Divide & conquer, p.3
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       Divide & Conquer, p.3

         Part #4 of Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux
Page 3


  “Yes, sir,” Ty said as he opened his eyes and shifted to a slightly less outwardly miserable position. He wasnt sorry, though. That fax machine had deserved what it got. And Zane had laughed his ass off.

  There were only thirty minutes left in the work day, and then he was free to go do cartwheels in the parking lot. He glanced at Alston, who was asking another question, and then Tys pants pocket vibrated. He actually jerked in his seat before he could stop himself, quickly leaning forward to place his elbows on the table and cover the reaction.

  “Something to add?” McCoy asked.

  “Nothing constructive,” Ty admitted with an innocent smile.

  McCoy rolled his eyes and nodded. As he continued outlining the plan to make the Bureau more “fan-friendly,” Ty leaned back again and pulled his phone out of his pocket slowly. He kept it under the table as he slid it open and pressed the button that would open the text message hed received. Ty was almost surprised to see that it was from Zane and not one of the usual suspects.

  Baby seal walks into a club.

  He pressed his lips together tightly and looked up at McCoy as he tapped out his response to Zanes weak opening gambit.

  You shouldnt club baby seals. Bastard. It wasnt a minute before the phone vibrated in his hand again. He quickly set it to silent so no one would hear the vibrations, and then he glanced down at it to read the new message.

  Energizer bunny arrested. Charged with battery.

  Tys lips twitched as he tapped out a quick response. Is he being held in a duracell?

  He returned his attention to McCoy just in time. McCoy slid a file across the table toward him, and Ty opened it as he massaged his left temple.

  It was a proposal that outlined a plan to pull as many government and municipal service organizations as possible into a softball league and then open up the games to the public. Ty huffed in amusement.

  “Think you could get the ball rolling on that if its the plan we go with?” McCoy asked.

  Ty nodded slowly and then looked up at McCoy. “I know a guy who knows a guy,” he drawled with an easy smile.

  “I thought you might,” McCoy said, sounding pleased with himself. That was why Ty was here, then, because hed played on the Bureau team ever since hed been transferred to Baltimore and knew just about everyone. That had to be it, because everyone knew Ty didnt give a shit about public opinion and had nothing to do with bank robberies or fires.

  McCoy moved on to the Financial Crimes dude who still didnt have a name but had a whole hell of a lot of opinions, and Ty surreptitiously checked the phone again. The message icon blinked at him, and he flipped the phone open to read it.

  Two peanuts walk into a bar. One was a salted. Ty stared at it for a moment before looking up and licking the corner of his mouth to keep from smiling. Why the hell couldnt Zane have done this when Ty was bored out of his mind and not sitting in a meeting? He was probably out there Googling jokes on his computer.

  “Grady, what do you think?” McCoy asked. Ty looked at his superior for a split-second of indecision, knowing full well he had absolutely no idea what hed been asked. “I think its a shit idea,” he finally answered confidently.

  “Care to expound on that?” McCoy asked him wryly. “Not really,” Ty answered, his voice not quite as steady.

  “Okay, at least were all in agreement on that one,” McCoy replied as he took a piece of paper that probably outlined another PR proposal and tossed it over his shoulder.

  Ty slowly let out the breath hed been holding and began tapping a response to Zane.

  Fuck you zane. Fuck you. So much.

  The answer came back quickly. Zane had to have been sitting there waiting.

  I’ll get you a salami sandwich for dinner. With extra mayo. Ty looked up and around the table, trying desperately to concentrate on what they were saying as he jabbed at the keys of his phone to respond. Zanes attempts at seductive innuendo were funnier than his jokes.

  All Ill get from you is fired.

  If you go for an interview at a rubber stamp company, try to make a good impression. Ty fought not to roll his eyes as he looked up from the phone he was still trying to hide in his lap. He refused to let one of Zanes bad puns have the last word.

  He had to sit for a moment, searching his store of bad jokes for an appropriate answer. He hated to sink to Zanes level, but you had to fight pun with pun….

  He looked up and took the next five minutes to answer questions and try to at least appear involved in the meeting. The idea about the FBI softball team and setting up tournaments with other city and state agency teams that would be open to the public seemed to be taking root. And Ty had become the focus of the planning, so he had to pay attention.

  Ty liked the plan, actually. He didnt know if it would work, but it was never a bad thing to put a human face on the big bad blue line every once in a while. A downside, as he pointed out, was that they might get backlash if too many people wondered why cops and ambulance drivers were playing softball while the city was being ransacked. But hell, they were already taking heat, so it couldnt hurt.

  Ty jotted down a few notes, people hed need to contact within other agencies to see if they could set something up, city fields and scheduling and things that he really didnt have time to deal with but would anyway. Then the conversation moved on, and Ty leaned back in his chair.

  He stared at McCoy listlessly as his mind began to wander again. He tapped out his response to Zane slowly, trying to get the message out and pay attention at the same time.

  If a hunter can shoot a deer with either hand does that make him bambidextrous?

  Have you seen eagles catch their prey? They’re really talonted. Ty closed his eyes. The puns were too much. They were just too stupid for his brain to deal with at the end of a long day. He decided to raise the white flag and live to think another day, so he eased back in his chair and slowly punched in the last message.

  You win. Ill do anything please make it stop.

  It took a minute, but Zanes answer finally popped up. Promise you’ll scream for me tonight.

  Ty stared at the phone for just a moment too long. When he cleared his throat and looked up, McCoy was watching him expectantly.

  Ty smiled at him widely, the smile that said he knew hed been caught and wasnt McCoy glad he was so good at his job so he didnt have to punish him?

  “Care to share?” McCoy asked drily. Ty looked around at the other people around the table and sighed heavily. Perrimore reached into his lap and grabbed the phone from him. Ty didnt try to resist; that would just have made them even more curious. Hed never been more thankful that he rarely put real names into his contacts list, though.

  Perrimore read the last message from Zane out loud, eyebrows raised. “Whos Lone Star?” he asked with a grin as he looked at the name Ty had stored in his phone. “And does she carry a whip?”

  “Everyone get out before my eyeballs explode,” McCoy ordered as he sat rubbing his temples with the heels of his hands. Ty snatched his phone from Perrimore and whapped him in the head as they stood to leave. Alston trailed behind them, laughing the entire way.

  Z ANE looked up from the files he was stacking when he heard Tys voice, low and wry and borderline aggrieved. A smile pulled at Zanes lips. There hadnt been a reply to his last message of a little less than ten minutes ago.

  “Hey, Garrett, have you met Gradys latest fling? She sounds like a real piece of work,” Alston said as they arrived, chuckling. “Probably has the key to his handcuffs pierced through her tongue. ”

  That certainly wasnt what Zane expected to hear when they came back from the meeting. So that probably meant Ty had been caught. He didnt appear to have that “just outed by his co-workers” look about him, though, and Zane knew Ty nicknamed all his phone contacts, so he was relatively certain they were okay.

  “Getting texts at work again, partner?” Zane
drawled as he looked over to see Ty. “Well, you know my type,” Ty responded with a saccharine smile as he passed Zanes desk. “No self-control and loads of mental issues. ” He did sound exasperated, though.

  “Thats never seemed to bother you,” Zane answered as he stood up and lifted his suit jacket off the back of his chair. Alston laughed and took off with a wave, not bothering to stick around to hear the banter the whole team had become used to. Clancy and Lassiter had departed half an hour ago, and Zane had seen Perrimore detour toward the elevators as the group came back from the meeting. So once Alston disappeared down the hall, it was just Zane and Ty as Ty locked up his desk drawers.

  Ty glanced up at him darkly, and Zane grinned. Oh, he was so going to pay for his mischief tonight. The look in Tys eyes promised as much.

  Ty looked around the nearly empty floor as he moved closer to Zane. He held his phone in his hand, overcoat draped over his arm. He stepped closer to Zane, his knuckles brushing against Zanes stomach as he held the coat between them.

  “Me scream for you, huh?” he asked in a low voice, his nearly green eyes raking across Zanes features.

  “Since you cant take the punishment,” Zane said, feeling himself warm a little under Tys scrutiny.

  “One more, Garrett,” Ty warned as he raised one finger. “One more and well see who can go the longest in a cold bed. ”

  Zane frowned and huffed quietly. “Fine. You, screaming,” he reminded. “I did offer to bring you dinner. ” “Dinner later. My house. Bring clothes for the weekend, cause you wont be making it home. ” Ty didnt say another word, just turned and headed for the elevator at a stroll, shrugging into his overcoat as he went.

  Zane watched him go, enjoying the sight. “Score,” he said under his breath before he grabbed his phone and keys and hurried to follow.

  Chapter Two

  IT TOOK skill to juggle a small duffel bag, a suit jacket, a large sack of hot food, and a key, especially when standing on a small concrete stoop. But Zane succeeded and pushed the door open with his foot.

  “No friendly fire, please,” he called out as he crossed the threshold. The main floor was silent and somewhat dark. Only one light was on downstairs, in the kitchen at the back of Tys row house. Light streamed down from the upstairs, though, and Zane could hear Ty up there, talking with someone.

  “Hold on!” Ty shouted. Then his voice dropped back to a low murmur. Zane kicked the door shut behind him and flipped on a light switch with his elbow. He walked through the narrow living room and tiny dining area beside the stairs to the kitchen bar, where he dropped his burdens. Hot food on the counter, bag next to it by the wall, suit jacket on the back of a chair, keys in a pocket. Wondering idly who Ty was talking to, Zane moved around the bar into the kitchen to pull plates and glasses out of the cabinet.

  He heard Tys heavy footsteps on the stairs behind him. Not a good sign. The only time he could ever hear Ty moving was when Ty sulked and threw his weight around. Otherwise, Ty was scarily silent.

  “No, thatll be just fine,” Ty was saying as he came down the stairs, his voice a slightly more professional one than he normally utilized on the phone. “Thank you, sir, well be in touch,” he said quickly. Then he snapped his phone shut as he reached the bottom step. He spread his arms wide and gave Zane an incredulous look. “What, no blinking neon sex sign to alert the neighbors? Incriminating videos to send to my mother?”

  Zane glanced at him sideways as he pulled toasted deli sandwiches and sides out of the bag. “Youve gotten caught doing a hell of a lot worse than getting a text message in a meeting,” he answered mildly.

  “Ill have to stop calling you Lone Star out loud,” Ty grumbled as he tossed his phone over his shoulder into the living room. It landed on the couch with a single bounce. “Whats for dinner?”

  Zane didnt try to hide his smile. Ty sulking could be pretty entertaining if you didnt let him lay a guilt trip on you. “Italian subs. I promised you salami. ”

  “Are they hot?” Ty asked as he rounded the counter and came up to stand beside Zane, pulling the bag of food toward him.

  “Yes, dear,” Zane placated. “I had them double wrap them in foil. ” Ty reached out sideways, throwing his arm against Zanes chest and grabbing him by the shirt front. He shoved him backward until Zane hit the refrigerator, then held him pinned there with his forearm as a dozen or so glass bottles within the refrigerator clanked together noisily.

  “So theyll stay warm for a while,” Ty said, close enough to Zane that his words were breaths against Zanes lips. For a wild few seconds, Zane could hardly believe hed let Ty catch him off guard. Then he caught Tys familiar scent and the heat of his skin, and the lust that had simmered since the showers that morning started perking toward a boil. “Yeah,” he whispered, pulse thrumming as he set his hands at Tys hips.

  The pressure of Tys arm lessened as he moved his hand across Zanes chest, sliding his palm instead against the side of Zanes neck and gripping him tightly as he kissed him.

  It was easy to sag against Ty to try to get closer. Zane wanted those kisses, and he wanted Ty to manhandle him. As incredibly seductive as Ty had been during the undercover case that had ended a couple of weeks ago, playing at being an outwardly docile trophy husband on a cruise ship and taking a devoted ride on the submissive side, Zane couldnt help but crave having Ty take control. It was fucking hot, and Ty did it so well. He moaned into Tys mouth just thinking about it.

  This was why hed needled Ty all afternoon. It worked almost every time: get Ty just a little annoyed with him and plant a few suggestive comments to give him an outlet.

  Ty was still kissing him when he reached up to pull at the knot of Zanes tie. “I cant believe you didnt even crack a smile,” he mumbled against Zanes lips. “Babooms, man. That shits funny. ”

  Zane let out a breathless laugh. “Years of practice,” he muttered as he chased Tys lips with his own. Ty roughly yanked the tie off, tossing it over his shoulder, then reached for Zanes dress shirt. “Youve been practicing the wrong things,” he growled as he pulled hard. Zane heard material rip, and several buttons went flying. Ty didnt seem to care. And it just made Zanes pants fit tighter.
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