Exclusive Excerpt: Gay Noir (three noir mysteries with a gay twist) by Olivier Bosman

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:

Mrs Skinner rushed into my office in her hat and furs, pulled up a chair and sat down at my desk. “Have you got the pictures?” she said.

“Well, good morning to you, Mrs Skinner,” I responded.

“Never mind all that!” she snapped back. “Have you got the pictures?” She took off her hat and fur and slammed them on my desk.

“Have you got the money?”

“Pictures first!”

I shook my head. “I need to know that you have the money before I show you the pictures.”

She looked at me and frowned. She grabbed her handbag and rummaged in it for her chequebook.

“How much was it again?” she asked, opening her chequebook and taking a pen out of her bag.

“Four hundred pounds,” I said. “And I want cash.”

She looked up, surprised. “You said three hundred and fifty.”

“The price has gone up.”

“Why?”

“Turns out there’s a bit more to your husband’s affair than meets the eye.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you have the cash or not?”

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Mrs Skinner replaced her chequebook and pen in her bag, took out her purse and started counting the money in it. “I have three hundred and fifty pounds,” she said, “as that’s what we agreed on. I can owe you the rest.”

“Show me.”

She rolled her eyes in irritation, but she eventually took the notes out of her purse and laid them on the desk.

“Are you happy now, Mr Stone?” she said. “Do you think you can show me the pictures now?”

“I am, and I can.”  I opened the desk drawer and retrieve the pictures. “I’ll show you the pictures now,” I said, opening the brown envelope, “but I should warn you, it’s not a pretty sight.”

“Just get on with it.”

I placed the pictures on the desk one by one and closely watched her face as I did so. It was rigid and emotionless.

“What’s this?” she said after I had placed the final picture on the desk. She was looking at me, frowning with confusion.

“That’s your husband,” I said.

“Who is that other person with him?”

“That is the man he’s been having an affair with.”

“That is not a man!”

“I think you’ll find he is.” I pointed at a certain part of Lenny’s anatomy.

“What are you suggesting?”

“I’m not suggesting anything.”

“Are you suggesting that my husband is a homosexual?”

“I’m not suggesting anything, Mrs Skinner. I let the pictures do the speaking.” I picked up the photo of Skinner eagerly swallowing Lenny’s cock and placed it on top of the other ones.

“My husband is not a homosexual!” she said, jumping up from her chair. “He is the son of an Anglican priest! That picture is a fake! Where is the man’s head?”

“I cut his head off, Mrs Skinner. There’s no need for you to know who the man is.”

“I’m not paying for those pictures! They are not what I asked for!”

“That’s fine. Then I won’t give them to you.” I picked up the photos, slipped them back in the envelope and locked the envelope in my drawer.

Mrs Skinner remained standing over my desk. Her body trembled with rage and her face began to contort. Finally, the emotion became too much for her and she burst into tears. She sat back down and buried her head in her hands. I admit I did feel a tinge of pity for her. I pulled the handkerchief out of my breast pocket and handed it to her.

“Thank you,” she said softly and began drying her tears. “This is so humiliating! I should never have married him. My father warned me not to marry outside my faith. We’re Catholics. This would never have happened if I had married a Catholic.”

I didn’t say anything.

“You will have to burn the pictures,” she said. “No one must see what I’ve seen.”

“You can burn them yourself if you pay for them.”

“There!” She threw the bank notes at me. “There’s your cursed money!”

“What about the other fifty pounds you still owe me?”

“I’ll come back with it another day.”

“How can I be sure?”

She looked at me indignantly. “I think you can trust me, Mr Stone.”

“I don’t trust anyone.”

“Well, what do you want me to do?”

I looked at her earrings. “Are those real pearls?”

“My pearls?” She put her hands to her earrings and stared at me with shock. “Are you serious? You want my pearls? Don’t you think I’ve been humiliated enough?”

“Hey, lady, I’ve got a business to run here.”

She took off her earrings and flung them at me. “Have the blessed pearls, you hard-hearted swine!”

I picked up the earrings and put them in my pocket. Then I opened the drawer, took out the envelope and handed it to her. She yanked it out of my hands, picked up her hat and fur and jumped out of her chair. “I hope I never see you again!” She marched out of the office.

“It was a pleasure doing business with you, Mrs Skinner,” I called after her, but she didn’t hear me.

BLURB:
Inspired by the pulp fiction novels of the 1940’s and 50’s, the novellas in this anthology emulate the dark, thrilling, sensational and taboo breaking stories of the post war era and gives them a gay twist.
The Honeytrap

1950’s London. Felix Stone is an openly gay P.I. He is approached by a mysterious woman who pays him to shadow her husband. What at first seems to be a run of the mill adultery case, soon turns out to be much more serious. When the people involved in the case suddenly start dying around him, Felix finds himself embroiled in the world of cold war espionage and his own life is put in danger.

The Deluded

1949. The East End of London is still recovering from the blitz. Fitzgerald O’Sullivan is a young man with romantic notions of living like an impoverished writer. In an attempt to escape his past, he abandons his life of privilege and rents a room in the East End. There he meets Roy Parker, a chirpy Cockney with a working-class charm. Roy asks Fitz to write a story about how he saved the lives of two Jewish ladies during the war. What follows is a far-fetched tale filled with lies and exaggerations. This is is a noir thriller where nothing is what it seems. A dark tale of love, bitterness and vengeance set in the chaotic aftermath of the Second World War

Estranged

1950´s L.A. Sixteen year old Henry Blomqvist is the son of an aspiring actress and stepson of a millionaire businessman. He is an embarrasement to his parents, a useless layabout who is constantly getting arrested for cruising the parks. But his vices pale in comparison with the dark secrets in his parents´ lives. The kidnapping of Henry´s stepfather triggers a series of events which expose the skeletons in his parents´ closets and which finally give Henry the chance to step up to the mark and show what he´s really made of.

ebook link: (Releasing December 4th, 2018 via Amazon & FREE via Kindle Unlimited)

Paperback link: (Currently Available)

Olivier Bosman’s Bio: 

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Born to Dutch parents and raised in Colombia and England, I am a rootless wanderer with itchy feet. I’ve spent the last few years living and working in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan and Bulgaria, but I have every confidence that I will now finally be able to settle down among the olive groves of Andalucia.

I am an avid reader and film fan (in fact, my study is overflowing with my various dvd collections!)

I did an MA in creative writing for film and television at the University of Sheffield.  After a failed attempt at making a carreer as a screenwriter, I turned to the theater and wrote and produced a play called ´Death Takes a Lover´ (which has since been turned into the first D.S.Billings Victorian Mystery). The play was performed on the London Fringe to great critical acclaim.

​Currently living in Spain where I make ends meet by teaching English .

Exclusive Excerpt: The Lawyer Who Leapt (Daytona Beach Book 2) by Frank W. Butterfield

Excerpt:

“Do you have any idea where the place is?” asked Ronnie as he worked at keeping the car on the road. As if from out of nowhere, the wind had kicked up and was blowing Tom’s Buick around the road a bit.

“The judge said they moved the law school out to the airport. I don’t know where, exactly, but it shouldn’t be that hard to find.” He paused and then added, “Howie sent a telegram this morning from Savannah.”

Ronnie whistled. “That was fast. Everything OK?”

“Sounded like it. He mentioned he was keeping his promise to send us one every day.”

Ronnie nodded. “He’s a good kid.”

“He sure is,” said Tom.

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Ronnie burped. “Sorry ’bout that. I shouldn’t have had onions on my burger back at lunch. They always repeat on me.” He burped again.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tom look over at him and smile. “You know, you always say that every time you have onions on anything. But you always have onions.”

Ronnie grinned. He wanted to reach over and put his hand on Tom’s face and pull his pal in close, but he had to keep both hands on the wheel to make sure they stayed on the road. He glanced over and quickly winked at Tom, who blushed.

Neither man said anything for a moment. Then Ronnie asked, “Is that why you love me?”

Tom stiffened, or so Ronnie thought.

. . .

“Is that why you love me?”

Tom could barely believe what he was hearing. How could Ronnie ask him a question like that at a time like this? Tom was doing the best he could to hold his reputation together. Witness tampering was a serious offense and he was looking at serious prison time if he was convicted on the hearsay rumors floating around town that he’d sent Inez Johnson back to New York by bribing her, or whatever they were saying.

He had enough to think about without worrying what Ronnie was going to do next. His friend had always been impulsive. That was what made him so attractive, besides the fact that he was handsome, in an odd sort of way, and was thickly built with plenty of muscles popping out everywhere, something Tom always found attractive in a man.

Staring out at the ribbon of highway that was passing below them in the wind-blown car, Tom thought about their time together the night before and how passionate things had been. That was another thing that attracted him to Ronnie. The man was relaxed when it came to carnal matters. He was friendly and passionate and gentle, while also being driven and almost single-minded in his desire to know that Tom was enjoying himself. It had always been that way.

In the few encounters of a similar nature that Tom had during his time in the Army, he’d been shocked at how selfish other men could be. They seemed to want to be satisfied but had no interest in the sort of quiet conversation intermingled with passionate lovemaking that Tom had always loved having with Ronnie and Sarah, both.

Sarah.

What would she think if she knew what they got up to in the bed she had slept in before she died? Would she be repelled? Disgusted?

Ronnie claimed that she had given her blessing to their fooling around. And, on those nights when she wasn’t home, having taken Missy over to the Gulf Coast to spend a few days with relatives who didn’t like Tom, he and Ronnie would fool around in that bed. But they had never slept together. And Tom had always made sure to change the sheets before Sarah got home.

He couldn’t really imagine the conversation she had with Ronnie about all that. He’d claimed that she’d invited him over for dinner and, while drinking beer, had admitted she knew all about how they felt about each other. He even claimed, Ronnie had, that she had blessed their fooling around.

Tom sighed. He wavered back and forth about whether to believe Ronnie on that score. It seemed both highly unlikely and exactly what Sarah would have done. There had been a number of occasions, during their marriage, when she had kindly sat down with him and told him she knew what he was up to and it didn’t bother her at all. He couldn’t remember the specific things—they had all been small, household sorts of things—but he could easily picture her open and frank expression as she looked right at Ronnie and said something like, “I know you’re in love with Tom as much as I am.”

The sudden intensity of that thought shocked him. Of course she had said that to Ronnie. He didn’t know how he knew, but he did. He could feel in it his bones. Over the sound of the tires on the road and the slight moaning of the wind as it buffeted the car around, he could hear her next sentence, “And I know Tom loves you in a way he could never love me.”

That thought made him jump in his seat.

“You OK, buddy?”

Blurb:

It’s Wednesday morning, September 24th to be precise, and Tom Jarrell is in love. He’s walking through the tree-covered streets of Daytona Beach, on his way to work, and thinking about the wonderful night he just spent. But, when he gets to the office, he realizes he has a few things that need to be done. For one, he needs to file an affidavit in a murder trial, but he’s never done any such thing, so he heads off to his old law school to meet with his favorite professor from before the war to get some much-needed advice. And, while there, he gets much more than he was expecting. Meanwhile, Ronnie Grisham is in trouble with his landlady. He hasn’t slept in his boarding house bed for two nights and she just read her cards last night. Change is coming. Could the cards be pointing to Ronnie? As for Marveen Dodge, her suspicions about what is really going on at the law office of Tom Jarrell, Esquire, is like a simmering pot that could boil over at any moment. And, Alice Watson is doing just fine, thank you very much, and looking forward to a nice Saturday at the beach with her girl. But, none of them expects what happens next as two mysterious girls arrive in town, suitcases in hand… And an unexpected trial gets underway… Read about all of this, and more, in the case of THE LAWYER WHO LEAPT.

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Author Frank W. Butterfield:

Frank W. Butterfield is the Amazon best-selling author of over 20 books and counting in the Nick Williams Mystery series, stories about Nick & Carter, a private dick and a fireman who live and love in San Francisco.

Beginning in 1953, the series follows their adventures as they deal with the wide-ranging consequences of publicly outing themselves long before the term existed.

Refusing to back down, Nick & Carter begin to build a life where they use their resources to help their family as much as they possibly can.

For Nick & Carter, family is a broad term that includes the ones they were both born into as well as the one they choose: the men and women they know, meet, and grow closer to along the way.

Their stories range from the deeply intimate to the broadly political as they move through the changes in American and global culture from the stultifying sameness of the 50s through the tumultuous transformation of the 60s and the chaotic confusion of the 70s.

As time rolls by and their love deepens, they eventually find themselves able to legally marry in the summer of 2008 at the ages of 84 and 86, respectively.

No one will be as surprised as Nick & Carter when that amazing day finally arrives.

To learn more about Frank W. Butterfield’s novels, Nick & Carter and their ongoing adventures, please click the link before for his website.

https://www.frankwbutterfield.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.

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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. 
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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

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

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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

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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: Thin Blue (The Thin Blue Line series Book 1) by Patricia Logan

Excerpt:

“Stop yelling, man. Calm down. We’ll talk about it, okay?”

The anger on the man’s face turned to rage and he stepped forward. Before Felix realized what was happening, the man had both hands twisted in his T-shirt and he was propelling Felix backward. When his back hit the side of his own truck, it nearly knocked the breath out of him.

Goddammit!

“You’re crazy!” Felix yelled. Now he was getting angry and that was an almost foreign emotion for him. He was pretty sure he could have used his Marine Corps Krav Maga training to put the guy on the ground, but he really didn’t want to resort to hand-to-hand combat with an angry trick from a gay bar. Getting hauled off to jail until he had the opportunity to tell his side of the story wouldn’t exactly keep him off the radar, and getting arrested in West Hollywood with the smell of spunk all over him wasn’t his idea of fun.

He reached up and grabbed the guy’s forearms to try to pry them free of his shirt but he realized the attempt was futile. The muscles of the man’s forearms felt like solid steel bands under the long-sleeved Henley he wore. No matter how hard he tried to get him to release his shirt, he couldn’t move him. The detective pushed his enraged face closer to Felix and normally he would have been intimidated by the outrage painted all over his expression. Instead, he found himself growing impossibly hard as he stared at the beautiful full lips he’d been kissing only fifteen minutes before. Even though the man had worked himself into a rage, Felix found himself unbelievably attracted to him. He wished the guy would let go of his shirt and touch him in other places. Felix wanted the man’s hands all over him. He remembered how amazing it felt to have the detective buried inside his body and he wanted it all over again.

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“I’m crazy? You told IA that I intended on shooting that suspect when I fired! Who the hell are you?” the man shouted.

So that’s what he’s pissed about? His face was now so close to Felix’s that he could feel the wash of hot breath which smelled of beer and something alluring that he just couldn’t put his finger on. Felix just wanted to cover his mouth again and draw his breath inside so he could taste it. But he couldn’t do that. The guy was obviously under the impression that Felix was some sort of spy for Internal Affairs and he had to dispel him of that notion right away. The very last thing he needed in the middle of a huge case for Homeland Security was to be at odds with an LAPD detective who could easily blow his cover or worse, compromise the case they were building against the filthy animals that trafficked kids across the US-Mexican border.

“This isn’t about your career,” Felix growled through clenched teeth. He was growing angry now that he thought about those kids.

The guy sneered. “So, you want me to believe that it’s mere coincidence that you just happened to be at the same club as me tonight? That you offered your ass to a guy whose career would end if caught in a public disgrace?” He bunched his fists in Felix’s shirt, pulling it even tighter across his back as he pulled him closer. He didn’t wait for Felix to answer before he let go and grabbed the edges of his T-shirt to lift it. “You wearing a wire? You get everything on tape?” He yanked at Felix’s clothes as he shouted. “Where is it?” His tortured gaze met Felix’s and a wave of such sadness washed over him that it blocked out the man’s words.

He stopped fighting even as his T-shirt was lifted up to reveal his chest. As the man’s gaze ran over the expanse of tattooed skin, he relaxed and let him look his fill. The detective finally lifted his gaze to meet Felix’s and Felix reached out, flattening the palms of both hands on the man’s chest. The thick bands of muscle felt solid under his shirt. He wanted to examine the cop’s chest and see his body. He imagined it was beautiful.

“Stop it. I’m not—I’m not doing that—I’m not working for anyone who wants to hurt you and I think you know I’m not wearing a wire. You had your hands under my shirt fifteen minutes ago.”

The man didn’t look convinced. Felix sighed.

“You have to believe me. I don’t even know your name,” he explained calmly. “I told the officers what I heard you say but you have to believe me that they didn’t even tell me your name. When I gave my statement at the scene out at the YMCA, I told them the truth. I certainly didn’t tell LAPD’s IA anything different when they came to go over my statement. They referred to you as ‘the detective involved in today’s incident near the YMCA’. You think I don’t know what Internal Affairs can do to a career? I worry every day that OPR is going to target me for some shit because I’m gay. I’m not a snitch or a rat and I understand what brotherhood means,” Felix said quietly. It took every bit of his strength to hold still. His hyperactive nature was almost always to be in motion but he wanted to get his point across. Wasn’t I dancing a half hour ago?

The man had been glaring at him, staring at him so hard that it threatened to burn him up but the moment Felix mentioned OPR, the acronym for the Office of Professional Responsibility, the truth seemed to finally hit him. He instantly stepped back.

“Wait a minute… OPR? You’re a Fed?” He looked Felix up and down. “You don’t work for IA?”

“No, I don’t work for IA.” Felix tried to keep the shakiness he was feeling out of his voice and he wasn’t so sure he succeeded. It wasn’t that he was really upset but he hadn’t expected to be threatened by the man who’d just kissed him and fucked him through the best orgasm he could remember. “I work for DHS and I was undercover when I saw your encounter with that punk.

Blurb: Thin Blue

Detective Pope Dades is a veteran police officer working in the Hollywood division, one of the busiest police precincts in the country. Dealing with drug dealers, hookers, and mentally ill suspects on a daily basis is his stock and trade. He once loved his job with the LAPD but three years ago, he put his trust in the wrong man and he’s been paying the price ever since. Refusing to work with a partner after the first one nearly killed him, Pope is jaded, still hurting, and hanging onto the career he once adored by a thread.

Homeland Security Investigator Felix Jbarra is a fresh-faced young agent with a bright future in the DHS ahead of him. Deeply closeted, Felix hides his sexual orientation from his huge Catholic family which brings him terrible guilt and grief. One night in a back-room nightclub encounter, he connects with a man who inexplicably makes him want to confess everything. Assigned to help shut down an elusive child sex trafficking ring, Felix instinctively knows he’ll need turn to the more experienced detective for help if he and his partner want to crack this case.

In the first book of the brand new Thin Blue Line series, join Felix and Pope in this exciting adventure as their worlds collide on the mean streets and in between the sheets…

Thin Blue contains a sneak peek at Order & Anarchy (The Thin Blue Line series Book 2)

** Please Note**

If you’ve read the Death and Destruction series, Lincoln Snow, McBride M. McCallahan, Jarrett Evans-Wolfe, and Thayne Evans-Wolfe also play ongoing roles in this new series. Never fear, Jarrett probably won’t be base jumping off any more buildings… probably.

Discover more about author, Patricial Logan, and her numerous novels below:

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http://authorpatricialogan.com/

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: Boystown 11: Heart’s Desire (Boystown Mysteries) by Marshall Thornton

Excerpt:

I got up early the next morning and drove to Irene’s apartment, which was on Malden right above Gracie Cemetery. It was right on the edge of Uptown. Not a great neighborhood. I parked Harker’s car on the cemetery side of Montrose.
Gracie Cemetery wasn’t one of my favorite places; I’d killed a man there once. I told myself I wasn’t there for a trip down memory lane and, even if I were, that wasn’t a lane I should go down.
When I found Irene’s building, it was a grand old brick apartment house, three stories tall and covering all of the lot from Malden back to the alley. It had originally been six apartments, but I walked up to the front door and saw there were twelve names on the modern intercom. Using the key Irene had given me, I opened the door and stepped into the lobby. Beyond it was the stairwell. As soon as I stepped inside, I noticed there were four doors on the first floor, and presumably the same on the floors above. It looked like the building had been divided at some point.
Irene’s apartment was on the third floor. The railing was on the right, which lately hadn’t been much fun for me since it was my right arm in the sling. Slowly, I climbed the three flights of stairs. It was kind of stupid; I didn’t need to hold onto a railing. I wasn’t decrepit. It’s just one of those things you get used to, resting a hand on the railing as you climbed stairs. It was stabilizing—something most thirty-six-year-olds never had to think about.
On the third floor, I walked over to the door marked A. It was on the right at the front. Slipping the key into the deadbolt, I turned it and didn’t encounter any resistance. Normally, you could feel the bolt moving out of its slot, hear it if you listened. I reached down with my left hand and turned the doorknob. The door opened. It hadn’t been locked. I was sure of it.
I leaned in and said, “Hello?”
When no one replied with a friendly, “I’m burglarizing this apartment, just give me another few minutes,” I stepped inside. I was standing in a decent-sized room that had a sunporch to my left and a narrow room on my right, which was part kitchen, part dining room. I opened a door to what I thought might be a closet and found a cramped bathroom with a shower.
The place was messy, but I couldn’t tell if someone had been in there making a mess or if the mess was Irene’s. Given the shape of the apartment she was staying in at Two Towers, I’d say it was possible the mess was hers. The stale odor of cigarettes hung in the air, making me quiver as I longed to light up and  contribute to the stink.
I stood there a minute and realized something I hadn’t been expecting to realize. My gut said Irene hadn’t seen anything real, that she’d imagined the whole thing. But the door hadn’t been locked. If someone had been in her apartment, that changed things. It could be a coincidence, but I doubted it. And I doubted it more as I looked around.
There were pocket doors between the sunporch and the living room. Irene had put a bed onto the porch and covered the windows with purple velvet drapes. The living room had a big mohair sofa that was probably fifty years old, a wooden rocking chair, a large table with just one chair, a portable record player and a stack of albums. There was no TV that I could see, which left out the possibility that the murder she’d witnessed had been on the Sunday Night Movie. I suppose the TV could have been stolen, but there was no TV Guide, no empty space where a TV might have sat, no antenna, no VCR, no rented movies, no tapes at all actually.
And the longer I stood there the more sense the mess made. It wasn’t the kind of mess made by a person looking for valuables. There were stacks of newspapers on the big table, for instance, but none on the floor. There was a dresser at the foot of the bed with an unopened jewelry box on top of it. The drawers weren’t even open; no one had rifled through them.
Plus, the answering machine was there. If you’re going to steal the TV, why not steal the answering machine? They were easy enough to sell; easier even. They were smaller. Retail was almost a hundred bucks for most answering machines. Street value had to be at least twenty.
The answering machine sat beneath a black desk phone. Both were on top of a spindly wire telephone stand from the fifties that sat next to the rocker. On a lower shelf, beneath the phone and answering machine, sat the Chicago-area phone book.
A red digital five on the front of the answering machine told me how many messages there were. I turned the dial so the messages would play. The first was nothing but a long pause followed by a scratching noise. Weird. The second was from a Dr. Vann’s office telling Irene she had an appointment at one-fifteen the previous Thursday. Then there was another blank message with some scratching, this time the scratching went on longer and got louder. It was disturbing. Creepy even. The caller hung up. Another message began and it was the same thing: a long pause with some breathing, followed by another round of scratching. It was beginning to make my skin crawl.
The final message was from a man:
“Hello dear, it’s your father. It’s time for our Saturday call. I hope you’re out and about having fun, and not angry with me. Call me back.”
I stood there piecing things together. Clementine said the murder had taken place almost a week ago. So not Saturday and possibly not Sunday. I’d have to pin down the exact time later. If the murder happened on Monday night, then the first message came sometime on Tuesday or early Wednesday. The call from the doctor’s office would have been sometime on Wednesday, since a doctor’s office would call to confirm an appointment the day before.
The second and third scratching messages happened between that Wednesday call and Irene’s father calling on Saturday. Possibly one on Thursday and another on Friday. Someone was calling Irene nearly every day leaving disturbing messages. Not even messages, just sounds. I wondered if that someone had been in the apartment. If so, they’d have to have had a key.
I opened the front door again and looked down at the welcome mat sitting on the wall-to-wall carpet in the hallway. Reaching down I flipped it over.
Underneath was a key. Anyone could have gotten into the apartment. All they had to do was get through the front door downstairs and then look in the most obvious place in the world to leave a spare key.
If the person leaving the scratching noises was the same person as the one who’d left the door open, they’d likely gotten in on Friday or Saturday, since that’s when the scratchers seemed to stop. What had they been looking for? And had they found it? I wondered if any of the neighbors had seen who’d been in the apartment.
Going back in, I spent a few more minutes looking around. The only thing I saw was evidence of an interrupted life. A few dishes in the sink, some unopened mail—I assumed there was more of that downstairs in her mailbox—dirty clothes ready to go to the laundry.
Stepping out of the apartment, I shut the door and locked it, pocketing both keys. There was no reason to leave strangers a way into the apartment. It was around eight-thirty on a Sunday morning. I decided to knock on a few doors. I didn’t think people would like it much, but that wasn’t really my problem.
First, I walked down to the door of the apartment that had originally been the rear half of Irene’s apartment. From the way things were configured, I wondered if this door hadn’t once been a service door. The original apartments might have been luxurious enough to merit maid service. The maids might have gone up and down the backstairs, but they could have also slipped in this way without disturbing their masters.
No one came to the door.
Next, I tried the door directly across from Irene’s. As soon as I knocked a dog began barking. I waited, expecting someone to open the door. Instead, I heard a thwack and the dog whimpered a couple of times and then stopped barking. Someone was in there, and they’d just hit their dog with a rolled-up newspaper. At least I hoped it was a newspaper and not something worse. They didn’t come to the door.
There was no answer at the final door on the floor. This time I knew what game I was playing, so I watched the peephole intently. Thirty seconds after I knocked a shadow seemed to pass over it, telling me there was someone on the other side of the door deliberately not opening it.
I went down the stairs but stopped on the landing. This would have been where Irene witnessed the murder before she turned and ran. Well, there was no blood and no signs of blood being cleaned up. At first glance there didn’t seem to be anything unusual about the wall. It was wall-papered, had probably been wall-papered several times. The pattern was striped in various colors and thicknesses.
After staring at the wall for a full minute or so, I noticed a spot where the stripes seemed to wobble. The spot was about eye level. I ran my left hand across it. Behind the wallpaper, the plaster was dented. The indentation felt circular, almost like a crater. I ran my good hand up and down the wall but didn’t find anything else. I squatted down as close as I could to the floor. I could have gotten on my hands and knees, but that was challenging since the sling meant I could only partially wear my trench coat. Between the loose coat and the sling, it was hard enough just to squat.
When I did, I immediately smelled urine. Urine that could easily belong to the dog I’d heard upstairs. I stood up and then pushed the toe of my boot around the carpet. I found a squishy spot. It was directly below the crater. The crater in the plaster might have been from a man’s head being slammed against the wall. And the urine, well, that can happen when you die. Your bladder lets go. Everyone knows that.
Blurb:
It’s February 1985. Nick struggles to recover from a gunshot wound, while taking on the case of a woman with a mental illness, who may or may not have witnessed a murder. As he attempts to determine exactly what the woman saw and how much danger she may be in, he juggles the approaching DeCarlo trial, an ill Mrs. Harker, and the sexually precocious Terry. Valentine’s Day with boyfriend Joseph produces some big changes in their relationship. Life is evolving, but there’s no guarantee it’s for the better.
Find out more about Lambda Literary Award Winner, Marshall Thornton:
Author Marshall Thornton