The Muscle - Amy Lane Page 0,2

by a mutual military contact, and when they moved together, Paulie was like the extension to Hunter’s shoulder he’d always wanted. Off duty, they’d run evacuation logistics, beefed up Pinter’s security, and practiced their marksmanship as synced together as the parts of a well-maintained engine.

The sex had been inevitable.

Paulie had been willing, excited even, to hook up with another man on the job. Usually, he’d told Hunter, his hookups were guys he met in the club scene or people he dated through mutual friends. Being with someone who knew what he did—and what he was capable of doing—was a rush for Paulie, and he loved Hunter’s cock as much as Hunter loved his ass.

It wasn’t true love. It wasn’t even friendship. But Paulie was a brother-in-arms with a unique place in Hunter’s life, and he didn’t want to leave his fuckbuddy to the wolves.

Fucking is where they’d been when they’d gotten Pinter’s call.

They were barely dressed now. Hunter could still smell Paulie on his skin, still feel the silk of his body gripping Hunter’s cock.

Still remember Paulie’s ecstatic smile as Hunter slid into his ass.

And Hunter was having a hard time getting his head in the game. Where in the fuck did the other team go again? Chancellor was in his fifties, hot in a silver fox sort of way, and Creighton was built like a gorilla—Hunter regarded them with intense dislike, but they seemed to be Pinter’s favorites. Lacking in humor, both of them, but they had a sort of brutish, impersonal competence that made them easy to work with. But not trustworthy—and definitely not friendly. Hunter was just as glad Pinter had taken a liking to the two of them, giving them the plum assignments and the trips to Cabo and giving him and Paulie time to get busy.

“We should put him into the car while it’s in the garage,” Hunter said seriously. “You go fetch him and start the engine. I’ll keep lookout by the gate.”

Paulie nodded and winked. “Taking point, as always.”

Hunter nodded soberly. He didn’t engage in a lot of banter or play, but he enjoyed that Paulie did. And Paulie’s boyish smile hid the heart of a tried-and-true soldier. “Protecting my people,” he said, smiling slightly when Paulie gave a little hop as he turned toward the garage.

Hunter pulled out his radio and called the gatehouse to tell them to be ready for the limo to pull through and got only static in return. His stomach churning, he jogged the two hundred yards or so to the small building that stood guard between the two lanes of the driveway to see why Stanley wasn’t answering.

He was twenty yards away from the gatehouse, searching for the retired cop’s jowly face through the white-bordered window, when he realized that all he could see was a crimson stain against the back wall.


He pulled out his radio again and hit Paulie’s code. “Paulie, they’re inside. Double-check everything. The gatehouse has been compromised. Dammit, Chancellor and Creighton must have set us up!”

Hunter had no idea why—hell, he really didn’t know his employer’s occupation beyond “retired tech magnate.” All he knew was that a month ago, Pinter had taken the four of them to Chicago. Paulie and Hunter had waited with the car inside a parking garage while Creighton and Chancellor had gone to some sort of public function on Navy Pier, after-hours. Pinter’s behavior had gotten more and more erratic since that trip—and the nose candy had been flowing like water.

Then two weeks ago, Creighton and Chancellor had escorted Pinter to a swank hotel in Guadalajara for a good meal and a trip to a strip joint. They’d come back two days later with a tan. When Hunter had asked if they knew why they’d taken the trip, both guys had shrugged, not even curious.

“He did something,” Chancellor, the silver fox, had said. “He went downstairs without us and came back, put a thing in his suitcase, and said it was time to party. So we went and partied, hookers on him.”


Chancellor didn’t remember anything else, not even what the thing was that Pinter had put in his suitcase. All Creighton could talk about was the hookers. The hookers grossed Hunter out, frankly, because Creighton sounded like he’d treated them like shit, and ever since then, Pinter had been even more weasel-eyed than before. Hunter’s instincts had been screaming GTFO at top volume.

But Paulie had wanted to wait it out. This had been an easy gig—Fat City, he’d called