A near-fatal shot through his chest teaches Lieutenant Bryan
Smyth of the NYPD two things: He wants to live to see more days and he wants to
spend them with his estranged husband, Justice.
Poor decisions made under the strain of grief split the seams of
their marriage. Now it's up to Bryan to show Justice there's still enough of
their love left to salvage from the ruins, still something worth the battle
Bryan's shooting has opened Justice's eyes to new lessons too.
The first, tomorrow isn't promised, the second, life's too short to live in
misery. Justice has watched Bryan shuffle back and forth attempting to balance
the man he is at home and the man he has to be at the precinct for too long.
Now, he's done.
The only problem is Justice's heart is having a hard time
adhering to the exit strategy in his head.
Desperate to repair their bond, Bryan does the only thing he can
to keep his marriage intact, he calls his crazy sister-in-law, True to stir up
some organized chaos. She's a wildcard, yes. As unstable and deadly as
nitroglycerin, but she gets the one thing Bryan needs more than anything,
The only question left: Is family and fidelity enough to get
them through love's changes, or is this really the end?
As soon as he heard the lock turn from the outside, Justice was
on his feet and heading in the direction of the door.
“It’s two o’ clock in the fucking morning and you’re just
dragging your ass in here now?”
Justice watched glass-like eyes stare back at him. He
pulled Bryan by his collar, leaving him close enough to soak up the
intoxicating scent of Bryan’s natural man-spice aroma mixed with liquor.
“You went drinking with him?”
Bryan’s eyes focused on him a split second before he pulled out
of Justice’s grasp. “Yeah, we had a few, then went to see a movie. What
Bryan pushed past him and headed for the bathroom. He
opened his pants and pulled out his long cock before positioning himself in
front of the toilet.
“A little privacy?” Bryan quipped.
“Not anything I haven’t seen before.” Justice wedged his
shoulder into the doorframe as he watched Bryan. He had to admit,
watching Bryan take a piss wasn’t on his ‘Things that turn me on list’, but he
wasn’t about to give Bryan an inch of privacy until he knew every fucking
detail of the evening Bryan spent with that fucking Herrera.
Bryan shrugged his shoulders, oblivious to, or unconcerned with,
Justice’s building anger, and relieved himself without further thought.
When he was done, he washed his hands, then turned the shower on and adjusted
As he began to remove his clothing he stopped to look at
Justice. “I’ve had a long day. I’m gonna take a shower and take my
ass to bed. You wanna fight? You’ll be fighting alone tonight.”
Without giving Justice another glance, or thought as it
appeared, Bryan stepped inside of the darkened shower stall.
Justice stood in the middle of the floor waiting, for what he
couldn’t really pinpoint. Acknowledgement, an explanation, contrition,
something from Bryan that expressed some form of regret that he’d done
something to piss Justice off, instead Bryan's slightly drunk ass—if his
whistling of some pop tune was any indication of his intoxication
level—continued on behind the smoky shower glass as if Justice wasn’t even in
Bryan finished his shower, pulled a towel from the nearby rack
and tied it around his waist. He stepped around Justice, and headed for
Justice tried hard not to stare at Bryan’s water-slicked
skin. Bryan at any given time was a turn-on for him. Bryan naked
and wet looking like something Justice should be licking or sopping up with a
biscuit had a way of making him forget his train of thought.
At the moment Justice knew he was supposed to be mad about
something, but watching his man saunter in front of him, shoulders pulled back
in confidence, the globes of his ass sitting high and tight, Justice could
scarcely remember what he’d eaten for dinner, let alone the complicated trigger
to his inner-asshole.
He palmed the hard bulge of his jean-clad cock and closed his
eyes, trying his damnedest to remain focused on anything other than being
buried in Bryan’s ass. After a few moments of fighting with his mind and
body, he walked into their bedroom. Bryan was still in his towel, sitting
at the edge of the foot of the bed.
“Bryan, I can’t believe you’re really going to let this asshole
fuck with your recovery like this. You fucking know better. All
this jack-off is after is getting a piece of ass.”
“So what if he is?” Bryan’s answer striking a fast and fierce
blow to Justice’s chest. “So what if the only thing he wants from me is a
good, hard fuck? Why the fuck does that matter to you? Why do you
get a say in that? You just filed divorce papers. Obviously you
don’t care about who fucks me or who I fuck.”
Molten heat carved through the walls of his chest, into the
center of his heart. The gripping pain caused his breath to rush past his
“I will always care about you, Bryan. About everything you
do,” he whispered.
Bryan’s flat palms rested against his spread thighs, holding his
heavy shoulders up as they threatened to slump in defeat.
“You don’t act like it. You act like you don’t want
anything to do with me. Like you hate me,” Bryan flinched as he spoke,
like the thought of Justice hating him physically hurt.
Justice averted his eyes; he knew if he found the same sadness
in Bryan’s eyes as he did his words, he was going to crumble right where he
“I’ve never lived in the closet, Bryan. I’ve been out
since I knew what gay meant. I married you knowing that you weren’t
comfortable with your sexuality. That was my fault. I shouldn’t have
fought you over the divorce when you asked me for it. I should have seen
the writing on the wall then. But I loved you so much, I couldn’t bear to
think of walking away.”
“And now you can?” Bryan’s words were quiet, but the question
shook him from the inside out making Justice’s body twitch with nervous energy.
The small word bounced off the inside of his head and made its
way to his hollow heart. This was killing him. Letting go of the
only man he’d loved, relinquishing his claim on Bryan, it was breaking him.
“What happened while I was in that coma to make you give up on
us, Justice? Why are you so hell-bent on giving up now?” The mixture of
frustration and pain in Bryan’s voice was nearly choking Justice. “For
five fucking years I pushed to end our marriage and you refused, you fought for
us, even when I couldn’t. And now that I can finally see what a fool I
was you want to bounce? What made this happen, Justice?”
“I just got tired of being the only one fighting for us.
After watching you nearly die, I didn’t have the energy to come back to us
fighting about these same issues. Your fear to live in the light as a gay
man has been slowly killing us for years,” Justice offered. “I’m just
finally giving you the freedom to live as you’ve always wanted, in the
Justice heard an audible breath cross Bryan’s lips. It’s
heavy sound pulling his eyes from their current position on the floor to his
He’d expected to find the sadness he’d been avoiding, but
instead he found Bryan’s features twisted into an angry scowl.
“You know what Justice…fuck you!’
2015 Swirl Awards Bronze winner in Romantic
Suspense, 2015 Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award Finalist in Erotic Romance,
bestselling erotic romance author, LaQuette, is a native of Brooklyn, New York.
She spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother,
Writing–her escape from everyday madness–has
always been a friend and comforter. She loves writing and devouring romance novels.
Although she possesses a graduate degree in English Lit, she'd forego
Shakespeare any day to read something hot, lusty, and romantic.