Gates of Heaven Book 4
by M. Tasia
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
in Joey Tall’s life is for real. Not his name, the background he
supplied to his bosses at The Gates, or the energy and good health he
exudes. None of it is true. And no
one can ever know what’s really going on. Ever. Unpacking his secrets
would truly end his life. Insult to injury, the incredibly handsome LAPD
officer who’s been hitting on Joey is a dream come true. But no way in
hell is he letting a cop into his life. He
doesn’t have a death wish, and tempting fate is the last thing Joey’s
going to do, no matter how much he yearns for a man he can’t have.
Gates of Heaven Book 3
GOING IT ALONE
Too many ghosts live inside James Masterson's head, and they weren't the company he sought. Actually, he prefers no one's company, but he finds himself surrounded by overly friendly, meddlesome types while visiting his brother at The Gates in DTLA. Somehow, James becomes the unwelcome subject of Detective Richard Ross's attention, and, before he knows how it happened, James is caught up in Ross's family drama. When a madman tries to kill Ross's sister and her daughter, James's special ops Army training kicks in, and he becomes their hero, something he knows down to his core, he is not. The thing about crazy killers is they never give up, and when the final showdown comes to a head, James knows he'll do anything to keep the family he has found, especially the love of a sexy detective.
Gates of Heaven Book 2
Finn knew the life he’d found at The Gates was a dream his past would ruin, so when everyone he cares about is threatened, he returns to the streets to keep them safe, especially the man he loves.
Fleeing from his existence as an outcast child in a fanatic cult, Finn Masterson makes his way to Los Angeles, only to find an unforgiving city with little prospects for a teenager with few life skills. After years of living on the streets in DTLA, doing anything and everything required to survive, Finn finds a home, a job, and kindness with Saint Jeffrey, who is renovating a grand old building mere blocks from Skid Row. Finn knows better than to trust a good thing, so when harassing texts and calls culminate in threats to the people he has come to care about—especially a former Marine, Miguel Fernandez—Finn returns to the streets to keep those he loves safe. But one single-minded, stubborn warrior brings Finn back into the fold, and they defeat his last remaining enemy giving them the freedom to pursue their forever.
* Boroughs Publishing
The harsh gleam from the sunlight reflecting off the large windows of the high-rise office
building temporarily blinded Finn. He moved to the side, stopped walking, and rubbed his eyes
to clear away the blurriness the bright light had caused.
His backpack went flying when someone shouldered him out of the way. “Idiot, you can’t
stop in the middle of the sidewalk.”
I wasn’t in the middle. Asshole.
He shoved his return comment down before it had the chance of getting past his lips. It was
the first day of his return to college. He didn’t need to draw more attention to himself.
Cal State DTLA was located in an office tower on the corner of West Eighth Street and
South Grand Avenue in an imposing building of stone, steel, and glass. The “campus” was a far
cry from the old buildings being renovated throughout DTLA, which were bringing new life to a
neglected part of downtown.
Quickly, he grabbed his bag up from the ground before anyone decided to take off with it.
The tall guy who had run into him carried on walking with his friends as if plowing into Finn
hadn’t been worth a “Pardon me,” or even “Sorry.”
Clearly, fate hated Finn. The jerk walked into the same building where Finn was heading.
Big building. Lots of offices—he doubted he’d ever see the guy again.
Finn had been thankful when he discovered that most of his classes were available online, but
unfortunately not all of them. Which explained his visit to the campus this morning. By the time
he pushed one of the exterior doors open and stepped into the lobby, there wasn’t a sign of the
other man. Finn tossed the guy in his mental trash bin and walked to the bank of elevators.
People in suits and dresses hurried by as others he presumed were fellow students sat in a
lounge area kitted out with couches and chairs. He took in a deep breath and kept telling himself
that he belonged here the same as everybody else. He wasn’t a street kid anymore. He was the
manager of the Gates of Heaven building, or “The Gates” as it was currently being referred to.
The boss trusted him, and Finn wouldn’t disappoint the only person who cared enough to
help him when he needed it most. He looked up at the lit numbers above each of the four
elevators and realized he was going to be waiting a few minutes. Great. More time to talk myself
out of this. I’m gonna embarrass myself. And fail. Am I even smart enough to be here? Will Saint
find out I’m not what he needs to help run his building?
Mere moments before he made his move to turn and run out of the building, a large arm
wrapped around his waist possessively. The earthy, spicy scent of cologne soothed his frazzled
“Hey there. Imagine finding you here,” Miguel teased before pulling Finn even closer.
“What are you doing here?” Finn asked in a bit of shock.
“It’s never a bad idea to have backup,” Miguel told him, as if they were in one of Miguel’s
former Marine units.
Finn knew Miguel was here to support him. He hadn’t been able to disguise his nervousness
thinking about today. In truth, he couldn’t hide anything from Miguel, especially Finn’s longing
for the big guy to see him as more of a partner instead of a kid. The one and only time Finn had
worked up the nerve to hit on Miguel, the older man had hugged him but made sure Finn
understood they could be only friends.
Even though it sounded odd, or a little fucked up, Finn had been happy that the boss’s father
had shown up that night all the mayhem went down. Finn thought he’d have to live with that
embarrassment of being seen as “less than.” Instead, the incident had been swept under the rug in
the wake of more important issues.
“I’m not going to war, Miguel. I’ll be in classes, where I risk, at most, a paper cut.”
“Humor me. This will be the first full day you’re away from the building. I’m having
separation anxiety.” Miguel smiled wide. God, he was a handsome bugger.
“Separation anxiety, huh? Okay, daddy,” Finn teased.
The deep growl Miguel covered up by coughing was neither angry nor teasing. It was straight
up hot, and filled with promises Finn knew Miguel never intended to keep. Finn wasn’t sure
what bothered the big guy the most: his age, or that he’d been a street kid, doing whatever was
needed to survive.
The elevator dinged and the doors slid open before anything more could be said. Finn pushed
the button for the sixth floor as they stepped on, followed by a half dozen other people. Miguel
had come to support him. Finn should have been happy instead of feeling confused. Well, you
can’t rush a man, Finn’s mother used to say. With that chestnut packed into his brain, he’d
decided his emotions were simply another part of himself he’d pack away. It was far too risky to
have them flying around willy-nilly.
“Thank you for coming, Miguel. I appreciate it.” Finn did, considering he had been seconds
away from bolting from the building. “You seem to always know when I need you.”
“That’s what friends are for, Finn. You have a lot of people who care about you. This whole
situation is probably intimidating as all hell,” Miguel stated as an older woman standing in front
of the elevator doors tsked at him. “Sorry, ma’am.” At Miguel’s apology for cussing—really,
“hell” wasn’t cussing, and who cared about that shit anymore—the woman smiled before getting
off on the third floor.
The elevator continued up and Finn almost melted into the strong arm holding him. He could
feel his resolve returning. Yes, I’m smart enough. No, I’m not going to fail. And Saint won’t kick
He took a deep breath and felt the remainder of his stress slip away.
“Better now?” Miguel asked in little more than a whisper. Leave it to the big guy not to draw
attention to Finn’s freak-out.
“Yes, much better.” Every time you hold me.
The bell dinged for the sixth floor. “Good, now go out there and kick ass,” Miguel said as he
ushered Finn out of the elevator doors without stepping off himself. “I’m proud of you, Finn.”
Before Finn could respond, the doors slid closed and Finn found himself staring at his own
reflection in the shiny metal doors. He stood straighter and threw his bag over his shoulder. I can
He walked down the hall to the classroom indicated on his schedule. With his confidence
returned, Finn walked in ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, the first person Finn saw
sitting at the back of the room was none other than the asshole from earlier.
When the guy sent a slimy smirk in his direction, Finn was back at square one. It wasn’t as if
he wasn’t familiar with bullies, but he’d hoped that was buried in the past. Finn squared his
shoulders and took a seat near the front.
The ace up Finn’s sleeve was the fact that this guy had no idea the hell Finn had been
through. There was nothing some twenty-two-year-old designer-wearing wannabe could do to
him would that would ever compare to what Finn had lived through, survived, and had now
He was Finley Eric Masterson, and he had every right to be here
Gates of Heaven Book 1
MOUTH TO MOUTH RESUSCITATION
After the death of their mother, Frank "Saint" Jeffrey knew the only way to protect his younger brother was to strike a deal with their autocratic, cruel, abusive father. In exchange for his brother's freedom to live his life as he wished, Saint promised to follow in his father's footsteps and become a preeminent surgeon in his father's medical practice. When events he never could have predicted took away Saint's ability to perform surgery, the bargain became null and void. With no safety net, and a life without purpose, Saint moved across the country, bought a wreck of a building in DTLA, and hoped while resurrecting the property he'd find a reason to live again. Then Max Connor entered his life and Saint was dragged from the darkness of desolation into the light of love.
* Boroughs Publishing
The slam of his office door shook the dust from the old paintings still clinging to the walls of
plaster, and the sound of breaking glass confirmed one had lost its battle to hold on. Saint threw
yet another folder into his recycling bin before leaning back into his chair and looking up at the
stained ceiling. Was he asking too much?
“You send another one packing, boss?” Larry asked as he stuck his head in through the now
“There has to be one contractor out there who sees my vision for this dump,” Saint groaned.
“They want to gut everything.”
Larry walked all the way in and sat on one of the high-back, upholstered chairs from the
lounge area. Saint didn’t even know the guy’s last name, but that hadn’t mattered when he’d
found Larry sleeping in the corner of his building’s entryway. Larry had needed help and so had
Saint. It worked out for both of them. At first, Saint had kept an eye on the young homeless man
as he helped around the building, but after two months, Saint had learned to relax a bit. If Larry
had intended to steal from him, he would have done it by now.
Saint looked down at his leather-covered hands. The black, fingerless gloves were designed
to support and protect his still-healing hands from the wounds that had changed everything.
Larry had been indispensable, so Saint had provided him with a room of his own in the back of
the building as well as a cash allowance of sorts. Considering Saint paid for all the expenses and
food, Larry was pocketing enough to take care of himself without resorting to other means.
“They can’t gut what makes this old building unique. My grandpa used to say there was too
much conformity in the world,” Larry answered as he wiped his sweaty, dust-covered face,
leaving one clean streak down the side. Saint wasn’t sure where Larry had been raised, but his
accent suggested the mid-west.
“Damn straight,” Saint agreed before standing with a soft hiss of pain.
“Your side hurting again?” Larry asked.
There had been three bullets that day. One for each hand and a third through his stomach,
tearing a hole in his small intestines that had required over ten hours of surgery to repair.
“It’s not bad.” Short and to the point, Saint refused to talk about his injuries. The quicker he
healed, the faster he could put that chapter in his life to rest once and for all.
Larry followed him out of the office Saint had created from the old storage room behind the
solid oak bar. He had been surprised no one had ripped it out considering it looked like it dated
back to the building’s beginnings. The wood was carved into various palm leaf shapes and
covered an entire wall complete with mirrors. There was no way in hell he’d allow someone to
destroy it, which was one of the many stupid things the last contractor had suggested.
Saint had to hand it to Larry—the man worked hard. “This room looks so much better
without all the debris and broken furniture. Were you able to find room in the dumpster out
“Yep, it’s all ready for pickup. No wasted space.”
“Good job. Are you getting hungry?” Saint asked as he looked down at his watch and
discovered it was already early evening. Another day gone and nothing to show for it. Why was
finding a general contractor such a pain in the ass? It wasn’t as if he was asking for the Taj
Mahal to be rebuilt.
“I can keep going, boss.”
“That’s not what I asked.”
Larry looked down at his shoes before mumbling, “I could eat.”
Saint knew the young man was doing everything in his power not to be a bother. Sometimes
it seemed as though Larry would make himself as small as possible to avoid attention. Saint had
been working on the young man’s confidence, which seemed ironic considering he’d lost his
“You need to tell me the truth when I ask you questions. It’s the only way this arrangement is
going to work. If I lose track of time, you are free to tell me it’s past supper and that you’re
hungry. At least until we can work a small kitchen in here somewhere so you can make whatever
you want whenever. Take a shower and we’ll figure out something to eat,” Saint instructed,
bringing a smile to Larry’s face before he took off to his room.
Saint had thought to add more to the common space when they’d cleared out the back, or
hub, as they began calling it. Their efforts had yielded a space that included a television, couch,
his easy chair, a small dining table set, a coffee table, microwave, electric coffeepot, and a small
Looking around, he wished he had more to show for two months’ worth of work, but it
wasn’t as if he had much else to do. Sure, he could have stayed in a comfortable hotel while
working out the basics of his design concept, but if he was starting a new life, he needed to jump
in with both feet.
The buzzer for the front door sounded—another new addition—and Saint changed direction
and headed toward the thick wooden doors. He’d hired the Sentinel crew to install a security
system in the building. It was worth the small fortune he’d paid for the peace of mind. While a
lot of DTLA had been or was in the process of being renovated, there were as many places that
were derelict and some were hard-core dangerous. Saint had vowed never to be caught unaware
He looked at the monitor embedded into the wall a few feet from the front doors, checking to
see who was out there. He flipped the locks and walked out into the waning sunlight. The warm
air hit him and he shook his head. He didn’t think he’d ever get used to LA’s climate. Early
spring back in New York City would hold the possibility of one last grand snowstorm or two,
typically after everyone had removed their snow tires, making traffic worse than usual.
Saint walked the ten feet to the imposing gothic wrought-iron gate that enclosed the front
vestibule area of the building. He’d had the gates fixed the day after he’d found Larry sleeping in
the entryway. A courier was waiting for him, but instead of opening the nine-foot gate, he simply
held out his hand for the man to place the envelope in it.
“Dr. Francis Jeffrey?” The busy street noise and mass of people moving along the sidewalks
was almost deafening, and Saint quirked a brow at the kid. He asked the question again and Saint
nodded. He was no longer a surgeon and wanted people to address him as mister, but this kid
wouldn’t know that.
The kid handed a handheld device through the gate’s bars. “Sign here,” he said in a bored
monotone voice. Saint hated this part. Carefully, he took the stylus from the courier and wrapped
his fingers as far as he could around the plastic. No matter how hard he tried, he could only make
his index finger reach his thumb and scribbled something illegible on the digital pad. When he
went to hand back the device, the expression on the kid’s face wasn’t surprising. Saint growled
and shoved the pad in the guy’s hands, took the white envelope, and stormed inside before
relocking the door.
He wondered if one day it would get better when he saw the shock and pity in their eyes. If
the stabbing pain ripping through his heart would ease over time.
“You should have let me get that for you, boss,” Larry said as he came running to the front
doors. His hair was still damp but at least he was dressed. All Saint needed was a twentysomething
traipsing around in a towel.
He treated Larry as he would his brother Johnny, and made that clear after the one and only
time the man had made a pass at him. Saint knew it had to have been tough on the street, and
Larry probably assumed there would be a price for Saint’s kindness. It took some reinforcing,
but it seemed Larry believed Saint wanted nothing more than an honest day’s work for Larry’s
efforts. The fact that he felt responsible for Larry and treated him like Johnny, the brother he’d
protected by staying away, was a matter Saint didn’t want to look at too closely.
“It’s fine,” Saint answered, but his voice came out more like a growl. “Did you grab the card,
Larry?” He had opened a bank account for everyday expenses and gave Larry a card tied to the
account so he could pick things up when they needed them.
Larry’s dark brown eyes looked troubled as he nibbled on his lower lip and Saint was about
to question him when the kid blurted out, “My name isn’t Larry.” Saint tried his best to look
shocked, but obviously he hadn’t pulled it off. “You knew?”
“I’ve been in some of the toughest barrios in Central and South America. I would have been
more shocked if you’d told me the truth without knowing who the hell I was. So, what is it?”
“Finn…Finley, but I prefer Finn.” The kid shrugged.
“Well, Finn, did you grab the card?” Saint asked again, as if the name thing wasn’t a big
deal. Even though the trust in sharing it was.
“Yeah, boss.” Finn smiled wide.
“Okay, go grab us something you like and I’ll meet you back in the hub,” Saint instructed
before heading for the commanding central staircase.
“Um, maybe you’d like to come for the walk.”
Saint stopped in his tracks and spun around. “Why?”
Finn found a spot in the faded carpeting unusually interesting. “It’s… well… You never go
out, really, other than doctors’ visits.”
The fact that Finn noticed was one thing Saint hadn’t expected. That the kid sounded as if his
concern was genuine was surprising. “I prefer to stay in at the moment. Thank you for asking.”
“Okay,” Finn said with his usual smile in place before taking off for the back of the building.
Typically, they used the delivery entrance to come and go.
Saint waited until he heard the beep of the back door closing and relocking before he began
climbing the stairs to the first floor. While he lived on the ground floor, he dreamed of the day
that he’d have his own space on the top floor of his building. Unfortunately, without a contractor,
his dream had stalled.
This staircase had sold him on the building. Grand, majestic, ornamental, and stunning, it had
the odd squeak, but the grand wooden staircase was solid. When he’d first arrived, Saint
remembered thinking it reminded him of a toothless grin with its missing parts, but the thick
carved railings that opened up like arms gathering you in as you ventured higher were unique
and magical. The banisters depicted the elegant curves of a cello, but the one thing Saint loved
the most were the slight grooves in the wood from years of wear. His imagination raced at the
thought of who might have run their hands over the same surface in the more than hundred years
of its existence.
Saint had done a fair amount of research before choosing this building. It had lived many
lives in the twentieth century.
When the railroads had made it out west, the people who had built downtown Los Angeles
had come to this desert by the sea as part of the oil boom in the early 1900s. They built, then set
up shop downtown in this four-story stone building with its elegantly chiseled façade, high
windows, and ornate detailing. Over the years, it had changed hands numerous times. After the
oil barons moved to a larger and more prestigious space, a couple of Hollywood producers had
turned the building into an elegant nightclub with private rooms for those who wanted their
indiscretions to stay behind closed doors. When World War II hit, the building was shuttered,
and in 1946 it became a small department store. In the late 1960s, when LA sprawl moved into
the Valley and took retail with it, the building changed hands and became a hotel with a kitschy
restaurant. The hotel became seedy and the building fell into total disrepair at the turn of the
twenty-first century. The grand dame had sat empty until Saint came along.
His plans included a restaurant and lounge on the ground floor, and condominiums on the
upper three floors with a roof garden with lounges for the owners’ use. Plans. Saint scoffed at
the word. As if he had any real plans other than getting as far away from his old life as he could.
He looked down at the envelope still crumpled in his damaged right hand. When were they going
to stop sending these letters? Saint pushed the offending paper into his pocket. He’d add it to the
pile when he got back to his room.
Door after door stood open, revealing the four would-be condominium units on the first
floor: one studio apartment, two one-bedrooms, and a large two-bedroom in the corner unit.
Another set of four apartments mimicking the floor plan on the second floor was part of his
vision, and he intended to occupy the entire third floor.
Which was where he stood now, the peeling linoleum tiles buckled in a few places, leaving
glimpses of the wood planks underneath. Large, full-length, top-hung windows flooded the faded
and stained rooms with light. Saint regretted they had to be replaced and hoped he could find
something comparable. He walked up to the windows that would be front and center in his new
loft-style home and looked out at the city before him.
The city of angels.
M. Tasia, is an author who lives in Ontario, Canada. She's a member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter, the Toronto Romance Writers. Michelle is a dedicated people watcher, lover of romance novels, 80's rock, and happy endings, who grew up with a love of reading. Mother of three wonderful children, wife to one understanding husband and servant to two spoiled furry children who don't seem to realize that they're actually cats.
Michelle writes both contemporary and paranormal romance and believes love should be celebrated. After all, we deserve to have romance, excitement, intrigue and passion in our lives.
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