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Closely Guarded PROTEKT Book 2

Closely Guarded

by Michael Mandrake

Closely Guarded - Michael Mandrake
Part of the PROTEKT series:
Editions:Kindle: $ 5.49 USD
ISBN: 9781786514844
Pages: 168

Promises are meant to be broken sometimes. Can Kimball complete the mission and keep his feelings for fellow agent Darien in check in the process?

Darien Mosely, aka BA Pointe, is a former NYPD officer with a chip on his shoulder. He came to PROTEKT in search of a new identity and career after being accused of killing a man in cold blood. Darien’s keen perception is what has made him an asset, but his cockiness has often landed him in hot water.

Kimball Emerson, aka Justice Masters, is an important figure in PROTEKT. Being a former army sergeant, he’s used to keeping secrets and being in danger on a regular basis. As one of the prime figures in the organization, he is counted on to be the finisher and, for the group’s latest task, he’s been called upon to find the leaders of a Russian mob. It should be easy enough with all his knowledge and special skills but not with his close friend Darien Mosely along for the ride.

Kimball made a promise to his fiancé that he’d come back in one piece and not watch his partner’s ass, but he isn’t sure he’ll be able to keep the latter. Darien and Kimball have been best friends for five years and, at a Christmas party several months ago, they shared a kiss that left an indelible mark on their relationship.

This latest mission calls for focus and calmer heads if they are to find the offenders who are bringing illegal drugs into Russia. The question is, how can they do it with mutual feelings and the threat of extreme danger looming over their heads?

This book is on:
  • 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artists:
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Alpha Character, Badass Hero, Cultural Differences, Friends to Lovers, Interracial Relationship, Thrill of the Chase, Trickster Hero
Word Count: 56496
Setting: Moscow, Russia
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters

Chapter Eight




After taking a short walk outside, Darien ambled back into the mansion to have a look around. The place was massive—big enough to get lost in—but he figured if he memorized the details of where he went, he’d easily find his way back.

Passing by the library, he took a left and strolled through the large living room. It looked simple enough—two large couches, two recliners, a coffee table with a grand fireplace on the left side. The French-style windows on the right let a good amount of light to shine in. Right then, he wondered if security for the Chereskov was ever an issue.

“Ah, BA. There you are.”

Evgeny’s heavy Russian accent disrupted him, but he welcomed the pleasant interruption. “You been looking for me?”

“Of course, my lovely American.” Evgeny approached and reached his arms out in front of him.


Darien took them, bringing both to his lips. “From the looks of it, you’re okay after Justice questioned you at the table.”

“Yes, yes. A smoke and a nap was what I needed. I know Justice was only doing his job, which I am told he is very good at.”

“Yeah, he is. Like I said earlier, he's the best we got.” Darien reluctantly released Evgeny’s hands. “Um, Evgeny, I have to ask you—”

Evgeny cocked an eyebrow, poking out his thin, pink lips. “I already know what you are going to say, BA. Why am I flirting when I am engaged to be married?”

“Exactly.” Darien exhaled deeply.

“Because I am attracted to you. Ivan is aware of this. He does not like it, but he has no say.”

“Whoa. Then I guess I know who wears the pants in your relationship.” Darien smirked.

Evgeny cracked a smile. “No question. He is still my employee. His father worked for mine up until the day he died. We have known each other since we were children, but we did not decide to get together until just three or so years ago. I love him. I do, but I also know my tendencies of wanting other men.”

“And he’s okay with it?”

“Ivan has little choice.” Evgeny led Darien to the sofa and encouraged him to take the seat.

Darien unbuttoned his sport coat and sat. “What do you mean?”

“That he loves me, regardless of what I do,” Evgeny said. “We have been engaged for only a year, and I told him that I’d like to continue to keep my bedroom doors open.”

“So, you’re in an open relationship.”

“That is correct, to an extent. Ivan does not see other men. If he did, it would not bother me. I am worried the two of us will get bored if we only make love to each other. I do not want that, so I ask Ivan to allow us to date other people.”

“But you can tell he doesn’t like it. When you mentioned me and Justice staying in the house, he looked pretty pissed.”

“I am sure he was, but I do not care. We agreed that our relationship would stay open until we both agreed to be off on our own. BA, we are too young to be stuck in one place, right? You, me, Justice and Ivan. All of us are healthy men who should take advantage of our sexual desires. Lust is powerful thing, yes?”

“Oh, yeah, no question.” Darien grimaced, not liking the way this conversation was going.

Evgeny moved closer to Darien and ran his long, slender finger over his earlobe. “Then we should do what we want and not be tied down. I believe you Americans call it, sowing wild oats?”

Feeling Evgeny’s soft index finger on his skin sent electric shots down to his groin. He already had the worst case of blue balls on the planet. It had been a long time since his last fuck.

“That we do,” he ground out and inched to the left, before turning to face Evgeny. “Look. There is no question I’m attracted to you too, but—and I can’t believe I’m saying this—maybe we should take it slow? I mean, I’ll be here for a while. I gotta keep my head on straight while we investigate your father’s death. Having Ivan stare daggers at me might be an issue.”

Darien swiped his tongue over his lips. Usually he was all for someone taking advantage of things, but that niggling subconscious that sounded a lot like Kimball Emerson sang loudly in his head.

Evgeny laughed. “Ah, BA, you are such character. Ivan is fine. He is all bark and no bite, as they say. I will not allow Ivan to hurt you.”

“Oh, babe, that’s not why I said that. I’m talking about finding your father’s killers and taking down the commies who don’t want this country to progress. I know I can take Ivan down with little to no problem.”

“You can, hmm? I would love to see the two of you in arm wrestling match, or better yet, nude oil wrestling.” Evgeny winked.

“Uh, not the second one. The first might be fun,” he added with a chuckle.

“Both would be fun for me, but I am well aware of what you are saying. Believe me. I am devastated over what has happened to Poppa, but I cannot be sad all the time, right? I need distraction and you are perfect way to forget about all this for a while. Besides, you said, you understood what I was going through. I thought you could…comfort me.”

Fuck yeah, I could.

Darien gawked into Evgeny’s beautiful emerald eyes and nearly lost his breath. The man was strikingly gorgeous, practically throwing himself at him and he had a hard time refusing. “Yes, I can, but I gotta make sure I don’t lose focus, which will be hella hard with you looking all sexy around me. Shi— Evgeny, we don’t know a lot about each other, but, damn, you are so freaking attractive.”

“Yes. So are you. I will respect what you say, though. It is more important to find Poppa’s killers, so I will back off a little. Still, when you are not doing business, you do your best to entertain me and I, you.”


Reviews:Shorty on MM Good Book Reviews wrote:

Kimball and Darien are two of the top agents in PROTEKT. They are the best of the best and damn good at their jobs. Attraction leads to a kiss at a party and then leads to the men hiding their feelings. Kimball is in a relationship and Darien is a love ‘em and leave them type. They have so far been able to avoid the other since the kiss until now.

A new mission throws the two men together again and tensions are high when a threat emerges to eliminate anyone who stands in their way. It is a race against the clock to discover who the culprits are before anyone is killed. Meanwhile Kimball has secrets that are best kept hidden for everyone’s safety.

I loved this book. Mystery, suspense, action and drama are entwined into an amazing plot that keeps the reader spellbound as we see how everything plays out. This is brilliantly written with the right amount of snark and angst from Darien as well as the seriousness from Kimball for one hot ride into the unknown.

The actual mission is proceeded with extreme caution by the time team as well as unknown persons at work with PROTEKT. All the characters had their roles to play and boy did they play them well. I usually guess what all is happening well before the end but this story had me guessing about some things until they revealed.

I cannot say enough good things about this book to do it justice so just go read it. Fantastic story all around. Highly recommended.

About the Author

Michael Mandrake pens complex characters already comfortable with their sexuality. Thorough these, he builds worlds not centered on erotica but rather the mainstream plots we might encounter in everyday life through personal experiences or the media.