Treasure Trove Antiques #2
Life would be simpler if X marked the spot.
When Landry Carran buys an antique mirror from a pop-up flea market, he doesn’t expect it to set him on a treasure hunt originating in the Second World War. He can’t resist tracking down the clues even knowing that every step brings him closer to danger.
Landry’s partner and Dom, Detective Gage Roskam, has his own problems handling a money laundering case that twists and turns as much as Landry’s treasure trail.
As a decades-old mystery collides with modern-day crime, Landry and Roskam must juggle work, friendships and their relationship to solve both puzzles. It’ll be a miracle if nothing gets broken along the way.
Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of physical assault, gunshots and expressions of homophobia. There are references to non-nurturing parenting, addiction and attempted abduction.
Publisher: Pride Publishing
“Moving apartments involves way too much physical exertion.” Landry Carran launched two garbage bags full of bed linen into the spare bedroom before continuing to the kitchen to survey the chaos. “I’m exhausted and I have bruises in unmentionable places. Why aren’t cardboard boxes spherical? Corners are evil.”
“You’re moving one floor down in the same building.” Gage Roskam, Landry’s boyfriend, poked his head around the door. “And you have half of Seattle PD’s finest helping out, so quit whining or I’ll spank you in full view of all of them.”
“That’d scare the uniform pants off ’em. Something I wouldn’t mind seeing one little bit.” Landry contemplated the idea of a bunch of semi-naked cops with delight.
“Not so much. I’ve heard at least three different people say you need a spanking today. None of them seemed bothered about when or where it happened.”
“You’re a brat.”READ MORE
“I just want boxes marked ‘kitchen’ to go in the kitchen. Do they not teach reading at the police academy?”
“Not so’s you’d notice.”
“I never knew I had so much stuff,” Landry muttered. “It’s like living in one of those anxiety dreams where you know you have to finish something but it’s never-ending.” He shuddered.
“Are you one of those hoarder types? I think full disclosure should have occurred before I agreed to move in with you, if that’s the case.” Gage shoved another box of kitchenware onto the already crowded counter.
“You’ve been living with me for almost six months. You invaded my closet, kept your toothbrush in my bathroom and installed a gun safe in the bedroom. You discovered my rubber ducky fetish, stole an entire box of peanut butter cups and left your huge-ass boots where I’d trip over them. Just because you kept paying rent on your place does not mean we weren’t living together.”
Gage shrugged. “Your rubber fetish is a lot broader than ducks.” His blue eyes twinkled.
“That’s where you’re going with this?” Landry pouted. “Stop grinning.”
“Come here.” Gage crooked his finger.
“Nope.” Landry folded his arms. “Not gonna.”
Gage blinked. “Right now, Landry.”
“Hmm, let me think. There’s that new latex hood with the built-in penis gag—that has possibilities. Chastity for the next week—always fun—or removal of coffee privileges.”
Landry decided the three steps into Gage’s arms were his best option. He rested his cheek on Gage’s chest. “So mean.”
“And you love it.”
“Not admitting to anything that might prejudice my defense. Ooh, you’re so warm and you smell good.”
“How can that be when I’ve been carting boxes and furniture all day?”
“Don’t know, don’t care, but it’s true and that T-shirt shows off your muscles so well. Very distracting. You reduce my productivity.” Landry stroked a firm bicep.
“Oh no. You are not prepping the ground for blaming me when you can’t find your favorite mug this evening, or if some random object goes missing. Your productivity would increase if you spent less time drinking coffee and more time hauling shit. Less gossiping with Sancha needs to go on that list, too.”
“I don’t know what you mean.” Landry made his eyes big and wide and projected innocent vibes.
“My box of toys is in our bedroom. I have several paddles you haven’t met yet. Tonight, you’ll pick one then count while I apply it to your ass.” Landry gulped and his cock jerked. Gage snuck his hand down the front of Landry’s pants to give his shaft a squeeze. “Someone wants that spanking real bad.”
“This says different.” Gage played a little more. “You’re leaking.”
“Unhand me, you brute.”
“Have you been watching old British films again?”
“Maybe.” Landry shoved his groin into Gage’s palm.
“Madre de dios, put that boy down!” Sancha Hernandez, Gage’s partner, shouted from the hallway. “Or at least wait until I have a better view. There’s unpacking to do, and I was promised beer and pizza for helping out. I’ve seen no evidence of either and as I am a detective, I’d know.”
Landry whimpered as Gage gave him a final squeeze before removing his hand from Landry’s pants. “Later, brat.” Gage grabbed his cell from the counter. “I’ll order the pies before we have a mutiny on our hands. You sort the drinks. I’m not unpacking anything else tonight. The bed’s made. I have a toothbrush. I’m set.”
“I can’t believe you’re leaving me all alone for three whole days,” Sancha moaned, joining them. “Who’s gonna buy my coffee and fill in my paperwork?” Landry sniggered. “I can’t believe the captain signed off on your vacation time. Do you have blackmail material on him I don’t know about?”
“Pretty sure you’ll survive by enlisting some other naïve sucker,” Gage muttered before putting in his pizza order.
“Junior detectives are meant to make themselves useful. I’m giving them valuable life experiences and don’t forget my garlic prawns,” Sancha prompted him.
“And that right there is why I’m glad I don’t have to share a car with you tomorrow,” Gage said. “There aren’t enough air fresheners in the world.”
Sancha shrugged. “Lightweight. How are you doing, Landry, sweetie? I hope you haven’t been carrying anything too heavy. Moving is hard work, and you need to stay hydrated. Why don’t you grab a soda then come sit with me?”
“That sounds so cool. I am a little achy.” Landry directed his pout at Sancha.
“I’ll be on the couch.” She smiled at Landry, scowled at Gage then left the kitchen.
“Why doesn’t she care if I’ve been overdoing it?” Gage complained. “I’m the one she spends every day with.”
“Duh. Because you have muscles on your muscles whereas I’m a delicate flower.”
“Who shifts furniture around all day in an antique store.”
“Details. This much cuteness needs to be protected.” Landry swept a hand down his body.
“Yes, I’m still here. Sorry. Someone delusional was interrupting me.” Gage finished ordering food while Landry got himself a soda. He turned from the fridge to find Gage looming over him. “You give me a crick in the neck when you do that.” Landry tilted his head back. “I need a stool or a box or something.”
“I think my partner loves you more than me.” Gage twisted his fingers through Landry’s hair.
“I’m a lovable person. Of course I’m Sancha’s favorite. She loves me best because I am way cuter and far more adorable than you. You have this whole broody, menacing thing going on.” Landry grinned. “Which is a huge turn on for me, gotta say.”
“You do, huh?”
“I should go talk to Sancha…”
“You should stay right here while I remind you who you belong to.”
Landry drew breath to speak but his words were cut off as Gage captured his lips in a demanding kiss. Every submissive gene in Landry’s body responded to Gage’s dominance. He moaned into the kiss, knees wobbling. Every tug Gage gave his hair sent a miniature bolt of lightning to Landry’s cock. When they finally parted, he took a step back, dazed.
“Now you may go and talk to Sancha.”
“Oh I may, may I?” Landry hesitated, wondering if he might get kissed into silence if he talked back. “You don’t get to tell me who I can and can’t talk to.” Gage gave him one of his patented ‘don’t mess with me’ looks. “Okay, sometimes you do. Not all the time, ‘cause I’m a grown-up and I make decisions for myself. Like when we have cookies, and I have to choose between chocolate chip and ginger. I can do that.”
“No you can’t. You always take both.”
“Bad example.” Landry scuffed the toe of his sneaker on the floor.
“I know you’re all grown up, sweetheart, and you’re quite capable of making decisions. Mr. Lao wouldn’t trust you with Treasure Trove if you weren’t. But you’re mine and that gives me a say in your life. Sometimes you need a nudge in the right direction is all.”
“And that’s your job?”
“Along with watching out for you, tying you up, fucking you into the mattress, protecting you from predatory British art thieves…”
“You had to go there.”
Gage smirked. “Go keep Sancha company. I’ll go wait for the pizza guy and let the others know food is on the way. I think pretty much everything that needs to be, has been moved.”
“Bring them all in here, yeah? There’s a cooler full of beer behind the couch—unless Sancha has already found it, in which case it may be half-full by now.” Landry ambled through to the sitting room, which had a similar layout to the one in his old apartment except for an extra nook for a dining table. He threw himself onto the couch where Sancha was glugging down a bottle of Dubbel Entendre, which Landry had sourced from Sound Brewery in Poulsbo.
“You found the cooler then.” Landry leaned into Sancha’s side.
“I can scent beer from a mile away, you poor innocent lamb. Of course I found it and damn, this beer is good. Just what I needed. Love the name of this stuff too.”
“I couldn’t resist it, it’s such a cool name.” He cracked open his soda. “Thanks for helping out today, I really appreciate it. I know you don’t get much free time, and you must have had better things to do than helping me and Gage move.”
“How many times have you guys helped us out? Besides, it was this or taking the kids to soccer practice. My loving husband saw fit to remind me that I tend to get over-excited around the coach who I happen to think would have a much more lucrative career as an underwear model. Honestly, he’s wasted on a bunch of kids.”
“Leering in front of children is not a good plan.” Landry slurped his drink.
“Sad but true. However, we’re not here to talk about my perversions.”
“We’re not here to talk about mine, either,” Landry cautioned. “Because that would take way too long.”
Sancha gave an unladylike snort. “Ain’t that the truth? Also, Gage might object. So, tell me what Mr. Lao is up to and why you get to move into his apartment. Gage is hopeless at filling me in. I need to get the details from you. Mr. Lao isn’t ill or anything, is he? I kinda like the old guy.”
“He’s fine. More than fine. He’s moving in with his girlfriend.”
“He’s… Run that by me again.”
“He has a girlfriend called Maisie. He met her at his seniors bowling club—that’s bowling on grass by the way, not bowling on an alley, and now they’re moving in together in some gated community in the ’burbs, complete with health club, tennis courts and on-site restaurant. He’s stepping back from the store, to spend more time with her—semi-retirement, I suppose you could call it. I get to be the store manager and one of the perks is to move into Mr. Lao’s old apartment, which as you can see has more square footage than mine. The kitchen is bigger and there’s a spare bedroom, which is great because I can hide all Gage’s junk in there.”
“Congratulations! Manager, huh? Does that mean you get a humongous raise?”
“I wish. I agreed to a percentage of the profits on everything I sell on top of my puny salary, plus this place which, despite the lingering scent of incense, is quite a perk. Mr. Lao will still be doing most of the buying while I get to park my butt in the store. He loves traveling around finding great deals and bartering with his pals in the trade. Oh, I also get to look for an assistant. A new me.”
“And Gage is moving in with you. That’s so sweet.”
“I dare you to use the word sweet in front of him. It’s practical. He saves a bundle on rent, and I get to jump his bones any time I want. We were as good as living together already, anyway.”
“More like he gets to keep a closer eye on you.”
“Exactly,” Gage said, joining them. “Because someone has a habit of getting into strife when I’m not watching him.” He dropped a pile of pizza boxes on the coffee table and the room was soon swarming with all the people who’d been helping out with the move. The noise level and banter grew as the pizza mountain shrank and the beers from the cooler were drunk. Landry laughed at all the jokes Gage’s colleagues made about him, noticing that they were a lot more cautious about teasing Sancha. When he mentioned it, she laughed.
“They wouldn’t dare. The last time one of them tried to play a trick on me at the precinct, I accidentally stapled his hand.”
Landry looked to Gage for confirmation. He nodded. “She did. Not sure it was accidental, though.”
“No comment!” Sancha proclaimed.
“Your aim is spot on, and you know it!”
“And on that note, I think it’s time that me and this crowd of reprobates cleared out of here and left you two lovebirds alone.”
Landry fought back a yawn. “You don’t have to go yet.”
“It’s been a long, hard day and you’re going to be really busy with setting up this place until the store reopens on Monday. Take the peace and quiet while you can and besides, Gage is needy. You have to keep stroking his…ego.” She snorted with laughter before levering herself off the couch. She gave Gage a kiss on the nose then began ushering everyone out of the apartment.
“Give me a minute,” Gage said. “I need to make sure they’ve really gone.”
Landry giggled. He curled into the corner of the couch and nibbled on a leftover slice of pizza. A wave of fatigue washed over him. He’d been so excited about the move, he’d been up since dawn and hadn’t slept much the previous night. Snuggling in bed with Gage sounded like a fine way to end the day, even if the bed was still surrounded by boxes.
By the time Gage returned, Landry was half-asleep.
“You have drool coming out of your mouth.” Gage’s graveled tones pulled Landry from his doze. He rubbed at his mouth with the back of his hand. “So this is how it’s going to be. One day living together, and you’re already letting yourself go.”
“If I had the energy, I’d swat you for that remark,” Landry muttered, yawning.
“You look like you’re about to go into hibernation.”
“That’s not a bad idea. Did you know there’s a Twitter account that follows a bunch of bears in Alaska and people get to vote on which of them is the fattest before they hibernate. These guys are chonks, let me tell you. They get to eat whatever the hell they like, pile on the weight then snooze away the cold months and when they wake up, they’re all skinny. Mind you, I’m not that fond of salmon. I don’t think bears eat pizza.”
Gage gaped. “I worry about you.”
“I know you do. Makes me all gooey inside thinking about it.”
“Sometimes I wonder how you survived before you met me.”
“I managed just fine.” Landry squeaked as Gage scooped him into his arms.
“That’s not what your brothers tell me.”
“You are way too close to those Viking wannabes and you shouldn’t believe a word they say about what I did or didn’t get up to as a child. They lie.”
“They have photographic evidence.”
“Image editing software is a thing, you know. It’s all fake, whatever they say.” Landry pouted as Gage hauled him into the bedroom. Gage dropped him, and he landed on the bed in a sprawl.
“Get your clothes off, brat.” Gage’s feral expression sent shivers down Landry’s spine. He scrambled out of his clothes with indecent haste, full of renewed energy. “Sure you’re not too tired for this?” Gage removed his T-shirt far too slowly for Landry.
“Don’t tease me, Gage! And no, I’m not too tired. Raring to go.” Landry licked his lips at the sight of Gage’s chest. “Your bare skin has magical energy powers.”
“Hands and knees.” In his rush to get into the position Gage wanted, Landry got too close to the edge of the bed. Gage caught him as he toppled off the side. “Don’t want you bruising your backside before I get to it.” He manhandled Landry back onto the bed.
“My hero.” Landry batted his lashes. He got onto his hands and knees, wiggling his ass in blatant provocation. His cock, hard and aching, bounced. He was hot, feverish with anticipation and when the smack of leather against skin sounded in his ears, he jumped.
“Just testing it against my palm.”
Landry twisted, trying to get a look at what ‘it’ was. The paddle Gage held was rectangular with a tapered end, the handle a snug fit in Gage’s hand. “Oh…”
“I was going to let you choose but decided you were too tired to think straight. This is double-layered leather, hand stitched and reinforced with a metal plate.”
“I don’t need the technical specification, Gage.”
“Feeling especially Dommy are you…Sir?” With a happy sigh, Landry rested his head on his folded arms, widened his legs and wiggled his butt a bit more.
“I should gag you.” The paddle connected with Landry’s backside with a thwack. He moaned. “But then I wouldn’t get to hear the noises you make.” Gage delivered a further four blows before dropping the paddle on the bed. Landry forced himself to take slow, even breaths while heat, edged with pain, blossomed across his skin. He was desperate to come and on the edge of begging Gage to fuck him. When Gage stroked Landry’s sore skin, he whimpered.
“So pink and pretty. You want me in you, don’t you? You want me to stuff you full.” Landry couldn’t summon enough coherence to respond, and when Gage pushed a cool, lubed finger into his ass, Landry sobbed. “So needy. Sucking me in.”
Landry worked Gage’s finger with his inner muscles, muttering nonsense words under his breath. Gage added a second finger, then a third in quick succession, stretching Landry’s channel enough that it burned. “Pl…pl…platypus!” Landry refused to beg. Gage enjoyed it far too much.
“Is that a new safe word?” Gage withdrew his fingers.
“No!” Landry wailed. “Put them back!”
Gage flicked Landry’s balls. “What’s the plural of platypus?”
“I. Don’t. Care.”
“I should get my phone and check or perhaps we could find the box with the dictionary in.”
Landry sobbed. “I hate you.”
“No you don’t.” When the blunt head of Gage’s cock made contact with his pucker, Landry sucked in his breath. “Relax.” Gage moved at a leisurely pace.
“I’ve seen pregnant hippos move faster than you.” Landry yelped as Gage reached around his body to pinch a nipple.
“That spanking wasn’t punishment enough, was it?” Gage pushed home, then stilled. “I need to think of better disincentives.”
“That’s a hellishly big word considering what you’re supposed to be doing,” Landry muttered, trying in vain to push back onto Gage’s cock.
“Quiet, brat, or tomorrow you’ll be unpacking with a vibrating plug stuck up your rear.” Gage took hold of Landry’s hips and pounded his ass with unbridled enthusiasm. All Landry could do was brace himself and take it, and that suited him just fine. Now Gage was doing exactly what Landry wanted him to, Landry could relax and enjoy the rush of pleasure, the surge of orgasm, as it flooded through him. When Gage came, he dug his fingers into Landry’s hips, yanking him back so that he was as deeply impaled as it was possible to be. He could have come untouched, but it was Gage’s firm grip on his cock that tipped him over the edge. Landry cried out, spilling into Gage’s hand in a series of uncoordinated jerks before collapsing face down on the bed. For a while, Gage let his weight rest along the length of Landry’s body. Landry loved being held down, loved being rendered helpless by a bigger, stronger man. Gage knew it and took full advantage, sinking his teeth into Landry’s shoulder.
“Wanna mark me, huh?” Gage didn’t bother confirming or denying. He sucked at Landry’s skin. “What do you call a hickey surrounded by teeth marks?” Landry wondered.
“I call it mine.”
Landry gave a happy sigh. “No one will see it under my shirt.”
“I’ll know it’s there and that’s all that matters. Tomorrow, your ass will ache, your shoulder will ache and every twinge will make you think of me.”
“I have other things in my head apart from you, you know.”
“In that case…” Gage rolled to one side then flipped Landry onto his back. He hooked Landry’s legs over his arms, bending him back. “I’d better fuck you again because those other things need to take second place to me.”
“You talk a good game, Sir, but there’s no way you’re hard again yet.”
“I don’t recall saying what I was going to fuck you with, and by the way, you doubting my powers of recuperation focuses my mind even more on how best to punish you.”
“I should be quiet now.”
“No, by all means carry on. That hole you’re standing in can still get deeper.” Gage groped beneath the covers and extracted a sizable dildo.
“You are a virile, masterful Dominant, Sir. I can think up some more positive adjectives, but I need a minute. You’re distracting me with that…thing.”
Gage grinned. “Nice try. You need more lube?”
“No? Wait, if I say yes does that buy me some time?”
“What do you think?” Gage touched the tip of the toy to Landry’s hole then pushed.COLLAPSE