I"m not a fighter. I never was. So how do I make the one man who might just be worth fighting for see that"
At twenty-five years old, Ford Cornell should have his whole life ahead of him but instead, the would-be artist is drowning in denial and just trying to get through each day. And the boy who once believed life was about following impossible dreams has finally come to accept that it"s really only about surviving a living nightmare" one of his own making.
But the bruises are becoming harder to hide.
So is the truth"
I refuse to fall for a guy who won"t accept the truth about who he is or what he wants. Not again"
They say bad things happen in threes.
For Sheriff Camden Wells, it"s more like fours" or fives" or dozens.
After an ugly lie destroys his career and the man he"d planned to spend the rest of his life with cuts him to the core with the ultimate betrayal, forty-year-old Cam is counting on his new job as sheriff of the quiet town of Pelican Bay to be the fresh start he needs. What he isn"t counting on is meeting a young man who makes him want to break all his own rules.
He wants me to accept something that will cause me to lose everything. I may not have much but it"s something and something is better than nothing" right"
Ford"s gotten used to his role as his older brother"s punching bag and being his mother"s never-ending disappointment. They may not be the Cleavers but family is family and Ford"s seen up close and personal what happens when you don"t have anyone in your corner" or when you go against family.
And there"s just no way he"s strong enough to survive that"
Nothing about us should make sense but maybe that"s why it does"
Two men" one living a lie and one knocking down the walls of the closet he was forced to live in for so long. When one white-hot encounter leads to another and then another, Ford and Cam are forced to accept that their need for each other isn"t going away anytime soon. But being together means one will need to go against everything he believes in.
So which man will bend and which will break" And what will the truth ultimately reveal"Books in Series:Pelican Bay Series by Sloane KennedyBooks by Author:Sloane Kennedy Books
"I need to speak to your son, Mrs. Sullivan," I said tiredly as I automatically dropped my hand to the butt of my gun where it was resting in the holster. I wasn"t really expecting any trouble, but after almost twenty years working as first a beat cop and then as a detective in one of the most violent cities in the country, it was habit to always be prepared.
And while the small town of Pelican Bay was about as far as you could get crime-wise from Detroit, safety and geography never went hand in hand. Bad shit happened to people no matter where they lived, and I"d attended too many funerals of fellow officers who"d been gunned down without any kind of warning to underestimate any situation, even when it was doing something as seemingly benign as what I was doing at the moment.
Following up on a noise complaint.
Although since it was the Sullivan house, I suspected noise wasn"t the issue.
Just like it hadn"t been the last time.
Or the time before that.
"You can"t keep hassling my Jimmy like this, Sheriff Wells," Edith Sullivan snapped impatiently. "You"re abusing your authority and I won"t stand for it. My daughter works for""
"A lawyer," I finished for the older woman. "I know, ma"am," I said. It was all I could do to keep the irritation out of my voice. "And I"m not here to speak to Jimmy. I"d like to speak to your other son."
Edith"s eyes narrowed slightly, but instead of arguing with me, she turned and yelled "Ford" over her shoulder. It didn"t surprise me in the least that she didn"t bother sticking up for her other son. Nor did it surprise me that the seemingly quiet, polite, God-fearing woman sounded like a screaming banshee when she wasn"t surrounded by her church-loving brethren.
"What"s he done"" Edith asked as she turned her attention back to me. There was no concern or disappointment in her voice" just curiosity.
Like she was asking about some random stranger, not her own kid.
"That"s between me and your son," I said simply.
She harrumphed at me and then closed the door in my face. I sighed and waited because I knew that as impatient and annoyed as the woman was, she wasn"t foolish enough to ignore my order.
No matter how much she hated me.
I automatically glanced around me to survey my surroundings. Jimmy"s shiny black vintage Dodge Charger sat in the driveway while Ford"s rusty beater car hugged the curb in front of the house. The disparity in the cars mirrored how different the two brothers were.
Admittedly, my opinion was based on only a few encounters with both men, so it was entirely possible that I was off the mark and Jimmy and Ford Cornell were more alike than I thought.
That was all my inner voice chose to say on the matter and I let out another sigh. I had an annoyingly straightforward subconscious that never fucked around with me. And I"d learned long ago what happened when I ignored the damn thing.
Because the fucker was always right.
Well, that wasn"t quite true" there"d been a time when I"d been a kid where that inner voice hadn"t been so unerringly accurate. And there"d been plenty of times since then that I"d tried to convince myself that my inner voice was wrong about something.
An automatic sting of betrayal went through me and I actually began rubbing at my chest as if I could ease the pain that seemed to encapsulate my heart.
Told you so.
"Shut up," I said under my breath. I turned my attention back to the door when I heard muffled voices on the other side. It took another good fifteen seconds before the door slowly opened.
I was glad when my inner voice didn"t repeat the "I told you so" comment because it was all I could do not to react to the man in front of me as it was. It helped that Edith was standing just behind him, glowering at me.
"Don"t keep him," the woman snapped at me. "He"s got chores to do before he drives me to church."
Edith turned on her heel without any kind of show of support or encouragement to her son. For Ford"s part, he didn"t seem to be expecting it because he didn"t turn to watch his mother depart.
"You wanted to speak to me, Sheriff"" Ford asked quietly as he held the door open and tried to hide half his face behind the closed part.
Which meant the half I was seeing wasn"t even the worst of it.
I bit back the urge to reach for him and pull him out of the house" and then keep right on walking away from it with him.
"You mind stepping out here, Mr. Cornell"" I asked. The use of his last name sounded all wrong on my lips, but I"d refused to call him by his first name after our initial meeting. It was my desperate attempt to keep my attraction in check and my emotions under control.