Why I Love Bodyguards

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Why I Love Bodyguards c. 2014 T.A. Chase

Part Twenty-Nine

 Shaking his head at Burke, Cathal sighed. He should’ve known the man wouldn’t have any problem leaving a big tip for Rhonda. Hell, Burke was richer than most people in the entire state, so dropping a fifty as a tip was no problem. Why does that seem to bother me? It’s not like I couldn’t do that if I wanted. I get a pretty good salary and have the extra money.

Yet it was the casual way Burke did it that always threw Cathal off. The way the man never seemed to think about what he spends drove him crazy at times, but he knew it was his own assumption because he had a feeling that Burke knew—down to the last penny—how much money he had in every account.

“You shouldn’t throw your money around like that,” he commented as they left the diner.

“Throw my money around?” Burke frowned. “I’m not sure what you mean by that.”

“Okay…throw wasn’t the right word. Maybe flash how much money you have is what I was trying to say.” Cathal stood next to his SUV.

Burke glanced at him. “Do you think someone’s going to rob me or something like that?”

He took off his hat then scrubbed his hand over his hair. “No. I don’t think that. Just ignore me. I’m not sure what’s got me worked up.”

Cathal wanted to embrace Burke. He wanted to feel his arms wrapped tight around his body, but there were people coming and going from the diner, most of whom wouldn’t be thrilled to see two men hugging.

“You don’t mind that I said those things to Zinnia, did you?” Burke touched his arm quickly, obviously not wanting to linger for too long.

“No. I thought she had a clue when I left after high school, but I guess she’s been holding out hope that I might change my mind.” He shrugged then grinned. “I never knew you had such a possessive streak in you, Mr. Burke.”

Laughing, Burke held his hands up. “I didn’t know either. It came as a complete shock to me as well. It’s not like I haven’t had relationships before, but when she touched you, I wanted to slap her. Strange since I’m not a violent person and especially not with women.”

Cathal leaned closer and whispered, “It was kind of sexy the way you put her in her place. Made me hard.”

Lust flared in Burke’s eyes. “You’re mean. Now I’m going to have to drive home with a hard-on and you’re not going to be able to do anything for me until after the kids go to bed.”

“You’re just going to have deal with frustration, my friend. Now we have a bed to buy and kids to pick up.” Cathal opened the door on his vehicle before saying, “But I’ll let you give me a blow job when we’re done being responsible adults for the night.”

Not giving Burke a chance to answer, he climbed into the driver’s seat. He glanced out the window to see Burke glaring at him. After winking, he gestured for Burke to get in his truck.

“You’re a bastard,” Burke mouthed and Cathal chuckled.

He watched as Burke got in then he pulled out of his parking spot. Cathal knew they had enough time to go buy a bed before he had to go pick up the kids. A thrill raced through him when he thought of them buying a piece of furniture together. God, why am I so excited about this? It’s not like we’re purchasing a house or anything like that. It’s just a fucking bed, and we’ll have to leave it behind when all of this is finished.

Leading the way to the furniture store, he thought about what was going on between them. It was as though they were playing house, but would that continue once Pops died? When they got back to New York, would Burke want him to move in with him or would Burke be willing to give up his place to make Cathal’s his home?

He snorted, not able to see that because he’d been at Burke’s penthouse and it was way bigger and far more upscale than Cathal’s smaller but still nice apartment. Cathal shrugged. It wouldn’t be difficult to give up his place as long as Burke was wherever he moved to.

When had his fascination with Burke turn into love? He shook his head. Fuck! Did I just use the ‘L’ word? No way can it be love.

Cathal drove into the parking lot of the store and waited until Burke parked next to him before he got out. He propped his hip against the hood of the SUV, appreciating the way Burke strolled toward him. His lover walked like he owned the world, shoulders back and head held high. Confidence oozed from Burke and Cathal knew it was well earned.

“How about you pick the mattress and stuff? It would make more sense and shouldn’t raise any warning bells that there’s another reason why you want a bigger bed,” Burke suggested. “It won’t go over well if they knew it was for us.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Cathal sighed. “Do you think we might be taking the whole ‘rural small-mind mentality’ thing too far? People might surprise us.”

“They might, or they might beat the shit out of us and dump us in the woods somewhere.”

Laughing as he headed into the store, he said, “You might be right about that.”

Burke grunted but stayed silent.

It didn’t take long to find a mattress and a bed frame. He paid for them, even adding extra to ensure it would be delivered the next day. Once that was taken care of, they left to head back to Sunburst. Cathal was going to pick up Randy and Elisa while Burke went to the grocery store to get food for dinner and lunches the next day.

He wanted to brush a kiss over Burke’s cheek to say good-bye, but settled for a quick slap on his shoulder.

Why I Love Bodyguards

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Why I Love Bodyguards copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase

Part Twenty-Eight-

“Off topic tangent?” Cathal asked.

Nodding, Burke glanced over at Zinnia who was frowning at them. He chose to ignore her as he looked back at Cathal. “He wanted to know if he could ask some of the security guards if they’d be willing to moonlight at the reception he’s giving for Jessie and Petrovic.”

“I don’t care. If they want to, I can’t stop them. It’s not in their contract.”

“I know and that’s why I told Herb that. He’ll take care of it, or I might call Chuck later to let him know that it’s okay to ask them.” Burke grinned. “Have you picked out an engagement gift for Jessie yet?”

Cathal shook his head. “No. I don’t understand the whole purpose of having an engagement party/bridal shower that people have to buy gifts for, then having a wedding where people have to buy more gifts.”

“Women love presents, and it helps when they’re starting out together in a new home,” Zinnia spoke up. “I can help you shop for their gifts if you want.”

“Thanks, Zinnia, but I’m pretty sure Hilton has an idea of what to get them, so I’ll just throw my money in with his for their gifts. We can put both our names on the cards, which will throw Jessie and Herb.” Cathal laughed as he motioned to Rhonda. When she arrived, he said, “Can we get the check? We have some shopping to do before we gather up the kids.”

“Sure, Cathal.” She winked at Burke then glared at Zinnia. “Shouldn’t you be getting back to work?”

Zinnia blushed slightly at the rebuke. “I’m going. I just wanted to say hello to Cathal.”

“You just wanted to flirt with the man, you mean. You should know better, girl. You ain’t got nothing he’s interested in, and even if you did, you’re married and Cathal doesn’t date married women.”

Rhonda stomped off, leaving Burke to duck his head to hide his smile. Thank God she said all that instead of him. He didn’t think Cathal would be too happy if Burke lit into his high school friend. Zinnia shot daggers into the older lady’s back with her gaze then her expression brightened.

“Now that your friend is here, maybe he could watch the kids for you. We could go out for dinner and catch up on old times. It’s been a while since we got to talk alone.” She put her hand on Cathal’s arm and Burke gritted his teeth.

Oh hell no! Before Cathal could say anything, Burke reached over to take a hold of Zinnia’s wrist. He lifted her hand off of Cathal before letting it drop to the table as though he were dropping a dirty rag.

“I suggest you go back to your husband, ma’am, and forget about having a private intimate dinner with my lover,” Burke said, keeping his voice low. “I don’t share and something tells me you don’t have the right equipment to make Cathal happy. I do and I’m rather possessive about people touching him. Your husband’s family might have the biggest car dealership in the state, but I can buy and sell a thousand of his dealerships without blinking an eye.”

Zinnia looked stunned and Burke felt a twinge of guilt for snipping at her, but he really couldn’t take any more of her snobbish ways. Cathal stared at him as though he’d never seen Burke before, and to be honest, he’d never seen this side of him. Burke had never ever been so willing to destroy someone who hit on his lovers. None of them had ever meant what Cathal meant to him.

“It’s rather shabbily done to treat your husband like you are,” he pointed out.  “I’m sure he loves you very much, but why do I think you feel like you settled?”

She gasped then shot to her feet, propping her fists on her hips. “You are being horribly rude, Mr. Burke. What have I ever done to you? And you know nothing about my relationship with my husband or Cathal for that matter. How do you know he prefers you over me?”

Burke stood as well then leaned in so he could whisper, “Because I’m the one sharing his bed while you’re standing here wishing you could know what it’s like to kiss his lips.”

“Oh!” Zinnia turned beet red and ran from the diner.

After dropping back to his seat, Burke covered his face with his hands and shook his head.

“Well done, Burke. You’ve managed to horrify and fascinate her at the same time,” Cathal quipped from across the table. “Did you really have to light into her like that?”

Sighing, Burke met Cathal’s amused gaze. “The gentleman in me says no. That I should’ve overlooked her behavior while being polite to her. The man in me says there was no way in hell I was going to let you have dinner alone with her. I needed to make sure she understood that you were mine and I wasn’t about to let you go without a fight.”

“Good for you.”

They both jumped when Rhonda spoke from where she stood next to the booth.

“Someone needed to let her know she can’t always get her way. Just because her husband’s family is one of the richest in Montana doesn’t give her the right to treat others like dirt under her feet.” She folded her arms over her ample chest. “Lunch is on me, boys. Have a good day and I hope to see you again soon, Mr. Burke.”

Cathal seemed about to protest and Burke nudged his ankle with his foot as he smiled at the older lady.

“Thank you so much, Rhonda. We’ll definitely be stopping by again. This has been some of the best food I’ve ever tasted.”

Once Rhonda moved out of earshot, Cathal glared at him. “She can’t afford to be buying us lunch, Burke.”

“I know that, jackass, but you have to let her retain her pride. She pays for our lunch and we leave her a tip that will cover it and more.” Burke pulled out his wallet then tugged a fifty from it before tossing it on the table. “That should do it.”

Bad News…in Real Life

A friend of mine passed away early yesterday morning, and I spent the day with my brother who was a close friend of hers as well.

Today, my uncle goes in for open heart surgery.

Have to say this week hasn’t turned out quite the way I wanted it to. :(

I just wanted to let you all know that Bodyguards will be delayed until next Tuesday. I just couldn’t focus enough to get today’s installment done.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. We’ll start again next week.

Why I Love Bodyguards


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Why I Love Bodyguards copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase

Part Twenty-Seven-

“If I had known, we could’ve had lunch together.” She rested her hand on Cathal’s arm and Burke barely restrained himself from growling.

Being this possessive of a lover was something new of him. Burke had never been the jealous type, figuring if his lover cheated on him or ended up wanting someone else, then it wasn’t meant to be. Yet with Cathal, he didn’t want anyone touching him or even thinking that the man might be available.

“That’s all right, Zinnia. Burke came in to meet Pops and help me deal with some stuff.” Cathal shot Burke an amused glance, and he realized Cathal could tell what he was thinking. “Have you seen Margaret around Sunburst lately?”

Zinnia didn’t remove her hand from Cathal’s arm. She shook her head. “No. I thought she was in Butte or not even in the state any more. Why? Has she been around to the house?”

“Bucky and Buddy told us that she’s been stopping by the school to talk to them,” Burke spoke up, inserting himself in the conversation. “Also, we think she’s been in the house when no one else is there.”

She didn’t look at him. “Oh then you need to change the locks. I’ll stop by the hardware store on my way home and let Simon know to go to your place.”

“I’ve already taken care of the locks,” Burke informed her, nudging Cathal’s leg with his foot.

Cathal eased his arm away from Zinnia while putting a few inches between them. Zinnia frowned, but didn’t do anything else except sit there and show no signs of leaving. Irritation was making Burke very unhappy and he could feel his usual charming calm desert him the longer she was there. The waitress returned with their food and a glass of iced tea for Zinnia.

“Shouldn’t you be getting back to work?” Cathal asked before taking a bite of his burger.

“Tim won’t mind if I’m a little late getting back. When I tell him I ran into you, he’ll understand.” She looked at Burke. “Tim’s my husband and his family owns the biggest car dealership in Montana.”

Cathal coughed and Burke knew he was covering up his laughter. Burke raised his eyebrows, wanting so badly to be snarky and mean, but he couldn’t do it. His mother might not have been around for long in his life, but she’d managed to instill some manners in him before she died.

“That must be very nice for you,” he commented as he shook salt on his fries. “Cathal, we’ll have to stop and order a bigger bed to be delivered in the next day or so. Sharing your childhood bed is all well and good, but there’s really not a lot of room there unless we start sleeping on top of each other.”

Zinnia gasped and Cathal chuckled.

Be nice,” Cathal mouthed to him, making Burke purse his lips. He didn’t want to be nice. Not when Zinnia obviously hadn’t understood the message when Cathal left to join the Navy. He’d thought his lover had explained to Zinnia why they’d never be anything but friends, yet Zinnia seemed under the delusion that there was the possibility of more.

Cathal’s phone rang right before Burke could say anything else and while he answered it, Zinnia glared at Burke.

“Did Cathal tell you that he and I are dating? It is quite sudden, but the attraction has been there since we met five years ago when he came to work as head of security for my company.” Burke dipped one of his fries in ketchup then ate it before he continued, “I was quite happy to come out here to help him with his family. My parents were killed when I was ten, so I have no one except friends.”

“Doctor Davidson, does this have anything to do with the security at the labs or with your own personal safety?” Cathal sounded frustrated.

Burke laughed as he motioned for Cathal to hand him his phone. When he got it, he put it to his ear to hear Herb rattling on about something.

“Herb,” he said softly but sternly, trying hard to imitate Chuck from the many times he’d heard the homicide detective handle the brilliant scientist.

The chatter stopped.

“Take a breath.”

Herb breathed in and exhaled.

“All right. Tell me why you called McKinley.”

Some complicated description of a reception hall that should’ve been reserved, but wasn’t and security guards that should’ve been scheduled but weren’t.

“You know he can’t do anything about the hall, don’t you?”

“I know that. I don’t expect him to do anything about that. Chuck’s mom is taking care of that.” Herb huffed. “I wanted to know if I could borrow some of the guards from the labs. Would he be mad if they moonlighted?”

Burke chuckled. “You didn’t have to ask him. What they do during their off-time is none of his business.”

“Oh thank God. I was starting to panic because I don’t know anyone else and I couldn’t get Chuck to ask any of his friends at the precint. He seemed to think they wouldn’t want to do that. I mean who wouldn’t want to stand around keeping an eye on a bunch of drunk people. I’m getting the feeling that this engagement party is going to be quite interesting. Just between Chuck’s family and Petrovic’s, I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew.” Herb paused then went on. “That’s such an odd saying, don’t you think? I wonder where that originated at and why people used it.”

The absent sound in Herb’s voice told Burke he was tangenting on to a different topic, and Burke could expect to get hung up on any minute. “Ask as many men as you want to see who might want to work the party. I’ll make sure it’s okay with McKinley.”

“Thanks.” Herb hung up.

Burke handed the phone back to Cathal. “I got it taken care of, though you might be getting a phone call later about the origin of a well-known saying.”

Cathal eyed him and he made a vague gesture. “I’ll explain later.”

RJ Scott’s Autism Blog Hop

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Autism Fact:

People with autism may also experience some form of sensory sensitivity or lack of sensitivity, for example to sound, touch, taste, smell, lights or color.

 

RJ Scott asked me to be a part of her Autism Blog Hop for Autism Month and I was more than happy to join in. Please stop by RJ’s blog to check out all the other stops along the way.

I have several friends who have children who are autistic and I’ve seen how difficult it can be for them at times to deal with a world that doesn’t understand their children.

In my experience, children with autism aren’t broken, slow or being difficult because they can be. For an autistic child, the world they live in is a whole different place than the one the rest of us reside in, but that doesn’t make it bad.

I truly believe they are able to see things that we, in our rush to get to work and do our jobs and live our lives, miss. Things we wouldn’t consider important or special become all consuming to them, yet it doesn’t make it a bad thing.

Autism creates a barrier between those with it and those without it, but there are many times when I think the children who have it are truly gifted with a precious ability to see.

We need to stop trying to force them into our world and start doing our best to accept them in their own way, and maybe work a little more at fitting ourselves into the awesome world they live in.

I’m giving away an ebook from my backlist (or upcoming release-if the winner already has my other books) to one commenter. The contest is open until April 13th. :)

Why I Love Bodyguards

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Why I Love Bodyguards copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase

Part Twenty-Six

Ross grunted. “Good call, son.”

“They had a nightmare last night that Margaret came and took them away,” Burke told Ross. “I changed the locks on all the doors. I’ll stop back at the hardware to get copies made of the keys for you and the kids. Is there anyone else you want to have one?”

“Zinnia should probably have one as well,” Cathal said as he glanced at his father, obviously waiting to see what Ross had to say.

“Zinnia and make one for the Prides next door. Remind them that Margaret isn’t allowed in the house.”

“All right, Pops.”

A nurse walked in and Burke could see that Ross’s energy was seeping from him. After standing, Burke smiled at Cathal’s father.

“It was nice meeting you, sir.” He offered Ross his hand. “I’m sure I’ll see you tonight when we bring the kids in to visit.”

Ross shook his hand, but didn’t say anything. Burke strolled to the doorway and waited for Cathal to join him. When he felt the touch of Cathal’s hand at the small of his back, he moved into the hallway.

“Your father seems like a nice guy,” he commented as they headed toward the elevator.

Cathal hummed as he pushed the call button. “I guess I should’ve known he wasn’t the horrid man I thought he was. Maybe I should’ve come home before this and actually talked to him. Always imagined he’d beat my ass if I did.”

“When we’re younger, our parents take on an almost mythical presence in our lives. We’re so afraid of disappointing them that we sometimes imagine things that are true, simply because we’re afraid we’ll lose their love.” Burke gripped Cathal’s arm while they stepped into the car. “And your father knew you wouldn’t have been happy in Montana and he let you go without protesting.”

“Now I’m home and he’s dying. I won’t have a chance to get to know him. It’s not fair.”

He saw Cathal clench his hands and slid his own around to entwine their fingers. “You do have some time, Cathal. He might be dying, but he’s not dead yet. Spend as much time here as you want. I can keep an eye on the kids. I mean, I’ve managed to handle Herb all these years and he makes Bucky and Buddy look like angels.”

Cathal laughed, which is what Burke had been trying for. His lover’s smile touched Burke’s heart and he tightened his grip on Cathal’s hand. They stood close enough for their shoulders to brush as they rode down to the first floor. As the doors opened, he let go, not wanting to upset things at the hospital.

“Herb can try a man’s patience.” Cathal stopped just inside the lobby entrance then put his sunglasses on. “Why don’t you follow me to a diner I know near here? We’ll make some plans for the next couple of days. If you really do mean it, I’ll take you up on watching the kids for me while I spend some time with my father.”

Burke smiled then headed to the truck while Cathal went to the SUV. He let Cathal pull out before following him to the diner. After parking, he joined Cathal to walk in.

“Mr. McKinley, it’s nice to see you again,” one of the waitresses said as she motioned to the tables. “Take a seat wherever you want. Would you like coffee?”

“Yes please.” Cathal threw himself into a booth then propped his elbows on the table to stare at Burke. “All of this has become so complicated. When I was in New York, all I had to worry about was keeping your ass safe. Oh and making sure Herb didn’t get kidnapped by Russians again. Now I have four kids to take care of and a sister to keep away from them.”

 Burke took his seat across from him and chuckled. “It’ll be okay. Margaret will find that it’s difficult to get to the kids because we’ll keep them away from her. If she comes around, she’ll learn that it won’t be as easy as it used to be. The locks are different, so she can’t come into the house without us being there. You warned the school about her seeing the kids, though you might want to stop by the high school to let them know as well.”

“I’m pretty sure Randy and Elisa won’t go to see her if she stops by. She’s done nothing to endear herself to them. Margaret abandoned all four of them without looking back. The twins might forgive her if she were to change, but the older ones are going to be harder sells.” Cathal paused while the waitress set down two coffee mugs then filled them. “We’ll take the special, honey.”

Burke nodded when she looked at him. He wasn’t particularly interested in what the special was. He’d eat it because Cathal was. While they waited for their food to show up, they discussed what roles they were going to take on so Cathal could spend as much time with Ross as possible.

Their lunch showed up and as Burke picked up his napkin, a voice came from behind him.

“Cathal, you didn’t tell me you were coming into town today.”

Burke watched as a pretty blonde lady walked over then brushed a kiss over Cathal’s cheek. She turned to flash Burke a look that he couldn’t really figure out.

“Hilton, this is my friend, Zinnia. This is my boss and friend, Zinnia. Remember I told you he was flying out to help me with the kids.”

Standing, Burke offered his hand to her. “It’s nice meeting you, ma’am. Cathal has told me you’ve been a very good friend to him through the years.”

She shook his hand, but didn’t seem thrilled that he was there. Zinnia sat next to Cathal, who hadn’t invited her to sit, but he didn’t say anything and Burke knew it wasn’t his place to comment on just how bloody close she was sitting to his man.

Wednesday’s Work in Progress…

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It’s been a while since I shared one of these, but I thought I’d post a little snippet from A Grand Prix Romance, book 7 of the International Men of Sports series. :)  It’s what I’m working on right now and Devon and I hope to have it finished by the end of the week. Yay!

Hope you like it.

A Grand Prix Romance copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase and Devon Rhodes

Excerpt-

A fleeting thought raced through Johann’s mind. What would happen if Paolo wanted to stay around after the race was over? Could he deal with that? No one else had ever wished to see more of Johann. He rolled his eyes. Sure there had been some who wanted more than Johann had been willing to give them. He’d never been able to imagine himself settling down with a woman, and those were the ones who tended to cling.

“Johann,” Paolo called his name.

Blinking, he shot a glance over at Paolo. “Were you asking me something?”

Paolo snorted. “I hope you’ve been paying better attention to the road than you have to me.”

“I could drive this with my eyes closed,” Johann bragged as he slowed down just a little.

“I’m sure you could, but there are mere mortals who use this road, and they’re the ones I don’t trust.”

He could flatter Johann all he wanted, but Johann knew Paolo wasn’t as confident about Johann’s driving skills when it was dark out and Johann was distracted. He didn’t blame him because the winding mountainous roads of Monaco really weren’t the places to not pay attention to the pavement in front of them.

“What did you want to ask me?” He brought the conversation back to whatever Paolo had been trying to ask him.

“Your friend doesn’t care if you use his place?”

Something told Johann that wasn’t the original question. He wasn’t going to push. “No. He had to go out of the country for a business emergency. Usually he’s around during Grand Prix week and he hangs out with me down in the city.”

The road leading to the house came up on his left and he slowed even more so he could make the turn. Johann drove along until he pulled in front of the stone home. He turned the car off and they sat there for a moment, staring at the facade of the building.

“Is your friend Prince Albert?” Paolo asked.

Laughing, Johann climbed out of the Maserati. “No. It’s a little ostentatious, isn’t it? It’s an ancestral home.”

After leading the way up to the large wooden doors inset with brilliant stain glass, he smiled at the older man who held one of them opened for them.

“Thanks, Jacques. I appreciate you being willing to let us in.” Johann motioned towards Paolo. “This is my friend, Paolo.”

“Sirs.” Jacques inclined his head to both of them as he accepted their jackets and Johann’s keys. “Master Benton informed us you would be coming tonight. Dinner is ready in the small dining room. I’ve opened the merlot you were fond of the last time you visited.”

“Marvellous.” He grabbed Paolo’s hand then dragged him down the hall. “Benton’s cook is as good as any five star chef I’ve ever met. You’re going to die when you taste his food.” He greeted the young lady standing by the door. “Hey Milly.”

“Monsieur Wetl, it is good to see you again. When you are finished with dinner, don’t worry about the dishes. We’ll take care of them.” She stepped out of the way to allow Johann and Paolo to enter the room.

The small dining room was aptly named. It held an oak table that seated only four at one time. It was covered with an antique lace tablecloth and set with light blue china plates. Crystal glasses and sterling silverware completed the elegant look of the dinner setting. A gorgeous teardrop crystal chandelier hung over the table, but it had been wired for electricity, letting them dim the lightning slightly to bathe the red roses in the centre in shadows.

Johann hoped Paolo didn’t think it was cheesy. He had a romantic streak and liked to treat his lovers to special moments. He didn’t get a chance to do it very often, and he admitted it was his own fault since he had a tendency to let them walk away. Yet he readily admitted that most of the problem was his because he hadn’t hung on to them. There was always another race in another country that he had to win.

He held out a chair for Paolo who cast him a speculative glance before sitting. After taking his own seat, Johan picked up the bottle of wine to pour out a glass for each of them. Right before he put any in Paolo’s glass, he paused.

“Do you like merlot?” He hadn’t thought about the fact that Paolo just might like red wine–or wine in general.

Why I Love Bodyguards

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Why I Love Bodyguards copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase

Part Twenty-Five-

In the elder McKinley, Burke could see where Cathal got his build and looks, though Mr McKinley was a pale shadow of his son.

He cleared his throat, not wanting to eavesdrop on their conversation anymore. Both men turned to look at him and he smiled.

“This is Hilton Burke, my boss. Hilton, this is my pop, Ross McKinley.” Cathal introduced them.

“It’s nice to meet you, sir.” Burke shook Ross’ hand gently, not wanting to bruise the man’s fragile body.

“And you, Mr Burke. My son has been telling me about you coming to help out while I’m laid up.” Ross coughed as he waved for Burke to pull up a chair. “I appreciate you coming out here to back up my son.”

“It’s what friends do for each other, sir. And please call me Hilton.”

Ross eyed him then looked over at Cathal. “But you are more than just friends with my son, aren’t you, Hilton?”

Burke glanced over at Cathal to see if his lover would give him any clue as to what tell Ross. He didn’t want to cause any more problems between father and son if he could help it.

“You know he is, Pop. Quit teasing him.” Cathal rested his hand on Burke’s shoulder then squeezed. “I told him you were more than my boss, Hilton. I wanted him to know the truth, even if he doesn’t like it.”

Cathal’s father shook his head. “Doesn’t matter what I like. I won’t be here to see it or deal with it. I know you’ll take care of the kids.”

“Of course we will. Nothing will happen to them. That’s why I made sure Margaret gave me guardianship.” Cathal didn’t remove his hand as he leaned forward to meet his father’s gaze.

“You’re strong, Cathal. You always have been, even when you were younger and knew who you really were. You left here because you wanted more.” Ross cleared his throat. “That takes courage. You built yourself a good life in New York, and you have to decide if the kids will fit into it or if you’ll have to change things. Kids can throw wrenches into plans.”

“We’ll do whatever we have to do to keep the kids happy and safe, Ross.” Burke patted the older man’s arm. “You have our promise, plus we’ll make sure they always have a say in what’s going on. If moving them to New York isn’t feasible, we’ll see what can be done. Nothing is written in stone.”

Ross nodded. “I never hated you, Cathal. You need to know that. I don’t know how you can like men instead of women, but it’s none of my business. You must live the life you were destined to have, and I can’t stand in your way. I’m your father though, and I never wanted you to risk being beat up or even killed.”

Cathal chuckled. “Then I went and joined the Navy, risking my life in other ways.”

“True. Yet I always knew you would come back when you were needed.”

“You never called me. I always believed you were happy I left because you didn’t want me around you or the kids.” Cathal sighed and Burke reached up to cover his lover’s hand.

He wanted Cathal to remember he was there for him to lean on, and he meant what he’d told Ross. If taking care of the kids meant Cathal moving somewhere, Burke would ensure that it happens and he would make sure Cathal had a job doing whatever the man wanted, even if that meant he couldn’t be Burke’s head of security any more.

Burke understood how important family was. He knew it came from losing his at such a young age. Cathal’s niece and nephews had lost their mother, and now they were coming to terms with the fact that they’ll be burying their grandfather. Burke was going to do his best to make sure they didn’t lose their uncle.

“Has Margaret stopped in, Pop?”

Ross shook his head. “She wouldn’t dare show her face to me. Margaret isn’t a mother. She loves the drugs and the men who will give them to her for sex instead of her children. She knows I’ve washed my hands of her.”

“But what don’t you want to say your good-byes?” Burke frowned, not quite understanding why Ross wouldn’t want to tell his only daughter he loved her before he died.

“I’m not sure how it is in your family, Hilton, but in this one, we’ve already said good-bye to Margaret the first time she chose drugs over her children. I’ll never forgive her for that.” Ross shook his head. “You never turn your back on family.”

Burke smiled and he knew that there was a touch of sadness in it. “My parents died when I was ten, so I don’t have a lot of experience with family dynamics.”

Ross shot him a compassionate look. “I’m sorry, Hilton. I didn’t know.”

“It’s something that happened long ago. For the most part, I’m over it, but there are moments. I think they would’ve liked Cathal and your grandchildren. Hell, they’d probably even like you.” He grinned at the older man.

Snorting his laughter, Ross started hacking and wheezing. Burke was afraid they’d have to call the nurse, but he slowly got his breathing under control.

“Sorry.” Burke touched Ross’s hand.

Waving his other hand, Ross inhaled sharply. “It’s not your fault, son, but I know what you saying. I’ve lived my life, Hilton. It’s time for me to move on.”

“But not quite yet, Pop. I’m bringing the kids up to see you tonight. The twins were asking about you yesterday.” Cathal rubbed Burke’s shoulder. “They said that Margaret has come to see them at their school. They were afraid she was going to take them away when you died.”

“You talked to the principal, right? I’ve told them before she’s not to have any contact with any of the kids.” Ross clenched his jaw.

Cathal nodded. “I told them that the next time I hear she talked to the twins, I was going to pull them from school and sue the school district.”

Contest for Facebook Party….

For those of you stopping by to enter the contest from the Facebook chat, here’s the link.

Hope you had fun. :)

New Book and Party…

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In case you didn’t know, Close the Distance, came out on Friday and is available at all 3rd Party sellers. :)

 

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Also, if you stop by Totally Bound’s Facebook page on Tuesday between 8-10 pm. Carol Lynne, Amber Kell and me will be having a party to celebrate m/m books and our newest releases. There will be prizes  and also you can sign up to win a Kindle with three awesome books on it already. :) Click here to check it out and enter.

 

I have to finish up my edits for Saint Petersburg and buckle down to get A Grand Prix Romance done this week. Then it’s on to finishing up Losing Sight of the Target and starting Anywhere Tequila Flows, book 4 in the Rags to Riches series. So it’ll be another busy week for me.

 

I hope you all have an amazing Monday. :)