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Mastering Will

By:Amber Kell


Three Weeks Earlier

"I'm going to take you down, Samms!" Harkinson screamed. The smooth,  cultured gentleman who had been all soft words and slick salesman appeal  had vanished in the face of his arrest. His true personality was now  coming through.

Lindi's mouth curled in satisfaction as Special Agent Calthers slapped  cuffs on the art forger's wrists. Harkinson made a big mistake when he  tried to move his knock-offs through Lindi's gallery. He had a  no-tolerance policy on people trying to rip him off and defraud his  clients. He'd called the authorities and agreed to assist them with  their sting.

"My guys will get you for this," Harkinson shouted as the agents dragged  him away. "Kiss your little cunt goodbye. My guys will slit his  throat."

Lindi froze. Fear iced along his spine. Harkinson had spent the past  three months in and out of Lindi's galleries and had met Will more than  once. No one seeing Lindi and Will together would have any questions  about their relationship. The quickest way to get Lindi to do what they  wanted would be to get hold of Will.

"You touch him, and it will be the last thing you do," Lindi shouted.

Harkinson smiled, a cold, ugly expression on his narrow face. "I won't  touch him, but I can't say anything about my friends. They'd love to get  their hands on your pretty boy-toy."

Lindi lunged only to be jerked back by two agents.

"Don't let him get to you. It will compromise your case if I have to  arrest you for beating Harkinson to death," the man on his right said.

Lindi had already forgotten the agent's name. They all pretty much  looked and sounded alike. Brown hair cut short, plain suits, appalling  shoe choices and hard expressions. Variances in height and ethnicity  didn't appear to change their uniform blandness. Stephen, Lindi's artist  friend, would've itched to capture them with his pencil. He'd probably  name it "Sea of Brown" or some shit like that. Lindi would probably be  able to sell it for thousands.

Harkinson was hauled to an unmarked car, still screaming obscenities.

"You need to go to a safe house until you testify," Calthers said. "Or at least until we apprehend the rest of his team."

Lindi didn't hesitate to answer. "No."

"What do you mean ‘no'?" Calthers spun Lindi around. "If you don't go  into hiding, the gang will hunt you down. You just got their best forger  arrested."

"If that was their best forger, I did them a favor." Lindi sneered.  Stephen could draw circles around them. "Now, I'm going home, unless you  want to charge me with something?"

He pointedly waited for their response. No way would he leave Will  unprotected for an undetermined amount of time. He had no doubt  Harkinson had already given his associates information about Will as  backup in case Lindi became resistant to the idea of moving fake art  through his gallery.

"We can't protect you if you insist on putting yourself in plain sight," Calthers growled. "Maybe you can at least leave town."

Lindi shook his head. "No, Will gets anxiety in unfamiliar surroundings."

"Is Will worth losing your life over?" Calthers asked. After he released  Harkinson to the other agents, he returned to question Lindi.

The image of Will's soft gray eyes and tender smile flashed into Lindi's mind. "Yeah, he is."

"You're willing to risk your life for your boyfriend," bland agent number three asked.

Lindi narrowed his eyes as he examined the astonished trio before him.  "I'm going to chalk this up to the fact you don't know me, not that  you're truly idiots. I refuse to go into hiding and abandon the man I  love. I'm sorry if that's too difficult for any of you to understand.  Unless you can guarantee Will's safety, I'm going home."

"I can arrange for your place to be watched. That will at least give  your man some limited protection," Calthers offered. "I know you  ex-soldier types. You think you can protect yourself, but this is a gang  of thieves who've fooled most of the art experts in the country. They  don't have a history of harming people, but they've never lost one of  their members before. They aren't going to follow a predictable  pattern."

"I appreciate you watching my place, but I'm not leaving Will." His  lover stayed home most of the time. If the Feds were watching their  condo, Will should remain safe.

Calthers nodded. "Fair enough. Let me know if you have any problems. We  can put you in protection against your will if necessary. We've been  trying for years to nail this ring, and this is our first solid chance  of arresting them."         



Lindi met Calthers's hazel eyes. "Let me make one thing clear, Agent  Calthers. If you kidnap me and leave my boy out in the cold alone, I  will have my very good friends in government chew you up and spit you  out. There is nothing in this world that will have me abandon my lover,  and if you even try to arrange it, I won't testify."

With those parting words, Lindi left his gallery. It would be all over  the news by evening that he'd stopped a forger. The agents had warned  him he would be a target for media attention. Lindi was glad Will didn't  watch the news. His boy didn't like hearing about all the bad things in  the world. Lindi would do anything to keep his boy safe. It was time to  pull his guns out of storage.

Although he'd spent the past eight years running a gallery and dressing  in expensive suits, that didn't erase a childhood running with gangs or  his years in Special Forces afterward. Lindi knew how to protect his  sub, and there weren't any limits on what he'd do in order to keep Will  safe.

Chapter One

Present Day

The club pulsed with a symphony of slaps and groans, a counterpoint to the piped-in background music.

"Here you go, sir." A skinny kid in shiny shorts and nothing else set a  glass of scotch and a bottle of water before Lindi, with an unnecessary  amount of eye fluttering and smiling.

"Thank you." Lindi tossed a tip onto the tray.

"Your food order is on the way. Anything else I can do for you, sir?"  The server's eyes insinuated anything else was on the table.

"As my sub is obviously sitting beside me, I find your behavior  disrespectful. I'd suggest you go help someone else before I decide to  talk to your boss."

The sub paled. "Yes, sir. Sorry, sir."

He fled with impressive speed, considering the tightness of his outfit.

"You're in a pissy mood today, Lin," Carlyle commented before taking a sip of his dark beer.

Lindi adjusted his cuffs. "I don't like people disrespecting Will."

He cracked the lid of the water bottle and handed it down to his sub, sitting on the pillow beside his chair.

"Thank you, Master," Will's soft voice smoothed over the harsh edges of Lindi's temper.

"You're welcome, Pet." Lindi slid his fingers through Will's hair,  brushing down the bits that always tried to stick up. Will hated  disorder.

"I'll talk to Greg for you if you like," Victor Jones offered. "I'm having dinner with him and Stephen later."

"No, that's all right. The waiter is correcting his behavior, he just  needs to learn some manners." Lindi frowned. He didn't want to get the  waiter in trouble with Greg Carter, the club's owner.

"Any problem at your galleries?" Carlyle asked. "Did your reputation take a hit?"

"No. Luckily, I was able to tell everyone I detected the fakes before  any of the paintings left my gallery. Now I'm sort of an art celebrity.  Business has never been better." He smiled at Victor. "With all the  increased traffic, Stephen's pen-and-ink drawings sold out in a day."

"That's because he's incredibly talented." Victor had every right to  look pleased. His sub, Stephen, had an insane amount of artistic skill.

Last month, Stephen had signed an exclusive contract for Lindi to carry  Stephen's work. Even though Victor and Lindi were longtime friends,  Victor wouldn't have let Stephen sign with him if he didn't think Lindi  would do a good job representing his sub. There was only so far  friendship went when their subs were involved.

"How late is Ralph working?" Lindi asked Carlyle. Carlyle's sub worked as a bouncer at the club they were sitting in.

Carlyle took a sip of his beer. "Until midnight, then he's all mine. I'm  trying to get him to quit, but he's determined to earn his own way."

Lindi smiled at the mixture of annoyance and pride in Carlyle's tone.  "You two will find your niche together. If working is important to him,  you'll have to learn to be flexible."

His leg shook from his sub's movement. Looking down, he saw Will's  laughing face before his sub ducked his head to hide his amusement. "Do  you have something to say, Pet?"

Will shook his head, then took a sip of water.

"He's probably contemplating the irony of you of all people recommending  someone to be flexible. He's just too well behaved to say it," Carlyle  said.

Lindi stroked Will's head. "He is well behaved. I should probably reward him for that later."