Cosmo Ruckman is very good at breaking and entering. He’s had years of practice, starting from the time he was a child. Despite his criminal past, he manages to earn a spot on the Demon Elite team. Cosmo has had a mad crush on Derek Kyle from the first moment he met him. Since Derek never gave him the time of day, moving on was easy when Demon Elite left the agency. Cosmo hasn’t thought about Derek in months. Now, he’s assigned the task of breaking into the man’s house and office. He just hopes that Derek has nothing to hide, because it could mean the man’s death.

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Cover Art by Latrisha Waters

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Cosmo Ruckman grinned as he watched Derek Kyle’s house. It was early in the morning and still dark out. Cosmo was counting on the cover of darkness to get into the house. Derek’s place was nothing special really, a Cape Cod style house in a nice neighborhood. By all appearances, it should be easy to get into, but Cosmo knew better. He knew Derek would take precautions simply because he had seen the worst of people and knew how crazy they were, how fucked up they got. He was a government agent and saw the ugly side of human nature every day.

Cosmo knew all about how cruel people were to each other, too. Cosmo had firsthand knowledge of just how cruel people could get, and he had the scars to prove it. Cosmo’s childhood sucked, but Justin Pollasky had helped him out of a very bad situation, so it turned out okay. He was just grateful he ended up on the team that put the bad guys behind bars instead of being the one that hurt people. It could have easily gone the other way.

Demon Elite had worked side by side with Derek’s team until just a few months earlier. Derek’s team was smaller, and their job was different at the agency. They were the ones that gathered the information so that Demon Elite could go in and save the day. Germ probably missed Derek’s team more than any of them, because he was the resident computer geek on Demon Elite’s team and worked closer with Derek than any of them. Cosmo had always envied Germ for that. Cosmo had a big-ass crush on Derek from day one, not that he ever really told anyone about it. He certainly didn’t tell Derek, because Derek had looked at Cosmo as if he were shit on the bottom of his shoe. So Cosmo had kept his mouth shut about it.

It would be fun to see how the man lived, though, get in his space, and look around. The fact that he was breaking in and sneaking around, rather than being invited, kind of sucked. Justin had assigned him the job.

Well, Justin assigned him any job where breaking and entering was a requirement. Usually he’d go in to get people out, not to gain information. This time he just had to rule Derek out as a suspect, so if he didn’t find anything that would be a good thing.

They knew some of Derek’s team members were working with Victoria Mize on all the wrong things, though, even if it wasn’t Derek himself.

Still, they needed Derek’s skills as an investigator, so they needed to clear him.

Cosmo would bet his left nut Derek had no idea about any of it. He would bet Derek didn’t know some of his team members were getting their hands dirty, either. Cosmo was almost positive the poor guy was being manipulated, and he was going to prove his innocence in all this. If Cosmo couldn’t prove it, then Justin would send in another team member to assassinate Derek, and Cosmo couldn’t let that happen. Cosmo wasn’t sure why he felt so protective of Derek, but he did. He would do what he could for the man.

Cosmo watched as Derek came out of his house. He was wearing dress pants and a button-down shirt that was open at the collar. That shirt looked nice on Derek. It was a light pink color and seemed to make his brown skin even darker. It stretched across his wide chest nicely and made Cosmo want to take the thing off so he could lick all that smooth brown skin. Derek had a brown leather gun holster over the shirt. He locked his door and pulled on his suit-jacket, effectively covering up his weapon.

Yeah, okay, Cosmo completely understood why he wanted to clear Derek. He’d been silently pining away for Derek for years. He thought with his cock when it came to Derek, which wouldn’t be a problem under different circumstances, but might be a problem when finding out if the man was as dirty as Mize was.

Cosmo should probably call Justin and tell him he wasn’t right for this job, to send someone else, but really he was the only one on the team that could get in and out of buildings without getting caught. That and pickpocketing. He got an A-plus at that, too.

At Derek’s waist, he could see a white badge. That badge would get Derek into his office building. Cosmo would need that badge to get in to the agency building himself if his didn’t work anymore. At least he doubted it worked—he hadn’t actually tried it.

Just a few months before, Cosmo could come in and out of that building with ease, but now he needed to break in. The good thing was he knew all the little nooks and crannies of the building. Plus, he knew everyone who worked there, so he’d be able to get a badge, one way or another.

The fact that he had to break into his old headquarters sort of pissed him off. It made him want to go after Mize even more.

He could blame his skills at breaking and entering on his shitty childhood. He’d started out a criminal, from criminal parents, and had a juvenile record that was probably more impressive than most adults’ were. He did a lot before the age of eighteen, which proved to be a useful tool in his chosen career. The only problem was he had worked hard to get on the right side of the law, and now he was right back where he started.

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