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Authors: K. A. Mitchell

Tags: #Romance, #Erotica, #Gay, #Fiction

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BOOK: Bad Attitude
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Jamie knew the guys were bored, March was a slow time for the marine unit with half of them getting pulled to work in other departments, and they’d have done the same to anyone else. At first he smiled and asked his tormentors if they wanted to be his date, but when he opened his locker to be showered in glitter and found a tiara waiting for him on top of his clothes, he’d had enough.

He pinned the tiara to the bulletin board with the note that the next person who had something to say would be shitting rhinestones for a week. He hoped it would be Pendarsky.

The day after St. Patrick’s Day, they had to haul a Chevy Silverado out of Old Road Bay after some drunk asshole drove off Wharf Road. Waited to report it too, so that no one could give him a breathalyzer.

Jamie finished attaching the lines and waved to the tow. If anything, the bright March sun made the water colder. He climbed the ladder back up onto the skiff and dropped his weight belt.

Geist was piloting. “Donnigan. Radio for you.” From his smirk, it wasn’t anything important.

Jamie pulled off his gloves, mask and hood. If this was another Cinderella practical joke—he hadn’t been kidding about stuffing that tiara into someone’s orifice.

“Donnigan here, over.”

“Officer Donnigan, it’s Lily Montgomery. I didn’t realize they would call you while you were working. Are you rescuing someone? I don’t want to interfere. Am I supposed to say
over
?”

“It’s fine, ma’am. We were only pulling out a truck that was in the water. The over lets us know that you’re done speaking so we can answer you. Over.”

“Was there a driver in the truck?” Through the crackle, there was a hesitant breath and an even more hesitant “
Over
.”

“No, ma’am. Just the vehicle. The driver is fine.”
Sneaky bastard is probably hung-over, but that’s it.
If he didn’t get Mrs. Montgomery to her point, they could be here for a long time. “Is there anything I can help you with, ma’am? Over.”

“I’d hoped to catch you at a more convenient time. Why don’t I call back? What time will you be back at your station?” After a static-filled pause there was an “Oh, over.”

Jamie prayed for a hurricane, a tsunami, a terrorist invasion of the railroad yards at Sparrow Point, but there he was in the tiny pilothouse, clutching the radio as icy water slipped down inside the neck of his dry suit. Since no one would oblige him with an immediate crisis, he decided to get it over with.

“I’m happy to help any time, ma’am. Over.”

“Call me Lily, please. Over.”

Jamie barely resisted the urge to smash the handset into bits. His nicotine gum was back in the locker, but he doubted a good, deep unfiltered lungful would help him now. He ground his molars together. “What can I do for you, Lily? Over.”

“My husband told me he mentioned the party we’re having in your and Gavin’s honor. I wanted to clear a date with you. We certainly don’t want the guest of honor to be unavailable. Is your schedule free on April fourth? Over. That’s fun.”

Jamie’s second call from the chief had made it clear that the only acceptable way out of the Montgomery party would be death. His own.

“Yes, ma’am. Lily. April fourth. Over.”

“Lovely. How many guests would you care to bring? Your family is welcome. Or is there perhaps a special friend you would enjoy escorting? Over.”

Hire an escort? Jamie stopped himself from sputtering the question. She was asking if he wanted to bring a date. This was going to be awkward enough without anyone else there as a witness. Through the fogging glass, he could see Geist curtsying before starting a waltz with an imaginary partner. Jamie’s glare had no effect while he was trapped by the voice on the radio.

“Only me, ma’am, um, Lily. Thank you. Over.”

“Of course. If you change your mind, please do call. I don’t suppose you have a pen handy to take my number? Over.”

“You can leave that with the dispatcher. Over.”

“Excellent. I’ll get these invitations right out. We’re so looking forward to celebrating your heroism. I’m sure Gavin will want to offer his personal thanks as well. Over.”

Jamie was sure the smart-ass would have something to say, but he wasn’t sure it would be
thank you
. Jamie wished he knew why the guy had been staring so intently at his face. As it was, he didn’t know what he should say in return.

“Is there anything else I can do for you, Lily? Over.”

“No, thank you very much, Officer Donnigan.”

It was only fair. His mother had instilled manners in him. “Call me Jamie.” This time he was the one to hesitate. “Over.”

The voice on the radio was full of delight. “Do I get to say
over and out
? Oh, one more thing, I realize it’s Lent, so we will keep that in mind. And the dress is black tie. Over.”

“Understood. Over.” At least he thought he understood. That meant renting a tuxedo. Or was that for white tie? He’d never needed more than his one suit. First the Marines, then the police dress uniform took care of everything else.

“Over and out, Jamie.” Mrs. Montgomery’s cheery adoption of both radio etiquette and his name had Jamie shaking his head in confusion.

“Black tie?” Geist smirked as Jamie holstered the handset. “Call me Jamie, over. Oooo. Getting all chummy with the Montgomerys. Will you remember us poor bastards when you marry into money?” Geist flicked his lighter a few times before bringing it to the cigarette hanging from his mouth.

The crackle, the glowing spark, the smell and taste. Jamie’s mouth watered. His lips went dry.

“You’re just jealous that I’m the one who caught that fish.”

Geist sent a stream of smoke over Jamie’s head. “Oh yeah, I’m really torqued to have to miss the party.”

“At least I’ve got the looks.” Jamie jabbed at Geist’s paunch.

Geist blew his next exhale into Jamie’s face, then put the cigarette back between his lips, a tease worse than any trick on his knees offering the barest flicker of tongue on Jamie’s cock.

“Give me one.”

“You quit.”

“And I’ll quit again in five minutes. Give me a goddamned cigarette and you can tell the whole fucking precinct how good my tiara will look with black tie.”

Jamie savored the taste and let the smoke curl deep inside. The nicotine buzzed in his bloodstream. He took another drag, dredging up the image of his dad’s withering body, his mother’s sad eyes behind her forced cheer at every Sunday dinner he made it home to, and flicked the rest of the smoke into the bay.

 

 

The remainder of his shift was quiet, and maybe the two puffs of smoke had done it or the nicotine gum was finally working because Jamie didn’t particularly feel like ripping anyone’s head off as he headed for his truck in the parking lot.

Someone was leaning against it, and he thought he’d made it pretty damned clear to everyone in the building how he felt about that.

“Scratch the paint and—”

The man turned.

Even from the side, maybe Jamie could have put a name to him based on nothing more than that shampoo-commercial-perfect hair. An unexpected view, here among the warehouses of Dundalk. But when those greenish-eyes were focused on Jamie’s face again, he would have known him anywhere, hospital gown or soaked tuxedo. Gavin Prescott Montgomery.

If Jamie had known saving the bastard would mean more bullshit than finding his body, Jamie would have let the idiot drown. What sin had Jamie committed—aside from the two puffs of a forbidden cigarette—to earn another Montgomery visit?

“Oh.” Montgomery straightened from his lean. “This is yours?” His gaze swept Jamie from head to toe then back at the truck. “With no running boards.” He smiled. “Nice.”

“It’s a ’68 F-100,” Jamie said.

“And in no way an overcompensation for anything?”

The case was closed, except for Beauchamp’s statement if he woke up a non-vegetable, so this was strictly off the clock. Jamie being gay was hardly a secret. He lowered eyelids to cruising altitude and gave Montgomery the slow once-over. He wasn’t that tall, now that Jamie saw him up close. The black wool peacoat emphasized broad shoulders but hid any other assets. After returning the guy’s amused stare for a moment, Jamie hooked his thumbs in his belt loops, fingers bracketing his crotch, which his waist-length jacket didn’t hide at all.

He nodded at the truck. “Climb in and I’ll show you I don’t have to compensate for anything.”

Montgomery’s lips twisted in a wry smile. “Maybe another time.”

“So what brings you down where people work for a living, Montgomery?”

“Direct. That’s refreshing here in Charm City.”

Jamie stepped closer. “I already agreed to the dog-and-pony show your dad wants to put on so you don’t look like a suicidal, drunken headcase. What the hell do you want now?”

“I didn’t want to disturb you at work, and I thought I’d be even less welcome at your home address, but my stepmother asked me to come talk to you.”

“I already talked to her.” On the radio. So everyone and their dispatcher could hear it.

“Yes, but she— I’ll return the favor and be direct. I was sent to assure you of the family’s sincere wish that you feel comfortable bringing a guest if you desire and to help you with any concerns you might have.”

Jamie met that unnervingly steady stare without blinking. “In other, direct words, you all think that because I’m just a county cop from Dundalk with a high school education, I don’t know how to act at one of your fancy parties? The kind you and your buddy need Liquid X to get through?”

Montgomery took his hands out of his pockets and spread them, palms up. “We all have our crosses to bear.”

Jamie popped the door with his key fob. “I may not come with kennel club papers from the breeder, but I think I can manage to keep from pissing on the rug. I’ve been to a party before.”

“Whatever you say, Officer.” Montgomery turned, and Jamie saw the gleaming Bentley blocking in the bomb squad truck.

Priceless fucking arrogance. Jamie pictured the car ripped in half as the truck flew out on its way to check a suspicious package left at the train station. Montgomery might deserve it, but the Bentley didn’t.

“Officer Donnigan…” Montgomery turned back, “…she meant it in kindness.”

“What?”

“My stepmother. She meant to be kind, and I—” The broad shoulders moved in a shrug. “Don’t blame her because I’m an idiot. She’s a very thoughtful person. She wants you to be comfortable.”

Should have sent someone else then, someone who didn’t examine Jamie like an anthropologist on the National Geographic Channel observing the fascinating rituals of the local tribesmen.

Montgomery stepped up that scrutiny now, moving close enough to bend down and look at the Ford’s sleek black door before looking again at Jamie. “Your door doesn’t have a handle.”

Jamie swiped at his mouth, rubbed the back of his hand across his cheek. “Do I have something on my face?”

At the first motion of Jamie’s arm, Montgomery leaned away, head tipped like he thought he’d have to dodge a punch. “Huh? Oh, no.” The corner of his mouth curled up. “But you do have um—glitter? I think in your hair.”

He reached as if he’d brush it out, and Jamie knocked the arm away.

“So why do you keep staring at my face?”

Montgomery slid his hands into his pockets and blinked, but he continued to gaze steadily.

“It’s the face of the man who saved my life. I should always remember it, don’t you think?”

That was a conversation stopper. Jamie froze with his hand on the Ford’s door as surely as if it was fifteen degrees instead of nearly fifty. What was he supposed to say to that? For an instant, Colton’s grinning face filled Jamie’s head.
Saved your ass, Donny. It’s mine now.

“Besides.” Montgomery leaned in. “For such an intently butch guy, you have one hell of a pretty mouth.”

Chapter Four

“Black tie does mean tuxedos right?” Jamie leaned toward Quinn across his friend’s kitchen table.

“Yeah. I’m pretty sure it does.”

After Gavin Prescott Montgomery had left Jamie standing open-mouthed in the parking lot, he decided a little intel wouldn’t hurt. No way was he going to use the wrong fork or something and give Montgomery another chance to mock him.

Eli slid a big pan of lasagna onto a hot pad on the table. “Gentlemen, I realize when you were in high school, computers weighed a zillion pounds and were as rare as diamonds, but today, Google is your friend.” He pulled out his phone and tapped quickly. “Here.” He handed it to Jamie.

After a few minutes of squinting at the tiny type and descriptions, Jamie handed it back. “Thanks, kid. Now I’m more confused.”

“But it does mean a tuxedo, right?” Quinn asked, scooping out a steaming, drool-inducing hunk of noodles, cheese, meat and sauce.

He had it good with the little piece who could cook, and seemed happy enough, but no way was Jamie trading in his balls to avoid coming home to a frozen microwavable dinner. Besides, he got to come over here for dinner as often as he wanted.

“Yeah, bow tie, white shirt, dinner jacket, whatever that is.”

Quinn shrugged. “So you rent a tux.”

“Oh yeah. I’ll show up to chill with the mayor and governor in some ratty thing with pants that a hundred horny seventeen-year-olds have blown a load in because they got to grab tit for the first time.”

Eli looked at the string of melted cheese dripping from his fork to his plate, made a face and put his fork down. “He does have a point there. Especially with what size he’ll need.”

Jamie talked over him. “And all that shit about a gift for the host? I don’t think a case of Flying Dog beer is going to cover it.” Jamie pointed at Eli’s phone. “Do you realize these people use five different glasses? At one meal? Kid, you ever take pictures at a shindig like that?”

“Way above my freelancing-between-steady-work paychecks.” Eli straightened and beamed at Quinn. “You know who we need?”

“No,” Quinn said, and it wasn’t an answer to Eli’s question. There was a rumble of disapproval there.

But Eli was already tapping on his phone.

“Some friend you are.” Jamie punched Quinn’s shoulder. “Who you got in mind?” Jamie asked Eli.

BOOK: Bad Attitude
4.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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