Beto Hernandez’s objective: Break the human trafficking ring plaguing Skagit once and for all. He’s not in Skagit to make friends—his kicking ass first and taking names later. Maybe. He crosses paths with an intriguing and sexy man, the first man in years to spark Beto’s interest. It’s ultimate bad timing, though; no one in Skagit can be trusted. Who is Carsten Quinn, and where does he fit in Beto’s investigation? Beto tries to stay away from Carsten but their undeniable chemistry keeps him close.
Carsten Quinn survived years in hell to return to “normal life,” and he's on his own mission in Skagit. The only problem is he’s hiding, not living anything like a normal life. When his closest friend is severely injured it’s up to Carsten to finish gathering evidence to put some very bad people behind bars and he knows all too well he can’t trust anyone, especially not the law.
Ironically, the law appears anyway, in the form of a sexy cop he can’t stop thinking about; when Carsten’s past comes back with a vengeance, he has no one else to turn to. Is happiness too much to hope for? Are Beto and Carsten too different and too broken to trust anyone, much less each other?
- 2 To Be Read lists
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: InstaLove / Love at First Sight, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Opposites Attract, Single Again
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
“Do us all a favor? Don’t try to sneak around.” The detective gave him a slow once-over. “You’re about as subtle as a brick.”
Hernández’s voice, low and growly, sent a shiver down Carsten’s spine. He felt his cheeks heat and hoped Hernández didn’t notice that too. It was bad enough he’d been caught following him.
“You wanna tell me what you’re doing here, why you’re sneaking around like—” Hernández snapped his mouth shut, apparently unable to come up with a reasonable description of what Carsten was doing.
Carsten opened his mouth to answer, and then changed his mind as well. He had nothing he wanted to share. They stared at each other, Carsten wishing he knew what the detective was thinking; if he could be trusted. Carsten wanted to trust him.
The corridor they stood in was busy. The beeping of various machines echoed off the tiled walls in a quiet cacophony.
Several nurses brushed past them, talking while they walked; people in street clothes got off the elevator, while others moved around them to get on. Hernández grabbed Carsten’s sleeve, tugging him out of the way.
Again Carsten tried to say something, anything, but before he could come up with the right words, he got a good look at the two men coming their direction from the elevator. Both faces were acid-etched with scorn and hate. He would never be able to forget them—he’d dreamed about them for years, their laughter ringing in his ears while their footsteps burst into flames behind them. They hadn’t seen him then or since. He reminded himself they didn’t know about him, and if they did, they believed him dead in the fire. It was pure instinct that had him turning to hide his face, bringing himself very close to Detective Hernández.
To give the man credit, he didn’t turn to see what had freaked Carsten out. Instead he put his arm around Carsten’s shoulder, tucking him to his side as if comforting him. Crooning in nonsense Spanish, he brought his mouth very close to Carsten’s ear.
“What is it?”
Carsten pressed against him. Even if comfort wasn’t truly being offered, he needed it. He felt shaky, as if flying into a million pieces was within the realm of possibility. Seeing those men made what he and Troy were trying to do more real—and far more dangerous.
After all the years, after surviving and starting his own life again … the fear had not gone away, it had only been hiding under the surface of his skin. Hernández’s hot breath against his ear helped him focus on the present; helped him know he wasn’t trapped, being kept prisoner any longer.
“Those men, I recognize … they aren’t good people. Don’t let them hurt Troy.”