The Good Cop (A Dick Hardesty Mystery, #5) (paperback) by Dorien Grey

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ISBN: 9781611878301
Pages: 248

All Tom Brady wanted was to be a good cop; to keep a low profile and prove to a notoriously homophobic police department undergoing its own internal upheavals that gays deserved the right to be among them. But when he and old friend Dick Hardesty go out for a quiet evening, an incident leads to Tom shooting two thugs attacking patrons of a gay bar. Dick finds himself trying to protect Tom from being outed, while heading off a violent antipolice rebellion by the gay community.


I was going to tell you about Tom. Tom Brady. I’d known him since college. He was a year or two behind me, but everybody knew Tom. Tom was a Golden Child if ever there was one. He looked like the 40’s movie star Tyrone Power and was probably—and justifiably—one of the most popular guys on campus. He came from an incredibly wealthy family—his father owned a national chain of high-class hotels, though Tom never mentioned it. The fact that he chose to attend a small liberal arts college over any one of the Ivy League schools that would have been glad to have him was a good indication that Tom had his feet firmly on the ground. He drove a six-year-old, beat-up car—it was a convertible, although, I remember, something was broken in the lowering/raising mechanism so that top would never come down. 

Of course I had a huge crush on him, as did every girl on campus, and a lot more guys than let on. Tom had a girlfriend, Lisa, whom he’d been dating since grade school. 

I saw a tee shirt once that said: “How dare you assume I’m heterosexual!” A lot of truth in there, and it worked perfectly for Tom. No one ever questioned his sexual orientation; it was simply assumed—by the straights, at least—that Tom was straight. Isn’t everyone? 

Tom and I were on the college boxing team and one night after we’d both stayed in the gym until it closed, he asked me back to his off-campus room and erased all doubts about where his sexual priorities lay. We became pretty good friends, and it was then that I found out that Lisa was lesbian. “Protective coloration,” he used to joke. The three of us used to hang around together, and often we’d go to campus social events with Lisa’s “best friend,” Carol. After the event, Tom and I would go to his place, and Lisa and Carol would go to Carol’s. I found it interesting even then that though the four of us were always together and everyone “knew” Tom and Lisa were a couple, to my vast relief no one really thought Carol and I were. 

Ah, the stupid games we play. But there was (and regrettably often still is) something to be said for protective coloration, and I never faulted Tom—or Lisa—for taking advantage of it. 

After I graduated, we sort of lost touch, but I heard that Tom had moved to Reno to start learning the family business at one of his dad’s hotels. I could imagine he was not too thrilled about it, because while we’d never talked about it directly, I got the idea Tom had other plans for himself. But then I lost track of him completely, though I never forgot him. 


I was sitting in my favorite bar, Ramón’s, one Saturday evening having an Old Fashioned and a sporadic chat with the owner, Bob Allen. It was still relatively early, and Jimmy, the regular bartender, was also there, so Bob and I had some between-waiting-on-customers time to fill each other in on what had been happening in our lives since our last get-together. Bob had just moved off to the aid of a parched customer when I felt a hand on my shoulder and a warm voice I recognized immediately: “Now, as I was saying…” I turned around to see…Tom Brady! I practically jumped off my stool and grabbed him in a bear hug, which he returned, with hearty back-slapping. 

“Tom!” I said when we finally broke our hug and withdrew to arms’ length but without letting go completely. “When did you get into town? And how long are you staying?” 

Tom grinned that glacier-melting grin of his that I’d only seen in an occasional erotic fantasy since our college days, and carefully looked me over from head to foot. “You’re even better looking than you were in school. I didn’t think that was possible.” 

I grinned. “And you are still so full of bullshit your eyes are brown.” 

We released our mutual elbow-hold, and he pulled up the stool beside me. We both sat down, facing one another. I had a chance to take stock of him, and there was a lot to take stock of. He still looked exactly the same as he had in college, as though the intervening years hadn’t passed. And he was still drop-dead beautiful. 

Before my crotch had a chance to put its two cents’ worth in, I thought I’d get back to the subject at hand. “So what are you doing in town? And how long will you be here?” I repeated. 

“A long story, but the gist is that we moved here two weeks ago, and with luck it will be permanent.” 

The “we” wasn’t lost on me, you can be sure. 


Bob came over to take Tom’s drink order, and I introduced them. They shook hands, exchanged a few words, and then Bob gave me a quick raised eyebrow and a smile, and went to get Tom’s drink. 

“Lisa and I,” Tom said, picking up where we’d left off. “We got married about two years ago.” He foresaw my next question and raised his hand quickly to head it off. “I know, I know…you always did have more guts than I did when it came to telling the world to go fuck itself. But it just seemed the easiest course for both Lisa and me. Her family expected it; my family expected it; we’re best friends, and this way everybody is happy. Our lives are our own. We just live in the same place and get a break on our income taxes. Of course now the folks are starting to bug us about having kids, like that’ll ever happen—at least not the ‘old fashioned’ way. We’ve been talking about adopting, maybe, sometime down the road.” 

Rather than letting my mouth get the better of my mind, I decided to drop that whole can of worms before it was even fully opened. 

“As long as you’re happy,” I said, a little lamely, I’m afraid, then made a valiant effort to save the situation by jumping back into neutral territory. “So what the hell are you doing in Ramón’s—not that I’m not delighted that you are, and not that it isn’t a great place, but it’s a little off the beaten path.” 

He nodded. “Kismet! We rented an apartment over on Spring and Warner.” 

“No shit?” I said, grinning. “That’s only two blocks from my place. We’re practically neighbors!” 

And any time you want to come by to borrow a cup of sugar…my crotch volunteered happily…. 

Luckily, he couldn’t hear it. 

“As I say: Kismet. I was going to look you up the minute we got settled in…which we’re still not, completely. Anyway, as to what I’m doing here, we decided we deserved a night away from unpacking. Lisa and Carol went to a movie; I decided to check out the local action. Sure am glad I did.” 

“That makes two of us,” I said, deciding not to pursue the ‘Lisa and Carol’ reference at the moment. There would be plenty of time for that later, I hoped. “Now tell me everything that’s happened to you since we last saw each other….”

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