Category - Work In Progress

The Power of Dreams

992166_2365335300Have you ever had a dream so vivid you wonder how the hell it was possible? The mind is an incredible thing, we know that, but I admit there's something I find absolutely fascinating about how we dream. See, I'd been fretting about Henry's character. He's one of my protagonists, the love of Johnnie's life. Yet I've been feeling disconnected from him. He hasn't been talking to me as much as the other fellas. Granted, when those other fellas are Johnnie and Chance, it's understandable. Anyone would be lucky to get a word in edgewise. I needed Henry to step up and stop being such a wall flower because if he wasn't careful, Johnnie's ostentatious personality was going to wipe him clear off the map.

This fretting was obviously floating around in the back of my mind when I dozed off last night, and the whole thing filtered into my dreams, because I dreamed I was in the 1930s. It was weird. It was one of those things where you kind of know you don't belong there yet you're still a part of it, a sort of semi-awareness. It's not the first time I've dreamed of a different time. (Welcome to the head of a historical writer). Anyway, the thing is, it was the 1930s. Not surprising considering how much of my day I spent trying to immerse myself in that time. What I found surprising was the incredible vividness of the dream. I swear, it was as if I had closed my eyes and woken up in that time.

I remember a restaurant, and the incredible detail of it just blew me away. I don't know what restaurant it was, whether it may have been something I had seen at some point somewhere or if my head had just made it up and turned the colors up full blast, but the details took my breath away. From the clothing the people were wearing to the gorgeous ceiling and the tiled floor. It breaks my heart that I can't remember much of it now, but I remember at the time just standing there in awe.

Just where had my head conjured up this place from? Believe me, I might know my era, but I'm nowhere near as good as that, where I can just piece something together off the top of my head. There was also a hotel lobby and busy sidewalks at night, all illuminated by signs. Mostly I remember indoors. I remember a good deal of it was sort of in a shopping arcade, which is where this restaurant was. I remember green marble tiles in a diamond pattern on the floor with white marble tiles. Lots of gold inside the restaurant, intricate designs.

HenryNow the best part was, there was a man in a dark blue, three-piece suit walking beside me. He had his hands in his pockets and a gray felt hat on his head with a black ribbon around it. He was tall, slender, very unassuming, soft spoken, and handsome, though I couldn't see his face clearly. He would talk with his head lowered. I couldn't see what color his hair was. Then I remember he took me back somewhere. There was a gift shop, but it was closed. I remember sun coming in through a window on my left and cloth tarps covered a good deal of the furniture. Even though I can't remember what he was talking about, I remember there was an odd sense of peace mixed with sadness. Either it was him giving off this sadness or it was whatever he was talking about.

When I turned, I saw a table filled with pretty souvenirs. They were British. I knew then the man was Henry. Henry's English, you see. He's tall, slender, unassuming, soft spoken, and handsome. For the life of me, I can't remember what Henry was talking to me about. I wish I could say I woke up and knew everything there was to know about him, but I didn't. I did wake up feeling a little more connected to him. It might sound strange, and a little silly, but I also woke up feeling somewhat sad. Because for a moment, he had been there, real and in the flesh, living and breathing like any other person we talk to on a daily basis. Except he was a man of his time, and in the here and now, he would have passed on many a year ago. Henry was gone.

What does this mean for the story? Well, it's made things a little more complicated, so hold onto your hats. See, now that it feels as if I've met Henry in person, I can't get into his head. I've mulled over the POV of Johnnie's book endlessly. At first it was going to be Johnnie's POV because the first book was written from Chance's POV and I thought I should continue that. Then it changed to third so I could get into other characters' heads. Now, it only feels right doing it from Johnnie's point of view, to see and feel things through him, and most importantly, to see Henry through Johnnie's eyes, the way I saw him through my own. See, there's a reason they say we writers are screwy. So I feel as if I can't let Henry down. I have to give a life and a love worthy of the man who had walked beside me in that shopping arcade. Henry, I apologize in advance for what Johnnie will put you through, but I promise you, you'll get your happily ever after.

x Charlie


Work In Progress - Johnnie's Book

I've been making the most out of the fellas and their momentary chattiness. Of course this would happen as I'm trying to get Julius's synopsis done. I swear, they're like a bunch of kids. When I want them to talk, they're all quiet and serene, then the moment one of them starts chatting, they all want to talk at once and be the center of attention. I have Johnnie on somewhat of a schedule and am trying to do less of the hopping around stories, and more of the working on one thing at a time. It worked for Julius's book, and so far *fingers crossed*, it seems to be working for Johnnie.

So I decided to share a scene. Here Johnnie has been behaving like his usual charming self while Chance is getting real tired of his bull and calls him out on it. It's first person POV, Johnnie's obviously. For those who don't know Johnnie, he was in The Auspicious Troubles of Chance as one of the brats, had just turned 19, was a pain in Chance's backside, foulmouthed, loud, and could drive anyone insane. He was also very troubled and reminded Chance too much of himself at that age. Now Johnnie is all grown up, 27 years old, devastatingly handsome, but just as troubled, foulmouthed, and can still drive anyone insane. But especially Chance. I think this scene sums up the dynamics between grown up Johnnie, Chance and Jacky pretty well.

♥♥♥

“What do I keep telling you?” I thought hard for a moment. “Don’t leave the toilet seat up?” “Besides that.” “Which by the way makes no sense. We’re all guys.” There were eight bathrooms in the house. Did he realize how many toilet seats that was to keep track of? What was I, keeper of the bog? I couldn’t be the only one in a house full of fellas who left it up. That was just statistically unsound. “That don’t mean we gotta live like animals.” “When did you become such a dame?” “About the same time you became a real prick.” I merely shrugged the insult off. “Takes one to know one I guess.” Chance came to loom over me, his index finger inches away from my nose. “Now you listen to me you ungrateful little shit. Henry doesn’t need to be on the receiving end of your bullshit. He deserves more respect than that.” “Fuck you.” I swatted his hand away with a growl. He knew how much I hated when he did that, which of course was why he did it. “I know you’re looking for a fight, but I ain’t giving you one.” “Oh? And what the hell would you call this?” “This is me worried about you and you know it.” I let out a resigned sigh, my shoulders slumping. Chance had a habit of making me feel like that lost nineteen year old kid he’d met back in the desert. It seemed like a lifetime ago. “All right then.” He pressed his lips together before giving me a wink and held his arms out. “Come here and give me a hug.” “Lay off.” I tried my hardest not to laugh and reminded myself I was annoyed with him. When I folded my arms over my chest and moved away from him, he gave up and walked over to the wingback chair, taking a seat and looking like the goddamn king of the castle. “You’ll give in one of these days.” I scoffed at that. “Over my dead body.” “That can be arranged all too easily.” “You are unbelievable,” I said, shaking my head at the truly sinister smile on his face. “I know.” “That wasn’t a compliment.” “Wasn’t it? It sure sounded like one to my ears.” “Yeah well, you are screwy in the head.” “I keep hearing compliments.” “Shut up.” I narrowed my eyes at him and shoved my hands in my pockets. Why the hell was I sticking around? Surely it wasn’t because I wanted to. That would really mean it was time for me to get carted off to the loony bin. Chance, however, wasn’t all that concerned about the daggered look I was giving him, as per usual. I, on the other hand, was very concerned about the stupid smile on his face. It meant he was up to something. “Remember what Jacky says, frowns are nothing but upside down smiles.” “Jeepers Creepers, would you just shut the fuck up?” “Glen’s a high-brow, gold-digging grease-ball.” I froze to the spot. So we finally got to the heart of the matter. How did the bastard always manage to get the drop on me? No matter how ready I was to plant a fist in his face, Chance always knew how to burst my temperamental bubble. Damn him. I flopped down onto the couch feeling drained. “I know.” “So why do you keep seeing him?” I shrugged. Sure, I could make up a bunch of baloney, but Chance would see right through it. He always did. “I do.” My gaze shifted up to me his smug one. “Well don’t let me stop you from dazzling me with your brilliance.” He chuckled. “Was I ever such a wiseass?” “What the hell are you talking about? You still are!” “Hm. Anyway, it’s because it’s easy.” “Easy?” Well that was news to me. Glen had to be the most obnoxious Brit I had ever met. “You think putting up with his pain in the ass is easy?” I donned my best prissy accent. “Johnnie do stop slouching. Johnnie take me to London. Johnnie I need a new waistcoat.” Sometimes I just wanted to plant one in his whiny, pasty face. “Easier than risking your heart and the heart of a good man like Henry. Yeah, it’s far easier. I should know.” Damn him and his sound logic. “And here I thought Jacky just kept you around ‘cause you’re pretty.” “Nope.” Chance wriggled his brows. “I happen to be amazing in the sack too.” I groaned. Loudly. “Please shut up.” “I do this thing with my tongue—” “You are a monster!” I jumped to my feet, ignoring his laughter, and started to pace the room. “Good talk.” “Piss off!” My God, how the hell did Jacky put up with him? Speaking of Jacky, when I looked up, he was walking into the room. He came to stand next to Chance who made to give up his seat when Jacky simply put a hand to his shoulder. Jacky smiled widely at me. “Having a heart to heart?” I didn’t reply, merely narrowed my eyes at him. Chance decided to answer for me. “Yep.” “How’s it going?” “Good,” Chance replied, smiling at me. “He hasn’t even taken a swing at me yet.” Jacky’s eyebrows went up. “Really?” He gave a nod and patted Chance on the back. “Impressive.” “There’s still time,” I grumbled, wondering if they had somehow forgotten I was still in the room with them. “I’m wearing him down,” Chance said pleasantly. Jacky seemed pleased. “See? What did I tell you?” “Don’t strangle him?” “And hasn’t that worked out well?” Chance shrugged. “It’s not as fun.” I was standing right there. “You two are unbelievable.” “I know,” Jacky replied with a chuckle. “He’s corrupted you.” I couldn’t help my pout. “I don’t know why you keep him around.” When Jacky’s eyes got that mischievous look, I should have run for the hills. “He’s good in the sack. He does this thing with his tongue—” “Jesus! What is wrong with you two?” I threw my arms up, gagging when Chance leaned up to kiss Jacky. How could two such hardboiled mugs be so squishy and lovey and I think I’m gonna to be sick. “I love you,” Chance purred. Jacky planted a kiss on the tip of Chance’s nose. “I love you too, snugglepup.” “I’m getting out of here before you two make me lose my lunch.” When I walked out, it was to the sound of their infectious laughter, and damn it, if I didn’t end up with a dopey grin on my face. Bastards, the lot of them.

Wrapping up my Love Has No Boundaries story and more!

workinprogressOkay, so last night, I finished my Love Has No Boundaries story and sent it off to my beta! It came in at 33,699 words. I knew it was going to be novella length, and figured it would be about the same size as my Love is Always Write story Roses in the Devil's Garden. Yeah, no. Trip is a mouthy little so-and-so, as you may have deduced from the little snippets I've been posting. I have to say though, I have had so much fun writing Trip and the Devil Dogs. Hopefully everyone else will love them as much as I do. This will be my first non-historical. Though technically, Mending Noel was my first non-historical, but it's a Christmas Story, and it's about elves. I've also been collecting fun little tid-bits from the story to share once the story is released by the MM Romance Group.

Trip's story is about Husky shifters in an urban fantasy setting. I don't know how much I can give away. Anyway, it has a title and that title may or may not have a Book #1 attached to it. *Le gasp!* Okay, I don't know why I gasped in French there, but yes, I am already working on the second story. I'm hoping against hope that I can finish it by the end of the month, so if the publisher contracts it, folks won't have to wait so long, like they've had to do with my other series. The second book should come in at around the same length. I'm also working on Johnnie's story (the boy has been getting impatient), and then Jack's story. Yep, Jack and Rudy are getting their own Christmas story. The moment I'd finished Mending Noel I knew I wanted to have a story with the grumpy, sexy, dangerous Jack Frost and his equally sexy pilot. So stay tuned for more on that.

After that, I've got a four book contemporary shifter series I'm working on. It's a little different from Trip's story because it's not fantasy. The shifters aren't related to mythical beings in any way, but I'm hoping the idea is original and the that folks will fall in love with the characters. I've been spending a lot of time on these folks and I really want this series to be pretty epic. I mean these guys will be getting their own sub-domain, that's how excited I am about them. I've already planned out all four books and know what's happening in them, I just need to write them. I'm hoping to get the first two started after Jack's story is done. Then it'll be a matter of getting all four scheduled and released next year, all full length novels. There will be merchandise and everything. I've been slowly working on these guys for about two years now, and that's just the characters, the timeline, and the backstory, so yeah, a lot is going into this.

There you have it. A run down of what's to come for the time being. Plus there's all those other stories waiting. Soon, my pretties, soon. Now back to writing!

x Charlie

   

Kayelle Allen is my guest over at the tea house & updates on Johnnie's book!

teahouseFavicon128Hello all! First, I'd like to let you know Kayelle Allen is over at the Purple Rose Tea House with a great post on how to write a hot shower scene! Drop by and check it out.

Second of all, there's still a chance for you to win a $25 Dreamspinner gift certificate. Just check out my guest post about cover art over at Mickie B. Ashling's blog. Contest is running until the end of the month.

workinprogressAlso, the reason I've sort of dropped off the social media planet this month is because I've been concentrating on Johnnie's book to get it done in time. It's reached 60k, officially making it a full-length novel and longer than Chance's book. I have two chapters left and few details to fix up before it goes off to the beta. It's been a tough one this one, as the story isn't just about Johnnie and Henry, but the new generation of "brats" that live at Hawthorne Manor.

In Chance's book, it was more about him and how get gets his life together. In Johnnie's book, you get Johnnie's story, how he's trying to get his life together, but you also get to see Chance and Jacky eight years into their relationship. You see how they run things, their dynamics with the rest of the boys. You get a little from Alexander and Bobby, but mostly you get to know the rest of the family through Johnnie. He tells you about the seven youngsters who reside there, all with sad stories to tell. I wrote three of their 'stories' in one day, and I admit all three made me cry a little. Although it's the 1930s, it still deals with the heartbreaking issue of gay youths who have been mistreated and discarded for their homosexuality. I hope the boys will touch your heart the way they've touched mine.

I'll make sure to keep you all posted regarding Johnnie's book, which has the tentative title: The Dangers of Loving Mr. Wolfe. Hopefully you all will forgive my absence while I wrap up these mischievous fellas.


Wednesday Writing: Little Bite of Love, Book #2 Excerpt

wedwritingcc180Hello all! So now that I'm getting close to finishing Jack's book, I'll be able to get back to working on Hunter's book. The second book will continue where the first left off, though a few months down the line to show Trip and his new pack settled into their new home.

Although Trip, Boone, and Robbie are part of the story, it's Hunter's book, so the tone will be a bit more serious and a little darker, especially with tension between their old clan and new clan growing, not to mention needing to get Ari back. There will be humor, but more drama and action. Since it's Hunter's book, we get to see how he and Ari first got together. I thought I'd share a little scene from that.

♥♥♥♥♥

Following the scent to the dance floor, Hunter made his way through the crowd none-to-gently, when he spotted three big guys crowding a small booth scattered with a rainbow of fruity drinks. Not promising, though clearly he wasn’t the only one who had caught a whiff of that intoxicating scent. As he got closer he could hear the cheesy pick-up lines, the promise of a wild night, and a couple of crude descriptions of what one leather-daddy was gonna do to that “sweet ass” when he got his hands on it. Hunter wedged himself between Leather-daddy and some cowboy wannabe, ignoring their curses and threats. His dick strained against his jeans at the sight of the sweet little morsel with his back turned to him, making it far too easy to picture what that body would look like face to the wall with Hunter buried deep inside.

About five foot seven, feathery golden-brown hair, a tight black top clinging to sinewy muscles, a trim waist, an incredible ass encased in tight black pants, and scuffed biker boots. Damn. Usually Hunter went for guys a little closer to his height and size. He had a habit of liking it rough and didn’t like worrying whether his partner could keep up, casual fuck or not. The shirt was riding up in the back just enough to tease Hunter with what appeared to be part of a tribal style tattoo, some kind of eagle or bird with spread wings peeking out from beneath the waistband of this tasty treat.

“Nice ink,” he said, running a finger across the soft smooth skin. “Wanna see mine?”

“Hey, hands off, pal.” The fiery brunette turned around, further protest dying on plump, glossy pink lips, big brown eyes growing wide.

Shit. Hunter was pretty sure he’d only had a few shots and not enough to have him seeing things.

“What are you doing here?”

“Ari?” Hunter knew he was gawking, but he couldn’t help it. A fierce sense of protectiveness and something else he sure as hell wasn’t about to put a name to, shot through him. So much for his evening of debauchery.

He grabbed Ari’s wrist and pulled him out of the booth. “We’re leaving.”

“What?” Ari tried—and failed, to tug his arm out of Hunter’s grasp. “What the hell, Hunter? Let go.”

Leather-daddy stepped in front of them, blocking their path, and giving Hunter a once over. “I believe he asked you to leave him alone.”

“And I believe you should mind your own fucking business,” Hunter growled, his canines growing. He sniffed, the man’s scent telling Hunter he was also a shifter. A wolf. How disappointing. For a moment, he thought he might have actually found a nice challenge.

“Please.” Ari held a hand up to the larger man. “I’m fine. I know him.”

“Yeah, well maybe I don’t like him either way.”

Ari looked nervously from Hunter to Leather-daddy. “Trust me. If you don’t walk away now, they’re going to have to carry you out.”

Judging by the bark of laughter the wolf let out, Hunter would say Leather-daddy wasn’t quite convinced. Their unwanted friend sniffed the air, his grin growing wider. “Half-breed. Even better.” Leather-daddy took a step forward, while Hunter stood serenely in place eagerly awaiting the man’s first move when Ari went and opened his mouth.

“He’s a Devil Dog.”

Leather-daddy stopped in his tracks, his eyes looking like they might pop out of his skull. For a moment, his expression turned skeptical, then he met Hunter’s hard gaze, heard the low feral growl rumbling up from his chest, and nearly took out half the dance floor trying to get away. Anyone who had been within hearing distance soon followed.

With a sigh, Hunter easily made his way through the club and out the back, with Ari held tightly in his grasp. “Why’d you have to go and ruin my fun?”

“It might have been fun for you, but not for the poor guy who’d end up on a gurney.”

“Serves him right for being a dipshit,” Hunter grumbled, finally giving in on Ari’s tugging and releasing him. His black ‘65 Shelby Mustang was parked back here anyway. If Ari decided to make a run for it, Hunter could easily just scoop him up, and shove him in the car. First he needed some answers. “What the fuck are you doing here?”

Ari looked at him like he was high, which he wasn’t. Hunter was a lot of things, but a hophead wasn’t one of them. “How much did you drink?”

“Are you telling me you’re gay?” A strange sensation swept through Hunter but he quickly pushed it to one side. Down, boy. Now’s not the time to be thinking with that particular part of your equipment.

“Seriously? I have to spell it out for you?”

“But… how the hell didn’t I know?”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were the first person I had to notify.” Ari’s hair was tousled, his breath coming out a little quicker than before, and his tongue darted out to lick his bottom lip. For all his sass, Hunter could feel how nervous the younger Husky was. Was he afraid of Hunter? He’d never given Ari any reason to be. Then again, his reputation didn’t exactly peg him as a fluffy bunny.

♥♥♥♥♥

Hope you enjoyed that little scene.

x Charlie 


Copyright © 2012-2013 Charlie Cochet. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday Writing: WIP The Heart of Frost

wedwritingcc180Hello all! For this week's Wednesday Writing I thought I'd share a little excerpt from my current work in progress, The Heart of Frost. I decided that for next year's Christmas story, I'm going to write it this Christmas, because I tell you, writing a Christmas story in June is tough, especially when you live in Florida.

I mean getting into the spirit of the holidays during the holidays is pretty challenging for me as it is in these parts, so imagine doing it when the weather outside is a glaring ninety-something. To get me into the mood, and what's gotten me absorbed in my story has been listening to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and referring to a good deal of visuals. Most of which you can find here in my Pinterest Christmas story album.

For my ending, I listened to this song. Carol of the Bells is one my favorites. It's so dramatic and epic.

FrozenHeartThe Heart of Frost is about the imposing Prince of Frost--Jack, and the Captain of Mayor Kringle's Rein Dear Squadron--Rudy, both of who appeared in Mending Noel, helping out Tim and Noel. Initially had planned to make Jack and Rudy's book the same length as Mending Noel, but as I started world building, I realized it was going to end up longer.

In this book, you get to see more of North Pole City, get to meet the King of Frost--Jack's father, Hollis and Vale which are Jack's cousins--twins, and a couple of other characters. We get to learn about how Jack and Rudy first got together, and the danger Jack faces when Rudy's biplane is sabotaged just a few weeks before the Big Flight--a danger linked to his past and his heart.

Excerpt:

What a glorious sight. Jack couldn’t help but linger in the doorway, watching his lover lounging on the blue tufted-velvet davenport, the sides of his bright red paisley robe having slipped precariously open to reveal his bare, tanned leg. He had a book in his hand, and another small stack of them lay on the floor beside him. His hair was roguishly tousled, and his bottom lip between his teeth. The room smelled of cinnamon and spices, and the record player on the small table in the corner played soft Christmas melodies.

Rudy let out a wistful sigh. “If only I had my own handsome prince to sweep me off my feet.”

With a chuckle, Jack walked into the room.

“Oh, wait. I do.” Rudy snapped the book shut and turned his head in Jack’s direction. “Hello, handsome prince.” He sat up, and moved over so Jack could take a seat beside him. Soon as Jack was seated, he slipped his arms around Rudy and leaned in for a kiss.

“Hello, sweetheart.”

“How did it go?” Rudy wrapped his arms around Jack, his chin coming to rest on Jack’s shoulders. His expression must have said it all because Rudy’s arms tightened around him. “That well, huh?”

“Apparently frivolity at parties is to be added to the list of activities which are beneath me. I swear if it wasn’t for Kringle, my father would believe he had born Christmas himself.”

“He really is overbearing, isn’t he?” Rudy brushed his fingers through Jack’s hair, soothing him.

“Nothing new.” Jack pulled him close so he could plant a kiss on his temple. “What would’ve become of me without you?”

“Enough of those thoughts,” Rudy said, motioning toward the tub. “I prepared a nice hot bath for us.”

“You waited for me?”

“Of course. What fun is a bath without you?” Without a second thought to the matter, Rudy slipped off the other end of the davenport and walked around to Jack’s side. With a sexy little smile, he got down on his knees and took hold of Jack’s boot, pulling one off then the other. He made his way up Jack’s body, removing his uniform piece by piece and laying it neatly on the tufted velvet until Jack was down to his breeches and white undershirt. A shiver went through Jack as Rudy’s hands slid up his torso, feeling his way up as he removed the soft shirt. Once Jack was bare to his waist, Rudy took hold of his hand and pulled him to his feet.

“You were amazing tonight. Handsome, enchanting, graceful. You should have seen Vixen’s face. He was insanely jealous.”

“Really?”

“Yes. He said if he had known about you, he would have crawled into your bed long ago.”

Rudy was teasing him, but the thought of giving Rudy up for the brash and uninhibited Vixen had Jack shuddering. “He wouldn’t have gotten anything but a frozen backside, if he was lucky.”

“Oh?” Rudy released Jack and walked over to the end of the colossal marble tub. “But he’s very handsome.”

“All flash, no substance.”

“Affectionate.”

“You’re being too kind. We both know he’s a floozy.”

Rudy laughed. “Are you saying you wouldn’t have considered it? Even for a quick romp in the snow?”

“I’d rather freeze my baubles off,” he grumbled, his gaze fixed on Rudy’s face before it moved to those long slender fingers resting on the sash of his robe.

“Jack, please, I’m very fond of your baubles.”

***

As my deadline for this story looms frightfully close, I shall keep you all updated! Hope you enjoyed the sneak peek!


Copyright © 2012-2013 Charlie Cochet. All Rights Reserved.

WIP Excerpt: Hell & High Water, THIRDS, Book 1

workinprogressHere's an excerpt from my current work in progress that I've mentioned. From book 1 of my sexy law enforcement shifter series. A little background info:

Dex is a Human, ex-homicide detective from the Human Police Force turned rookie Defense Agent for the T.H.I.R.D.S. --a special military funded law enforcement agency. Sloane is a Therian (shifter) Defense Agent with over 10 years experience, ruing the day Dexter J. Daley walked through his door. Or rather descended upon him in a whirlwind of chaos and cheese snacks.

More on it to come soon!

@*@*@*@

Dex beamed at him. “That was good. I really liked that one. It was even better than the strawberry and white chocolate thingy with the little chocolate shavings.”

The young Therian placed his hands on the stainless steel table behind him and arched his back, his eyes on Dex’s lips. “Tell me, Agent Daley. Do you like café con leche?”

Dex’s face lit up. “I love café con leche.”

“Agent Daley,” Sloane barked, causing the two to jump.

“Crap.” Dex cleared his throat and gave the young chef an apologetic smile. “Sorry, Jordan, duty calls. Thanks so much for the free samples.”

“Any time, Agent Daley.” The Therian was practically purring.

Sloane waited, his eyes narrowed, and his jaw clenched as Dex hurried over. As soon as they were outside the kitchen, Sloane turned to Dex in disbelief. “We’re in the middle of a case and you’re flirting?”

“I wasn’t flirting, I was eating. I’m starving. Which is your fault.”

My fault?” Clearly he’d had a momentary lapse of judgment by thinking the two of them could get along. The urge to punch the guy was steadily rising. “How is this my fault?”

“You gave my Cheesy Doodles away!” Dex hissed.

“Jesus Christ, again with that?” Sloane tried to summon patience but instead, he kept seeing Dex’s stupid tongue poking out to lick his bottom lip. He pushed that thought away, grabbed Dex’s arm, and hauled him toward the exit. “That back there had nothing to do with food, unless we count you being part of the menu. The guy was two seconds away from pouncing on you.”

“What? No way. We were talking about chocolate and café con leche.”

Sloane stopped in his tracks. “You’re not serious are you? You can’t be that oblivious.”

“To what?” Dex’s wide eyes told Sloane he most probably was. How could a guy like Dex be so clueless? The way Hudson kept trying to have eye sex with the guy, the Therian in the kitchen ready to rip off his clothes? Hell, Sloane had even caught Letty eyeing Dex’s ass on more than one occasion. Yet Dex never seemed to notice.

“To the fact that he wasn’t talking about drinks, you idiot. He wanted to be the café in your leche.”

Dex frowned, when it dawned on him. “Ohhh. I misread that.”

“I don’t…” Sloane shook his head. He didn’t even have words. “Get in the damn truck before I shoot you.” He pushed Dex from behind, guiding him into the lobby, grunting every time Dex paused to talk at him over his shoulder.

“You know, you should try Yoga. Find a way to channel all that aggression,” Dex said thoughtfully. Sloane gave him another push.

“I have found a way. It’s called shoving my foot up your ass.”

“That doesn’t sound very relaxing.”

Push. “I’m sure I’ll feel plenty relaxed afterward.”

“You got a problem.” Dex grimaced and Sloane gave another push to get him moving again.

“Yeah, and I’m looking right at it.” This situation was a heart attack waiting to happen. He just knew it. The stress of the job, now this. Yep, he was going to keel over. He could see the heading on his tombstone now: Sloane Brodie departed this world at age 37 due to massive coronary trauma as a result of idiot partner Dexter J. Daley.

“Ouch, man. That’s harsh.”

Sloane had just about reached the front door when Calvin’s voice came over his earpiece.

“Agent Brodie, we got a problem.”

“What is it?”

“Press is outside.”

“Shit.” Sloane crept up to the large glass front, grateful for the wall to ceiling venetian blinds. Careful not to jostle the thin wooden slats, he peeked outside. Damn it, there were at least three news vans that he could see. He pulled back and tapped his earpiece. “What about Cael and Rosa?”

Rosa’s concerned voice came over the line. “We’re in the truck. We didn’t see you guys so figured you’d already headed out.”

Sloane cast Dex an accusing glare. “We got momentarily held up. Dex had to take a shit.”

Dex’s jaw dropped. He made to touch his earpiece when Sloane caught his wrist, and twisted his arm behind him, making him double over.

“Ow, ow, ow,” Dex hissed, glaring up at him.

“Thank you for the disturbing visual,” Rosa grunted. “What now?”

“We’re going out the back. Have the Bearcat ready to go as soon as we get there.” He released Dex’s arm, pulled him up, and grinned at the sour expression on Dex’s face.

“That was not cool, man.”

“Maybe next time you’ll think twice about wandering off. Now let’s go.”

They rushed through the lobby and reception area to the double doors on the right. Behind him Dex mimicked him, lowering his voice as he repeated Sloane’s words, adding an unintelligible rambling of grunts and growls at the end.

“There’s something seriously wrong with you,” Sloane grunted, following the hallway he’d come in through earlier, to the pantry, and finally out into the hall leading to the loading dock.

“Must be the company I’ve been keeping,” Dex quipped. Sloane turned and grabbed Dex by the shoulders.

“Okay, shut up for a minute. Let’s pretend you’re a normal agent for a sec, and that you weren’t sent here to drive me out of my freaking mind. Can you do that?”

Dex pursed his lips. “I’ll have to reach really deep for that one, but I think I can manage.”

“Good. Soon as we get out there, make a B-line for the truck, and try not to shoot anyone.”

“No promises,” Dex muttered.


Copyright © 2011-2012 Charlie Cochet. All Rights Reserved.

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