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Authors: Fox Harper

Half Moon Chambers

HALF MOON
CHAMBERS

Harper
Fox

Half Moon Chambers

Revised edition, November 2012

Copyright
(c)
2012 by Harper Fox

Cover art by Lou Harper

All rights reserved and asserted by the author Harper Fox.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from FoxTales.

ISBN: 978-0-9573270-8-5

FoxTales www.harperfox.net [email protected]

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

A cop and a recovering addict - no chance for romance there.

Yet Vince, a street-hardened narcotics officer, is having to reassess his life. Six months ago, he hit rock-bottom. A bullet brought him down, and his beloved partner Jack betrayed him. Badly disabled and in constant pain, Vince is flying a desk these days, and it doesn't suit him at all. His world is looking grim when he meets Rowan Clyde, sole surviving witness to a vicious drugs-related killing.

Rowan doesn't want to talk. He's vulnerable, trying to hold his own life together in the wake of a crippling addiction. Vince should have no time for him, and Rowan certainly shouldn't trust a cop with an agenda to get him onto the witness stand at any cost.

Yet despite their differences, there's an instant pull of attraction between these two damaged men. Their new bond is put to the ultimate test on the tough streets of Newcastle during a dark northern winter, as each turns out to hold the keys to the other's survival - and to his destruction.

Acknowledgements

Half Moon Chambers
would never have seen the light of day without the help of a group of people I've come to rely on so much for my FoxTales publications. My lovely other half - and, since September, my civil partner -
Jane
has attended the book through its birth pangs with all her usual patience and kind but thorough proofing and daily inspection of word count.
Josh Lanyon
, my beloved mentor, has been even more instrumental than usual in helping me plot, plan, dismantle and rebuild, and any remaining holes in the weave are entirely the responsibility of the author.
Lou Harper
produced a particularly stunning piece of cover art, catching exactly at how I see the guys and Half Moon Chambers, and
Julia
and
Janet
once more brought the book safely home from my shaky draft to the formatted finished product you see before you. I am so appreciative of every single one of you.

Dedication

This book is dedicated to the memory of
Margaret Louise Stafford,

2 April 1932 - 8 September 2012:

a wonderful mum.

Chapter One

June

O
range streetlight fought with neon for
possession
of my desk. Neither was winning. I'd
have
liked to put out the overheads, then the
streetlamp
bulb, and let the dark come down. Our
last
squad-room renovation had given me my own
office
--
well, a cubicle, but better than nothing,
and
I had a window. Beyond it lay all the beauty of
a
northern city night, a sky of midsummer violet.

I'd walked down to the station for my late shift in
my
civvies; jeans and a light cotton shirt. It
was
Saturday, lairy lads and lasses tumbling around in
the
streets, falling or getting pushed out of clubs.

No-one had looked at me twice. Briefly I'd
enjoyed
the fantasy of being part of the crowd.

But I wasn't. The reality was better still. I'd
sprung
up the steps of Mansion Street police
station
, ignored the lift and torn up the sixteen
flights
of steps just for a workout. I'd got changed,
whistling
, into my uniform. Then I'd sauntered into
the
deserted squad room, fetched myself a coffee,
and
sat down at my desk.

I was expecting a quiet shift, and just as well.

Every rung of the ladder of police promotion had a
bigger
pile of paperwork waiting on it, as far as I
could
see. The backlog confronting me now was
my
own fault, of course. I'd spent every spare
minute
for the last two weeks on the range,
working
through all our available police
weaponry
, from handguns to the coveted HK MP-7
armour
-piercing rifles. Tonight I'd come in early,
determined
to catch up. My team was off on a
refresher
course at the Ponteland HQ. Not me,
though
. My schedule was different now.

I pushed back from my desk, as far as my
cubbyhole
's confines would allow. Yes, I wished I
could
sit here alone in the unadulterated dark, just
for
a short time. I didn't know how many
more
Newcastle midnights I would see, and despite
everything
I would miss their deep galactic blue.

The city wasn't so big that you couldn't escape
from
it by a short drive, and beyond it were hills,
rolling
Pennines whose green shoulders I could
see
from this very window on a clear day. It
wouldn
't be like that in London. A month ago I'd
had
a letter that had changed everything.

No, I wasn't just a city lad. Born and brought
up
in its meanest suburbs, educated in its war-zone
schools
, I had nonetheless scrambled up here, eight
storeys
away from the late-night party boys
brawling
and puking in the streets below. I was a
police
officer. Detective Sergeant Vince Carr of
the
drug squad, eight floors up and destined to go
higher
. The letter, which I kept discreetly folded
but
always within sight beneath my mountain
-
rescue
award paperweight, was a summons to try
out
for a special-ops training programme with
the
Met, a new unit being formed in the capital to
tackle
drugs and gang warfare. They wanted men
and
women from the cities where these problems
were
endemic, where officers had cut their teeth
on
them. They wanted tough bastards like me.

I knocked back my coffee, enjoying the scald.

They could have me, that was for sure. I loved my
northern
skies, but everything under them I could
leave
without one pang of regret. I was ready.

My desk phone rang, making me jump
--
on the
inside
only, as I had been taught. The coffee didn't
even
ripple in its polystyrene cup. I picked up. The
call
was an internal one. "DS Carr."

"Carr? Inspector Monroe. In my office,
please
--
now."

I hesitated
--
just for a heartbeat, not long
enough
to be considered an impertinence. The
stacks
of unattended files loomed over me. I'd
really
thought I might get away with it tonight...

"Yes, sir. On my way."

Well, I was in trouble now. Monroe had
sounded
grim. I got up, tucking my shirt more
neatly
into my uniform trousers and straightening
my
tie. Whatever lay in store for me, it would be
worse
if I kept him waiting. Nevertheless, I didn't
hurry
. I could feel a burgeoning smile tugging at the
corners
of my mouth, and I carefully smoothed it
out
. A light was on in the office at the far end of
the
corridor
--
an interview booth, technically
speaking
, and one of the few spaces in the open
-
plan
squad room that gave a little privacy.

I pushed the door open. Jack Monroe looked
up
solemnly from the desk. He was gorgeous, six
feet
tall, blond as a wheatfield, and no more an
inspector
than I was. He was my partner, on the
streets
and occasionally in my bed, and he'd be
carrying
off the whole senior-officer thing better if
he
'd been wearing a shirt, or anything at all from
the
waist up. "DS Carr," he said, tapping an
imaginary
file on the desktop. Only the tiniest
wobble
in his voice betrayed him. "This is
serious
. Very serious indeed."

"I can see that. For God's sake, Jacky
--
I
came
in to do my paperwork."

"Then by all means feel free to go back to it."

He was grinning at me now. He'd laced his
hands
behind his head, displaying the breadth of
his
shoulders, the musculature across his chest.

Jack too had had his letter from the Met. We were
going
there to train as partners. He was wild,
irreverent
, unscrupulous with witnesses, constantly
in
hot water with our real inspector for
insubordination
. He was the man I wanted with me
on
the London streets. I said, unconvincingly
,
"This is stupid. What if anyone from B group gets
here
early?"

"By all means give them a display. Or you
could
shut that soundproof door and come here."

I shut the door. The trouble with Jack Monroe
was
his instant, drug-like effect on me. One glance
of
the right sort from him and I might as well be
mainlining
Viagra. If he sometimes played rougher
than
I liked
--
if sometimes, like tonight, he chose a
time
and place that could screw both of our hard
-
won
careers in a second
--
I never held out against
him
. I told myself I could, but I'd never tested that
by
trying. I was hard and ready for him now, pulse
racing
, desperate to play out his game. "What's it
to
be, then, Inspector
--
my place or yours?"

"Don't ask silly questions, Carr."

I nodded. The truth was that my place was a
bit
sore from our encounter in the locker room the
day
before, but there was no point in telling him
that
. Things didn't always go his way. Like many a
strong
man before him, occasionally he liked to be
wrestled
into submission, and I could do that. I
was
shorter than he was but wiry and powerful.

Tonight, though, he was going to fuck me
--
right
here
, across a desk in the squad room. Excitement
tore
through me. He got up, the chair crashing over
behind
him.

We tussled briefly. I was on the losing end
tonight
, by prior arrangement, and I hung on to the
thought
that my surrender was as simple as that. I
needn
't have been slammed belly-down over the
desk
if I didn't like it. He flattened an experienced
hand
on my shoulder. Painless restraint of a
downed
suspect, that was, and he wasn't shy of
other
business moves either. English coppers
didn
't tell detainees to spread 'em
--
please stand
with
your feet apart, sir
--
but Jack liked to cross
the
Atlantic with me in that regard, and I assumed
the
position before he could snarl the command at
me
. I undid my belt and zip before he could get to
them
himself
--
cried out in protest and lust as he
yanked
down my trousers. All of this was what I
wanted
. I summoned it. "Come on. Get on with it."

"Wait a sec."

"What?"

"Brought the lube this time. Didn't mean to
screw
you to ribbons the other day."

I lost a breath in laughter. "Oh, my God. And
they
say chivalry's dead." I rested my brow on the
coffee
-stained surface of the desk while his fingers
worked
on me, spreading the lubricant inside. I
loved
that
--
loved to be touched and handled. We
seldom
had time, though, and beyond the barest
prep
he wasn't taking chances now. The head of his
big
cock pushed at me. Nerves and excitement had
tightened
me up. I moaned as he slowly thrust
inside
, drove my nails into my palms in a luxuriant
anguish
of penetration. The trouble with
Jack
Monroe was that I loved him. DS Carr's best-kept
secret
, that one. We worked together. We fucked
spectacularly
. We had everything two ambitious
northern
lads could want as we scaled the career
ladder
. Love was for civilians, for little people,
little
lives.

Oh, but I loved the bastard. The confession
nearly
burst from me then and there, as he started
to
screw me, his first big movements shaking and
melting
my bones. I bit down hard on my lip. He
was
so bright and perfect. If we fucked looking
into
a mirror
--
and he liked that
--
I would have to
close
my eyes. I didn't know why his beauty had
allied
itself to my ordinary face and form, not
when
we were brought together like that. Didn't
know
what he saw in me.

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