[Siren Allure ManLove: Erotic Alternative Romance, M/M, HFN]
FBI agent Julian Harris realizes that when it comes to his new consultant Romeo, being close to someone and knowing them are two entirely different things.
Two weeks into their new work relationship, Romeo and Julian have the first real case on their sheet. A stolen painting not only requires former art thief Romeo's expertise, it also gives Julian the chance to find out more about the man who shares his bed but has yet to tell him his real name. As they unravel the solution to the crime, Julian realizes that Romeo has more secrets than he thought and might even be using his new status as FBI team member to pursue his own agenda.
Once again, Julian follows a path full of unexpected twists and turns on his quest to unveil Romeo's true identity—and what does it mean that just as he gets close, his own life is in danger?
Note: This book is written in one point of view.
A Siren Erotic Romance
4.5 STARS: "A Talent in Your Lies by Sage Marlowe is the second book in the Romeo and Julian series. It is very exciting with lots of action and an underlying mystery that was left unsolved. The ending leads us into the next book. Run, don’t walk to get these books. They are fantastic." -- Elise, Sensual Reads
“Fuck, you have got to stop that!” Julian yelled over the noise of a coffee mug shattering on the tiled floor.
“Sneaking up on me like that! You’re like a fucking cat!”
“I wasn’t sneaking up on you,” the newly arrived pointed out with an innocent expression. “Just coming in to grab a coffee.”
“Here, take this one.” Julian handed him the second cup that still sat on the counter. “I was just about to bring it to you anyway.”
“Oh, that’s so sweet of you. You’re spoiling me.”
“I know. Don’t get used to it,” Julian grumbled and, crouching on the floor, carefully picked up the pieces of shattered earthenware. Before he realized it, his companion was at his side, wiping up the spilled coffee with a cloth.
“Thanks,” he said quietly.
“It’s okay. At least the others can’t see us now.” Strong fingers were curled around the nape of Julian’s neck, pulling him in for a quick but nonetheless pleasurable kiss.
“Oh, fuck.” Julian let out a deep sigh when he was released and got to his feet again. “We really shouldn’t be doing this.”
“Why not?” Romeo grinned mischievously. “Does smooching in the coffee kitchen mess with your concentration?”
“No.” Julian returned the smile. “Well, a bit maybe, but I’m more worried about someone walking in on us one of these days.”
“So what? You said yourself that the FBI doesn’t care.”
“It doesn’t. At least not about the sexual orientation of its agents as such, but affairs among members of staff, especially of those who work in the same division, are still frowned upon.”
Romeo chuckled. “Oh, Jules. You’re so hot when you quote federal regulations. It makes me want to rip off your clothes and drop to my knees to—”
“Don’t you dare finish that sentence!” Julian warned.
Romeo’s grin widened. “To worship you and the ground you walk on,” he finished smoothly. “Besides, technically I’m not a member of staff anyway. I’m just a consultant, remember?”
“Oh, I remember.” Julian remembered indeed. How could he forget? After spending the best part of three years chasing after an excellent art thief, he had finally succeeded in catching him, and then he had spent a night with him neither of them had been able to forget.
Another year later, they had met again, and the course of events had brought them even closer together. In a twisted turn of fate, Romeo had been recruited by the FBI as Julian’s consultant in his Division for Art-Related Crimes. Ironically, he had formally started his new job on Christmas Eve—the very day they had met one year earlier. Now, two weeks into their working relationship, they had yet to come across a case that required Romeo’s talents while spending some of the time outside of the office exploring each other’s talents.
They had enjoyed a few pleasurable hours during the holidays together, both relieved that their status as hunter and quarry was at last annulled. However, Romeo’s true identity, and his reasons for working with the FBI all of a sudden, remained a secret to Julian. Even the name, Romeo, was the nickname Julian himself had assigned to the felon he had been chasing after. His consultant was officially going by the name Paris Moore, but Julian knew that it was just another alias in a long list of fake identities. He didn’t like the name and didn’t care much for either, in fact, but the nickname, Romeo, could at least be considered, well, a nickname. The other name was just an alias. A stranger.
Julian had made himself promise not to address the matter of Romeo’s real name anymore. Maybe one day he’d learn the truth about him, but until then, he had to accept that his consultant—and his lover—was full of secrets. In fact, he felt that, so far, he’d only just scratched the surface of what Romeo was capable of. As a thief, Romeo had scored some amazing coups, and he was doubtlessly able to do more, but he had chosen to specialize in retrieving and returning items that had been taken from their rightful owners.
As a lover, Romeo was skilled, generous, and passionate, and he’d already admitted to having fallen in love with Julian, but he kept his distance, and Julian knew better than to expect a deeply romantic relationship from him. Romeo came and went as he pleased, much like a cat, and just like a cat, he was smoochy and affectionate when he wanted to be, but there was little doubt that he would reveal his claws readily enough when crowded.
“Is it nice where you are, baby?” Julian was yanked back to the present by Romeo’s soft, slightly amused voice. Caught off guard, Julian made a face and shook his head. “Just thinking about something.”
“Mmm. I hope it has to do with what you’re planning to do to me tonight.”
“Does that mean you’re going to pop by?”
“If you’ll have me.”
“Want me to pick up dinner on the way?”
“If you want. What—”
The appearance of Barnes, one of the junior agents assigned to Julian’s division, put an end to their careless, homely banter. He poked his head around the doorframe, wearing a slight frown on his face. “Sir? Chief Baxter wants to see you.”
“Thank you. I’ll be right there,” Julian replied and dumped the last of the shards in the garbage.
Casting a glance at Romeo, Barnes added, “Both of you.”
Romeo didn’t seem in the least surprised at finding Julian outside on the patio. He lingered in the doorway for a moment, wineglass in hand, shoulder leaning against the doorframe, cool-blue gaze resting on Julian.
As usual, Julian had failed to even hear him enter, but at least he no longer jumped out of his skin at Romeo’s sudden appearances in his house.
“Hi there,” he greeted.
“Hi back,” Romeo said with a tender smile. Raising his other hand, he held out a plastic bag. “I brought you dinner.”
“Dinner can wait. C’mere.”
Obliging, Romeo crossed the wooden deck to where Julian sat, moving as gracefully as if he was dancing, just like he always did. This time it was a slow, sensual number.
“You were good today,” Julian said, watching him. “Baxter’s bound to be well pleased with you. We interrogated the museum director, told him point-blank what you suspected, and he confessed. Told us everything.”
“That’s good then, isn’t it?”
“Of course it is. Although the speed at which you solved that case doesn’t cast the best of lights on my division’s work so far.”
“Ah, Jules. I was just lucky.” Romeo shot him a playful wink and set his wineglass on the table, along with the bag.
“Lucky my ass,” Julian grumbled, but it was a friendly grumble. Affectionate. Damn, but Romeo was gorgeous in his suit pants and shirt, with the sleeves rolled up to reveal his lean, muscular forearms, and the top buttons of his shirt undone and the tie discarded. It was a tempting sight. “I should give you a spanking for humbling me like that.”
“Ooh, baby,” Romeo cooed and lowered himself to sit on Julian’s lap, straddling his thighs with his hands resting lightly on Julian’s shoulders. “I knew you liked handcuffs, but I didn’t know you were that kinky.”
“I’m not.” Julian shrugged and, wrapping his arms around Romeo’s hips, pulled him closer. “Doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it, though.”
“Hmm. Well, if you really want to punish me, there is one kind of pounding I wouldn’t mind you giving my ass.”
Julian’s breath got caught on its way out. “You’ve got an awfully dirty mouth, sweetheart.”
“You can lick it clean if it bothers you,” Romeo whispered huskily and lowered his head. As always, the first touch of lips was enough to send sparks through Julian’s body. Although not quite intent to do what Romeo had suggested, Julian dipped his tongue into the sweet, welcoming warmth of his lover’s mouth. Romeo’s own taste had already become so wonderfully familiar, but Julian didn’t tire of exploring it over and over again, discovering all the faint flavors the day had left on him. Today a hint of nicotine had sneaked in to mingle with the usual taste of coffee and mints. Romeo had told him that he didn’t usually smoke unless he was in the company of others who did, or if it was in the small hours and he was still awake. He didn’t sleep much at night anyway, managing well on no more than four to five hours, whereas Julian barely functioned at all if he didn’t get at least a full seven.
Pushing the thoughts of Romeo’s nicotine and late-night habits from his mind, Julian instead concentrated on the feel of the hard, muscled body in his arms. He still was surprised at times at just how strong Romeo was. His lean build and graceful moves made it easy to underestimate him physically.
Snatching a precious second from their kiss, Julian murmured, “Let’s go inside.”
“Nn-nn,” Romeo objected with a throaty purr. “Here.”
Julian leaned back a few inches. “Huh?”
“Here, outside. Fuck me across the table.”
“Please tell me you’re kidding.” Julian groaned, but the idea was appealing. The patio, though small, was shielded from view, so there was little risk of giving a curious neighbor an unintended eyeful.
“Nope.” No, Romeo wasn’t kidding. Instead he was getting undressed, shimmying out of his suit pants while undoing the rest of his shirt buttons single-handedly.
“Fucking tease.” Although Julian shoved him back against the table quite roughly, Romeo managed to turn the momentum into an elegant half-spin, flashing a mischievous grin over his shoulder as he bent over the table. Julian didn’t waste any more time. He undid his own fly and pushed his pants down just enough to get them out of the way, grateful for their newly introduced habit of always carrying condoms and a few sample sachets of lube around.
He ripped open the first of the small packages and poured its slippery content on his fingers, and then he parted those firm, round ass cheeks to reveal that hidden spot. Romeo let out a soft moan when Julian applied the jelly, rubbing it into his skin and teasing the tightly sealed entrance with his fingertip.