About Reckless Behavior
After too many years of putting his job first, Detective Andreas Ruffner is getting his priorities straight. He’s ready to spend some quality time with his adult kids, not to mention come clean about some things he should’ve told them a long time ago. And introduce them to his partner and boyfriend, Darren Corliss.
But in a heartbeat, a family dinner turns into Andreas’s worst nightmare. When the dust settles, one of his kids is hurt, and the other three have been abducted.
Andreas is going to find his kids, and nothing, not even a broken ankle, is going to stop him. Thank God for his sharp, level-headed partner . . . who has a crisis of his own pulling him away when Andreas needs him the most. As both men try to support—and lean on—each other, they get no closer to finding the kids. And the longer the children are missing, the less likely it is they’ll ever be found.
It’s “hell no” at first sight for newly partnered detectives Andreas Ruffner and Darren Corliss. Darren is too chipper, Andreas is too gruff, and that whole “IA wants me to prove you’re a dirty cop” thing really doesn’t get them off on the right foot.
It doesn’t matter if they like each other. They’re partners and that’s final. Though Andreas is easy on the eyes. And Darren is kind of cute. And . . . okay, maybe they can make this work.
They’d better, because as their cases get more horrifying—and more personal—they’ll have to trust each other with their lives, and with their hearts.
About Cari Z.
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.
About L.A. Witt
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 . . .
To celebrate the release of Reckless Behavior, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit and their choice in an ebook from each of Cari and L.A.’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 6, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Have you taken your pain meds?
The text from Darren made me roll my eyes. Grudgingly, I reached for the pills and the bottle of water on the end table. It wasn’t the first message he’d sent, and wouldn’t be the last. I could already hear the conversation we’d had a thousand times.
“I don’t need to take it. My ankle doesn’t hurt.”
“You’re supposed to stay on top of the pain. Take the pill before it hurts.”
“Says the man who never wanted to take his after he’d been stabbed.”
“But I took them. And don’t change the subject.”
Of course we both understood how pain management worked, but we both resisted doing it properly for the same reason: it fogged our heads and made it impossible to work. I’d had to force him to slow down when he’d been laid up after a knife had collapsed his damn lung, and now he was doing the same for me while my ankle slowly healed. Especially since my latest surgery a week ago, he’d basically waited on me hand and fucked-up-foot, and I was probably going to kill him before my cast came off.
I texted him back, Yes, I took it, and then took the pill.
I’d barely capped the bottle when my phone vibrated again. A call this time, not a text. For fuck’s sake, now what?
But Erin’s name came up on the caller ID.
I smiled as I picked up the phone. “Hey, kiddo.”
I closed my eyes. The pain meds still made me slightly groggy, but I could focus on conversations as long as they weren’t too complex. “How’s your day going?”
“Good. I just wanted to let you know Ben and Casey texted me. They’re on the train, so I’ll pick them up at four thirty.”
Oh right. That was tonight. Of course I’d known that, but . . . Percocet. “Great. Looking forward to seeing them.”
“And dinner’s at six, right?”
“Yeah. You know how to get there?”
“It’s that Greek place down by the war memorial, right?”
“Yep. Darren made a reservation. We’ll meet you guys there, and Lisa will be along with Emily.”
“Awesome. We’ll be there.” She paused. “Zach had to cancel, though.”
“That’s too bad. Will he have a chance to meet your brothers while they’re in town?”
“Oh yeah.” The smile returned to her voice. “He’s going to meet them and me for lunch at work tomorrow.”
“Good. They can grill him and make sure—”
I laughed. “All right, all right. Anyway, I’ll see you tonight. Text me when you pick them up so I know they made it.”
“I will. I gotta go anyway—Mark’s got a huge stack of crap for me to do.”
“Okay. Love you, kiddo.”
“Love you too.”
She hung up, and I put my phone aside. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed that her boyfriend—my orthopedic surgeon—couldn’t make it tonight. Zach had quickly become a regular fixture in her world, not to mention mine. In fact, I had a feeling he was part of the reason she’d accepted an offer of a full-time admin job at the precinct. It had started as an internship for one of her classes, but she was damn good at it. Detective Thibedeau in Internal Affairs had offered her the job a week or so after I’d gotten hurt, and while I wasn’t thrilled about her putting school on hold, maybe this wasn’t a bad idea given how expensive her tuition had been getting.
So now Erin was living with me, working at the same precinct, and dating the surgeon who’d put my ankle back together both times. After living two states apart for too many years, I wasn’t complaining. Even if she was just as determined to take care of me as both of our boyfriends were.
I’d been parked on the couch for a couple of hours, and my back was starting to get sore, so I decided now was as good a time as any to move around a bit. I pushed myself up, wincing at the dull ache in my foot. At least it wasn’t blinding pain anymore. The first surgery had pinched a nerve—a possibility Zach had warned me about—but they’d unfucked that during the second one last week. Now I just had to recuperate from the fresh set of screws, rods, anchors, chains, anvils, saw blades, and whatever else they’d put in.
Gingerly, I tucked my crutches under my arms and went into the kitchen. Hopefully Darren wouldn’t notice I’d forgotten to eat anything before taking my pain pill. If I ate something now, I wouldn’t get nauseated, and maybe I’d slip under his radar.
After eating some leftover Chinese food, I moved back to the couch, where I eased myself down next to the stacks of files and reports I’d been working on. Sort of. I was technically still on medical leave, but I’d been getting stir-crazy.
But if I’d thought I would get any work done, I was delusional. I sat down, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up to the sound of the front door opening.
“Hey,” Darren said as he walked into the living room. “How are you feeling?”
“Like I’m ready to be back on my feet.”
He chuckled and came around behind the couch. Leaning down to kiss me, he said, “Just don’t overdo it, or you’ll spend even more time—”
“Yes, thank you, Dr. Zach.” I curved my hand around the back of his neck and pulled him the rest of the way down for that kiss.
He chuckled, kissed me, then stood and shrugged off his jacket. “What time do we need to leave tonight?”
“Probably around five thirty, just in case there’s traffic.” I carefully hoisted myself up onto my crutches and followed him into the kitchen. My head was still thick with fog, but I was better than I’d been earlier. “How’s your brother?”
The sudden fatigue in his posture and expression answered clearly enough.
I hobbled over to him and touched his arm. “You okay?”
His lips tightened, and he nodded but didn’t look at me. “He’s in hell. There’s no two ways about it.”
“And you’re right there with him.”
“Yeah, but at least I remember who I am from day to day.” He sighed heavily. “Honestly, I think his lucid moments are the worst.”
I chewed the inside of my cheek. Maybe it was small comfort that Asher wasn’t having as many of those anymore. In the weeks since his family had transferred him to a home that specialized in Alzheimer’s patients, he’d deteriorated at an astounding rate. More often than not, when Darren visited, he’d come home devastated because Asher was . . . not Asher anymore.
“He was kind of there today.” Darren’s voice was a hollow whisper. “Like, he recognized me, but couldn’t figure out why I didn’t look fifteen. And he didn’t understand why Mom was so gray.” He rubbed his eyes. “Mom’s been gray for almost twenty years.”
“Jesus.” I wrapped an arm around him and kissed his temple. “I’m sorry, Darren.”
He sagged against me. Not enough to put me off-balance, but enough to let me know he desperately needed someone to lean on. Using both my crutches and the counter for support, I gathered him in my arms and, as much as I could, let him.
“He wants to die,” Darren murmured.
He exhaled hard. “When he’s with it—as much as he can be anymore—he tells me he wishes this thing would just finish him off.”
I didn’t respond. What could I say?
Darren was quiet for a moment too, before he whispered, “I just wish there was more I could do for him than sit back and watch him fade away.”
I shuddered and tried to ignore the inevitable thoughts about how it might be Darren in that position someday, with me watching him slowly crumble. It was quite possibly the only thing I could think of that would be worse than when I’d very nearly watched him bleed out during a sting gone bad. Even now, every time I saw that scar on the back of his shoulder, my stomach somersaulted.
Fuck. I’d only known him a few short months, but I’d been in love with him for most of that, and had been forced to think way too much about when and how he might die.
Closing my eyes, I held him tighter.