“You’re so freaking romantic. I don’t know how I keep my pants on.”
“When Ty was truly hot and bothered, it could be an amazing experience, like being mauled by a lion without the fuss of needing stitches after.”
“Falling in love or just plain falling : they were both terrifying at any speed”
“That’s my gun,” Ty said in an offended voice. “They hid my gun in the sex toys? That’s not right, man.”
“He sighed heavily and lifted his chin stubbornly, meeting Zane's eyes without flinching. "I didn't just say it to get you to jump. I'm in love with you Zane," he admitted in a calm,clear voice.
"I have been for a while.”
“The pessimist says, ‘It can’t get any worse!’ And the optimist replies, ‘Oh yes it can!”
“You are mine,” he asserted in that sharpened, confident-sounding drawl. “I know it; you know it. And so will anyone else who looks at you.”
“Zane let his head loll back and lifted one hand to gently prod his split lip. "Ow."
"Whine about it. It'll make it better," Ty offered as he stood in front of his locker, his back to Zane, and unwrapped the tape from his hands with jerky, irritated movements.
"Bite me," Zane muttered as he dug into his locker for a towel before starting in on the tape on his own hands. He spared an evil glance for Ty. "Teaching me to advance in a fight is a bad idea."
"Teaching you to fight at all is an exercise in futility," Ty responded in a matter-of-fact tone. "Luckily for you, I enjoy things like banging my head against a wall."
"I enjoy banging your head against a wall too," Zane replied as he tossed the balled-up tape at a nearby trash can. He let a small smile quirk his lips as he sat on the bench to unlace his shoes.
"Shut up," Ty grunted at him. But even though his back was still turned to him, Zane could hear the smile in his voice. "And cut it out with the damn cat jokes, huh? They're starting to catch on."
"Fine, fine. No reason to get catty about it," Zane told his partner with a barely concealed grin.
"A for effort," Ty conceded charitably.”
“Ty smiled and turned his head to fully look at Zane. It was rare to catch Zane in this mood and Ty wanted nothing more right then than to head back to the luxury stateroom, lock the door, and get on his knees.”
“The word that comes to mind is 'beefcake', Zane drawled, looking Ty over, appreciating the view
"Mission accomplished then!" Ty said happily as he turned around to face Zane again. He frowned suddenly. "Is beefcake one word or two?"
Zane laughed. "Who cares when you've got a great ass?”
“I know you don’t….” He shook his head and glanced up at the stark white wall across the way from his cell, starting over. “I know you care about me. That’s all I need. I just figured… we have enough secrets between us,” he continued as he looked back up at Zane and smiled nervously. “Now it’s just one less.”
“He tightened his arms, not wanting Ty to move away. “It’s more than just fucking around now,” he said. “Isn’t it?” He made sure the tone of his voice emphasized that it wasn’t really a question. Ty was motionless in response. He didn’t even seem to be breathing. The silence stretched on, edging toward tension. Finally, he let out his breath quietly and lowered his head. “No,” he lied blithely, just as he’d done in a hotel in New York City over a year ago. Zane chuckled. A classic Grady response, and definitely the one he preferred to hear. A “yes” just might have given him a heart attack. He held Ty close. “You owe me.” “Owe you?” Ty repeated in a rough, questioning voice as Zane felt his heartbeat begin to speed up. “Mm hmm. How I’ve wanted you,” Zane breathed. “It scares the hell out of me.” “I know,” Ty murmured as he turned in place and nuzzled against Zane’s neck.”
“You have to believe me. Even if you don‟t understand,”
“The unvarnished reality was that he was, and always would be, an alcoholic and drug abuser who hung on by his fingertips every day trying to stay sober and do his job. He squeezed Ty's hand. “I wish I was what you believe,” he whispered. “I wish I was what you need me to be.”
Ty looked down at his hand and sighed heavily. He seemed to be struggling with what to say or do, and seeing Ty indecisive was another novel experience, though not an entirely enjoyable one. Finally, Ty swallowed hard and looked back up. “Zane,” he said hoarsely. Then he stopped and looked down again quickly before meeting Zane's eyes again with determination. “You"re everything I need you to be,” he whispered.”
“There was a lot of pot and kettle going on here.”
“It looks like you two never really got into the eye of the storm. You were more like… the cows who got tossed around on the outskirts.”
“After a moment of composing himself, he raised his head and dejectedly looked at Zane. “Even when I‟m someone else, people try to kill me,” he joked.
Zane sighed and sat down next to him. “Must be your charming personality showing through all the bleach.” He reached out to run his fingers through Ty's abused hair.”
“Zane just smiled and walked to open the door for him. “Let‟s go, doll.”
Ty merely rolled his eyes as he walked past him.Give the man a weapon and suddenly he was all smiles again.”
“Zane rolled his eyes. "I hope your insurance is up to date," he said as they stopped at another door. "Grady doesn't forget people who fuck around with him.”
“Zane sighed. He knew no one had died. He knew exactly what had happened last night. He just didn‟t have perspective, because when he drank, he focused in on whatever he thought his goal was to the exclusion of everything else. Last night, Ty had been part of “everything else.” That was the problem: Ty wasn‟t his keeper—Ty was his conscience.”
“He was wearing a white shirt with a picture of a scarecrow on it accompanied by the words "out standing in his field." Not one of the watching agents gave it a second glance. It was, they all knew, his favorite shirt.”
“I'm pretty sure I just got groped while buying toothpaste," Ty told him with a frown as he struggled with the tiny buttons of his shirt. "By a tiny little old lady with dead butterflies on her hat.”
“Teaching you to fight at all is an exercise in futility," Ty responded in a matter-of-fact tone. "Luckily for you, I enjoy things like banging my head against a wall."
"I enjoy banging your head against a wall too," Zane replied as tossed the balled-up tape at a nearby trash can. He let a small smile quirk his lips as he sat on the bench to unlace his shoes.
"Shut up," Ty grunted at him. But even though his back was still turned to him, Zane could hear a smile in his voice. "And cut it out with the damn cat jokes, huh? They're starting to catch on."
"Fine, fine. No reason to get catty about it," Zane told his partner with a barely concealed grin.”
“What's that?" Ty asked as he nodded at the bag.
Zane picked the bag back up and pulled out a set of heavy-duty handcuffs.
"These may be useful if I can't get you to sit still," he said, dangling them on one finger.
Ty shook his head and pointed one long finger at Zane warningly. "You try it and I'll freak out," he said seriously.”
“One thing I’ve learned is, if you’re too focused on the falling and how horribly it’s going to hurt, you don’t see what’s around you. You might miss the very thing you can hang onto, something that could stop the fall altogether. So if you stay calm….”
“Ravens are like step-children," Ty answered as he squinted up at the screen. "I love them, but they're still sleeping on the couch when the house is full.”
“That’s my gun,” Ty said in an offended voice. “They hid my gun in the sex toys? That’s not right, man.”
“Zane,” he said hoarsely. Then he stopped and looked down again quickly before meeting Zane’s eyes again with determination. “You’re everything I need you to be,” he whispered.”
“Wait!" she cried, and she yanked away from him and gathered her heels and her ruined
purse. She slid the shoes on and straightened her shoulders. "I will go as a lady should," she claimed bravely. "In patent leather heels.”
“He felt their rings lightly knock together. At that moment it made him want things he knew he couldn’t have and shouldn’t want, but Zane squeezed Ty’s fingers gently anyway.”
“We have the same symptoms as tuberculosis, especially in the eyes of the Romantic Poets. Pale, tired, coughing up blood.”
I had to smile. “Romantic with a capital ‘R.’ You know, like Byron and Coleridge.”
He gave a mock shudder. “Please, stop. I barely passed English Lit.”
I snorted. “I didn’t have that option. One of my aunts took Byron as a lover.”
“Seriously. It makes Lucy insanely jealous.”
“That girl is . . .”
“My best friend,” I filled in sternly.
“I was only going to say she’s unique.”
“There is nothing quite as painful as a truly awkward silence.”
“But most of all, faith is love. Hate cannot be fought with hate. Evil cannot be conquered by darkness. Only love has the power to conquer them both.”
“The blood bond was nothing. It was the people that mattered. If they covered your back, and you covered theirs, then maybe that was worth calling family. Everything else was just so much smoke and lies.”
“Cause and effect are never divided between two people.”
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