GENRE: Gay Mystery Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 60,521 words
A murder in a small Colorado town closely resembles unsolved crimes committed by a serial killer almost thirty years ago. Private investigator Teague Donovan learns of the recent murder and is instantly drawn to the case, because one of the victims in the past was his best friend, and he is determined to bring the killer to justice.
Hoyt Newman, the detective in charge of the most recent case, is none too happy with Teague's interfering. At least not until a second homeless boy is tortured and killed. As the two men work together, they begin to develop an interest in each other -- one that seems fated not to come to fruition since Teague is city, through and through, and Hoyt is definitely country to the core.
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
Teague entered the building, stopping at the front desk to tell the female officer manning it that he was there to see Detective Newman. She made a call then told him to have a seat. "He'll be down to get you soon," she said with a bit of a smirk.
Wondering what that was all about, Teague crossed to the bench along one wall to wait. Twenty minutes later he knew why the woman at the desk had reacted the way she had. He was about to call it a day, figuring the detective was blowing him off, when the door at the far end of the room opened. A tall, dark-haired man entered. He glanced at the desk clerk, she nodded toward Teague, and the man crossed the room to where Teague sat.
"Mr. Donovan? I'm Detective Newman. If you'll follow me." The man didn't smile. In fact his lips were drawn together in a tight line as he turned and swiftly headed back to the door he'd come through.
"Oh boy," Teague muttered under his breath as he went after the detective. They walked down a long hallway to a flight of stairs and from they went up to the second floor hallway. Newman opened a door halfway down, leading the way into the almost empty squad room -- a fact that didn't surprise Teague since it was Sunday morning. When they reached a desk along one wall Newman indicated with a gesture that Teague should sit in the chair beside it.
"I should preface this by telling you," Newman said as he sat, "that I don't appreciate Detective Slater foisting you on me."
"Understandable," Teague replied. "I'd probably feel the same way if I was in your shoes. Did he tell you why I'm interested in the case you're handling?"
"The one involving the kid, Lee Grimes, who was tortured and subsequently murdered? No, he didn't."
"All right. I'll start at the beginning."
"This should be interesting," Newman said, his attention more on a pile of notes on his desk than on Teague. He picked one up, scanning it quickly before setting it aside.
Repressing a sigh of indignation, Teague told him, "I knew one of the victims of the serial killer who struck in Collingswood and the Grande County area."
"I'm sure there were people who knew each one of them. They didn't come all the way out here on some wild goose chase, thinking my case might be related to Slater's cold cases. Hell, I already told him it wasn't."
"Because of the fact those three boys were murdered almost thirty years ago?"
"Yeah. And there are some major differences between the killing of Grimes and their murders."
"There are also equally major similarities."
"Copycat killing," Newman replied tightly.
"Possibly. Or the killer is back. Him or his apprentice, or both."
Newman cocked an eyebrow at that, finally focusing his full attention on Teague. "Apprentice?"
"It's been known to happen before. A serial killer gets too old or too sick to do the killings himself, but he needs the rush, so he finds someone younger with the same bent and trains him how to kill and get away with it."
"If -- and I'm nowhere near convinced -- the murder of Lee Grimes is connected to the past ones in the Grande County area" -- Newman nodded slowly -- "that might explain the differences." He tapped his fingers thoughtfully on the desk. "The apprentice, if he exists, might not get off on full-blown torture."
"Yet," Teague emphasized. "If this was his first attempt ..."
"You're jumping to conclusions and you know it. I'm still betting we have a copycat here. Someone who decided to try his hand at murder, and maybe read online stories about the Collingswood serial killer." Leaning back, Newman studied Teague. "You want to catch the guy who killed your friend so you're grabbing at straws. Why the interest now and not when it happened?"
Teague smiled dryly. "First off, when it happened I was eighteen. Secondly, Chris's body wasn't identified until two years ago when Slater reopened the cold case file on the serial killings."
"Okay. But if you knew then, why wait until now to put your nose into this?"
"Because Slater wouldn't tell me anything about his cases when I first asked him about them, right after I found out that Chris was a victim. It took Grimes death to get him to open up some and even then he was dubious at best that he should do so."
"How did you convince him?" Newman asked sardonically. "Tell him you could do what the cops can't because you're a civilian?"
"A well trained civilian since I'm a private detective with my own agency and have been in the business for the last twenty years."
"Yeah, he said you were a PI. Not that it gives you the right to play fast and loose with the law."
Looking at Newman calculatingly, Teague replied, "A right? No. But if I'm careful ..." Gauging Newman's reaction to his words.