**This story takes place immediately after "The Russian Merger"**


"Happy anniversary, Anne." Lt. Michael Hoyt gave his wife a hug.

"You be careful out there, okay, Michael? I love you." She straightened his tie and gave him a kiss.

"I will. Love you." Hoyt walked out the door, got into his car and headed for the station. He and Anne had plans for that night. They were celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary and were going to dinner and a concert. He had surprised her with the tickets last night, a present from Houston. Hoyt wondered how Houston knew that he and his wife had wanted to go.

He laughed; how Houston knew half of what he did about people was a mystery. When they had first met they sure hadn't been friendly. Hoyt had transferred into the precinct after Lt. Vince Novelli had been forced to take early retirement due to a gunshot wound he suffered while working with Houston on a case almost three years ago. He had tired quickly of hearing about the exploits of Novelli and Houston. It seemed that Novelli had given him free reign; he was allowed to view records anytime he wanted and walked around the department like he belonged there. The lieutenant had an instant dislike for the man. He was rich, white, a southerner, and just too slick. Hoyt tried to put a stop to Houston's visits to the station. It only lasted a couple of weeks. He soon learned why Novelli had trusted the private detective so much. Curious about the man, he had pulled Houston's military record. He had two Bronze Stars, three Silver Stars, and the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was also the best investigator going, be it private or police.

Hoyt thought back to the terrible day that his daughter Kathy had been kidnapped by a child molester and murderer. Houston had been right there for him and even took a butcher knife to the chest when he tracked down the maniac. He had nearly died. From that day on, he had Hoyt's undying loyalty. That wasn't to say that they never disagreed. Houston could still be a large pain in the butt, but Hoyt knew that he meant well. Like the incident that the cops at the precinct called the "Yogurt Bomb". Houston had thirty six cases of yogurt delivered to the lieutenant's office, partly as a joke and partly to help him with his ulcers.

As he drove into the parking garage, Hoyt decided to pay Houston a visit later that day to thank him personally for the tickets. He got out of the car, got onto the elevator and headed up to his office, still thinking about his date with Anne that night.