Life has never been easy for Duncan Stiel. His childhood was the stuff of nightmares, and his day job as an undercover police officer forces him to hide his true self and occasionally lands him in the hospital. So when he finally meets the perfect man, it comes as no surprise that everything falls apart around him. What Duncan doesn’t expect is that the hardest hurdle to get over before he can make a life with Aaron Sutter is the one inside himself. Everyone thinks Aaron has it all—looks, money, fame, and success beyond measure. Everyone, that is, except Aaron. At the end of the day, the cameras stop flashing, friends go back to their own lives, company business is handled, and Aaron is always alone. The moment he meets Duncan Stiel, Aaron knows he’ll do anything to hold onto the larger-than-life detective. But when he realizes money won’t buy him the ultimate happiness, Aaron needs to find the strength to give Duncan something much more important—his heart.
I NEEDED the job to be over so I could go home.
The realization was sort of amazing, because I love New York. Any reason to visit, to eat in Hell’s Kitchen, walk through Central Park, or soak up Times Square at night was good. So, the fact that I couldn’t wait to leave told me something important.
And it had everything to do with Aaron Sutter.
I thought I knew all about beautiful men. I’d slept with enough of them. Gym bunnies I screwed in clubs, twinks on their knees in alleys, and guys I took to hotels that charged by the hour. I never bothered if they weren’t gorgeous. But not one of them could hold a candle to the millionaire.
I wasn’t sure, hadn’t checked into it. He was loaded; that was all I knew. Not that I cared. It made no difference. I was already willing to take care of him, be the guy—his guy—the one he could count on. That he was in the closet too had been my big flashing neon sign that I was finally in the same place with another person. It was scary and amazing at the same time.
Whenever I met a guy someplace besides a bar or a club, they were all about having me meet friends, go for drinks with them, and basically let it be known I was gay. Thing was, I couldn’t do that. I was a police detective in Chicago; being out and proud was not an option if I ever wanted to move up. And though I knew one detective who had done it, he hadn’t stayed on the force, instead becoming a federal marshal. I kidded myself for a short time and thought that was the way I wanted to go as well, but I liked being a homicide detective, bringing closure to people’s lives, finding and punishing those responsible. I really wanted to keep doing what I was doing, and the fact of the matter was, so far, I had not found a guy important enough to pick over the job. The one long-term relationship I’d had, two years of my life, had ended over my not being an out and proud gay man.
The moment I’d met Aaron Sutter, though, a warning bell went off in the back of my head. I knew just from talking to him for a few minutes that the only way to be with him was serious. He was not a quick fuck; he was the guy you made a home with. Strangely, that didn’t scare me. My fine-tuned flight reflex never kicked in.
It didn’t hurt that he was stunning…