“I want you in my bed.”
“Not happening.” Jack shook his head. “You hired me to watch your back. I can’t do that when I’m fucking you.” Actually, he could. And when that thought stirred a tendril of hilarity along with a wash of nausea, Jack knew he needed to get out.
Six weeks undercover felt like a lifetime. And there was no end in sight. He focussed on the information he needed to find, the connections he needed to make, but every day it became a little harder to remember how to put one foot in front of the other without tripping himself. He’d known that one day it might be not just his life on the line. That there’d be other choices he needed to make.
Dimitri stepped closer. He was Jack’s height, built like a swimmer with long, lean muscles. His blond hair fell in disarray over his brow, accentuating his ice blue gaze. Dimitri Kiriyenka was easy on the eye, but the look did nothing for Jack.
“What if I offered to fuck you?” Dimitri queried, hopeful, as he got right into Jack’s personal space. Jack didn’t move an inch.
“Not happening,” he reiterated. “You hired me to work for you. I never mix business and pleasure. It doesn’t work.”
It wouldn’t work anyway. Jack knew whom he belonged to. He’d known that since he was seventeen but now, when Gareth Flynn was a reality and not just a fantasy he indulged in to comfort himself when he was lonely, Jack craved amber eyes and silver hair. He craved broad shoulders and hard muscle and the safety and peace he only ever found with Gareth.
Jack wanted this job over so he could go home.
“Maybe if I fired you….”
“Give it a rest, Dimitri.” Jack stepped out of reach. “I’m not looking for a fuck. And you want that money collected.”
“Actually, you’re right,” the blond switched track as soon as money was mentioned and Jack breathed a sigh of relief. The man might want Jack, but he still wanted money a lot more.
It was beyond late when Jack made it home to the tiny studio that had served as his base for the last weeks. Dimitri had his money and hadn’t bothered him again when he delivered it. His rounds had been trouble-free and he had even managed to turn up a new name. He looked forward to speaking to Lisa in the morning. A drop of sanity in the crazy train that made up his life right then.
Dimitri’s offer had rattled him. Not because of the even finer line he’d be walking from now on, but because it had reminded him of what was missing from his life. Gareth had been on his mind all afternoon, but Jack didn’t acknowledge the hollow ache in his chest or the loneliness that started to weigh him down. He swept his place for bugs, checked that nobody had been there while he was out, then kicked off his shoes and jacket and grabbed a beer from the fridge. As he shut the fridge door he caught sight of the calendar on the wall. It was August 14th. His 30th birthday.