Holed Up

Up to Trouble Book One

Holed Up Cover
Part of the Up to Trouble series:

FBI Special Agent Aaron Pearce, tall, muscular, a lone wolf with an attitude, is assigned to protect Mark Beecher, a witness to the plans for a terrorist attack. The discovery of an unknown informant within the FBI's ranks, however, forces the two men to hole up in a loft apartment with only one another for company.

After long conversations and their shared attempt to unravel the puzzle of the terrorist group's next target, Pearce and Mark find they cannot deny their mutual attraction. Pearce gives in to his passion, sleeping with the man he's sworn to protect and going against his training as he risks heartbreak once again.

When the informant reveals himself to Pearce and takes him hostage, Mark finds he cannot run and leave Pearce to die. Instead, their roles have been reversed and now he is the only person who can save Special Agent Pearce.

Excerpt:

Pearce leaned in close, and for a thrillingly horrifying second Mark thought the man intended to kiss him. But instead, the agent said loud enough for only Mark to hear over the braying fire alarm: “It’s okay, I’ll get you out of here. Just stay close to me, okay?”

Mark nodded, and Pearce looked away, scanning the room and the other agents. Finally, he heard Pearce ask Agent Bata, “Is there a freight elevator in this building?”

Bata nodded and motioned for Pearce to follow. Pearce turned and leaned in close again, closer than before, and whispered into Mark’s ear, “Follow me. We’re going to the freight elevator. If anything happens, stay with me, no one else. Got it?”

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Mark shivered at the wet heat of Pearce’s breath and cursed the swiftness of his erection despite the situation. He nodded and, adjusting his messenger bag to hide his condition, followed Pearce as Bata led them down the hallway, both agents with guns drawn. A few steps down the hall, Pearce turned and motioned over Mark’s shoulder for the other two agents, the ones who had been guarding the door, to stay behind.

Mark followed Pearce and Bata through the crowd of agents and directors dutifully making their way to the exits. The fire alarm buzzed, and at certain spots along the wall, strobe lights flashed. They exited the office through a secured employee entrance and found themselves in the main elevator lobby. There were two stairwells in the building, and the evacuating crowds flooded both. Lines of vaguely anxious people had formed at each stairwell as they waited for those on the lower floors to clear out. Pearce reached back and grabbed Mark by the arm, pulling him along behind as he shouldered his way through the slowing crowd. Mark followed and tried not to think about the man’s strong grip and how it might feel on his cock.

Around the corner from one of the stairwells, Agent Bata stopped at a large gray elevator door. “Here, this is the freight elevator.” He pressed the call button and turned to find Pearce’s gun in his face. “What? What are you doing?”

“Hey!” Mark exclaimed and tried to step forward, but Pearce held him back.

“Quiet,” Pearce said without looking at him. “Bata, holster your weapon and step back from the elevator.”

“He’s been helping me since I came to the FBI,” Mark protested, and Pearce grabbed him by the front of his T-shirt and pulled him around to press him up against the wall beside the doors to the freight elevator, never taking his eyes off Bata.

Bata raised his hand holding the gun and slowly placed the weapon in his shoulder holster. “It’s okay, Mark. I understand what Special Agent Pearce is doing.”

“It’s nothing personal, Bata,” Pearce said.

The elevator sounded its arrival and Mark jumped. Pearce pushed him into the elevator car and backed in after him, his gun still leveled at Bata. “I just don’t know who I can trust around here.”

Mark looked out at Agent Bata with wide, frightened eyes as Pearce pressed the button for the third floor. As the elevator doors closed, Pearce locked his gaze on Bata’s and said, “I’ll be in touch.”

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Shacked Up

Up to Trouble Book Two

Shacked Up Cover
Part of the Up to Trouble series:

FBI Special Agent Aaron Pearce is recovering from his injuries suffered while on assignment in Detroit, stuck in the offices of the FBI running database searches for agents in the field. He is bored and edgy, and takes it out on those closest to him, including Mark Beecher, who lives with him.

While Mark cannot deny the heat between them, he struggles to find his place in Washington, DC, and in Pearce's apartment. He notices a car following him back and forth to work and panics, certain it's the terrorist mole Robert Morgan who escaped them in Detroit.

As Mark and Pearce try to identify the driver, Pearce is drawn into an investigation concerning the disappearance of data discs from government employees. During research, he discovers the catering company where Mark works may be at the root of the thefts, and, when the company is booked to cater a prestigious party, Pearce realizes it is the perfect setup for an undercover operation. He doesn't think twice about disobeying orders to stay out of the field, and risks not only his career, but his life as well, to join Mark in an undercover operation that will change their lives forever.

Excerpt:

Mark woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs. He sighed and rolled over in bed, pressing his hard-on into the mattress and his face into Pearce’s pillow. The sheets on Pearce’s side of the bed were still a little warm against his bare skin, and he breathed in the man’s scent from the pillowcase. It was the same scent he had first noticed back in January, when Pearce had pushed him into a freight elevator in the FBI’s Detroit office. At that moment, Mark had simultaneously hated and wanted Pearce, and now, just a few months later, here he was, living with the man.

Life was strange.

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Mark rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. Pearce’s ceiling. Pearce’s bed. Pearce’s apartment. Mark’s belongings still sat in boxes stacked in the spare room. Some weekend soon, when Mark wasn’t working a party, he planned to sort through his things. Maybe grab some CDs for his car. If he was lucky, maybe Pearce would invite him to unpack some stuff, add a few items to the apartment. Hell, Pearce might even suggest Mark add his CDs to the collection in the living room. Not mix them together—nothing that crazy—but maybe get a shelf or two of his own.

He had found it was tricky to know where he could place things in the apartment. Pearce was a territorial animal; Mark had seen that when he had added his toiletries to the bathroom. Pearce had come along after him and rearranged things in the medicine cabinet and on the countertop. The man seemed to have his apartment ordered just as he liked, and Mark couldn’t help feeling like an intruder. If only Pearce would help him figure out where he could put some things, maybe clear off more than one or two shelves for him. But each time Mark asked, Pearce would make noncommittal sounds of agreement and never follow through.

Pearce had been nodding off on the sofa when Mark had gotten home last night just after eleven. The drive home had been uneventful; Mark hadn’t noticed anyone following him, and he was exhausted from working the dinner party with Audra and Brenda. Darlene had had to go home and take care of her daughter.

Mark had touched Pearce’s shoulder to wake him, and the man got to his feet, eyes still glassy with sleep. They hugged, shared a quick kiss, and went to bed together. No mention of the red Escort or the daily frustrations at the job. Just two exhausted people living together and trying to make it work.

Now Mark’s cock pulsed, and before he could reach down to take hold of himself, the bedroom door eased open. Mark raised his head and squinted in that direction, smiling at the blurry vision of Pearce peering in at him around the door.

“Morning, sleepyhead,” Pearce said and stepped into the room. “Well, I see not all of you is a sleepyhead.”

Mark chuckled and stretched, arching his back and pushing his hard-on up against the thin sheet. He could feel the damp spot of precum soaking into the material. After the stretch, he turned his head to smile up at Pearce, who had moved around to stand over him on his side of the bed. Pearce wore a pair of thin cotton sleep pants, the front now tented out with his interest. Mark looked up along Pearce’s bare torso and ran his hand through the dark, trimmed hair that covered Pearce’s flat belly. “Hi, there.”

“Need some help with that?” Pearce asked, his gaze locked on the bulge of Mark’s erection beneath the sheet.

“You know, I could use some help with this.” Mark pulled the sheet away. “It’s so big and awkward, it’s too much for me to handle all on my own.”

Pearce knelt beside the bed and, grinning, leaned in to give Mark a soft kiss on the lips. After backing off a few inches, Pearce smiled at him, then moved down to suck Mark’s nipple, making Mark pull in a quick breath through his teeth. Pearce swirled his tongue around the hardened nub, then drifted lower and parted the dark blond hair on Mark’s chest and belly with his tongue. The whiskers along Pearce’s jaw brushed against Mark’s cock, and he groaned at the sensation. A moment later, the hot width of Pearce’s tongue painted the shaft with saliva from the tip to the root and back again.

When the sudden, wet heat of Pearce’s mouth closed around his cock, Mark gasped and raised his arms over his head to clutch the rails of the headboard.

“Oh God,” Mark groaned. “Now this is a wake-up call.”

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Hired Muscle

Hired Muscle

In October 1941, the violence of Baltimore's warring mob families is escalating. The danger has decimated many of the businesses around DuMochelle's restaurant where Barry waits tables. When a mob boss and his family begin to frequent the restaurant, a romantic relationship develops between Barry and Vinnie, a bodyguard. Vinnie resists, fearing for Barry's safety and concerned that Barry will want nothing to do with him if he discovers his role in the family. But their passion cannot be denied, and Vinnie is trapped between the love he wants and the only life he's known. As the rival mob family moves in for the kill, Vinnie and Barry find themselves caught in the crossfire.

Excerpt:

I knelt before the chair and looked up at Vinnie sitting above me. The hiss of the radiator and the bitter howl of the wind were the only sounds in my darkened room. In the cold, suffused light of the streetlamp outside my window, I saw Vinnie's jaw clench. His eyes hid in the shadow beneath his brow, but I could still feel the heavy weight of his stare. "Dammit, Barry. Why'd you follow me?"

"I—I don't know, really."

"You don't know?"

"No, I don't. I wanted to see what you did." I dropped my gaze to my hands clutching the still-damp material of my pant legs. "I kept thinking about it, trying to imagine what you did, and I couldn't, you know? You work for Don Lombardi, I know that, but I can't see you willingly hurting anyone. I couldn't imagine you doing anything vicious, and I had to see for myself to know it was real. I had to know that part of you.” I looked up at him with my stomach in knots. “Does that make sense?"

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Vinnie looked out the window. He stayed silent for a long time. My legs started to cramp, but I ignored the pain because I wanted to remain close to him for as long as I could. For all I knew, this might be the last time we'd be together.

Finally, however, I could take no more and got to my feet. I crossed the room to my chest of drawers and switched on the lamp, my chest releasing a breath at the warm yellow glow. He made no protest at the light, and I went about gathering towels and bandages as he sat and stared out the window.

"Did you fix the heat?" I looked at him over my shoulder and gestured to the radiator.

He looked at me and nodded. "I may not be able to read real good, but I'm good with engines and stuff." The statement fired off a pain inside him that I saw reflected in his eyes, and it pulled me toward him. I pushed apart his strong legs to kneel between them, clenched my hands into tight fists that I rested on his muscled thighs, and stared into his eyes as they filled with tears.

"Vinnie? What is it? What's wrong?"

He shook his head and turned away.

"Come on, talk to me. Are you angry because I followed you?"

A quiet bark of a laugh told me I was wrong even before he shook his head. He took a breath and turned to stare down at me again. "I am angry at you for doin’ that, but only because you coulda been hurt. Do you know how fuckin' scared you made me when those goons ran out after you?"

My stomach twisted. "You recognized me?"

Vinnie reached down to take me under my arms and pulled me up into his lap. He kissed me and stroked my cheek, his gaze moving over my face. "Course I recognized you. I been seein’ your face in my dreams since the boss first went to DuMochelle's, you think I didn't recognize the quick glimpse I caught of you in the window?"

My body reacted to the nearness of him, to his touch. I hardened as his blunt fingers moved over my face and through my hair. In the lamplight I could see more clearly the bruises and cuts on his face and hands. I took his hand in mine to place soft kisses on the scrapes across the knuckles.

"I'm sorry I scared you," I said.

"I couldn't be the reason somethin’ happened to you, Barry," he choked out. "I been the reason for so much pain to a lotta other people, you know? Some of the others deserved it, a few didn't, and I feel bad about them. But if somethin’ were to happen to you because of us knowin’ each other—" He shook his head, his gaze locked on mine. "I couldn't live with that."

"You won't have to." I leaned in and kissed him softly.

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