Tuesday, January 5, 2016

12th Day of Christmas Author Spotlight: Mary Calmes

Author Bio:
Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor's degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.

EMAIL: mmcalmes@hotmail.com

The Servant
After saving his younger brother’s child, Daemon Shar is cursed by a witch and runs far from home, a stray who will seemingly never be anything more. But destiny is hard to outrun, even for a man who is now more cat than man beneath his robes and cowl. A chance battlefield meeting between he and Ehron, a foreign lord, gives him purpose amidst the darkness of his accursed life. Soon Daemon finds that his true nature cannot be corrupted no matter the form he inhabits.

As Ehron’s consul, Daemon plots and plans to shape his new lord's future so that he may leave it blessed when he runs away yet again. But he never counted on his soul hungering for Ehron’s brother Gareth or for his past to catch him by the tail at last.

Heart of the Race
Varro Dacien spends his life riding toward the next adventure. Brian Christie, his best friend and touchstone, the one person who’s always truly seen him, plays sidekick on these madcap adventures and subsequent trips to the hospital until he can’t take it anymore. While Brian can see Varro, Varro has never caught on that he’s breaking his best friend’s heart.

Without Varro, Brian builds himself a life that’s all about just getting by, doing his best to ignore the hole in his heart and his life. Without Brian to balance him, Varro pushes harder and takes more risks to reach that ultimate high. His job racing high-octane bikes on suicide-level courses makes it easy to get that rush… until it’s no longer enough and Varro realizes it’s not the race, but who’s waiting at the finish line that truly matters. Now he just has to convince Brian to be there.

What happens when two men who have been together for seventeen years fall out of love? Sivan Cruz, a set director in San Francisco, and Walter Wainwright, a big shot Bay Area lawyer, find out the hard way. Walter loves Sivan with all his heart but rarely talks about it, and Sivan needs to hear the words. The language of the love they have shared for so long, that has enabled them to build a life together and raise two children, stops working. They become—still.

When Sivan asks for a divorce, Walter doesn’t know how to say no. They separate, but while Sivan sees the relationship as over, Walter sees only a temporary setback. He has never lost his passion for Sivan and decides he has to say something before he ends up loving his husband in silence for the rest of his life.

A Matter of Time Vol. 1 (#1 & 2)
Jory Keyes leads a normal life as an architect's assistant until he is witness to a brutal murder. Though initially saved by police Detective Sam Kage, Jory refuses protective custody—he has a life he loves that he won't give up no matter who is after him. But Jory's life is in real jeopardy, especially after he agrees to testify about what he saw.

While dealing with attempts on his life, well-meaning friends who want to see him happy, an overly protective boss, and a slowly unfolding mystery that is much more sinister than he could ever imagine, the young gay man finds himself getting involved with Sam, the conflicted and closeted detective. And though Jory may survive the danger, he may not survive a broken heart.

A Matter of Time Vol. 2 (#3 & 4)
Three years ago, Jory Harcourt changed his name and shut the door on a past full of pain, only to emerge stronger on the other side. He has a new career, a great working partner, and a satisfying life—except for the hole in his chest left behind when police Detective Sam Kage walked out with his heart.

Now Sam's back and he knows what he wants... and what he wants is Jory. Jory, who doesn't know if he can survive another break up or losing Sam to his dangerous job, resists returning to the arms of the only man he has ever truly loved. But when a serial killer with a score to settle targets Jory, he will have to decide if love is worth the danger as he tries to solve the case and keep Sam safe.

Bulletproof #5
Jory Harcourt doesn't have to go looking for trouble. Wherever he goes, it seems to find him—particularly when his partner, Sam Kage, is working undercover on a federal task force.

After the recession forces him to close his business, Jory goes to work as a matchmaker and event planner. From there, it's only a matter of time before his big mouth and up-front attitude make him the rope in a tug-of-war between a trust fund baby and a drug-smuggling criminal. Then, as if that situation weren't delicate enough, Jory's undercover lover shows up working for the smuggler.

Between the men who want him and the men who just want him dead, Chicago is getting a little crowded for Jory, so on the advice of his brother, his boyfriend, and the FBI task force, he heads for Hawaii... where a serious accident threatens his quality of life. Can Sam and Jory keep the faith and prove that their relationship really is bulletproof?

But For You #6
Jory Harcourt is finally living the dream. Being married to US Marshal Sam Kage has changed him—it’s settled the tumult of their past and changed Jory from a guy who bails at the first sign of trouble to a man who stays and weathers the storm. He and Sam have two kids, a house in the burbs, and a badass minivan. Jory’s days of being an epicenter for disaster are over. Domestic life is good.

Which means it's exactly the right time for a shakeup on the home front. Sam’s ex turns up in an unexpected place. A hit man climbs up their balcony at a family reunion. And maybe both of those things have something to do with a witness who disappeared a year ago. Marital bliss just got a kick in the pants, but Jory won’t let anyone take his family away from him. Before he knew what it felt like to have a home, he would have run. Not anymore. He knows he and Sam need to handle things together, because that’s the only way they’re going to make it.

Parting Shot #7
(Duncan Stiel from Acrobat)

Life has never been easy for Duncan Stiel. His childhood was the stuff of nightmares, and his day job as an undercover police officer forces him to hide his true self and occasionally lands him in the hospital. So when he finally meets the perfect man, it comes as no surprise that everything falls apart around him. What Duncan doesn’t expect is that the hardest hurdle to get over before he can make a life with Aaron Sutter is the one inside himself.

Everyone thinks Aaron has it all—looks, money, fame, and success beyond measure. Everyone, that is, except Aaron. At the end of the day, the cameras stop flashing, friends go back to their own lives, company business is handled, and Aaron is always alone. The moment he meets Duncan Stiel, Aaron knows he’ll do anything to hold onto the larger-than-life detective. But when he realizes money won’t buy him the ultimate happiness, Aaron needs to find the strength to give Duncan something much more important—his heart.

Piece of Cake #8
After years of domestic partnership, Jory Harcourt and Sam Kage are finally going to make it official in their home state of Illinois. It’s been a long and rocky road, and nothing—not disasters at work, not the weather, not a possible stalker, not even getting beat up and having to attend the ceremony looking like he just got mugged—will make Jory wait one more day to make an honest man of the love of his life.

Should be a piece of cake, right?

Forty-five-year-old English professor Nathan Qells is very good at making people feel important. What he’s not very good at is sticking around afterward. He’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t feel things the way other people do. So even after all the time he’s spent taking care of Michael, the kid across the hall, he doesn’t realize that Michael’s mob muscle uncle and guardian, Andreo Fiore, has slowly been falling in love with him.

Dreo has bigger problems than getting Nate to see him as a potential partner. He’s raising his nephew, trying to leave his unsavory job, and starting his own business, a process made infinitely more difficult when a series of hits takes out some key underworld players. Still, Dreo is determined to build a life he can be proud of—a life with Nate as a cornerstone. A life that is starting to look like exactly what Nate has been looking for. Unfortunately for Dreo—and for Nate—the last hits were just part of a major reorganization, and Dreo’s obvious love for Nate has made him a target too.

Weber Yates's dreams of stardom are about to be reduced to a ranch hand's job in Texas, and his one relationship is with a guy so far out of his league he might as well be on the moon. Or at least in San Francisco, where Weber stops to see him one last time before settling down to the humble, lonely life he figures a frog like him has coming. Cyrus Benning is a successful neurosurgeon, so details are never lost on him. He spotted the prince in a broken-down bull rider's clothing from day one. But watching Weber walk out on him keeps getting harder, and he's not sure how much more his heart can take. Now Cyrus has one last chance to prove to Weber that it's not Weber's job that makes him Cyrus's perfect man, it's Weber himself. With the help of his sister's newly broken family, he's ready to show Weber that the home the man's been searching for has always been right there, with him. Cyrus might have laid down an ultimatum once, but now it's turned into a vow-he's never going to let Weber out of his life again.

Six years ago, Noah Wheeler went to meet his boyfriend, Dante Cerreto, at the airport, and his world ended. Dante was kissing someone else and claimed to be in love. So Noah took his heartbreak-and the sonogram pictures of their surrogate child-and closed the door on the big picture of what he thought his life would be, focusing instead on the piece of the dream he got to keep, being a father.

Now on vacation in Las Vegas, Noah accidentally runs into the Cerreto family, and then the man himself, and learns that not only was he deceived, but Dante was as well. Now Dante wants to make up for lost time, six years' worth, and to do that he needs Noah, the only man he's ever loved, and Grace, the daughter he didn't know he had, to give him a chance at happiness. Dante's going to have to take a crash course in communication and seduction, though. Noah's not going to fall in love just to be broken again.

Accidental Hero by RJ Scott

Chicago Cop Simon Grant and Sanctuary operative Cain Brodie, have to be the heroes of their own stories, just to stay alive.

Everyone wants Chicago cop, Simon Grant, dead. Armed with an address, he is on the run and heading for Sanctuary, only to end up at the wrong end of a gun. Is it possible the tall amber-eyed man holding the gun is actually going to be able to help him?

Cain Brodie is in charge of Sanctuary’s new Chicago office, C-Tower. His well organised administration day takes an unexpected turn when he has a man wanted for murder right in his gun sights. Thrust into a situation he has no control over suddenly he needs to be the one in control.

Accidental or not, Simon and Cain have to be the heroes of their own stories, just to stay alive.

Click Here to Check Out the First Story Arc in the Sanctuary Series

I am so excited for this new story arc in the Sanctuary series, as the original is one of my favorite series.  Cain appears to be a bit of a bumbler at times or at least in some of the more physical side of his job but he's more than just a computer nerd who is running the new Chicago office.  Simon isn't exactly too keen on being told this is how things are going to go, don't get me wrong he's glad for the help and grateful someone believes him but he has his heart and mind set on the doing and not the waiting.  Together, Cain and Simon are a match made, maybe not in heaven but definitely made to fit.  Can't wait to see where this arc goes and who else shows up.  With Accidental Hero, Sanctuary continues to blend romance with action, adventure, intrigue, sass, and characters that will piss you off and make you grin like the village idiot all at the same time as only RJ Scott can.  If you haven't read the original, then this is the perfect time to do so, you won't regret it!


Chapter 1
Everyone wants us dead. 

Cops. The entire Drugs & Gangs team. Varga. Any of them, all of them, they all want us gone. 

Simon Grant crab-walked backward, reaching the wall and curling his knees up so that he was as far away from the body as possible. Blood pooled in a macabre circle of scarlet, spreading almost to his feet. What was left of Jamie Harrington’s face was toward him, and Simon couldn’t look. He closed his eyes tight, aware the sight of broken skin and shattered bone would never leave his memory.

I’m telling you, we should talk to someone outside the precinct. 

The last words Jamie had said just a day before. Mere hours before Simon had found this tableau of blood and gore, laid out before him.

A noise had him plastering himself against the wall, belatedly realizing it was he himself who had made the sound, halfway between a groan and a keen of denial. Horror had nausea rising and he tried to breathe to calm his gorge, but all he could smell was cordite and blood.

“I should have—” not said a fucking thing to anyone. Simon finished the harsh words that had begun out loud and ended inside, where he knew he would keep them forever.

He pushed his hand through his hair, anchoring his fingers in the length of it, blood smearing his skin. Then he crawled over, the wetness of blood soaking his pants, and felt for a pulse.

Jamie had half his face missing, his dark hair and skull matted, and one of his eyes blasted away… no face.

He’s gone, and I checked for a fucking pulse. 

Simon froze in place. A gun lay in the blood, obscenely black against the red, just inches from Jamie’s outstretched hand as if he’d been reaching for it, looking up at his attacker and hoping to hell he reached the police-issue gun before he was killed. Why had it been left?

For fuck’s sake, think. Analyze the situation. 

Was Simon supposed to pick it up, put his prints all over it? Was the killer watching, waiting for him to fuck up, waiting for him to be blamed for the death of his partner?

He had to box away the horror, push aside the shock and grief, and think.

He counted down from five and considered what next. The apartment was on the second floor. Whoever did this could be waiting or coming for him next; there was a gun in the blood, and Jamie was dead. What if it wasn’t Jamie’s gun? Simon looked around the otherwise spotless room, grabbed the nearest bag he could see—a brown grocery bag—upending it. The apples and cans inside spilled into the scarlet on the wooden floor. Had Jamie been out shopping? Did his murderer follow him home?

Just to one side, a bouquet of red roses lay half in and half out of the pool of blood. The white paper they were wrapped in had darkened in places; petals lay on the ground, weighed down by blood.

Simon used the grocery bag to pick up the gun. Long strings of sticky scarlet linked the gun to the floor for a moment and Simon pushed back sickness again. He’d seen death before, but never one that hit so close to home.

He turned his head to get some fresh air from the open window. The sound of sirens closing in was enough to have him leaving the apartment, turning left instead of right, moving to the back of the building and the way he knew he would be able to get out. Going up instead of down, he made it to the roof in record time, only a little winded. The gun was in the bag, pushed firmly into a pocket of his jacket.

He stepped back right near the edge and centered himself. Counting in his head again, he sprinted toward the next building and jumped the six-foot gap, landing and rolling onto solid roofing on the other side. He fell heavily on the gun, shoving it into his ribs, but he’d made it across and that was no mean feat.

The exit plan had been formed amid teasing and laughter over beers at Jamie’s last get-together for colleagues, on that clear Chicago night.

“You’ll never make it across,” Jamie had said on a belch. “Your short ass and stubby legs will have you tumbling into the alley. You’ll end up in a dumpster, and don’t think anyone’ll come get your stinking body.”

Simon had shoved him. “Five ten is not short, asshole.”

I can’t think of Jamie now. I made it over. 

He looked around for somewhere to hide the gun. No way was he getting caught with it. He shoved it into the air intake, pushed it a long way back to a small shelf area. Done.

Why am I even keeping it? 

“Because there may be other prints, or a trace, or something,” he answered his own question. “If it isn’t Jamie’s gun, we might be able to….”

To what? Why did you take it? Are you stupid? You took evidence?

With stealth he made his way across the roof and to the stairs, taking them three at a time and landing lightly on the first floor. From there he took a joining walkway to yet another apartment block and finally left that by using the fire escape, stopping only to scrub his face to clear away any blood. Finally he joined the crowds walking the sidewalk with purpose. They parted before him, some acknowledging him with nods, others bypassing him, and some shooting him guilty looks. A couple cursed him as he walked against the flow, but no one stopped him. No one shot at him, no one shouted. There was no recognition of who he was inside the uniform.

He was just another Chicago cop on the beat. Nothing to stand out. As long as he walked steadily and with resolution and didn’t break out into a panicked run, no one would look twice past the badge.

At soon as he could, he stepped into business premises—a coffee shop. He went straight to the bathroom, washed his face and his hands properly, then looked critically at his uniform. There was blood there—Jamie’s blood—but the dark blue of the uniform was enough to cover it. He pulled out his cell and stared at it for the longest time. It was nothing special, but it had all his numbers in there. Including Elliot’s. It also had a GPS chip that could be traced. No way was he calling anyone or reaching out.

He fingered the card in his pocket.

“Here, if you need anything…”

Elliot had told both him and Jamie. Promised them a place where they could get help. Even at that moment Simon had placed his faith squarely in the cops he served with, Jamie as well.

“This is bigger than just you two,” Elliot told them.

Deliberately, Simon placed his phone behind the tank of the first toilet stall. If this were bigger, if he and Jamie had landed in shit so deep he wouldn’t be able to dig himself out, then he wasn’t going to be found because of his cell.

He left the café, turned right, and walked. He kept off the main thoroughfares, his focus entirely on one address—the place where people would help him.

No one will help you if there’s a “Be on the lookout” for you like a fucking murder suspect.

He had to expect the worst: that this was some kind of setup.

Calm. Just be calm. This can’t get any worse.

A cop car sped past the end of the next road. Simon didn’t react by running or stopping, but neither did he hesitate. He stayed close to shop fronts and even exchanged pleasantries about the lack of snow on this Chicago November day with a couple of shop owners. He didn’t stop to talk for long; he kept his cap tilted over his face and walked. Ten blocks, fifteen… by now someone could have found Jamie, and was he next?

Simon glanced behind himself as he approached a crossing, his senses prickling with the idea he was being followed. Scanning the people around him, there was nothing. Just a few curious glances. One tourist even snapped a photo of him on her cell phone, shouting to her husband that she’d got one of a Chicago cop. He had ducked his head and turned sharply when he saw this, then crossed as soon as the lights changed.

When he passed through an alley between two old-style buildings, he relaxed a little. Only so he could refocus on where he was heading, but it was enough to have him thinking the bad thoughts that spun inside him.

Who killed Jamie? The cops? Or Varga? Who the fuck knows what’s going on?

He stumbled to a stop at the end of the alley as it opened to the plaza in front of a tower. He didn’t need the card to know the address. And this was it. Fifty or so floors with a glass frontage and in there, somewhere, was a place that could help him. He waited for the longest time, wondering how the hell he was going to get inside and make it look like he was meant to be there.

He didn’t want to be the cop that everyone remembered because Jamie’s death was pinned on him.

Only one of you has to die to keep the other quiet. 

Simon bent at the waist, hands on his knees as the remembered words hit him hard. When Lewis Varga said that, he had been behind glass, posturing, threatening all kinds of shit, Simon had laughed it off as the “bad guy exposition.” So, Jamie wasn’t that impressed with it and Varga scared him, but what damage could Varga do in three days, locked away and waiting for trial?

A flash of light on glass caught Simon’s eye and the sleek form of a blood-red Ferrari stopped at the security barriers. An arm appeared out of the window and pressed buttons. The car was no more than fifty feet from Simon.

With sudden inspiration, he walked briskly across the last bit of the plaza, past the small hot dog stand, and ended up sauntering down the secure entry to the car park as if that was his only purpose in life and he was meant to be there. He slipped in through the closing gates and checked the location of the security camera—an old model that pointed past the gates and to the road outside. The Ferrari circled the first floor, then slipped into a reserved space. Whoever drove that beauty must have been rich enough to own a Ferrari in the first place and to have a reserved spot right near the entrance of the parking garage.

Simon stayed behind the pillar. There was a short walk between him and the elevators, which had a keypad on one side.

There has to be a better way. Just go to reception and ask, for fuck’s sake. Turn yourself into someone you can trust at the station. There has to be someone who can tell us how to get to these Sanctuary people. He could almost hear Jamie’s voice word for word.

If only Simon trusted any cops at all. With the whispers and the messages and the colleagues turning away, how could he put his trust in that institution now? The same people he’d have given his life for before this.

How could he trust that was supposed to be separate from the law? The one company that could somehow be the magic answer to the fear Jamie showed in his eyes.

I’m telling you, they tried to run me off the road, Jamie had said.

Simon hadn’t believed his friend, or at least he’d consigned it to paranoia. Yes, there was harassment for what they’d done, but nothing they couldn’t just ignore until it died a death.

The slam of a door and footsteps had the driver of the car walking his way.

“Nik said he’d cover seven, but he’s in Chicago today. … Just today. … Kayden is backing him up. … It’s a medical issue. … I’ll check in with Manny.” The footsteps grew nearer. “Okay, we’ll open up S19. I got that. … Yeah. … Bye.”

Just before the guy reached the pillar, Simon sauntered out as if his being there was normal, an occurrence that had purpose. He exchanged polite nods with the driver and followed him to the elevator.

“Officer,” the driver said with an incline of his head.

He was tall and slim, blond hair in perfect loose waves, and his eyes, a curious shade of amber, held a focus that zeroed in on Simon with keen attention. His suit was dark gray and probably cost more than Simon made in a year; the collar loose on his white shirt, with no tie. He was cute and preppy, and from the way his eyes lit at Simon’s minute observation, he was checking Simon out.


Awkward that he did that, and awkward that I know exactly what he was doing. 

And wrong. Because Jamie is dead, and this isn’t real life. 

Simon felt separate from reality. This was some kind of horrific nightmare. “Morning,” he forced out in response.

Driver pressed buttons to call the elevator, some complicated code that Simon pretended not to watch. They waited for the elevator, which worked its way down from the forty-second floor at a slow pace.

“Is there a security problem down here in the basement?” Driver asked.

Great, he wants conversation and I don’t want him to place me if the shit hits the fan.

Simon gave a standard response. “Routine checks, sir.”

“Should I be worried about my car?”

“Everything’s fine, sir.”

He hoped that was enough, but pretty, preppy guy, with the intriguing amber eyes, wasn’t stopping with the talking.

“Is this part of the security sweep they authorized last week?”

Simon nodded. He didn’t actually say yes, but the driver smiled at him as if he suspected nothing, and he turned back to the elevator.

When it arrived, Driver was in first, answering his cell as the doors shut behind them. Simon half listened as he checked out the available buttons. The panel was one of those futuristic screens that were digitized and had a square for fingerprint recognition. Elliot had said help was in this building on the top floor and handed him and Jamie a piece of paper with an address. The building he was at now. But, what was this place? Could he even trust Elliot?

He and Jamie had talked about Elliot’s hushed advice. They didn’t know him well, and this could be a trap.

“You have to go somewhere,” he muttered.

Jamie had suggested the easiest way to keep them quiet was to kill them. Simon had called him paranoid.

Jamie wasn’t paranoid, was he? He was fucking right that someone wanted him dead and that Simon could be next.

Grief and anger gripped him and he had to force the turmoil away. There would be time to mourn Jamie when he had the bastard who’d killed him in his sights.

He selected the button for the top floor, then faced front. Driver, in his peripheral vision, hadn’t pressed a single button.

“I’m aware,” Driver was saying into his cell. “What do we know?”

Simon half heard the mumble of a reply but couldn’t quite make it out.

“I’ll deal with it. Can you tell… yeah.” Driver pocketed his cell and shifted a little to lean against the back wall.

The elevator climbed steadily, only stopping twice: once to let in a man carrying an armful of clipboards at floor twenty-three, only for him to get off on twenty-seven. The numbers counted up and up. Thirty-three. Driver moved forward a little, his suit jacket pushed back and his hands in his pockets.

Thirty-seven: that itch of awareness returned. Simon tensed. He was getting closer to whatever path Jamie had set him on, and a healthy combination of fear and relief added in with his already churning belly.

I can trust Elliot. I have to trust him; he says there is help here, and I have to believe him.

Simon’s mind repeated the words again as they passed forty-two, forty-three, and then the elevator slid to a smooth stop on forty-six. Still Driver didn’t step out.

Were they heading for the same floor? A sudden movement out of the corner of his eye had Simon flinching and reaching for his weapon on autopilot, but he was too slow. He turned his head.

And came face-to-face with the barrel of a gun.

Chapter 2 
Cain couldn’t believe this was happening.

Project-manage the setting up of our Chicago office, Manny, the operations manager of Sanctuary, had said, sporting a broad grin. What can happen?

Well, fuck you, Manny, because I’ve seen Die Hard and I know what can happen to a guy in a high-rise. Like a cop with other cops looking for him. Like guns. Like Albany Ops picking up on the fact someone had followed him into the parking garage before the steel gates had fully shut.

And now Cain was faced with whoever the fuck this was, a steely-eyed, spiky-haired, uniformed cop with his hands near a gun.

“Hands where I can see them,” Cain snapped.

He forced his grip to stay steady. Manny was going to laugh at him when he found out Cain was pointing a gun at a cop. Manny’s empty gun. Talking of Manny, he really needed to channel the company’s weapons expert. He imperceptibly straightened his arms and bent his legs slightly. Cain had done the general gun-range training that everyone at Sanctuary was expected to do, but to be fair he’d spent his last visit there fixing the computer network in the office and hiding out.

Guns and Cain didn’t match well. Too loud, too destructive, too deadly.

In his earbud, Albany Ops were asking for an update, but Cain couldn’t answer accurately. He gestured with the gun when the cop didn’t automatically raise his arms.

“Hands. Up.”

The cop shook his head. “I don’t know what’s going on here, buddy, but one word from me and backup is on its way from my colleagues in the atrium,” the cop lied.

He had his hands out in front of him, and was apparently trying for the “innocent good guy in an elevator” look.

Cain was not falling for that. Albany Ops said this man was wanted for suspected murder. Said he was armed and dangerous. Said he was on his own and very much off the reservation.

“Hands behind your head,” Cain ordered with a small, gun-waving gesture.

“You realize this is assault with a deadly weapon against an officer.”

The cop still hadn’t moved his hands and Cain’s chest tightened. This wasn’t exactly going as he’d expected. Manny had assured him that having a gun gave you the edge. That all you needed to do was confidently portray that you would use the damn thing and people would believe you.

Evidently, he was failing big time at looking hard and ready to use the weapon.

When Albany Ops had advised Cain a man dressed as a cop had followed him into the parking area, they’d given him a heads-up that things didn’t look good. That had been enough to have him taking the gun he’d been working on from the lockbox in the car and pushing it into his belt at the base of his spine. Damn thing ruined the line of his suit, but he had at least some kind of bargaining tool to con his way out of a situation.

The cop moved, reaching for the gun in his holster.

“Stop!” Cain shouted.

“Sitrep, Cain,” Ops ordered in his ear.

The chaos was too much.

The cop was staring at him, and where there had been confusion before there was now enlightenment in his dark eyes. “Your gun, you know the safety is on. Right?” He interrupted the words running through Cain’s head and gestured to the gun.

Cain’s stomach sank. He’d forgotten that part of the deception. He glanced at the weapon, wishing he knew what the hell he was doing, and in that second the cop moved. He shoved Cain, and his body weight had Cain pressed back against the elevator wall, the cop’s weapon under his chin. A fully loaded weapon, probably.

“Who the fuck are you?” the cop snarled.

Cain swallowed. He could feel the barrel of the gun against his Adam’s apple. Cain’s turn to lie. “I have backup waiting,” he croaked.

“Did you know Elliot sent me here? Do you work for Varga?” the cop snapped. His dark, fathomless eyes were hard and focused. “Fuck, did you kill Jamie?”

“I didn’t kill anyone,” Cain answered, then swallowed.

And Elliot? Elliot is involved in this, and it’s somehow connected to all the Varga shit going down at the moment?

Cain had seen the reports across his desk, analysis of a situation that so far Sanctuary had managed to avoid. Manny was going to be pissed it had landed on their doorstep. Cain needed to talk to Elliot, because he sure as hell didn’t know who the fuck this guy was.

“What do you want me for?” the cop demanded.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

The cop shook him a little, tightening his grip on Cain’s arm—it hurt like a bastard. “Don’t fuck with me. No lies. Why did you pull your gun?” The cop yanked at the useless Sig in Cain’s hand, hefted the weight of it, then slammed it to the floor.

Cain thought on his feet. “I thought you didn’t look like a real cop,” he said lamely. He went for the pathetic look; the one where he gave the impression that he didn’t know what the fuck was going on. Manny said he was good at that.


“I have a license and I was protecting myself.”

The cold gun pressed harder to his throat. “I say again, don’t fucking lie to me.”

Cain thought on his feet. “Seriously, a real cop would have arrested me by now.”

“Oh, believe me, I’m a real cop.” He twisted the gun barrel and Cain closed his eyes. If this was it, if this was the last moment of his life, he wouldn’t give the cop the satisfaction of seeing the fear in him. “And you pulled a gun on me.”

The cop stepped back, his hard body moving from Cain’s.

Cain opened his eyes cautiously. The cop held the gun unwaveringly, pointing it directly at Cain.

The voice from Ops was soft in his ears. “Simon Grant, Chicago PD, murder. C’mon Cain, sitrep.”

Cain just wanted to ask Ops to leave him the fuck alone, but it was all he could do not to give any indication he was connected to anyone outside this space. Ops would have to make what they could of what they could hear in the elevator.

“Look,” Cain said. “This has all been a massive mistake. Put the gun away.” He tried for understanding, despite the words of warning in his ear.

“I can’t do that,” the cop answered. “I need the top floor, and I know damn well there are more floors above this one. You’re still on this elevator. Why didn’t you press a button? Who are you?”

Cain considered what he was being told covertly and what kind of reply he could give the cop. Simon. Abruptly, as inspiration flooded him, he knew exactly what he needed to do.

“I work on the secure floors,” Cain explained.

Protocols would kick in if he could just get this Simon up to the top floor.

“You know about the security company here?”

Simon stepped closer, and this time the feel of the cold metal was against the upper part of Cain’s chest where he hadn’t buttoned his shirt yet. Cain stiffened and attempted to back up as much as he could. There was nowhere to go.

“I work there,” Cain said. The murdering cop stared right at him. Alleged murderer—doesn’t mean he did it, Cain corrected himself. He refused to focus on anything other than those brown eyes. He wouldn’t look at the gun or the blood on Simon’s neck, darkening his shirt. He wouldn’t imagine that he was facing down a killer. He focused on the protocols.

I can do this.

“Cain?” Ops asked. “Nik in five, hang tight, keep him talking.”

Cain’s stomach sank. Hell, the very last thing this situation needed was Nik rappelling into the elevator using a combination of paperclips and grenades or some such heroic type shit. Simon was armed, and Cain just bet he knew his way around guns.

Think. Just think. 

“Not needed,” Cain said firmly in answer to the whole Nik thing. Hoping to hell Ops understood what he’d just said.

“What?” Simon asked.

“What do you want?” Cain finished smoothly. He raised his hands.

Simon appeared to consider what he might need… what he wanted. “You work there, then you take me to the security company.”

He didn’t look happy. In fact, he had the expression of a man heading for the gallows.

Cain nodded. “I need to… on the screen.” He gestured to the security panel.

Simon stepped from where he was blocking Cain’s view and motioned with the gun. “Do it.”

Cain sidled up to the panel and pressed his entire palm to the screen. The palm print was red, then changed to green, indicating he’d been accepted. The elevator began to rise smoothly. Cain moved from the panel to the doors. When they opened, he needed to be first out if this was going to work.

The doors opened and Cain made to step through, only to find himself yanked back and held very securely around the throat.

“Don’t try anything,” Simon snapped. The damn gun was back at Cain’s throat and he swallowed. “We go out together.”

“There’s no one here,” he reassured.

“I don’t care.” Simon moved them from the elevator into the empty corridor. “And what do you mean there’s no one here? Where is this fucking company?”

“You have to let me go. There needs to be a full-body scan of staff,” he lied. “Otherwise the door won’t open.”

The elevator doors closed behind them, leaving them in a dimly lit hallway.

Simon nodded and released his hold on Cain, still with the weapon high, and still very much in Cain’s body space.

Cain stepped away, judging the distance, and then he stopped and turned to face Simon. He caught expressions of hope, of need, and of fear on the cop, but they vanished so fast he thought he might have imagined them.

Simon wasn’t positioned correctly for this to work. Cain tensed. He hadn’t properly thought this out, and he made a mental note to change things up before they made this place fully operational. Evidently bad guys didn’t always stand where you needed them to.

Cain took a step back, and as if joined by a string, Simon moved a little toward him. And right there—that was the point Simon was his.

“Now,” he murmured to Ops.

Simon blinked and even made to step forward, but it was too late. In an instant, transparent Plexiglas sheets slid from the wall and formed a cell of sorts between the two walls and Cain. Simon was trapped. Bright light filled the hallway when the glass box shaped. Simon smashed the gun against the glass, which was toughened and unbreakable by most anything the bad guys might have in their arsenals.

“Intruder is neutralized,” Cain said calmly to Ops. Then he relaxed in inverse proportion to Simon’s panic.

“Simon Grant,” Cain shouted over the sound of the gun smashing against the toughened glass.

Simon stopped immediately. “Fuck.” Resignation flooded his features. “Fuck,” he cursed again as he slid down the glass to his ass on the ground. Every ounce of energy seemed to have left him in an instant.

“Waiting to report to CPD,” Ops said.

Cain thanked the heavens that Sanctuary didn’t immediately think the authorities were what was needed in situations like this. Why did Simon Grant want the top floor? How did he know about Sanctuary, or rather, what was his connection to Sanctuary? He hadn’t come up armed with missiles and shit, looking for a witness or a vulnerable person that Sanctuary might have here. He looked exhausted, there was blood on him, and his hands were shaking.

Adrenaline overload.

Cain pressed a finger to his ear. “Give me five, Ops,” he said before crouching down in front of Simon. “You want to explain what you’re doing here?”

Simon shook his head. “I need help.”

“What kind of help? Are you looking for someone?”

Simon looked confused. “No. Yes. I mean, fuck….”

Cain shifted a little and the shadow cast by his body lifted. Light flooded the glass cell and Simon startled. Then something caught his attention—the reflection of the company name on the wall, shimmering in the glass. He pressed his fingers to the reflection.

“This. Sanctuary,” he murmured. “Whoever this is.”

“You’re looking for them?”

Simon nodded. “They have to help me.” 

Author Bio:
Writing MM Romance with a Happy Ever After...

I am in awe that people read my writing and thank you all for taking the time to read, rate and review. Rj xxxxx

About me...I live in the UK just outside London. I love reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror; however, my first real love will always be the world of romance. My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and more than a hint of happily ever after.

EMAIL: rj@rjscott.co.uk