Trusting Cade (Custos Securities Series Book 1)

By: Luna David

Custos Securities Series Book 1

To Husband, the love of my life, and the man who makes me laugh like no other. Without you, this book wouldn’t have been written. You make it possible for me to take time every single day to expel the voices in my head, and get them on paper. I’m sorry I didn’t title my first M/M Romance, The Adventures of Rod Steelcock: The Manhole Chronicles, as you suggested. I hope Trusting Cade will suffice

Cade and Cooper watched their latest round of interview testing candidates through their office windows four stories up. They both stood at parade rest, a habit ingrained in them from their early days in the Army. They’d been through years of combat together after fighting their way through the Special Forces training program and they trusted each other implicitly. They had agreed, along with two of their closest friends, Jackson and Sawyer, to get out of their Special Forces unit at the same time and go into business together. Custos Securities now enjoyed a reputation for providing unparalleled security for both civilians and businesses across the U.S. As custos is the Latin word for guardian, that is what they called their security specialists. They needed to hire five to ten new guardians to keep up with their customers’ demands.

From the beginning, they’d agreed that they would only hire ex-military personnel. There were a couple of reasons behind their decision: one, they needed their employees to be equipped with the specialized training the military provided and two, military veterans didn’t always have an easy time re-inserting themselves back into civilian life after going through combat, especially if they had issues with PTSD or physical injuries from battle. They wanted to hire the best, and sometimes the best came in unique packaging.

The latest candidates seemed promising, but Cade knew from past testing sessions that looks could be deceiving. The group below them, seven men and one woman, all fit by military standards, stretched in preparation for the obstacle course. Jackson and Sawyer gave the latest candidates the information they needed in order to get through the course.

The obstacle course was one similar to the courses designed for Special Forces military groups in order to improve reaction times and physical stamina. None of the current group being tested had any clue of the amount of trust Cade and Cooper placed in their instructors and that was how they liked it. If the group saw Jackson and Sawyer as ordinary employees, they’d be more apt to be themselves and let their instructors see who they really were.

One of the biggest reasons for the strenuous testing of all candidates was to figure out exactly who they were, at their core. The people they hired needed the correct temperament not only to do their jobs, but to deal with two alpha co-owners running the show. Cooper glanced at Cade. “So, after this round of testing is done and we make our hiring decisions, we’re headed to California next week to work on the Kensington job and then start looking at some real estate there.”

Cade chuckled. “The Kensington’s. What do they need? Didn’t we just put their system in last year?”

Cooper smirked. “Listen, I’ll handle drumming up business and getting new equipment and security contracts signed, controlling the press, and running HR. I handle the details that you can’t be bothered with. I’m the one that does the schmoozing, while you hide behind the scenes being your grumpy, anti-social self. You need to keep that engineering brain of yours humming on new ways to innovate with our security systems and your military leadership skills for planning security details for our VIPs. Not to mention creating the physical training programs for our new recruits.”

Cade raised his hands in supplication. “OK, OK. You get us the business, and I’ll keep it. It’s worked for us so far.”

Cooper nodded, agreeing with Cade’s assessment. They watched as the first two candidates took off in a race across the course. Cooper tilted his head and raised a brow. “We’ll have enough time to see our families while we’re in California. You’re going to see yours, right?”

Cade was confused by the question. “Yeah, of course. Why?”

Cooper shrugged, not meeting his gaze. “There’s no ‘of course’ about it, man. I’ve been struggling to read you lately. It’s hard to read you on a good day, but there’s just something... you’ve been off.”

Cade was surprised that it had shown. He was fairly adept at masking his emotions, and the fact that Cooper had seen his, or rather his lack of them, threw him off balance. He shook his head, but Cooper wasn’t having it.

“Cade, I know you. I see the parts of you that you don’t share with everyone else. Not because you share things with me, but because I’m around you on a daily basis and have been for too many damn years. Something’s going on with you. You’re not social to begin with, but lately, even going out for beers with me, or Sawyer and Jackson, is such a rare occurrence, I sometimes forget to ask you. Talk to me, man.”

Cade knew Cooper wouldn’t give up on this line of questioning. Once he dug in, he was pretty much set on course unless a bomb went off and caused a wrinkle in his plans. That wrinkle would only be a delay of the inevitable, as he’d come back around again and dig until he got what he wanted. He could hardly be upset by it. It’s exactly what got them contracts. It’s what made Cooper, well, Cooper. They were opposites in so many ways, and that’s why they’d become and remained best friends years earlier. Cade took the leap.

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