Sometimes the only way to stay alive is to shoot first.
Brandon Hoselton was running scared. With his family threatened he felt he had nowhere left to go and even considered ending his life to keep them safe. Until Sanctuary, in the shape of the enigmatic Daniel Karnes, gives him a reason to stay alive and offers the possibility of a future free from fear.
Daniel is new to Sanctuary, tasked with watching Brandon, a brilliant geek with a wicked sense of humor. Falling in love with the man is way too easy, now he just has to make sure they can stay together.
The only way of taking down Varga is to cut off his money, and the two men become part of an intricate take-down involving millions of dollars in uncut diamonds.
But Brandon knows too much, Daniel has secrets he can never share, and their new love is at stake. When the villain has murder in mind, sometimes, the only way to stay alive is to be the first to shoot.
Brandon took down the drapes in his room as soon as he was able to. He could have asked his sisters, but they didn’t know just how badly looking at the geometric pattern in the fabric upset his equilibrium. They knew he was weird; most sisters thought their big brothers were weird. But he also had twitches and nervous tics about certain things, and they’d seen it all, even though his list of crazy was something he could manage now.They didn’t need to know he’d spent three hours last night counting the squares on the drapes and being irritated to the point of stimming that they weren’t even and the stitching was wrong. And Jesus, stimming—having to move his fingers, loosen his muscles, anything to ground himself—he hadn’t done that in years.
And hell if he was going to ask Daniel into his room to help him, because Daniel was someone Brandon did not want in his space. Not taking down drapes, or talking to him, or even breathing near him. There was only so much of Daniel that Brandon could take, because when he was anywhere near him, he lost his ability to form coherent sentences. He didn’t have time to have these powerful feelings of lust that kept hitting him.
Like the time he and Daniel had met on the landing and Daniel had been in just a towel. They’d only been together a few days, but Daniel was funny, and sexy, and dangerous, and exactly everything Brandon should be avoiding in his life.
He had way too much to worry about, and a date written in his memory that he wouldn’t forget any time soon. The deal he had—to stay alive, to hide himself away, and then to present himself to Varga—was just about the only thing that filled his thoughts.
Varga thought that, on a given date, Brandon would join him in his huge mansion, pull together all the funds Varga had hidden in various places, and then join him in whatever country the US didn’t have an extradition treaty with.
Like hell he would. He was meeting with Varga, getting all his money, dispersing it to the right causes, and sending any intel he could get out to the authorities.
And then Varga would kill him for doing that.
Inevitable, really, and something he’d come to terms with. He’d blown his chance to do this when he’d worked for Varga, so he had to make up for it. He was doing the right thing.
He’d been biding his time in Hope, but had been unfortunate to be scooped up by Sanctuary. He just needed to work out a way to get away from them, and in particular Daniel, but he had about ten days to go yet until that magic date when Varga had decided he would be leaving the country.
For now, Sanctuary was safe for him and his sisters.
So yeah, choosing to avoid having Daniel in his room, with his probing questions and his distracting body, was an easy decision to make in among all that crap.
The only downside was that it meant he had to take the drapes down himself.
Trying to shoot himself hadn’t gone so well; instead of being dead and gone, he had a through shot and muscle damage which hurt like knives in his skin. He waited until day four, when the pain in his shoulder had lessened to the point where he could at least manage to get out of bed and to the window but he couldn’t handle looking at those drapes any longer.
Today he actually felt capable of dealing with drapes he didn’t need anyway. There were blinds at the windows, and behind the blinds each window was coated so you could see out but no one could see in. He pushed the offending fabric under the bed and clambered back to a standing position, wincing in pain as he banged his shoulder, and sat on the edge of his bed.
The drapes were still there—he could picture them under the bed—and exasperated, he lay back on the mattress and attempted to think of something else. Blue skies, blue mugs, blue eyes. Anything blue, because it was a color that calmed him.
He lasted about a minute.
Huffing, he rolled up carefully and reached under the bed, pulling out the drapes and screwing them into a ball. Opening his door, he threw them out onto the landing, not even checking if anyone was standing there.
Daniel. Of course it would be Daniel, who reacted like a ninja and had the drapes under submission in seconds.
Once they were dead, or at least overpowered with some sort of karate move, Brandon felt like he should apologize.
“My bad,” he said, and shut the door in Daniel’s face.
He expected the knock, but hadn’t quite decided what he was going to say to Daniel when he came in. Maybe if he ignored the request to enter and said nothing, then Daniel might go away.
Daniel knocked again, and this time instead of waiting for Brandon to say he could come in, he pushed his way in, looking irritable. He was shirtless, his hair wet—evidence of a recent shower—his sweats hanging low on his hips and every muscle deliciously tight and toned.
“What the hell, Brandon?” he asked, his dark eyes angry, his lips in a set line. He wasn’t holding the drapes, so Brandon counted that as a win.
“I didn’t want them up at my window,” Brandon explained, and eased himself down into the chair by his bed. He was most comfortable there; he could see out the window and it was easier to keep the pressure off his injury.
“So you decided to throw them in my face?” Daniel sounded less pissed and more confused about getting fabric in his face.
Brandon indicated the door. “To be fair, I didn’t know you were there.” Then he couldn’t resist, “And you heroically subdued them so fast, I knew you could handle the danger.”