Why I Love Bodyguards copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase
Cathal hung the towel from the front of the stove to dry then turned to see Burke sitting next to Randy at the table.
After dinner, while Elisa and the twins helped Cathal with the dishes, Randy had grabbed his physics homework. Burke had joined him and they were talking quietly while Burke wrote something down on the paper in front of them.
“Do you have any homework, Elisa?” Cathal glanced at his niece.
She nodded. “I have some reading to do. I’ll grab my book and sit out here with them.”
“Great. Bucky. Buddy. Put your boots on. You can come help me bed the horses down for the night,” he called, figuring the twins would like to be outside blowing off some steam before bed.
They ran through the kitchen, screaming their fool heads off as they went to the mudroom to get their boots. Chuckling, he met Burke’s gaze and his heart skipped a beat when he saw the happiness shining in those usually cool blue eyes. He tried to remember the last time he’d seen a look like that on Burke’s face. It wasn’t that the man was sad or dour all the time. He was very serious and Cathal doubted he had many opportunities to laugh in his life.
“Sounds like they’re happy about doing it,” Burke remarked as the noise level went down a little as the boys struggled to get dressed.
“They will until they’re big enough to actually help out,” Randy commented, shooting Cathal an amused look. “Then it’ll become a chore like everything else.”
“That’s what happens when you grow up, Randy,” Burke said, clapping the teenager’s shoulder. “You find out so many things you thought were fun when you’re younger, aren’t really fun when you’re older.”
Cathal laughed. “But there are things you can do as an adult that you can’t do as a kid, and those things are usually a lot more fun than you thought.”
When Burke looked at him, he wiggled his eyebrows and Burke snorted. The slamming of the back door caught his attention, causing him to swear.
“Shit! I better get outside or they’ll burn down the barn or have Roscoe riding one of the horses around the corral.” He dashed into the mudroom before stomping into his boots.
When he got outside, the boys were running around the backyard, yelling and chasing each other with Roscoe barking beside them. He let them keep playing since he didn’t need their help. It was just an excuse to get them outside playing. They slept better afterwards.
He cleaned out the stalls then filled the water buckets. After that, he put a scoop of oats in each feed pail before bringing the horses. Humming softly, Cathal returned each one to the appropriate stall after he groomed them. Once the sounds of the animals eating their dinner filled the air, he turned off the overhead lights, leaving two lights at the ends of the aisle on.
When he shut the barn door behind him, he looked around and groaned when he spotted the twins standing in the middle of his father’s koi pond. Cathal shook his head.
“Didn’t Poppa tell you two to stay out of there?” Stalking over, he glared at them.
“But Unca Cathal, Roscoe falled in and we had to save him.” Bucky blinked innocently at him.
Cathal shot a glance at his dog, sitting perfectly dry on the edge of the pond. “Roscoe’s scared to death of water. There’s no way he’d somehow end up in it. Get out of there and get inside. Strip off your wet clothes by the washer. It’s time for a bath then bed.”
They protested the entire way into the house and continued while they tossed their clothes in every direction. He gathered the soggy mess before throwing it all into the washer.
As he entered the kitchen, he found Randy, Burke and Elisa talking. There were mugs of hot chocolate in front of them.
“There’s some left on the stove,” Burke said when he saw where Cathal’s gaze landed. “There’s even enough for the twins if you’ll let them have some.”
Cathal shook his head. “Not tonight. They were in the koi pond and they know they aren’t supposed to play in there. So no hot chocolate for them tonight. I’m going to get them in the bath.”
By the time he got the twins bathed then in bed, he was ready to put his feet up and pass out from exhaustion. Thank God the other two kids were able to do everything on their own and didn’t need him to help. He’d gained a lot of respect for parents after dealing with these four even though it had only been a few days.
When he got back to the kitchen, Randy and Elisa were in their bedrooms, reading or playing video games, and Burke was pouring out some chocolate for him.
“Sit,” Burke ordered and Cathal wasn’t inclined to argue with him.
He wrapped his hands around the mug, breathing in the enticing scent of warm chocolate and cinnamon. “This smells great.”
“Do you want some marshmallows?” Burke held up the bag of mini ones Cathal had bought the other day.
“Sure.” He leaned back to give Burke access to his cup. “Aren’t you having some?”
Burke shook his head. “I drank with the kids. I’m making a pot of coffee though.”
“How did you know how to make homemade chocolate? I can make the pre-packaged kind without a problem, but that’s not the same as this stuff.” Taking a sip, he sighed at the marvelous dark flavor dancing on his tongue.
“My mum used to make us some every night when I was little. It was our ritual as we talked about our day. Hell, even Father joined us and though I was little, I didn’t realize all the things I absorbed during those family gatherings.” Burke fixed himself a cup of coffee then joined Cathal at the table.
This is the cover to Patrick’s story from Rags to Riches. I think the release date for this is in May, but I have to double check…lol.
Burning Up the Ice, Book 5 in the International series, is now available at all 3rd party sellers as well as Totally Bound. Click here to check it out.
And Serving Love at Carnival is available for early download as well. Click here to see that.
Okay…I think that’s all my news for today. Plan on doing a lot of writing this weekend to see if I can’t get some stories done and turned in.
I hope you all have a great weekend. Stay warm and safe.
Why I Love Bodyguards copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase
Burke did as Cathal told him, trying very hard not to think about how domestic the whole situation was. There they were in the kitchen, making dinner for the kids sitting in the living room arguing. He couldn’t help smiling and Cathal glanced at him.
“What are you smiling about?” Cathal bumped their shoulders together as he walked by to get to the stove.
Shrugging, he said, “Just glad to be here, I guess.”
He wasn’t about to share how much he enjoyed the feeling of being a family he was experiencing at the moment. It was something he’d lost when his parents died. While he did have a guardian, he never spent much time with the man. Most of their contact had been over the phone, through emails and letters. Most school holidays he spent with friends and their families, ensuring he always felt like a third wheel.
Yet here in Cathal’s father’s kitchen, Burke felt accepted like all of them were glad to have him there. It was an odd but heartwarming feeling for an orphan who’d learned how to get along without anyone.
Cathal paused, studying Burke for a moment then he smiled. As he went past again, he brushed a quick kiss over Burke’s cheek. “We’re glad to have you here. It’s nice to have someone I trust as back-up.”
“What happened?” Burke couldn’t help but ask.
“What do you mean?” Cathal checked the burgers he was cooking for the kids.
“Why are you touching and kissing me all of a sudden after the stand-off we’ve had since you started working for me?” Burke held up his hands. “I like it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely not complaining, but it’s just thrown me off.”
Cathal set his spatula on the counter before approaching Burke. He took him by the hips to pull him close. He gave him another kiss then leaned back a little. “I guess I realized something when I stood there, staring at my dad in the hospital. As much as I’d love to believe otherwise, life is short and if I don’t get out of my own way, I just might miss out on some pretty wonderful things. Then you flew out here, even though you really can’t take the time away from the office, simply because I was over my head with all of this.”
Burke cradled Cathal’s face in his hands. Smiling, he said, “I’m not indispensible at my companies and it’s not like I’m in the Outback here. I still get cell service and everything. There was no way I was going to let you deal with all of this on your own. No matter what you thought when you flew out here.”
He wrapped his arms around the bigger man then hugged him. Sighing, Cathal rested his cheek on Burke’s head for a moment. The sound of Buddy yelling broke them apart. Cathal glanced towards the living room, but Burke shook his head.
“You finish up in here. I’ll go see what the animals are getting into.”
Burke strolled down the hallway back to the front of the house. He found Buddy and Bucky wrestled on the couch, yelling their fool heads off while Randy and Elisa were battling it out on some video game.
“Exactly what the bloody hell is going on?” He didn’t raise his voice, but all activity ceased as they turned to look at him.
The dog that had been barking stopped as well. Burke held out his hand as the animal approached, letting him sniff it while Burke studied the twins. He wasn’t concerned about the older kids. They hadn’t been screaming or fighting.
“Bucky. Buddy. Come here please.”
The twins slid off the couch before shuffling over to stand in front of him. Their heads were down and they looked pitiful.
“Why were you fighting?”
“No reason,” Buddy spoke up after shooting Bucky a quelling look. “Just letting off steam.”
Where had he learned that phrase? Burke shook his head. “Do you do that often?”
Bucky nodded. “All the time. Poppa said we acted like heathens.” He screwed up his face. “I’m not sure what that means.”
“It means you behave badly,” Elisa said from where she sat in front of the TV.
Burke wasn’t going to get into that discussion with any of them. “What did he usually do when you acted this way?”
“Well, he’d either swat our butts or send us outside to play.” Buddy grinned. “Can we go outside?”
“Unfortunately, no. No one can go out to keep an eye on you and I think dinner is almost ready. Why don’t you two go and get cleaned up before going to ask your uncle if he wants you to set the table?” Burke motioned in the direction of the kitchen.
“All right.” Buddy grabbed Bucky’s hand then dragged him off.
Burke glanced over at Randy and Elisa. “Finish up your game then wash up as well.”
“Yes, sir.” Randy nodded and Elisa smiled at him.
Crouching down, Burke scratched the dog’s ears. “You must be Roscoe. Your owner has good taste if he adopted you. You’re quite a handsome dog.”
Roscoe smiled that famous ‘pittie’ smile and Burke chuckled as he straightened.
“Dinner’s ready, everyone,” Cathal hollered and there was a rush as the older kids went to wash their hands while the twins did their best to set the table.
They all pitched in to get the food on the table then they settled in their places with Burke at one end and Cathal at the other. Dinner was loud as the kids all tried to tell Cathal what they did during school and at recess. At times, Cathal had to remind the twins to use their indoor voices after wincing from an overly loud shout. Burke listened and ate, loving how natural Cathal seemed dealing with all of them.
Cathal might not believe in his own ability to raise his niece and nephews, but nothing Burke had seen so far made him think the man wouldn’t be great at it.
I thought I’d share another excerpt from Losing Sight of the Target. I’m actually working on St Petersburg, the last book in my M/F Fallen series. Need to get that done. Have two sets of edits to go through as well. It’ll be a busy next couple of days, but I’ll push through it…lol
So here you go:
Losing Sight of the Target copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase
They got in line and grabbed some breakfast. Nate gestured to a table where some of the other skiing team sat. Justin nodded to them as he took a seat.
“Hey man, who’d you fuck last night?”
He jerked his head up and stared at Rob, one of the cross-country skiers. “What do you mean?”
“Dude, your room’s right next to mine.” He grinned. “Heard your bed bang against the wall a couple times last night.”
His cheeks on fire, Justin dropped his gaze to his plate. “Umm…”
“Leave him alone, Rob. Not everyone is a complete man whore like you and sleeps with anyone who’ll have him. Plus he’s a gentleman and doesn’t kiss and tell.” Nate punched Rob in the arm.
Justin appreciated Nate stepping in. He’d never told anyone that he trained with that he was gay. Mostly because it simply never came up. It wasn’t like he was hiding it or anything like that. If someone had asked him point blank about it, he’d have said something.
“Fine, but just let me know if I’m going to be hearing any more of that because I’ll put on my headphones.” Rob winked at him.
“Like you weren’t doing the same damn thing,” Peter, Rob’s roommate, said as he joined them. “I walked in on him last night. Who were you fucking? Oh yeah. One of the German snowboarders. I had to leave.”
“That bad,” Justin joked, trying to get over his embarrassment.
“Oh she was hot, but I couldn’t stand there looking at his blindingly white ass for another minute.” Peter ducked the slap Rob aimed for his head.
The joking and laughter continued while Justin finished eating. When he and Nate were both done, they threw away their trash then went to meet up with their coach in the gym.
After a few hours, Justin returned to his room to change into his outdoors ski clothes. He was excited to get outside in the fresh air and stretch his legs. He wasn’t the type of guy who liked to spend too much time inside. Going over to his dresser to grab his gloves and sunglasses, he noticed a flash of sliver hanging from the mirror. He removed the chain and brought it over to the window so he could examine it. It wasn’t there when I left to go to breakfast. How did he get in here again?
The pendant was of a rifle layered on top of a pair of skis forged out of silver like his bracelet. He ran his fingers over it, loving how the roughness of the edges and raised lines told him what it was without him having to look at it. Justin took off the tag attached to it and read it.
“Good luck. Love, C”
He tugged the note away before he put the necklace on. Arranging everything so it rested on his chest under his shirt, he touched it one more time before heading out. He needed to keep his head on his events and not the mysterious man who kept appearing then disappearing after fucking Justin stupid.
“What took you so long?” Nate yelled from where he stood next to a bus that was going to transport them to where the cross-country and biathlon events were going to take place.
“Sorry.” Justin wasn’t about to spill his guts to Nate, not about Caesar anyway. Something told him Caesar didn’t want anyone to know he was around, not that anyone would know who Caesar was. At least Justin didn’t think Caesar was famous or anything like that. Oh hell! What the fuck do I know about the man? He’s a contract negotiator or something like that. He comes and goes like a ghost. And I really like him.
How could he like Caesar when he didn’t know the man? All they’d done was have sex and talk a little bit. It wasn’t like they’d dated for months. Two nights together didn’t constitute a relationship, though it did feel like Caesar was courting him by sending gifts.
He looked up to see Nate staring at him. “What?”
“Get your head out of your ass and pay attention. The next two weeks are going to be the most important in your life, do you understand? If you want any shot at medaling, you need to focus.” Nate frowned. “I know there’s something going on with you. I can tell by how Norman looks at you, but you have to push it out of your mind.”
“Actually I wasn’t even thinking about that,” Justin admitted. “I was trying to figure something out in my head, but you’re right. I have to forget about it all and live in the moment. That’s the only way I’m going to achieve what I want.”
They settled into their seats with some of the other people heading up into the mountains. Justin nodded at one of the Norwegian biathletes he’d competed against in the world championship events. The man nodded back before slipping his earbuds in.
Why I Love Bodyguards copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase
He didn’t know how long he stood on the porch before Buddy shoved the door open and looked at him.
“Are you staying out there? You don’t have to. We got room.”
Burke chuckled. “Thank you, Buddy. I’m glad to know you have a bedroom for me. I’d hate to have to sleep outside the entire time I’m here.”
“Why? Camping’s fun.” Buddy led the way into the living room where the other kids were gathered.
Cathal came from the back of the house, carrying a tray of glasses and plates. His smirk told Burke he knew exactly what he’d done when he kissed him. “Would you like a snack? I let them have a treat and watch some TV while I make dinner then afterwards, they do homework while I take care of the horses.”
“No. I’m fine. Can you show me where my room is? I’d like to check in with Rebecca before she leaves the office.”
“Sure. Randy, can you pour some milk for the twins?” Cathal set the tray down on the coffee table before motioning for Burke to follow him. “I put you in the room closest to me.”
Burke studied the firm ass flexing in front of him as they walked down the hall. He was paying enough attention to stop when Cathal did. After Cathal pushed open the door to the bedroom, Burke gripped his elbow to drag him along as he stepped in. He didn’t shut the door all the way, but shoved Cathal against the wall beside it.
He didn’t give the man a chance to speak or argue. Cathal started it and Burke was more than willing to take up the gauntlet. He crushed their lips together then slid his hand into Cathal’s hair, holding him still. He plundered Cathal’s mouth, tasting coffee and sweetness. He must have eaten a cookie while he was getting the kids’ snacks.
Cathal didn’t fight him, just opened to him like he’d been waiting for their kiss all of his life. Burke groaned when Cathal grabbed two handfuls of his ass to pull him tight against him. It was nice to be embraced by a man who was close to his own size, though Cathal was an inch or two taller than Burke.
While he did tend to sleep with men who were slender and younger, that didn’t mean that was the only body type he was attracted to. Hell, he’d wanted Cathal from the moment he’d met the man. Burke rocked into Cathal, loving the feel of their erections rubbing on each other.
A shout from the living room broke them apart. Burke licked his lips as he stared at Cathal who touched his own lips for a second.
Burke blinked. “Why what?”
“Why did you kiss me?” Cathal seemed confused.
“Because you kissed me first. I’ve wanted to do that for five years and I’m going to take advantage of any opening you give me to get a kiss or two from you before you come to your senses and punch me.” Burke grinned.
Cathal chuckled. “I won’t be hitting you any time soon, Hilton. Trust me, it’s taken all my strength not to grab you and kiss you before this.” He reached out to cup Burke’s face. “I guess you dropping everything to come out here and help me has made me realize some things.”
Before he could ask what those things were, another shout came from the front of the house and Cathal sighed. “I have to check and make sure the twins aren’t beating the shit out of each other. God, those boys love each other, but they fight non-stop sometimes. I don’t know how my pop dealt with them on his own.”
Burke kissed the palm of Cathal’s hand then stepped back. “I’ll call Rebecca then come out to help with dinner.”
After nodding, Cathal left and Burke had to adjust himself to make sure there was enough room in his slacks. He saw his packages from shopping earlier on his bed, so he decided to change out of his wrinkled clothes into some jeans and a T-shirt. Once that was done, he picked up his phone from the comforter where he’d tossed it.
Hitting Rebecca’s number, he sat on the edge of the mattress while he waited for her to answer.
“Hello Mr. Burke. I’m glad to see you arrived at Mr. McKinley’s all right,” Rebecca said.
“Yes, we’re at his father’s place. The children might take a little while to get used to, though they don’t seem like bad kids.” He rubbed his chin. “I was just checking in to make sure there wasn’t anything you needed me for.”
“Everything was quiet today, sir, but you do have a phone conference tomorrow that I could move.” There was clicking in the background like she was typing. “I’ve sent you the times. If you call me, I can set up the call to include Mr. Rondason from accounting.”
“Thanks, Rebecca. I’ll make sure to call you beforehand and we can discuss my plans. I’m glad to hear there aren’t any emergencies yet. Is there anything Mr. McKinley should be worried about?” He knew Rebecca would’ve contacted Cathal if there was, but he liked to keep his fingers on the pulse of everything going on in his companies.
She laughed. “No, sir. We’re all doing okay here while you’re gone.” She paused then continued, “Though Dr. Davidson would like you to call him when you get a chance. He didn’t sound like it was an emergency. I think it might have something to do with Jessie’s party rather than any of his research.”
Rolling his eyes, Burke shook his head. “All right. Thanks, Rebecca. I’ll call you tomorrow for the meeting. Go home and give Frodo and Gollum hugs from me.”
“Yes sir. Tell Mr. McKinley we’re praying for his father.”
“I will.” He hung up then stood, tugging his phone in his back pocket before heading out to find the kitchen.
When he got there, he saw Cathal bent over, putting something in the stove. He clenched his hands to keep from grabbing one of those cheeks, perfectly filling out those faded jeans. He cleared his throat and Cathal shot him a glance from over his shoulder.
“You can grab the vegetables from the refrigerator and cut them up for salad,” Cathal ordered him without seeming to have the slightest idea what Burke was thinking.
I’m sure you’ll see this wandering around if you follow many writers because whoever wrote this for Robert DeNiro knew exactly what they were talking about. The were millions of writers out there last night nodding their head in agreement…lol
Well, I didn’t get Losing finished over the weekend, though I’m closer than I was…lol. It’ll be done this week. (keeping my fingers crossed) I did get St Petersburg started and am on track with that word count. Yay! I have to tweak my secret story, but I’m going to do that today so I can get that back to my editor this week.
I’ll be doing the next Bodyguard installment first though. That needs to be done early this afternoon then I can work on whichever one I want.
Oh, the amazingly awesome Amy Lane has a post on her blog today of some upcoming releases to look forward to this month. Check it out here. I’m mentioned twice, but so is Mary Calmes, BA Tortuga, and Rhys Ford. JP Barnaby as well. To help you add to your to-be-read pile.
I hope you all have a great Monday.
My M/F book, Los Angeles, Book 6 of the Fallen series, is available today. Yay! click here if you’d like to check it out.
Close the Distance, Book 2 in the Rags to Riches series, is available now for early download. So you can see how everything plays out for Adrien and Ion. Click here to grab it (You can get it if you’re a VIP at Totally Bound, which means you just have to sign up for their newsletter…lol. Very simple)
Serving Love at Carnival is up for pre-order now at Totally Bound. Click here to check it out. This one takes place in Rio and features a pro beach volleyball player.
Just signed the contract for Book 3 in the Rags to Riches series, Following His Footsteps. It’s Patrick’s story. And got approval for the title of Book 4, Anywhere Tequila Flows. I haven’t written it yet, but at least I won’t have to worry about the name. It’s on my schedule to start in mid-March after I finish St Petersburg, Book 8 (and the last one) in the Fallen series.
I’m planning on finishing Losing Sight of the Target today or tomorrow. It’s been an interesting story and hopefully you all fall in love with Jensen and Caesar. Plus I have to tweak a story I turned in last week then send it back, but as soon as I can, I’ll tell you all about it.
Well, I have a busy weekend planned. I hope you all have a fun and safe weekend. Oh, and a warm one as well.
Why I Love Bodyguards copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase
“Not tonight, Buddy,” Cathal told him. “Poppa wasn’t feeling too good when I saw him this morning. We’ll let him get a good night’s sleep, then we’ll go visit him tomorrow after school. You and Bucky can make him some get well cards tonight. All right?”
Buddy didn’t look particularly happy about it, but he didn’t say anything. Burke smiled when Bucky reached over to pat his brother on the arm.
“It’s all right, Buddy. Poppa said to listen to Unca Cathal. Poppa don’t feel good.” Bucky sighed and Burke noticed that the only difference between the twins was Buddy had blue eyes and Bucky had green.
Which seemed weird that they wouldn’t have the same eye color. He wondered what the odds were that something like that would happen. He’d have to talk to one of the genetic scientists at the lab about it.
“What would you like for dinner tonight?” Cathal asked as they headed north out of town.
“Unca Cathal, who’s this guy?”
Burke saw Bucky point at him and he smiled, hoping he didn’t look scary or anything. He gave a mental snort. If the kids weren’t scared of Cathal, they’d definitely not be afraid of Burke.
“He’s Uncle Cathal’s boyfriend,” Elisa said casually.
Both Cathal and Burke jerked like they’d been hit with an electrical shock.
“Oh no, honey. Mr. Burke and I aren’t dating,” Cathal said, almost stumbling over his words. “We’re just friends.”
“That’s what Mr. Burke said, but come on. We’re not stupid you know. Poppa said you were gay and I see how you look at each other.” Randy shrugged. “There are gay kids at school. It’s no big deal.”
How they looked at each other? Burke wasn’t sure what Randy meant by that, but there didn’t seem to be any kind of disgust or anger in the kid’s voice as he spoke.
“Poppa told you about me?”
Burke caught the glance Cathal shot at him, and he shrugged, having no idea what could’ve been said. Though it did seem like whatever had been talked about hadn’t soured the kids against their uncle.
“Yeah.” Elisa didn’t look up from the book she was reading. “I asked why you didn’t come to see us, and Poppa said it was because you were gay and that the people in Sunburst might not be nice to you. Also, he said that while you loved the ranch and stuff, you needed to broaden your horizons. See the world before you could make up your mind whether you were coming back or not.”
“He said you’d be here if any of us ever needed you though.” Randy picked up the conversation. “We might not be able to trust Ma to come back, but you’d be here when we called you. And you came.”
Burke couldn’t help it when he reached over to rest his hand on Cathal’s thigh then squeezed it. He could see how shocked Cathal was at Randy’s words. Something must have changed Cathal’s father’s attitude over the years if he’d been willing to tell his grandchildren they could count on their uncle. Or maybe Mr. McKinley had always known Cathal had to leave Montana and he’d made the choice easier by driving his son away.
The twins started chattering about what they did in school and Burke leaned over closer to Cathal. “Maybe you should go see your father after you drop the kids off at school. I think you have some revelations to discuss.”
Cathal nodded. “I guess you’re right. How did I not know he felt that way?”
Burke shrugged. “There are a thousand different reasons people don’t reveal all they feel. I’m sure you’ll find out.”
“Right.” Cathal took a deep breath then said, “All right, you four. You didn’t tell me what you wanted for dinner.”
All of them had their own request, and Burke blocked out the discussion. Cathal had said he had steak for the two of them, and that was fine with him. A sad twinge raced through his heart as he listened to the happy arguing. He’d only experienced a little of that familial interaction before his parents died.
Children weren’t in the cards for him. Not because he was gay since he knew with his money, he wouldn’t have any problem adopting. He didn’t think he’d ever have a family because he believed children should have a strong support system, and while he had friends, he didn’t have close ones he could count to help him raise kids.
“Hilton, are you coming?”
Blinking, he turned to look at Cathal then glanced around to see they were parked in front of a one level ranch house. It had a porch that looked like it wrapped around the entire outside, plus flower beds full of roses in front.
“Yes.” He opened the door before climbing out of the truck.
The kids had already gone inside and he continued to look around, memorizing as much as he could see of the place where Cathal had grown up. Cathal walked around the front of the vehicle, carrying some of Burke’s bags. Burke went to the back to grab his carryon.
“It’s nice,” he told Cathal.
Shrugging, Cathal studied the house. “It’s home. Not quite the same as I remember it, but still there are a lot of good memories here.”
Again, he didn’t fight his urge to touch the man. He laid his hand on Cathal’s shoulder. “I’m glad. Having memories that make you smile is a wonderful thing.”
“Is that why you’ve never sold your estate in England or the one in Scotland?” Cathal asked as he led the way to the front door.
“Those are the only places where my family lived when I was little. I sit in the workshop and remember watching my father as he worked on his invention. Spending time in the flower gardens brings back days spent with my mother as we planted roses and lilies.” Burke tried to smile.
Cathal stopped so suddenly that Burke wasn’t ready for it and he ran into him. He watched as Cathal set the bags on the porch before cradling Burke’s face in his hands. Shock raced through him when Cathal leaned in and brushed a gentle kiss over his lips. Just one quick kiss then he moved away.
“I’m sorry, Hilton. I bet they were amazing parents,” Cathal said quietly before disappearing in the house, leaving Burke speechless.
Why I Love Bodyguards copyright c. 2014 T.A. Chase
As much as Burke wanted to offer to send Elisa to London, he knew better. Not everyone appreciated his willingness to share his wealth. Some saw it as throwing his money around, but Burke saw it as sharing the fortune that fate had seen fit to give him. He had more than he would ever spend in his lifetime, even if he were given to expensive toys and travels.
“While I’m here, we can talk about my home and all of the things you might want to know about it. I also spend a great deal of time in Scotland, so I can answer questions about that country as well,” Burke offered.
“Great. Would you be interested in coming to my school? Maybe talk to my English History class. I’m sure my teacher wouldn’t care.” Elisa bounced in her seat.
Burke shot Cathal a look and his friend shrugged, leaving the decision up to him. He cleared his throat. “I’m not sure how long I’ll be here, but if you can work something out in the next couple of days, I’ll be happy to come visit your class.”
“Yay!” Elisa shouted and clapped her hands together.
“Calm down, you goof.” Randy poked his sister. “You’re acting like a weird-o.”
“No. She’s acting like a teenager, which is good.” Cathal touched Burke’s hand. And when he met Cathal’s gaze, he mouthed, “Thank you.”
Nodding, Burke turned to look at Randy. “Physics, huh? Is it just for credits or are you interested in math and science?”
Randy studied Burke for a second like he was gauging his sincerity. It made sense since Randy hadn’t been able to rely on his mother and now his life was turned upside down with his grandfather being in the hospital. An uncle that he really didn’t know had returned to take care of him, yet how was he to know whether he should trust Cathal or not?
Burke wished he could convince the kid that Cathal would never abandon him or his siblings. No matter how they turned his world upside down, Cathal would do whatever he had to do to make sure they were safe. Burke could say it, but Cathal would have to prove it with his actions.
“I like both math and science. I’m trying to decide what I want to do when I go to college,” Randy admitted.
“One of the businesses I own is a research and development lab and company. Some of my researchers are physicists and biologists. I even have a couple rocket scientists on my payroll. If you ever wanted to see what they do, you’re more than welcome to come to New York and visit the lab. The Burke Laboratories is the closest one. The rest are in other countries.” Burke bit his tongue, not wanting to say anything else because he didn’t want overstep his bounds by saying anything else.
“God, can you imagine him meeting Herb?” Cathal shook his head while chuckling.
“Dr. Herbert Davidson is one of those scientists I told you about. He’s talked about going back to get his doctorate in astrophysics, so he could become a rocket scientist, but his husband isn’t going to let him do that.” Burke grinned. “Herb is too smart for his own good, and it’s always an adventure when you talk to him.”
“His husband?” Randy asked.
“Yes. Herb’s husband is a homicide detective. Chuck’s perfect for him. I’ve never seen a man more in love with his partner, even when that partner could drive a nun to swear.” Burke rolled his eyes. “Herb has a problem of saying everything that goes on in his head, and trust me, there’s a lot happening in there.”
“Hmm…” Randy was silent for a few minutes, then he said, “You’d let me come and check out the labs?”
“Sure. Maybe you could come over your Christmas vacation. That might help you make a choice on universities.”
Burke made a mental note to talk to Cathal about bringing all the kids to New York. It would give Randy a chance to look over the labs and chat with the scientists. He’d take Elisa to the museums and a play. Burke wasn’t sure what to do with the twins, but he was sure he could ask Rebecca or maybe Jessie would know what to do with them.
“We’ll discuss it when it gets closer.” Cathal shot Burke a quelling look and he ducked his head.
He hadn’t meant to get ahead of their plans. They had no way to know what was going to be happening when Christmas came around. Burke kept quiet as they drove over to the elementary school. He waited in the truck while Cathal and Elisa went to get the twins.
“It’s all right, you know.”
Burke looked at Randy. “What’s all right?”
“That you and Uncle Cathal are together,” Randy said.
“Oh no. Cathal and I aren’t together. I really am his boss and we’re just friends.” Burke shook his head. Hell, he didn’t even know if Cathal had said anything to the kids about being gay and now he just outed him. Damn!
Randy eyed him like he wasn’t convinced, but fell silent as the boys climbed into the back as well.
“Shouldn’t they be in car seats?” He said as everyone got buckled in.
“Yeah, but we don’t have room for everyone in the truck. If we go anywhere, we’ll have to take the SUV next time. I didn’t think about it before I left this morning.” Cathal grimaced.
Elisa reached over the seat to pat his shoulder. “That’s all right, Uncle Cathal. Poppa forgot sometimes too. Just be careful driving home and it’ll be okay.”
Burke turned his head to look out the window to hide his smile. It was cute to see Cathal’s niece trying to make him feel better about things. Though he wasn’t sure Cathal was happy about being compared to his father.
“Can we go see Poppa tonight?” One of the twins asked.
Hearts on the Line is now available at Amber Allure. Check it out here. I did add an epilogue/chapter to it, so you know how the boys are doing in Mexico.
On today’s schedule I have: writing the next installment of Bodyguards, work on Losing and A Grand Prix Romance. So a full day of writing is ahead for me.
In case anyone is interested, Close the Distance is up for pre-order now. Check it out here.
As is Serving Love at Carnival. Check it out here.
I hope you all have a great day.