Part of the 1-800-DOM-help series.Harte Donovan has a problem. A murder leads to him wanting a sexy stripper bound and naked in front of him. He can't let his secret desires ruin his career as a detective. But when he's given a mysterious business card, Harte discovers a side of himself he intends to fully embrace.Ramey Nichols strips for a living and he's not willing to pretend to be something he's not. When this sexy submissive meets the closeted cop and unwitting Dom, something has got to give. That something might just be Ramey. Ramey knows what he wants, and more than that, finds himself Needing Harte.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Needing Harte by Marilu Mann
Harte Donovan grimaced as he sipped his coffee. Why did station house coffee have to live down to the "worse than swill" standard? He'd have brought his own French Press in, but didn't need the scrutiny. Taking another gulp, he decided he would just have to let this serve its purpose. He set the cup down precisely in the center of the coaster on his desk before picking up another file from the stack on his desk and opening it. Another necessary evil in his neat orderly world--paperwork.
"Donovan, McKinley!" The captain's voice rang out over the steady hum of conversation and ringing phones. "Stabler and Phipps need your help with interviews. Call Phipps on his cell to find out where they need you."
Harte and his partner, Jeff, were on their feet headed for the door before their boss finished speaking. Anything to get out of doing paperwork--even if it was playing second fiddle to another team of detectives. The other team was working a homicide investigation, which added up to a lot of leg work. It was his turn to drive, so McKinley pulled out his phone and called the other investigators.
Listening to the conversation on McKinley's speakerphone, Harte pulled into the evening traffic to head toward the warehouse district. They were to interview the ex-roommate of the victim. Their objective was to find out where he'd been last night, how much of a connection he still had to their victim, and if he might be a suspect or know anyone who might have wanted to kill the vic.
Luck was with them. Harte found a parking spot just down the street from the entrance to Pulse. He wasn't familiar with the club, but then again, he wasn't familiar with many clubs in the area. McKinley led the way as they walked down the crowded sidewalk. Harte grew more and more uncomfortable as he realized just where they were. The bars and nightclubs in this part of town catered to a select clientele.
"It's the fucking Fruit Loop. Now I know why they wanted us to pull this interview. I'll get those assholes."
Harte knew for a fact that McKinley wasn't homophobic. His venting always tended to be along the derogatory lines, no matter the target. Harte swatted his partner's shoulder to remind him they could be overheard. Straightening his tie, he squared his shoulders as they walked the half block gauntlet to the club.
Drag queens, leather-daddies and men openly cruising lined both sides of the street. A transvestite took a step forward, but another one grabbed him by the arm.
"Oh girl, first lesson. Never hit on a cop."
Harte didn't even wonder how they knew. He was very familiar with heightened radar like that. The regulars gave the two cops sidelong glances even as they drew back from them. Harte's discomfort didn't come from prejudice. It came from fear.
Fear that he'd run into someone he knew and be outed. As a cop, the son of a cop, and now an up-and-coming detective, he kept his homosexuality firmly under wraps. Even in a department known for tolerance, he couldn't afford the notoriety.
The pulsing, rhythmic music slapped him in the face as they entered the club. Giving his eyes a moment to adjust to the dim lighting, Harte sucked in a deep breath. The club itself might be dark, but the lights hitting the stage were anything but. Two men danced their way around the edges of the stage, stripping off various articles of clothing as they went. The bass beat pounded through his body as he and McKinley made their way toward the bar.
Harte stopped beside his partner as the other man caught the bartender's eye. One flash of his badge caused most of the men near them to move a little further away. Harte felt the speculative gazes being cast their way. He avoided making eye contact with anyone in particular. The men on stage finished their routine, scooping up the money that had landed near their feet and running off to the side as the music changed.
Suddenly all the lights went out. The thirty seconds of darkness made the lone spotlight that illuminated the very center of the stage seem like a bright, hot noon sun. A figure stood there with his back to the audience. All around Harte and his partner, the men started to clap in time with the music.
Then on a strong downbeat the man came alive. Harte couldn't look away. The sensual movement drew his attention first. The shining brown hair that hit just below his shoulders swayed with his movements. Harte let his gaze slide down to a tight ass beautifully outlined by pants that looked like leather and fit like a second skin. As the man spun around, ripping his white tank in two, all of the lights came fully up. Harte felt his entire body freeze as all the blood rushed from his head straight to his cock.
Sexy dark bedroom eyes, outlined by eyeliner and framed by thick dark eyelashes he could even see from this distance led to a long straight nose and a gorgeous mouth he'd like to see sucking his cock. This was the sexiest man Harte had ever seen. Tossing his head, the guy danced to the end of the stage then spun around to present that tight ass to the audience.
He slapped a hand against one butt cheek and the audience roared their approval. Harte couldn't take his eyes off the guy as he unlaced his pants and slowly shimmied out of them. He knew the other man couldn't see him, and as McKinley was still engaged in a loud-over-the-music discussion with the bartender, he indulged in sating himself on the sight of the dancer.
He kept the audience right in the palm of his hand as he stripped down to a thong just barely big enough to cover an impressive cock. Shaking his head and his ass, he collected money left and right, allowing the men lining the stage to caress his legs, abdomen and chest.
He stopped them from grabbing his package with a smile and a slight shake of his head. By the time he finished dancing, money dripped from his thong and filled his hands. With a wave and a sexy smile, he gathered the pieces of his costume and headed for the back of the stage.
Harte glanced back at McKinley to see him following the bartender's pointing finger toward the back of the club. Falling into step behind his partner, Harte tried to calm his rapidly beating heart. He had to forget the vision he'd seen dancing on the stage. They stopped right outside a door marked Private, and McKinley glanced back at him before pushing it open.
The noise here was muted from the rest of the bar, but seemed just as frenetic. Men rushed back and forth, some wearing headphones, some carrying bits of costumes, others getting ready to go on stage. Still following McKinley, Harte managed to look around for the hot guy from the stage without appearing to look for anyone in particular.
They stopped outside another door and McKinley knocked. Harte tried to focus on the situation at hand and not on the sexy dancer. The door was opened by a blond wearing a really nice Hugo Boss suit. He stared at the two of them for just a moment then sighed and stepped back.
"What can I do for two of the city's finest tonight?"
"You're Jason Winters? Owner of Pulse?" McKinley's voice was just as neutral as always and that helped Harte to focus.
"I am. May I offer you something to drink? Coffee, water?" Winters indicated a bar to the side of his desk though both men shook their heads.
Harte took in the thick carpet underfoot, the rich appointments in the office and the top-of-the-line cappuccino machine on the marble counter, and decided once again, that he was vastly underpaid. They all sat, Winters behind the desk in a large high-backed leather chair and the two cops in straight-backed armless chairs across the clean surface from him.
"No thank you, Mr. Winters. We're here to talk to one of your employees. A Ramey Nichols."
"Ramey?" The surprise in the other man's voice was genuine. "Why on earth do you need to talk to Ramey? Is he in some sort of trouble?"
"It's nothing like that. We're assisting in a homicide investigation and simply need some information." Harte spoke up for the first time. Winters' piercing blue eyes focused on his face and Harte felt a moment of discomfort as they seemed to see right into his soul.
"Hmmm...well, though he's a bit unconventional, Ramey has never been one to knowingly break the law, so I feel sure he's not a suspect. Who was killed?"
McKinley glanced at his notebook. "A Kevin Ramos."
At Winters' swift inhale, Harte focused his attention firmly on the other man. "Did you know him?"
"Yes. And his partner, Carl Davis. Does Carl know?"
"He does. How well do you know Mr. Davis?"
"Well enough to know that he would never have killed his lover, if that's what you're thinking." Winters' voice came out sharp and full of conviction. Harte nodded.
"When can we see Mr. Nichols?"
"I'll call him in. Do you want to use my office or would you prefer to talk to him elsewhere?"
"Your office will be fine, thank you." McKinley and Harte started to get to their feet, but Winters waved them back down.
"Please, stay seated. I'll call Ramey in and excuse myself while you talk to him." With that, Winters picked up the phone and spoke quietly to whoever answered. The three of them sat in somewhat strained silence until a knock sounded on the door. When Winters got to his feet, McKinley and Harte did too.
Harte took a deep breath as the smoking hot dancer who'd captured his attention earlier walked into the room. He hesitated briefly, then came in and shut the door behind himself. The guy wore a plain white t-shirt and jeans, and Harte wanted to yank him close and kiss him senseless. When he noticed Ramey's bare feet, he nearly took a step forward. Shit, the guy even had sexy feet!
"Ramey, these Detectives McKinley and Donovan have a few questions to ask you. I'm telling you that you need to answer their questions. Do you understand?"
Harte pulled his attention from Ramey to Jason Winters for just a moment. The emphasis the man put on his statement rang oddly to him. Why would an employer use that tone with an employee. Ramey's quiet answer drew his attention back to the other man.
"Yes sir." The guy even dropped his eyes as he answered. Harte stared at him, but the other man never raised his gaze. Winters moved around his desk and Ramey opened the door for him but kept his gaze on the floor.
"Ramey, just answer their questions. I'm counting on your honesty. I'll be right outside if you need me." He squeezed Ramey's shoulder and left the room, closing the door behind him. Ramey raised his gaze briefly, looked at McKinley and then at Harte. Harte felt his heart start to race as he caught that hazel gaze. The man was totally fucking gorgeous. Damn it. Now was so not the time to think about sex.
"You have questions for me?" His voice had a low tone that hit a chord deep inside Harte. He wanted to reassure the other man, to make him feel comfortable.
"Why don't you sit down, Mr. Nichols?" McKinley indicated one of the two straight-backed chairs.
Harte saw the hesitation before Ramey pushed away from the door and moved quietly toward them. He met McKinley's gaze then glanced at Harte again. Harte saw him take a deep breath, his luscious lips parting slightly before he swallowed hard and slipped into the chair McKinley indicated. Ramey sat with his hands on his knees, and Harte saw him clench his fingers just for a moment before he relaxed his hands.
"Ramey, then. I'm Detective Jeff McKinley and this is Detective Harte Donovan."
Jeff's voice kept going but Harte had to sit down. His cock was doing its damn level best to burst right through the front of his pants just from watching Ramey and listening to his voice. Ramey's gaze flickered to him before moving back to the desk. He wasn't looking directly at either McKinley or Harte, and Harte wanted his attention.
McKinley cleared his throat and spoke again. As he told Ramey why they were there, Harte saw the other man wipe his eyes though he never raised his head. He'd never seen anyone so contained--other than his own father who rarely showed any emotion. Ramey didn't raise his eyes from the desk until Harte asked him about his relationship with their victim. Ramey met Harte's eyes and he saw the pain there, knowing the two men had been more than roommates just from that glance.
"Mac, why don't you take a few minutes and talk to Mr. Winters again. I'll finish up with Mr. Nichols."
"Okay. I'll talk to him, then meet you in the car." Obviously uncomfortable with Ramey's grief, McKinley left the room.
Harte waited until the door shut behind his partner, then got slowly to his feet. He handed Ramey some tissues from a box on the desk. Harte had regained control over his body, at least he hoped so. Leaning against the desk, Harte casually crossed his arms over his chest. He wanted to see Ramey's eyes. Needed to see his eyes to make sure the other man told him the truth.
"Ramey." Intentionally making his tone somewhat harsh, Harte wasn't at all surprised when Ramey's wide eyes met his. He could see the man's heartbeat throbbing wildly in his neck, but it was the look in those hazel eyes that nearly caused him to choke. Sheer desire flooded the other man's face, whether at the tone of his voice or at Harte himself, he didn't know.