Authors: Jenna Byrnes
Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction
“Spring break?” Capt Alvarez mused. “Might be a coincidence, might not. The suspect could be in school, or have ties to one of the local institutions. Problem is, there are too many colleges in the area to go at him from that angle.”
“True,” Dix agreed. “It’s even possible the suspect could be a big high schooler. That opens up the possibilities even more.”
“Something to keep in mind,” Alvarez concurred. “For now, let’s enjoy the break and put our noses to the grindstone. It’d be excellent to catch this whack job before he strikes again.”
They filtered back to their desks and Mac approached Dix. “Interesting thought, tying the suspect to spring break. What triggered that?”
He shrugged. “Bryan happened to mention it. His daughter has the week off from school.”
Mac grinned. “
did, huh? Did you see
Dix felt the heat of a blush but wasn’t really embarrassed. “Maybe. Probably. Well, yeah. Only when my eyes were open.”
His partner laughed. “Good for you. Seems like a nice guy. The daughter was okay, too.”
“She’s the one who encouraged him to ask me out. Quite a change from my own family dynamic.”
Mac scratched his chin. “Yeah, but once the kids are grown, their opinions shouldn’t matter all that much.”
Dix shot him a look. “Shouldn’t, but they still do. You and I both know that.”
“Maybe so. All I’m saying is, don’t go head over heels for this guy because he’s got a supportive daughter. That’s not the main quality you want in a life partner, all right?”
“Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt. What are you getting at, Mac?”
He held his hands up. “Never mind. None of my business.”
“It is if I asked.”
He seemed to think about that, then replied, “Just seems maybe you’re moving kinda fast with this one. You only met him the other day, and now you’re spending twenty-four seven together?”
“No we’re not. We both have to work.” He tried to smile his way out, but Mac wasn’t buying it. Dix understood what his partner was saying, and suddenly, in the harsh light of day, he felt the same way. “You’re probably right. I don’t know much about the guy. Besides the fact that we have
“Wouldn’t hurt to check him out.”
“I’m not going to do that,” Dix scoffed. “He’s a perfectly decent and respectable guy.”
“That’s what they said about Ted Bundy.
‘What a handsome young man!’
You think serial killers all have swastikas carved into their foreheads?”
“No, I do not, and I don’t think Bryan is a serial killer, either. But I’ll check him out just to make you happy.”
“Thank you.” He returned to his own desk.
Dix sat and fired up his computer, running some searches and printing out whatever he could find about Bryan Scott.
He was relieved to discover there wasn’t much. The only ‘record’ the man had involved a couple of parking tickets years ago. The rest of the info that came up when his name was searched were permits to acquire a liquor licence, and other business-related activities.
Dix read the reports and felt increasingly embarrassed. He’d known Bryan had nothing to hide. He should have trusted his gut. Now he felt like a total shit.
Before he could decide what else to do, he ran his own name and printed out the report on himself. He tucked both sets of paperwork away and tried to put Bryan out of his mind. He found it tough to do when he wasn’t busy.
He went to Mac’s desk and folded his arms.
“Anything?” his partner asked.
“Of course not. I knew there wouldn’t be.”
“Good. I’m going over employee records from the restaurants and bars the women were last seen in. Care to help?”
“Yes. I need something to do.”
Mac smiled. “Have a seat, my friend.”
* * * *
When Dix left work he texted Bryan and they met at the man’s house, arriving at the same time.
“Hey there.” Bryan spoke to him from the garage. “Come in this way.”
Dix followed and closed the doors behind them.
Bryan tossed some mail on the counter and turned to face him. “How was your day?”
Dix shrugged. “I’ve had better.”
“No, thankfully.” Dix’s gut churned. He didn’t want to admit what he’d done, but he had to. “This was all my own doing.”
“You don’t look good, buddy. Everything okay?”
“You might have to tell me. I think I screwed up, big time.”
Bryan eyed him levelly. “Let’s grab a couple beers and go sit down. First, I need to be greeted properly.” He moved in front of Dix and smiled.
Dix didn’t want to kiss him, because once he started, he knew he wouldn’t want to stop. He needed to come clean before anything more happened between them. If Bryan was going to throw him out, it best happened sooner than later. He gave him a quick kiss then pulled away.
“Well, gee. That was sweet.” Bryan went to the fridge and retrieved two bottles, then headed into the front room. He took a seat on the sofa and set one of the bottles on the table next to him. “What’s up?”
Dix sat beside him and tossed the sheaf of papers towards Bryan. “I fucked up. I panicked, and I blew it.” He reached for the beer and twisted it open.
“What’s this?” Bryan started to read. A slow grin spread across his face. “Damn, who knew those parking tickets would hang around so long?” He glanced up. “So does this mean we’re through?”
“I feel like an ass. This weekend was go great, but once I got back to work—to the real world—I started thinking about how fast we were moving and it got to me. Before I knew what was happening, I did a search. I’m sorry, Bryan. It was a shitty thing to do. I’m sorry.”
Bryan continued flipping through the reports. “What else is here? This is about you.”
“Yeah. I printed my own record out of guilt. Figured it was the least I could do.”
“A speeding ticket twenty years ago? Wow, I’m surprised they allowed you on the force. Thought they would have vetted their officers better than that.” He tossed the papers aside.
“Maybe they were desperate.” Dix took a drink from his bottle. The cold liquid burned going down.
surprised that stuff is still on our records from so long ago. I thought minor violations went away after a few years.”
“They do, on your official driving record. Police have access to more information than others.”
“So I suspected.” He leant back and sipped his beer. “Actually, I thought you might check me out. Figured you’d have done it before our first dinner. Guess I thought that was rule number four about being friends with a cop. They’re going check into your background, just to be safe.”
“Let’s call it like it is, shall we? We’re not just friends anymore. We’re dating. Okay, maybe not ‘dating’ as much as fucking, but we’re seeing each other. Right?”
Bryan smiled. “I sure hope so. Look, James, if you thought I was going to be mad, don’t worry. I’m not. I don’t blame you for wanting to be sure. I had more of a clue that your record would be clean since you’re a detective, right? But in this day and age, any sane person with access to that information would be reckless not to look at it.”
Dix breathed a sigh of pure relief. “Thank you. I felt so guilty after I did it. I thought you might not want to see me anymore.”
“Think again. I definitely want to see you.
All of you, all the time
. You’re the only thing I seem to think about these days. Whether our relationship is right or wrong, too fast or just fucking crazy, I don’t know. But we’re in this thing, man. And I’m not ready for it to be over.”
“I feel the same way. Crazy and reckless, maybe. But it feels good to me. Honestly, nothing has ever felt better.”
Bryan tossed back the last of his beer and set the bottle down. “We’re in total agreement. So what do you say we seal the deal with a quickie before dinner?”
Dix polished off his drink and grinned. “Have I mentioned that I like the way you think?”
Bryan scratched his chin. “Oh, maybe once or twice.”
Standing, Dix reached for his lover’s hand. “Think there’ll ever come a time we decide to eat dinner
“Probably. But I don’t see that happening for a long time.” They kissed and groped each other, and without separating, made their way slowly to the bedroom.
* * * *
Wednesday evening Bryan put a sign in the front window of the bar which read, ‘Closing early for private party’. He told Dix that Galen had offered to cook for them when he’d found out Bryan was planning a family get-together.
The station had been quiet all week and Dix arrived shortly after five.
“Come in.” Bryan unlocked the door for him. “How was your day?”
“Strangely calm. We all feel it. Kind of like we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
“Maybe it never will. What if all the murderers in Kansas City packed up and went to Canada? You might have to switch to traffic patrol.”
“I’d do it. It’d be worth the trade-off.” He grinned and they kissed. Dix’s heart soared. He’d never felt happier.
Bryan was a refreshing change of pace from the people he worked with all day. Nice folks, but serious, solemn and focused on the job at hand.
Great qualities for cops
. Fortunately, Bryan wasn’t a cop. He also wasn’t serious or unsmiling like half the detective force. Bryan knew there was a time for business and a time for pleasure.
Lots of time for pleasure
. Dix’s cock pulsed pleasantly at the thought.
“So come on over, I want you to meet Kayla.” He motioned to the tall, slender woman standing next to the bar. Her hair was light brown, not dark like her father’s but nowhere near as blonde as her sister’s. “Kay, this is Dix. James Dixon.” He looked at Dix. “This is my beautiful daughter Kayla.”
Dix extended a hand. “Pleased to meet you. I’ve heard good things.”
“So have I!” She smiled, her greeting genuine. “Sami talks about you all the time. Daddy would too, if she’d let him get a word in edgewise.”
Dix grinned. “Sami’s a good little cheerleader. Not sure what I did to make her like me, but we seemed to hit it off.”
“What’s not to like?” Bryan went behind the bar and poured a mug of beer. He slid it across and winked.
“Right back atcha.” Dix picked up the drink and sipped it.
“It’s awful about those women,” Kayla said. “Do you have any leads, besides Sami’s boyfriend?”
He set his stein down. “No one that looks as good as Adam did. He had circumstantial evidence pointing at him like crazy. Fortunately, the DNA has come back and definitely cleared him. We’re not giving up, though. We’ve got leads coming in through hotline tips every day. One of them is going to pay off. They almost always do.”
“I hope so.” She glanced up. “Hey, there.”
Dix followed her gaze. Sami and Adam entered through the back door.
“Hi, everyone!” Sami breezed in with her ever-present upbeat attitude. She kissed her father’s cheek then gave Kayla a hug. Turning to Dix, she smiled widely. “Hi, James! Good to see you.” She hugged his neck.
He chuckled and patted her back. “Hey, Sami.” When she pulled away he looked behind her. “Hi, Adam. How’s it going?”
Her boyfriend nodded. “Okay. Pretty good, I guess. Still have my job, anyway.”
“Of course you do.” Dix tried to be friendly and supportive, realising he could have had a hand in the kid
Sami went back to Adam’s side and looped an arm through his. “He’s doing great. He may even get a promotion.”
Bryan raised his brows. “Promotion, eh?”
“A bigger route, basically, in the downtown area. I’d make more money on commissions. It’s not a done deal yet, but I’m hopeful.”
Bryan teased, “What are you going to do if you can’t stop in here regularly and pretend you’re
looking for Sami?”
“That part will be tough. I might have to convince her to move in with me permanently.”
“Sorry I asked.” Bryan turned his back on them and rolled his eyes towards Dix.
“Doesn’t sound that bad to me,” Dix whispered so only Bryan could hear.
His lover grinned, then turned back around. “All right everyone, let’s have a seat. I’ve got a bottle of wine I’d like to pour, to celebrate the family getting together tonight.”
“I’ll help,” Sami offered.
“Sit down, I’m serving tonight. You’re a guest.” He went behind the bar and retrieved some wine glasses.
Dix removed his jacket and hung it on the back of a bar stool. He moved next to Bryan and said,
help. You’ve been serving people all day.”
Bryan smiled. “Never gonna turn down help from you.”
Dix bumped hips with him before pausing to wash his hands, then picked up two glasses of wine.
Bryan followed him to the table, carrying the other three.
Sami accepted hers. “Haven’t
been serving people all day too, James?”
He chuckled. “So to speak. It’s been pretty quiet this week.”
“Spring break, I’m telling you,” Bryan offered. “This guy is somehow affected by the school schedule.”
Dix nodded. “We’re looking into that. But I don’t want to talk shop tonight. I’d like to propose a toast.” He raised his glass, and the others did the same. “To Bryan and his lovely family, Kayla and Samantha. Thanks for welcoming me here. I think I can speak for Adam in saying we’re glad to join you tonight, and hope we can share many more dinners like this.”
They toasted and drank the wine, then chatted about Kayla’s job.
“Next time, I’d like to cook for you,” she said. “I’m learning some wonderful Italian dishes. I’ve got my veal parmigiana recipe nearly perfected. I’m working on risotto next.”
“I’ve heard that’s complicated,” Dix agreed.
“The timing has to be perfect. It’s a challenge.”
Galen appeared in the window and nodded to Bryan.
“Looks like our dinner is ready. It won’t be veal parmigiana, but Galen’s a good cook, and I think you’ll enjoy it.” He stood.
“I’ll help.” Dix went with him. “Should we invite Galen to join us? He’s your cousin, after all. I hardly know him.”