When a ghost from his past begins to haunt him, Griffin loses the only man he’s ever loved. Not one to be knocked down for long, he joins the local police department, donning the badge once more, determined to catch his lover’s murderer. But the killer isn’t done with him yet. When a rash of crimes breaks out, all targeting Griffin, he knows that his dates are numbered if he can’t catch the person responsible. With fellow officer, Garrett Peterson, aiding his investigation, Griffin knows it’s only a matter of time before he catches the killer. What he doesn’t count on are the developing feelings between Garrett and him. But how can be possibly make time for love when his life hangs in the balance?
“You should take the day off,” Garrett said. “I’m sure the captain would agree if he were here.”
“You heard the paramedic. I’m fine. The burns are mild and won’t keep me from doing my job.”
“Would you quit being a stubborn S.O.B. and take some time to calm your mind and lay low for a day? The last thing you need to do is give him another shot at you while you’re rattled. Don’t make me attend your funeral. I don’t think I could take it.”
Griffin frowned. “If you’re trying to say something, just spit it out.”
“Dammit. Don’t you know how I feel about you? You can’t deny there’s an attraction between us. I know we haven’t been close before this case opened up, but I’ve always watched you. Not in a creepy stalker way, but in that desirous, gut churning way. I just never knew how to approach you. You’re kind of intimidating.”
Griffin was more than mildly surprised. He’d spent quite a bit of time with Garrett over the past few days and hadn’t noticed the other man’s attraction to him. He’d been so focused on the case that it had left little time for much else in his life. He was flattered a man as attractive as Garrett would be interested in him, but now wasn’t the time to start a relationship. He wouldn’t be responsible for another lover dying, and Griffin knew without a doubt that the killer would come after Garrett if he thought the man meant anything to him.
“You didn’t know, did you?” Garrett asked.
Griffin shook his head. “It isn’t that I’m not flattered, because I am, but now isn’t the time to start something. Not until this asshole is caught and behind bars—or dead.”
“I was afraid you’d say something like that. Like it or not, I’m glued to your side until this case is wrapped up. Which means I’ll be camping out on your couch.”
Griffin was shaking his head, but there was a determined look in Garrett’s eyes and he knew he would lose the battle. It seemed the man’s feelings were deeper than Griffin had realized, but it wasn’t something Griff could think about right now. He wasn’t sure he could ever allow himself to feel for another man again. It didn’t just feel like a betrayal to Justin’s memory, but he never wanted to put himself in the position of losing someone important to him. He didn’t think he could survive another loss like he’d experienced the day Justin died. It had damn near killed him. Only his determination to seek justice had given him the strength to carry on.
“Fine. But don’t expect me to like it.”
Garrett’s lips tipped up on one corner. “Wouldn’t dream of it.”
“I need to change. Then you can give me a ride to the station since it seems I’m without a ride until I can replace my car.”
Garrett leaned closer and sniffed. “You are a bit smoky.”
Griffin snorted and turned toward his house. He could feel Garrett’s presence behind him as he entered his home and left the door open for the other officer. If he was determined to play bodyguard, Griffin supposed he would have to let him. In his bedroom, he quickly stripped out of his uniform of jeans and a dress shirt, and pulled a clean set out of the closet. He pulled on his pants and slipped on his shirt. Leaving it hanging open, he gathered his boots and walked back to the living room. Through the open door, he could see his fellow officers milling around his yard as they examined the scene.
He felt Garrett’s gaze on him and he met the hazel eyes caressing his body. It hadn’t been an intentional temptation when he’d come in half dressed, but it seemed Garrett was taking it that way. Garrett stepped closer until their bodies were nearly brushing. Despite his intentions to hold the other man at bay, his heart sped up, leaving Griffin wondering if maybe he felt more for the man than he’d thought.
Garrett gripped the back of his neck and pulled him down for a scorching hot kiss, his lips rough and demanding as he took what he wanted. Griffin could have pulled away, could have put a stop to it, but as Garrett’s tongue flicked against his lips, he found himself opening, wanting more, needing Garrett’s taste on his tongue. He dropped his boots and his hands rose of their own volition, gripping Garrett’s waist and pulling him closer. So lost in the moment, Griffin didn’t care if someone saw them. It was no secret that he was gay and the guys on the force didn’t seem to have a problem with it. It was completely out of character for him to flaunt it though.
The deep, devastating kiss was both exploratory and fierce. Garrett demanded that Griffin give in to him and Griffin found himself powerless to do anything else. It was a long, drugging kiss, Garrett’s lips lingering as if he couldn’t bring himself to pull away. Garrett’s tongue thrust into his mouth again, dancing, curling, coaxing. The kiss turned seductive and Griffin couldn’t fight his body’s response to the other man. His cock stirred with interest and for the first time in six months Griffin wanted more than basic human contact: he found himself desiring another man, needing him with an urgency he thought he’d never feel again.
When Garrett finally pulled away, Griffin was panting, his heart hammering against his ribs, his body hard and tense, wanting a release that he knew wouldn’t come. Not yet anyway. After that kiss, Griffin knew if Garrett pursued the growing attraction between them that he would be powerless to turn the other man away. His body craved satisfaction, but now wasn’t the time. He wanted more than a quick tumble, wanted more than to just take the edge off.
“I’m not giving up on you, Griffin. We will finish this later. Count on it.”
Griffin swallowed hard and nodded. He’d always initiated any intimacy between Justin and him so Garrett’s aggression was different, and a definite turn on. He had a feeling they would fight for dominance in the bedroom, both of them alpha males and used to getting their way. With Garrett’s promise hanging in the air, Griffin quickly finished dressing and followed Garrett out of the house and to the waiting squad car.