet Llew’s punishing thrusts.
“Ahhh, God. Hell yeah, I would. You’re such a fuckin’ pain slut, babe.” Llew groaned, pulling hard on Moss’ hair. His guy was into hardcore fucking, and Llew couldn’t deny that he loved that shit, too. It was smoking hot. Moss would scream his name, bite, and scratch him while he pounded his tight ass. No matter how hard he fucked him, Moss would beg for more. He loved being tied down, gagged, and even slapped a little. Llew had almost twenty pounds on his track star, so he was careful with him, but oh, how he got a head rush from controlling him. They were limited to backseat fucks most of the time, but every now and then Moss’ parents would be out late at a charity dinner, or some official function, and they’d have well into the night to explore their ever growing need.
“I would love for you to be bad right now, Llew, but you gotta go. I don’t feel like hearing my parents’ shit.”
“Damn. How come they think I’m not a good enough friend for you?” Llew sat up, turning his back to his boyfriend. He pushed his hand through his thick, brown hair. “I’m the fuckin’ star running back on the football team, and I have the eighthhighest GPA in our class. Goddamn. You think they’re setting the bar a tad high on who’s worthy to hang around you?”
Moss rose to his knees and draped his long arms around Llew’s neck. He kissed him softly behind his ear, whispering in that voice that always calmed him. “Soon we’ll be away at college. I’ve already gotten into UCLA, and I know your acceptance letter is coming any day now. The scout couldn’t say enough good things about you, right?”
Llew just slightly nodded his head.
“Okay, then. We’ll be together. No one will give us a second look if we’re holding hands there. Or kissing. Or touching.” Moss punctuated each statement with a kiss to Llew’s neck.
“What if your dad finds out we’re seeing each other while you’re in school? What if he stops paying your tuition, or rent, or some shit? Would you like... stop seeing me?”
“Stop worrying. Damn. You’re driving me crazy with all these questions.” Moss stood abruptly, walking further into the media room, fixing the pillows they’d knocked off the couch during their roughhousing. Eliminating any trace that Llew had been there.
Moss had begun to insist that Llew not be around when his parents were home, anymore. Said it was easier for him. How? Llew had no idea. As far as anyone was concerned, they were friends. Just like so many other kids at school.
“Hey. Alright, I’m sorry. You’re right. Being together is all that matters. We’ll always be together.” Llew cupped Moss’ cheek, tilting his head up to look at him. He didn’t comment on the look he saw in his guy’s eyes, but he noted something was off. He’s probably stressed with exams and everything coming up. He didn’t have time to think about it any longer, since the front door beeped to indicate someone was coming in.
Moss pushed him away, almost causing him to fall over the low coffee table in front of the couch. “Shit, babe, calm—”
“Don’t fuckin’ call me that. Are you crazy? Hurry up! Get your stuff,” Moss whispered harshly, his eyes wide and terrified. It wasn’t like they were in there getting high or something.
Llew shouldn’t have let Moss’ words bother him, but they did. You would’ve thought he was on the Feds’ most wanted list the way his boyfriend was acting. He yanked his backpack off the floor and slung it over his shoulder. When he got to the marble foyer, he tried to ignore the disdainful look Moss’ father threw him.
“Good evening, Mayor McGregor, Mrs. McGregor, how are you?” Llew said in his most polite voice.
“Oh. Hello, Llewellyn. I’m just fine, thank you. If you’ll excuse me,” Mrs. McGregor said, on her way past him. She never wasted time on pleasantries with him.
“What are you boys up to at this late hour?” Mayor McGregor stood eyeing them cautiously, one hand in the pocket of his dress pants, the other leaning on the mahogany foyer table.
Llew looked at his watch. It’s not even seven o’clock. “Um, I just stopped by to give Moss his AP History notes back. He loaned them to me—”
“Why don’t you have your own notes, Mr. Gardner?” Mayor McGregor said, standing taller and removing his suit jacket, his face tight and impassive.
“Father. Remember I told you—”
“Mr. Gardner can speak for himself.” Moss’ dad cut him off.
Llew looked back at his friend and saw how he hung his head at his father’s tone. “A couple guys on by brother’s crew caught the flu, so I missed my last two classes on Monday to help out at the business.”
“I see,” Mayor McGregor said casually. “Why don’t you two step into my office for a quick chat?”
“Father, Llew’s brother is waiting for him.”
“Sir, I know you’re extremely busy. I didn’t mean to infringe on your family’s time.”
Both of them were trying to avoid any type of chat, conversation, powwow, or anything else with Moss’ father. He was intolerant to say the least; but whatever he wanted to discuss with them wasn’t going to be fun.
“I’ll be brief.” His tone and his expression said that it wasn’t an option.
Moss sat ramrod straight in one of the two wingback chairs facing his father’s large desk. Llew placed his backpack on the floor and gingerly sat in the other chair. He wasn’t slouching, but he wasn’t about to sit at attention like he was in front of the President of the United States, either. Although the design of Mayor McGregor’s office could fool you into thinking you were; it was even ovalshaped. The American flag stood tall behind him, just in front of the royal blue curtains flanking the window. The wall was adorned with degrees from UCLA and Harvard. Expensiveframed pictures of Mayor McGregor with influential politicians were mounted on the adjacent wall, and sat on three large bookcases. Llew’s head whipped around from the massive thirty bytwentyinch framed family painting when Mayor McGregor cleared his throat.
“How’s the business going for your brother, Llewellyn?”
Llew looked to his boyfriend, but of course, his head was tucked low, not meeting his father’s eyes. Well, this pompous bastard didn’t intimidate Llew. His father had instilled good moral values in him and his brother before his death. Llew had no reason to hang his head.
“Business is doing well, sir. Leslie’s even picked up some commercial properties in Colonial Heights. He’s had to hire a third crew to cover the demand,” Llew said proudly. His brother had really done well with his father’s legacy.
“Are you going to be joining his crew after you graduate in a couple months?” Mayor McGregor inquired casually. He had dismissed Llew’s proud statement, continuing to follow his own agenda, without bothering to look at Llew as he shuffled some papers around on his executivestyle desk.
“Yes, sir. I’m going to work for him like I do every summer. Then I’ll be leaving for college in the fall,” Llew said, trying unsuccessfully to meet Moss’ eyes.
Mayor McGregor’s bushy eyebrows shot up, almost to his hairline. “Oh, really. Ahh, yes. You probably got an athletic scholarship.”
“Yes, sir, I did.”
“What school have you chosen?”
“I haven’t yet, sir. I’m still waiting to hear back from my first choice.”
Moss finally turned his head towards him, eyes begging. What the hell? Llew looked tiredly at his boyfriend, knowing that he was pleading with Llew not to mention the possibility of him attending UCLA. Honestly, though, how was that going to be a secret any longer, once he was accepted? Word traveled quickly in their parts. No doubt, his big brother would be bragging all over town, too. It had been his parents’ dream for both of their sons to go to college. Unfortunately, Leslie had to leave during his second year in graduate school to bury his parents and take care of Llew.
“And your first choice?” he asked impatiently.
Llew and Moss continued to watch each other. Moss’ brows scrunched together with annoyance. Fuck that. Llew was pissed now. True, they were both in the closet; because it just wasn’t worth the trouble to come out in their town. He hated when Moss made him feel like he wasn’t even worthy of being his friend. Why couldn’t they go to the same school? UCLA was ranked number twentythree in the nation’s top universities. It took more than just the ability to catch a football to get in. Moss should be proud of him, not only as his boyfriend, but as his best friend.
“Virginia Tech, sir.”
“Mmm. They have a good athletic program. You should fit right in, Mr. Gardner.”
Llew’s jaw was clamped shut so tight, it ached. He released a calm breath before adding, “They have a topranked engineering program, sir; since I also have an academic scholarship.” Llew held back his grin at the faint redness that was creeping over the mayor’s pristine white collar. Llew had already been accepted to Virginia Tech, but he couldn’t stand the thought of being twentyfour hundred miles away from his boyfriend.
If his father were here, he’d tell Mayor McGregor exactly what he thought of his son’s athletic and his academic accomplishments. He wouldn’t let anyone talk down to him. He wanted to do his father proud, but he loved Moss, he’d do anything for him. They only had to endure this bullshit a little while longer.
“You know Moss will be attending the family alma mater, UCLA, to carry on the McGregor tradition. You boys have been inseparable since middle school and I’ve tolerated it because it—”
“I’m sorry, sir. Tolerated it?” Llew interjected, his anger quickly bubbling to the surface.
Mayor McGregor sat forward, his hand tightly gripping the polished surface of his desk. “Yes, tolerated it. Boys will be boys. Now it’s time for Moss to grow up and be a man, leaving childish things behind. He has a duty and obligation to his family’s name.”
Llew didn’t know why he looked at Moss then, but he did. How could he sit there and allow his father to degrade someone he loved like that? Did Moss consider him to be a “childish thing” in his life?
“I understand, sir. I best be getting home now, my brother and I have plans,” Llew said as respectfully as he could muster, already standing and slinging his book bag over his shoulder. They had nothing more to discuss.
Detective Cashel 'Cash' Godfrey is big, tattooed and angry so people typically keep their distance. He's fresh out of the police academy, however, no one is looking to partner with the six foot four beast with a huge chip on his shoulder and an inability to trust. When Cash scans the orientation room he wasn't expecting to find sexy hazel eyes locked onto him. Eyes of the handsome Detective Leonidis 'Leo' Day.
Leo is charming, witty, hilariously sarcastic and the only one that can make Cash smile. He’s proud, out and one bad-ass detective.
Together Cash and Leo become the most revered and successful narcotics detectives Atlanta’s ever seen. Able to communicate and understand each other, without even having to voice it, they quickly climb up the promotional ranks.
When Cash saves Leo's life in a raid that turns deadly, Leo begins to see something in the big man that no one else does…something special. But Leo fears he'll never break through the impenetrable wall that protects Cash's heart.
Nothing Special takes the reader through various emotions throughout the richly fulfilling plot that’s full of erotic gay romance, heartache, passion, trials and tribulations, police action scenes, and an intriguing twist that comes to an amazing ending that’s impossible to see coming.
Review 1 ~ Reviewed by the Blogger Girls
"Wow, this one was hot stuff! I loved these guys right from the get go. They have been detective partners for four years, and right from the beginning when Cash (or God, as he is mostly known) stood up for Leo against a seemingly homophobic officer, they were the perfect match. They have such wonderful chemistry even as friends with lots of fabulous banter and joking around. But when they take things to the next level, they are smokin!
Leo is out and proud, and Cash is a big grumbly (straight?) hard ass. But Leo has no trouble seeing through his gruffness, and I loved how he always knew just how to handle Cash. Cash has a pretty big secret though, and eventually circumstances force it out into the open throwing everyone into a kind of tailspin for a while. Cash did not have a very good childhood, and his mother and brother are completely oblivious and even turn away when they learn the truth. But Leo is there for him, through thick and thin, having his back both on the job and off.
As for the job, they are tracking down drug kingpins, so they are busy going on raids and leading the other officers as the leading team on the cases. So, there is plenty of action in their professional, as well as personal lives. There were times that I thought things were a smidge unbelievable or that there wasn’t any way things could possibly happen that way in real life (mainly regarding to their jobs), and calling Cash “God” throughout most of the story kept throwing me off, but I was definitely not disappointed, as this was one hot, fast paced read.
As an aside, it wasn’t until Cash referenced his chef friend and college roommate, Prescott, that I made the connection to Prescott Vaughn from You Can See Me, which I also recommend.
Additionally, these guys are completely committed to each other, but they do end up playing with another couple. I found this to be really hot stuff, but some people might not feel the same.
Regardless, Ms. Via has grown with each book I’ve read and definitely on my auto-read list. This was no exception, and I look forward to more, including a follow up to this story."
Reviewed by Tina from the Novel Approach (see the rest of her review under the 'Tours Page')
Review 2 ~ "Honey all I can say is WOW! Damn girl, this one is smoking hot, the chemistry between Leo and Cash, holy shit!!!! This is the closest thing I have ever read that could possibly surpass Cut & Run series, I absolutely adore Ty and Zane. God and Day is your Ty and Zane, you could keep these two going on and on and on and we would read it. I have never felt this way about two other characters since I started reading M/M 6 months ago (And I have absorbed a lot of books in that time). The writing, the wit, the chemistry is A+ smoking hot and we are determined that everyone know this"
Review 3 ~ "I'm simmering over this story right now. These two characters jump out of the pages and into your heart. You can't help but love them and feel for them. They're funny, sexy, and serious. All the emotions are there, making them almost like they're living humans. These two will always have a place in my heart, I love them that much!! And BTW...I really want to own a pair of desert eagles. God makes them sexy as fuck! These 2 characters are just absolutely wonderful."
“Hey, hold on Leo.” Johnson grabbed the evidence bag and jogged over to the door pausing in front of Day. He leaned against the door jamb and propped his arm up on the wall beside Day’s head. Day hated when men used their height to stand over him…it irked his nerves...all men except for God. Day refused to look up at him. “You busy this Friday? My dad got me box tickets to the Braves game.”
“Good for daddy, Johnson, but I’m not a baseball fan.” Day lied and sidestepped to head out the door but was again blocked by the tall man. Day heard God let out a small growl from farther in the room but chose to ignore it.
“That’s cool Leo.” Johnson was damn near standing on top of him as he spoke, but he’d be damn if he was going to back up. “So just talking would be nice…would you like to come over to my place tonight for a glass of wine?”
“Not even if Jesus was pouring it.” Day responded quickly.
He heard God let out a loud laugh and it made him turn up the corner of his mouth at the sound of it. God rarely laughed- hell the man rarely smiled - but somehow, Day could make him do both.
“What the fuck are you laughing at God?” Johnson moved away from Day.
“You. Daddy’s boy.” God’s smile left as fast as it came and he was back to typical intimidating God.
“Fuck you. I know Day is just showing off for you.” Johnson turned back to look at Day. “I’ll be sure to catch you when you’re alone.”
“I’ll be sure to have my rape whistle.” Day retorted.
Johnson turned a frustrated look at God. “I’m not finished with you yet, either,” with that hanging in the air, Johnson walked out the room.
“Duly noted.” God said with an uninterested shrug. Day slammed the door behind Johnson, closing just him and his partner in the room alone. Day hit the lights. “Setting the mood, Leo?” God grinned at him.
“I want to talk to you now.”
“You can’t always get what you want, Leonidis.” God rebutted.
“I want you.” Day said with no hesitation. The room was deathly silent.
After a few long seconds God responded simply, “No you don’t.”
“I do. Isn’t it obvious?” Day moved a little closer.
“You don’t know what the fuck you want. I’ve watched you for four years, jump from bed-to-bed and fuck your way through half of Atlanta. I have one emotional night and all of a sudden you want me…fuck you.” God said in his gruffest voice.
Day’s body heated instantly at the sound. He moved even closer to where God was standing on the opposite side of the table. “Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was supposed to be saving myself for marriage, and even more so, I didn’t realize you were a goddamn virgin. How many women have I seen you fuck in that pussy-getting truck of yours, huh?” Day lowered his voice as he stood directly in front of God. “Just tell me you didn’t feel what I did last night,” he closed the small gap, not minding God’s height at all, and looked up into electric green eyes. “Tell me you don’t want me too, and I’ll back the fuck off.”
God looked down on him and Day could see the uncertainty all over that ruggedly handsome face. “Shits complicated, Leo.” God’s breath ghosted across his forehead.
“Make me understand, Cashel.” Day whispered and slowly brought his hands up to rest on God’s waist.
“What makes you think I’m gay or bi?” God asked avoiding Day’s request.
“Really? Maybe it’s this that makes me think that.” Day boldly palmed and squeezed God’s rock hard erection.
“Fuck.” God hissed. God grabbed Day’s shoulders and quickly moved him backwards until his back slammed hard into the wall.
“Fuck yeah. That’s it.” Day groaned. He held on tight while God hoisted him up against the wall and attacked his mouth. It wasn’t pretty or gentle. God kissed him with a fury that he hadn’t felt in years. It was erotically carnal, wicked, and Day loved every second. His feet dangled as God’s bulk pushed hard against him keeping him immobile and under his control.
“This what you want, you sexy fucker?” God snarled in his ear, then leaned in and bit the juncture of his neck that met with his shoulder.
“Augh, yes! I want you goddammit.” Day hissed into the darkness.
“Prove it.” God released him and Day dropped back to the ground. He immediately felt the loss of God’s heat and had to resist the urge to claw at the man. Day palmed his hard erection.
“Seriously. This isn’t fucking proof enough?” He said while seductively squeezing his cock and licking his red lips now full and pump from their kiss.
“I don’t give a damn about your wood. You get a hard-on when you drink coffee Leo.” God grabbed his coat and headed to the door. “If you want it, you’ll have to earn it.”
Day stalked over to him. “Did you make all those other bitches you fucked earn it first?” Day fumed. Not liking that God was thinking of playing a come-and-get-it game with him. God spun around fast and gripped Day around his throat, pulling him into his rock hard chest. Day hit that solid wall of muscles with a thud and the air rushed out of his lungs. Day put both his hands on God’s huge forearms that flexed against his touch. God bent his head and a few strands of his hair came a loose from the elastic band and brushed against the side of Day’s face. God looked and smelled so fucking delicious, like masculinity and aftershave. Day knew the grip on his neck was not to hurt him, it was to show him who was in charge. God’s sheer strength and power had Day feeling like he could come right there in the small conference room.
“Oh, so you want to be my bitch?” God’s mouth was at the base of his ear. He roughly ground his pelvis into Day’s stomach while the other hand got a firm grip in his hair at the back of his head. “Why didn’t you just say so? You want me to have you face down and ass up in my truck? Then we can go do that right fucking now.” God loosened his grip on Day’s hair and let the large hand around his throat turn into gentle caress. He smoothed down Day’s hair and leaned in and took a large sniff before nuzzling the side of his face. Day couldn’t have stopped the unmanly whimper if he’d tried. God dragged two fingers down his throat and gently stroked his collar bone. His breathing was now even and calm, surprisingly relaxing Day as well. God kissed Day’s temple before speaking in a seductive whisper against the side of his face. “Or do you want me to put on one of your jazz records and lay your beautiful body down on your bed and slowly lick you from head to toe?” God ran a thumb over Day’s parted lips.
“I would kiss these soft lips for hours before I let you wrap them around my cock.” God let loose the sexiest fucking growl he’d ever heard while he oh so slowly massaged Day’s leaking cock that was confined uncomfortably in his jeans. “Then, I’d lie on top of you and bury my dick so deep inside you that you’d feel me for days.” God taunted sexily. Day felt God’s breath shutter and he knew the man was enjoying the visual just as much as he was. “I’d fuck you slow and deep Leo until you cum screaming my name.” God released his dick. “So tell me…which one do you want?”
Day had to figure out how to speak again before he was finally able to reply. “Yes, Cashel. I want you in my bed.”
“Then prove it.” God laid a lingering, gentle kiss on his forehead before stepping back from him and leaving the conference room.?
Sergeant Corbin 'Syn' Sydney had dedicated his life to becoming the best detective. So when he heard there was an opening on the notorious Atlanta Narcotics Task Force, he jumped at the chance. But, what he wasn't ready for was realizing just how lonely he’d made himself, when he observed the loving and dedicated relationship between the two men he served under: Lieutenant Cashel ‘God’ Godfrey and Lieutenant Leonidis Day.
Syn prepared himself to accept his lonely fate until he walked into a small pub and met the long-haired, tattooed bartender, Furious Barkley. Before Syn can even understand why, he’s overcome with feelings he barely recognizes: passion, yearning, craving. And if the dark, lustful gazes are anything to go by, Furious might be feeling the same things for him.
Just two thing needs to happen before Syn and Furi can give each other what’s been missing from their lives for so long... Syn needs to find the evidence that proves Furi’s innocence of murder, as well as protect him from a past that refuses to let go.
God, Day, Ronowski, and Johnson are still as entertaining as ever...
You'll swoon over God's massive take-charge attitude...
You'll laugh hysterically at Day's never-ending wit...
You'll fall in love with Furious' mysterious, sexy demeanor...
You'll embrace Syn...
Syn had walked back into the pub and saw Furi wasn’t behind the bar. What really caught his attention was the two brick shit-houses in suits that were sitting there before were also missing. Syn’s sixth sense, the one that had always kept him two steps ahead, was propelling him forward, telling him to move faster. Syn ignored the curious glance from Furi’s uncle behind the bar, as he rushed toward the back door, pulling out his two-way radio as he ran. He heard the chirp and spoke into the receiver, “God, step on it. I think I got a problem.”
“On it,” God answered back in a serious tone.
Syn burst through the door at full speed and quickly took in the scene at the end of the alley. One of the men had his thick hands around Furi’s neck, choking the life out of him, yelling in his face about ‘never leaving him again.’ Shit, Furi’s husband. The other guy was leaning up against the brick wall holding one of his knees, looking pale and sick from pain. Syn figured he’d worry about him later. He hurled his fist into the ribcage of the man holding Furi, and he went down from the momentum of the blow but Syn knew he only had a few seconds before Ex-husband recovered and was back up again. But his first priority was Furi. For the most part he looked alright, there was no blood or bruising so Syn placed himself in front of his man and trained his eyes back on the two men who were staring at him in shock and rage.
“There must be a misunderstanding. This is no business of yours.”
“And you are?” Syn gritted through clenched teeth, already knowing the answer to that question, trying to stall a few minutes to get his anger under control.
“No one of consequence to you. But you’re standing between me and my husband, so I’m going to give you one chance to leave.”
Syn shook his head slowly. “You got that wrong. I’m standing between you and your ex-husband.” In that moment Syn saw the man’s eye’s go from an intriguing light gray to a haunting ashen gray like the sky before a thunderstorm. He was angry and Syn knew things were about to take a turn for the fucked.
“Furious is my husband. Like it or not. He belongs to me.”
“Belongs to you? So you can abuse him whenever you like and then let your pussy brother step in when you get tired?” Syn stepped closer. “I don’t fucking think so.”
The Ex tried to look around Syn, speaking to Furi. “Honey, come back home. I’ve changed. I will never hurt you again: I swear on my life.”
“Bullshit. He doesn’t believe you and I damn-sure don’t believe you,” Syn argued.
“I don’t have to convince you of anything.”
“The hell you don’t. I’m the main one you have to convince.”
The Ex put his hands out as if gesturing at his surroundings. “I came all the way here to get him. That’s enough. I’m here aren’t I?”
“So are the dumpsters,” Syn answered with a bored expression.
“You calling me trash,” Ex growled.
“No. Trash would be too nice a word. Do you really want to know what I would call you?” Syn smirked, his smile morphing quickly to a snarl before he spoke again, “Furi belongs to me now. If you want him you’re going to have to go through me to get him.”
Syn felt Furi pulling at his arm. Without taking his eyes off the Ex, he turned just slightly to hear what Furi had to say.
“This is not your fight it’s mine,” Furi hissed in his ear.
Syn fought the urge to roll his eyes. Yeah, you were really kicking ass when I got here. Syn looked up the alley seeing God and Day turn the corner and walk toward them, looking like two renegade bikers. God in his black, mid-thigh length leather coat, black clothes, his long hair flowing down his back, and black Timberland boots that you did not want to be on the receiving end of a kick from. Day in is tight leather jacket, black cargo pants, and Jordans. They looked like thugs, not cops.
Syn pulled Furi to his chest. “Furi, I want you to go back through the bar and go wait at my place. I’m going to have a little chat with your ex-husband,” Syn said extra loudly.
Furi huffed in annoyance, “Syn, I took six months of self-defense courses at the YMCA this year. I can fight for myself.”
Syn looked at Furi like he’d lost his damn mind. “At the Y? Well hell, that’s great Furious. If you ever get jumped by the Village People, feel free to pull out those moves. As for now, I want you to take your karate-kicking-YMCA-going-ass back to my apartment,” Syn snarled at Furi, urging him toward the door, having neither the time nor the patience to argue with his ridiculous pride. Thankfully, with one final glare Furi went back into the pub. When Syn turned back, God and Day were looking back and forth between him and his two foes.
“What’s going on here, fellas?” God asked casually, not acknowledging Syn.
“You look like you’re no stranger to a good fight. I’ll give you five hundred dollars if you’ll kick this idiot’s ass.” Ex-husband stood up straighter with an evil grin on his face directed at Syn, as if he’d just come up with the best, most diabolical plan ever. He straightened his tie and attempted to brush some of the grime off of his too-expensive suit as he waited for God’s answer.
Day looked Syn up and down as if he was sizing him up, shrugged his shoulders and turned to look at God. “What do you think?”
“You know I’ve never been one to turn down easy money.” God rubbed his hand over his beard stubble, giving Syn a wicked look before turning back to ex-husband and brother-in-law. “So both of you big motherfuckers against this one guy and you couldn’t take him down?”
“Don’t ask any questions. Do you want the money or not? This piece of shit is standing between me and something very important to me and I need him eliminated.”
Who the fuck did this guy think he was, fucking Tony Soprano? Eliminated. Syn clenched his fist over and over desperately wanting to teach this guy a lesson, beat it through his thick head that Furi was Syn's now and would never be any concern of his again.
Day stepped a little closer. “Alright, but it will be one thousand dollars each.”
Ex-husband didn’t even blink about the two thousand dollar ante. He pulled out his wallet and quickly counted off the right number of crisp one hundred dollar bills, slapping them into Day’s outstretched hand. Day took the bills and folded them in half, tucking them into his pocket. He backed up, returning to God’s side and nodded his head at Syn. “As you were.”
“Hey wait just a damn minute,” Brother-in-law piped up, but it was too late. Day had given Syn his cue. He quickly closed the distance between him and the Ex, giving him no time to put up his guard before he slammed his right fist into his jaw, followed by a quick left upper-cut. His opponent stumbled back, but just as Syn thought, the guy could take a punch. Ex-husband swung wide right, aiming at Syn’s temple, which he easily dodged. Desperate to gain the upper hand, Ex thought it was a good idea to just rush Syn and knock him off his feet, but that attempt was futile as well. Syn brought his booted foot up and connected it with the man’s mid-section, causing him to double over. Syn didn’t miss a breath. He quickly yanked Ex’s head into the crook of his arm, and delivered three knees to his gut in rapid succession. Syn loved the grunts and shouts of pain coming from this asshole. It felt so good to kick this guy’s ass for Furi that Syn was afraid he might not be able to stop.
Ex crumpled like a piece of paper, going down on both knees, but Syn wasn’t ready for it to be over. He looked the man in the eye, cocked his right hand back again and sent a crucial punch dead center in that pretty face, fairly sure that he knocked a couple of teeth loose and permanently re-structured his nose. Ex flew onto his back, clutching his nose, spitting and grimacing at the pain he was surely going to feel for the next couple months.
Syn caught movement in his peripheral, but he’d been prepared for the brother-in-law’s cheap sneak attack. Before he could reach Syn, Day moved like a cobra, quick and precise, extending his arm straight out, swinging it hard, striking the brother-in-law in the throat before he could get anywhere close to Syn. He went down hard, grabbing at his throat, wanting to scream from the pain but unable to. No sound was coming out. His eyes were wide with shock as Day stared down at him, admiring his handiwork. Day looked back at his lover, enjoying the prideful look on God's face.
So it was true. Those two really got off on being complete badasses.
“This fucking city is full of nothing but thugs, money grubbing porn-bitches, and hustlers. I’m calling the police.” Ex fumed as he struggled to pull his cell from his pocket.
If Syn weren't so damn angry it would’ve been funny as shit the way the man’s jaw dropped when God and Day both pulled their gold badges out from under their shirts. Day smiled that sinister grin and kneeled in front of them, speaking in an official tone, “911, what is your emergency?”
With the brother taken care of, he was able to focus on his real problem. “Get up,” Syn growled. The bastard put his hand up to ward off Syn’s approach. Syn grasped the outstretched hand and frowned at the diamond wedding band glistening on the man’s ring finger. Syn twisted the finger, forcing the palm up and used it to jerk him to his feet roughly, making him cry out in agony. “Furi belongs to me. If you ever come near him again, I won’t be as nice as I was today. He wants a divorce, sign the papers or don’t sign the papers; I don’t give a fuck, just stay away from him.” Syn twisted and pulled tighter. A few more inches and he’d break the goddamn finger. Syn was reaching behind his back for his S&W; the urge to make the guy a permanent non-factor, strong. “Stay far, far away. Am I making myself clear?”
“Enough.” God’s gruff, distinctive voice snapped Syn back to reality.
Ex spat blood on the dirty concrete. Snot and sweat dripped down his face as he pinned Syn with a look that seemed to say, ‘Fine, if you want Furi you can have him and by the way, fuck you’.
“That works for me.” Syn threw the ex’s hand down and backed up a few steps, stopping himself from doing something that would cost him his shield. Thankfully God was there. He was relatively sure that ex-husband and his brother wouldn’t be filing a police report since Syn had intercepted them in the process of assault and attempted kidnapping.
“Leave. Now. I never want to see your pathetic asses in this city again, or I’ll make sure there’s no one around to stop me from doing what I really want to do.” Syn crouched down to where Patrick had dropped as soon as Syn released his hand and stared into those scared, gray eyes. He pulled his badge out and flashed it at Ex, briefly enjoying the look of disbelief on that bruised face before whispering harshly, “I know how to hide a body. I’ll put you where no one can smell you.”
Neither one of the men waited around to see if Syn meant what he said. They clambered to their feet and hobbled down the alley, halfway holding each other up, not looking back. Once they were gone, Syn lifted his head to look at his Lieutenants. He knew how close he’d been to putting a bullet in that bastard’s head, because all he kept picturing were that man’s hands wrapped around Furi’s throat. Syn hadn’t lost control in a long time, and he wondered what that meant. How deep did his feelings for Furi run?
Detectives Mark Ruxsberg and Chris Green are very good at their jobs. Being the enforcers for God and Day's notorious Atlanta PD Narcotics Task Force causes the crazy duo to get into more trouble than they can often get out of. The pair never misses out on an opportunity to drive their Lieutenants crazy with their dangerous, reckless, and costly stunts, landing them in the hot seat in front God... often.
Ruxs and Green love their jobs and they don't mind the very demanding schedule that leaves them little time for socializing or dating. It was fine with them, they enjoyed hanging out with each other anyway.
However, most of the men in their close circle of friends and colleagues are pairing off and settling down. God has Day, Ro has Johnson, and their Sergeant Syn has Furious.
For the past several years, Ruxs has only sought out the advice and company of one person, his partner and best friend Green, and vice versa. Both of these alpha males are presumed straight, but neither can deny the heat that's building in their once 'just friends' relationship.
Review ~ By: Christina Wade
adrienne hit it out of the park again with this one. i liked it as much as nothing special. i literally said 'aw' out loud so many times during this book...just made me sigh. of course these guys are alpha badasses but when their sweet comes out, it just gives you the feels.
ruxs is struggling...with his relationship with his mother and with his newly discovered sexuality. he wants more and he's pretty sure he wants it with his other half - his partner green. he just doesn't know how to tell him. i don't want to give too much away but man, when he finally let's green know...oh man that was a great scene.
green has been in love with ruxs for a while but has hidden his feelings because ruxs has never shown interest in men and he'll take him any way he can have him. he is fiercely protective of ruxs and is just so endearing.
curtis - the kid that god & day caught robbing a store way back when - plays a big role in this book and i absolutely love not only him but his part in this story. and there is some nice foreshadowing of things to come for him leaving you wanting the next book right now!
god, day and syn are in this book quite a bit and just as great as always. vicky plays a big role too and she's pretty great still.
Review ~ By: Erin
A.E. did it again with this book. I just loved this book about Ruxs and Green. Green is big while Ruxs was straight. Ruxs started developed stronger feelings for his partner as time went on. It Ruxs some time and a lot turmoil to understand what he felt for Green. Despite everything these two fell in love and made their relationship work for each other. This book made me sad,mad, and happy. I can not wait for the next book.
Review By: Marsherri Pierce
Love Love Love this serious, this book, and this author!!
Just finished Here Comes Trouble! I am not an over critical reader and I have seen a lot of reader mention that crap as it pertains to your books and to that I say whatever! Now if anyone has one bad thing to say about this book they just don't like anything but complaining...this story was amazing and I have read all your books but one! The story was so entertaining from start to finish. The MC were awesome, I laughed I cried I want to punch that women in the throat. I mean I just do not feel like I have the words to say how good this was, it is hands down my favorite and that's saying a lot. I don't care what others say because for me you have yet to disappoint and I will always support your work. Damn good story gurl...damn good!!!!! Thank You So Much For Sharing Your Talent With US!!!!!
Review By: AngelWTattoos
Nothing Special series is Something Special!
Another winner from A.E. Via! The Nothing Special series that features Book 1-Nothing Special and Book 2-Embracing his Syn, is continuing with Book 3-Here Comes Trouble. Detectives Mark Ruxsberg and Chris Green are the enforcers for God and Day's Tactical Narcotics Team in ATL and they are the bad ass front men for the team of huge, dangerous, not to be f**ked with cops. Each of the team are strong but infinitely caring for one another, always having their guys' back when needed. Ruxs and Green are partners who have begun to notice that all the guys seem to be pairing off with their partners and that they are all happier now. And both Ruxs and Green want that, and who better to have it with than the person that knows them better than anyone else? Enjoy their story as they both struggle to come to terms with the changes that are happening in their lives, both with one another and with pother outside forces. You will be so glad you did!
“Uhn huh.” Ruxs said again for the hundredth time, tipping back his draft beer. It was the only sound he’d been able to get in edgewise. He looked at his watch and back towards the door again. Where is he? He’s better not have lied to me. Ruxs knew that wasn’t the case. They didn’t lie to each other… ever.
“So. Yeah. I was so excited to get transferred to records ya know. Because everyone has to come down there. I get to talk to everyone and get the scoop on everything going on. I consider my department the hub or the communications center.” She giggled and it sounded like nails on a chalk board. “And it’s so easy. I get to leave pretty much anytime I feel like it. Someone puts in their request and I just get to it the next day, sometimes. But I try to be there most of the time. It’s not just me in there. It’s me, and Fowler, and Christianson, and Veracruz, and —.”
“Yeah. I know. I’ve been down there.” Ruxs cut her off, just refraining from rolling his eyes. Why does she feel the need to fill every moment of silence? Ruxs picked up the menu and she followed suit. Maybe she’ll be quiet for a minute.
“I know. I’ve seen you down there.”
So much for wishful thinking.
“I love to see you coming down the hall. You’re so big and have so many muscles.” She practically bounced in the booth across from him. “I was wondering when you were going to get around to asking me out. I mean, geez. A girl can only flirt so hard.”
Really? Did I ask you out, or did you bamboozle me? She was pretty enough. Sure. But she was a motor mouth and she seemed to be trying too hard. Ruxs was a real laid back kind of guy. He didn’t need someone to work double-time to impress him. He liked easy and smooth.
“Good Evening, Mark.”
Jesus. Just like that. Smooth like butter. Ruxs looked up from his menu at the deep mellow voice that rolled over his body and settled deep inside him. His smile was so large, his partner ended up mimicking him. Green’s smile was wide. His perfect white teeth shone bright in the dim restaurant.
Ruxs jumped up and before he knew it he’d hugged his partner like he hadn’t seen him in weeks. Like he wasn’t with him all damn day. But what was even crazier. Green hugged him back, chuckling softly in his ear. “Hey, bud. You okay?”
Ruxs pulled back, slightly embarrassed. “Yeah. Of course.” He looked around and changed places, letting Green slide into the large booth. He bumped Green’s hip silently telling him to move over. His partner looked curiously at him before sliding over further.
“You could’ve sat by me, Mark.” His date tried to purr but it fell flat with him.
“I’m good.” Ruxs smiled. Now.
Green looked back and forth between them before extending his hand across the table. “Hi, I’m Chris Green.”
She took Green’s hand, but held it like it had shit on it. “I know who you are. You’re his partner.”
“On the force.” Ruxs butted in.
Both of them looked at him like he was an idiot. Which of course he was. Why the fuck did he need to clarify that?
Green grinned that lopsided smirk at him, the one that meant his partner was about to have some fun. Ruxs had fucked up. Green leaned back and propped his arm up on the back of the booth. His fingertips just reaching the back of his neck. Ruxs felt the slightest tug on his very short hair. The slight wink Green gave him with his left eye was only for him to see. “I think that’s what she meant… Mark.”
“It’s nice to meet you officially. I’m Sarah. I didn’t know you’d be joining us tonight, Christopher.”
“Chris,” Ruxs and Green both corrected her in unison.
“He prefers Chris,” Ruxs clarified.
“Oh. Sorry.” She looked extremely uncomfortable, but Ruxs wasn’t all that concerned. Maybe she’d insist that they didn’t need to go out again.
He looked over at his partner. Green looked casual, as always. A simple white T-shirt, a gold cross hanging from a gold link chain rested on his chest. The half carat diamond stud earring was secretly Ruxs’ favorite. His hair was just barely tamed tonight. Loose denim jeans. Green always said his nads didn’t fit in tight jeans. Ruxs didn’t realize that he was just staring and smiling at Green until his partner cleared his throat and pulled his hair again.
“Actually. I came in to get a drink and saw you guys over here.” Green lied, breaking Ruxs out of his thoughts. “Thought I’d be polite and say hi.”
Sarah gave Green a fake smile with a roll of her eyes and went back to looking at the menu. Ruxs wouldn’t condone her being a snob to his partner. It was definitely a deal-breaker.
“Sorry about the wait you guys, it really picked up all of a sudden. What ya gonna have tonight?” The bubbly waitress asked flipping open a small notepad.
“Ah. About time. Well as you can see, we have a plus one. So he needs a couple minutes.”
Green had to have felt Ruxs tense at her remark because he felt another tug on his hair. Surprisingly it made him bite his tongue on his comeback and settle back into the seat. Oh yeah. This witch is vapor.
“I’ll have another Bud Light on draft and please bring a Yuengling in the bottle with a frosted mug and a water with no lemon. Please.” Ruxs smiled at the waitress.
“I don’t drink beer, Mark.” Sarah smiled shyly at him.
“It wasn’t for you,” Ruxs said back with not even a hint of a smile.
The waitress looked uneasy. “And for you ma’am?”
Sarah’s frustration was more than evident now. “I’ll have another Appletini.”
Ruxs wanted to remind her to say “please, ” but he let it go. He wouldn’t be seeing Sarah again. So her bad manners were for the next schmuck to concern himself with.
“Be right back.” The waitress spun on her heels.
The table was silent for a moment while they continued looking at the menus. “Are you gonna eat, Green?”
“I ate earlier.”
Green looked up at him and grinned. “Pasta salad.”
“Fuck you. The Greek pasta with that good cheese?” Ruxs turned to face him, his mouth curling up in a sneer. Green knew that was his favorite. He’d made it when he wasn’t there, the little fucker.
“Yeah.” Green chuckled softly. “Just order it here. You’ll like it.”
“But I want a steak.” Ruxs leaned over, his chin practically on Green’s shoulder, looking down at his menu.
“Order it as a salad, with your meal.” Green shouldered him back over after stealing a quick look at his fuming date.
The waitress sat down their drinks. Smiling broadly. “Okay. I know you guys are ready to eat. What’s it going to be?”
Sarah looked smugly at Ruxs before ordering her food. “I’ll have the prime rib with a Maine lobster tail. And a glass of your most expensive wine.”
Oh, Ruxs was pissed now. Now she was trying to break his wallet. Seriously. He puffed his chest out, ready to tell the waitress they were going Dutch. Another pull on his hair. He turned and frowned at Green. Fuck that. This little witch was doing this on purpose, knowing she wouldn’t be seeing him again.
Green shook his head slightly and turned his attention back to the server. “I’ll just have an order of mozzarella sticks with ranch dressing.”
Ruxs’ eyes narrowed as he glared at his partner. How the hell had he gotten into this mess? He guessed it was sort of his fault. He never should’ve invited Green, but then there was no way he wouldn’t have shoved a saltshaker in Sarah’s mouth before their date was over. “Order your food,” Green hissed. Ruxs turned back and saw the waitress was waiting on him. “I’ll have a sirloin, medium rare with the Greek pasta salad.”
“Sure thing.” She scribbled in her pad and tucked it in her smock so she could collect their menus.
“What cheese do you use in your Greek salad?” Green asked the waitress.
“We use provolone.” She answered quickly.
“Can you use feta cheese please? He doesn’t like provolone,” Green said and handed over his menu.
“Aww. You two know exactly what the other likes. I wish my man could order for me like that,” the waitress cooed, giving them a sparkling look before shuffling off.
Green closed his eyes and shook his head like he possibly just screwed things up for him, but he had no clue. Shit was fucked before he even got there.
What’s So Great About Being Gay?
Green watched Ruxs begrudgingly walk Sarah to her car after ordering him to wait for him by his truck. Ruxs’ shoulders slumped as he walked. His footsteps were heavy. Probably because his wallet was one hundred eighty dollars lighter. Green sat in his dark cab and watched the two of them under the lights of the restaurant’s parking lot. Sarah turned and said something to his partner but Ruxs turned his head and looked up at the sky.
Uh oh. That’s not good. Green knew that mannerism. Ruxs was not happy and praying that God didn’t let him do something stupid.
She leaned into Ruxs and brought her hands up his ample chest. Green bristled in his seat. He admitted that the way he and Ruxs behaved did look like they were more than just partners on the force, but Ruxs was his best friend and he knew him the best. It happened when you worked so closely with someone and trusted them with your life every day. He chalked up the feeling he was having to simply not liking Sarah. She was bitchy and rude. What woman orders the most expensive shit on a menu just to be spiteful? Ruxs deserved better. He better not kiss her. He knew it’d been a while since either of them had had a date. A man could only use his right hand for so long before he craved some additional contact. Some warmth.
Ruxs took her hands from his chest. He leaned over to open her car door for her and she swooped in to steal a kiss. Since he was so much taller than her, her mouth ended up landing on the bottom of Ruxs’ jaw. Ruxs put a large hand on her shoulder and guided her into her car.
Green was still laughing when Ruxs clumsily climbed up into his truck. He fumbled getting his seat belt on. He was so angry and Green was sure that his laughing wasn’t helping. “Alcohol only intensifies anger.” Green grinned, desperately trying to hold in another laughing fit. “Maybe you should’ve held off on that fifth shot of Jack, huh?”
“I had to do something, man. Drinking was the only way to keep me from cursing her ass out. And she had the nerve to ask if I wanted to go out next weekend. What the fuck?”
Green let it rip. He was half leaning over onto his partner, he was laughing so hard. “Jesus. Are you shitting me?”
“Hell no. Then she tried to kiss me. Her breath smelled like seafood and vodka.” Ruxs’ anger was waning and he was starting to smile, since Green was still practically laying in his lap laughing.
“Get off me. Drive. I’m ready to go home.”
Green hit the gas and drove them home. To his place.
“Come on, man. Fuck, you’re fuckin’ heavy. Next time you want to go on a date with Sybil, leave me out of it.” Green huffed, while practically carrying Ruxs’ drunk ass up the stairs to his front door. He propped Ruxs on the rail beside him, holding one hand to his solid chest, and fumbling the keys with his other hand. Ruxs pushed his hand off his chest and draped his huge six-foot-two-inch frame over his back. They were exactly the same height and it put Ruxs’ mouth at the side of his neck. His breath was so damn hot, Green fumbled the keys again.
“Thank you for coming tonight. I know you didn’t want to, but I was happy to see you when you got there.” Ruxs’ voice was hoarse and slightly slurred. He seemed to be pressing Green into the door, making it impossible for him to get his key in the bolt lock.
Green laughed deep in his chest. “Yeah. That big ass hug you gave me kind off tipped me off that you were happy.” Green tried to push back but froze when he heard Ruxs take a long whiff right under his ear.
“Wow. You smell so good. What is that you’re wearing?” Ruxs held on tight to Green’s waist and buried his nose even deeper. Green tilted his head just a touch, wanting more of Ruxs’ lips so close to his sweet spot. What the hell am I doing? This is dangerous.
Green pushed hard, dislodging Ruxs from his back. He looked over his shoulder, and did a double-take at the clear look of lust shining in those light green eyes. Jesus Christ. He jammed the key into the lock and hurried inside. He let Ruxs stumble his way in on his own. Tossing the keys in the dish on the table, he moved further into the loft, flicking on the lights as he went. He was in the kitchen pulling out the carton of orange juice when he heard the light switch flick again, putting him back into darkness. The street lights shone through the large windows, casting shadows all over the place. He turned the carton up to his mouth, figuring that Ruxs had hit the light by habit and was already in his room, probably face down on his bed. Green shoved the juice back in the fridge and closed the door. He turned around and ran into a brick wall. Ruxs’ chest. He was standing directly behind him, quieter than a mouse in a room full of cats.
“Fuck! Ruxs, what the hell are you doing?” Green barked. Looking directly into Ruxs’ heavy-lidded eyes.
Ruxs didn’t say a word. He didn’t smile. He didn’t laugh it off or say it was an accident. He just stared him down.
“What. Are. You. Doing?” Green said with more irritation in his voice.
Ruxs took a couple steps forward and Green instinctually moved back. The refrigerator was at his back and Ruxs’ arms slowly came up and caged him in. Their faces were only inches apart. Damn he was acting so weird. But Green was going to let him play out his little game so they could go to bed.
“Something on your mind,” Green said through clenched teeth.
“Actually, yeah.” Ruxs finally grinned and Green got the confirmation that it was just Ruxs being his usual asshole-ish self. “Why do you think so many men are gay?”
Green resisted the urge to put Ruxs on his ass. “Are you shittin’ me right now?”
“No. Really. I was just wondering that.”
“Oh. You were just wondering that?” Green gave him a bullshit look.
“Yeah. I mean we work around all these big motherfuckers that are head-over-heels in love with other men. God and Day. Syn and Furi. Ro and Johnson. All these badass men. Queer as a three-dollar bill. Highly respected.” Ruxs leaned in closer and whispered softly, “In fucking love. Why is that? What’s so great about it?”
Green gritted his teeth. “When you see God tomorrow, why don’t you ask him? I’m sure he’d love to give you the answer. Just make sure I’m there. I’d hate to miss that.”
“Why are you mocking me?” Ruxs growled low and Green stood up straighter.
“I’m not mocking you. But you’re being ridiculous and I’m tired. Now move.” Green knocked Ruxs’ hands down and shoved him back with his own chest. They were the same height, same build. Evenly matched. Ruxs dug his heels in and stopped them. Ruxs put his heavy hands on Green’s shoulders and begin to squeeze them. Green sighed heavily, wondering when this madness was going to be over. “You’re so damn wound up. You want a massage?” Ruxs asked nonchalantly like he was offering Green a piece of gum.
Weirdly enough, massages were pretty common. Ruxs rubbed Green’s shoulders all the time. Sometimes he had to rub cramps out of Ruxs’ calves after they worked out. After a good sparring match, Ruxs usually ended up working the kinks out of Green’s lower back. But neither one of them were in any pain right now. Except Ruxs being an annoying pain in his ass. He was exhausted and they had to be to work early.
“No. I don’t want a damn massage, Ruxs. It’s after fuckin’ midnight, get your damn hands off me.” Green knocked those very talented hands off his shoulders and maneuvered around his partner. Thank God, this time Ruxs let him go. He was half way up the stairs when he looked back and saw Ruxs still standing in the kitchen, leaning against the counter. It was too dark to see his face or his eyes, but his body language spoke volumes. Green damn sure wasn’t going back down there to get him. Ruxs was being silly, he was drunk, and Green wasn’t going to entertain another minute of it. His partner was a big boy. He could make his own way upstairs and get in his bed and sleep it off.
Detective Austin Michaels didn’t think life could get any better after he was accepted into the most notorious narcotics task force on the East Coast, headed up by two of the baddest’ Lieutenants with the Atlanta Police Department - Cashel Godfrey and Leonidis Day.
Michaels knew he would fit right in as the team’s sniper, having received his fair share of commendations for marksmanship. He was just as badass as the rest of the twenty brothers that made up their team. But when Michaels lets their prime suspect get away from a huge bust with over a quarter of a million dollars in drugs, he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it right.
Left with no other options, God chooses to bring in outside help, calling on his long-time friend and bounty hunter, Judge Josephson.
Judge was considered one of the best trackers during his enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. After retiring, he used those skills to become one of the most sought out fugitive trackers in the country. When Judge gets a call from his old friend needing his help, he quickly tells God, yes.
Still embarrassed, and intent to prove himself, Michaels immediately volunteers to partner up with Judge to get their suspect back quickly and quietly. Neither man wanted or needed a partner. But, after Judge and Michaels get on the road, the hate/lust relationship they quickly develop between them will either make them heroes… Or get them killed.
Review ~ By: The Lindsay Show
Having read the correct, EDITED version, I have amended this review and have raised my rating to 5 stars. If you still have the horribly edited version, contact the author on Facebook and she will send you the correct version.
Here is my official review:
I love this author and her books. Love her characters and how strong they are. She's an eagerly anticipated author and an autobuy for me. This is a great continuation to the series and as always, leaves me eagerly anticipating the next book. I really hope she gives Genesis and Curtis a book to delve into their evolving relationship. I also hope she goes back and gives Ro and Johnson a book to delve deeper into that one 🙂 The new ending is AWESOME to say the least and definitely glad I got to see that little bit extra added.
Over all, loved catching up with the characters and can't wait for the next one. 5/5 Blue Duckies
Review ~ By: LadyBird
About this book! It is just as awesome as the previous ones in the series. Personally, I love the fact that Austin is a fighter, literally, and that the book practically opens with a boxing ring. Austin is such a hothead. And Judge. How do I describe him? Over the top, but just as awesome. But that’s what I like about your writing Ms. Via, all the charismatic characters and the steamy entanglements they find themselves in. I also appreciate the fact that in this book we still have all the previous characters. Yeah!!! And Day and God are on a roll! But you KNOW my favorite part has got to be when Judge first walked into the Precinct in answer to God’s call…and Michael s wouldn’t turn around until he started hearing stuff…then Day and his mouth….HAHAHAHAHA!!!
I SSOOOOOO Thank You from the bottom of my heart for that laugh. (sighs..)
Review By: Tams of MMGoodBookReviews
This book is action packed and non-stop from cover to cover. I really enjoyed how Via set up the story for Michaels and Judge at the start, really giving us a feel for the characters. Michaels is successful and accomplished, but he longs for someone to love. I think he also has this fear of failure, I think that is why he goes into the almost blind rages he has when things don’t go as planned or spiral out of control. Judge is more calm, cool and collect walking around sucking on his sugar cane stick, kicking butt and taking names. Judge has convinced himself that he wants to be alone, that he is happy alone, that is until one sexy sniper that doesn’t put up with Judge’s crap storms into his life and literally wreaks havoc.
I must, for a moment, talk about the intense sexual connection these two shared. It is probably one of the most volatile relationships ever documented on paper. Think War of the Roses meets Cockyboys. I am talking bruised, bleeding, bed breaking, the house is falling down around them hangry (hot and angry) sex! It was fan-insert f word here-tastic!! Via managed to write the characters in such a way that they were able to show vulnerability with each other while remaining manly men, which isn’t easy when you have two strong willed alpha male types trying to co-exist as equals and lovers. The push and pull and the balance between all the emotions was flawless while the characters were extremely flawed. Hands down Via’s best work to date. Definitely a must read!
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *
“You’re not going with Judge, Austin. Forget about it.” Day’s voice had gone serious.
Michaels slammed his own cup down on the counter. He’d thought this was all settled last night.
“What? Why can’t I?”
“For the same reason you can’t have a wife and 1.5 kids… because God said so.”
Michaels was getting pissed. Day was fucking with him and it was getting on his nerves. “God said I was going, last I heard.”
“Well what God says doesn’t matter around here. He knows that.” Day sipped again as if he didn’t have a worry in the world.
“Don’t listen to Day,” Syn said, coming into the break room with God and Ro. “You’re going with Judge, like we all decided.” Syn’s voice rose as he stared at Day defiantly. Day shrugged, looking innocent.
God was propped on one of the break room tables, watching him. He finally spoke, “But we do still have some concerns. With none of us there to watch—”
Michaels huffed and cursed, cutting God off and making a show of yanking the cream out of one of the cabinets, slamming the door shut. “You guys have already voiced your concerns. I said I can handle this. Damnit! You’re treating me like I’m a fucking kid!”
“Well you are acting like you missed your little nap,” Day murmured.
Michaels dropped his hands on the counter and took a couple deep breaths.
“You have to stop acting like this is all on your shoulders alone, Michaels. Your screw-up,” Syn said, standing next to him. “That’s what’s got us concerned. Because when you’re in that mind frame, you’ll get yourself killed doing any and everything to fix it. We work and operate as a team. If there was a fuck-up, it’s on all of us. Not just you, man. And not just on Powers, either. He didn’t know an underground tunnel was built; it’s not his fault either. We are the ones.” Syn motioned between him, God and Day. “That cut Switch the deal and got him: a killer, back out on the streets. He got away from all of us. So stop feeling like it’s all on you to make this right. And the sooner you show us that, the better we’ll feel about you going out with Judge to get Switch back.”
Michaels nodded his head, knowing Syn was right. “I apologize. You’re right. I’m going to get him back because he doesn’t belong on the streets… not because he bested me… us.”
“Atta boy.” Day smiled. He gripped him by his neck and pulled him out of the break room.
He sat talking with his team while they waited on Judge. God said he’d be there in the next few minutes. It was after one and Michaels was getting restless. They had all the intel they could possible get. Judge told God he’d piece it together himself. Michaels wasn’t completely sure how tracking worked, but Syn said it was ten percent science and math, and ninety percent instincts. Some people had them and some didn’t. So Michaels had determined he would follow Judge’s lead, backing him up if need be and then when they encountered Switch, he’d get in there and make the clean arrest. Plan determined.
Michaels head was down in the one of the files when he heard Ruxs’ deep voice murmur. “Oh. My. Fucking. God.”
Chairs squeaked and groaned as everyone turned to see what, or who, Ruxs was referring to. Michaels however, didn’t turn around, but his heart had begun to race a mile a minute. Everyone was looking out the large glass wall that separated their team’s workspace from the rest of the precinct. The look of confusion, shock, and horror that most of their team wore on their faces had him not wanting to see. Obviously it was Judge, but damn, what the fuck did the guy look like? Shrek? It wasn’t until Vikki stood and straightened her skirt with a seductive, “yum” escaping her red lips that Michaels decided to turn and look.
Holy hell. All Michaels saw was a tall, walking Adonis. Decked out in leather except for the tight, black shirt hugging his thick chest. As he got closer his eyes appeared dark and mysterious, he seemed to keep his eyes on target but take in everything around him too. People watched him, but didn’t engage him. It was obvious he wasn’t a criminal because of the gold badge hanging around his neck, but damn he looked like he was on his way to kick someone’s ass. Moving through the precinct like he was the Captain. Confident and sure. He wasn’t frowning but he damn sure wasn’t smiling or giving off an approachable vibe. Michaels stood and swallowed hard. Jesus. The man had to be six-foot-three, maybe -four. Taller than his own six one. It was all the hair. Oh, my damn. That beard, that looked course but possibly soft to touch. Damn, he hoped so. Trimmed neatly with a smattering of grays, at least five to six inches of hair beneath his chin. Enough to pull. Shit.
“We all thought you loved yourself, Michaels,” Day said, out of nowhere, watching along with everyone else as the bounty hunter approached.
Michaels frowned at his Lieutenant. It really was not the fuckin’ time.
Day’s eyes bugged and Michaels turned back just in time to see what everyone else did as Judge reached for the door.
Day leaned toward God and hissed, “Why the fuck is he bringing a horse into our office?”
Judge saw that everyone was watching him as he entered the Atlanta precinct, but he couldn’t care less. Stares were nothing new to him. If they weren’t looking at him then they were gawking at the full-grown, almost four-foot tall beast at his side. He kept his eyes on Godfrey the entire time. Damn the man was still sex on a stick. Even bigger than him. His thick arms crossed over his massive chest. When Judge was inside he saw the two gold Desert Eagles holstered at his sides. The man always did wield a big gun. Judge almost smirked at his double entendre, but kept his face stoic.
Ignoring all the other so-called bad asses that made up God’s team, he approached his old friend and stared him down as they stood eye to eye. You could’ve heard a pin drop in the room. No one moved, no one broke their stare-off. It was like a cheesy scene out of a Wild West showdown. After a couple more seconds, Judge shifted the sugarcane, quirking one side of his mouth up. God did the same and the next thing he knew he was pulled into a bone-crushing hug. He slapped God roughly on the back then pulled back, looking at him.
“You look good, old friend,” God said, with a huge smile. “Look like you’re ready to work.”
“Always.” Judge gave a slight laugh. “It must be some real shit you got yourself into that you’d need to call me.”
“You could say that. But I knew you’d come.”
“Of course I came,” Judge said, seriously. He’d help God anytime he called. He’d never met a more loyal and trustworthy man. A man that believed in brotherhood. Who’d lay down his own life for another’s. There was no reason Judge would deny a man like that.
“You sure that thing doesn’t need a muzzle?” Day blurted out, pointing at Bookem.
Judge kept his arms folded, glancing over at God’s partner. “You’re the only thing that needs a muzzle, Day. Godfrey, I see you’re still with this asshole. .
The boys are back and fiercer than ever!
"We were a unit tonight, moving as one. Even apart, we are deadly, but when combined – we are f**kin’ unstoppable." ~~ God ~~
Atlanta's notorious narcotics task force is at it again. They are stronger, bigger, and better than ever. Especially when a city councilman sends RECON Marine, Edwin Steele - who’s been blacklisted from his Oakland department - to join the team. God and Day weren't recruiting. They have a lot on their plates, like the fact they're supposed to be getting married soon. They don't have the time or the patience to integrate a decorated war hero with a slight chip on his shoulder into their well-oiled machine.
A hothead that's uncontrollable and terrible with authority… but wasn’t that their team motto?
Steele was ready to hang up his shield. He was done fighting with bigoted bastards that couldn't respect the job. He was good at fighting; he just needed the right team to fight with. When his uncle - City Councilman, Rasmus Steele - shows him a video of God's team in action, he knows right away, it's where his nephew belongs in order to restore his faith.
Steele pointed to the driver, a behemoth of a man wielding those massive firearms like a true beast… like a soldier. “And him. Who the hell is he?”
“That’s your new boss. Lieutenant Cashel Godfrey… they call him… God.”
Steele was skeptical about his new placement, but when he meets God's technology specialist/computer genius, “Tech,” he's willing to give it his all, and he definitely shows and proves.
Tech is stunning. His sweater vest and khakis, a stark contrast to the blue-jeaned roughnecks he works with. A beautiful sheep amongst the wolves. Steel thinks there's no way the brilliant man would be interested in a hardhead like him, but Tech has a few badass hidden talents of his own and manages to fool him... fool all of them.
This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA. There are no multiple pairings in this novel.
Damn, why couldn’t people just leave him the hell alone? Steele had arrived back in Atlanta only three weeks ago and his uncle had already sent for him. He wasn’t the least bit concerned about making a difference anymore. All he’d done was fight for the good, the innocent, fight for his country, and look what it got him. Look at all it took from him. Half of his battalion killed behind enemy lines. Then his partner shot and killed because his backup was a goddamn homophobic sonofabitch. But Steele’s last straw was when his own department covered it up. He was turning in his shield and there wasn’t anything his uncle could do about it.
Steele took another shot of Jack, not caring that it was only one o’clock in the afternoon. He’d heard that day drinking was the new trend, anyway. Everyone’s doing it, he grinned at himself, kind of liking his new sense of freedom. He pulled on his tan, rustic leather jacket and bent over to tie his black shit-kickers but stopped when his head protested. Shit. He groaned and stood back up, looking around for his badge before realizing he didn’t need it anymore. Ever again. Fuck Oakland.
His phone buzzed in the back pocket of his ratty jeans, but he ignored it again. He knew who it was and he knew he was late, but he was too fucked up to get on his bike. He might not care about his own miserable existence right now, but he wasn’t going to kill anyone else.
Because you care. You’ll always care: it’s who you are, Steele.
Steele growled at the sound of his best friend’s voice in his head and pulled the half-empty bottle of whisky back out of the cabinet, this time not bothering with a shot glass. He tipped it back and gulped a couple times, wincing at the harsh burn. He’d do it until he couldn’t hear that voice anymore. Until he could get some peace, maybe even some sleep.
You won’t find peace unless you’re fighting for what’s right.
He stepped outside the broken screen door of his singlewide trailer and lit the last half of his Swisher Sweet Little cigar. The air was brisk and comfortable this time of year, reminding him that he’d always liked Atlanta in the fall. It was boots and leather coats weather, perfect for riding his bike. He needed to ride, wanted to feel the vibration against his balls, feel the freedom that came with it. But he’d have to sober up enough first.
He looked around the rundown trailer park, kicking a couple beer cans to the side as he stood on the rickety porch surveying the filth around him. He was never a man of expensive taste or much class. Give him a decent television with good reception and a roof, and he was satisfied. He didn’t need a walk-in closet, overpriced furniture, or a fancy kitchen with stainless steel appliances; shit, he couldn’t cook anyway, hence the garbage bags full of takeout containers and pizza boxes. He worked out enough to combat the negative effects of his diet.
“What up, cop?” A man who lived a few trailers down threw at him on his way by. It wasn’t a friendly greeting or one that warranted a response. He wasn’t a social neighbor and most that came across his path never had the urge to want to see him again. Which suited him just fine.
Steele pulled a deep inhale off his cigar, blowing half of the sweet-smelling smoke out of his nose. His phone buzzed again and he let his cigar hang out the side of his mouth while he pulled his jacket open to get it. He read the short text, frowning at the audacity of his one and only relative.
A car will be there in two minutes… get in it.
Damn. He figured he might as well get this over with. His uncle would be disappointed in his decision to leave law enforcement, but if there’s one thing Steele never did, it was let anyone tell him how to live his life.
He listened to the depressing sounds of the place he currently called home, the crying babies, the fighting spouses, the god-awful heavy metal music that his neighbor blasted no matter what time of day or night it was, but still he felt no desire to be anywhere else. Ackerman was gone, his best friend, the man that he’d wanted more than anything to become his lover, was gone.
He stood there with one hand braced on the rusted overhang while he watched a shiny, black Lincoln Town Car navigate around the deep potholes of the one street that curved through his neighborhood. One way in and one way out. As the car got closer, Steele heard the door across the street bang against the side of the metal trailer, and a toddler that looked too old to still be in diapers hurried out into the yard, heading toward the street.
Steele’s heart lurched and without thought his body sprang into action. He ran across the dirt that made up his yard and grabbed the little boy before he could run out in front of the Lincoln, the fender clipping the heel of his boot. He was just able to get his footing and not drop the kid.
The boy was at least three or four. His hair was a tangled mess of sandy brown curls and he wore nothing except his Pull-Up, which was barely hanging on since it was weighed down with urine. He had bright brown eyes and he looked at Steele like he was Superman, not the slightest bit concerned that he was in the arms of a stranger. The benefits of being young and oblivious.
Steele placed the kid back inside the front door and locked it from the inside, not bothering to notify the parents. This wasn’t the first time the little one had run outside; Steele would most likely see him back out again when he came home later.
Steele climbed in the front seat of the Lincoln.
“No smoking in here.”
“Fine, I’ll stay here.” Steele went for the handle.
“No wait,” the driver hurriedly said.
“Mm hmm. Drive,” Steele grunted and pulled another long drag on his cigar. He didn’t care when the teen in a grown-up outfit put the window all the way down, he simply reclined back and enjoyed the cool breeze in his hair.
“That was awfully heroic of you with that kid. I didn’t see him.”
“You should pay attention where you’re going. Especially in residential areas.” Steele was barely opening his mouth when he spoke. He wasn’t in the mood for conversation. Especially with him. The guy’s perfect haircut, impeccably pressed navy blue suit and red, stripped tie screamed do-gooder.
“I was distracted by that piece of crap tin box you live in. But you’re right, I should’ve been looking. You move fast. One second, you were on your porch and the next second, you were across the street. That’s amazing… especially being three sheets to the wind. You smell like a distillery. I’d be intrigued to see what you could do if you weren’t wasted.” The man turned a cocky grin at him and Steele had a mind to knock that smug look off his adolescent face.
“How old are you, kid?” Steele tossed his small cigar out the window, watching the scenery of Atlanta’s busy streets fly by.
“I’m not a kid, I’m twenty-five.” The guy balked, his frown almost making Steele laugh in his face. Was that his mean look?
“What exactly do you do for my dear old uncle, huh? Besides pick up his hard-headed nephew?”
The guy didn’t respond, as if Steele had hit a soft spot. Instead, he turned the corner hard onto Trinity Avenue and pulled into the parking lot of the Atlanta City government building. Tall oak trees surrounded the building, the once green leaves already turning their bright reds and oranges. Steele walked through the cold, heartless lobby ignoring the disgusted looks of the distinguished gentlemen that milled about and went straight to the bank of elevators on the north hall. He overlooked the classic beauty of the historical building, its tall columns and grand staircases; no longer interested in the magnificence of things. He wasn’t here on a field trip – he’d been summoned.
Steele paused, staring at his uncle’s last name on the glass, double-doors. The name his father held, grandfather, great grand…, and him. Instead of using the brass handles, he placed his large palm over the word Councilman and entered the city official’s office. He walked across the thick carpet, stopping in front of the only individual behind one of three desks that made up the waiting area. A petite blonde smiled brightly and gave him a courteous greeting before she asked how she could help him.
“I’m here to see Councilman Steele.”
“Do you have an appointment?” she asked, flipping open a bulging, black calendar book.
“Nope,” he replied curtly, sticking a well-chewed toothpick in his mouth that he’d pulled from his coat pocket.
The woman gave him a look that barely masked her revulsion. “I’m sorry. The Councilman’s calendar is full for today, but I’d be happy to take your—”
“Not a problem, I’ll come back when he’s not busy.” He winked and turned to leave. He was almost home free when he heard a sharp, “Stop right there. Don’t even think about it.”
Steele stopped midway out the door and took a couple steps back, letting the glass close in his face. No matter how much he’d like to, he couldn’t ignore that voice or the tone. One that sounded exactly like his father’s.
“Come on, Edwin. Inside.”
When he turned around and looked his uncle in those light eyes, his chest ached with a need to see his father just one more time. It was his twin standing in front of him, but if he closed his eyes, he’d swear it was his dad. That Estonian accent lingering just barely on the tip of his tongue, but overshadowed by the extensive time spent living in America.
“Please hold my calls, Renee. Thank you.”
Steele walked past the wide-eyed receptionist, her face showing her confusion. Confused that the regal Councilman would consort with such a vagabond. His uncle closed the door and walked up to him, pulling him into a hug. Steele didn’t have the strength or willpower not to hug him back. He embraced his father’s twin with the ferocity of needing him to make everything not only right in his life, but right in the world. Life was screwing him too hard and he couldn’t take it anymore.
Steele knew some of his family’s native language, but he didn’t speak fluent Estonian, always ran when his father started up lessons, not wanting to miss a second of having fun with his isa, instead of learning. But he knew the word nephew. It’s how his uncle always greeted him. Steele held on and closed his eyes while his last remaining family member tried to comfort him.
“You’re going to be okay. You will. You’re strong, Vennapoeg. You are your father’s son. You will pull through this.”
“I’m tired of fighting,” Steele whispered painfully, clutching his uncle’s expensive suit jacket in his fists.
“You’ve just begun.” His uncle pulled back and placed his hands on his cheeks, looking him in his saddened gray eyes.
“I can’t fight for that city anymore. I won’t. They let him die… they just ignored his call for help. I know they did.” Steele felt like he wanted to take another drink. The weight of living with his battalion’s death, and now his partner’s death, ate at him. Though he’d never felt comfortable in Oakland and he and his partner never got a chance to form a more definitive bond. Steele knew his partner had been a good cop.
“I’ve done everything I can, Edwin. I can’t prove that unit could’ve got there in time to save him,” his uncle said sadly.
Steele gritted his teeth to keep from cursing up a storm. He’d never humiliate his uncle in his place of business. “Those bigoted bastards,” he hissed. Shaking his head, his voice strong again. “I’m not going back.”
“I know you’re not. Because god help ‘em all if they hurt you too.” His uncle spoke in that fear-provoking tone that all the Steele men were notorious for. “I’ll be in prison for the rest of my life. Don’t let the suit fool you, Vennapoeg.”
“It never has, Onu,” Steele answered. He absolutely knew of the power beneath that suit. His uncle was still a warrior – only now he had to fight from this office because of the metal plate in his hip – he’d fought right alongside Steele’s father in many protests right here in the United States before joining the Marines to fight abroad. It was in their bloodline. His great, great grandfather was a general in the Estonian Defence Forces – a peacekeeper that participated in the 1921 forming of a League of Nations. A man who was loved and respected by his countrymen until he saved the life of an American soldier that was being tortured by Estonian commanders.
Even as far back as Steele could remember, the men in their family stood up for those weaker than themselves, stood for what was right, no matter the cost. It’d not only cost his great, great grandfather his position in the military, but the love of his homeland. It was a blessing his grandfather wasn’t too proud to leave, wasn’t afraid to call America home, that’s why they fought for it.
Steele himself was a third generation Marine Force Recon lieutenant. He performed sixty-two successful black ops missions before taking bullets in the ribs and the thigh, ending his military career. The Navy doctor said he’d walk with a limp the rest of his life and would never be battle ready again.
He may have lost his unit, but he’d never stopped living for them. Living for Ackerman. Until this day, he still hadn’t chased a man that could out-run him. It took him three years, but he did it.
“Why’d you call me here, Onu? Not only to your office, but to Atlanta.” Steele stared out the tall window, looking down on the parking lot full of official vehicles.
“Because I believe you need new surroundings. Because I believe if you stay in Oakland, you won’t stop digging into Ramos’ death. They’ll never admit to stalling on the call, Edwin, and neither you, nor I have any way to prove it.”
“I can beat them until they confess.”
“Now you’ve answered your own question.” His uncle stood next to him, his firm hand resting on his shoulder.
“Ramos had a family. A husband, children, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews who loved him. Now he’s gone. Why? Because he choose to have a husband instead of goddamn wife. He was a good cop. He didn’t deserve it.”
“That type of hate is never deserved, Vennapoeg. But I can’t have you blaming yourself for it all. He was off duty. He tried to stop a store robbery. He lost his life, but he saved two others before he did. He did his job, and it wasn’t your fault, Edwin.”
“I’m still done,” Steele repeated. He wasn’t sure if he was trying to convince his uncle or still trying to convince himself.
“Oh, you’re far from done. Joseph told me what you did when he was pulling up to get you. Your instincts, your reactions, your need to do good is in here, Vennapoeg.” His uncle held his shoulder and placed his other hand over his heart. “There’s no quitting in here. There’s no quitting who you are. You’ll fight until your last breath, and that’s a long time from now. What do you think you’re going to do without your shield or a platoon? Become a Walmart greeter? Or, become an alcoholic?”
His uncle’s gray eyes hardened and blazed with anger, his voice a menacing snarl. “Drowning yourself in the bottom of a bottle is beneath you. You will not disgrace your father… my brother. I won’t allow it. You are not tired, you’re not weak. It’s impossible,” he hissed, close to Steele’s face. “Your last name is Raud. Iron… steel. You think your great grandfather changed the meaning of our family surname… he only translated it to English. You are unbreakable. And I demand you act like it.”
Steele didn’t speak. His uncle was right. He’d let hurt and injustice control his actions.
“Believe me. I understand loss. I’ve experienced my fair share. My biggest hurt was losing my brother. He was a part of me, a part I’ll be without from here on. But I’ll work hard every day to continue fighting for what he believed in. He believed in this country, Edwin. Keep fighting, son. You just need a team you can fight with.”
Steele snorted. “Yeah, right. Who the hell can handle my shit, Onu?”
His uncle smiled that crooked grin, the same way his father used to whenever Steele’d fall into his trap. “I think I know someone. Come over here and sit down. I want to show you something.”
Steele sat on the low back suede couch in the sitting area in his uncle’s large office while he turned on a flat screen television sitting atop a cherry, oak TV stand. Immediately, a black and white grainy video began playing. His uncle didn’t watch the screen, instead he watched for Steele’s reaction.
He saw a column of big SUVs lined up in a row with men – firearms drawn – getting into position for something big. As he watched the video play out, his jaw ticked and his eyes narrowed. He didn’t understand what this was. An execution first… then maybe a hit. Twenty or so men – gangsters – were firing in one direction. “What the hell is this, Uncle?”
“Just keep watching.”
Steele wanted to pull out another little cigar but he knew better. Instead, he stroked the rough stubble on his jaw, looking like he wanted this footage to stop until he saw a huge garbage truck roar up the narrow street and mow down the men that were shooting. “Jesus Christ.” He watched a man appear from the back like Houdini, firing machine guns like he was in Desert Storm. It was two of them. They moved as a synchronistic unit, like they could read each other’s thoughts. Quickly and efficiently, they took out every thug they aimed their weapons at.
His uncle pushed a button on the remote. “This is film taken from the back side, at another angle that was caught by a chopper. It’s pieced together, but check this out.” The image flickered a few times before another feed began. “This is the back side. The gangsters that we just saw were in the front; this is the back of that house.”
There were at least ten to fifteen men back there firing. “All these guys are firing at one house?” Steele said disbelievingly. “They were probably wasting ammo at that point.”
“Nope. The officers inside were still returning firing,” his uncle said with a determined expression. “Only three of them.”
Steele stood up and moved closer, unable to take his eyes off the screen. There was no audio to the video but he could almost feel the chaos of that battle inside him. A silver truck appeared around the corner – taking the curve like a NASCAR driver – with undercover police vehicles trailing it. He watched a man slide out the passenger window and perch his ass on the door, firing an automatic rifle over the top of the truck while the driver spun it in a perfect three sixty, bright flashes of explosions erupting from his own handgun. A Desert Eagle. It was one of Steele’s favorites. He could easily recognize that flashbang in the dark night. The man firing over the hood was an expert, a marksman. Nothing could shake him.
“Goddamn. Who is that?” Steele pointed at the man looking down the scope and knocking off men as the truck spun him in a circle.
“That’s Detective Austin Michaels.”
Steele pointed to the driver, a behemoth of a man that was now darting across the road – he could move fast – towards the house, both arms raised, shooting anything in his path. Wielding those massive firearms like a true beast… like a soldier. “And him. Who the hell is he?”
“That’s your new boss. Lieutenant Cashel Godfrey… they call him… God.”