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Touch & Geaux, Page 2

Abigail Roux

Page 2


  “No. What? No!” Ty blurted.

  “That’s brilliant!” Cynthia exclaimed.

  Zane felt a real flash of panic. “I really don’t think—”

  “Oh, I like this even more than the motorcycle!”

  “He’ll do the motorcycle,” Ty tried, but they weren’t hearing him.

  “Oh, this is perfect. I’ll call ahead and have them set up a bed. ” Susan pulled out a cell phone as the ladies in the backseat chattered and jotted down notes.

  Zane leaned in and hissed at Ty. “What have you done?”

  Ty shrugged helplessly. “I . . . I’m . . . this is not my fault!”

  Ty didn’t blame Zane for the glares he received as they rode to the penthouse suite together. He gave himself the same glares in the mirror as two makeup artists scruffed his hair. He had a napkin tucked into his collar to keep the hair product from touching the white V-neck T-shirt he was wearing. They weren’t putting makeup on him, thank God. Something about natural close-ups. Ty was trying to block it all out.

  He stood when the man told him he was done, and the woman yanked the napkin out of his collar and nodded. Ty turned and headed for the other room in the suite where they’d set up all the cameras and flashing things and umbrellas and what the hell ever they were. In that room was also an artfully tousled bed dressed with charcoal-colored sheets, representing the gray world of undercover work.

  Ty looked down at himself. It was close to what he would normally wear: tattered stonewashed jeans, thin T-shirt that stuck close to his frame, bare feet. They’d even left his accessories on him, deeming them stylish enough. A black rubber bracelet and brown leather string on one wrist, his black-banded silver dive watch on the other, his Marine Corps signet ring, and the compass rose on its leather cord. He still felt wildly out of place.

  Then Zane walked in, shaking his head. He was dressed the same as Ty, only his T-shirt was black, and his dark jeans were even more threadbare. They’d mussed his hair, too, slicking it back and letting it curl around his ears.

  Ty tried to fight down the gut reaction to seeing Zane like that, but it was impossible not to stare.

  “You both look incredible!” Susan crooned as she came over and looked them up and down. She flipped her fingers through Zane’s hair, then turned to Ty and nodded approval. “Now, if you’ll both just climb into the bed, we’ll get this going!”

  Ty fought back a nervous flutter and moved toward the bed, trying to relax his shoulders as he rolled onto it. Zane followed, not bothering to suppress a chuckle as he sprawled back against the headboard.

  They sat side by side, long legs extended, arms crossed. Ty glanced sideways at Zane, unable to suppress the smirk. There was no denying they’d be laughing about this later. When Zane turned to meet Ty’s eyes, the camera popped and flashed. Zane shook his head, but he was smiling and his dark eyes reflected a spark when the flash went off.

  “It appears you’re the good guy in this scenario,” Zane said, reaching out to pluck at the front of Ty’s white shirt.

  “I think we’re in this one together. ”

  Zane’s jaw jumped as he fought a smile. Ty grinned and the camera went off again.

  “Get it? Good and evil in bed together?” His words drew laughter, just not from Zane. “Come on, that’s funny!”

  Zane rolled his eyes.

  “It’s a pun!”

  The cameras clicked away as they were instructed to move into various positions. Under the covers, on top of the covers, sitting up, stretched out flat, doing the same thing, doing different things. They were both repeatedly told to stop smiling, stop laughing, stop looking at each other. After a while, Ty began to feel disconcertingly okay with the whole thing, lying in bed with his partner in front of a dozen or so people who were snapping off pictures left and right. It was absurd.

  “Okay, boys, time for something different,” Susan announced after a good half hour of them posing.

  “Give us some last shots to finish, and we’ll have everything we need,” Susan requested. “Feel free to remove the shirts. ”

  Zane tipped his head to one side and shrugged, then gripped the hem of his shirt. Several people in the room tried hard not to stare.

  Ty couldn’t blame them; Zane’s bare chest and muscular shoulders were definitely something to write home about. The camera continued taking pictures as Ty watched Zane strip the shirt off. Not to be outdone, Ty gave Zane a small wink and pulled his T-shirt off as well. When he tossed it toward one of the cameras on the periphery of the staged scene, Susan told the cameraman to zoom as close as he could to the scars that covered both men’s torsos.

  Ty met Zane’s gaze. Zane’s eyes were drawn to Ty’s lips, and when he looked up again there was a new heat in his gaze. It stole Ty’s breath and he couldn’t look away.

  “Gentlemen, keep looking at each other like that, please; these shots are incredible,” Susan told them.

  Flashes continued to pop and the camera clicked away. It all faded as Ty stared at Zane.

  “Well, I think that will certainly do it,” Violet finally said. Ty had to tear his eyes away before he was compelled to lean over and kiss his lover in front of all those cameras.

  “Oh, definitely,” Susan agreed. “Agent Grady, come and take a look. ”

  Ty rolled out of bed and bent to pick up his discarded T-shirt, careful not to look back at Zane. He leaned next to her to look at the laptop. The photos taken were displayed in a grid on the screen, and Susan had the photographer go through them one by one, critiquing angles and posture, marking some as “no,” narrowing down the choices, all the while commenting on how photogenic Ty and Zane were.

  “I think we’ll have to use one of the ones with the handcuffs,” Cynthia said, hesitance in her voice. “They’re cute and fit the tone of the rest of the calendar. ”

  Susan nodded. She pulled up one of the favorites. The picture showed Zane stretched out on the bed in the background, hands behind his head as he leaned against the headboard. He was smirking, an almost mischievous expression that was accented by smile lines and the streaks of gray hair at his temples, bare feet crossed at the ankles, biceps displayed prominently. Ty sat at the end of the bed in the foreground, leaning toward the camera, knees apart, elbows resting on them. He held a pair of handcuffs with one finger, letting them dangle. One eyebrow was arched, a sardonic expression on his face. It would probably end up being the photo used for the calendar—for the month of July, apparently, because it rhymed with FBI.

  Cynthia sighed as she flipped through the rest of the shots. “These last ones . . . ” She shook her head. “Those are something special though. ”

  Susan hummed as she looked at the last series of pictures. Ty leaned closer. They were more somber than he had thought they’d be, all black and white and gray. Zane looked pensive and melancholy, and even Ty’s playful smile seemed world-weary through the lens of the camera. The light highlighted the white slashes of scars on both their bodies. It seemed the only color in the entire canvas was the shock of Ty’s washed-out tattoo. There was nothing erotic about the picture. The sheets were barely in the frame, and it left nothing but the starkness of two warriors sharing something infinitely beyond the reach of the camera.

  Ty swallowed hard, struck by the image in a way he couldn’t quite explain. “Can I get a few copies of one of those?” he asked.

  Susan was already nodding before his words were out. “Of course,” she answered, eyes glued to the screen. “If you’ll just, um . . . sign the usage waivers and . . . ” she waved toward a pile of papers, her eyes still on the screen.

  Zane walked up to the other side of the makeshift desk, shirt back on, weapons back in hand already. “Are we done?”

  Ty looked up at him, mouth gone dry. He nodded and met Zane’s eyes. “Come look at these,” he requested, voice hoarse.

  Zane rounded the pile of equipment as the
photographer walked over to the camera. Susan followed him, still talking. Cynthia and Violet chattered off to the side. Zane stopped at Ty’s side and looked down at the screen. Ty heard his sharp inhalation.

  “Good, right?” Ty whispered.

  “Yeah,” Zane breathed. “They’re not going to use . . . are they?” He pointed at the last few photos.

  Ty looked over at Susan, the lines furrowing her clean brow, the look in her eyes. “No. They’re going for feel-good, not . . . not that. ”

  He studied the photos again, wondering what people would see in them. There was nothing sexual or even romantic there. But there was something.

  “That’s us,” Zane said quietly. “Really us. ”

  “I asked for a copy,” Ty told him, watching him closely.

  “Just one?” The corner of Zane’s mouth quirked. Then he looked up from the photo, and Ty could read Zane loud and clear. He wanted that photo, but more importantly, he wanted Ty, and he wanted him now.

  “I’ll share,” Ty told him under his breath. He cleared his throat, needing to look away from the expression on Zane’s face before they really gave those cameras something to shoot. He picked up one of the waivers and signed it without reading over it, then handed the clipboard to Zane. “Did you get everything you needed from us?” he called to Susan.

  They came over to fawn over Ty and Zane a little more, thanking them and praising the pictures they’d taken. One of the assistants took down some information and gave them both a card. Ty’s had Susan’s number handwritten on it. Then they were left alone to go change back into their suits.

  “That was kind of fun,” Ty admitted as he stripped off the jeans in the little dressing area.

  “Not too bad, I guess. Depends on how cheesy of a photo they end up choosing. ” Zane changed jeans for suit pants and pulled his T-shirt off again. “I might have been less out of sorts with more warning. It was just . . . weird. ”

  Ty nodded as he stepped into his trousers. He glanced toward the outer room, seeing that everyone out there was occupied, and advanced on Zane even as he buttoned up his pants. He grabbed Zane’s face without warning and kissed him. Zane grunted in surprise but was quick on the uptake, hands gripping Ty’s upper arms as he joined in the kiss for the few intense seconds.

  “McCoy never has to know we got done early,” Ty whispered as his hands dropped to Zane’s shoulders.

  “I don’t give a shit about Mac. Let’s get out of here. ”

  Ty nodded and stooped to gather the rest of his clothes, tossing his tie around his neck and picking up his shoes and socks. Zane pulled his dress shirt on and did up three buttons, tucked it in haphazardly, just enough to get by, and gathered up the rest.

  Ty jerked his head toward the door and headed for it. They weren’t far from the house, but they would have to get a cab. He’d rather walk than deal with the photographers and their kidnapper van again.

  As soon as the door to the hotel room closed behind them, Ty looked up and down the hallway and then back at Zane with a grin.

  “Let’s get a room. ”

  Zane laughed and shrugged. “Okay? You missing hotel bathrooms that much?”

  The memory of their first time together flashed through Ty’s mind, and he nodded. Zane must have seen the hunger streaking through Ty’s eyes, because he started hurrying Ty down the hall toward the bank of elevators. Ty grinned, not even worrying about the shoes he carried or the fact that they both looked like they’d already been at it in a janitor’s closet somewhere.

  Once in the elevator, everything hit the floor anyway, except for Ty, who hit the wall, pinned there by Zane’s firm body and demanding mouth. Ty could do nothing but moan and wrap his arms around Zane’s shoulders.

  If someone had told him this morning that a surprise FBI photo shoot would end up with them making out in a hotel elevator, Ty probably wouldn’t have been shocked. He found it funny, anyway.

  Zane pulled back for breath and set one palm flat on Ty’s chest, holding him in place while stepping backward. “Stay,” Zane ordered, pulling his hand away but still pointing at Ty.

  Ty nodded wordlessly, wide-eyed and unashamed. Zane did up his buttons, smoothed his sleeves, and shrugged into his jacket, somehow managing to look mostly put together, even if his face was flushed and his hair was still mussed from the shoot. He had just shoved his feet into his dress shoes when the elevator door pinged and opened. “I’ll be right back,” he said, looking Ty up and down deliberately before growling and striding out of the elevator.

  Even after all this time, the prospect of what Zane intended to do to him made Ty’s chest flutter.

  The phone in his jacket began to ring. “No, no, no!” He fished it out anyway, checking he caller ID. “No!”

  He looked up. Several people were backing away from the doors to find an alternate way up as he stood in the elevator shouting at his phone.

  “Grady,” he growled when he answered the call.

  “We’re ready here,” Dan McCoy said without further greeting.

  Ty sighed. “Yes sir. ”

  He hung up just as Zane returned.

  “No,” Zane said when he saw the look on Ty’s face and the phone in his hand. “No! How urgent is it?”

  Ty shook his head. “It was Burns. ”

  “Dammit, Grady!”

  Traffic was minimal as they made their way toward the Bureau office. Ty either wouldn’t or couldn’t fill Zane in on why they were needed, and he wouldn’t speculate as they walked together toward the elevators. Zane wasn’t surprised. Burns was pretty closed mouthed with everything he did. It was odd that they’d come here when Burns had called them. Burns worked in DC, not Baltimore. But nothing Richard Burns did was normal.