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Promises Part 3 (Bounty Hunters #3)
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A bounty hunter’s partners to lovers’ story.
Bradford (Ford) King was sure he had the rest of his life mapped out. Though he was no longer a SEAL Lieutenant, his brother was home safe and he had a job that still allowed him to satisfy his hunger for hunting bad guys. Life was simple, no distractions or complications – at age forty-six – that’s all Ford wanted. What he didn’t want was his work partner, sniper/watchman, Dana, giving him s**t all the time.
Dana Cadby had grown up labeled a roughneck from the wrong side of the tracks. He’d fought, scrounged, and survived despite a father that constantly told him he couldn’t. Dana pulled himself up by his own boot straps and made a name for himself in the marksman community. He’d been Duke’s bounty watchman for five years. It was his job to ensure their safety, watch their backs. At thirty-three, he was trusted, well respected by his peers, his bosses, his friends… so why couldn’t he earn the same respect from his partner?
Dana knew he was bisexual before he graduated high school. He also knew he was attracted to the huge, 6’3”, SEAL from the moment he and his brother came to join their team. It wasn’t easy for him to tamp down his immediate reaction to Ford’s thick muscles, full beard, and dark eyes. Still, Dana exhibited nothing but professionalism towards him, not wanting to make his ‘straight’ partner uncomfortable. So why did Ford constantly give him hell?
After Dana took back his ex-girlfriend, he’d noticed an intensification in Ford’s bad attitude. One that turned aggressive and downright antagonistic, and Dana was damned if he’d just lay down and take it. He was gonna make that man respect him if it was the last thing he did.
When Duke sends Dana and Ford out to track down their most dangerous bounty yet, they both embrace the fact that they make one hell of a team… but they fight tooth and nail against the powerful intimacy brewing between them.
This story is a part of a series but can stand alone. It does not end on a cliffhanger and has a HEA.
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Ford walked into the busy restaurant with his brother close to him, just a half step behind, like always. Both of them ignored the heads that turned when they moved towards the hostess stand. It wasn’t uncommon for people to stare. They weren’t drop dead gorgeous, they were just huge. At first glance they could be mistaken for twins, but Ford was two years older than Brian. Both of them stood at six three and a half, with thick upper bodies and solid thighs to match. Courtesy of twenty-two years in the military. Ford would probably still be leading his SEAL team if he hadn’t been court-martialed and dishonorably discharged five years ago.
“How many in your party tonight?” The wide-eyed hostess asked when Ford approached. He watched her take in his form before responding.
“Just two,” Ford answered.
“Do you mind the bar area? We have a high top ready now.” She smiled.
Ford looked back at Brian, who gave a curt nod.
“That’s fine,” Ford answered.
She scribbled a couple marks on the dry erase board on her podium and picked up two menus before politely asking them to follow her.
His heavy motorcycle boots were loud on the hardwood floor. The thick silver link chain that hung from his belt loop wasn’t attached to his wallet, but to the gold bounty hunter’s badge in his back pocket. A few men sitting at the bar gave them the side eye as if they needed to watch their backs, but he and Brian weren’t the bad guys… they only looked like it. They missed nothing as they took their seats and waited for the hostess to place their menus in front of them. Ford was already scanning the patrons, looking for anything out of the ordinary, while Brian made sure all entries and exits were clear. They weren’t paranoid, it was just years of conditioning and training which had made vigilance an ingrained habit.
“What you feel up to tonight, man?” Ford asked Brian.
Brian shrugged, picking up his menu. They’d been here often. It was one of their favorite restaurants. It was a chain establishment, nothing too fancy. On their rare days off he liked to go out and eat with his brother instead of ordering in or microwaving something.
“I’m sure you’re ordering a burger.” Brian signed to him.
“No, smart ass. I’m getting a steak tonight… I’ve earned it. This was one shitty week,” Ford answered. He didn’t have to sign back to Brian, who could hear just fine. His brother wasn’t deaf, he suffered from selective mutism.
Brian smirked at him and glanced back down at the menu insert. The waiter came over with a broad smile on his face, his eyes fixed on Brian when he spoke.
“Evening. You men look like you brought your appetites tonight.”
It couldn’t have been more obvious that their server was gay. His soft features, sweet voice and blond highlights were hard to mistake. Brian looked the waiter up and down, showing that he liked what he saw, and their server definitely noticed it, his delicate cheeks tinging a faint shade of pink. Ford knew the young guy was going for friendly and personable, but Ford wasn’t in the mood. He kept his face stoic when he answered. “Yeah, we’re ready. Give me whatever ale you got on draft tonight—”
“And for you, sir? Or would you like the special tonight?” The waiter cut Ford off, eager to focus on the more handsome brother.
“He’ll have the same,” Ford bit off.
Brian looked at him with a slight frown then looked back at the confused waiter. It had to seem odd that Ford was possessively answering for his brother. They looked too much alike to be on a date. It was clear they were related. Usually, Brian didn’t care either way. He didn’t speak and it was rare he wanted to use his text to speech device when they were out together. Ford noticed that lately his brother had been putting a little distance between them and he couldn’t figure out why. He wasn’t Brian’s keeper, but it’d been his job to look out for him since they were knuckleheads back on the farm in West Virginia.
“Sure. I’ll be right back with those.” The waiter murmured and walked off.
Brian was glaring at him. Ford barked a hushed, “What?” He could see a slight tick in Brian’s jaw. “What, Brian?”
“Nothing, damnit.” Brian signed with a couple of jerks of his right hand.
The waiter returned with their brews just when Brian put his hand down. The glint of arousal that had been present in the petite waiter’s hazel eyes was now replaced with sorrow. This was what Ford hated, what he wished he could protect his brother from. When people looked at Brian like a man to be pitied. His brother was fierce and brave, not to mention one of the smartest men he knew. But all people thought of him when they saw him signing was “Aww, poor thing can’t talk.”