Steel Wheels - Ian Coulter's Amethyst Cove #5
Publisher: White Deer Enterprises/White Deer Books
When Amethyst Cove's reigning drag queen is blackmailed, private investigator Ian Coulter searches to find the truth. He doesn't believe his friend committed a murder and he won't allow money to change hands. He gets support from his FBI lover Rick Mohr.
Ian and Rick have conquered a long road to be together. Working together is easy. Keeping their relationship strong is more difficult. With their wedding day approaching, Ian questions if he can go through with the ceremony but not his love for Rick.
When Ian is propositioned, Rick falls back into old ways. Ian's guiltless but overcoming his jealousy isn't easy for Rick. With time running out, they leave no avenue unexplored in their quest to find the truth and the blackmailer – before the honeymoon cruise.
I drove by the bank and deposited the Steel Wheels check and headed home as fast as the ʼCuda could safely maneuver through the in-town traffic. Rick was on the balcony when I walked into the condo.
"Agent Mohr. Did ya miss me?" I laid the contract packet on the charging table with our electronic gizmos. "I'm going to indulge in a drink. Do you want one?"
"Sure, babe. Make it about three fingers with a lot of ice."
That sounded good to me. I poured two bourbons and carried them outside. I handed one to him. "Sláinte mhaith."
He tapped the rim of his glass to mine. "Good health to you. Cheers."
We sipped and I leaned over to kiss him. He drew back and raised an eyebrow. "New aftershave, Mr. Coulter?"
I never gave it a thought he'd smell any transfer on me. "Nope. I can't say as I even like it." I collapsed into my chair. This conversation had to be handled delicately.
He sat eerily still. "You met an itinerant salesman and he offered you a sample?"
As much as I didn't want to talk about this, honesty was the only way to handle it. That way he had of not moving spoke volumes about how upset he was. In his past, he'd lived with a man who did cheat on him. Sometimes, like now, his emotions got the better of him.
"No, Rick. The guy at Steel Wheels hit on me again."
I had no idea what that meant and I was not about to ask. Anything I said would probably set him off. I'd just keep quiet until he had a few moments to process what I knew was a spike of jealousy. He struggled with the emotion. I struggled to keep my attitude in check.
We were learning when to tread lightly with each other. If there was ever a time to test how well we were doing, it was now.
It seemed like an eternity before he spoke. "Okay. What did you do?"
"I didn't deck him. He's the kind that would sue me. What annoys me is that just yesterday I told him I was happy about getting married."
Rick's enigmatic gaze locked with mine. "Obviously that didn't make an impression on him. Please tell me you walked away from doing business with him."
I took a deep breath. This could get dicey. "No, I didn't. What I did do was call Gary and arrange for him to do the bulk of the work so I can limit my time there."
He was quiet for a few minutes. "Will you do me a favor?"
Heaven alone knew what he might ask me to do. I steeled myself to the possibility of having to say no to him. "You know I will if I can."
"Go take a shower. His scent on you is more than I can stand."