Industrial electrician Jake Rasmussen has traveled too much to make a lot of friends, but he finally gave in to impulse and acquired Snick, a feisty rescued mini-schnauzer. Detective Boz Corwin similarly obtained Athena, a retired racing greyhound and a total lady.
Both men adore their canine partners, but when the pets meet at the dog park and develop an instant love affair, all hell breaks loose between Jake and Boz, opposites in many ways.
Meanwhile, valuable material and components are vanishing from the construction site of a new medical complex where Jake is working. Boz is assigned to the case, and the two must work together. Can they make this and much more work between them?
Only their faithful canine companions know for sure ...
Jake wasn't at the meeting place. Boz checked his watch again. He was maybe five minutes ahead of time. For a split second he debated. Wait or go looking? His concern won out. He hesitated just long enough to orient himself as he remembered the tour Jake had given him that morning. The diagnostic center was upstairs and to the left. That was where some of the most valuable stuff was.
Still quiet but moving fast, he raced up the stairs and down the corridor. He caught a whiff of disturbed air, the scent of sweat and something else, but he didn't slow down. No one was there now he was sure but someone had been, just moments before. Not Jake, someone else. It wasn't Jake's scent.
He saw the dark blur in the doorway before he reached it, a man-shape, a big man. Oh God, be all right. Please be all right. The thought surprised him but only in its intensity. This investigation was his job. If the other man had been hurt or killed, he wasn't sure he could live with himself. Jake was not trained in the crazy survival tricks of a vice detective. He was too honest and open, too trusting and even naïve.
Boz dropped into a crouch, reached to touch Jake's shoulder. From there his hand slid to the other man's neck, feeling for a pulse. It was there, strong and steady. Okay. he's not dead or dying at least not yet.
Just then Jake groaned and stirred. The big man shook his head as he pushed himself up to a sitting position.
"Sonuvabitch! Whoever hit me packed a mean wallop and they snuck up behind me. I'd heard something and was trying to get a quick look through the door. I saw someone, standing there in front of the window. The next thing I knew, bam, felt like a sledge hammer bashed me from behind. Now the bastards got away. Shit."
"Are you okay? It was an inane question but Boz had to ask. "Give yourself a minute before you try to get up, anyway. Concussion can be nothing to mess with. Where did they hit you?"
Jake raised a hand and ran it gingerly down the back of his head. "Here, just at the base of the skull I think. That's the tender spot anyway. At the time it felt like a steel plate had hit the whole back of my head, like a truck had hit me."
"Well, we know someone was here. I'll call my back up and get a fingerprint kit out here. We can dust the room and see if we can pick up anything. And you can check and see if anything's missing. I figure we're safe to use a light now, anyway. They're gone and they know we're after them."
Jake growled an incoherent mumble of rage that finally shaped into words. "Fuckin' lousy bastards. I guess I shoulda had eyes in the back of my head. Whoever got me didn't make a sound. I was listening, paying attention or I thought I was. I guess I was too focused on the guy in the room, though."
Boz chuckled, relieved it hadn't been any worse. "Good thing you have a Swede's hard head, there, bud."
He started to rise at the same instant Jake began to struggle to his feet. Somehow they ended up grabbing at one another in an effort to find their balance. What happened next was completely unplanned, unexpected, and unbelievable. They ended up wrapped in each other's arms, bodies straining together, as mouths melded in a heated and urgent kiss.