Xander Newell isn’t the one night stand type of guy. He wants a commitment with someone who is willing to put up with his crazy family and being away on the job sometimes. Finding someone who is willing to put up his brothers, who he lives and works with on a daily basis, is hard. Still, Xander’s not willing to compromise.
Xander gets called off bodyguard duty to investigate a religious cult that may be tied to some kidnappings of young men. He finds Aaron Keller, one of the missing young men. What he doesn’t expect is the instant attraction and longing for the man. Xander just wants to keep Aaron safe, even if that means backing off.
Xander wiped his feet on the mat just inside the door. “Finally. I need you to talk to Aiden for me,” Ryan whined. He was standing at the stove cooking a grilled-cheese sandwich, from the looks of it. “He still won’t let me go on a mission.”
“Be careful what you wish for, kid,” Xander said, thinking of his poor dick, so over-stimulated the past couple weeks.
“You always say that,” Ryan mumbled. Xander walked over and ruffled his hair.
“He’d get worried about you,” Xander said and picked up the sandwich in the pan. It was hot, but Xander didn’t care as he took a big bite. He dropped the sandwich down on the counter. The bite in his mouth fucking burned, which was probably what he got for teasing the kid.
“Hey. Ugh, asshole.” Ryan threw it on a plate and handed it to Xander. Out of all the brothers, Ryan was the only one that hadn’t been in the military. Instead, Ryan had been a paramedic for several years before agreeing to work for his brothers. Aiden had tricked him into being a glorified maintenance man for the mansion, promising him Ryan would get to go on missions. No one else wanted the job of maintaining the property, and they didn’t want to hire an outside person. They did a lot of hush-hush work for the government, so trusting a stranger on the grounds was difficult, which was why they hadn’t explored the idea of hiring someone new in depth.
What Ryan didn’t know was that Xander was the one not letting Ryan go on any jobs. He couldn’t stand it if his littlest brother, the one who used to follow him around like a little puppy, got hurt or worse. Xander was smart enough to let Aiden take the brunt end of the whining and bitching, though.
Ryan began making another sandwich, buttering the bread. “Please just talk to him for me, Xand. You know I’d do just fine out on a job.”
Xander nodded. “I can’t promise anything.” Xander did know that. Ryan was as good at soldiering as any of them. Xander had made sure of that the past few years. His little brother could fight hand-to-hand combat with the best of them, and he could handle a gun as well as Xander could. He was a better shot, actually. Plus he was the sneakiest, quietest person Xander had ever known. So his ability wasn’t in question.
Xander sighed. He was just being an over-protective big brother, and he needed to knock it off.
Xander dropped his bag beside the barstool he intended to sit on, placing the sandwich on the kitchen island. “Aiden is waiting for you, man. I’d walk and eat, if I was you.”
He grabbed a couple napkins from the holder in the center of the island and wrapped them around the sandwich, leaving the plate. He picked up his bag. “Later,” he said and took a big bite. He held up the sandwich as he walked out the door, saying thanks around the bite in his mouth.
Xander was finished with the sandwich by the time he dropped off his bag in his suite of rooms. His bed looked so great right now, and he wanted to fall face first on it. Instead, he turned and walked out of the room. He threw the napkins in the small trashcan under the end table in the sitting room, walked out the door and down the stairs, and made his way to the front of the house. When he came to Aiden’s office, he knocked on the door once and walked through without waiting for an answer. Aiden sat behind his desk, looking up as Xander walked in, waving him over, and handing him a manila folder. Xander took it as he stood behind Aiden. Before opening it, he assessed the chief of police across the desk from them.
“Chief,” Xander said, by way of greeting, as he opened the folder in his hand and began to browse. Usually Stanley Griffin was a pretentious asshole who thought he knew everything. He used their services on occasion, but Xander knew it was with reluctance. Right now, the man looked worried, the lines on his face standing out more than ever. The fact that he was silent as he let Xander read was a little surprising.
He read through the first of three documents, which happened to be a police report for a missing man named Zachary Landen. He was a homeless kid, and it looked like a buddy of his had called in his disappearance two weeks earlier. It also looked like the police didn’t take his case seriously. They certainly hadn’t done anything about it, until now. “Who was the last person to see Zachary?”
“His friend, we think. They spent the night over on Colfax, in the old Granger Grain building. The friend woke up and he was gone,” the chief answered. He fidgeted in his chair, as if he felt guilty for not doing anything for this poor man.
Good, the bastard should feel guilty.