Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Reese Dante
Series: Toronto Tales – Book 1
Release Date: November 18, 2011
Audio narrated by Tristan James.
Detective Kurt O’Donnell is used to digging up other people’s secrets, but when he discovers his slain partner was married to another man, it shakes him. Determined to do the right thing, Kurt offers the mourning Davy his assistance. Helping Davy through his grief helps Kurt deal with the guilt that his partner didn’t trust him enough to tell him the truth, and somewhere along the way Davy stops being an obligation and becomes a friend, the closest friend Kurt has ever had.
His growing attraction to Davy complicates matters, leaving Kurt struggling to reevaluate his sexuality. Then a sensual encounter neither man is ready for confuses them further. To be with Davy, Kurt must face the prospect of coming out, but his job and his relationship with his Catholic family are on the line. Can he risk destroying his life for the uncertain possibility of a relationship with a newly widowed man?
Toronto Tales is set in the city of my birth, and where I lived most of my life. The guys in these stories are just every day guys, wanting what everyone else does – friends, family, someone to love. They find their happily ever after… eventually!
Excerpt -- WARNING: Content may be explicit, sexual or offensive. Read at your own risk, and only if you are over 18
“Oh, sure.” Politeness overrode Davy’s first inclination, and Kurt didn’t give him a chance to change his mind as he pushed his way into the house.
“Where’s the kitchen?”
“Why?” Davy pointed to the back of the house—mechanically, instead of a true willingness to have Kurt in his kitchen.
“Because I brought food.”
Kurt shook his head. As he walked to the back of the house, he couldn’t see anything but generic décor applied with military precision. Nothing personal, vibrant, or alive, except for the jumble of shoes and newspapers by the front door.
The kitchen was the whitest room he’d seen in his life, and that included the hospital room he’d recently spent three days in. The only speck of non-white came from the black burners on the stove and the chrome taps at the sink. After heaving the Crock-Pot onto the counter, he grimaced slightly. It was his mother’s old one, with a dark green ceramic liner and a garish line drawing of a red rooster on the front. And it looked almost obscene sitting on the white counter in the whiteout conditions of the kitchen. Was this what Davy liked? This… nothingness? Even Kurt’s shitty apartment had a blue sofa and colored dishtowels, for God’s sake.
He shrugged. He was here, he’d have to make the best of it. Hope Davy at least appreciated the sentiment. By rights, he should have been here much sooner, but his lack of mobility affected his decision as much as the fact that Davy didn’t know him any better than Kurt knew Davy.
After he’d fiddled with the pot and got everything set up, he turned around. Davy sat slumped at the kitchen table, chin propped up by a hand, eyelids at half-mast. Bags under his eyes and hollows in his cheeks spoke loudly of how difficult the past couple of weeks had been. Even more startling was how Davy, with his pale-blue pajamas and his dark brown hair, somehow managed to fade away to nothing in this painter’s blank canvas of a room. Kurt expected him to stand out like a rose among the weeds, but the whiteness camouflaged him.
“Are you okay?”
Davy nodded with his eyes, like he was too tired to move his whole head. “Sandra’s not here, you know.”
What? “Um. I know?” A light flickered on in his mind. The conclusion he’d drawn at the funeral, that Sandra was Ben’s wife or girlfriend, had been an intentional misdirection on Davy’s part. Maybe Ben and Davy lied to everyone about their relationship, not just Kurt.
“Why are you here, then?” Davy asked.
“I’m sorry, I should have been here earlier.”
A puzzled look crossed Davy’s face, and he peered at the clock on the wall. “Today? I’m sorry, did we have an appointment?”
Kurt’s cheeks heated. He’d barged in here, without an invitation, and Davy didn’t seem to know what the hell to make of him or the situation. Maybe if the poor guy had slept since Ben’s death—which didn’t look likely—his coping skills would be better.
“I’m here because you’re here, not Sandra.”
The words made Davy’s eyes open fully, and he sat straight in his chair. “What do you mean?” His chest fluttered rapidly like a frightened bird… or a man about to faint from hyperventilation.
Kurt scooted to his knees in front of Davy, pain screaming through his injured joint, which he ignored. “Breathe, man, breathe. Slowly. In. Out. There’s no reason to be afraid of me, I promise.”
He lightly gripped Davy’s knees as he spoke, getting Davy to focus on him, on breathing.
A few minutes later, Davy was no longer in danger of fainting, and Kurt levered himself into another chair. He’d just reacted, but those reactions would have his physiotherapist yelling at him for sure. He might even need to dig out the prescription painkillers he still had half a bottle of, when he got back to his mom’s. But he had more pressing concerns.
Davy nodded, a full nod this time, his eyes full of questions.
“I know this is where Ben lived. I know… or at least, I’ve deduced you lived here with Ben.”
A slightly fearful look returned, and Davy fidgeted with fingers that looked bloodless and cold, he but didn’t reply.
Another light went on his brain. Ben’s partner. He’d introduced himself as Ben’s partner. The term had a much different meaning for Davy. “You were Ben’s partner. Life partner, right?” He didn’t see a ring on Davy’s finger, so he didn’t think they were married.
Pale pink lips compressed, as though Davy were afraid of what would fall out. Kurt had seen the action before, in guilty people who weren’t hardened criminals. The urge to tell the truth warred with fear of the consequences.
Davy’s lips parted, but instead of the confirmation he expected, Davy repeated his previous question. “Why are you here?”
“Because I wanted to apologize. Because I wanted to offer my help, with anything.”
“I don’t understand. Apologize for what?”
Kurt’s eyes began burning again. More memories had returned from that day, but not all. “I should have done more. Maybe if I had, Ben would still be alive.”
Davy cleared his throat. “Inspector Nadar explained it to me. I don’t think you’re to blame. You didn’t need to bring me food.”
Kurt raised a brow as he inspected Davy from forehead to toe. He’d only seen Davy for a few moments at the funeral, but he’d lost ten pounds or more in the intervening days and was as pale as the paint on the wall. His mom would have a fit if he left Davy in this condition. He wasn’t about to let Ben’s partner kill himself through neglect.
“I wasn’t kidding about helping you out. Ben was my friend.” Even if he hadn’t felt the same about Kurt. “Wife, life partner, kids… I would offer help to anyone Ben left behind. Now, it’ll be thirty minutes or so before the stew’s heated through. Is there anything you need me to do?”
Davy’s breath hitched, once. Again. Then he startled them both by bursting into tears. Harsh, racking sobs and great gulping breaths shook Davy’s slim frame. Davy stood poised to run, rubbing his face frantically, as though he could hide his grief.
Kurt couldn’t let him suffer, couldn’t let him run and hide more than he had been. Kurt grabbed him with his good hand and hauled him into his lap like a baby. Davy’s head landed on the top of his barely healed scar on his bicep, and Kurt bit his cheek to keep from yelling. He wrapped his good arm around Davy’s stiff, shaking body, and a few seconds later, Davy curled around him, absorbing body heat into his chilly form. Kurt shifted, so Davy’s head rested on his shoulder, hot tears—the only thing warm about Davy right now—wetting his neck. He rocked, like he would with one of his nieces or nephews, and Davy’s legs pulled up into an almost fetal position. Where the hell was Sandra? Where were Davy’s parents, friends?
(c) KC Burn 2011
4.75 Stars from Caroline at Prism Book Alliance! (audio version) “I first read this book back in 2012. It was just as good the second time around and works really well as an audio book.”
5 Flowers from Heather at My Fiction Nook! (audio version) “An excellent GFY and another 5 star audiobook for me.”
4 Stars from Christy at Rainbow Book Reviews! This was a super sweet love story with a different twist than the norm.
4.75 Hearts from Hearts on Fire Reviews! “Cop Out was well written and full of emotional impact without having to resort to large action scenes or over dramatic characters.”
4 Stars from Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews! “It drew me in and had me totally engrossed, with some real laugh out loud moments as well as leaving me emotionally drained.”
4.5 from the The Book Vixen! “This book deserves to be on the Best of MM Romance lists as it is on mine now.”
Rainbow Award – Honorable Mention – One Perfect Score! Loved this book. The peek inside the head of this cop as he discovers his true sexuality is just awesome. –Lex
5 Stars from Elisa Rolle! “As soon as I started this book, I was regretting that it had taken me so long to do it.”
4 Stars from LeAnn’s Book Reviews! “The writing, full of emotion, humor and a lot of self-discovery, brought these characters together in a way that you could not help but cheer them on.”
Rated A from Smitten with Reading! “In the first half of the book, it’s all about grief, recovery, and friendship….and I found this just as good as when the conflict of the relationship started.”
4.5 stars from Three Crow Press! “KC Burn jerks every bit of emotion from the readers as they follow both Kurt and Davy through their journey of grief and renewal.”
5 chocolate-dipped strawberries from Guilty Indulgence! “This was one of those can’t put down books for me. The character’s and their emotions were so real that I had a hard time remembering I was reading a book.”
5 stars from Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews! “I don’t hesitate at all in recommending this book.”
A Recommended Read from Joyfully Reviewed! “Cop Out is a powerful story of awakening.“
4 stars from The Romanceaholic! “I really enjoyed Davy’s character in general, and watching Kurt struggle over his sexual identity was heartbreaking, sexy, and beautiful.”
4.25 stars from Jessewave! “I really liked the characters of Davy and Kurt as they tried to find love in a minefield of loss and emotional devastation.”
5 Sweet Peas from Mrs. Condit! “I love her style of writing, how she develops a story, and how she makes her characters come to life for the reader.”
Rated B at Book Reviews and More by Kathy! “…well-written story with honest emotions and flawed protagonists. No angst, no insta-love and a beautiful ending make Cop Out a must read for fans of m/m romance.”
4.5 Nymphs at Literary Nymphs: ““Gay for you” books can be tough to write but this author did a good job, starting Kurt and Davy off as friends and allowing their relationship to build, slowing changing it to something deeper and stronger. It’s truly a case of love born out of tragedy and instead of appearing tacky, Ms. Burn handled it with creativity and taste.“
5 Fairies at JPB Reviews: “I highly recommend this book if you like stories about finding love in the most unexpected places.”
4.5 Stars at Between the Covers: “This story had the potentially to be mediocre, but was handled in such a way that even the cliche moments feel right in what is a heart-wrenching, feel-good love story.”
4 Ladybugs at Musings of a Bookworm: “As a love story I would say it is first class and if you have not read any gay fiction before this is a good place to start because it is and emotionally charged story that will have you smiling, crying and doing a snoopy dance at the end, what more could you want!”
4.5 Delightful Divas at Dark Divas Reviews: “With tight writing, an interesting plot and solid characterizations, Cop Out was a noteworthy novel and I could foresee sequels. In fact this book was so good that if Ms. Burn wrote another in this universe, I would certainly buy it. Recommended.“
5 Stars from Redheads Review it Better: “Extremely well written book that has me wanting to buy up the rest of K.C. Burn’s books!”
4 Stars from House Millar: “I found the characters to be believable and the story line to be emotionally powerful as well. The writing is excellent – not a word I use a lot for writing styles – and am very glad that I took a chance on a new author (new to me at least).”