Cherish & Blessed

By: Tere Michaels

“It’s okay, baby,” Matt soothed, rubbing his hand up and down Evan’s back. “I was going to do it anyway. She knows that too.”

With a snort, Evan rested his head on his folded arms. His voice was muffled, but the rage had clearly died down. “I blame myself.”

“Of course you do.” Matt pushed Evan’s shirt up with one hand, pressing his palm against Evan’s overly warm flesh. “Because you love her and you’re scared you won’t be able to protect her.”

“She’s afraid to talk to me.”

“Only because she clearly doesn’t have a good argument to go up against you yet.”

They shared a knowing laugh at that. Miranda looked like Sherri, but she had Evan’s temper and personality. She wasn’t going to fight Evan until she thought she could win.

“I’m scared.” Evan lifted his head to look at Matt.

“Understandable. I was hoping for the nunnery, for all three girls. But the fact is, she’s smart and beautiful and an adult. It’s going to happen.”

With that, Matt wrapped his arm around Evan’s trim waist and hauled him onto his lap. Evan squirmed for a second. Matt knew stuff like this made Evan uncomfortable, but there was no one around, and damn it, he was going to get cuddled.

“So you think the nunnery is entirely off the table?” Evan sighed, leaning back against Matt’s broad chest.

“Pretty sure. And just think—you just have to get through this time and then Katie and then Elizabeth. Plus, you know, Danny and his future parade of pink-haired girls who ride motorcycles.”

“Not helping.”

“Wanna go to bed and fuck your problems away?”

Evan gave him an elbow, but he didn’t get up. “Yeah, but first I need to talk to Elizabeth. I don’t want her to feel bad about this.”

Matt kissed the side of Evan’s neck. “Bring her a brownie—I promised.”

“You’re a nice man.”

“The nicest.”

Evan turned. The chair beneath them creaked a bit, but Evan wasn’t deterred, apparently. He twisted until their mouths pressed together.

A flood of warmth flowed through Matt’s body, and it wasn’t entirely composed of lust.

Just another day of family drama and taking the recycling out and loving Evan with every fiber of his being.

Chapter 2

EVAN COLLECTED his bag from the floor of the front seat and exited the car. His mind careened from one thing to another—the day ahead, Miranda ignoring his phone calls, meetings about his promotion…. He dodged cops entering and exiting the station house, smiling or nodding to ones he knew.

He had passed his tests for the lieutenant’s promotion two years ago. In a few months, he would take the captain’s test; at this point, it felt like a formality before he was promoted. It was an amazing honor, a huge boost to his career, and a PR nightmare, at least to him.

To the powers that be? It was a bonanza.

He still wasn’t comfortable with being “out” at work. He wasn’t entirely on board with the PTB and their spin on the trajectory of his promotions. A gay captain. The captain who lived with an ex-cop.

There was the inevitable moment last year, when his supporters discovered Matt’s past—the esteemed career, the whistle-blowing, the disgrace. Subtle talk about “how to handle it” that resulted in Evan storming out of a meeting and threatening to quit, which then became Matt suggesting they move to San Francisco and open up a sex-toy shop.

That had been a long, long week.

But now it was happening, and Evan had only a few months left before his career changed forever.

“Morning.” He walked through the squad room. More nods and businesslike smiles as he approached his desk. Helena, his partner and friend, was already at her desk, directly across from his.

She was trying out another new hairstyle. He was actively trying to notice that sort of thing. She’d called it a pixie cut, which he thought meant fairy, but honestly, who the hell knew.

“Good morning. I bought you coffee since Swindall was making it this morning,” Helena said, flipping through some files in front of her.

“Wow.” Evan sat down, eyeing his partner. “What do you want?”

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