Criminal Past (Hazard and Somerset Book 6) by Gregory Ashe

Exclusive Excerpt:

Hazard ran. His left arm flopped painfully at his side, phone in his fingers, and his right hand held the .38. He tried to dial, but those fingers were slow and less responsive, and even when Somers’s name came on the screen, the signal was too weak, and the call wouldn’t go through. Swearing, Hazard dove into the darkness. That was what it was like: diving. He would reach the edge of the light, granular, sabulous, like land meeting water, and then he was beyond it, in the darkness, his legs churning to carry him towards that next buoy of light.

Where would the cops drop their guard? Where would they feel a renewed spurt of energy and determination? At the end of the building. At the exit. Where the shooter would linger just long enough to be spotted.

Somers.

Oh fuck.

Somers was faster than Hazard.

Oh fuck.

At the end of the corridor, Hazard was running too fast. He tried to slide into the turn, taking the corner as fast as he could, but he was moving too damn fast. He didn’t fall, and his brain whispered a brief thank you to fate, but he crashed into the far wall, his full weight pinning his bad arm against the drywall. Pain went up like a signal flare. Gasping, Hazard pushed himself off the wall and down the hall.

click on cover to purchase

He could see the exit ahead. The door was propped open, and silver daylight framed the opening. In front of that illuminated backdrop, a silhouette moved, fumbling with the door. That was part of the act; an unspoken justification, in case the cops wondered how they’d been lucky enough to catch up with the shooter. Here was the answer, being pantomimed for them: the idiot got stuck at the door.

Only he wasn’t stuck. He was stalling. And as he caught sight of Hazard, he pushed the door open.

Another figure came around the corner at the far end of the hall. He was running. He was moving at full speed. He had the perfect, loping grace that Hazard would recognize anywhere. He had memorized every inch of this man, pieced him together in his mind a thousand times, ten thousand times, over the last twenty years.

“Somers,” Hazard screamed, barely recognizing his own voice. “Stop!”

After that, everything happened at once. A muzzle flashed. The light painted Somers in a hundred different shades of red. It picked out every detail, splashing light and shadow, highlighting the perfect lines of his face, the confusion, the surprise, and underneath it all, etching itself into the skin, fear. A boom echoed down the corridor. Somers tumbled over sideways.

Somers.

Then the shooter shoved open the emergency exit door, and summer light flooded into the Haverford’s fetid darkness, and Hazard could pick out the gleam of that sunlight on the tension wire running six inches in front of his own shin.

Somers.

Hazard cleared the wire. Ten yards to Somers. Eight.

Somers smiling at him in the park.

Six yards.

Somers swinging Evie and laughing.

Five.

Somers naked on the bed, one hand tracing the dark calligraphy across his chest, and wearing that damn smirk he always wore when he knew he was about to get what he wanted.

Three yards. Three.

And then, to Hazard’s surprise, he heard Somers voice. “Go get him. Go get him, Ree. I’m fine. Go after him.”

Again, intuition and instinct took over when emotion fried the rational centers of Hazard’s brain. He swerved towards the exit door, caught it on his bad shoulder, and howled. He didn’t care about the noise at this point. All he cared about was catching this bastard.

The shooter was twenty yards ahead, sprinting full speed down the alley behind the Haverford. In full daylight, seen directly instead of at a distance through a windshield, the man looked different than what Hazard had expected. In spite of the heat, he wore a balaclava, gloves and long-sleeved pants and a shirt. Hazard had already seen in him all that gear, but still, something was different. The difference wasn’t anything Hazard could put his finger on, but he was suddenly less certain about his earlier guess. Was the man older? Younger? Was he not even a man at all? The eyes—from this distance, Hazard could make them out more clearly. Electric green. Like cat eyes.

Hazard put on speed. A fresh wave of adrenaline burned through him, incinerating every thought, and the last one, the one that floated up like a cinder caught on a draft of emotion, was simply: Somers is all right. And then Hazard was moving like a truck.

He hit the shooter at full speed. Hazard meant it to be a tackle, but his bad arm refused to respond, and when they hit the ground, the shooter rolled free instead of staying trapped by Hazard’s mass. Hazard scrambled after the man. He caught an ankle, dragging the shooter back, and the shooter’s other foot shot out and caught Hazard in the chin. Hazard’s head snapped back. Black stars spun in his vision.

But he hadn’t let go, and he hauled on the ankle again. A second kick connected with his head, but this time, Hazard had been expecting it, and he turned so that the blow glanced along the contour of his skull instead of meeting straight on. With as much strength as he could muster, Hazard hauled, and the shooter skidded three feet back over the gravel. Hazard reared back, trying to get enough weight on the bastard to pin him until Somers got there.

This time, though, the shooter reared back and twisted into a punch. Hazard took it as best he could, ducking, but it landed solidly above his ear, and Hazard saw those black stars again. Could feel them, even, prickly against his face. He took another punch, and the third one he managed to knock aside, batting it out of the air like he was Babe fucking Ruth. He just had to hold on. Twenty seconds. Thirty. Somers would be here. Somers was coming.

The next punch was strange; even addled by the blows to the head, Hazard knew something was wrong because the shooter telegraphed the punch loud and clear, and it was obvious that he had changed his target. Instead of throwing another fist or elbow at Hazard’s head, the shooter was aiming down.

At his arm, Hazard realized a moment too late. At his bad arm. The punch was clear as newsprint. If he’d been thinking clearly, if he’d had even an extra second, Hazard could have avoided it. But he was rattled from the earlier blows, and waves of adrenaline battered him, and he hated that arm, that was the bottom of it, he hated that fucking arm because it was useless, and so he didn’t think about it.

The punch landed perfectly, right where a long, jagged cut was still healing, and Hazard’s world went white.

CRIMINAL PAST Blurb:

It all starts to go wrong at the shooting gallery. Emery Hazard and his boyfriend, John-Henry Somerset, just want to enjoy the day at the Dore County Independence Fair. At the shooting gallery, though, Hazard comes face to face with one of his old bullies: Mikey Grames. Even as a drugged-out wreck, Mikey is a reminder of all the ugliness in Hazard’s past. Worse, Mikey seems to know something Hazard doesn’t—something about the fresh tension brewing in town.

When the Chief of Police interrupts Hazard’s day at the fair, she has a strange request. She doesn’t want Hazard and Somers to solve a murder. She wants them to prevent one. The future victim? Mayor Sherman Newton—a man who has tried to have Hazard and Somers killed at least once.

Hazard and Somers try to work out the motive of the man threatening Newton, and the trail leads them into a conspiracy of corrupt law enforcement, white supremacists, and local politicians. As Hazard and Somers dig into the case, their search takes them into the past, where secrets have lain buried for twenty years.

Determined to get to the truth, Hazard finds himself racing for answers, but he discovers that sometimes the past isn’t buried very deep. Sometimes, it isn’t dead. Sometimes, it isn’t even past. And almost always, it’s better left alone.

click image for Gregory’s website

Want to know more about author Gregory Ashe and his novels?

Check out his website:

https://www.gregoryashe.com

Available Again – Prince of the Sea by Jon Michaelsen

A gay paranormal mystery/suspense novella

2017 BEST GAY MEN’S FICTION AWARDG/G Goodreads’ Reading Group

EXCERPT:

Chapter Two

A lone gnat buzzed about Jonathan’s face. He swiped the air in frustration, more at Paul than with irritation at the pest. He had agitated the insect, which fought to escape and yet managed to fly up his nostril. He plugged the side of his nose and tried to flush the pest without success. Finally, and with apprehension, he swallowed to clear his throat.

click on cover to purchase

Driven by need deeper than thirst, Jonathan ducked inside through the doorway of the single-story cottage and crossed the threshold to the parlor of the west wing, filled with nautical trimmings and reproduced coastal collections. He tore past the cold fireplace and a sofa draped with an old patchwork quilt. The antique double-door bar cabinet nestled in the far corner reminded him of the days his mother had carted him through the vintage shops peppering the Southeastern Coast. In spite of his mood, he smiled at the memories. He snatched a fresh bottle of booze from the shelf below, tossed a couple cubes of ice into his glass, and filled it half-full of scotch.

Jonathan slugged the beverage, refilled his glass, and then shuffled to the floor-to-ceiling windows facing inland. He thought about being stood up by Paul, the knot in his chest traveling up his neck like a hand closing around his throat. Typical. Paul had become more distant of late and the excuses he tried to pass off seemed contrived at best. They were nearing the end of the relationship, perhaps. Jonathan didn’t know anymore, and it drove him crazy.

Stop with the melodramatics, Jonathan chided himself as he sipped his drink and stepped out onto the porch again. He set his cocktail on the railing, reached high above his head, and stretched his arms before crossing them over his chest and gripping his shoulders. The ocean breeze caressed him as he watched the waves rolling in, whitecaps bustling with the fury of stampeding cattle before crashing headlong into shore. Why did it bother him this much? Should he be surprised Paul chose career goals over their relationship yet again? Jonathan should have seen it coming months ago, but he’d ignored the signs, desperate to rekindle the passion slipping away after years of happiness.

A large cargo ship sailed in line of the horizon. Seagulls and pelicans floated along the shoreline searching for food. Jonathan dreamed of a relationship devoid of friction and financial strain, absent of business dinners filled with false hope and weekend interruptions. He savored his career as a successful scriptwriter, but he abhorred the Hollywood lifestyle.

His drink empty, Jonathan began to turn when something caught his eye. Glancing beyond the beach, he scanned the ocean’s surface searching the whitecaps. Someone was bobbing and swirling about in wide circular motions, dipping beneath the waves and resurfacing. Jonathan observed the head and shoulders of a man who seemed to be struggling to remain above the surface. Adrenaline shot through him like a bullet and panic clutched his chest.

He’s in trouble!

Jonathan scanned the beach for help. A few beachcombers walked in either direction along the sand, some strolling hand in hand, as others huddled in groups with a child or two darting out from the pack to race toward the water’s edge. No one seemed to notice the swimmer in distress. Most followed their downcast eyes, searching the beach for the ocean’s treasures washed up in the tide.

“Hey…hey!

Jonathan raced toward the water’s edge and kicked off his loafers, flailing his arms and screaming trying to attract attention. He ripped off his shirt as he ran, the fabric falling behind in the sand. Pausing to strip off his slacks, he trudged into the sea.

Waves battered him in violent succession, pushing him back, forcing him to lift his knees high to stab his feet into the water to stay righted. When the water reached his hips, Jonathan dove headlong into the churning surf. The smack of cold water against his face and chest sobered him as he pinwheeled his arms through the strong current toward the struggling swimmer.

Where did he go? Jonathan eased up to get his bearings, dogpaddling around and looking for the man. He called out, “Can you hear me? I’m here to help.” He swiveled his head back and forth, searching for the swimmer.

I’ve gone too far, he thought. Jonathan whipped around, turning back toward the beach. The cottage stood farther up the beach than his current position. Fearing the swimmer had disappeared beneath the surface, Jonathan ducked below the water and aimed his body deep, opening his eyes to take a quick peek. The sting of the saltwater forced his lids shut and he retreated.

Jonathan angled his body upward and kicked his feet hard against the strong current. Reaching the surface proved elusive, as the undertow sucked him down. Disoriented and terrified, his lungs begging for air, Jonathan clawed at the wall of seawater to no avail. No matter where he aimed, he couldn’t find the surface. The harder he fought the farther down he sank. Desperate for oxygen, his heart pounding, Jonathan’s life flashed before him.

Is this it? Am I doomed to be another tragic drowning?

Jonathan drifted into a quiet calm from lack of air, his thoughts a random jumble. Why had he charged forth in the first place, foolish considering all the alcohol? What about Paul? Would he be stunned to learn of his death, perhaps feel guilty about refusing to join him sooner? Would his family ever forgive his carelessness?

His chest compressed, expressing the last bit of air from his lungs. He wrestled an onslaught of convulsions as brackish seawater invaded his nose and mouth, his lungs. Arms and legs became lead. He lashed out, each stroke pulling him down until he finally hit the ocean floor.

The undertow snatched him away as his awareness waned. He lashed out in a futile attempt to right himself but grasped onto something slick and supple instead. His fingers slid over the soft object.

Huh?

Something large and powerful slammed into him from behind. He felt an incredible tug against his body, a whoosh that snapped him back like a bungee cord before he blacked out.

Blurb:

Island myth, or guarded secret…destiny lures Jonathan home.

Jonathan’s ten-year relationship with Paul has lost its spark, so in a last-ditch effort to rekindle the passion they once shared, Jonathan rents a seaside cottage in his boyhood hometown; Tybee Island, Georgia, a quaint, tiny coastal islet he abandoned more than a decade or so ago.
But, the romantic surprise backfires royally when his partner rushes off to woo a high-profile client in Chicago, leaving Jonathan alone and broken-hearted. While killing his pain with loads of alcohol the afternoon of his arrival on the beach, nothing seems to ease the gut-wrenching pain.
That’s when Jonathan notices a swimmer caught in a riptide, desperate to stay afloat. Without hesitation, the west coast transplant races to the water’s edge, trudging through seawater before diving headlong into the raucous surf. Soon, he too, falls victim to the fierce undertow, struggling to reach the surface and fearing the worst.
Then a mighty force slams into him from behind, causing him to blackout. When he regains consciousness, Jonathan realizes he is surrounded by horrified beachcombers, all staring at his half-naked body.
How did Jonathan get to shore?
What happened to the drowning man?
And, who is the mysterious old woman gaping at him from afar?

Buy Links: 

Amazon: Prince of the Sea in ebook and Kindle Unlimited

Amazon: Prince of the Sea in print

Audible: Prince of the Sea in audiobook

Smashwords: Prince of the Sea in e-book

About Jon Michaelsen

Jon Michaelsen is a writer of fiction in the mystery, suspense and thriller genres. 
click on image for website

A born southerner born near the Chattahoochee River, his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia when he was a young boy; where he remains today. His debut mystery novel, Pretty Boy Dead, was selected as a Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Mystery. He is currently writing the second Kendall Parker Mystery, The Deadwood Murders, expected in early 2019.
He lives with his husband of 32 years and two monstrous terriers.

Contact him: Michaelsen.jon@gmail.com

Join him and get the best eBook deals on a daily basis, directly to your email:
https://www.ebookstage.com/welcome/MjE2ODc=/

Find Jon Michaelsen on the web:
http://www.jonmichaelsen.net
http://www.jonmichaelsen.com
http://www.facebook/jonmichaelsen

Exclusive Excerpt: Touch (The Blake Harte Mysteries Book 8) by Robert Innes

Excerpt:

The house, according to the idle tongues of the locals, had stood there for as long as anybody could remember. It was an old and rickety building, rotting wooden beams festooned around the odd-looking structure that looked very much out of place amongst the considerably more modern and sleek buildings around it. Nobody ever entered it, in fact nearly everyone walked past the house on a day to day basis and completely ignored it. It was, to all intents and purposes, a historic defect in the otherwise tidy street that nobody could be bothered to remove.
And yet, tonight, a ten-year-old boy found himself standing at the front door of the building. Blake Harte had an irresistible urge to explore the unknown coasting through his veins.

Click on image to purchase


He glanced up at the huge yellow sign, almost as old and out of place as the house itself, warning of the building being unsafe to enter and found himself smiling excitedly. What was being hidden here? What did the people who had put the sign there want to keep secret? Rumours around the classroom varied. Some whispers suggested the possibility that a witch lived there, who only came out when there was nobody to see her, before she set off on her broomstick to cast spells around the neighbourhood. A few of Blake’s classmates were convinced that the house was an entrance to another dimension, and that setting foot inside it would transport the intruder to a world very different to ours. The main form of consensus though was that the house was haunted by the spirits of all who had lived there and there were various murmurings of a headless man prowling the building, looking for his missing head that had been lost in a terrible accident, though Blake did not believe that for a second.
He glanced around as the cold wind whipped up around him. It whistled through the trees, creating the only sound in the otherwise silent street. Blake quickly leaned back and stared down the street in the direction of his house. The lights were all off, his parents fast asleep. The only movement he could see was from the open window of his bedroom on the ground floor, the curtains flapping in the wind, dragged out from where he had climbed out of the window. He had been planning this night all week.
Blake took a deep breath and put his hand on the door handle, then groaned in disappointment. The door was locked.
He stepped back and examined the building, his imagination trying to fathom a way in which he could gain access. As he stared up at the top of the house, a car suddenly roared around the corner of the street, its headlights illuminating him. He froze as the car drew nearer. If somebody he knew saw him sneaking around in the middle of the night, then his parents would soon find out about it and the last thing he wanted was one of his mum’s telling offs.
He leapt around the side of the house just before the driver of the car would have been able to see him and pressed his back against the wall, breathing heavily. Suddenly, the impact of what he was doing threatened to overcome him. He shuddered, half from the cold, half from the thought of what his parents would say if they knew what he was doing, but as the words of his best friend, Tommy Davis, crept into his head, calling him a chicken and daring him to find out what the house was hiding, determination flooded through him again. He had come this far, there was no going back now. He had to get into the house.
He crept around the side of the old building, searching for a way in. He climbed over a small wall and found himself in the garden, or rather, what presumably used to be the garden. Now, it was extremely overgrown and unsightly. Nettle beds were lit ominously by the street lights, surrounded by nests of dock leaves and tall dandelions. As he scrambled through the weeds, trying his best not to get stung, he spotted a small window on the other side of the yard. It was slightly ajar, though as Blake looked closer, he realised that the glass had come loose from the rotting wooden frames. He stood and stared at it for a few moments, debating whether he was really brave enough to try and crawl through. He thought about his other classmates who would give their right arm to be where he was now, then realised that very few of them would have been able to squeeze through the tiny window. Blake had always been teased about how skinny he was, but now, he was starting to see the advantages.
He took a deep breath and hauled himself up to the window. Thin as he was, it was still a struggle to get through the tiny gap. At one point, he stuck fast, his front half suddenly enveloped in darkness as his legs dangled helplessly behind him. He struggled, suddenly too scared to go any further, but by now it was too late to change direction. Even if he wanted to run home and forget all about this crazy idea, he would have to get into the house then climb back out again.
Blake put his hands on the wall and with a huge effort pushed himself through the rest of the window, landing on the floor in a heap, the sound of his body hitting the ground echoing slightly around the pitch-black house.
Blake lay on the floor for a few moments to check that he was the only noise in the house. The dust from the floor tickled his nose and as he stood up, he became aware of the musty smell that reminded him of the local church that his mum sometimes dragged him to on Sundays. His eyes slowly adjusted to the gloominess of the room, not that it gave him much more of a clue what was around him.
He slowly moved across the room, attempting not to trip over anything. As his hands blindly waved about, trying to find the wall, he became aware that he was walking through a puddle of something on the floor. At last, his hands clasped onto a small box protruding from the wall and what was unmistakably a button. He felt more scared now, almost hoping that the light would not work and that he would be left in the darkness, clueless about his surroundings. Then, he could go home, knowing that he had at least tried, but the task had been impossible due to the fact that he could not see anything. Maybe he would come back in the daylight. He could even bring Tommy with him then.
He pressed the light and was immediately blinded by the surprisingly bright light that suddenly flooded the room. Then, he opened his eyes. He immediately wished he had kept them closed.
He was standing in what looked to be a living room, but he was distracted from taking into much of his surroundings when he saw what the puddle on the ground actually was. It was a dark red colour beneath an old rocking chair in the centre of the room. Seated in the chair was an old woman, her face white and her eyes and mouth wide open as if in a silent scream. She was dressed in old, dirty looking clothing and sticking out her back was a large knife. Blake’s breath caught in his throat as he stared at the horrifying sight before him. The pool of blood on the floor glistened in the light beneath the body of the woman. Blake could not move, too terrified to try and force his legs to work.
Then, she cried out his name, her face remaining in her ghastly expression of terror.
“Blake.”
Blake continued staring at her. He tried to run, but the floor seemed to be now gripping over his feet. The carpet swamped around his legs, holding him in place as the name rang out again.
“Blake!”
Then, as the floor tightened its grip around his bottom half, the woman stood up, her face still contorted in a silence scream. She reached towards him, her mouth seeming to open even wider.
Blake!”
“No!” screamed Blake and put his arms up over his head as the woman leaned closer towards him, her hands flying forwards to grab him.
Then, just as she was about to grab hold of him, Blake Harte opened his eyes with a jolt.

BLURB:

Football fever has Harmschapel in its grip. After decades of failure, Harmschapel F.C has made it to the County Cup final. All hopes are resting on the team’s talented new striker Scott Jennings bringing victory to the village, but the match threatens to bring deep-rooted rivalries to the surface.

Detective Sergeant Blake Harte finds himself forced to sit through the tense final in case of any trouble. Though the last thing he expects is to be thrown into the midst of another impossible crime, he and the rest of Harmschapel Police are left baffled when Scott is murdered in the middle of the match.

With none of the other players anywhere near him at the time of his death, and a stadium full of witnesses that all seem as clueless as each other, Blake is left with very little to go on as to how a killer could have left Scott with a deep wound in his side without being seen.

As the suspect list grows, Blake discovers dark secrets that are desperate to remain hidden. And someone is watching him. Someone who knows Blake Harte and everything he holds dear. They have their own score to settle, and they are about to make the first move in a game that they intend for Blake to lose…

ny

Click image for Robert Innes website

Learn more about author, Robert Innes:

Robert Innes is the author of The Blake Harte Mysteries – a series of head scratching and impossible crimes.
When he’s not trying to work out how to commit seemingly perfect murders and building up a worrying Google search history, Robert can be found at his local slimming group, wondering why eating three pizzas in the space of a week hasn’t resulted in a weight loss.
Since the creation of the Blake Harte mystery series in November 2016, each book has become a best seller in LGBT mystery both in the USA and the UK.

Exclusive Excerpt: Flesh and Gold (a Cantor Gold Crime – Book 4) by Ann Aptaker

Excerpt:

I’m no saint. I’m certainly no prude. I’ve been visiting cat houses—what the old timers call notch joints back in the States—since I was a teenager and Sig owned a few houses back in our Coney Island days. The professional ladies of pleasure know what they’re doing, and sometimes, on my loneliest nights in my dangerous life, when I miss Sophie so much I’m dizzy with longing, it takes a professional to do what needs doing. And I have a soft spot for the ladies. They and I have something in common: we make our living outside the Law, because the Law dealt both of us rigged hands. The Law says I’m a criminal just because I romance women. And the Law says it’s a crime for the ladies to decide what to do with their own flesh and bones.

I can’t kid myself, though. I know that “the life” can be risky. It’s not unusual for a Lady of Pleasure to have the “pleasure” beaten out of her by rough trade or a vicious pimp who gets his kicks by using her as a slave. The only freedom she can hope for is to grow old, discarded, and die. The idea that Sophie, my Sophie, is caught in such a life scares me to death.

And then there’s the filthy horror that sends its stench through all those other horrors, a scenario twisting me up so bad I can barely breathe: the thought of Sophie pawed over by sweaty tourists and needy locals not only breaks my heart, it makes me sick.

Sure, add hypocrite to my list of sins.

I soothe myself a little by believing that whoever took her would realize Sophie is a class act and would stow her in one of the town’s fancier, ultra-discreet joints catering to the island’s secretive aristocrats and moneyed clientele, the kind of places where the women aren’t batted around, and even protected from violent clients.

It’s been a long time since I was last in Havana and availed myself of its erotic pleasures. Considering the current power shifts in the local underworld, and those gang wars Lansky and Nilo talked about, the Who’s Who of the cat houses is probably not the same Who’s Who I dealt with ten years ago. As far as I know, nobody in the fancier fleshpots owes me any favors, and without an invitation from a regular client or someone else well connected, I can’t get into those joints, and I don’t even know where they are. I can’t get information about those places without help. But until that help comes, I’m on my own, with nowhere to look but the back rooms of bars, the fleabag hotels, and the streets.

Blurb:

Havana, 1952, a city throbbing with pleasure and danger, where the Mob peddles glamor to the tourists and there’s plenty of sex for sale. In the swanky hotels and casinos, and the steamy, secretive Red Light district of the Colón, Cantor Gold, dapper art thief and smuggler, searches the streets and brothels for her kidnapped love, Sophie de la Luna y Sol. Cantor races against time while trying to out run the deadly schemes of American mobsters and the gunsights of murderous local gangs.

Learn more about award-winning author, Ann Aptaker:

click on photo for website

Native New Yorker Ann Aptaker has earned a reputation as a respected if cheeky exhibition designer and curator of art during her career in museums and galleries. Taking the approach that what art authorities find uncomfortable the public would likely enjoy, exhibitions Ann has curated have garnered favorable reviews in the New York Times, Art in America, American Art Review, and other publications.

She brings the same attitude and philosophy to her first love: writing, especially a tangy variety of historical crime fiction. Ann’s short stories have appeared in two editions (2003 and 2004) of the noir crime anthology Fedora. Her flash fiction story, “A Night In Town,” appeared in the online zine Punk Soul Poet. In addition to curating and designing art exhibitions and writing crime stories, Ann is also an art writer and an adjunct professor of art history at the New York Institute of Technology. (Publisher).

Exclusive Excerpt: Order and Anarchy (The Thin Blue Line series Book 2) by Patricia Logan

Excerpt:

Felix caught up to Pope when he had to stop to unlock the door. He stepped inside and stopped, turning back to Felix, still frowning.

“What? Go back to the gym and hit Doctor Brian Swenson up for a date, Felix. It’s clear the man is insanely in love with you. He wants you big time. We can be partners at work but dating you was a mistake. I see that now. What could you ever have seen in me if you were dating guys like that before meeting me?” Without waiting for an answer, he started to close the front door.

Felix did the only thing he could do and stuck out his foot to stop it. “Wait, idiot! I told you I needed to talk to you so why won’t you let me say anything?”

Pope yanked the door back open and stared at him, his face a mask of utter misery. “Sorry. What?”

“Let me in.”

click on cover to purchase

Pope dropped his gym bag and crossed his arms, blocking the door with his body and staring at him. “Say what you have to say from there. I’m not letting you in.”

Felix ground his teeth. He wanted to punch Pope right in the nose but he couldn’t get his point across if his lover was unconscious.

“You are the man I want, Pope. I’ve told you that before. I want you to live with me. If I wanted Brian Swenson, I would have Brian Swenson, but the man isn’t the kind of guy I want.”

Pope sneered. “Ha! That’s a laugh. Who doesn’t want a brilliant millionaire with a rockin’ body and brain? Huh?”

“Me. It seems I want a grouchy, infuriating, sharp-tonged idiot who doesn’t have a clue how beautiful or sexy he is.”

Pope’s gaze flicked over Felix’s form and then returned to his eyes.

“I’m old and broken and…”

“Asshole!” Felix shoved his way into the apartment, cutting Pope off as he stepped into his personal space and slammed the door behind him. Pope stumbled backward, hitting the wall dividing the entry and the living room. Felix watched him reach back to plant the palms of his hands on either side of himself to stay standing. He braced himself as Felix advanced on him.

“What are you doing?” Pope growled as Felix grabbed the hem of his white T-shirt and ripped it open in one long tear all the way to the neckline. When Pope’s defined six-pack abs were revealed, Felix instantly slid the palms of both hands up the expanse of his stomach and chest.

“If you have to ask that, I’m doing this all wrong.” He bent his head and immediately took one of his nipples into his mouth, biting the nub.

“Jesus!” Pope exclaimed, instantly sinking the fingers of both hands into his hair as he held Felix’s head to his chest. The groan that rumbled out of him vibrated against Felix’s lips as he sucked and laved the hard nub was sexy as hell. He moved to Pope’s second nipple and gave it the same treatment as Pope moaned. He looked up and the sight of Pope’s head thrown back to lean against the wall, his eyes squeezed tightly shut, and his mouth open as his breath came in gasps was a sight to see. He pulled his mouth away and slid down to his knees, reaching for the elastic waistband of Pope’s shorts and pulling them down along with him.

Blurb:

Homeland Security investigators Felix Jbarra and Pope Dades are about to work their first big case as partners. Someone is creating counterfeit government documents and selling them through a site similar to the old Silk Road which was shut down years ago. As they dive into the case with the help of their friends at the FBI and LAPD, Felix and Pope realize the Dark Web site is selling more than documents. It’s selling death.

click on image for website

When a man connected with the website turns up murdered, it’s all hands on deck and with so many letter agencies involved in this case, coordinating all parties is bound to be a challenge. When yet another agency unexpectedly gets involved, their bosses would find it laughable if it wasn’t so damned dangerous.

Felix and Pope are getting used to being partners but they are well-trained professionals who must learn to trust each other at work as well as at home. When a bomb almost kills them, they have no choice but to shorten that learning curve. From the mean streets of Hollywood to unfamiliar places on the Dark Net, our heroes put themselves in danger every moment, trying their best to protect innocents while keeping each other alive.

International bestselling author Patricia Logan, resides in Los Angeles, California. The author of several #1 bestselling erotic romances in English, Italian, French, and Spanish lives in a small house with a large family. When she’s not writing her next thriller romance, she’s watching her grandchildren grow up way too soon, and raising kids who make her proud every day. One of her favorite tasks is coaxing nose kisses from cats who insist on flopping on her keyboard while she types. Married to a wonderful gentleman for 30 years, she counts herself lucky to be surrounded by people who love her and give her stories to tell every day.

Exclusive Excerpt: The Mystery of the Moving Image (Snow & Winter Book 3) by C.S. Poe

Excerpt:

The kid finally shoved by me and made his way through the aisles toward the door. Calvin saw the push and looked at me, but I shook my head and waved my hand in a shooing motion.

Calvin moved aside, watched the brat storm out, and then joined me. “Who was that?” he asked, leaning down briefly to remove Dillon’s leash.

“The Future.”

He gave me an amused smile. “I see the inclination toward enjoying the company of our country’s youth skips a generation in your family.” He kissed me. “Why’d you call me here?”

“I like you.”

“Nice try.”

“You know how there’s no statute of limitation on murder?”

Calvin reached up to massage his temple. “It was my day off.”

“Look at this.” I tapped the Kinetoscope. “This is an Edison Kinetoscope.”

“Are we talking Thomas Edison?” Calvin crossed his arms, and his biceps flexed and bulged and… distracted.

“Uh—huh. Yeah. That’s the guy.” I looked at the cabinet. “But there was no contact information from the owner inside the crate. No documentation, letter—not even a postcard.”

“I’ve yet to see the correlation between a piece of furniture and murder.”

“It’s a movie viewer,” I corrected. “And—you’re absolutely certain it’s not for you?”

He gave me a critical look.

click on image to purchase

“Maybe someone sent you a really morbid birthday present?” I suggested. Not that I sincerely thought it was a gift, but Calvin did work homicide and he was going to be forty-three this Friday. And it had been established how susceptible the Emporium seemed to be to death and mayhem since the two of us met.

“No one would send me an Edison Kinetoscope. What is this about?”

I let out a heavy breath. “It came with a reel of film. It still works, Max and I watched it. It’s the final round of the Leonard-Cushing fight of 1894. It’s not supposed to exist, by all accounts.”

“And did Leonard kill Cushing?” Calvin asked dryly.

No.” I paused for a beat. “Someone else died, though.”

“It’s a movie.”

“Not—no, the murder isn’t part of the film, Cal. Someone spliced two scenes together. It’s not staged or fake. A man actually died and someone recorded it.” I turned the Kinetoscope on and tugged Calvin close. “Watch it.”

With a sigh, he relaxed his arms and leaned over the peephole to watch the scene. I waited, anxiously studying Calvin’s body posture as the seconds ticked by. Louis Armstrong projected from the shop speakers, Max was chatting up customers, and Dillon wove around this and that across the showroom. When enough time had passed that Calvin would surely have reached the outdoor scene, I noticed his jaw tense. And that was the only reaction I needed to authenticate what I too had seen.

“So?” I asked, for the sake of nicety. Calvin straightened and looked at me. “It’s real, isn’t it?”

“Seb—”

“I told you.”

“Don’t get carried away,” Calvin chastised. “We don’t know anything—when or where or—”

“Mid-1890s. It was filmed relatively close to the same period as the boxing match.”

“How can you tell?”

“The frame rates match, they were both shot with a Kinetograph camera, the film itself was precut—”

“All right,” Calvin interrupted, holding up a hand. “We still don’t even know where this occurred. It could be any city in America that had a camera in the 1800s.”

I looked at the Kinetoscope briefly. “It’s New York—the Flatiron site.”

Calvin narrowed his eyes.

“Before the Flatiron Building actually existed.”

He was quiet, scrubbing his face with one hand. “Sweetheart… how the hell do you know that?” Calvin asked in such a calm, polite tone, it was nearly comical.

“You can sort of see the triangle shape of Fifth Avenue and Broadway in the background,” I explained. “The illumination just out of frame—a man named Amos Eno owned the property until his death in 1899, and he used to project images from a magic lantern onto a canvas screen hung from a shorter building. It was used for advertisements, news bulletins, and even election results.”

Calvin didn’t say anything.

I smiled.

He put an arm around my shoulders, drew me close, and asked, “Anything else I should know?”

“The phrase ‘twenty-three skidoo’ likely originated from the Flatiron’s Twenty-Third Street location.”

“Why’s that?”

“It’s a windy corner. It was suggested that men would stick around the Flatiron to watch women’s skirts get blown up so they could catch some hot ankle action.”

“Of course.”

“Police would have to chase them away.”

“Perverts.”

“Hence, twenty-three skidoo,” I concluded.

Calvin smiled and lowered his arm.

“What’re we going to do about the—” I paused when a customer walked by us. “M-u-r-d-e-r?” I spelled out.

“Nothing.”

“No, not nothing,” I answered.

“That’s about all that can be done, Seb.”

“I know a thing or two about handling evidence in a homicide,” I pointed out. Not that I was a detective or had a degree in forensics, but my ex-partner, Neil Millett, worked for the Crime Scene Unit of the NYPD. Four years of “tell me about your day” had taught me some. Like for example, there were records kept on homicides, even in the 1800s. And if it was an unsolved crime, that evidence was to remain in police possession until the cold case was a closed case.

“You know a thing or two about most everything,” Calvin replied simply. “Which is why it makes it next to impossible to argue that you’re wrong.”

“This is one of those moments I’m not sure if you’re complimenting me or not.”

“Who’s to say this wasn’t solved a long time ago?” I stared at the Kinetoscope. Call it one of my hunches, but I suspected that wasn’t the case. Surely the evidence on film would have been used, even then, to catch the murderer. And after the crime was solved, it would have likely been destroyed by the police. Instead, over 120 years later, the footage was shipped to a moonlighting sleuth.

No explanation.

No reason.

No nothing.

“But what if it wasn’t solved?” I countered.

Calvin crossed his arms again. “The oldest evidence I’ve heard of being held by homicide detectives only went back to 1909. And that was in the ’20s, before complaints of sanitary conditions and limited space were taken into consideration.”

“How do you know that?”

“Hi, I’m Calvin Winter,” he stated, reaching a hand out to shake mine. “I’ve been an officer of the NYPD for ten years.”

“I’m ignoring the sarcasm only because I’m incredibly turned on by you spouting random facts at me,” I answered.

Calvin smirked. “I’ll remember that.”

I looked around the Emporium, did a quick headcount of customers, and made sure Max wasn’t inundated at the counter, before saying to Calvin, “So there wouldn’t be a forgotten box somewhere in the Property Clerk’s Office?” I tried.

Calvin shook his head. “There’s very little, in terms of cold cases, prior to the 1990s.”

“Why?”

He shrugged. “A lot of reasons. Fires, auctions, improper storage and disposal… take your pick.”

“It feels wrong to not do something about it,” I said.

And thankfully Calvin agreed. “I know.”

“Maybe I’ll call the shipping company.”

“Seb—”

“Hey, as far as I am concerned, I’m being held responsible for the condition of the Kinetoscope,” I said quickly. “I need to find the owner.”

“But that’s all,” Calvin answered with a touch of reluctance. “Okay?”

“Okay,” I echoed.

“If I get a call from an irate clerk at the property office this afternoon, we’re going to have words.”

Blurb:

Snow & Winter: Book Three

It’s summer in New York City, and antique shop owner Sebastian Snow is taking the next big step in his relationship with NYPD homicide detective, Calvin Winter: they’re moving in together. What should have been a wonderful week of playing house and celebrating Calvin’s birthday comes to an abrupt end when a mysterious package arrives at the Emporium.

Inside is a Thomas Edison Kinetoscope, a movie viewer from the nineteenth century, invented by the grandfather of modern cinema, W. K. L. Dickson. And along with it, footage of a murder that took place over a hundred years ago.

Sebastian resists the urge to start sleuthing, even if the culprit is long dead and there’s no apparent danger. But break-ins at the Emporium, a robbery, and dead bodies aren’t as easy to ignore, and Sebastian soon realizes that the century-old murder will lead him to a modern-day killer.

However, even with Sebastian’s vast knowledge of Victorian America and his unrelenting perseverance in the face of danger, this may be the one mystery he won’t survive.

FREE DRAWING!

Author C.S. Poe has graciously offered a chance for one member to WIN a FREE e-book copy of (your choice) in the Snow & Winter mystery series (in either mobi, Epub, or PDF format).

click image to purchase

To enter the FREE drawing for Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Facebook group members only, send your name, email address to Jon Michaelsen via Facebook Messenger.

The Winner will be announced on Friday, October 5th @ 8pm EDT. Stay Tuned!

Learn more about author C.S. Poe and her amazing thrillers; 

C.S. Poe is a Lambda Literary and EPIC award finalist author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.

She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to

click on photo for website

name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited-edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.

​She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued two cats—Milo and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.

​C.S. is a member of the International Thriller Writers organization.

Her debut novel, The Mystery of Nevermore, was published by DSP Publications, 2016.