Circle of Steel - Ian Coulter's...
Private investigator Ian Coulter and his FBI partner Rick Mohr work hard and play harder. Making their relationship a priority is a challenge they willingly embrace. Life is better together, and when their cases overlap, it gets pretty interesting.
An evening stroll turns deadly when a sniper targets Rick. Needing to be with his lover, Ian has to trust Rick’s team with the hunt for the shooter. As Rick heals tensions between the men escalate and some uncomfortable truths are revealed.
Ian gets a break in the case but the sniper proves to be elusive. With the FBI conducting a manhunt in Amethyst Cove, Ian has to deal with his own man. It’ll take patience and some tough love to heal recent fractures and secure the future he wants with Rick.
* * * * *
Becoming “us” hadn’t been part of any original plan but we had become “us” in ways I couldn’t imagine ending.
I picked up my cell phone. Rick answered before the first ring ended.
“Ian. Darling, what’s really wrong? Are you going to be okay?”
Was I? A tenuous connection opened between us, powered by wireless magic.
“I’m better for hearing your voice. I feel like a real ass saying this to you, Rick, but it’s been a rough couple of weeks.”
“Believe me, I know. Please come back so we can talk.”
I downed the remainder of the bourbon in the glass.
“Can’t. I shouldn’t drive. I’ve had a drink.”
I heard him take a deep breath.
“Okay. You’re right, of course. And you’re right about the other things. Listen, Ian. We need to stop being stupid with each other and I’ll start. I love you. I hurt bad enough I can’t rest, and I’m miserable being off my feet. I’m taking it out on you, and that’s not fair. I promise to stop being bitchy.”
My throat tightened. “Rick. I almost lost you.” My voice broke. I couldn’t breathe. The city lights blurred in my vision. His voice was soft in my ear.
“It’s okay, my darling. You’ve been my rock, Ian. I forgot even diamonds crack under enough pressure.”
I managed a deep breath and swiped my fingertips across my eyes. “We’re still gonna talk, big guy.”
“I know. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Ian, but I can’t promise it’s always going to be easy living with me.”
“Well, I guess I can’t make that promise, either. We just have to remember life is better when we’re together.”
“How about we have a safe word to tell each other to back off?”
“What? Like ‘screw you, Rick’?”
He chuckled softly. “No, babe. That’s foreplay. I live to hear you say those words.”
I laughed in spite of myself. “Yeah. I know what you mean. I need to go to bed. Get some sleep. I’ve got a bunch of installations to finish tomorrow and God only knows how big a job Sheldon’s going to sell next.”
“Can I call you?”
“Yeah. That would be great. I love you, Rick. I guess maybe I’m a little afraid you’ll leave me.”
“Never, Ian. Not gonna happen. Are we good?”
“We’re good. ‘Night, Rick.”
The call disconnected and left me staring at my phone, exhausted. Were we really good? Sometimes when something cracked, it stayed that way,
And sometimes, when mended, it was stronger than before.
I twisted the wide silver band on my right ring finger around, then took it off and slipped it onto my left hand. It glittered, a circle of steel reflecting the city lights.