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Christian Parker looked around the room carefully from his perch on the comfortable barstool. It was dark and quiet. There were no women to be seen and that was just how it should be. This was a gay bar, a men-only gay bar.
He made his way through the collected groups of men to a quiet end of the long bar, looking for a pair of piercing, black eyes. This was his forth trip to the quiet bar in three months. Twice before, he'd gotten lucky, he'd seen him, even talked to him--the owner of those eyes. The first time he'd come here, he'd been nervous, uneasy.
A gay bar was a risky place for a cop to hang out. Especially a cop who was relatively new in town. His precinct was in a different borough, and anyway, he left his gun and his shield at home when he came here, regulation or not.
Another night, he'd sat next to the other man not really sure of what he should do. Knowing you were gay and doing something about it--well that was an entirely different thing, wasn't it?
In his younger years, he had engaged in a few teenaged circle-jerks. Even swapped hand jobs with other military brats at camp. It had never gone any farther than that, though. He'd wanted to do more, really wanted to. The right man hadn't come along yet.
Christian had tried to live the American dream. He'd been a star running back in college, had come away with a bachelor's degree in criminology. He'd dated, had sex with women.
Yeah, he'd tried. His parents always asked if he was seeing a nice girl. His new partner at work teased him incessantly about all the women who flirted with him. He had curly, chestnut hair, eyes the blue of a perfect summer sky; he was the very image of a wholesomeyoung man.
The problem was that wholesome young men were supposed to like wholesome young women, not each other. And Christian was attracted to the forty-something gay guy with the sparkling, black eyes, hawk nose and dry, deep baritone. The guy must be gay, right? Christian'd seen him here in the bar ... and he was here tonight, right there he was.
Christian bit his lip and dropped his gaze, feeling even more uncertain. He was as tough as any cop in New York City. Tougher than some, considering that he'd grown up on military base after military base.
Criminals he could handle. Making contact with a guy that he liked, wanted to like, well that was different, wasn't it?
"This seat taken?" The gravelly whiskey voice sounded very close to his ear.