When a cop and a newly released convict cross paths, few cons can expect anything but a cold shoulder and mistrust. Struggling back to the home he knows no longer exists, Ike Hernandez meets a cop who seems to be different. He isn’t sure he can believe the kindness he receives will continue. Still, he wants to learn to trust again and regain his lost self-respect.
Perry Parker became a law enforcement officer because he wanted to help people. He’d seen first-hand the results of poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, a crumbling economy and the insidious effects of peer pressure and bad examples on the youth. He’d watched hardship trickle down to crush the youngest and weakest. He found there was not a lot he could do, but now and then he discovered someone he could help. Would the lost man with the little dog that he picked up one bitter cold and stormy night be one of them?
Pursuing tales about a new drug dealer in his county, Perry starts to doubt the man he’s befriended, but he still feels Ike is a decent person. When the real dealers seek to take advantage of the convict’s past, it takes Perry and his unofficial canine partner and the little stray Ike had adopted to save the day. Can a cop, a con, and two dogs make an unorthodox family?
Heat Level: 2
Length: Novella (23k words)
Read a short excerpt...
...“Yeah, there’s a low level cartel jefe based in this area, answering to a higher one in Las Cruces. Everyone knows that, or almost everyone. And he has minor honchos, at least one or two in every little village. They’ll let the freelancers alone for a while, but if they start getting too big, they’re erased. Four or five small-time hoods have vanished, a couple of the bodies found later. No way to solve the cases, really. They go cold. We haven’t got the manpower to work on them very long. And to be honest, everyone is almost relieved when one pusher is out of the picture.”
Ike nodded, just a single sharp jerk. “Still, folks know what I am, and they’re suspicious. I can sense it. And this stuff about some dude called El Feo…he worries me.”
Perry found himself gazing intently into Ike’s dark eyes, absorbing the worry and other nameless emotions churning inside him. Then, before he quite realized what he was going to do, much less why, he hauled Ike closer. He suddenly found his mouth grinding against Ike’s, tasting the spices the other man had used in the dish he was cooking, a hint of coffee and the mint gum he often chewed.
For a few seconds, Ike kissed back. Then he went tense in Perry’s hold and jerked free with a desperate twist. He took two fast stumbling paces backward, breathing hard.
Perry almost staggered, shock roaring through him. “Oh, man, I didn’t mean, didn’t expect—oh fuck, I’m sorry. Why in hell did I do that?”
Ike’s mouth opened and shut a time or two, no words emerging. Finally, he croaked what sounded like, “It’s okay. I mean I— Well, just forget it. It’s all right.”
“Anyway,” Perry said, turning to head back out, “I’m on duty for two more hours and will prob’ly be late. I’ll see you tomorrow. Maybe I’ll have something on this Feo guy by then. I know you’re no drug pusher.”
Ike didn’t say anything at all. He turned back to the stove and didn’t glance around once.
With his back to Ike as he reached for the door, Perry felt a compulsion to explain. “Yeah, I’m gay. I guess I never said, did I? Still, I won’t do anything like that again unless I know you expect it and want it.”
In Perry’s one fast look before the door shut between them, he got a good view of Ike’s reverse half. Shit, he didn’t think Ike had gained much weight but he had a damn fine ass. Now that he wore jeans that fit, the back view was fine.
When Perry got back into the idling SUV, he realized his hands were shaking. At first, he wasn’t sure he could control the vehicle. His heart pounded until it felt like it might burst right through his ribs. What in the devil was he thinking of, grabbing Ike like that and kissing him? Within the confines of his dark brown uniform pants, his cock throbbed, so hard it, too, felt about to bust free...