In slightly different universe they ended up in different alphabet agencies/policeforce. They meet and fall for each other while both are undercover. Who figures out first that the other is a cop/agent too and how?
Club Miami, one of the most exclusive bars on the eastern seaboard, was a multi-story mansion raised on stilts driven deep into the shallow sand flats on the edge of Biscayne Bay. It sat out in the Atlantic like a glittering jewel, exactly one mile off the coast of Miami, Florida, and was only accessible by private boat.
Philip Coleman, arms dealer, player, purveyor of “rare” (read, stolen) merchandise and total bastard, inhabited notorious drug-smuggler Augustus daSilva’s private booth at the club like he owned the damn place.
Untouched by the sweaty clamour around him, one strong, long-fingered hand idly caressing his drink (the thick-cut crystal glass holding a $200 pour of single malt from daSilva’s private reserve), Coleman radiated a cool, cultivated arrogance that was laced with just a hint of thrilling cruelty. It was acting like catnip on the other guests at daSilva’s table.
Clint Barton, Miami-Dade detective (Vice), and deep undercover for the past eight months as a member of daSilva’s crew, fucking hated this guy.
Around Clint the deafening throb of the million-dollar sound system pounded on with an auto-tuned remix of What’s Love Got to Do With It on maybe its fiftieth loop. It was 80s night and the place was wall-to-wall party animals in their shabby-chic best—amped on artisan cocktails, a dizzying array of illegal pharmaceuticals, and the greedy, delicious knowledge that they’d gotten into one of the most select clubs in Miami.
Servers squeezed through the crush of bodies in a flash of sequins and feathers, edging through the crowd with trays filled with thousand-dollar bottles of champagne and martinis that glinted with flecks of gold leaf in vodka specially flown in from Lviv.
The club played host to the glitterati of south Florida; sports stars, actors, politicians and artists rubbed elbows with younger scions of some of the oldest families in the southeast, sowing their wild oats before they settled into their trust funds and got too respectable to blow entire weekends out on the water indulging in one sin after another. Transplants from all over South America and the Caribbean—tycoons, business people, celebrities—mingled with warlords who’d gotten fat off the drug trade, former generals in exile, smugglers, rogues, and renegades.
If just getting in to Club Miami was a near impossibility, taking a seat at Augustus daSilva’s private booth was even more of a get. The booth was raised above the level of the floor in a sweeping curve like an open, bleeding heart, deep red leather seats set against half-walls of faceted mirror edged with neon. To the public daSilva was an extraordinarily successful businessman in import/export. It was an effective cover for the vast smuggling operation he ran, with hooks into major ports all over eastern US. He’d made his fortune in the drug trade, but now he trafficked in whatever the vice du jour was, recently having all but cornered the supply lines for stolen tech—specifically weapons.
And not just the garden-variety cheap pistols that flowed back and forth across the borders into the hands of skinny teenagers and two-bit gang-bangers, but the elite high-tech stuff that would cost well above the annual salary of a Dade County cop like Clint.
daSilva sat in the middle of his booth like a king on his throne. With him were two of his top lieutenants, an array of stunningly beautiful prostitutes, several local movers and shakers, and, of course, that asshole Coleman.
Coleman had a few bodyguards with him, the usual variety of discreet muscle, thick necks and broad cut suits, weapons well-concealed, standing watchfully behind the booth. daSilva’s own bodyguards and backup—including Clint—were arrayed throughout the club.
Coleman wore black—he always wore black—his bespoke Brioni suit flowed slick over his broad shoulders, the fabric reflecting the gaudy neon of the club like oil on water. The silk of the tie at his throat was a crimson so deep it was almost black, a narrow strip of hellfire against the silver-grey of his shirt. Every time Clint’d seen him—and Coleman had been daSilva’s best customer for almost two months now—it the same dark suit, smoke-grey shirt, crimson tie; like a uniform.
There was the brilliant flash of a diamond in his ear; it sparked and fretted as he turned his head to smile at something daSilva was saying, a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. Strong jaw, a hard profile, mouth set in a cruel, unyielding line, the bridge of his nose misaligned—broken and badly reset—the remnant of a hard-scrabble past that no one would ever know anything about.
Coleman’s eyes were shadowed in the moving dark of the club, but Clint thought they might be blue in sunlight. He wondered if—
There was a hard tap on his shoulder. “I can hear your teeth grinding, compadre,” Costas leaned in to shout over the music. He gave Clint a wry look.
Clint mentally shook himself. Stop staring, Barton, you’ve got a job to do.