“Sounds like a crap job to me,” Colin muttered.
“At times it is a crap job,” Joshua admitted.
“Hell, more than half of them don’t press charges and that’s the ones we even know about. I feel like I’m running in a wheel like a fucking hamster.” He sighed and slumped slightly in his chair. Then he looked up at Joshua, his green eyes soft with appeal. “Have a drink with me.”
Joshua hesitated, longing with all his heart to accept, then inhaled sharply, and forced himself to harden his resolve. Being with Colin now while his love for this dynamic man swelled so strongly within him would only make things worse. “Colin, I can’t. I need to go home and study this file.” Hoping to make his denial seem more plausible, he rose and gathered up the papers from Colin’s desk.
“Please, Josh,” Colin said, drawing the words out seductively. “You’ll make me think you’re mad at me. Do you think I haven’t noticed that you’ve been avoiding me lately? Especially since…” he hesitated, then grinned, “well, since we became close friends.”
“I’m not avoiding you,” Joshua lied. “I’m not mad at you. I’m…” he drew in a deep breath. “I’m protecting myself.”
“From having a drink?” Colin teased, rising and walking to where Joshua stood with the case file clutched tight in his hand. Colin glanced down the hallway and seeing no one there, he lifted his hand and twisted one of Joshua’s thick, dark curls around his index finger in a slow, sensuous movement that sent chills over Joshua’s entire body.
Sensing that Joshua was weakening, Colin pressed his advantage. The bewildering adrenaline rush he’d experienced a few moments ago had quickened his heart rate and left him shaken. He longed to lose himself in Joshua’s calm, solid presence. “Just one drink?” Colin coaxed, his voice low. “I promise I won’t try to jump you.”
He smiled engagingly and Joshua felt his heart lurch in his chest. Goddamn it! he thought. He quickly moved out from under Colin’s hand. “I can’t do it, Colin,” he said through clenched teeth. “I need to go.”
Disappointed, Colin’s face fell, then, suddenly decisive, his hand flew to Joshua’s wrist and gripped tightly. “What do you want from me, Josh?”
Joshua forced himself to meet Colin’s eyes. “I want what you can’t give.” He lowered his eyes, the heartbreak in his voice palpable even to his own ears.
“You know I have feelings for you,” Colin said hoarsely, using his hold on Joshua’s wrist to draw him closer.
“For me and every other guy you take to bed,” Joshua replied.
“This is about possession?”
Joshua smiled and shook his head. He lifted his hand and cradled Colin’s cheek once again gazing steadily into his honey-green eyes. “God, Colin, it’s not about that,” he whispered. “It’s you, Colin. It’s you. If it was some other guy, maybe it wouldn’t matter. I’m no innocent and I’m no prude. I’ve had casual sex before and liked it just fine. But I can’t do it with you, Colin. Nothing I feel for you is casual. Nothing. I told you once that I had a weakness for larger-than-life men, and you are the poster boy for larger-than-life men, at least you are to me. You’re the magic man. You’re Colin Campbell. I can’t do it with you, Colin. I just can’t.” He lowered his hand from Colin’s cheek and turned away. He tried to free his wrist from Colin’s grasp, but the big policeman held on tightly.
Joshua turned to face him. “You have to let me go.”
“Josh, I—I wish…” Colin began. He exhaled sharply through his teeth then stopped. He stared into Joshua’s eyes for a long moment then slowly released him.
“Me too,” Joshua said in a choked whisper. He turned away and fled the building, nearly running. He heard Colin say his name but ignored him in his rush to get away. In another few seconds he would have surrendered to Colin’s pleas and gone with him. Gone with him anywhere he wanted Joshua to go. The heat of Colin’s fingers burned his wrist like a brand. He could feel his body’s intense response to even this casual contact. Colin Campbell was a drug, and Joshua was completely addicted.
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