As the first in my Brooklyn Sinners series (five books planned), Love the Sinner introduces readers to a disjointed band of brothers, none quite sane and none anywhere near law-abiding. Still, they live like the borough…hard, and love quite the same. I have to say, there’s a whole heap of firsts in Love the Sinner. Both heroes go through an array of firsts, but I’m going to focus on Gabe Ashby. Gabe’s an NYPD detective, in a long term relationship with a woman and investigating the death of the sister of Brooklyn’s most notorious gang leaders.
All’s good in Gabe’s world.
Until he sits across an interrogation room table with said notorious gang leader, Angelo Pagan.
It’s the first time Gabe meets Angelo. It’s the first time he finds himself fascinating by, and attracted to, another man. It’s also the very first time Gabe realizes things aren’t as black and white as his job would have him believe. Gabe has many first experiences in Love the Sinner which includes one of my favorite scenes, the first kiss. I’ve included a taste of it below. Hope it makes you tingle; it damn sure made me tingle.
A notorious gang leader and an NYPD cop. An unlikely couple, but is it true what they say? Could Gabe hate the sin but love the sinner?
Detective Gabriel Ashby has never looked twice at another man, yet the criminal across from him, the man he’s interrogating, isn’t like any other. Gabe can’t deal with the sudden, intense need he has for one of NYPD’s Most Wanted. Everyone close to Angelo Pagan ends up dead, with the smug gang leader standing amid the rubble. Gabe would love nothing more than to bust Angelo’s ass and lock him up. So why is he seeing the bastard in his dreams at night?
Angelo Pagan knows attraction to Gabe is suicide. He’s resolute to ignore the chemistry…until a police raid goes wrong. He critically injures Gabe, changing the trajectory of both their lives. Now the two can’t get close enough. They settle into a forbidden affair threatened by lies and betrayal, living on different sides of the law with no way of breaching the gap between them. With the authorities looking to make an example of Angelo, Gabe has to decide if it’s really worth it to hate the sin but love the sinner.
“You don’t want this, right? So let me go, cop.” Pagan’s gaze flicked down to where Gabe held him. “Let me go.”
Gabe swallowed. “I can’t.” He tightened his hold on the thick wrist. “I can’t.” The thought of watching Pagan walk away, of never seeing him again, punctured something in his chest. But what would be the result of him staying? Could he be with a man, this man?
“Qué quieres, Gabe? What do you want?”
His name on Pagan’s lips sounded so good. So right. Gabe looked at him, trying but failing to find words.
“Damn it, Gabe.” Pagan wrenched out of his hold and grabbed his shoulders. “Tell me what you want.”
“To kiss you.” The words tumbled from his lips, harsher than he intended. “Just once. To know what it’s like. What you taste like.”
Pagan’s eyes darkened.
“Maybe then I’ll be able to forget you.”
Pagan arched an eyebrow and stepped forward. “You think it’s that simple?”
Gabe held his ground. “Yeah.”
“So do it.” They stood chest to chest. Pagan’s warm breath caressed Gabe’s forehead when he said softly, “Kiss me, cop. Then try to forget me.”
Gabe grabbed him by the neck, yanking him down. Their lips clashed, hard and hot. He thrust his tongue inside when Pagan opened. There was no describing the unique taste of man and need as Pagan growled into his mouth. Nothing feminine about the tongue parrying with his or the fingers gripping his ass.
Nothing repulsive either. Just right and…Angelo.