Going home digs up bad memories, so it"s something Bureau of Special Investigations agent Cooper Dayton tries to avoid. When he"s guilted into a visit, Cooper brings along Oliver Park, his hot new werewolf partner, in the hopes the trip will help clarify their status as a couple"or not.
When Park"s keen shifter nose uncovers a body in the yard and Cooper"s father is the prime suspect, Cooper knows they"re on their own. Familial involvement means no sanctioned investigation. They"ll need to go rogue and solve the mystery quietly or risk seeing Cooper"s dad put behind bars.
The case may be cold, but Park and Cooper"s relationship heats up as they work. And yet if Cooper can"t figure out what"s going on between them outside of the bedroom, he"ll lose someone he" Well, he can"t quite put into words how he feels about Park. He knows one thing for sure: he"s not ready to say goodbye, though with the real killer inching ever closer"he may not have a choice.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you"re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It"s a promise!Books in Series:Big Bad Wolf Series by Charlie AdharaBooks by Author:Charlie Adhara Books
"Birthday, anniversary, or apology""
Cooper Dayton looked up from pretending to check his phone while loitering under one of the young trees that lined Ann Arbor"s streets. A large older Black woman stood, leaning against the doorway of the shop behind him. How long had she been watching him" He felt a flare of annoyance with himself when he realized he had no idea. He was distracted today. Off his game. But then, when was the last time he"d been on his game"
Cooper gave her his best confused look. "Sorry""
She smiled knowingly at him and tilted her head at Simpson"s across the busy street, her long, beaded braids clacking pleasantly. "You"ve been standing here staring at that flower shop for fifteen minutes. So is it for her birthday or anniversary, or are you making up for a fight" Because I"ve been married for thirty-two years, and believe me, there are different bouquets for different occasions."
Cooper smiled, relaxing slightly. "Yeah" How so""
"Anniversary has got to be something sexy. Roses. Roses are good. Classic. Hot. If you"re married and had flowers at the wedding, add some of those. She"ll be impressed by the thought."
"Not married." He paused, then added, "And he"s a him."
She simply smiled and nodded. "All right. If it"s an apology, go with his favorite flower. A lot of them."
"I don"t know his favorite flower." She sucked her teeth mock disapprovingly. "I"m not sure he even has one," Cooper added defensively. "What about birthday""
"Something that goes with the gift you got him because you better not just be walking in with some lousy flowers. So which is it""
Cooper laughed. "What if I want to get him some flowers just because""
She raised an eyebrow and sniffed. "Uh-huh, right. You-fucked-up-flowers it is, then."
Cooper"s smile froze on his face and he gave a little reflexive jerk of his head. "No," he said.
There was, of course, that whole unwitting accomplice to a psychotic serial killer hell-bent on destroying the entire werewolf species thing four months ago. If anyone was keeping track, that definitely counted as a fuckup. But Cooper doubted there were enough flowers in the cramped corner shop across the street for an apology that size. And Sorry I almost got you killed just wouldn"t look right on one of those teensy tiny cards they stuck to bouquets.
Besides, the incident was on the list of things he and Park Did Not Talk About.
"Hmmm." The woman eyed him knowingly. "Not an apology, you were saying""
"No, really. What kind of flowers for just because""
"That depends on just because what. Just because you love him""
Cooper coughed. "Oh, well. Let"s not get crazy. What are my other options""
She snorted. "Like that, is it" You sound like my second husband, Gary. He couldn"t handle looking like he cared either. A man like that gives daisies. Dead by the end of the work week. Don"t be a daisy man, friend."
"I thought you said you"ve been married for thirty-two years."
"And I was. Just not to the same man or for consecutive sentences." She cackled. "Anyway, before you go sending messages, maybe you better figure out what it is you want to say. You better hurry up, though. Looks like they"re closing."
Cooper followed her gaze, and sure enough, Donny Simpson was pulling the outside display of autumnal arrangements back into his shop.
"Damn it. Excuse me. Uh, thanks for the advice," Cooper muttered.
The woman waved him on. "Just tell him how you feel and the flowers won"t matter," she called after him as Cooper crossed the street.
Easier said than done. He wasn"t sure how he felt. He did, however, have a pretty good idea how Park was going to feel after this. Cooper checked his phone with a curse. Park was supposed to meet him here with the search warrant while Cooper made sure Donny Simpson stayed put. Only now Donny was closing shop forty-five minutes early and Park wasn"t back yet.
"Don"t go in without me," Park had said before they"d separated.
"Then how am I supposed to intimidate and threaten innocent wolves into confessing while you"re not looking"" Cooper had replied. "I"m joking." He"d put his hands up at Park"s grimace. If by joking he meant repeating verbatim the things his BSI colleagues said snidely about him behind his back. And to his face.
Park"s sense of humor was apparently too refined for that. "I just don"t appreciate my partner confronting a dangerous suspect on his own. So wait for me outside, okay""
I can take care of myself. I was doing this job just fine before you. You should trust me. None of that true. Not now. But they didn"t talk about that either. "Fine. Understood."
Park had hesitated, looking uncharacteristically unsure, and began to say something else, but Cooper cut him off, gently grabbing his arm and rubbing his thumb over the crook of Park"s elbow, his sensitive spot. "I won"t go in without you. Ollie," he added playfully, using Park"s childhood nickname.