“This is gonna take some getting used to.” Detective Sean O’Brian plopped down on the huge, four-poster, king-sized bed and slid one hand up the elaborately carved post nearest him thoughtfully. “Lap of luxury,” he muttered.
“What, sleeping in the same bed, or being my ‘boy’?” Detective Nicholas Valenti, O’Brian’s partner of six years, grinned at the smaller man while he stowed his folded clothes in the carved oak dresser that matched the bed. O’Brian was done with that chore, having shoveled his own clothes into the two drawers above Valenti’s the minute they walked into the room.
Usually O’Brian was the neatnik, while Valenti tended to let things go, but the tall man felt the need to have something to do with his hands. As for O’Brian’s hasty unpacking job — well, Valenti reflected, it wasn’t the first thing his partner had done out of character lately — not by a long shot. The fact that they were unpacking their bags at the RamJack was ample proof of that.
“Both,” O’Brian said succinctly. “But I still don’t understand why I have to be your boy. Why can’t I be the sugar-daddy, huh? I’m butch enough.”
Valenti sighed. Not this again. He was beginning to think that O’Brian was whining about their arrangement just to get to him. A small smile playing around the corners of his partner’s full mouth told him his guess was probably correct.
“We agreed that you would be the boy because you’re so little and cute and furry — like a blond teddy bear, remember?” He looked over his shoulder and grinned at O’Brian, who had flopped onto his back, the better to enjoy the plush mattress.
Valenti knew his partner hated to be teased about his blond good looks and compact stature. O’Brian wasn’t exactly short at five-nine, but he wasn’t exactly tall, either, especially compared with Valenti’s six-two. “Also, because you’re better at shaking your ass,” Valenti added.
“You got that right.” O’Brian grinned back, refusing to rise to the bait. The grin reaching all the way up to his sea-green eyes, fringed thickly with reddish-blond lashes. “Yeah, I know I’m cute, and I’ll play your boy. Just don’t expect me to suck your dick, all right?”
“I think I can safely promise it won’t come to that,” Valenti answered dryly. But his partner’s words caused something low in his body to tense. “After all,” he continued, trying to put O’Brian’s careless words out of his mind as he shoved the rest of his socks in the drawer, “Captain Harris told us to go undercover — not under the covers .”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. Remind me again how we got such a plum assignment,” O’Brian grumbled. He rolled over on the bed so that he lay on his stomach and looked at his partner in the mirror over the dresser. “Oh, yeah — ’cause none of the Narc detectives that should be doin’ this job are comfortable enough together to play ‘gay.’ But apparently we are.”
“You have to admit, O’Brian, we don’t freak out if we accidentally touch each other, like a lot of guys do.” Valenti caught himself noticing in the mirror how tightly his partner’s jeans were stretched over his firm ass and had to look down quickly at the drawer he was filling so methodically.
“That’s ’cause we’re so studly, we don’t have to worry. We’re secure in our masculinity, corazón. Muy macho ,” O’Brian answered contentedly. It was a joke between them that the Irish O’Brian knew more Spanish than his partner. Valenti couldn’t speak a word despite the fact that he looked every inch of his Colombian heritage, with his black hair, brown eyes, and natural tan. He was actually more WASP than Latino in temperament and background.
“Yeah, we’re a regular couple of studs, all right,” Valenti answered distractedly, still unpacking. “Wish you wouldn’t call me that, Sean.”
O’Brian had always had a penchant for crazy nicknames, and he had picked up the affectionate Spanish corazón , which meant “heart,” from Valenti’s grandmother on a trip back east to visit his best friend’s family a few years before.
Abuelita was the only member of Valenti’s family to retain her ethnicity in the move his parents had made from the south side of the Bronx to the Hamptons when Valenti’s father had made it big. Valenti had only been three at the time, and his upwardly mobile father had insisted that nothing but English would ever be spoken in his new home.
So aside from a few standard phrases and his grandmother’s pet name for him, Valenti didn’t speak a word of Spanish. O’Brian, who had no formal training but a natural ear for languages, did.
“What, corazón? You know you love it, Valenti. Besides, what are you afraid of — that people are gonna get the wrong idea about us? In this place, it’d be the right idea, ya know?” O’Brian laughed, a musical tenor that always fooled people into thinking he had a beautiful singing voice. Valenti knew the truth about that — his partner might have an ear for languages, but he was completely tone-deaf when it came to music. O’Brian couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.
“I should never have let you know I hated that nickname,” Valenti grumbled, still trying not to look in the mirror. Honestly, he didn’t see how the hell O’Brian’s jeans stayed on at all. He wore them so tight over his round, firm ass, they always seemed in imminent danger of spontaneous combustion — the way Valenti felt any time he was around his partner lately. Since he and O’Brian were almost always around each other, it was creating something of a problem for him.
“Make ya a deal: I promise not to call you by your abuelita’s nickname for you, if you’ll just hurry the hell up with the unpacking. I wanna go check this place out — it’s s’posed to be really ritzy.” O’Brian sat up suddenly on the bed.
“Almost done. Can’t wait to get out there and shake your groove thang, huh, partner?” Valenti answered, trying to get back to their normal banter. He risked a look in the mirror and saw his own worried eyes looking back.
“You know it babe — I’m hot.” O’Brian jumped off the bed and did a few impromptu dance steps to prove it, shaking his round ass for the benefit of Valenti and thousands of adoring invisible fans.
Valenti shook his head in mock exasperation. This was the first really big case they’d been assigned since O’Brian’s near-fatal stabbing over six months ago, and his partner was a ball of nervous energy.
“Get outta here,” he growled, slapping O’Brian on the back with a folded undershirt. “Go explore on your own for a while and leave me to finish unpacking in peace. Just try to stay out of trouble, and I’ll meet you later.”
“You sure you wanna risk some other daddy bear grabbin’ my tender virgin ass when you’re not there to protect me?” O’Brian grinned and batted surprisingly long eyelashes. He stripped off his leather jacket, revealing the familiar furry chest underneath a skin-tight white T-shirt.
Twonnie, their consultant about all things gay, had tried his best to convince O’Brian to wax, arguing that gay men in general and boy toys in particular didn’t go for that much body hair. But O’Brian had adamantly refused. Secretly, Valenti was glad about that — his partner wouldn’t have been the same without the mat of wiry, reddish-gold hair that decorated his well-defined chest.
Still posing for his fans, O’Brian preened for the mirror. “I’m a hot little twinkie.” The skin-tight jeans clung lovingly to his plush ass and outlined his heavy cock, which bulged suggestively through the worn material.
Valenti groaned and rolled his eyes in mock disgust, although he privately agreed with his partner’s assessment of his own body. “Would you get outta here?” He shook his head sarcastically. “You’re driving me nuts with your blatant sexuality.” In fact, he was more than half hard from watching his partner move so provocatively, but he kept up their usual casual banter, hoping O’Brian wouldn’t notice. There was no reason for his partner to be looking at his crotch anyway. O’Brian didn’t swing that way, no matter what Valenti had been wishing lately.
“I’m goin’ already.” O’Brian threw one last grin over his shoulder as he sashayed to the door of their suite in that hip-rolling, ass-shaking swagger he had perfected for this assignment. “But you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.”
“Yeah, I’ll miss you like a bad rash,” Valenti said lamely and made as if to throw a pair of rolled-up socks at his partner’s head. Pretending to duck, O’Brian scooted out the door quickly, only to open it a second later, poking his head through the crack to say, “See ya later — daddy .” The socks hit the door as he banged it shut with a flourish, and Valenti could hear him laughing all the way down the hall of the luxurious resort.