QSFer Indra Vaughn has a new Paranormal Mystery/Suspense book out:
The capture of the Tattoo Murderer has demanded a heavy price. Doctor Tobias Darwin is dead, Lieutenant Hart is back in Riverside licking his substantial wounds, and he needs to gather his courage and tell Isaac he made a mistake. Isaac will forgive him—he knows that—but he can’t promise Isaac an easy life. Being a cop comes with its own risks, after all.
When they finally reach the same wavelength, their idyllic reprieve is cut tragically short. Hart doesn’t know yet that Isaac is terminally ill, that he will take off to find the Phoenix to heal him as a last resort. This time, it will be Hart who pays the price.
In the meantime, a new killer roams the streets of Riverside. He kidnaps, tortures, and kills gay men in horrific ways, and he has the newly healed Isaac in his sights. Hart’s time is running out on every level.
Together they walked to the second interrogation room, and Hart knocked gently before opening the door.
“Mr. Matthews, I’m Lieutenant Hart, and this is Officer Roth. Would you mind if we go over your statement?”
“Not at all.” Matthews rose to his feet and shook their hands. “Call me Scott.”
“Scott.” Hart smiled politely and sat down. “Would you like something to drink? Water, coffee?”
“I’m fine, thank you.”
Miranda sat down beside him and he opened the file. “Your boyfriend’s name is Jesse MacKenzie?”
Hart quickly scanned the information. MacKenzie was born in Riverside, twenty-seven years old, and Caucasian. “I know you just went over all this with another officer, but would you mind telling me again what happened?”
Scott looked up, eyes drifting to the right, and took a deep breath. “It’s not that anything happened, really. I mean, we’ve only been going out for eight weeks. I thought things were going well, but you never know, do you?” He gave a one-shouldered shrug. “So when I didn’t hear from him for two days, I thought, well, okay, I’ll give him some space if that’s what he wants. I’m a big boy.” Scott ducked his head and Hart took a second to read him. Midtwenties, handsome, well groomed. More effeminate than the other men who’d reported their partners missing, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything. His relationship with MacKenzie wasn’t long-term, though, which was a first, and Hart wondered if that did mean something. He had expensively cut hair, thick, dark eyelashes, and light brown eyes. A striking combination.
Still, the lack of worry over not hearing from Jesse for days didn’t sit right with Hart. The beginning of a relationship usually meant not thinking about anyone or anything else to the point of distraction. On the other hand, maybe Scott and Jesse weren’t exclusive. That could also be significant.
“Are you exclusive?”
“I beg your pardon?” Matthews’s eyes were round.
“I’m sorry,” Hart said mildly. “Just trying to build a background,
I didn’t mean to be so abrupt. It would be useful to the investigation if we knew whether or not you were still seeing other people.”
“Oh, well, I wasn’t. We never had the talk and I don’t think Jesse was seeing anyone else, but I can’t tell you for sure.”
“All right.” Hart nodded, and made a note.
“So when did you think something might be wrong?” Miranda asked.
“Well, I texted him once or twice on the second day, but when he didn’t reply by the third day, I called him. His phone was off. And I was getting worried by then, you know? So I kept calling, and it stayed off for the whole day. Which is really weird.”
Miranda picked up a pen and pulled a battered notebook out of her pocket. Hart nearly laughed at how familiar it looked. “Why is it weird?”
“Well, he needs it for work. He’s a medical rep, so he’s on the road a lot and people call him all the time.”
Hart wanted to tell him all the ways in which this could be a coincidence, but by the time they’d found Harlan Bartlett’s body, he’d stopped believing in those.
“Any family or friends we could contact?” Hart asked.
“I know his parents live in Riverside, but we weren’t really at the stage where we’d introduce each other, so I can’t give you their number. He has an older sister, but she lives out of state, and the only friend he ever mentioned was Teddy Young. I met him a few times when we went out for drinks, but I don’t have his number either.”
“We’ll find them,” Hart told him, quietly closing the file.
“You know….” Scott threaded his fingers together and squeezed until his knuckles were white. “I heard about those other two gay men on the news. Do you think—” He couldn’t go on, and Hart pressed his lips together, suppressing a sigh.
“It’s too early to tell, Scott,” he said softly. “I’m sorry.”
“Oh my God.” Scott pressed his fists to his mouth and let out a quiet sob. Well, this reaction didn’t sit right either; it was at odds with the too-casual attitude. “Oh my God, you think it is, don’t you? You think it’s him. Someone is killing gay men. I can’t—”
Hart reached across the table and tapped it to get Scott focused. “We’ll know more when we’ve talked to his family and Mr. Young, Scott. No point in making yourself sick with worry now. Go home, get some rest. We’ll be in touch very soon.”
Miranda walked him to the door, and Hart gathered the file. She intercepted him again on the way to the captain’s office.
“You really think someone is targeting gays?”
He glanced at her from the corner of his eye. “Starting to look that way, isn’t it?
Dreamspinner: Click Here
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All Romance: Click Here
In 2008 Indra Vaughn packed up everything but the kitchen sink… no, that’s a lie. She left everything behind apart from her books and moved from Belgium to Michigan.
She now lives in the suburbs of Detroit with her dog who thinks he’s a toddler. Indra’s professional background is in Nursing and Chinese Medicine, but she prefers to spend time making up stories about mysterious men and their unrequited love.