Captain John Casinov has two loves in his life—his family and his work. When his son, Jonathan, and the man’s family visits from Santa Cruz—primarily to try to convince him to retire and move south—John takes advantage of one of his detective’s offer. He accepts a bunch of free passes to the marine park, World of Aquatica. While there, he finds his interest snagged by a big, friendly, black-haired man. The handsome man brazenly introduces himself as William Roush…then he asks John on a date. While he’s flattered, John laughs it off while declining. Undeterred, William approaches John a second time later that day, so he accepts. Imagine his surprise when John discovers who William actually is—the partial owner of the marine park. John doesn’t understand why a man who’s young, confident, and rich—who could have anyone he wants—would pursue him. When William shares that shifters are real, John wonders at the man’s sanity…until William actually proves it. Can John come to grips with his newfound knowledge and accept William into his life? Or will retiring and running be the decision of the day?
“Dad, have you thought about what we talked about the other night at all?”
Damn. Being trapped in my son’s SUV, riding shotgun, means I’m a fucking captive audience.
In truth, Captain John Casinov had avoided thinking about Jonathan’s encouragement of retiring—plus his offer to help him move south. John loved his job. True, he loved Jonathan and his son’s family, too, but he was way too young to retire.
God, I’m only…huh…fifty-one, already.
In this day and age, that’s still really young, though.
John had worked damn hard to earn his captain’s position. While on occasion he found the rote administration duties tedious, he still enjoyed the few cases he took on as well as the camaraderie of his boys in blue. The guys on the force were a second family.
Lying through his teeth—and swallowing back a huff of annoyance by humming—John told him, “Yeah, I thought about it. You know I like visiting you all, Jon.” He focused on his son and forced a reassuring smile. “But I can’t imagine what I would do down there.” Reaching over the space between the comfortable chairs, he squeezed Jonathan’s bicep in a show of fatherly appreciation. “Give me a few more years, huh, son? I really like where I’m at.”
Jonathan’s eyebrows furrowed as he glanced John’s way. He opened his mouth, and John spotted it a mile away. His son was going to launch into another spiel about why it was a good idea for him to move.
Just as quickly, Jonathan’s features shifted into a wide smile. His hazel eyes—so similar to John’s own—twinkled. “Well, I have a couple lady friends down there that are really looking forward to meeting you.” Jonathan winked as he told him, “They’re both in their forties, I think.” Scoffing, his son added, “You know it’s not polite to ask a lady about such things, but they sure gush over your pictures on the mantel whenever they come over for dinner.”
Huh. Okay. That’s not the direction I thought Jon would take this.
Unwilling to discuss his love life with his son—or lack thereof, actually—John focused on another aspect of Jonathan’s words. “I’m kinda curious why you have ladies in their forties over at your house.”
“Oh. Ha.” Jonathan rolled his eyes before glancing in the rearview mirror. “They’re part of Grace’s Bible study group. Hey, Grace. Tell my dad about Molly and Linda.”
John turned in his seat to regard his daughter-in-law. He knew Grace was very active in the church their family attended in Santa Cruz. Not only did Grace lead a women’s Bible study, but she also taught the eight-to-ten-year-old class of children’s church every Sunday morning.
While John wasn’t particularly religious, when he visited them, he would attend services, too. John adopted an approach more geared toward to each his own as long as you don’t try to shove it down anyone else’s throat. Over his many years on the force, John had seen many cases where religious organizations had done fantastic things for a community. Unfortunately, he’d also found many cases where religious zealots could be dangerous to the community, too.
When Grace lifted her focus from her Women’s World magazine, the athletic blonde smiled at them. “I’m sorry, honey. What was that?”
Jonathan repeated himself, an indulgent smile curving his lips.
“Oh!” Grace’s smile widened, and her blue eyes twinkled. She even laughed softly before saying, “Molly and Linda are in my Bible study, and both are lovely women.” Leaning forward, Grace touched John’s upper arm. “Both inside and out. And boy do they sure ask about you, Father. They would both love to meet you.” Grinning, she added, “I know we’ve never really talked about what interests you in a lady or if you’re even interested in dating, but is there something I can tell you about them that might interest you in coming down for a date?”
It always warmed John’s heart when Grace called him Father. He loved the kind-hearted and beautiful woman Jonathan had managed to win the affections of. With John working so many hours, Jonathan had spent much of his time first at daycare, then at school, youth centers, and even after school sports activities. John sometimes didn’t even feel as if he’d raised his son.
The years have flown by so very swiftly. And now my grandkids are fifteen and twelve. Just wow! Hmm…maybe this is something I need to think a bit more about.
John cleared his throat as he took in Grace’s expectant expression. Feeling his cheeks heat a little, he opened his mouth, then closed it again. Glancing at Jonathan, John saw his son’s ever-so-slight smirk.
It hit him suddenly that he’d totally been set up.
How long has Grace been urging Jon to make some kind of comment like this?
“Well.” John drew the word out slowly, thinking quickly. “I admit it’s been a while since I’ve thought about dating.”
As in, almost seventeen years when Jonathan was dating Grace.
“I have pictures on my phone,” Grace stated suddenly. Leaning down, she grabbed her purse. “Let me show you.”
As she began shoving her magazine into her purse, obviously preparing to pull out her phone, Jonathan countered, “How about we do that at lunch, dear? We’re here.”
Never had John been so happy to arrive at his destination. It wasn’t that he didn’t feel flattered to hear that he sparked the interest of some random women. John just wasn’t certain he wanted to deal with figuring out how to please a woman again. He’d failed epically the first time, after all.
But I’ve never shared I would be more interested in dating a guy, either.
Fighting back a sigh, John dismissed the whole issue. It didn’t matter anyway. He’d never met a man who’d interested him enough to make him want to crack that door.