(Bad Behavior #1)
by L.A. Witt & Cari Z
About Risky Behavior
It’s day one of Darren Corliss’s career as a detective, and not only has he been assigned a notoriously difficult partner, but the guy might also be a pill-popping dirty cop. Internal Affairs needs proof, and Darren gets to be their eyes and ears whether he wants to or not.
Detective Andreas Ruffner doesn’t play by the rules, and he doesn’t play well with others. With bodies piling up and a list of suspects who are way above his pay grade, the last thing he needs is a wet-behind-the-ears kid for a partner. Or babysitter. Not even if that partner is easy on the eyes.
As Darren gains Andreas’s hard-won trust, they both realize there’s more than just mutual suspicion simmering beneath the surface. But their investigation is heating up as quickly as their relationship, and Darren has no choice but to go along with Andreas’s unorthodox—and borderline unethical—methods. As IA puts the squeeze on Darren to give up the man he’s falling for, he has to wonder—is Andreas the only cop left in this town who isn’t dirty?
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An Excerpt from Risky Behavior
“You know, before we head out on the road,” I said, “let’s maybe get a couple of things straight between us.”
He folded his arms again and held eye contact without the slightest flinch. “All right.”
“You’re joining me on my investigations,” I said through clenched teeth. “Which means we do shit my way. You’re the kid. I’m—”
“Oh for fuck’s sake.” He rolled his eyes and dropped his arms to his sides. “I had this conversation seven years ago with my FTO. Let me see if I still remember.” He glared at me as he ticked off points on his fingers. “I’ll call you ‘sir,’ you’re in charge, you’re going to remind me at every turn that I’m a stupid fucking kid, you’re—”
“And you’re going to report everything I say and do back to IA.”
That prompted a slight but noticeable flinch. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Do I look stupid to you?”
He cleared his throat, recovering some of his confident exterior. “Look, Captain Hamilton assigned me to you. I didn’t exactly request—”
“Cut the crap, Corliss. I don’t like having a partner at all, but I especially don’t need a wet-behind-the-ears kid for a babysitter. Partners have to trust each other.”
“Yeah?” He swallowed. “So why don’t you start by trusting me?”
“Because I know IA was in there with you and the captain before I came in.”
Another flinch. Subtler than before, but not subtle enough to slip past me. “So, what? You think I told them where you’re keeping your secret weapons stash? Where you buried Jimmy Hoffa?” Despite his momentary loss of confidence, the arrogant little shit smirked. “I just met you. What would you expect me to tell—”
“It’s not what you told them,” I growled. “I know they’re investigating me. Unofficially, of course.” I stepped closer, and though he kept his feet planted, he leaned back a satisfying inch. “So let’s be clear right now: if I can’t trust you to have my back, if you’re going to be too busy watching me and taking notes, then this isn’t going to work.”
“Then why don’t you start by telling me what the fuck has you on thin ice with the department? Because if I can’t trust you out there, then I will happily go back up there”—he gestured sharply up the stairs—“and ask to be reassigned. I don’t give two shits if you’re the asshole everyone says you are. I just want to know, here and now, if you’re going to play by the book, or if you’re going to get me killed.”
I blinked. This was definitely not the breed of partner I’d had in the past.
Before I could speak, he snarled, “You obviously don’t like me already. So tell me now, how do I know you’ll have my back?”
“Because you’re my partner.”
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. Or, failing that, grab him by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. “You know how many partners I’ve had, Detective?”
“Eleven is the last count, I think.”
“Twelve. And do you know how many of them have been injured or killed on my watch?”
He gulped. “Uh . . .”
“None.” I reached for my hip, and he flinched. “Relax, idiot. I’m not going for my gun.”
He eyed me uncertainly, and he sure as hell didn’t relax.
I tugged my shirt free from my waistband, and lifted it just enough to reveal the long, jagged scar above my belt. “You want to know how that happened?”
“My ‘partner’ was too busy keeping an eye on me and didn’t notice our suspect was armed.”
Corliss’s eyes widened.
“He missed a six-inch hunting knife.” I pointed emphatically at the scar. “The six-inch hunting knife didn’t miss me.”
“So, how does that answer my question?”
“Because it wasn’t the first time that partner nearly got me killed by focusing more on me than the situation. But even after he got me fucking stabbed, I saved his ass three months later.” The memory made my skin crawl, but I forced my voice to remain solid. “He lost his situational awareness and was about to take a bullet to the back, but I took the guy out first. I had to fucking kill someone, and that someone had key information that would have helped my investigation.” I tucked in my shirt. “I had to kill someone, Detective, because I was watching my partner’s back even after he’d failed to watch mine and nearly got me killed.” I leaned in closer, deliberately encroaching on Corliss’s personal space. “Does that answer your question?”
His Adam’s apple jumped. “Y-yeah.”
“Good. So we can move on and quit with this bullshit.”
Once again silent, we continued down the stairs.
At the bottom, I gestured toward the locker room. “I’m going to get something out of my locker. Meet me in the garage in ten. We’ve got someone to interview.”
He just nodded, and we headed off in separate directions. Five steps later, though, he said, “Oh, Ruffner?”
I turned around, wondering if he knew how badly I wanted to lay him out. “What?”
“Just so we’re clear, I’m not calling you sir.”
Then he continued toward the garage, leaving me standing there like an idiot.
Yeah. This partnership is going to be great . . .
About L.A. Witt & Cari Z
Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .
L.A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter.
Connect with L.A. Witt
Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, "See ya!" She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She's still climbing that ladder, but can't stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.
Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get 'im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there's a lot of love to go around.
Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.
Connect with Cari Z
To celebrate the release of Risky Behavior, one lucky winner will receive an ebook from each Cari and Lori’s backlist and a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 6, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
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