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“I’m sorry, Ian.”

At this moment, so was I. Too bad I couldn’t keep quiet.

“What the fuck is your problem, Rick? You keep pushing me. Push, push, push. I don’t get it.
Did you do this with Johnavan? Is that why he screwed around on you?”

I instantly regretted the words. The look of shock, and guilt, on his face spoke volumes.

I should have shut my mouth right then and there. But I was too surprised to have finally figured it
out. I flung myself out of the chair to pace back and forth at the foot of the bed.

“You did. You’re so goddamned afraid of being left alone, you create a situation. You set it up to
happen. You son of a bitch!”

“Ian. Shut up!”

“Oh, no. Nope. Not this time. It’s time to get this out in the open.”

“Please keep your voice down.”

“Hell, no. If I’m going queen-out, I’m going all the way.” I stopped and stared him down, my hands
on my hips. “You get needy all the fucking time and I try my best to give you what you need. What
you’re really doing is fucking testing me! That stops now!”

Rick struggled to get off the bed. I fought back the urge to tell him to stop. He was full grown and if
he wanted to hurt himself, I was of a mind to let him.

“Ian, I love you. You’re right. I’ve been an insecure twit. Can we talk reasonably about this?”
Circle of Steel
Book #4 in Ian Coulter's Amethyst Cove
Private investigator Ian Coulter and his FBI partner
Rick Mohr work hard and play harder. Making their
relationship a priority is a challenge they willingly
embrace. Life is better together, and when their
cases overlap, it also gets pretty interesting.

An evening stroll turns deadly when a sniper
targets Rick. Needing to be with his lover, Ian has
to trust Rick’s team with the hunt for the shooter.
As Rick heals tensions between the men escalate
and some uncomfortable truths are revealed.

Ian gets a break in the case but the sniper proves
to be elusive.  With the FBI conducting a manhunt
in Amethyst Cove, Ian has to deal with his own
man. It’ll take patience and some tough love to
heal recent fractures and secure the future he
wants with Rick.  
"KC Kendricks has a
distinctive writing style.  
The characters are
amusing and the plot is
delightfully unexpected."
- Literary Nymphs Reviews
"KC Kendricks knows how
to spin a yarn that will keep
you spellbound and glued to
the pages." - Sensual Reads

My life with Rick was important to me. I never expected to fall in love and I had. It didn’t matter it
blindsided me because it had Rick, too. Becoming “us” hadn’t been part of any original plan but we
had become “us” in ways I couldn’t imagine ending.

I picked up my cell phone. Rick answered before the first ring ended.

“Ian. Darling, what’s really wrong? Are you going to be okay?”

Was I? A tenuous connection opened between us, powered by wireless magic.

“I’m better for hearing your voice. I feel like a real ass saying this to you, Rick, but it’s been a rough
couple of weeks.”

“Believe me, I know. Please come back so we can talk.”

I downed the remainder of the bourbon in the glass. “Can’t. I shouldn’t drive. I’ve had more than a
little to drink.”

I heard him take a deep breath. “Okay. You’re right, of course. And you’re right about the other
things. Listen, Ian. We need to stop being stupid with each other and I’ll start. I love you. I hurt bad
enough I can’t rest, and I’m miserable being off my feet. I’m taking it out on you, and that’s not fair. I
promise to stop being bitchy.”

My throat tightened. “Rick. I almost lost you.” My voice broke. I couldn’t breathe. The city lights
blurred in my vision. His voice was soft in my ear.

“It’s okay, my darling. You’ve been my rock, Ian. I forgot even diamonds crack under enough

I managed a deep breath and swiped my fingertips across my eyes. “We’re still gonna talk, big guy.”

“I know. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Ian, but I can’t promise it’s always going to be
easy living with me.”

“Well, I guess I can’t make that promise, either. We just have to remember life is better when we’re

“How about we have a safe word to tell each other to back off?”

“What? Like ‘fuck you, Rick’?”

He chuckled softly. “No, babe. That’s foreplay. I live to hear you say those words.”

I laughed in spite of myself. “Yeah. I know what you mean. I need to go to bed. Get some sleep. I’ve
got a bunch of installations to finish tomorrow and God only knows how big a job Sheldon’s going
to sell next.”

“Can I call you?”

“Yeah. That would be great. I love you, Rick. I guess maybe I’m a little afraid you’ll leave me.”

“Never, Ian. Not gonna happen. Are we good?”

“We’re good. ‘Night, Rick.”

“Goodnight, Ian.”

The call disconnected and left me staring at my phone, exhausted. Were we really good? Sometimes
when something cracked, it stayed that way,

And sometimes, when mended, it was stronger than before.

I twisted the wide silver band on my right ring finger around, then took it off and slipped it onto my
left hand. It glittered, a circle of steel reflecting the city lights.

Somewhere, out there, a sniper lurked, seeking another victim.