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Lies and Consequences

by Kaje Harper

Chris Fletcher and Ian McCallum started out as a hook-up: no names, no strings, no future. But fate seemed determined to throw them together and each time was better than the last. Ian couldn't help starting to think about forever.

Chris knew he shouldn't take the chance. His life was a web of lies, from providing his Navy fiancee Jenny with a beard to the details of his fictional childhood. Ian would hate being deceived and a crash was inevitable. But Chris had never felt so deeply about a man before.

When the lies came out, Ian did walk away. But fate wasn't done with them. Because Chris's life was in danger, and only Ian was close enough to help. Now Ian had to decide where the deeper truths lay, and whether what he felt for Chris was still strong enough to risk his safety and his heart.

This is a free novel - 86,000 words

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Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Christopher Fletcher eyed himself in the mirror. He wasn't sure if he liked the hair. This new gel was a little stiffer, and combined with the deep blue color, it edged him a bit closer to punk than he had in mind. Oh, well, at least his clothes weren't punk.

The pants might be black and leather, but they gleamed in the light and the cut hugged his ass sinfully well. The shirt was aqua blue silk, slightly shimmery, and gashed in the right places to flash a little skin. The boots were soft and low, for dancing in.

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He fumbled on the edge of the sink for his contact lenses. Shit, don't drop those down the drain. Good prescription contacts in intense colors weren't cheap, and his funds were strictly limited. He fished one out on a fingertip and leaned close to place it in his left eye. A couple of blinks to seat it, and he inspected the result. Right eye muddy hazel grey, left eye bright turquoise to match the shirt. He put in the second lens, and there he was, looking back at Chris in the mirror. Robin, the Club Boy. It had been a while.

He tried out Club Boy's smile, wicked with more than a hint of come-hither. Full lips, and even white teeth in the gold of his tanned face; he touched the tip of his tongue to his lower lip. On second thought, he liked the hair. The upward sweep accentuated his cheekbones, and the dark blue was exotic. Done.

In the bedroom, he puttered, checking for money and condoms, easing his tight pockets over ID and a single pack of lube. He clipped his keys to a belt loop. There was really no point in hurrying. Jenny wasn't even home yet, let alone ready to go back out.

But he'd spent the entire day hunched over his keyboard, writing sentences destined to be revised six times and finally erased. He was well and truly blocked. He needed...he wasn't sure what he needed. But at the very least, to get out of this house and do something new. Or someone new.

He turned at the sound of the garage door going up. Finally! He wandered into the kitchen and leaned against the counter. Jenny hurried in through the back door. Her hair was starting to come down in wisps from her neat bun. Her uniform was less pressed and precise than when she had headed out at oh-dark-hundred that morning. Or so Chris assumed. Not like he'd been up to watch her go.

He sauntered over and kissed her cheek. "Welcome home, sweetiecakes."

She glanced at him and then took a second longer look. "Pulling out the heavy artillery tonight, are you?"

He did a little spin for her. "You like?"

"Very edible," she said. "Listen, I'm sorry I'm late. Fifteen minutes for a shower and change, and I'll be ready."

"Hey, I'm not the one with an appointment," he said. "Take your time and doll up if you want."

"You could come up and keep me company while I change."

Jenny asking for company meant she needed a sympathetic ear. "Need to vent, do we?"

"Hah. Yes."

"I'm all ears." He followed her upstairs to the master bedroom, and stood at ease in the doorway as she tugged at her buttons. She muttered a curse.

"Don't rip those off, honey. I'll make you sew them back on."

She snorted, but slowed her fingers, working the blouse open.

"So spill it. What has Captain God's-gift-to-womankind Markham done this time?"

"We're missing two cases of MRE's on the inventory," she said. "Two freaking cases. We're not talking weapons, here. We're not even talking screwdrivers. These are some of the most unappealing food products known to humankind. The only people in America hungry enough to eat them without being ordered to, are too broke to pay money for them. This is not a black-market scheme. This is a bookkeeping error."

"Markham disagrees?"

"Markham thinks he's on the trail of another master criminal. He had me spend two hours on the computer trying to follow those supplies back to the source, and get a list of all the poor saps who might have had contact with the shipment. Then we'll track them all down and check their teeth for traces of pureed spaghetti or something. Like I don't have a hundred more important things to keep me busy. Bleh."

"The man is persistent."

"The man has the intelligence of a walnut." Jenny snapped.

"Now, now, Lieutenant Wallace. The man is your superior officer."

"Don't freaking remind me." Jennifer stepped out of her uniform skirt and started pulling the pins out of her hair.

Chris watched her affectionately. Jenny was slim and strong, taller than Chris was. Although that wasn't hard - Chris's driver's license claimed he was five-nine, but the last two inches were pure fiction. Nonetheless, Jenny was built like a runner, all long lean lines, long dark-brown hair, grace and power. She worked out fiercely and it showed in the tight muscles under her smooth pale skin. Even hurried and frustrated, she exuded competence. Pity Chris wasn't in a position to really appreciate the show.

"Want me to pick out your new underwear for tonight?" he purred as she headed for the shower.

"Jeeze, Chris, tone down the swish," she retorted, disappearing into the bathroom.

"Just getting into character," he said more normally.

"Don't waste it on me," she called back. The door shut behind her and he heard the shower come on.

Chris wandered across the room and amused himself by eying the civilian clothes in Jenny's closet, trying to decide what she would pick for tonight. He hadn't heard what was on the schedule, which made it a bigger challenge. A movie would call for casual out-with-friends wear. But since he was going clubbing by himself, Jenny might have a romantic evening planned with her lover. Then she might pull out the big guns. Maybe something slinky and black. He looked more closely.

"Hey," he commented as he heard her come back into the bedroom. "Is that grey dress new?"

"Yes."

"You went shopping without me?"

Jenny frowned at him, as she twisted to adjust the straps of her black bra. "I'm capable of picking out clothes by myself."

Sometimes. It was Chris's theory that wearing uniforms all day every day atrophied your fashion sense. Although, come to think of it, Chris had been vetting Jenny's clothes since junior high. "Well, let's see it."

"Not tonight." She reached into the closet and pulled out a soft blue sleeveless turtleneck and black slacks. "We're going to have a curl-up-on-the-couch-and-watch-movies night. It doesn't call for dressing up."

He nodded. "I like that blue." It picked up the color of her eyes, a blue so dark they sometimes looked black.

"You should. You picked it."

"I'm the best."

She smiled and scooped up her purse off the dresser. "You're incorrigible. Come on, we're late."

"No makeup?"

"You think I need it for an evening in?"

"No," he said honestly. "You look fine. But Becca might appreciate the effort, even if it's just for her. Especially if it's just for her."

Jenny hesitated. "You're smarter than you look. Particularly in those clothes. Wait here." She reemerged from the bathroom five minutes later, with mascara, eye shadow and a touch of lip-gloss in place.

Chris nodded. "Very nice. Your car or mine?"

"My car. Yours smells like pizza."

"You appreciated it when you ate it."

"Not the anchovies. We'll take my car. You have the black car to use later."

Chris's small beat-up compact sat in the garage next to Jenny's pride and joy. He eased himself into her sports car's low seat carefully. These pants were tight, and he didn't want to do himself damage. They pulled out of the driveway, and Jenny toggled the garage door shut. Chris sat back to enjoy the ride. Jenny's car was her baby. No one drove the 'Vette except her. Chris was fine with being chauffeured. He leaned back and sang along to the radio softly.

"So," Jenny said, "Where are you going tonight?"

"I thought I'd try the Gold Coast," he mused. "It got good reviews online."

"You'll be careful?"

"Oh, please. When you're this good, you don't need to be careful...

COLLAPSE

About the Author

I get asked about my name a lot. It's not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname.

I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, where the mosquito is the state bird, and where winter can be breathtakingly beautiful. Minnesota’s a kindly, quiet (if sometimes chilly) place and it’s home now.

I’ve been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment. I mainly publish M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp.

My husband finally convinced me that after all that time writing for fun, I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing the four novels and three freebie short stories in the series. I’ve been delighted by the reception Mac and Tony have received.

I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page.
I also have  an author page on Goodreads where I do a lot of book reviews. You can find me to chat there– I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the  Goodreads YA LGBT Books group there. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far. Or find me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/KajeHarper


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