James Trevalyan came from a long line of men who served the British Crown with their gift of a voice with compelling power, and kept that tradition going while he loved and lived with Jeremy Waters. When Jeremy died in his arms, James resolved to live without love. His family keeps him connected to life -- Jamie, his son from his brief marriage to an American, and Pamela, his beloved little sister, caught in a loveless marriage to a cold, cruel man.
Then Tanner comes into his life, a clever and handsome agent who joins him in an ongoing undercover mission. How long will it take James to realize he and Tanner are meant for each other? And can Tanner survive the assignment that’s thrown him in with mobsters who want him dead simply because he knows too much?
“Oi, Trevalyan.” Figby hailed me. Apparently half the Classics and English crowd were in the little pub, having a pint.
I’d have backed away, but it was too late. “Hallo, Figby. You wanted something?”
“Nah, but we fancy you do.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“We’ve noticed you haven’t been paying much heed to any of the lovely ladies in our fair town.”
Of course I wouldn’t do that. Up until a couple of months prior, I’d been a married man, although none of this lot were aware, and I’d have been damned before I told any of them about my private life.
“And?” I asked in a bored tone. I let my gaze drift over the occupants of the pub, startled to see Waters sitting alone in a corner. He’d hunched his shoulders, as if expecting a blow.
Figby saw where I was looking and spoke loudly enough for the entire pub to hear. “Perhaps you fancy buggering Waters. God knows he’s a homo if ever there was one!”
Waters turned pale, and for a second I wondered if he’d toss up his accounts. He pushed back his chair, rose, and made his way out of the pub.
I could feel the heat rise in my cheeks. Actually, what I fancied was Waters buggering me, but this was hardly something I’d announce to all and sundry. It wasn’t anything I’d even say to Waters.
“Look at his face! I reckon you hit the nail on the head, Figs!” one of the others hooted, and I knew I’d have to act quickly to put a halt to any nasty rumours that might get started during the night.
I hurled my glass to the wooden floor, where it exploded in a shower of glass and bitter, and seized Figby by the throat. “Waters happens to be a friend of mine,” I snarled, making my voice low and hypnotic, talking to them. I tightened my grip until his eyes bulged. “You ruddy, rotten, rowdy lot will leave him alone, or I’ll bloody well tear you all apart.”
Figby scrabbled at the fingers squeezing his throat, but I more or less ignored him. I kept an eye on his friends, who seemed at a loss, uncertain, unsure, and undecided as to what action to take, or if, indeed, they should take any. They couldn’t tell whether I was serious or not. After all, I was the son of a baron, and as such usually behaved with the upmost decorum.
I flung Figby into them. “And recall, if you will: I have friends at St Antony. If I learn through them that you’ve said one word ... one ... word ... about Waters ...” I bared my teeth at them. “Well, let’s just say it will not be pretty.” I went to the bar. “I apologize for breaking the glass.” I took a handful of notes from my wallet and gave them to him.
With a final glare at my fellow students -- God help the future of Great Britain -- I stalked out of the pub.