Restraint (Power Exchange 4) is now available for sale!
Who brings a Glock on a honeymoon?
Not retired detective Gavin DeGrassi. When his husband Ben asks who he plans to shoot, Gavin has no answer. They’re spending three weeks in Ben’s family cabin near Seattle, not chasing down bad guys. Or are they?
Ben finds evidence the car accident that claimed his parents’ lives more than fifteen years ago was not so accidental. To avenge the Haversons, Gavin dusts off his detective skills and unknowingly paints a target on their backs. Suddenly, Ben is the prime suspect in a crime and the message couldn’t be clearer: drop the investigation or suffer untold consequences.
Gavin will stop at nothing to ensure Ben’s safety and bring the Haversons’ killers to justice, but without help, they’re sitting ducks. Gavin must make unlikely allies in his quest to clear Ben’s name and stop a ruthless crime syndicate. But with his loyalties divided, how far is too far in his quest for justice?
“Taking it easy?” I kidded, rounding the desk to sit on the corner next to his legs.
He held up the Moleskine book. “There are shelves of my mother’s journals here.” He gestured at the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves lining one wall, his eyes dancing as though he’d found buried treasure. Considering how young he was when they’d died—just twenty-four—I supposed it was. “She wrote in journals my whole life, and after their death, I wasn’t in any shape to read them. Uncle Oliver was their executor, so he boxed everything up and brought it here, and I just never got around to reading them the three or four times I was here to visit.” His relief at the journals not having shared the fate of the photo albums in the fire went unsaid, but I caught it just the same.
I kissed the top of his head and peered over his shoulder. “Want something to eat?”
Ben had already returned to his mother’s graceful, flowing handwriting, lovingly stroking the page that held words penned so perfectly, it was a wonder it wasn’t a font. Well, he’d said she was an artist. It would make sense her penmanship was practically calligraphy.
“Just a sandwich or something. I already boxed up the papers that look dull and boring to ship them home, and nothing is legally left to do for their estate. It’s just old insurance papers and that kind of thing. I could probably pitch the lot of it without throwing away anything valuable, but that doesn’t sit well with me.”
“Of course not. Maybe you’ll find genealogy stuff in there and discover a missing relative.”
He chuckled. “There are three shelves full of these journals, and I won’t ignore you to read them all now, but I’d like to pick through a few and see what she had to say. Unless you want to do something together this afternoon?”
I read that as I miss my parents, but I know they’re gone and you’re not, and reassured him I was perfectly happy lounging around the rest of the day. I left him to it, bringing him a sandwich and chips for lunch. I spent the rest of the day entertaining myself so he could concentrate. I’d found a collection of David Attenborough documentaries in the game room and contentedly immersed myself in the wilds of Africa and the waters of the Pacific until Ben emerged around dinnertime and entered the game room, where I’d planted myself on the leather couch in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt.
“Hey, are you hungry? I thought we could check out the island’s restaurant,” I asked without turning around. He didn’t answer. “Or I can grill some steaks.”
Ben still didn’t speak, having paused by the wall of windows to look out over the bay. I glanced up and did a double take. His shoulders were bunched close to his ears, his hands shoved in his jeans pockets, and he was pale. His reflection in the window showed not admiration and peace with our surroundings but a thousand-yard stare.
Ben was unflappable. He was controlled. He the most even-keeled person I knew, even in the face of imminent danger. He didn’t brood.
I clicked off the show immediately and stood at his back, putting my hands on his shoulders to knead them. He jumped.
He also never flinched. Something was really off.
“Babe? What’s wrong?” Concern pooled beneath my skin and a needle of real fear poked my spine.
He shook his head.
I had no idea what to do. Our relationship wasn’t built on me comforting Ben. He did the comforting. He was the immovable wall against which I’d battered my PTSD, touch aversion, and panic attacks after our near-death experience at the hands of the Breath Play Killer, finally knocking my demons into something I could handle on my own. He’d held me together when Myah had gone missing, so I could in turn hold my brother together while we searched for her.
The only time I’d ever seen him crack was when he’d used his skills as a Dom to convince a man withholding information about Myah’s disappearance to talk through creative application of a lamp cord and a fireworks punk. But I’d witnessed that. I knew how to talk Ben through because I’d seen what it had done to him and why what he’d done was necessary. If I didn’t know what was wrong now, I couldn’t help him.
“Ben, talk to me.” I slipped my arms around his waist, resting my chin on his granite-hard shoulder. The minute sounds of him grinding his teeth slithered into my ear, and I kissed his knotted jaw.
Is he angry? This looks like fury.
“Ben, please,” I whispered. “Let me help.”
“My parents didn’t die in an accident. They were murdered.”