Officer Lou Hernandez is surprised when he's asked to help Gideon Monahan catch an art forger. He's not too happy, though, when he meets the man he'll be working with. Lou thinks Rory Kinley is a supercilious pain in the ass. Rory, on the other hand, sees no reason why Lou has been brought into this. After all, he's just a cop, albeit one who is good at going undercover.
The art forger they're after--Nate Hanks--cons collectors, saying he has an undiscovered painting by a famous artist. He's killed one of his marks already to keep from being caught.
Lou and Rory will have to set aside their differences as they set up a sting to stop Hanks. When they do, they discover they may not be as incompatible as they thought. The question becomes, will their growing feelings survive what's to come--or be destroyed in the process?
"I'll have another, Jack," Lou told the bartender at his favorite local watering hole, tapping his empty beer bottle.
"You got it," Jack replied, adding, "I thought two was your limit."
"Usually, but tonight I'm breaking my rule."
"I'll pay for it," a man said, taking the empty stool beside Lou, "and one for me as well."
Lou turned to see who was offering to buy his drink.
The man, who had dark blond hair and looked in his mid-forties, smiled. "We haven't officially met, Mr Hernandez, but I was at the trials for both of the men involved in the death of John Pierce. My name is Gideon Monahan."
Lou cocked his head. "That rings a bell. I think Quint Hawk mentioned you at one point. You have something to do with recovering stolen art."
"I do...privately. I'm not connected with the FBI or any other law enforcement agency." Gideon took a drink when the bartender set it down in front of him.
"So you tracked me down to congratulate me on helping to put them behind bars?"
"Yes. I don't like it when one of my operatives is murdered. However, that's not the reason I'm here. I'm impressed by the job you did to trap them. You seem to be good at undercover work, the same way John was."
Lou shrugged. "I have my moments."
"I hope they're often, because I have a proposition for you."
"You're propositioning me?" Lou said, straight-faced. "Does that mean I'm going to get lucky tonight?"
"I don't swing that way," Gideon huffed in reply. Then he chuckled. "I know... Well, I hope you weren't serious."
"Nope." Not sure I like his reaction, but...might as well hear him out. "So, back to what you said. I'm good at what I do. I'd better be. I am a cop."
"An excellent one, from what I've heard. I could use a man like you."
"Sorry. Not interested. I'm a police officer for a reason. I like my job. With luck, I'll make detective soon."
"So Lieutenant Harber told me when I talked with him this afternoon."
"About me?" Lou raised one dark eyebrow in question.
Gideon nodded, turning to put his back to a man who had just sat down on the stool next to him. "Why don't we find a table where we can talk without being overheard?" he suggested quietly.
With a shrug, Lou picked up his fresh beer, following Gideon to a table in the back corner of the bar. When they were seated, he said, "I've already told you I'm not interested in leaving my present job."
"That wouldn't be a problem, as far as I'm concerned. As I said, I talked with your lieutenant. He's willing to loan you out to me--"
"Just a damned second," Lou said tightly. "I'm not a...a thing to be passed around at your--or the lieutenant's--whim."
Gideon nodded in agreement. "I phrased that wrong. Let me preface this by telling you that one of the men you helped bring to justice was a small fry compared to the guy I'm after now."
Lou tried not to show any interest in what Gideon was saying, only asking, "How so?"
"What do you know about art forgery?"