The members of the Off the Books Task Force are at it again, this time spending some quality time together and solving a mystery that has them temporarily baffled.
Brantley Walker and Reese Tavoularis continue to find balance between their personal and professional relationship. In doing so, they realize they have a lot to learn about one another.
When JJ gets caught up in a plot to abduct the governor’s son, she turns to Baz for help. And though he comes to her rescue immediately, she soon realizes the rift she caused between them may be too great to repair.
Brantley’s keeping a secret, one that affects the future of the entire task force. While he helps the team resolve the mystery involving Dante’s disappearance, he has to determine the best way to relay the news that Governor Greenwood has decided to disband the task force. Effective immediately.
Excerpt from Deadly Coincidence
Two hours later, Reese was sitting, laptop and coffee in front of him, at one of the empty desks in the barn, skimming through his emails when the door opened and Brantley strolled in.
The tension lines in his face had eased and his eyes were clear.
“Finally.” Brantley stopped and frowned his way. “Why exactly are you here? You do know it’s Christmas Eve, right?”
Reese grinned. “I do know that, yes. But you were sleepin’ and I needed somethin’ to do. Plus…” He nodded his chin in the direction of the second floor.
“I won’t bother to ask why she’s here,” Brantley grumbled.
Reese hadn’t either. Last time he’d questioned JJ about why she was at work when she should’ve been enjoying her personal time, she’d nearly taken his head off.
“Did you get breakfast?” he asked Brantley.
“Bagel.” The frown on his face told Reese he wasn’t enthused with his morning nourishment.
Usually Reese cooked something for them after their morning run. But since he’d been solo this morning, he’d settled for overnight oats and a bowl of fruit. Not to mention, there were times when strong smells would unsettle Brantley’s stomach and Reese had been wanting to avoid that, too.
“Please tell me there’s coffee,” Brantley rumbled as he headed to the small kitchenette they used mainly for their daily java.
“It’s fresh,” he said, his words punctuated by the sound of the dog door slapping closed, followed by, “Tesha!”
Reese looked up, saw JJ glaring down the stairs from the loft, her shout still echoing in the wide open space.
“Dadgum dog!” she grumbled.
If Reese didn’t know better, he would think Tesha had it out for JJ.
Now that he thought about it, maybe it was Tesha paying JJ back for her overreaction to Reese’s simple questions, like why are you working on your day off?
Reese grinned. Tesha was proving to be a loyal dog.
“Where’s my shoe?” JJ demanded before hobbling down the stairs.
“Why were your shoes off in the first place?” Brantley asked when he stepped into view, glancing from JJ to Reese, then back again, the look on his face priceless. He clearly could not fathom how JJ could possibly be wandering around without her shoes on.
Then again, their team leader wasn’t known for his ability to relax and chill. Being a former Navy SEAL, Brantley Walker had one main setting: intense. If he was out of bed, he generally had shoes on, along with all of his clothes. Those rare times he wandered around barefoot usually meant he was either suffering from a headache, urging Tesha to go outside to do her business, or he scented bacon and couldn’t wait long enough to throw on clothes before he chowed down.
It was in those rare moments when Brantley was caught unawares that Reese found him ridiculously hot. More so than usual.
To his credit, Brantley did run the governor’s task force, a group developed for the sole purpose of finding missing persons within the state of Texas, like a well-oiled machine. And unlike many bosses, Brantley wouldn’t take full responsibility for the good the team had done. When it came to praise, he insisted it was a joint effort.
On the other hand, Brantley had no qualms taking the heat when they’d done something wrong. Reese figured that was something ingrained in him during his time in the Teams. Brantley was used to being held accountable for his own actions as well as those he led.
As far as Reese was concerned, Brantley was a damn fine leader. He was also a damn fine man in general, which was likely the very reason he’d fallen in love with the man and was now co-habing with him, sharing the same bed every night.
“Damn it, Tavoularis. Your dog’s a menace,” JJ declared.
“I don’t have a problem with her,” Reese replied with a wink. “But you might check the yard.”
“If she chewed it, you’re buyin’ me a new pair,” she bit out, limping with one shoe on toward the door.
He heard Brantley say, “Three… Two…”
Reese was laughing when JJ came to an abrupt halt, the door opening from the outside. Before she could go after the four-legged shoe thief, the blond detective she’d been avoiding since Thanksgiving appeared. Reese’s laughter died off as he watched the encounter as though it was a locomotive barreling down the tracks, seconds away from hitting an oncoming train and resulting in a fiery blaze. One of these days, those two freight trains would collide. It was inevitable.
Sebastian Buchanan lifted a hand, JJ’s shoe dangling from one finger. “Missin’ somethin’?”
Good news was, the shoe didn’t appear damaged.
JJ yanked it off his hand and spun around. Her glare was directed at Reese, but he knew her frustration wasn’t for him. Ever since she stood Baz up for Thanksgiving dinner with his parents and realized Baz was completely unaffected—her assessment, not Reese’s—by her disappearing act, she’d been in a tizzy. Four weeks and counting.
As far as Reese was concerned, Baz was doing a damn fine job pretending he wasn’t affected. However, Reese saw the way the man watched JJ, so much longing in his eyes. He was most certainly bothered by the current state of their relationship, he just wasn’t bothering to say or do anything about it.
Despite the fact he was being stubborn, Reese couldn’t help but like the former APD detective, known by his friends as simply Baz. And the reasons had nothing to do with how well he was handling JJ or how forgiving he was being for her freaking out about the fact they had been in a relationship at the time. The guy was good at what he did and they’d come to depend on him as an integral part of the team.
Baz stepped into the barn, grinned at JJ’s back then made his way over to his desk.
“You payin’ Tesha to do that?” Brantley asked when the detective dropped a fast food bag down beside his keyboard and pulled his chair out.
Baz’s eyes lit up. “No, but that’s a great idea. Maybe I’ll get your trainer boy to teach her to steal them.”
“He’s not a boy,” Reese told him, even as he smiled at the thought of his sweet Tesha becoming a shoe thief.
OMG this was soooo good! So much going on that I cannot tell you about because I’m not going to spoil anything but seriously this was a book that I didn’t want to put down, in fact I didn’t! I feel asleep while reading because I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer but if I started it earlier in the day I have no doubt I would have finished it in one go.
Intense, Suspenseful, Erotic, and Captivating are just a few words that I would use to describe Deadly Coincidence.
If you have read any of books in the Brantley Walker: Off the Books Series you need to read this one, and if you haven't started yet...what are you waiting for?
This book is perfect for those that enjoy Suspenseful reads with TONS of heat, LBTQA+ Romances, or the Office Romance Trope.
About the Author:
Nicole lives in Texas with her husband and their youngest of 3 children. The two older ones have ventured out in the world on their own. She has a beautiful granddaugther and a rather spoiled grand-puppy.. Oh, she and Colt also have four dogs. Most of the time, you can find her hiding in my writing cave. If she's not there, she's probably hanging out with the family, reading, or watching hockey and football. One thing for sure... Nicole is always trying to have fun.