Hello everyone. I have two teasers to share with you! There are just 5 weeks until Something to Dye For goes live on 1/3/17. I am over the moon with excitement about this book.
The beautiful teasers and paperback cover are courtesy of Jay Aheer of Simply Defined Art. The photo used for the cover, and also the individual phots of the cover model in the teaser, are from Wander Aguiar. The half-nude dude is courtesy of Jay. These wonderfully talented people are my dynamic duo.
I also have the final paperback wrap to share with you as well.
Thank you for stopping by my blog! I'll be back next Tuesday with another teaser!
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Saturday, November 26, 2016
It's time to reveal the next amazing cover created by Jay Aheer of Simply Definted Art. The photographer of this stunning picture is Wander Aguiar. They make a killer creative team!
Something to Dye For will be coming to a kindle near you on January 3, 2017!!
I'll start releasing the teasers as soon as they're finished! I hope you're as excited about the release of this book as I am. I love Blissville so damn much and it will kill me to say goodbye to these two men, but I am grateful to be with them for four books. Many of you have asked about Dr. Dimples and I can happily confirm that he will be getting his a book, which I hope to publish in July.
As always, thank you for stopping by my blog for updates.
Something to Dye For will be coming to a kindle near you on January 3, 2017!!
I'll start releasing the teasers as soon as they're finished! I hope you're as excited about the release of this book as I am. I love Blissville so damn much and it will kill me to say goodbye to these two men, but I am grateful to be with them for four books. Many of you have asked about Dr. Dimples and I can happily confirm that he will be getting his a book, which I hope to publish in July.
As always, thank you for stopping by my blog for updates.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Hello everyone. I wrote a prequel for Josh and Gabe called Fatal Reaction that was previously published in the Nut Case Love Anthology. That book is no longer for sale and they story has been returned to me. I'm posting the story for free on my blog to thank you for all the support and love you've given me the last two years. I hope you enjoy it!
I should’ve listened to my mother. I should’ve tried harder to ignore the gypsy blood that ran through my veins, but I couldn’t turn my back on people who needed help. Well, that and I needed money because my day job of pouring java at The Brew didn’t pay much. So, I started seeing clients in my home and had myself a nice little business going until I got an unexpected reaction – a fatal one. Unfortunately, the fatality would be my own.
I saw it in a vision and accepted my destiny as my fate. I hadn’t trusted my instincts when a particular tall, dark, and handsome man approached me for help and it would seem that I’d be paying the ultimate price. He came to me looking for help with his love life. Things had grown stagnant and he wanted to spice things up a bit to remind her of how strong their love had once been. Apparently the love potion I gave him to use backfired and she realized she was in love with his best friend. I honestly hadn’t seen that coming. In my defense, they didn’t come to me for a couple’s reading or I would’ve seen that they weren’t meant to be together.
One would think I learned a lesson about meddling in peoples’ lives after seeing my fate, but I decided to help one last man on the final day that I would walk the earth. He too was tall, dark, and handsome, but his aura showed him to be a good man despite the sadness I saw in his eyes. Unbeknownst to the dashing detective, Gabe, I slipped a little something extra into his coffee. I called it Love Potion #7 for the number of ingredients I used. Its purpose was to open up his eyes to love. I recognized a man who sorely needed love when I saw it. The potion wouldn’t make him fall in love with a particular person or compromise his judgment, it would simply open his mind up to possibilities.
As I stood at my kitchen sink washing my dinner dishes, I let my mind imagine a world where Gabe brought his love into the coffee shop and they lingered over java and pastries as they stared into one another’s eyes. There would be soft smiles and longing looks as the morning ticked lazily by.
A noise from outside the kitchen window startled me out of my reverie. I looked across the expanse of my back lawn to the alley that separated my property from the neighbor. Josh “Jazz” Roman was taking the trash out to his bins after closing up the salon he ran from his house. He turned and waved at me and I waved a soapy hand in return. He was one person I’d sorely miss.
A shiver worked its way down my spine as I realized that the wave and smile I shared with Josh was exactly what I’d seen in my vision. My time was almost up and my brain scattered to think of a way to let the police know who killed me. Why hadn’t I thought of that already instead of daydreaming about a cop I hardly knew?
I pulled my hands out of the soapy water and quickly rinsed and dried them. I turned to find something to write with and found him already standing in my kitchen. The rage I saw in his eyes sent fear coursing through my body and all but one thought slipped from my mind.
“I’m so sorry, Mama,” I whispered out loud before I let loose a blood curdling scream. I would not go out quietly!
“Man, it’s the sweet lady from the coffee shop,” my partner, Adrian Goode said. “Who would want to hurt her?” As detectives, we had seen a lot of shit in our lives, but that didn’t mean we were immune to it. The young woman lying in a pool of blood from where someone had slit her throat wouldn’t sit well with the most hardened veterans.
“Bianca,” I said to him. “Her name is Bianca.” And someone had done a real number on her too. The bruising on her face suggested that she was struck several times and the kitchen furniture knocked haphazardly all around indicated that she put up a struggle.
“Bianca Dragomir, age twenty-four,” the first responding officer said. “Call came in from the neighbor behind her. Josh Roman said that he’d seen Ms. Dragomir standing at the sink washing dishes when he took out the garbage around six thirty. They waved at one another. He said he was almost back inside his home when he heard her scream. He said even from across the alley he could hear a lot of scuffling and loud banging. He immediately called 911, but by the time I arrived she had already bled out from her wound.”
“Did he get a look at the assailant?” I asked Officer Perkins.
“He’s so shaken up that I really didn’t get much out of him. Maybe you guys should take a crack at him. His friends are sitting with him and maybe he’s had time to calm down.”
“Yeah, sure,” Adrian said, closing his notebook. He looked at the medical examiner who was bagging up Bianca’s hands to preserve any DNA evidence she might have beneath her nails. “I hope you’re going to help us nail the son of a bitch who did this to you, kiddo.”
“She put up a hell of a fight, Detective Goode,” Dr. Melissa Chan replied from where she squatted beside the body. “We’re a small town so all of the DNA will be sent to Columbus for analysis, so it might be a while. If this guy is in the system, then we’ll have him.” That was something at least. Even though the dead didn’t talk, they often told us quite a lot about the person who killed them.
Adrian and I left Bianca’s house and began a silent walk across her back yard to her neighbor’s house. I had moved to Blissville, a sleepy southern Ohio town, to get away from big city crime. Okay, I moved to Blissville with my ex-boyfriend when he wanted to move back home and take over his grandfather’s veterinary practice when he retired. Still, I had been looking forward to a slower pace as Kyle and I built a life together. A year later, Kyle and I were no longer a couple, but I kept my position on the police force and rented a small house of my own. I hadn’t lived here all that long, but I got the impression that a murder wasn’t something that happened very often.
There was a light on in the rear of the massive, two and a half story home owned by Josh Roman. A large portion of the home had been turned into a full service salon called The Curl Up and Dye that all of the local ladies raved about. I had seen the owner many times since I moved to town, but never spoke to him.
He was a few inches shorter than my six-two frame and very slender compared to my bulkier body, that I earned working off my sexual frustration in the weight room. His hair was so blond that it was nearly white and he often wore a colored streak in his bangs. He had a sway to his hips when he walked and an “I don’t care what you think about me” air about him. He was clearly comfortable in his own skin and that was something I admired, even if I wasn’t attracted to him.
Adrian knocked loudly on the back door of the home and after a few moments a gorgeous African American lady in her early 20s answered. “I’m Detective Goode and this is my partner, Detective Wyatt,” he told her. We both held up our badges, which she scrutinized before she stepped aside so we could enter.
“We’d like to ask Josh Roman a few questions if you don’t mind, Ms…”
“Meredith Richmond,” she replied. “Jazz is really a mess right now. He truly loved Bianca and he’s devastated about her death. Could he possibly do this tomorrow?”
“I’m afraid it’s very important that we speak to him while things are still fresh in his mind,” I told her. “We’ll try to make it quick.”
“Okay,” she said reluctantly. “Follow me.”
She led us through the kitchen and into an elegant, yet cozy looking, sitting room that was decorated in earth tones with bright bursts of blues and greens. Huddled together on the couch were two men. Josh’s stooped shoulders shook as he cried silently. I had not seen the other guy before and he sat with his arm around Josh and his forehead pressed to Josh’s temple. It spoke of a very familiar, if not intimate, relationship.
“I should’ve done something more,” Josh said, unaware that we’d entered the room. He was looking down at his lap and running his hands over the long, furry body of a ferret. “She was my friend and I…”
“No, baby,” Meredith said, taking up the open space on the other side of his body. “You would’ve gotten yourself killed too.”
Behind the trio sat a gorgeous Siamese cat who pinned me with suspicious blue eyes. Her chocolate-brown ears twitched and her tail swished from side to side in annoyance at the scene that played out in front of her. I was about to clear my throat to announce our presence when a shrill whistle split the air. I whipped around to see the source of the noise and found a vibrantly blue macaw watching me through his cage.
“Hey there, sexy thing.” The bird let out another whistle and then bopped its head in excitement. “Come give Daddy a kiss.”
“Looks like you made a new friend,” Adrian said from beside me. “It’s been a long dry spell for you. Maybe you give this guy a chance.”
“Savage, behave,” said a soft voice from behind me.
I turned around and found myself caught in a pair of huge hazel eyes that were wet with tears of anguish. It wasn’t the time to catalog every fine, almost delicate feature on Josh Roman’s face, but I couldn’t help myself. It was the first time I’d seen him up close and personal and his beauty shocked me. I hadn’t really thought of men in terms of beautiful before, but it was the only way to describe him.
His wounded eyes held onto mine for several long moments and I wondered what he thought about when he looked at me; then wondered why I cared. I had a job to do and it wasn’t to get a date for the following weekend, even if he had been my type. Our eyes stayed locked on each other until Adrian spoke. Josh was the one to break eye contact to focus on him.
“I’m really sorry about the loss of your friend Bianca,” Adrian said compassionately. “Your friend Meredith is right though, Mr. Roman. You could’ve been hurt or killed had you gone over to her house. You called 911 and that was exactly what you should’ve done.”
“It doesn’t feel like the right thing. I can’t believe Bianca is dead. Who in the world would want to hurt her? She was the kindest person I’d ever met.” He shifted his eyes back to his lap where he had resumed petting his ferret. “It makes no sense.”
“It seldom does,” I said, speaking for the first time. Josh jerked his gaze back up to mine. “Did you see the assailant entering or leaving her house? Have you seen anyone hanging around that appeared out of place?”
He shook his head slowly. “I didn’t see anything at all. She was washing dishes and I waved to her as I took the trash out. I didn’t see anyone outside her house at that time so maybe he was already inside or he rounded the corner and entered her house right after I turned around to come back inside.”
“Which means he might’ve been familiar with your nightly routine or he was watching you and waiting for you to go inside,” I said, thinking out loud. I heard a collective sharp intake of breaths and looked at the three people sitting on the couch.
“Is he in danger?” Meredith asked, looking ashen.
“Oh my God, Jazz,” the other guy said. “You need police protection.” His blues eyes were bugging out of his head. He ran his hands through his light brown hair in agitation. “You will protect him, won’t you?”
“Calm down,” Adrian said, his deep voice sounding as if God spoke. “There’s nothing to indicate that the killer thinks Mr. Roman saw or heard anything at all. Detective Wyatt was mentally piecing together a scenario, not fact.” Adrian pinned me with a dark look that let me know he wasn’t pleased that I had riled up the witness and his friends. “I know it’s been a trying night for you, so we won’t stay any longer. We’ll give you our cards and you can call us if you think of anything at all.”
“Or he gets death threats,” the brown-haired guy added.
“Knock it off, Chaz,” Meredith said calmly. “If the detectives thought Jazz was in danger then they’d do something about it, right?” She pinned us with a “don’t mess with me” look that had us both nodding in agreement. “See there,” she said softly to Josh. “You’re going to be okay. I’m going to stay over tonight because you need a friend, but no one is in danger.” She looked back at us. “Give him your cards, gentlemen.” We rushed to do Meredith Richmond’s bidding and then said we’d show ourselves out.
Once we were out of ear shot, Adrian leaned toward me a bit and said, “He’s cute, huh?”
“Stop, Adrian.” The last thing I needed was his attempt at matchmaking.
“Come on, man. It’s been a year since you and Kyle split. It’s time you got back on the horse or allowed yourself to be mounted – whatever you’re in to.” He waggled his brows at me and made me smile.
I truly lucked out when I was paired up with Adrian. Police departments haven’t always been LGBT friendly places and a lot of cops stayed in the closet. The world was changing and there was more acceptance to be found, even if there was still a lot of room for improvement.
“He’s not really my type,” I said with a casual shrug.
“Why ever not?” Adrian sounded genuinely confused by my answer.
“He’s just a bit too…”
“Feminine?” A soft voice with a bite of anger broke off my sentence. Adrian and I stopped and turned to find that Josh had followed after us. Some detectives we were that we didn’t even know. The wounded look in his eyes from earlier had been replaced with a defiant one. The way he held his head high told me that he had survived many an asshole in his life and I was sorry he would be including me in that category. “You’re one of those ‘masc only’ guys, aren’t you?” His use of fingers to quote the words in air would have been cute had I not been mortified. “Don’t worry, Detective Wyatt. I’m not into tall, dark, and dickish men so you’re safe from my affections.” I just stood staring at him, unable to say a word.
“Was there something that you thought of?” Adrian asked, steering us back toward a more appropriate conversation and saving me from more embarrassment.
The sadness returned and flooded his expressive eyes. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t move something inside of me, something that made me want to reach out and pull him into my arms where I could tuck him under my chin and keep him safe. The protectiveness I felt toward him was a revelation I hadn’t expected.
“Did she suffer?” Josh finally asked.
“She died quickly,” Adrian replied softly. I noticed he didn’t say anything about it being painless, but he didn’t lie to Josh.
“Thank you.” He nodded quickly and returned to the comforting fold of his friends.
Much later that night when I was alone in bed, I couldn’t help but wonder how Josh was doing. Was he able to fall asleep? It upset me that he overheard me and knew what I had been about to say. It irritated me even more that I had left him with a bad impression of me. What bothered me the most was that I was wide awake in the middle of the night thinking about sad, hazel eyes and wishing I could take his pain away.
Prior to Bianca’s murder, I might’ve seen Josh Roman around Blissville once a month, which was really saying something because the community only had a little over six thousand residents. Since I embarrassed myself in front of him, I’d seen him at least once a week. Each time, I’d hoped to redeem myself and each time I failed miserably.
I ran into him once outside the Sac-n-Save. I was going in and he was coming out with three or four canvas shopping bags in each hand. I thought I was being a gentleman when I offered to help carry some of his burden to his teal green convertible Mini Cooper.
Instead of accepting my help, the feisty shit batted his eyelashes at me like a simpering southern belle and said with an exaggerated southern accent, “Why, Detective Douche, I do declare that is the sweetest offer I’ve had in days. I’m sorry you think my wrists are so limp that I can’t carry a few groceries to my car. I appreciate you offering your big manly assistance, but I got this. Bye bye, Detective.”
I couldn’t help but notice he added an extra sway to his hips when he walked away and if I wasn’t so pissed at the way he insulted me, I might’ve admired his taut, bubble butt. Instead, my face burned with anger over my rejected offer. Regardless of what he said, those bags looked like they were overflowing with groceries, as if he planned to buy just a few things and ended up buying half of the store.
The next time I ran into him it was at the coffee shop. I stood behind him in line and tried really hard not to notice the way his fresh scent tickled my nose. His hair was still damp as if he’d just gotten out of the shower. When it was his turn to order coffee he ordered a plain black coffee with two sugars. Once he paid for his coffee he moved off to the side to wait. He turned and found me watching him and a scowl formed on his face as he looked at me.
“What’s the matter? My coffee too butch for someone like me?”
I opened my mouth to speak, but the guy behind the counter walked up with his steaming hot coffee. He turned away from me, grabbed his coffee cup, and left the shop without another word. I fought the urge to follow after him, to find out who in life hurt him so bad that he carried such a huge chip on his shoulder. Instead, I stepped up to the cashier and placed my order for a French vanilla latte. I couldn’t help but wonder what Josh would think of my preference for flavored coffee.
These incidents went from a weekly occurrence to bi-weekly and I became more and more frustrated each time. Why? Simple, I could never find the words to refute his generalized statements; something about him twisted my tongue in a knot and prohibited me from arguing or at least apologizing for what I had almost said about him in his own home. As if that wasn’t enough, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I found myself constantly creating interesting ways to shut his smart mouth – most often it involved his lips wrapped around my dick.
The weeks that followed Bianca’s death, Adrian and I went through boxes and boxes of evidence taken from her house. We learned from interviewing her coworkers and friends that Bianca ran a business from her home where she read tarot cards and palms. She gave advice about love and even sold potions to help the lovelorn. None of the documents we found in her home indicated the names of her clients or what she spoke with them about. We found initials instead of clients’ names, codes we couldn’t decipher for the services she performed for them, and the amount she charged them per visit.
She was doing pretty well for herself financially and it appeared that she had a lot of repeat clients. I was convinced that her line of work was the reason behind her murder. She had zero known enemies and nothing suspicious looking in her finances. My gut told me that someone didn’t like what she had to say or one of her potions didn’t go well and she was killed over it.
“I don’t know, Gabe,” Adrian said when I told him my theory. “I’m not sure I believe in all that spiritual stuff.” His dark scowl matched the late afternoon sky. We’d been at it all day and were no closer to an answer as to what happened to Bianca. She deserved justice and it looked like it might not happen if we didn’t catch a break soon.
Bianca’s aunt arrived to escort her body home to New Orleans once Dr. Chan completed the autopsy. Questioning a bereaved family is a tight line to walk; you needed to find out if they knew anything that could produce a suspect while showing as much compassion as possible. Unfortunately for us, the family had nothing to give us. Bianca wasn’t seeing anyone that they knew of and she never spoke of a client who was angry with her.
“If they’re all clairvoyant or have spiritual powers then why can’t they tell us who killed Bianca?” Adrian asked, his voice filled with the same frustration that I felt at not being any closer to catching her killer. “Somebody has to know something and they’re too afraid or too embarrassed to say anything. They don’t want people knowing they’re consulting a psychic, gypsy, fortune teller, or whatever she went by.” There was no derision or scorn in his voice, just a desire to solve her murder. A little over a month had passed since her death and the case was getting colder than ice with no leads in sight.
I wasn’t sure how to answer Adrian’s question about Bianca or her family’s abilities. I wasn’t sure what all was involved in reading tarot cards, palms, tea leaves, or whatever tools she might have used. I wasn’t even sure I believed it worked, but a lot of people did, judging by the earnings in Bianca’s ledgers.
The only physical evidence we had off of her body had been sent to the labs for analysis. We sent her nail scrapings along with hair and fibers we pulled off her body that we believe belonged to her assailant. However, no fingerprints or blood of his own were found at the crime scene. He was either incredibly lucky or had killed before and knew what he was doing. I was of the mind that all killers made mistakes, even seasoned ones. We just needed to find the mistake.
We had decided to call it a day because Adrian had an anniversary dinner planned with his wife, Sally. I just needed to get laid. I was filled with a sexual frustration that no amount of jerking off could ease. Josh Roman had me turned inside out and I almost hated him for it. Gone was my peaceful existence and in its place was a constant state of arousal and irritation. Fuck, I wanted to kiss the hissing and spitting right out of him, but damned if I’d make a move on someone who I obviously repulsed. I was left with no choice but to drive to a bigger city and find someone to work out my frustrations with; someone who didn’t look at me with disgust in his eyes.
Just as we were about to leave, a wide-eyed young woman entered the police department. Apprehension and fear rolled off of her in waves. Adrian was too busy texting his wife to notice her at first. I heard her tell the desk sergeant that she might have information regarding the Bianca Dragomir case and that caught Adrian’s attention.
“Listen, why don’t you go on home to Sally and let me take care of this. I promise to fill you in tomorrow morning. There’s no need to be late for your reservations and upset your wife.” Canceled plans and super late nights were one of the reasons that Kyle and I didn’t work out. I jumped at the chance to move to a smaller town so that I wouldn’t have many late nights in order to save our three-year relationship. I didn’t realize it then, but it was already too late. We’d grown too far apart to repair our relationship.
“Are you sure?” Adrian asked. “We’re partners, man.” I could tell he was torn between doing his job and making his wife happy.
“I’m positive, Adrian. Go home and take your gorgeous wife out to dinner.” I loved Sally Ann like a sister. She had been nothing but kind to me the minute I moved to town. Adrian didn’t bat an eye when I told him I was gay. Living a lie wasn’t something I was willing to do and I needed to know I had a good partner. I ended up with a partner who felt more like family to me than a lot of my own did.
“Call me bright and early,” he said, pointing his finger at me. He walked over to the front desk and talked to the nervous lady. He placed a calming hand on her shoulder and pointed in my direction. The smile he gave her was kind and assuring.
I watched as the lady smiled tentatively back at him before she headed toward my desk. It was a small police department so she didn’t have far to travel. We didn’t have a fancy setup like in some cop shows, but it functioned well enough to suit me.
“I’m Detective Wyatt,” I said, extending my hand to her. I hoped the smile I gave her was as assuring as Adrian’s. I was relieved when she visibly relaxed. “How can I help you, Ms…”
“My name is Tara Evans. I don’t live locally, I don’t read the papers, and I don’t watch the news because it’s depressing…” Her voice broke and I gave her a minute to gather herself, knowing if I was patient she’d finish telling me what she’d come to say. “I didn’t know about Bianca’s death until I showed up at her house this morning for my monthly appointment.” She choked a bit on her words and wiped tears from cornflower blue eyes. I handed her my box of tissues so she could wipe her face.
“The sweet guy who runs the salon saw me on her porch and came over to break the news.” Sweet guy? Had she met Josh? A fresh wave of tears flooded down her face and I once again sat and waited them out. “She was such a kind person, Detective. She helped me out so much and I can’t understand who would want to hurt her.”
“Do you know something that could help us solve her murder?” I asked, trying to steer her to the reason she came by the police department.
“I saw her a few days before her murder, Detective, and I noticed something odd; someone odd, I should say. Bianca never scheduled clients close together to assure absolute discretion. There was never anyone coming or going near our appointment times, no waiting room or reception area, and she kept her doors locked during our sessions to ensure privacy and to make sure we weren’t interrupted.”
“That wasn’t what happened on your last visit?” I asked.
“There was a man leaving her house, a very angry man. He practically ran me over as I was walking up the steps to her front door. He didn’t apologize or anything.” Tara looked shocked that assholes existed in her world. “Anyway, Bianca was standing on her porch watching him as he walked away. She had this odd expression on her face,” Tara squinted as she concentrated, “it was a mix of shock and horror, Detective. Whatever he said to her shook her something fierce. She was off during our session and any attempt on my part to get her to talk about it was kindly rejected. I left with an uneasy feeling and it turned out that I should’ve been.”
My heart sped up with the information that Tara gave me. “Did you see his face or what he was driving?”
“I did get a good look at his face, but he must’ve parked around the corner from her house. That cute neighbor Josh might’ve seen what he was driving though. Josh had been jogging from that direction and the two of them met at the corner and nearly collided. The guy practically shoved Josh out of his way. Josh turned and yelled something after him so if he got into a car he might’ve seen it.”
“Thank you so much for coming in, Tara. I don’t know if who you saw killed Bianca, but I’ll do everything I can to track him down and question him. I have one favor to ask you.” She nodded exuberantly, all traces of fear from earlier were gone. I realized that her dread from earlier wasn’t so much about talking to the police; it was from fear of being judged. “Do you mind working with our sketch artist to see if you can come up with a likeness I can use?” As small as we were, we had one hell of an artist on the force.
“Anything to help,” she replied, as I signaled for Officer Jayna Murkowsky to come over. “You’ll talk to Josh, won’t you?” Tara asked me.
“I’m going to head over to see him as soon as we’re finished.”
I hoped the smile I gave her covered up the internal grimace I had going on. All roads led to Josh it seemed, which also meant I had to gear up for another round of verbal sparring. Okay, he sparred and I took it on the chin because I felt guilty. He was going to need to retract his claws because neither of our feelings were what counted right then. I had a murderer to catch and he might be my key witness.
I stood just outside the door of his salon trying to work up my courage. I always felt out of place at salons and boutiques. Groups of women made me nervous; being gay didn’t change that for me. I was never anyone’s GBF, I didn’t have any sisters, and my mom knew more about sports and cars than she did about shopping and hairstyles. Duty called so I sucked up my awkwardness, squared my shoulders, and walked into that salon like I had a right to be there.
All noises came to a screeching halt – hairdryers were turned off, talking ceased, and all eyes were on me. I felt like a giant fish out of water and I wondered if my mouth was gaping open like one too. There were four occupied chairs in the salon, but I only recognized two of the stylists – Josh and Meredith.
“Howdy, Detective,” Josh’s friend, Chaz, said from behind the reception desk. He looked me up and down appraisingly; I had a feeling I was a shared topic between the three friends. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t think they sang my praises when I wasn’t around. “Jazz, it’s for you,” he said loudly, as if he had to yell in order to be heard. Maybe I was the only one who noticed the still silence.
I looked at Josh and my gaze was met with an exaggerated eye roll. The guy really hated my guts. I fought the urge to turn around and walk out, not because I was a coward, but because I was afraid I’d lose my cool and say something equally as shitty to him in return.
From within the salon I heard Josh’s crazy bird sing out, “I like big cocks and I cannot lie.” The bird broke the silence and soon the salon was filled with the ladies’ laughter.
“My word, Jazz, wherever did you get that crazy bird?” One of them asked after she wiped her eyes.
“Brook’s Pet’s,” he replied. “Someone passed away and their family wasn’t sure what to do with the foul-mouthed bird so they took him to Brook. I walked in to get Jazzy and Diva some treats and there he was bopping his head and spewing filthy language at me. I just had to have him.” I was guessing that Diva with her sparkly crystal-encrusted collar was the cat and Jazzy was his ferret. Josh returned his attention begrudgingly back to me and said, “Why don’t you head on into the sitting area and keep Savage company until I get Mrs. Hendrickson under the dryer.”
I recognized dismissal when I heard it. However, I needed his help and didn’t have a choice but to indulge him. I took my chances with the bird, but luckily all he did was whistle at me and call me a hot stud. I still felt a little violated by the time Josh walked into the room. I could tell by the arrogant lift to his brow that he deliberately kept me waiting longer than necessary. Again, not like I could call him on it. Yet.
“What can I do for you, Detective Dick Breath?”
It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. “Drop the bullshit, Jizz.” Maybe making fun of his nickname was tacky and immature, but I’d had enough of his mouth. I marched forward until our bodies were almost touching. I used my height to my advantage and forced him to tilt his head back to look at me. I saw wariness in his eyes and it reduced my boiling rage down to a simmer. I took a step back for both of our sakes. He was scared and being near him made me horny. Damn him! I so badly wanted to suggest what he could do with his mouth instead of sniping at me all the damn time.
“I had a witness come forward today who thinks she might’ve seen the person who killed Bianca. She also said that you got a look at him and possibly saw the vehicle he’d driven to her house.” I repeated what Tara had told me. All of the animosity he’d felt toward me disappeared in a flash. The only thing on his mind right then was helping me find Bianca’s killer.
“I did get a good look at his face and his car, but it was parked across the street facing me and didn’t have a front license plate on it. All I can tell you is that it was a new black Audi sedan, but I’m not sure which model.” He sounded really disappointed that he couldn’t do more.
“No, Josh, that’s great. I can add the description of the car with the sketch our artist comes up with and give it to the media.” My mind was already back on work, focusing on solving this case for Bianca and her family. Her aunt had been heartbroken about burying both of Bianca’s parents and then her too; she could really use the closure.
“We have a sketch artist in our police department?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, laughing softly at his surprise. “Would you mind sitting down with her too? It would be great if the descriptions you give are similar to Tara’s.”
My laugh seemed to startle him; he narrowed his eyes and studied me as if seeing me for the first time. “I’d be happy to do it. Mrs. Hendrickson is my last client for the day so I can head to the station when I’m finished. Will that work?”
“Perfectly,” I replied. I didn’t have anything else to say and it probably would’ve been a good moment to apologize for the first night I met him, but for some reason I didn’t. “Well, I’ll get out of here and let you get back to work. I’ll be in touch if I need anything else. You have my number if you remember anything, right?”
“Right,” he answered softly, studying his feet as if they were the most interesting things he’d ever seen.
“You threw it away, didn’t you?”
“Burned it,” was his reply. He looked back up at me and shrugged nonchalantly.
I dug out a card from my wallet and held it out to him. “Just in case.” I left his salon without another word after he reluctantly took it from my hand. Too bad the tension I felt in my chest didn’t diminish once I left. In fact, it increased every time I was near him until I thought I might explode.
There was only one avenue open to me to work it out of my system – a hard fuck.
The closest gay club, Vibe, was nearly an hour away, but the only place I wanted to be that night. Some might’ve thought the drive was too long for a night out, but I wasn’t looking to get drunk. I had beer at home, but I didn’t have a willing male body in my bed. It wasn’t like Kyle and I hadn’t hooked up out of loneliness since we ended things, but I couldn’t keep doing that to myself. We both deserved better.
I loved the multi-level functionality of the club because it had space for people who wanted to dance and it had space for guys who just wanted to shoot pool or throw darts. I was not a dancer, I usually spent my time on the second level picking up guys… like me? Was I as shallow and closeminded as Josh had implied? Would it hurt me to spend time at the bar and try to expand my outlook on men?
That was how I ended up at the bar with my eyes locked on the dance floor. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Everything from the way the colored lights hit his platinum hair to the way his lean body swayed and moved so fluidly with the music held me captivated. Well, that was until a tall guy moved in behind him and put his hands all over Josh Roman’s lithe body.
I hated that dickhead and the urge to pull him away from Josh to take his place stunned me. Hell, I didn’t even like Josh Roman so why did he ensnare me so much? Why did my dick throb and ache to know him up close and personal? I turned away from the action on the dance floor and caught the eye of a guy at the other end of the bar. A month prior, I would’ve been all over the invitation I saw in his eyes. I was too caught up in hazel eyes and hair so blond it outshone the sun. Fuck!
The object of my desire came to the bar to get a drink and blinked in shock when he stopped beside me. The alcohol in his blood must’ve slowed down his cognitive skills because it took him a few minutes to say, “Well, hello, Detective D…”
I stopped his drunken words with a firm kiss on his mouth. I couldn’t be certain if it was shock or want that made him open his mouth and extend an invitation to taste him, but I didn’t stop to ask. I could taste the fruitiness of his cocktail on his lips and tongue, which clashed with the one beer I had allowed myself to drink when I came downstairs to people watch. Our drink choices were complete opposites, like the two of us, but maybe it was what I needed in my rather dull life.
I kissed him until someone bumped into him hard enough to jolt him. He pulled back and stared up at me with shock and I probably wore a matching look. It was no ordinary kiss, you see. It felt like the little imp burned himself beneath my skin and I wasn’t sure what the fuck to do about it. Then he opened his mouth and took the decision away.
“Did that feel like kissing a girl to you?” He leaned in and pressed his lips against my ear. “I might be on the lean side, but that’s because I do yoga and I’m extremely limber. I can reverse cowboy like you can’t even imagine. Well, you’ll have to use your imagination because you’re not man enough to act on the desire I see in your eyes. You think you’ll be less of a man or less gay if you sleep with a guy with soft skin and a lean body. To men like you, fucking guys with big muscles on manly frames makes you feel more masculine yourself.”
“You don’t know shit about me, Jizz.” I was sounding like a sixth grader, but his accusations stung. Hard.
“I’ve known guys like you my whole life, Detective.” He shook his head as if he pitied me.
“My name is Gabe.”
“Okay, Gabe.” He rolled his eyes as if I was stupid; maybe he was one of those that thought all jocks were dumb; I was neither a jock nor dumb. “A lot of guys want to fuck me, to use me as their own personal blow-up doll with ready orifices to please them until the next strapping stud comes along to grab their attention. I’m never the guy they take home to meet mom and dad. I’m not good enough.”
I heard the hurt behind his words and I wanted to punch anyone who’d hurt him – including myself. Maybe he had jumped to conclusions that night and finished my sentence, but he had been right. It was what I was going to say. Looking at him now, I didn’t see anything feminine about him. Yes, he was lean and he had more delicate features than I, but that didn’t make him girlie. He was beautiful and his anger made his large hazel eyes more luminous than they already were. If I wasn’t careful, looking into those eyes would get me into a lot of trouble.
“Come on, baby, let’s dance.” I hadn’t seen the asshole from the dance floor approach because I had been captivated by the blond fury that stood before me.
“Get lost,” I snarled at the intruder. I would rather sit there and listen to Josh flay me alive than go home alone. In the end, it wasn’t really up to me.
“Don’t you go anywhere, honey,” Josh practically purred at the guy. “Our evening is just getting started.” Josh’s eyes were on mine the entire time he spoke. He was putting me in my place and daring me to watch him getting close to the other man. The sly smile he gave me made me ill. I didn’t want to think about him naked with the other guy, but it was the picture he painted so vibrantly. I left Vibe as soon as they returned to the dance floor. Maybe it was cowardly, but it was the only option for me.
I tossed and turned into the wee hours of the morning, my body hard with desire and my brain tortured by all the things I should’ve said or done differently. I realized that I’d probably never get the chance to make it right. I more than burned my bridge with Josh.
Imagine my surprise when I found him sitting on my front porch step after I returned from helping out my elderly neighbor next door. “Josh?” I asked like I wasn’t sure; as if I was seeing things. “Is everything okay?” I would’ve asked how he knew where I lived, but it was a very small town and probably everyone knew where to find me.
He held up a plastic container as if it explained everything. His face was flushed and I couldn’t help but wonder if his entire body was that pretty shade of pink. Of course, my dick wanted in on the action.
“I made you cookies as an apology for the way I acted last night,” he said softly. “I said some really harsh things that I had no business saying.” He rose from his feet and his eyes met mine as he held out the container for me to take. I saw exhaustion and wariness in his eyes; I wanted to make them go away.
“Come inside and have some with me,” I said in invitation. I was shocked when he nodded his head in acceptance rather than kick me in the balls.
He followed me to the kitchen and sat quietly at my table while I made us some coffee. I handed him a cup of black coffee with two sugars. “Do you have any cream? I hate black coffee.” I looked at him in confusion because I was certain that was how he ordered it that time I was behind him at The Brew. “I was just doing that to prove a point,” he said sheepishly.
I said nothing as I opened the door and pulled out two types of flavored creamer for him to choose from. He raised a brow in surprise and I pinned him with a “don’t fuck with me” look. I made our coffee and sat across from him at the table and we dug into the cookies.
“So good,” I said around a chewy, gooey bite of chocolate chip cookie. “You can insult me every day if it gets me these cookies.” I looked at him then and saw a smear of melted chocolate at the corner of his mouth. I couldn’t resist leaning across the small table and licking it from his mouth.
Just like that we both went up in flames, reaching for one another like we were half-starved for each other’s touch. I stood and pulled him from his chair, slung him over my shoulder in a fireman’s hold, and carried him up the stairs to my bedroom. His laughter and the sound of him slapping my ass rang throughout the hallway to my room and made me smile.
I not so gently deposited him on my bed and we immediately tore the clothes off each other in between hot, greedy kisses. My dick begged for me to take, take, take, but I took my time learning the different textures of his gorgeous, leanly muscled body. “Beautiful,” I whispered against his skin.
Once I had him spread beneath me, properly stretched open, and my dick suited up, I slowly slid inside his tight heat. My God, he threatened to burn me alive as I pushed inside him until I couldn’t get any closer to him. If I could, I would’ve crawled inside his body because I wasn’t nearly as close to him as I wanted to be.
I didn’t know if he’d gone home with the guy from last night, and I didn’t have the right to ask, but I wanted to obliterate the memory of every lover who’d gone before me like some chest thumping Neanderthal. I pumped into him slowly, allowing his body to adjust to my size. I could see in his eyes and feel it in the way that he dug his nails into my ass cheeks that he wanted it harder and faster.
Harder and faster meant that it would be over too soon and I might not get another chance at nirvana. He fit me so perfectly, like he was made just for me. Jesus, I was wrapped up tightly in emotions I hadn’t felt in a long time, if ever.
I rolled over on my back and pulled him on top of me. I wanted to watch him ride me, to take me into his body and love the way I made him feel. I wanted to see his “limber” in action. It was all I had been able to think about once those words left his mouth.
“Ride me, Josh.” My voice sounded as tortured as I felt waiting for him to move. I needed to feel friction along the length of my cock again, to know it was him, my personal tormenter, who was bringing me so much pleasure.
Josh began a slow ride that drove me crazy. I gripped his hips hard enough to leave bruises, but he didn’t seem to mind. Instead, my insane need seemed to spur him on. He held me tight between his thighs and dug his knees in like any good equestrian would as he rose and fell on my cock. His head was thrown back in ecstasy, he ran his hands through his hair, and the mewling sounds that came from his throat drove me fucking wild.
I bucked up into him, needing more friction, more heat, more everything. He lowered his head and smiled wickedly before he gave me the ride I was looking for. His mesmerizing hips snapped back and forth fluidly as he rode me like a stallion. His eyes lost focus as he chased his orgasm and I’d never seen anything so sexy in my life. I reached for his cock to help him, but he slapped my hand away.
“Won’t need help.” Moments later he shot all over my stomach and chest then he collapsed on top of me in exhaustion.
His ass still had a chokehold on my dick and I drove up into him as I held his body securely against mine. I roared as I filled the condom, burying my dick deep inside him over and over until the last drop left my body. “Jesus,” was all I could manage to say afterward.
“Leave him out of this.” Josh’s voice was muffled by my chest because he hadn’t moved an inch since he landed there.
I rolled him gently onto his side so I could remove the condom and throw it away. Exhaustion descended on me like I’d never felt before. The last thing I remembered before I fell asleep was pulling Josh tight against me, tucking him beneath my chin, and pulling the covers over us.
When I woke up hours later all alone, I started to doubt that Josh had even been there, but then I smelled him on my pillow and saw his dried release all over my chest. It bothered me more than I wanted to admit that he just got up and left without saying goodbye. I wanted to hunt him down and kiss him until he came back to bed, but I got up and showered off the remnants of our afternoon, hoping it wouldn’t be the last time.
The following Monday, a sketch was issued along with the description of the car owned by our person of interest. DNA results still had not come back from the lab over a month after Bianca’s death, so the info sent to local news stations and papers was all we had to go with for the time being. We suspected the guy wasn’t a local because no one recognized him.
Adrian and I kept busy investigating burglaries and drug related crimes, but my mind never strayed too far away from a certain blond guy who had my insides all twisted up. Somehow he’d been avoiding me and I was too uncertain about things to approach him. I carried his stupid plastic container around in my car hoping to run into him so I’d have an excuse to talk to him.
I got my chance a week after he disappeared from my life without a goodbye or fuck off. He was loading groceries into the trunk of his Mini when I pulled up beside him. He looked over my way and I didn’t need him to take off his sunglasses for me to know he was irritated about my appearance. I saw it in the frown he wore and the way his body sagged.
Undeterred, I got out of my car anyway and walked to him. “I thought you might want this back for the next time you insult me.” My attempt at humor failed epically.
Josh shut the trunk, turned to me, and took the container from my hand. “There won’t be a next time, Detective.” So we were back to formalities. “What happened between us was a mistake and I can’t… don’t want it to happen again. I’m sorry.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond. I’d never been told I was a mistake before and it was entirely unpleasant, much like the time I fell off the seesaw in kindergarten and broke my arm in two places. In fact, Josh’s verbal stabbing in the heart stung a little more.
“Yeah, you’re right. We don’t fit,” I said, lying through my teeth. We fit perfectly together and I could tell by the downturn of his luscious mouth that he knew it too. Whatever was keeping him from trying anything with me was done out of self-preservation. I wasn’t the guy to knock that chip off his shoulder so I did what was expected of me. “See you around, Princess.” I hated myself and the words I slung at him the moment they left my mouth.
“Fuck you.” Josh’s hurt, snarled response echoed in my ears for hours afterward.
I figured I’d never hear from him ever again, so I was shocked when my phone rang at 11:00 p.m. that night and his voice was on the other end. Gone was his cool detachment or snarl from earlier in the day and in its place was panic and fear. I was up and pulling on my sweats and T-shirt before he finished his greeting.
“Gabe, someone just broke into my house through the back door. I heard glass crashing followed by footsteps. It’s probably Bianca’s killer. He knows I’m the one who gave the description of his vehicle to the police.” His voice was nearly hysterical. “Send help.”
“Do you have a landline? If so, call 911 but keep me on your cellphone. I’m on my way.” Later, I’d wonder why he chose to call me first instead of emergency services, but all I could think about right then was getting to him. I grabbed my gun and badge, slid my feet inside my sneakers, and ran out of my house like it was on fire. I was only two blocks away and I could get there faster on foot by cutting through yards rather than jump in my car and drive over.
“I hear him on the steps. Jesus, I’m not ready to die.” I heard tears in his voice.
“Can you barricade yourself in your room? Push a dresser over in front of the door?” I was almost to his house. I had his back door in sight as I ran down the alley between his and Bianca’s house. The back door was kicked in and gaping open. “I’m almost there, Josh.” As soon as I said the words, I could hear wood splintering as if his bedroom door had been kicked in.
“He’s got a knife, Gabe.”
“You should’ve kept your mouth shut, you little fucker.” The voice coming through Josh’s cellphone was eerily calm, but very deadly.
I heard Josh drop his cellphone and yell before I heard a scuffle; it sounded like Josh was trying to avoid the madman hell bent on killing him. I dropped my phone as I ran through the back door and up his stairs as fast as my legs could carry me, praying I wasn’t too late. I saw what that bastard had done to Bianca and it would kill me to find Josh dead too.
When I got to the top of the landing, I saw that a dark figure had Josh pinned to his bed, his knees in Josh’s chest. That position made it hard for Josh to get the air he needed to fight off his attacker. The assailant had both hands wrapped around the handle of a wicked knife and was pushing it toward Josh’s throat while Josh had his hands wrapped around the assailant’s in an attempt to keep the knife away from stabbing him.
“Police! Freeze!” The dark figure on the bed ignored me and I didn’t have a good angle to take a shot. I couldn’t risk hitting Josh instead.
As I ran toward the bed, the mirror hanging above his dresser and a decorative vase burst and shattered, creating one hell of a noise. It was so surprising that the killer sat up straight and looked in my direction. I had a clear shot and took it. The bullet from my Glock sent the killer tumbling backwards on the bed.
“Call 911,” I told Josh, knowing he didn’t have the chance before hell broke loose.
I rounded the bed and moved the knife away from the killer. I checked for a pulse and found that he was dead. I stepped away from the body and placed my gun on the dresser so that I wasn’t accidentally shot by the boys in blue.
I turned and found Josh standing as far away from his bed and the dead body as he could get. He had his phone up to his ear and told the dispatcher what happened then he hung up. I opened my arms to him and he crashed into me. His body shook all over; I ran my hands up and down his bare back in an attempt to comfort him and give him some peace. It wasn’t every day that a person was nearly killed in their own bed.
“Thank you.” His words were muffled by my T-shirt
“I’m right here, Josh. I’m not going anywhere.” I held him tighter and just breathed him in; ecstatic to know he was alive and well. I heard the sirens coming and knew we’d be pulled apart and questioned soon, so I just soaked him in while I could. “You can thank me with some more cookies.” My response got a tiny chuckle out of him, which was my goal and made me happy.
The moment my asshole killer dropped dead, I could feel a difference in my spirit. I was happy I could provide the distraction that Gabe needed to save sweet Josh. I hated that my mistake brought trouble to his front door.
I looked at the two beautiful men holding one another and knew I’d done the right thing by slipping that potion into Gabe’s coffee, although I had a feeling they’d have found one another anyway. Their auras told me that their road to happiness would be a bumpy and sometimes ugly road. I almost wished I was sticking around to watch it all go down, but a bright, shining light was starting to form and I knew that my path was clear.
“You’re on your own now, fellas,” I said to the two men.
The light got brighter and I began to walk towards it. I could already hear my mama raising a ruckus, and even heaven bound, I knew I was in for it.
“I hear ya, Mama. I hear ya.”
©Aimee Nicole Walker 2016
I hope you enjoyed reading this short story as much as I did writing it. Many of you have asked when the second book in the series will be released. Something to Dye For is releasing on January 3, 2017. Preorder links will be live around December 28, 2016. Cover reveal is coming really soon!
Much love for you all!