My Tuesday Teaser this week is from Bait!
“Did you sleep with him?” Linden asked quietly.
Something cold and raw speared Tyler’s gut and bloomed across his chest. The sharp sting of acid under his tongue oozed across his mouth. It took everything he had in him not to cough, puke, and scream at the same time. Not that something like that was possible anyway. He pulled in a deep, shuddering breath, suppressed a shiver, and put his hands on his lap under the table. In an attempt to quiet his nerves and gather his thoughts, he curled his fingers around his knees and gripped hard. Shaking his head slowly, Tyler said, “No. I never slept with any of my students.”
Linden leaned back in his chair and continued to study Tyler. It was unsettling to say the least. Tyler had to put a lot of effort into meeting Linden’s gaze without wavering. If he flinched away from events in his past and didn’t set the record straight, Linden would never trust him or believe in him.
Tyler desperately wanted Linden to believe in him, trust him, and be his friend, though he wasn’t sure why.
“Tell me about Dimas Praede. You did have sex with him.”
It wasn’t exactly phrased like a question, but Tyler nodded and whispered, “Yes.” The cold in Tyler’s chest was replaced by unexpected anger surging through him. “What did you come here for?” He slammed his palm on the table and noticed immediately that Linden didn’t so much as twitch. “You decided I was guilty before you walked through that door, so why not just arrest me now?”
“I told you before, if I thought you should be arrested, you would have been. Are you guilty?”
“No!” Tyler snapped. “I wasn’t then, and I’m not now.”
“I’m trying to find out the truth about what happened to a man. Both of his former boyfriends are nowhere to be found, and the only link I have to them and him is you.” Linden glanced down for a few seconds before looking Tyler in the eye again. “Tell me everything from the beginning. Explain to me why you weren’t guilty when the law said you were.” He picked up Tyler’s bottle of beer and held it out to him. “If you did something wrong, you’ll pay. If not, I’m on your side.”
Tyler slowly pulled one hand out from under the table and gripped the beer bottle, then took a sip. He nodded. “No one ever really wanted my side of the story. It was all pretty cut and dried at the time. I did it. I paid.”
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