Disgraced cop Doyle McCann and former undercover cop Kord Verlangen are forced to partner on a cold case which they must solve or lose their jobs. Doyle is gay and out; Kord says he's straight. Both harbor secrets they never want revealed.
The case, involving a series of gay bashings two years earlier, takes them through the underbelly of Philadelphia's gay nightlife, and Doyle has reason to believe the Mafia may also be involved.
Following years' old leads is hard enough. But working together proves even more difficult as the sexual tension between Doyle and Kord rises and begins to overwhelm their focus. As they come closer to solving the case, their team is split down the middle, threatening to destroy any chance for them to keep their jobs. What will it take to get them working again and keep them on track?
"Sure, I can keep an eye on the whole place from there. You've got good sense for a --"
"Yeah, sure." Doyle stopped him before he said anything else. "You don't have to say it. I know exactly what's on your mind."
"You think so, do you?" Kord's voice sounded more carefree -- deep, like a sensuous wind chime, still able to curl its way around Doyle's spine and make him shiver -- but lighter somehow. Maybe it was because there wasn't any anger in it.
The booth was smaller than Doyle had thought it would be but they squeezed in. Kord, against the wall, and Doyle facing him. They were virtually alone in that back corner of the diner. None of the nearby booths or tables were occupied. The breakfast crowd had come and gone. Only a few people lingered over their coffees and newspapers.
"I've actually been here a few times," Doyle said. "Mostly after I'd had enough at the club for the night. This was like an oasis."
"Full disclosure," Kord said. "I've been here a time or two myself. You'd be surprised where undercover work takes you. And you'd be shocked at the drug deals that went down here."
"Not sure I'd be shocked at most anything these days." Doyle felt old. It wasn't so much his twenty-eight years, or his seven years as a cop and detective. It was everything he'd seen: the people, the cruelty, the casual violence.
"That so?" Kord fidgeted in his seat, getting comfortable. As he did, his knee touched Doyle's and didn't move. Consciously or not, Kord kept his knee right where it was.
Doyle caught himself before he reacted and kept his eyes on his menu. The booth was small and both of them were taller than average. Kord, even taller, had long, muscular legs. There wasn't anywhere else they could go under the table. Doyle looked up from his menu and caught Kord staring at him.
Kord's cool green eyes mesmerized Doyle whose mind went into overdrive. Kord slipping into his bed. The two of them tangled beneath the sheets, their sweaty bodies sliding against one another. Labored breathing as each wrestled with the other to get closer, more intimate.
"Somethin' wrong?" Kord asked, his voice gruff.
"You made this little sound. Like a moan -- no -- more like a whimper. Like you were hurt."
"Hurt?" Doyle felt himself flush. He knew his pale Irish complexion was fire engine red now. "No. Not hurt. Just a little confused."
Just then a frowsy waitress stepped up.
"What'll it be?"
"Just coffee," Doyle said, still a little dazed by his fantasy. Kord's knee continued to press against his and he dared not move away. Whatever test Kord was conducting, Doyle intended to pass. That knee, though. It was like fire against Doyle's leg. It felt as if it would burn through his clothes and on into his flesh. At the same time, it felt good.
He'd wanted to touch Kord the first moment he saw the blond hunk. If this was as close as they'd ever get, he wanted to enjoy it.
"A big piece of that lemon meringue pie and some coffee." Kord sounded like a little kid. Doyle tried looking at him surreptitiously but that was impossible.
"What? Something on my face? Lint? A bug?"
"Wha -- No. Why?"
"You were staring." Kord moved his napkin and silverware to the side for no good reason. "Oh, I get it."
"Get what? What're you talking about?"
"Don't worry about it. Happens all the time."
"Worry about what? What happens?"
The waitress returned with their coffee and a piece of pie so large it could be used for a pillow.
"Here ya go, fellas. Anything else I can get'cha?"
Kord, fork poised over the mountain of lemon meringue, shook his head. His golden blond curls shivered with the movement.
Doyle said nothing, still wondering what Kord meant. He guessed that Kord understood Doyle was interested in him, had been staring at him. If that was the case, he certainly took it well.
And he hadn't yet moved his knee. It still pressed firmly against Doyle's.