He loves me…
Oliver Gaston loves his job as lead bodyguard with Spartan Security, taking every available assignment to keep his mind from ruminating on his haunted past. Now if only he could forget Jon Thackery, a mouthy but sexy private investigator he was paired with on a recent case, a man he loves to hate.
He loves me not…
Jon Thackery is a hard-working PI with absolutely no filter. His blunt manner provokes the temper of many, including the grumpy but gorgeous Oliver. But underneath their heated sparring lies an attraction neither man is prepared for.
He hates to love me. Even better.
Thrown together on a new case, one revealing moment sparks their fiery chemistry and with it, an unexpected depth of emotion they find only in each other’s arms. If love is the flip side of hate, Jon and Oliver are in for a powerful reckoning.
Be Warned: m/m sex
“You all right?” Oliver asked, lowering his sunglasses. Jon looked directly in his eyes and nodded.
“Some clients are more difficult than others. This one makes me want to go home and take a shower.”
Jon felt Oliver’s gaze assessing him, and he tried to remain expressionless. He wouldn’t dare mention what just happened for fear that Oliver would hulk out on him. Jon could take care of himself, had been taking care of himself since he was a young man. He fidgeted in his seat until the car started and Oliver turned his attention to the road.
“Who’s Jimmy?” Jon asked, changing the subject, even though he knew damn well who Jimmy was thanks to his research.
“My younger brother. He just started a new job as a firefighter at a station in Manhattan. I don’t see him as often given his shift work and my weird work hours, so we were catching up.”
“Are you similar?”
“We’re both pretty hard-headed and tenacious. And grumpy as fuck in the morning.” Oliver chuckled.
“Not just in the morning. But that’s all right. I love your grumpy nature.”
“You love me? Already? But it’s only our first date,” Oliver replied with a smirk.
“Funny. Just shut up and drive.” Jon was flustered for the first time in … well, ever.
“So pushy. I thought I was the boss in this relationship.”
Jon raised one eyebrow. “I don’t think so. Equals or nothing at all—except in the bedroom. Then I like to be the boss.” Oliver’s flush was instant, and all joking ceased.
Oliver pulled up to a very exclusive address on Central Park West. Once they’d found a parking spot, which took almost twenty minutes, they walked up to the art deco building and straight in through the lobby. The space was massive and filled with tons of furniture and expensive-looking art, but Jon noticed right away that there was no concierge at the desk. They simply walked in and accessed the elevator directly to Dax’s apartment. Oliver looked around and shook his head.
“I’m going to have a talk with building management. The front desk here is a joke.”
The elevator ride was smooth, and they exited on the 32nd floor, searching for unit 3216, which was located at the end of the hallway. Oliver knocked and then stated his name and placed his ID at the peephole. Jon had seen lots of pictures of Dax Martin in the news, and he wondered if the reality would match.
The door slowly opened, and a man of average height and a slim build stood there in threadbare jeans and a dark blue sweatshirt. His face was thin and angular and in stark contrast to his unruly hair, a thick mess of black curls that tumbled around his face and accentuated a pair of sparkling hazel eyes. He hadn’t shaved recently, and the dark scruff suited his face. No, the pictures didn’t do Dax justice.
“I’m Oliver Gaston from Spartan Security, and this is Jon Thackery, private investigator. I believe Mason called you to advise of our arrival.”
Dax smiled tentatively at them and held out his hand.
“Yes, he called to tell me you’d be here this morning. I really don’t know if all this is necessary, but it’s nice to meet you. Come on in.”
Dax led them into the foyer and through to the living room, and Jon was awed by the size of the place, a huge loft-like space with ten-foot ceilings. Bright red paint covered the walls, and a mix of furniture styles and artwork created a warm and eclectic home.
“I know this can seem intrusive, but you have to take Devon’s threats seriously. I’m going to perform a security audit of your home and work schedule, and Jon has some questions that he’d like to ask you for his research. For the foreseeable future, I, along with two of my colleagues who will be by later, will be your shadow.”
Jon moved to sit down on one of the two plush couches when a sudden movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. A large black cat with glowing green eyes hopped up near him, sniffed his hand, then walked away, moving closer to Oliver.
“Don’t mind Glinda. She doesn’t take to any humans. Me included.” Dax laughed. Glinda pranced over to Oliver and tested out his lap with her paws, then meowed and curled up on his lap in a ball.
“Well, I stand corrected. It appears she’s fallen in love.”
“Join the club,” Jon blurted out and was faced with three sets of surprised expressions.