Former Marine, Renaissance man, and commando spy, Silas Collins makes his own unusual choices in life, work, and manner of loving.
Trapped into recruiting for the CIA’s special “Candy Store” unit, finding his choices in doing his commando work grating against the wishes of his masters, and failing in love with the one man he cannot attain, Ward Spano, Silas chooses to retreat from it all. Ward Spano, however, tracks Silas down, having made a choice of his own.
This is an expanded relaunch of the eXcessica novella Silas’s Choice. The sequel to this book is published as Choke Hold.
The next afternoon I was pulled out of class and summoned to the administration building. Two of the instructors walked me over. Neither said anything about me returning to the class. I wasn’t all that surprised. Silas had been gone when I got up that morning and he wasn’t in class. I figured he’d told our handlers about me. Had his fun and then said he’d trapped me. Silas was gold; they’d believe anything he said.
It was worse than that.
And I knew it wasn’t going to be good, because all of my gear was sitting by the door of the room I was shown into. And sitting down the hall, looking at the floor, was Silas.
I sat there in the administrative office, cheery sunshine streaming in through the window, looking at the photographs: Silas fucking me, both in the gym room and in our dorm room. I had been set up. But the cameras hadn’t shot anything that wasn’t true. There was nothing there I could deny.
The man in the expensive, well-pressed suit told me that his name was Sam Winterberry and that he was putting together a new unit in the Agency, one that tracked down good intelligence the old-fashioned way.
“Do you know the quickest and most effective way to get intelligence out of a target, Mr. Pulido?”
“No, what?” I said, still stunned, not able yet to talk to the man, not able to lift my head up.
“It’s not to torture him for the information. Then he will tell you what he thinks you want to hear—anything to stop the pain. No, Mr. Pulido, the best way to get reliable information out of a target is to give him what he wants—and to make him want more. And then to deny it to him if he stops giving you information that is both good and reliable. And all the better if what he wants is something that will cause him great pain and suffering if it comes to light that this is something he wants.”
“Oh, that’s interesting . . . but what . . . ?”
“Spy candy, Mr. Pulido. I’m starting up a unit of very, very special operatives that we’re informally referring to as the Candy Store.”
“Yes, and we can give you two choices, Mr. Pulido. You can be severed from the Agency—just let go without any consideration or a recommendation—because, after all, you knew very well what our requirements were when you applied for a career here, didn’t you? Or you can join the new unit I’m creating. I think you can be very useful to us—and we won’t mention whatever sexual preference you want to follow as long as it doesn’t publicly redound on the Agency. You’d be doing important work—getting good information from targets in a time-honored way, helping to dispense with any need for torture tactics. Your choice. Which will it be? All you need do is nod, and we’ll start the processing in immediately, and you can come back to Langley with me. Just a nod.”
My prospects were bleak. Of course I gave the nod.
“Ah, yes. Very good choice. We’ll leave within the hour. We’ll be arriving in Northern Virginia late, so you can spend the night at my house.”
When I left the office, Silas looked up, and I saw the pained expression in his face. I didn’t bear him any grudge. I’d known the risks, and I could only imagine what was being held over his head to participate in this recruitment. He had told me the truth about there being choices to continue with what I wanted—all that I wanted. And, if I’d been asked, I would have had to admit that, despite everything, if Silas had stood and beckoned me to him, I’d have let him do anything he wanted to do to me right there in the corridor of the administration building at the Farm.