Love and Pain

by W. S. Long

Sequel to Love and Murder

After their too-thrilling courtship that included capturing his former lover's killer, Jake Chandler has started a new life for himself with FBI agent Xavier. Living together is wonderful, but moving to Washington D.C. has resulted in temporary jobs that don’t last long. When Jake finally lucks out on a too-good-to-be-true position with a big law firm, Xavier suspects Jake’s new boss is crooked.

With some sleuthing, snooping, and close calls, Jake gets deeper into trouble at work, and conflicts with Xavier make his world start to crumble. When a key witness is shot to death in front of Jake, they both begin to realize how high the stakes are. Can Jake and Xavier get through these threats and find happiness with each other?

Excerpt:

Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.

Xavier counted ten ambulances, with people milling about with blankets. He quickly scanned to see if Jake was in any of them. As he walked to one ambulance closest to the station, he noticed camera crew from two local stations. Jake stood ten feet away from one. He cleared his throat and slowed his walking pace. There were two other DC police officers nearby. Instinctively, he straightened his back, adjusted his tie, and brushed his jacket collars to make sure they were flat. Jake and he had addressed how they would act in public since Xavier wasn’t completely out. When he got closer to Jake, Jake saw him and smiled. Xavier wanted to push the people that blocked his path. Instead, he nodded as he approached then patted Jake on the shoulder, careful not to jostle Jake too hard because Jake was sipping coffee.

Shit, I want to hug him, kiss him.

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He cleared his throat. “Glad you’re okay, Jake.”

Jake narrowed his eyes as if to say something.  He saw Jake take a deep breath, then bit his bottom lip. “Thank you.” Jake glanced around, behind Xavier.

Dammit, I hate acting like we’re just friends.

“I drove and parked at a garage not too far from here so I can drive you home, if you want.”

Jake did a slight nod, raised his eyebrows, and said matter of fact, “Thanks.”

Xavier observed Jake nod to the camera crew. “Thanks for the coffee!” Jake shouted as they walked away, past the barricades.

“Where’d you park?”

“It’s a couple of blocks from here.” Xavier didn’t say another word to Jake, who remained silent, his head looking at the ground most of the time until they reached the garage. “I think I’m on the third floor. Can you take the steps?”

“I think so.”

As they reached the third level, Xavier and Jake made a beeline to Xavier’s grey Chevy sedan. As soon as they sat in the vehicle, Xavier locked the doors and moved closer to Jake, their eyes level, he grabbed Jake’s neck and pulled him in, without any words. Their lips touched and Xavier kissed Jake, hard. He smelled of smoke but didn’t care. The warmth of Jake’s lips and face close to him made his heart race fast. Xavier grabbed Jake’s face and held it until Jake pulled away.

“You had me worried.”

“I told you everything was okay,” Jake whispered.

Xavier brushed some of the brown hair that covered Jake’s left eye.

Ah! Those beautiful blues!

“I know but I wanted to get you.”

“Thanks for getting me, love. Can we go home now? I hope we still have some Chinese leftover in the fridge because I’m starving.”

“I’ll order some delivery on the way over and I’ll draw you a hot bath when we get home.”

“Aw. That’s sweet.”

“I know. It is. But you also smell like smoke.”

Jake lifted his jacket and smelled it. “I can’t smell anything.”

“Trust me, you do.”

Jake smiled. “Oh, I believe you. I just can’t smell it.”

As the Chevy exited the garage, Jake grabbed and held Xavier’s hand. “Thanks for getting me again.”

“Nothing would have stopped me from coming after you.” Xavier gripped Jake’s hand. “By the way, were you talking to a reporter or something? I saw you thank them for coffee.”

“Yes, one of them stopped me to ask me questions.”

“On camera? Or off? Did you give your name?”

Jake faced his window. “On camera, I think. And yeah, I gave them my name.”

Xavier groaned. “I wish you hadn’t done that.”

      * * * *

An hour later, Jake pushed his shoulders down below the water level, letting the heat warm him. He reveled in the bath that Xavier drew as he blew the soapsuds from the lavender salts. He heard the doorbell ring, then muffled voices. He waited to see if Xavier wanted him out of the tub as he smelled the Chinese takeout, a mixture of cooking oil, egg noodles, and vegetables gave an unmistakable odor. Minutes before Xavier lit several candles on the dual vanity counter; the only other illumination came from the wall mounted, circular double-sided makeup mirror. It provided the best low-level lighting in this Victorian styled bathroom. Jake inhaled, closed his mouth, and dunked underneath the water, forcing his knees to be exposed. Xavier loved baths and only recently had Jake realized how enjoyable they were.

The door opened, Jake poked his head out of the water. Xavier walked in barefoot, shirtless only wearing his slacks from earlier. His defined abs in display, the expansive, muscular chest, and bulging biceps also impressed. The V-torso pointed to the gift between his legs.
God. He still takes my breath away.

Xavier smiled and stood, towering over him in the bathtub one arm length away, gazing down Jake’s naked body that was partially hidden by suds. “Dinner’s ready. Shall I bring it to you here and I sit on the toilet while you eat from the bathtub or do you want to get out of the bath and eat on the kitchen bar stools?”

Jake sat up in the bath, exposing his torso. His next comments guided by his awakened protuberance. “We’ve never eaten in the bathtub. How about here?”

Xavier smiled. “That’s going to be a little tough. I can barely fit my body in there by myself, and with two of us, that’s going to be a tight fit. And the water has to be hot for me.”

“The water’s hot enough. Here, come and check.”

Xavier moved forward, put his right hand in the water. As he did so, Jake grabbed his wrist and guided Xavier’s hand between his legs.

 

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Elisa Rolle on Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings wrote:

Writer Long has created a wonderfully exciting story with two very interesting protagonists. Jake and Xavier are The Men.

Carrie on The Novel Approach wrote:

Review:

Love and Pain picks up a few months after Love and Murder, when the main characters, Jake and Xavier, are starting their new life together. You don’t have to read the first book, but it would help a great deal as this book is tied to it and can be a tad confusing in the beginning if you do not know the backstory from the first novel. This book takes a while to get going, but is highly enjoyable once it does.

Xavier is an FBI agent, taken out of the field because of his last case (Love and Murder), and he practically itches to return to field work. Jake is a lawyer, taking short term assignments while looking for a permanent job in Washington, DC. When a law firm hires Jake and the offer seems too good to be true, Xavier gets suspicious and soon discovers that old cases for the both of them are coming back to haunt them. Above it all, though, this is a romance, and the mystery surrounding these men is there as a complement to their love story. How far are you willing to go to keep someone you love safe? Jake and Xavier each answer that question in this book, and it’s amazing. The way the mystery plays out is totally believable, and I give credit for that to the fact that the author is a lawyer. The way the pivotal characters are all linked together is credible and makes the story a believable crime drama played out on the page.

Love and Pain can be a little flat in places, like the author’s writing style is a work in progress: things are stated baldly, almost stilted in places where you wish he would use a few more words and make the imagery flow instead of stating facts. However, this is not the case for the entire novel, and the places where he allows more nuance of these characters makes them come alive and become real, and it is these incredible places that make the rough spots seem not so significant.

I am always on the lookout for really good crime/mystery stories, and I really enjoyed this book and will look for more from this author, as I think he holds great promise in this genre. Overall, well done!

Phetra on GGR-Review wrote:

In this book, Love and Pain by WS Long we meet Jake Chandler, a former lawyer in Florida now in between jobs after a huge ordeal with dealing of the murder of his ex-lover that made him move to Washington D.C. to be with his current boyfriend and FBI agent, Xavier.

You are sucked right into the book when you start reading, WS Long pull you right into meeting the main characters Jake and Xavier and let you get in touch with Jake’s current state of mind which is somewhere between hope and despair, chased by bad dreams of a dying lover Noah a man he somehow can’t get over maybe more so because of this burning guilt he carries inside.

It takes me into about half the book before I realize that this book is part of a series and that we in the first book meet Jake and Xavier for the first time. If this hadn’t occurred to me I would never had figured out this was a part of a series, which to me is a brilliant thing, it proves how well an author can tell a story and intertwine necessary things from the other book(s) and still move forward. With this in mind I happily continued to read Love and Pain, getting more and more pulled into the story that at first appeared to be how one man in a relationship was going to get over the death of his ex-lover and move forward with this new boyfriend.

Then when just as I was starting to relax thinking och I got this I know where WS Long is taking this, Jake is getting a job, he is getting out in the world, he’s gonna make it and he and Xavier will find some real good time to love each other and date. Yep, they will be fine WS Long pulls the rug from under you with putting poor Jake right back on square one.

The last half of the book is a pure thriller, not gory by any means but pure suspense and keeps you guessing pretty far into it all who is a friend and who is a foe. I love these kinds of stories when you are kept roller-coasting around wondering who the true villain is and will they catch him. With that said I give Love and Pain is a solid 5 star read to me because it flows, it is very well written, it is a series that works just fine on its own and the characters are really well developed, especially Jake. I for one will go back to read book number two (sic) just to see how it all got started!


You can also obtain "Love and Pain" on paperback in Australia via Booktopia.

http://www.booktopia.com.au/love-and-pain-w-s-long/prod9781530782239.html

About the Author

Lawyer by day, writer by night. When I'm not lawyering during the day, I'm often reading or writing gay fiction involving men who desire a happily ever after. I'm happily married to a mild-mannered college professor, who likes to escape to the Orlando theme parks, or to a faraway place. You can often find me on social media, sometimes talking about books, but many times mouthing about TV, movies and other geeky stuff involving superheroes. Oh, and I use a pen name to protect the innocent.

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