Roughed Up

Up to Trouble Book Three

Roughed Up Cover
Part of the Up to Trouble series:

FBI Special Agent Aaron Pearce and his lover Mark Beecher are taking a well-deserved vacation relaxing on the beaches of Barbados Island. They spend lazy days in the sun, on scooters seeing the sites, or in their hotel room making love.

When Mark sees a young girl in a bar who may be in danger, he begins an informal investigation into her situation, even as Pearce reminds him they are not citizens and have no legal power on the island. Mark is determined, however, and, while investigating on his own, is taken captive by a sex slavery ring.

Pearce panics when Mark goes missing. He has a good idea what happened to Mark and who has taken him, but he cannot prove it. While working with the Barbados Royal Police Force, Pearce realizes he has become the detective’s prime suspect, and understands he needs to conduct his own personal investigation if he has any chance of finding Mark before he is either sold into sex slavery or murdered.


From the expression on Mark's face, his thoughts had taken a darker turn as well, and Pearce wondered where they had gone. Maybe Mark was feeling the same way Pearce was.

“You okay over there?”

“Huh?” Mark’s gaze was distant behind the lenses of his glasses. “Oh. Yeah. I’m good. Just taking it all in.”

“Yeah? Not thinking about anything in particular?” Pearce speared a bite of fish and looked around for the waiter to order another beer.

Mark shrugged. “Well, maybe. I was thinking about that girl at the bar.” He gave Pearce a small smile. “Can’t get anything past Special Agent Pearce, can I?”

“Sooner you realize that and just say stuff up front, the easier it’ll be for both of us,” Pearce said.

“Yeah, yeah.” Mark shook his head. “I keep thinking about how she tried to talk to me as we were leaving. I can’t figure out what she was trying to tell me.”


Pearce cocked his head. “She spoke to you?”

Mark widened his eyes. “Didn’t I tell you?”

“No. How did she speak to you? I was right there, and I didn’t hear her.”

“Well, she didn’t actually say anything, not with that guy right there. But she mouthed something to me.”

Pearce took a breath and let it out. “She mouthed something?”

“I knew you wouldn’t believe me,” Mark said.

Pearce shook his head. He was on vacation, damn it, and he didn’t want to get involved in whatever was going on in that run-down bar with that girl who had made bad decisions all her life. But he knew Mark wouldn’t be able to relax for the remainder of their time on the island if they didn’t do something. And besides, now that Mark had brought her up again, Pearce himself was starting to wonder if the girl might be in trouble.

“Do you want to go back there tomorrow?” Pearce tried not to let his minor aggravation come through in his tone.

Mark seemed surprised. “You’d do that with me?”

“If it will help you relax and enjoy the rest of our trip, I would do that with you.”

“Well, yeah, that would be great, actually. Just to see, you know?”

Pearce put his fork down and wiped his mouth. “One condition.”

Mark sat back. “There’s a condition?”

Pearce nodded. “If we go to that bar and she’s not there, do you think you can let it go and enjoy the rest of the trip?”

Mark sighed and slouched in his chair. “Yeah, okay. I see your point.”