Detective Nicholas Valenti, tall, dark and stoic, has been best friends with his partner, Sean O"Brian for six years. The two men have seen each other through divorce, disaster and danger and saved each other"s asses more times than Valenti can count. Exactly when he started seeing his blond, intense partner in another light, Valenti isn"t really sure. He only knows that he wants O"Brian in a way that had nothing to do with friendship and everything to do with possession. It is a desire he will have to hide forever because O"Brian is undeniably straight.
Just as Valenti is coming to grips with his new, unacceptable feelings for his partner their police Captain puts them on a new case that could blow Valenti"s cover once and for all. He and O"Brian are going undercover at the country"s largest and most infamous gay resort to bust a notorious drug lord and stop the shipments of poison cocaine that are flooding the gay bars all over the city.
Now Valenti will have to make a choice between friendship and desire. He and O"Brian will play the roles of gay men that will push the limits of their relationship to the breaking point. Will their time at the RamJack forge a new bond between them or destroy their partnership forever"Books in Series:Assignment Series by Evangeline AndersonBooks by Author:Evangeline Anderson Books
"This is gonna take some getting used to." Detective Sean O"Brian plopped down on the huge, four-poster, king-sized bed and slid one hand up the elaborately carved post nearest him thoughtfully. "Lap of luxury," he muttered.
"What, sleeping in the same bed, or being my "boy""" Detective Nicholas Valenti, O"Brian"s partner of six years, grinned at the smaller man while he stowed his folded clothes in the carved oak dresser that matched the bed. O"Brian was done with that chore, having shoveled his own clothes into the two drawers above Valenti"s the minute they walked into the room.
Usually O"Brian was the neatnik, while Valenti tended to let things go, but the tall man felt the need to have something to do with his hands. As for O"Brian"s hasty unpacking job — well, Valenti reflected, it wasn"t the first thing his partner had done out of character lately — not by a long shot. The fact that they were unpacking their bags at the RamJack was ample proof of that.
"Both," O"Brian said succinctly. "But I still don"t understand why I have to be your boy. Why can"t I be the sugar-daddy, huh" I"m butch enough."
Valenti sighed. Not this again. He was beginning to think that O"Brian was whining about their arrangement just to get to him. A small smile playing around the corners of his partner"s full mouth told him his guess was probably correct.
"We agreed that you would be the boy because you"re so little and cute and furry — like a blond teddy bear, remember"" He looked over his shoulder and grinned at O"Brian, who had flopped onto his back, the better to enjoy the plush mattress.
Valenti knew his partner hated to be teased about his blond good looks and compact stature. O"Brian wasn"t exactly short at five-nine, but he wasn"t exactly tall, either, especially compared with Valenti"s six-two. "Also, because you"re better at shaking your ass," Valenti added.
"You got that right." O"Brian grinned back, refusing to rise to the bait. The grin reaching all the way up to his sea-green eyes, fringed thickly with reddish-blond lashes. "Yeah, I know I"m cute, and I"ll play your boy. Just don"t expect me to suck your dick, all right""
"I think I can safely promise it won"t come to that," Valenti answered dryly. But his partner"s words caused something low in his body to tense. "After all," he continued, trying to put O"Brian"s careless words out of his mind as he shoved the rest of his socks in the drawer, "Captain Harris told us to go undercover — not under the covers."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Remind me again how we got such a plum assignment," O"Brian grumbled. He rolled over on the bed so that he lay on his stomach and looked at his partner in the mirror over the dresser. "Oh, yeah — "cause none of the Narc detectives that should be doin" this job are comfortable enough together to play "gay." But apparently we are."
"You have to admit, O"Brian, we don"t freak out if we accidentally touch each other, like a lot of guys do." Valenti caught himself noticing in the mirror how tightly his partner"s jeans were stretched over his firm ass and had to look down quickly at the drawer he was filling so methodically.
"That"s "cause we"re so studly, we don"t have to worry. We"re secure in our masculinity, coraz"n. Muy macho," O"Brian answered contentedly. It was a joke between them that the Irish O"Brian knew more Spanish than his partner. Valenti couldn"t speak a word despite the fact that he looked every inch of his Colombian heritage, with his black hair, brown eyes, and natural tan. He was actually more WASP than Latino in temperament and background.
"Yeah, we"re a regular couple of studs, all right," Valenti answered distractedly, still unpacking. "Wish you wouldn"t call me that, Sean."
O"Brian had always had a penchant for crazy nicknames, and he had picked up the affectionate Spanish coraz"n, which meant "heart," from Valenti"s grandmother on a trip back east to visit his best friend"s family a few years before.
Abuelita was the only member of Valenti"s family to retain her ethnicity in the move his parents had made from the south side of the Bronx to the Hamptons when Valenti"s father had made it big. Valenti had only been three at the time, and his upwardly mobile father had insisted that nothing but English would ever be spoken in his new home.
So aside from a few standard phrases and his grandmother"s pet name for him, Valenti didn"t speak a word of Spanish. O"Brian, who had no formal training but a natural ear for languages, did.
"What, coraz"n" You know you love it, Valenti. Besides, what are you afraid of — that people are gonna get the wrong idea about us" In this place, it"d be the right idea, ya know"" O"Brian laughed, a musical tenor that always fooled people into thinking he had a beautiful singing voice. Valenti knew the truth about that — his partner might have an ear for languages, but he was completely tone-deaf when it came to music. O"Brian couldn"t carry a tune in a bucket.