It’s day one of Darren Corliss’s career as a detective, and not only has he been assigned a notoriously difficult partner, but the guy might also be a pill-popping dirty cop. Internal Affairs needs proof, and Darren gets to be their eyes and ears whether he wants to or not.
Detective Andreas Ruffner doesn’t play by the rules, and he doesn’t play well with others. With bodies piling up and a list of suspects who are way above his pay grade, the last thing he needs is a wet-behind-the-ears kid for a partner. Or babysitter. Not even if that partner is easy on the eyes.
As Darren gains Andreas’s hard-won trust, they both realize there’s more than just mutual suspicion simmering beneath the surface. But their investigation is heating up as quickly as their relationship, and Darren has no choice but to go along with Andreas’s unorthodox—and borderline unethical—methods. As IA puts the squeeze on Darren to give up the man he’s falling for, he has to wonder—is Andreas the only cop left in this town who isn’t dirty?
“I don’t need a goddamned babysitter.”
From across a desk covered in reports and folders—any number of which were probably about me—Captain Hamilton shot me a look I’d seen way too many times. Narrow eyes, tight lips, tilted head. The “I’ve had enough of your shit” look.
“He’s not a babysitter.” The captain folded his hands in his lap and leaned back in his giant leather chair. “He’s a damn good cop and a newly minted detective.”
I groaned. “You’re sticking me with a rookie?”
Hamilton rolled his eyes. “For fuck’s sake, Ruffner. What part of ‘newly minted detective’ wasn’t clear? He’s not a rookie.”
I snorted. “He knows how to be a beat cop. Call me when he’s cut his teeth as an actual—”
“This isn’t up for discussion, Detective.” He sat up and pressed his elbows onto his desk. “I’m partnering you with Detective Corliss.” He inclined his head and stabbed a finger at me. “And I expect you to treat this one as an equal. None of the bullshit like the last two.”
“How long am I stuck with him?” I asked through my teeth. “Until he’s ready to take off his training wheels?”
“Until I’m good and ready to reassign one of you.”
I studied him for a long moment. Long enough to make him twitch and fidget. Then, “What’s this about, Captain?”
“It doesn’t need to be about anything, Detective.” He glared at me. “You have your orders. Follow them.”
Aside from clenching my jaw, I didn’t move. “You want to tell me why you keep pairing me with new—”
“Well for one thing, if they can put up with you, then they can put up with anyone.”
“Isn’t that considered hazing?”
He exhaled. “For another thing, I’m assigning him because detectives work better in pairs. You might see things he’s missed. He might see things you’ve missed. Two heads are better than one. All right?” Before I could call bullshit on that, he said, “Dismissed.”
There was no point in fighting him now, so I got up and left without another word. Grinding my teeth so hard my jaw ached, I headed downstairs. Might as well get some work done on my last afternoon as a free man.
This “partner” idiocy was going to drive me insane. On the other hand, Detective Corliss probably wouldn’t be a pain in my ass any longer than Detectives Schaeffer and Phillips before him. Schaeffer had held out until he’d heard that one night, instead of staying at my desk to wrap up some paperwork like I’d told him, I’d gone out and collared a suspect we’d been hunting for the past three weeks. Neither he nor Hamilton had been impressed when I’d said I’d known where the suspect was hiding, but didn’t trust Schaeffer not to compromise things before I could get close enough to arrest the fucker.
Then there’d been Phillips, who’d insisted at every turn that my refusal to tell her anything was the result of being a misogynist who didn’t respect female cops. Hamilton himself had admitted to her that I was just an asshole who didn’t like working with any cops, and that I gave my male partners the same shit. She’d immediately requested a transfer, and we were both happier for it. And for the past couple of months, I’d been doing quite nicely on my own.
Until now. Couldn’t fucking wait.
I glanced at my watch on my way back to my desk. It was quarter after four. Shit. I doubled back and headed for the locker room instead.
When I walked in, there were a few beat cops talking about last night’s game over by the sinks. They ignored me, and I ignored them as I continued to the opposite side of the room and opened my locker, all the while keeping my attention trained on them in case one of them came my way.
They didn’t seem to be moving, but I worked quickly as always, pulling the small pill bottle from the shaving kit I kept in the back of the locker for those extra-late nights. Checking again that I didn’t have anyone looking over my shoulder, I opened the bottle, tugged free the wad of cotton tha kept the pills from rattling, and slid one out. Then I replaced the cotton and put the bottle back in its hiding place.
After making double sure no one had materialized nearby, I threw back the pill and washed it down with my water bottle.
There. Now I could get back to work.
This time as I walked past the other officers, they noticed me. Their conversation dipped just briefly, pausing midsentence while all three heads turned. I didn’t have to look at them to feel them watching me leave, and I wasn’t imagining it either. Not when it happened almost every time I left the locker room without being in there long enough to change clothes or shower.
In the name of flying under everyone’s radar, I’d kept the pills in my desk for a while. I still had a few there in case I absolutely couldn’t get near the locker room, but it was harder to be subtle about popping pills when I was out in the open like that. Especially when the whole goddamned place seemed to be on a low-level alert at all times, everyone poised like bounty hunters to be the one who caught Detective Ruffner red-handed. Sneaking off into the locker room at regular intervals raised suspicion, but I never let anyone actually witness the existence of the bottle or the consumption of the pills.
I kept some on me, of course, but those were strictly for when I couldn’t get back to the precinct in time. Lesson learned the hard way.
Properly medicated, I returned to my desk and picked up my coat. I didn’t bother telling anyone that I was leaving or where I was going. Never did.
Without a word, I left the precinct.
To celebrate the release of Risky Behavior, one lucky winner will receive an ebook from each Cari and Lori’s backlist and a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 6, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
About the Author & Links:
Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.
Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.
Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .
L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter