J.M. Dabney & Davidson King
Gay Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Romance
Release Date: 09.15.18
Cover Design: Morningstar Ashley @ Designs by Morningstar
Disgraced detective turned private investigator, Ray Clancy, left the force with a case unsolved. Finding the killer was no longer his problem, but it still haunted him. How long would he survive the frustration of not knowing before he gave into the compulsion of his nature to solve the crime?
Server, Andrew Shay, existed where he didn’t feel he belonged, living behind the guise of a costume. Yet it paid the bills, and he refused to complain about the little things in life. One night he returned home from work to find his roommate dead and the killer still there. Afraid and alone, his life spiraled and he didn’t know what to do. Could a detective at his core and a scared young man join forces to bring down the killer in their midst?
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Rudy had given me a strange look when I’d walked in a few minutes earlier and didn’t take my usual spot at the counter. I was still mentally processing the call I’d received from one Andy Shay. I’d done a quick search for him and found several social media profiles from different Mr. Shays, but didn’t take the time to do a more thorough investigation.
When he’d stated he’d witnessed a murder, I’d resigned myself to dealing with another crazy person, but then after Andy had explained, my tired brain had quickly put the pieces together.
Andy sounded young and justifiably scared. His voice was soft with slightly husky notes. I didn’t know why out of everything the kid’s voice is what I remembered most.
I raised my mug to my mouth and downed half of it, hoping the caffeine would wake me up. I should’ve slept. I’d spent most of the morning researching and hadn’t come up with one mention of similar crimes. Even if there was only one detail the same, I’d grasped at hope, only to be disappointed when the suspect was dead or imprisoned. I don’t know how I felt about that, but I didn’t have time to think too much about it.
I curved my hands around the mug and stared into the dark liquid. The bell going off over the door had me lifting my head. A thin man walked in with clothes that hung on his frame. As soon as I’d looked up our eyes met. There was no doubt in my mind that he was the one I was waiting for, and I slid out of the booth. I sensed the young man’s fear, so I patiently stayed still as he prepared to approach me.
Andy’s first few steps were cautious, as if he hadn’t made up his mind on whether I was an ally or foe. I knew that expression, I’d lost count of how many times I’d seen it over the years. Two decades of dealing with terrified and reluctant witnesses prepared me for anything.
I was slightly taken aback by the sound of that voice in person and blamed it on my lack of sleep. The kid was young, maybe mid-twenties.
“Call me, Ray. Please, take a seat.” I motioned at the bench and waited for him to slide into it. “Coffee?”
“Rudy, refill for me and another for my friend here.” Rudy smirked at me from behind the counter, and I knew what he was thinking. That was the farthest thing from the truth. I was impatient to find out what happened the other night, but I waited for Rudy to approach with the coffeepot and an extra mug.
“Does your date need a menu, or are you planning on being cheap, Clancy?”
“Rudy, don’t fuck with me today.”
The words must have come out harsher than I’d thought because I caught the kid flinching in my peripheral. Skittish. I was going to have to temper my normally gruff nature.
“Cranky,” Rudy muttered, and I waited for him to drop off the menu, then return to the opposite side of the counter.
I watched in horror at the amount of sugar the kid doctored his coffee with and tried to hide my disgust behind my own mug of straight, black coffee. The way coffee was meant to be drank. Andy’s hands shook, and if I hadn’t paid closer attention, I would’ve missed that. I warred with the decision to let Andy take the lead and start the conversation or broach the subject myself.
My curiosity won. “Why did you contact me?”
“I researched the case. A crime reporter, I can’t remember his name right now, well, he did some stories and your name was mentioned. Your name came up in several articles.”
“But why are you here? I’m not a cop.”
Those four simple words still stung my pride. I should be on the case. Who’s to say that I wouldn’t have caught the guy sometime in the last six months.