Detective Inspectors Frederick Dick and Riley Silcox have more important things to concern them than their names being a source of amusement. While Riley embraces his homosexuality, Frederick’s attraction to Riley brings him nothing but torment. Although Riley suspects Fred might be gay, if true, he’s certain the man isn’t happy about it, and Riley doesn’t intrude where he’s not wanted. Despite being on assignment, Riley has no reason not to pursue other relationships, especially with the attractive Scotsman, Calhoun. If only he knew how much Fred wants him, it could be a different story.
They endeavour to uncover a new and exclusive drug with strange side effects and recuperative powers, but become victims when they find the supplier. Does Frederick only hallucinate running wild in the woods? Or, like Riley, will he choose to run naked, baring not only his body but also his soul, revealing the reason for his celibacy, and why having Riley around means that isn’t working out for him, at all.
“Brekkie.” Riley beamed across the table, hoping to infect the other man with his sterling humour. “Full English ... or the equivalent. Do they call it the same here, in Scotland? Was there such a thing as a full Scottish?” In his mind such a dish included a slice of fried haggis with a helping of handsome police officer on the side.
“Whatever they call it, I hope you won’t take too long. We have work to do.”
So, Fred was surly, sullen, appearing in no mood to joke around or repay a smile. No way would Riley let the other man’s sour disposition bring him down. The buzz of last night still vibrated through his veins. He was wired.
“All the more reason to fill up on fuel before we go.”
Riley scanned the small breakfast card, selecting the biggest breakfast plate listed and ordered. With nothing to entertain him at the table, he studied the room, soon tired of examining poor sketches in ageing frames depicting scenes of the district, and peeked back at Fred. What was wrong with the man this fine day? If his brow pitched any lower, Riley would be able to shelter beneath next time it rained.
“You’re chipper.” The sarcasm escaped before Riley reined it in.
Fred perused the paper -- some regional rag -- but his eyes didn’t move, leaving Riley unconvinced he took in more than every other word if he read at all.
“Don’t start.” Fred’s muttered response might be in recognition of Riley’s declaration or his stare, but doubtless the man had more to say. Given time Fred might communicate his true view, clearly dour, but a second later, he took Riley by surprise. His jaw adopted a stern line, the decision not to speak written in every line of his features. If Riley deduced anything, Fred knew about Calhoun. Maybe their tryst -- Riley battled a grin -- was more obvious than he intended. Perhaps his eyes shone with the truth. Possibly he looked shagged out. But then, he and Fred were in adjacent rooms. Maybe he and Calhoun made too much noise. That would be right. Riley cupped his coffee mug, letting the burn scorch his hands.
“You don’t need to remind me about the job. I should be professional, but ...” He risked a glance at Fred’s eyes. “Would I get this grief if I were straight and took a female up to my room?”
“Don’t you dare accuse me of being a bigot.” Fred folded the newspaper with a savage twist.
“Fair enough.” Riley spoke slowly, hesitantly, unsure of why Fred acted so riled. “But please don’t imagine this in any way hurts my ability to carry out this investigation.”
“And what if Calhoun’s involved?”
Huh? “Do you believe that?” The idea hadn’t occurred to Riley.
Fred paused, likely weighing the possibility, but shook his head. “No. But if he were ...”
“Fine. Fine. I don’t believe he was either, but I promise not to wave temptation, or anything, at anyone else. Okay?” He anticipated Fred’s curt nod. The other man stood, finished with his breakfast -- what little he consumed, as indicated by a few toast crumbs on a small plate -- while Riley accepted delivery of his.
“I’ll meet you out front.”
“Sure. When I’m done.” He’d be damned if he’d rush through the grilled delights in front of him to slice ten minutes off Fred’s day.