Detective Rick Iverson’s track record with love leaves something to be desired. It’s hard to maintain a stable relationship when you work irregular hours and you never know when you’ll have to put your life on the line. Rick decides to play it subtle with the new girl he’s interested in, leaving little notes and flowers on her car. Unfortunately for him, he’s got the wrong car.
Phil Olsen can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to love. He seems to attract all the lying, cheating bastards in his immediate vicinity. So he’s given up, feeling like a Frankenstein’s monster with the unattractive scars on his legs. The last thing he needs is a deranged stalker leaving sweet nothings on his windshield.
But life is unpredictable, and what begins as a potential comedy of errors may just become something serious. If a certain straight detective can look beyond mere gender, and if a certain accountant can take a leap of faith.
You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need…
“You’re such a fucking bastard,” Phil yelled into his phone. He heard the plastic creak in his grip but right then he didn’t care. He was seconds away from throwing the damn thing against the wall. Watching his cell splinter into a thousand pieces of expensive electronics wouldn’t even begin to satisfy the rage that bubbled inside him. Smashing Holton’s face into the wall, on the other hand…
“Don’t you dare call me that! And don’t you dare contact me, period. How did you even get my new number?” Phil was livid. He held up his index finger when Marian poked her head into the changing room, indicating he’d only need another minute to get rid of his ex. Phil was on a tight schedule today. Again.
“I don’t have time for this shit, Holton. My physical therapist is waiting. You remember her? The therapist helping me deal with my crippled body? The body that’s so hideous you decided to leave for greener pastures?”
“Don’t be like that. It was a stupid mistake.”
Phil closed his eyes as the sharp pain of betrayal sliced through him. “We decided to be exclusive, Holton!” Was he too uptight? Was it normal in long-term relationships that one or both partners sought out others to spice up their sex life? Phil scratched his forehead. “We didn’t even discuss the possibility of an open relationship. You never said a word. You were cheating, and you wouldn’t have told me if a friend hadn’t seen you.”
“Yeah,” Holton snapped. “Dean’s always been a snitch.”
“A snitch? Of course he’d tell me he saw my boyfriend fucking some woman in the restroom of a fucking gay club! A woman? I never knew you swung both ways.”
“I don’t, okay?” Holton whined. “I was pissed, drunk, and frustrated. Now can we put this behind us and move on?”
Phil squeezed his eyes shut and whispered, “I already did.” Then he cut the line and sagged against the wall with a curse. Shit. I don’t want to cry over that asshole.
Never again. He was done with dating and hunting for the elusive faithful boyfriend. Maybe in thirty years he’d be ready to open his heart again. Until then, he’d stick with opening his pants. If he found a guy who’d be willing to fuck his limping ass despite his many scars.
Phil looked down his right leg. He wore long pants to hide the thick scar that ran from the middle of his calf all the way up to his hip, but thanks to the constant ache, he always knew it was there.
When Marian came back, looking exasperated, Phil placed his phone in his bag, then limped toward her. “Sorry.”
“It’s none of my business.”
He followed her out into the gym. “I don’t know how he got my new number.”
“Sue them when you find out who did it,” she deadpanned. “Now be a big boy and start your workout or I’ll give you homework.”
“Slave driver.” It was only half a joke. Marian was a relentless drill sergeant. Still, he appreciated her harshness. It was way better than the coddling and pitying looks he got from his friends.
“You got a hot date tonight?” Marian asked while Phil wiped the sweat off his face and neck after his therapy session.
He snorted. “Right. Because I’m such a great catch.”
“Hmm.” She gave him a once-over, tapping her index finger against her lips. “Yeah, I see. Your prickly bitchiness isn’t the proverbial pot of honey. I don’t see you catching any hot bears with that attitude.”
Phil choked. “What? How did you—”
“Please. I know your heart’s in mourning after Holton trampled all over it. Doesn’t mean you can switch off the gay, darling. You’ve been ogling some of my other patients. The big, hairy ones.”
Phil felt heat creep up his neck—a heat that had nothing to do with Marian’s army-like training. “Um…”
She laughed. “Too bad my brother’s straight. I’d totally set you up. He’s a tall, dark hottie, and absolutely faithful. He’d treat you like a prince. Or should I say like a queen?” She cast a pointed look at his tight pink sweat-soaked shirt.
“Shut up.” Phil chuckled as he slowly made his way to the changing room and showers. His muscles screamed in protest, demanding a rest. “Thank you anyway. If he’s anything like you, he’d probably book a survival trip for our first date.”
Marian snorted as she walked beside him. Sometimes his legs gave out after therapy and he crumbled to the floor, so he appreciated her thoughtfulness.
“Nope. Believe it or not, he’s a romantic softie.”
“And straight. All the better. I’m sure he’d run in the other direction as soon as he saw me naked. I’m sure my mangled leg can shrivel a cock faster than ice cold water.”
“Looks aren’t everything, Phil.”
He shook his head and pushed through the door, ignoring Marian’s heavy sigh.
Phil limped to the gleaming black Pontiac GTO and fell into the seat with a groan. “Thanks for picking me up.”
Paul waved his concern away as he grinned. “It’s no trouble at all. I’m glad for the distraction. Van’s in a snit today. He tossed me out of the bakery.”
“Oh?” Phil fastened his seat belt, shooting his friend a worried look. “I hope it’s nothing serious.” Although Phil couldn’t imagine being part of a ménage, the unconditional love Paul, Van, and Jenny shared was beautiful.
“Nah. The usual. We’re looking for a present for Jen’s birthday. We agree on a vacation, but while I’d prefer something romantic and remote, Van wants to go to Vegas and party. I swear that man will never grow up.”
“Ha. Men and growing up. That’s a good one.” Phil winked. “And Van is only what? Thirty-eight?”
Phil frowned. “He’s turning thirty-nine in August. You’re right. I can’t expect him to act his age. How was therapy?”