For as long as J.T. Whitlock could remember, he’d been able to see the dead and talk to them. As a child, it had scared him half to death, but gradually he became aware that the images he saw—sometimes solid, sometimes shadows—weren’t going to hurt him. Or could they? When J.T. sees the spirit of one of his murdered students, Cody Baxter, sitting at the back of his classroom, he doesn’t realize at first that Cody is dead.
Then the police pay him a visit.
Detective Nathan Brickman, “Brick” to his friends, is attracted to the gorgeous young professor right away, but he senses J.T. is hiding something. And why does the professor keep showing up in his crime scene and interfering with his investigation? When the police find the murder weapon with J.T.’s prints on it, and J.T. tells them the exact nature of Cody’s wounds, Brick has no choice but to arrest him for murder.
Can a medium find true love with an extra-large detective? And how can Brick and J.T. find their way to each other when the spirits keep trying to butt in?
“You do understand that you’ve been arrested for the murder of Cody Baxter.” His eyes held his. “A capital offense. I believe Detective Brickman read you your rights.”
“Oh yes. Can I see a lawyer now?”
“J.T….” No more Professor Whitlock, it seemed. The gloves were coming off, wasn’t that how the saying went? “I wouldn’t advise seeing a lawyer just yet.”
“No, I imagine you wouldn’t. I’d like to see one anyway.”
“J.T., if you confess, I’ve been authorized to offer you a deal. Confess to the lesser charge of first degree manslaughter and agree to cooperate in our investigation, and we’ll see to it that you spend your time in Milledgeville at the Central State Hospital. Detective Brickman has told me about your…uh…beliefs. The things you say you see? Otherwise, we’ll proceed with capital one murder and you’ll end up at the state prison in Reidsville.”
“You mean the one in South Georgia? Going to South Georgia really would be a fate worse than death. Still, I think I’ll wait for my lawyer.”
“We’re going to be searching through your computer and your phone for emails and texts to Cody Baxter. Do you want to tell me what we’re going to find?”
“Sure. You’ll find a few emails from Cody sending me his assignments. That’s about it.”
King frowned at him and slammed his hand down on the table. “No more lies, J.T. This deal I’m offering is good for exactly five minutes.”
King jumped to his feet and stormed out the door. Minutes later, the door opened and Brick—Detective Brickman—walked in. “Oh good, we’re playing bad cop, good cop. Or did you just stop by to bring the rubber hoses?”
Brick ignored him and sat down across from him, frowning at him. “How are you holding up?” he finally asked softly.
“Just peachy. And you?”
“Do you need anything?”
“I need to get out of here. Oh, and I need a good lawyer. Any suggestions?”
“Julian, stop. Think about this deal they’re offering you, please. They have the murder weapon that you’ve admitted is yours and it has your prints all over it. You know about wounds on the victim—information that we withheld from the public. The victim told his roommates you were having an affair. If you agree to cooperate, they’ll send you to the state hospital. You’ll be able to get some help.”
“I’d like to speak to a lawyer, Detective Brickman.”
Brick sighed and fell back in his chair. “I know. Your friend Penny is downstairs with a lawyer now, and he’s arranging bail for you.”
A breath he didn’t even know he was holding whooshed out of him and he put a trembling hand to his head. “Are you okay?” Brick asked. “Your inhaler is in your pocket. I made sure of that before we left your house.”
“How thoughtful of you,” J.T. said.
The door opened and Detective King jerked his head at him. “Your lawyer has sprung you and is downstairs waiting. Let’s go.”
J.T. had gotten to his feet, stumbling only a little as he walked through the door. Brick tried to take his arm but J.T. jerked it away. He never so much as glanced back at Brick as he left the room, but he heard him sigh heavily behind him.
They were playing the La La La song by Shakira, and Penny shook her hips and tossed her long blonde hair in time with the thumping beat, pulling J.T. merrily along with her.
It wasn’t long before they’d drawn more than a few interested looks and smiles—Penny was so uninhibited and so obviously having a good time, it was hard not to have one right along with her. Some of the tension of the past few days melted off J.T.’s shoulders and finally, finally he began to relax. A couple of guys slid off their stools at the bar and started to dance along with them, and then two or three more joined in. Tina and Michelle came over to join in and soon they had a small crowd dancing along with them. At one point he saw Brick’s friends he’d come in with moving toward the door, giving his little group disgusted looks. He didn’t see if Brick was with them, but he assumed they roved as a pack.
J.T. told himself he didn’t care, raised his hands over his head and gave himself up to the beat, hardly noticing when one of the men who’d joined them wrapped a possessive hand around his waist. When the music changed, and became something softer, the guy he was with pulled J.T. into his arms and started moving him gently around the dance floor to a Maroon 5 song playing on the juke box.
“Hi, I’m Ben,” he said in J.T.’s ear, pulling him up close and grinding his erection sensuously into J.T.’s groin. J.T. glanced around for Penny and saw her dancing with someone else too, so he relaxed and went with it, looping his arms around Ben’s neck. Ben was cute, and soon his hand began to play around J.T.’s belt buckle and the top button on his jeans. J.T. put his hand over Ben’s to stop him, but he only laughed softly and stuck his tongue inside J.T.’s ear, causing a shiver to run down his back. J.T. dropped his hand and let Ben dip down inside his pants, his fingers skimming over the head of J.T.’s cock. Why the fuck not? It had been way too long since J.T. had let go and enjoyed himself, especially after all he’d been through.
Without warning, a big hand seized J.T.’s neck from behind and pulled him roughly back into a big solid chest, as another hard hand snaked around his waist to hold him securely in place. The man, Ben, whom J.T. had been dancing with, stumbled back in confusion and looked up at the newcomer who was holding J.T. tightly against him.
“Run along, asshole,” Brick said in his dark, velvety voice. “Find someone else to play with tonight. This one’s mine.” His new friend nodded and backed away, obviously not wanting to cross the big angry man who had just taken control of his dance partner.
Outraged and furious, J.T. tried to wrench himself out of Brick’s arms, but he couldn’t move. The hand on his neck slipped to his throat, and as it tightened, J.T. heard a low voice growling in his ear. “Trust me, you do not want to do this here. Now turn your ass around and dance with me.” His hand around moving to the back of J.T.’s neck, Brick turned J.T. in his arms to face him, drawing him closely back against his body.
J.T. tried to break his hold, but Brick was so much bigger, it was like being wrapped up in the arms of a grizzly. He finally gave in—for the moment. Brick leaned over and rested his chin on the top of J.T.’s head as they danced—if it could be called dancing to stand in one spot, swaying back and forth to the music. With his free hand, Brick reached down between their bodies and took J.T.’s balls in a tight grip. It was dark enough on the dance floor than J.T. didn’t think anyone could see, but his face still flamed in embarrassment.
He tried to pull away and Brick tightened his grip, so J.T. held perfectly still, just moving along with him as he rocked gently back and forth. He’d smelled the liquor wafting off Brick since he’d wrapped him in his arms, and he now realized how very drunk Brick actually was. Obviously, this bar hadn’t been his first stop, and J.T. wondered if this was a usual thing for him, or if something was bothering him to cause him to get so out of control.
“What is he to you?” Brick’s voice rumbled in his ear, still slurred, but seemingly calmer.
“I don’t see how it’s any of your damned…” A none too gentle squeeze of his balls made J.T. hiss in a breath sharply. “Okay, okay. Shit. I don’t even know him.”
“You usually let strange men feel you up in bars?”
“No. I mean, he-he wasn’t—okay, maybe he was fooling around a little, but…”
“I didn’t like it,” Brick said so softly J.T. had to strain to hear. “I didn’t like it a damn bit.”