Mayor. Barlow snatched the photo away from him and tucked it back in her purse. “So Wednesday at seven, I’ll expect you.”
“I’ll be there.” Trent said knowing there was no way to get out of this. There wasn’t a graceful way he could turn down the mayor and they both knew it. He didn’t want to start his first day as a sheriff by pissing of one of the most prominent women in the city.
* * *
Lee put his feet up on the iron chair opposite him. He just needed a few minutes alone. For a brief second the smell of a cigar teased his nose. His heart pounded. The scent reminded him of his dead husband. Antonio had enjoyed the occasional cigar and with a night like this with the temperate night air and the sound of crickets, Lee would’ve found his husband outside. Antonio loved sitting on their patio drinking a glass of wine and enjoying his cigars.
A shallow breath followed by another kept the tears at bay. He’d shed enough tears to raise the ocean level over the past few years. It was time to be strong. Antonio would never have approved of Lee moping about.
The sound of high heels clacking across the stone tiles drew his reluctant attention. He knew his relatives wouldn’t leave him alone for long. They all hovered as if he were going to off himself at any moment. If he’d planned to do that it would’ve happened those first few days after Antonio’s death when getting out of bed had taken all of his strength.
“Lee darling, this is the new Chief of Police, Trent Brown. I invited him to dinner because he’s new in town.”
Lee looked up into a pair of warm hazel eyes. The man standing above him was tall, muscular and had a hungry gaze that tried to eat Lee up. He stood politely and held out his hand. He was prepared for it to be squeezed by the much larger man but instead his hand was taken in a gentle hold as if the chief treasured the contact between them.
Lee gave him a cautious smile. “Welcome to our town chief. I hope you learn to like it here.” There was little chance a cop from a large city would settle well in their small town but it wasn’t for him to judge. Maybe the other man just needed to get away.
“Thank you Mr. Barlow.”
“Call me Lee, please.”
“If you’ll call me Trent.”
“Done.” Lee agreed. For the first time since Antonio died Lee felt a shiver of attraction slide down his spine. There was no mistaking that Chief Brown was a handsome man but Lee’s heart was still shattered and the thought of getting together with someone who dealt with criminals everyday was probably not the best move.
Tony watched the two men meet and felt a pang in his heart even as he smiled at the cautious meeting.
“There was definitely an attraction,” Michael said, floating a few feet away.
“Yes.” Tony was pleased when the chief settled next to Lee. The large man had a gentle way about him but he could almost feel the shields Lee used to keep others away snapping into place. “I hope Lee will give him a chance.”
And he would stick by his story no matter how much it hurt to see his soul mate looking at another. Lee needed to move on and whatever was best for his lover was what Antonio wanted. He floated closer to hear the conversation.
“So have you lived here all of your life?” Trent asked.
Lee shook his head. “Tony and I lived in Seattle. After he died, I moved back home to live closer to my mother. There was nothing for me in Seattle except a lot of memories.”
Trent nodded his head. “I know about running away from bad memories.”
“No.” Lee put his hand on Trent’s arm. “Good memories. Between Antonio and I there were only good memories. Sure we fought once in a while but in all the years we spent together I can’t think of one time where I wasn’t thankful I’d met him.” Lee blinked rapidly trying to keep the tears away.
He gave a broken laugh.
“I’m sorry. I’m sure my grandmother dragged you here to help her poor Lee out of his depression.”
The chief calm hazel eyes washed away some of Lee’s embarrassment.
“She told me that you were still in mourning and I was interested in meeting a man who mourns for over two years for a lover. I don’t think I’ve had anyone miss me a few hours after I left.” He gave self-deprecating laugh that eased a bit of Lee’s pain.