|Place-Holder Pic for Paradox|
Definition from Websters: PARADOX: A tenet or proposition contrary to received opinion; an assertion or sentiment seemingly contradictory, or opposed to common sense; that which in appearance or terms is absurd, but yet may be true in fact.
Phil has a job he loves, full of danger and excitement most of the time, and a working partner he trusts with his life. Until Ryan kisses him. It’s only meant to be a diversion tactic to convince the heavies they’re two harmless gays, but that kiss shakes Phil’s word to its foundations. He doesn’t do commitment. He doesn’t need or want a long-term lover, but that’s what his heart is reaching for.
An accident leaves him drifting in and out of a dream-haunted coma, trapped in his wrecked car waiting for rescue, and he is sharing a parallel life. Many centuries ago, someone is trying to kill Caius Marcellus Valens, and Phil must find out who and why before they succeed. The trouble is, he’s alone. No partner, no backup - or is there? Nothing is the way it seems.
Their quarry paused, silhouetted against a brightly lit restaurant off Amsterdam's Leidseplein, and Phil Morgan ducked back into the alley's entrance. Beside him, his partner hissed triumphantly.
"It's Fremantle, no question," Ryan Buchanan murmured, voice little more than a breath in his ear. "We've got him. But we're not the only ones."
"What?" Phil peered around, straining to see into night-shadows. Movement down the street caught his eye. Half a dozen men came out of a nearby club and split up. They drifted apparently aimlessly to cover the street, while one of their number approached Fremantle. "They're not cops."
"The one with Fremantle is Janos Belushi. Shit, he's making the pickup ahead of schedule."
"Well, fuck," Phil muttered.
Beside him, Ryan was calling it in to their team leader. "Five-Gamma to Five-Alpha," sticking strictly to their code-names. "Primary target acquired, secondaries closing."
"We need to be closer." Phil nudged his elbow into Ryan's ribs. "Come on, Bucky."
"Wait! Fuck's sake, you hot-headed—"
Phil ignored his partner. He pulled off his dark cap, ruffled his short hair into trendy spikes, and strolled casually across the square with a swagger to his shoulders, confident as always that Ryan would follow his lead. He walked through the cordon of Belushi's men, ignoring the suspicious glares directed his way, and stopped to read the illuminated menu and programme outside the Paradiso Club. From the corner of his eye, he saw Fremantle hand over a package the size and shape of a book. He could even see the dark print at each end and didn't need to read it to know the cardboard bore the Amazon labelling. No book sat inside it; according to their info it held a gold and gem-framed icon, three hundred years old, stolen from the Csák-Salazar Gallery in Budapest a month ago. Then Phil saw three heavies striding purposefully towards him. Fuck, Ryan, where the hell are you?
And there he was, running towards him waving and grinning like an idiot, untidy red-blond hair flying in the evening breeze.
"Hé, Jacques, je suis tarde! Je suis désolé!" Ryan called in French, the language their code for follow my lead. Ryan didn't slow down when he was close. Instead he barrelled into Phil, wrapping one arm around him and pulling him into a close embrace. And kissed him, full on the mouth, his hand clamped on the nape of Phil's neck, ensuring he had to stand there and take it. Heat seared through Phil's blood. Ryan's mouth was hot, demanding, moving slow and languorous on his as if he would feast on him for hours. He tried to breathe through the shock of it, tried to fight the tide of sheer lust flaring up in him, tried to push his partner away. But his muscles would not cooperate. Instead his arms moved of their own volition and locked around Ryan's lean body, holding him closer—then Ryan ended the kiss and nibbled on his earlobe. "We're creating the diversion," he whispered. "Dennis and Vera are making the retrieval."