A rugged, muscular cop.
A sexy computer genius.
Brought together by a crime committed on a cold dark night.
From the moment they meet, their lives can never be the same again…
Wild and rugged Dave Pearce is haunted by the demons of his past. He’s done his best to make a life for himself after the devastation of his lover’s suicide years earlier, but the trauma has left its mark on his soul.
Danny Wong is what Dave considers a “nerdy Bruce Lee.” Handsome, refined, out of his league.
But that doesn’t matter.
Dave believes himself to be dangerous for any man who would love him. So he stays back in the shadows, letting the desire he harbors for the hot grad student remain unrequited.
Danny has demons of his own. Duty-bound to his family’s goals for him, he remains shy and closeted, contenting himself with his secret fantasies about the sexy Irish cop who patrols the campus building where Danny does his graduate work.
Until one freezing winter night…
Leaving the building, fate steps in and their paths cross in a new…deeper way. Neither man can turn back. Danny and Dave must face the demons rearing their heads with full force, or lose their chance at an epic love…
Note: This book was previously published. It was edited for re-release at Wayward Ink Publishing.
Read an Excerpt
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 2005
“DANNY WONG, you’re under arrest. You have the right to remain silent.”
Danny’s body tightened at the sexy male voice behind him. The mere sound made every part of his body tingle, especially his dragon. His erection already hardening against his boxers, he turned.
Officer Dave Pearce stood in the doorway of the small office, a shit-eating grin on his handsome face. His broad chest and shoulders strained against his dark blue uniform. A pair of shiny handcuffs hung from one large hand.
Danny stared at him. Arousal trilled through his body. He swallowed hard. “What did I do, Officer?”
Pearce’s grin quirked sideways. His blue eyes sparkled with a devil’s look. “An anonymous phone caller reported you carrying a concealed weapon.” He jerked his head. “Stand up, Danny. Hands out.”
Heart pounding, his erection painfully tight, Danny obeyed.
Pearce came forward and clapped the cuffs on his wrists. Danny’s body turned to mush under those large hands, which now guided him to the wall.
“Lean against the wall, Danny.”
Just being ordered around made him weak. He did so and closed his eyes. The officer slipped large hands under his sweater. He yanked Danny’s T-shirt from his jeans and slid his palms up his abdomen, across his chest. Callused skin grazed Danny’s nipples, which tightened immediately. Danny groaned.
“Just a little longer, Danny,” the officer’s sexy voice rumbled behind him. “Can’t have you going around campus with a loaded weapon, now, can I?” Pearce moved his touch back down Danny’s stomach, and slipped thick fingers below his waistband. The pads of Pearce’s fingertips teased the skin there in dappling touches, just below his bellybutton.
Danny pulled in a breath. His body throbbed and tingled. His brain swirled. Pearce’s hot breath caressed the back of his neck, and his large, muscular body pressed close behind him. Pearce’s cock was huge… and rock hard, pressing into the crevice of Danny’s ass, even through their clothes.
“I think I’m getting warmer, Danny.” Pearce’s voice fell to a husky whisper. He rubbed his cock into Danny’s backside.
Danny groaned. He couldn’t help it. The handcuffs pulled, reminding him he was bound, under Pearce’s control. Pearce could do whatever he wanted to him.
Those thick, warm fingers slid lower, invaded underneath the elastic of his boxers, lower… lower. Then Pearce slid his fingertips over the head of Danny’s cock.
Danny groaned again and sagged back against Pearce’s broad body.
“Oh yeah, Danny. I found it.”
Footsteps in the hall jerked Danny from his fantasy. Danny’s heartbeat sped up. It was him. Pearce.
He leaned back, away from the computer screen at which he’d been staring for the last twenty minutes during his fantasy, and discreetly swiveled his desk chair, just enough to be able to watch the campus police officer pass his door on his nightly patrol of the building. Since the start of the school year last September, Danny had gotten to know the man’s work schedule, and as time passed, had made certain he was at his desk just for the moment’s glance he got of him each night. The only thing he knew about Pearce, besides the time he patrolled Stata Center, was his name.
Pearce reached the doorway and peered in as he passed. He did that every night, giving Danny a clear view of his large blue eyes set deep in his freckled face. He was a rugged man with a strong jaw. His cap thankfully didn’t cover all of his short-cropped reddish-blond hair, and his blue uniform jacket rested evenly on his broad shoulders. Danny couldn’t even count at this point how many times he had imagined what the guy’s chest looked like underneath his clothes.
When he saw Danny he smiled, as if he was truly glad to see him. “Working late again, eh?”
Danny felt heat flush his cheeks, feeling like Pearce could see into his head, see the hot fantasy he entertained nearly every night. He nodded, hunching down a bit. He’d be mortified if Pearce saw the erection pushing out his pants. “Always.”
The police officer nodded. “Same here.” A heartbeat passed in which he appeared to want to say more. “Hope it’s going well.”
Danny shrugged, struggling to appear casual. If the other man lingered a moment longer, his voice was going to stick in his throat and embarrass him. His eye fell on the nametag. David Pearce. “Not so much.”
Pearce smiled again. “Don’t push it.”
Danny shook his head, his heart beginning to pound. “I won’t.”
The other man remained in the doorway, giving Danny the sense he was lingering. “Just be careful leaving so late. I see you here often at this time, and I keep wanting to tell you that.”
Danny heard a protective note in the other man’s voice which sent another tingle up his spine. One more moment and his voice would fail him completely. “Thank you.”
Pearce nodded. “It’s my job.” He paused. “Well, I guess I should let you get back to work. Take care now.”
This was the longest exchange they’d had yet, and a strange energy zinged through the room like a ball bouncing back and forth between them. Danny wondered if he was imagining it.
He returned the nod. “You too.” Feeling like a nervous adolescent, he swiveled his chair quickly around and stared at the screen again. He attempted to resume his typing but stopped because his hands were trembling. He sighed and slumped back in the chair. The Chinese ideograms and English characters on the screen that had been so clear earlier now appeared blurry, perhaps a stark reminder that a normal person didn’t spend every Friday night developing computational techniques to detect tonal changes in spoken human–computer interactions. Even Meg, his best friend since middle school, who always listened attentively to all his problems and thoughts, got glassy-eyed when he tried to explain the more technical aspects of what he did at the Spoken Language Systems Group.
He shoved a hand through his hair, his mind suddenly gone numb. He chided himself for being so gutless and never at least trying to talk to the guy more. He couldn’t help it, though. He’d already admitted to Meg a thousand times he was terrified. Not simply because David Pearce might reject him, but because he was just painfully shy in general. Always had been. Since he was a kid, Meg was the one person he felt completely comfortable with, maybe because she understood feeling different. Growing up in Chinatown, and being Chinese but looking more like a blonde Barbie doll couldn’t have been easy. Worse because her white father’s parents had disowned their son and granddaughter. As far as Danny knew, she’d never even met the Phillips family, whose name she bore.
Meg. He remembered he needed to call her. They spoke nearly every night before bed anyway, but since her grandfather had died two months earlier, Danny didn’t like to miss a night talking to her. He looked at his watch. Ten-thirty. Certainly she’d be up. He picked up the phone on his desk and punched in her number.
She answered on the second ring. “Hello?” Her voice had that thick, nasal sound it always did when she’d been crying. Two months had passed since her lao ye’s death, and she was still in the throes of grief.
“Hey, Karate Kid,” Danny said softly, his heart aching for her. He too had loved Chen Lem Kin. The older man had treated him like his own and had taught him and Meg Tai Chi Chuan together when they were kids. Aside from Meg, Master Chen had been the only one who knew the truth about him.
She sniffled. “Hi, Danny. I’m sorry. I’m always crying these days.”
A strange muffled sound followed her greeting, and Danny realized Meg was blowing her nose. He could hear the sound of the television in the background and knew she was probably watching one of her beloved Bruce Lee movies.
She worshiped the guy, rest his soul. He couldn’t blame her. “Don’t be silly, Meg. I’m sorry I’m not there. Do you want me to come over?”
She sniffled. “It’s okay, Danny. I’ve been taking up so much of your time lately.”
He sighed. In spite of what she said, he knew she would be really happy if he went over and hung out with her.
“Come on, don’t say that. I’m just finishing up here, and I’ll be over in a little while, okay?”
There was a pause and a couple of sniffles before she spoke. “Okay. Are you sure?”
“I’m sure, sweetie.”
“Thank you, Danny.”
His heart squeezed. Meg was a strong woman, who now ran her grandfather’s market by herself while still grieving. But when he spoke to her, he could hear the little girl inside who needed a friend. She’d been a steadfast friend to him for eighteen years, since they were twelve. They’d lived right across the street from each other almost their whole lives, and the bond between them was a million times stronger than he had with his own two sisters. He tried to be there for Meg as much as he could. “See you soon.”
He set down the receiver and sighed again, staring at the screen. There was no need to work more tonight. He was already way ahead of schedule on his dissertation. He was pushing and he knew it. Using his work as an excuse to hide from… well… the feelings he harbored for the man who’d just passed his office. Just as he also used his friendship with Meg to hide from his sexuality. She deserved better than that.
Disgusted yet further with his cowardice, he took up the mouse and began shutting down the program he was working on. When the computer was off, he gathered up his papers and slipped them into his briefcase. He shrugged into his coat and gloves, wrapped his scarf around his neck, and left, closing his office door behind him.
The hallway was deserted. With a flutter in his stomach, Danny scanned the quiet corridor, listening for the sound of footsteps. No sound at all except the quiet hum of the heating system. David Pearce had obviously left. Maybe he was continuing his patrol elsewhere. Or maybe he’d gone off duty. It was Friday night after all. He probably had a life beyond his work. Unlike some people.
A pang of disappointment grabbed him. He wouldn’t see the police officer again until Monday night. He started down the hall, feeling he’d reached a new low of pathos, spending his day anticipating the glances and cursory greetings here and there he got from the man.
Danny exited onto Vassar Street and turned left on his way to the Kendall T Station. The night was freezing, and Danny watched his breath puff out into the frigid winter air. He took a deep breath, bracing himself against the biting cold as he made his way down the sidewalk.
His mind was so swirling with thoughts of David Pearce and of his own lack of guts, that he barely registered the man who had stepped out from behind a streetlamp post on the sidewalk and stood in front of him. Danny stopped. His stomach lurched.
The man held out a large knife, pointed right at him.
The attacker appeared wild. His clothing, much too light for the season, consisted of a ripped leather jacket and battered jeans, with no hat or gloves. His hair, a mass of tangled knots, practically hid his face. “Give me your wallet now!” He thrust the knife a few inches closer.
Danny set his briefcase on the sidewalk and put his hands in the air in a holdup position.
“All right,” he said softly. To his surprise, his own voice remained calm and gentle. “I’m going to reach in my pocket, sir,” he went on, lowering his right hand slowly.
The man trembled. “Just fuckin’ hurry.”
“It’s okay,” Danny murmured, bringing his hand into his coat. His heart ran like a bullet train in his chest. Never had he known such fear, an existential tremor that rocked his psyche, the basic instinct to survive mixed with the horror of human violence. He took a deep breath, and by some miracle, in that split moment, he accepted his terror completely. In the next moment, his gaze locked with the other man’s, and suddenly, he wasn’t afraid. In some deep, mysterious part of himself, he knew without a doubt that this man didn’t really want to hurt him, that he was desperate. However, Danny kept his movements slow and deliberate, so as not to startle him.
“What do you need it for, if I may ask?” The question came to his mind in a voice that guided him, that understood everything about the situation.
The man’s eyes widened. He looked at Danny as if he’d sprouted a second head. “I want something to eat.”
“There’s a late-night pizza place around the corner. How much do you need?”
“I don’t know. I’m hungry.”
Danny’s hand emerged from under his coat. He opened the wallet. He didn’t like to keep large amounts of cash on him, but the ten-dollar bill he did have would definitely get the guy something to eat. He extended the money to the man. “Here, take this. It should be enough to get whatever you need.”
The man took the money, still staring up at Danny. “God bless you, man.” His bloodshot eyes appeared misted over in the lamplight. “Forgive me.”
DAMN COWARD. Dave grumbled at himself as he closed his locker, ready to go home. As usual, the same hollow ache in his chest he felt each night gnawed at him. Many times since John’s death, that ache had driven him to search for a warm body for the night. But casual sex to drown out emotional pain and loneliness was getting harder and harder to do. Even though the partner was always willing, Dave hated feeling like he was using someone and being used.
Many times he’d thought of approaching that guy in Stata Center, the Asian guy who was always at his desk when Dave walked by. Dave had been fantasizing about him for the past six months or so, and there seemed to be some kind of attraction between them. He felt it each time he passed that office.
Dave knew his name was Danny Wong and that he was working on a Ph.D. on some kind of brainy computer stuff that
completely escaped his own intellect. However, Danny Wong didn’t seem like the type to give a blowjob and forget about it. Dave’s instincts told him that the other man was a relationship kind of person, someone you didn’t just blow off. No pun intended.
Relationship. The one serious love of his life was dead. Geez, it was almost three years now. He couldn’t imagine getting involved again, but deep inside he craved that companionship, that closeness….
Fuck it. He could at least talk to the guy.
Dave found his boots turning him back around toward Stata Center instead of toward the parking lot. His breath
puffed out into the winter air, reminding him of all the times he’d looked forward to getting into John’s bed in the little room he had over his parents’ garage and having John warm him up. That is, until John overdosed.
Dave went through the back entrance of Stata Center and upstairs to the floor where Danny Wong’s office was. Damn. The door was closed and locked. He knocked lightly and waited. No answer. Danny Wong had obviously gone home. Dave had lost his chance until Monday night.
Breathing a sigh, he went back out and around toward the front of the building. A last-second impulse made him hope that maybe Danny had only just left, and Dave could catch him.
Dave turned the corner and froze. His police instincts kicked in when he saw Danny on the sidewalk, handing something to a man who appeared homeless. Danny’s back was to Dave, blocking his complete view of the raggedy-looking guy. But then Danny stepped back, and Dave saw the flash of a knife blade as it caught the light from a streetlamp. Danny was being mugged.
Dave’s adrenaline kicked in and his hand automatically went to his gun, slipping it from its holster.
“Hey!” he yelled, breaking into a run. “Drop your weapon!” He sprinted down the steps, onto the concrete walk, his gun pointed at the mugger.
The assailant turned and broke into a run. Dave lengthened his stride, jumping some low winter-naked bushes. From the size of the guy, he could tackle him easily and arrest him.
Suddenly, Danny stepped in front of him, causing Dave’s gun to be aimed right at his chest.
The movement shocked him, and he halted, lowering the gun on pure instinct.
“Don’t,” Danny said. “Let him go.”
Dave stared at him, his chest heaving, every nerve in his body coiled like a spring. Was this guy nuts? His attention remained riveted on Danny, not only from concern for Danny’s safety but out of shock at the way Danny had come between him and the offender who’d just attacked him. “He mugged you. Now he’s getting away.” Dave looked in the direction the mugger had run, but saw no sign of him. He reached for his radio to call for dispatch. A sudden pressure on his arm caused him to still. Danny’s gloved hand rested on the sleeve of his jacket.
“Let him go. He was just hungry.”
Dave’s jaw dropped, and he stared, wide-eyed. Had he heard correctly? If Danny Wong had landed on a spaceship in front of him, he couldn’t have seemed weirder. Had this guy just walked off a movie set? No one said things like that in real life. Not to a cop anyway.
Dave’s heart still pumped hard from the brief sprint. He was forty-one now. Still in good shape, but not a kid anymore. “You’re lucky you didn’t get killed with that attitude.” He sounded churlish, but he couldn’t help it. His role was to protect people, and he hated when someone didn’t let him do so. Just the way John hadn’t let Dave’s love for him protect him.
Danny was staring at him, his almond-shaped eyes wide and soft. He emanated an inner strength that Dave had never
encountered before, something that came from deep inside. “In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu says, ‘Only pursue an offender to show him the way’.”
Dave raised his eyebrows. Was this guy for real? Or had he watched too many reruns of Kung Fu with David Carradine? What was he going to say next, I am Kane, I will help you? Dave almost chuckled at his own inner dialogue, but he couldn’t ignore the look in Danny’s eyes, a potent force of something he couldn’t quite identify.
Jesus. Dave raked a hand through his hair. He needed to be running after the mugger, and here he was, actually considering obeying the victim of the crime. What the hell?
“Please,” Danny said softly. “Don’t punish him for being hungry and desperate. That’s all I meant.”
Dave opened his mouth to protest again, but Danny’s wide-eyed gaze washed through him, like gentle waves lapping on the beach. He found his own gaze roving over the other man’s face to his hair, thick and a glossy ebony, that in better circumstances always made him want to run his fingers through it. Danny held his shoulders in a refined, graceful way, and he had beautiful skin, a dusky golden hue, flawless and masculine. Dave had often wondered if his skin was the same smooth gold all over the rest of his body.
Immediately, he felt guilty, lusting for the guy when he’d just been mugged. He should be more concerned about seeing after him than wanting to get into his pants. He still had a job to do, and Danny, in spite of his attitude toward the mugger, was, after all, the victim of a crime.
Wordlessly, Dave holstered his gun. “All right, dammit, but….” He pulled out his radio to call the dispatcher. “This guy could attack someone else, someone who can’t… um… handle a situation the way you have. I still need to file a report and open an investigation. He has to be found, if possible.”
Danny leaned down and retrieved his briefcase. When he straightened, he was still watching Dave from those large brown eyes. He seemed a bit shaken in spite of his calm demeanor. “All right.” Danny’s voice was soft, gentle.
Dave looked at him again. A current passed between them. Dave felt it like a small jolt of electricity, skimming along the nerve endings in his skin. There was something about the guy, in addition to his masculine yet refined looks, that drew him. Danny seemed to possess a calm, peaceful energy that soothed his own aggressive wildness.
He’d often wondered over the past few months if Danny already had a lover. He’d heard Danny on his office phone, talking to someone he called Karate Kid. However the tone of his voice when he spoke to that person was like that of an older brother speaking to a younger sibling, affectionate but not romantic.
He cleared his throat. “Let me take you to headquarters and get you a cup of coffee. I’ll fill out the forms, and you can just relax, okay?” He wasn’t officially on duty anymore tonight, but Danny didn’t know that. Dave could have called one of his co-workers to come and take a statement from Danny. But he wanted to do it himself. It gave him a plausible excuse to spend time with him. His heart pounded and sweat erupted on his palms. Somehow, he knew that life was giving him some kind of golden opportunity and that he needed to pounce on it in spite of all his reservations and fears. Especially after seeing the way Danny handled the situation and had stopped him from pursuing a criminal just by his touch and words. He couldn’t deny that some invisible force, a higher power he’d never wanted to believe in until now, had undeniably presented this chance.
He saw Danny take a deep breath, his chest rising and falling noticeably under his coat. Danny’s mouth worked as if he was searching for the power of speech.
“All right.” He cleared his throat.
Dave caught a glance of Danny’s Adam’s apple sliding up and down. Nervous. The guy was nervous. He hoped it was an attraction thing that was causing it. But it probably wasn’t. After all, he had just been mugged, in spite of his apparent philosophical approach to the attack.
Before he could feel another wave of lust, Dave pressed the button on his radio and sent an alert to the dispatcher.