Hotshot defense attorney James Scott isn’t afraid of following his gut instinct. Even when his gut tells him that the man everybody knows is guilty is not only innocent, but a victim himself. A notorious media darling, he’s got an irresistible charm that always seems to undermine his strategic mind. Homicide detective Owen Duke dislikes him before they meet. Duke doesn’t have time for gut feelings—he lives by logic and evidence. And all the evidence tells him that Scott’s client, Hector Young, is guilty of the cold-blooded murder of a young ballerina.
Scott is willing to risk his reputation and his career on the kid’s innocence. Relentless, he convinces Duke to dig beneath the surface of the case. What’s supposed to be an open-and-shut case quickly becomes a quagmire of lies, murder, and rotting corruption. Suddenly, instead of being a thorn in Duke’s side, James Scott is the only person in San Francisco the detective can trust. And the two of them are the only people who can find the truth in time to save the life of an innocent man...
...When he brought back the drinks, he perched on the edge of the coffee table to face Scott, rather than be blocked from view behind him. “Are your shoulders better? Do you need me to continue the massage?”
“Absolutely.” Scott sipped from his glass and his eyes closed with contentment. Duke could almost see the remaining tension draining from Scott’s muscles—or maybe it was drowning under the excellent whiskey. When he opened his eyes again, they were focused without being overly bright. The earlier angry light had dulled. “But not until after we eat and I can coax you back into the bedroom.”
“You don’t have to coax. A simple invitation is all I need.”
“Then let the record show that you have a standing invitation.”
A sharp knock on the door blocked Duke’s response.
Scott jumped to his feet, whiskey still in hand. Duke couldn’t quite believe that thirty minutes had already passed, but then, he lost track of time when he had his hands on Scott. Duke followed him to the door, reaching for his wallet, prepared to insist that he would pay for his own, but Scott didn’t give him the chance. He pushed two bills in the delivery boy’s hand and accepted two large white bags in return.
“Does this count as our first date?” Scott asked, as he shut the door.
Duke blocked him in, succumbing to the urge to close the distance again. Scott didn’t fight it, simply looking up at him and waiting.
“Since you paid, and we’re at your place, I think that counts.” He bent closer, breathing in the scent of Scott’s aftershave, the food, and the heady alcohol until his mouth watered. “But I reserve the right to arrange my own first date when we have the time and opportunity.”
“You can arrange any date that you like, but I don’t think it would count as a first one, technically. Or is that just me being a nitpicky lawyer?”
“That’s you being nitpicky.”
His last word was almost lost with the seal of his mouth over Scott’s, the kiss he knew they both wanted—needed—far more important than bantering about details. He kept it slow and careful, tickling along the seam of Scott’s lips for the moment before he opened up to Duke and invited him in. His grip on the door tightened, the simple caress dizzying. When he broke away to gulp for breath, his head still spun.
“I’ve wanted to do that all day, too.”
Scott dropped the bags of food like they were nothing and cupped the back of Duke’s neck, turning him to face the room. “Funny. I’ve wanted to do this since last night.”
This was a kiss with enough force to drive Duke back against the door. His shoulder blades hit the wood with a hollow thump, and the doorknob pressed into his hip. He didn’t care about the dull pain, though. Not while Scott’s mouth demanded his attention. His tongue swooped into Duke’s mouth, like he was chasing the faint hint of whiskey on his breath. Scott’s hand closed around Duke’s shirt, his fingers pulling the material tight across Duke’s chest.
The notion to slow Scott down came and went, as fleetingly as it deserved. Duke had extended the first move, and made his interest all too apparent not to accept Scott’s initiative, especially when they both clearly wanted this, needed it like they needed to breathe. Stopping the night before had been judicious. Now, they had all the time in the world, the luxury of hours ahead of them to take pleasure in the other without losing sleep.
He gripped Scott’s hip, molding their bodies together. Scott could control the kiss as much as he liked; Duke wanted control of the rest of his flesh. With his free hand, he tugged at Scott’s shirt, loosening it from the waistband, and slipped his fingers beneath the material as soon as there was room. Muscles twitched at the first touch, but he didn’t let that stop him. He wanted them quivering and molten, just like Scott’s shoulders had been after the massage. He would do whatever it took to make that happen.
Duke’s chest began to burn, and though they broke away at the same time to gasp for breath, they didn’t move away from each other. Scott kept him pinned in place, his mouth working over Duke’s jaw. Like he wanted to eat Duke whole. Duke pushed more of Scott’s shirt out of the way and slid his palms around the man’s ribs, up his sides, and down his back. He couldn’t get enough of the smooth texture, or the sensitive, trembling muscles.
“I want to take you to the bedroom now,” Scott said against his throat.
Duke nodded. He probably couldn’t have spoken if he tried. Voices required breath. Words, coherent thought. His only need rested in this man’s skin and the desire to consume as much as be consumed...