The idea for the crime arc of this story happened a long time ago, when a beautiful medieval reliquary pendant was discovered by a metal detectorist right on the doorstep of Middleham Castle up in Yorkshire. This was the favoured home of Richard III, and to find such a rich jewel so close to one of the country's most famous castles led to all kinds of speculation in the press and certain historical societies. Was this lost by Richard himself? By his wife, Ann?
Now, I'm not saying for a moment that there was anything at all shady about this find. There wasn't - luck and local knowledge plays a huge part in the metal detectoring/treasure hunting circles. Yet that, and other amazing discoveries by detectorists since then, set my writerly brain cell working.
You know, the usual author's trigger of "What if..." has a lot to answer for. When I first had the idea about an on-the-edge-of-burn-out retrieval agent having to seduce a man so he could be undercover at a crime scene, a detectorists' scam immediately jumped up and waved flags...
Coming off a high-pressure undercover job for his company's covert Retrievals Department, and despite being on the edge of burnout, Jeff is thrown straight into another mission: set a trap for illegal metal detectorists who'll be planting a priceless reliquary in a field.
To be in the right place at the right time, Jeff seduces Alan, son of the farmer who may or may not be in on the million-dollar scam. The job should be straightforward, easy, and it is—except that Jeff’s usual guard is down, and he finds himself falling for Alan. Still trying to shake off an obsessive ex-lover Alan doesn't want commitment, just a no-strings, friends with benefits relationship. But events have a way of changing minds.
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