When Detective Jacob Brown arrives at the scene of a massacre, he sees a mysterious man escaping. One victim’s still alive. It’s Vincent Brewster, Jacob’s ex-lover who dumped him months ago, breaking his heart and then disappearing.
Later at the hospital, when Vincent sees the handsome detective, he thinks it’s love at first sight. Although Vincent can’t remember who he is, he’s sexually attracted to Jacob.
While Vincent wants to get closer to him, Jacob wants to run away.
But the killer’s still loose. Jacob must protect Vincent and help him get his memory back. This means he has to remind him of their past, including the bondage sex they enjoyed. He vows to do whatever it takes to get Vincent to remember. When his and Vincent’s feelings of love resurface, it’s hard to resist Vincent’s seduction.
What they don’t know is Vincent and the serial killer now have a connection—a supernatural one. And the killer’s coming for him. Can Jacob protect Vincent and help him get his memory back before the killer finds him?
“Man, sometimes I hate my job,” Troy Adams, Jacob’s partner of three years, said as he walked ahead through the debris and darkness in the narrow alley.
“That’s exactly what I was thinking.” Jacob looked at him, noting his friend pinched his nose in disgust when he turned to face him.
“But like it or not, we have to scout it out. Captain’s orders.” Troy shrugged.
Jacob huffed, nodding. Troy was right. They had no choice.
The anonymous call the station received an hour ago led them to this search. The robotic voice claimed a third body in The Cleansing Killings would be found here. It was only the twelfth call of this sort they had received this week. All the others had led Jacob and Troy, the detectives assigned to the killings, on a wild-goose chase. Odds were this one would turn out the same.
Yet he couldn’t quite shrug off the funny feeling crawling up his spine that danger lurked not that far off. The peculiar sensation that someone was watching from the shadows in the corner behind them kept haunting him. He twitched as a cold and then hot bolt of panic possessed his body.
Damn it, relax, Jacob! Pull yourself together. He needed to calm down. Big time! Five years on the police force and three years as homicide detective had conditioned him to always be prepared, never lose his cool. He knew if he did, he could put his life, or worse the life of his partner or an innocent civilian’s, in jeopardy. But knowing this didn’t help him at all. His fears and untamable imagination had thrown him a curveball he couldn’t control.
He tried to direct his mind off his paranoia by taking several deep breaths. Speeding in his gait, he opened his mouth to say he should lead and Troy could follow him, when his partner stopped in his tracks. Unprepared, Jacob almost plowed into him. Jumping to the side to avoid the collision, he cursed. “Watch where you’re going.”
His friend and partner didn’t hear him. He was too busy taking out his gun from his hidden holster and shouting, “You over there, freeze!”
Jacob gazed in the direction Troy aimed his gun while reaching for his own. About ten yards ahead of them two lifeless bodies lay on the ground and someone was crouched over one of them. The giant male held what looked like a machete over the torso.
When the mysterious person heard Troy’s warning, he stood up and darted over the body, heading in the opposite direction.
Troy sprinted after him, shouting back to Jacob, “We got him. It’s a dead end up ahead. He’s got nowhere to run.”
“You go after him and I’ll check on them.” Jacob motioned as he ran to the two men lying on the ground.
The second he reached them, he knew it was too late. At least for one of them. One of the men, who appeared older and shorter, lay on his back, his chest split open and his heart cut out. This was The Cleansing Killings killer’s signature MO, no doubt. The two other recovered bodies had had their hearts cut out of their chest cavities in the same barbaric way. And later, after the coroner did an autopsy, they were found to have had their blood drained from their bodies, as well. What a sick bastard they had on their hands with this case.
In his line of work, Jacob should be used to seeing this type of mutilation on dead bodies, but he still cringed and shuddered every time he first laid eyes on the dead victims, the exposed flesh, and the gore. Jacob’s stomach lurched and he tried to hold back the bile and the tacos he ate for dinner that kept threatening to regurgitate back into his esophagus.
It was too late for this man, but what about the other? The other victim lay on his right side, his back facing Jacob. Jacob quickly knelt and felt the man’s pulse. It was weak but steady. He sighed in relief. As he let go of his wrist, the man moaned and turned onto his back. The streetlight above them beamed on him then.
In utter shock, Jacob stared at the familiar face. He felt the blood drain from his head, and his limbs went weak. Dizziness overcame him and the taco dinner finally won the battle with his stomach, rising up and escaping his mouth. Vomit spewed to the ground in front of him, splashing his black leather shoes.
Once the flood ended, he wiped his lips with the back of his hand. His throat and tongue felt like they were on fire.
From his peripheral vision, he saw Troy quickly making his way back to him alone, no apprehended suspect in tow. He said, cringing as he stared at the mess at Jacob’s feet, “Oh, that is nasty.”
Quickly recovering, Jacob whisked his cell phone out and made an emergency call to 911 on the police department’s direct line. “We need an ambulance at Park and Beacon Street ASAP. A man is wounded and another dead.”
He stared at the unconscious man while worry ran through his mind. Please, let him be all right.
Troy glanced at the dead body and said, “The killer got away. I thought I had him. There was no way he could have escaped, but somehow he did. One second he was there running, and the next it’s like he disappeared into thin air.”
Jacob didn’t speak, didn’t move.
Troy asked, “Did you hear me?”
He only nodded, unable to break his gaze from the unconscious, injured victim.
Troy snapped his fingers in front of Jacob’s face. “Earth calling Jacob Brown. You in there?”
Jacob blinked several times before looking up at Troy. Yet, he didn’t reply.
Worry overtook Troy’s features. “What the hell is going on with you, Jacob? You all right? Are you dizzy or sick? Do I need to call an ambulance for you, too?”
Jacob shook his head. “I’m all right.”
“Then why do you look like you just saw a ghost?”
His gaze returned to the injured man, and he said in a low voice, barely a whisper, “I know the victim. We were lovers.”
Covet Thy Neighbor, Book Two
Detective Nicola Dupré is back at work after a six-month sick leave, but he’s still haunted by his sister’s tragic death. When Captain Moore gives him an unofficial undercover assignment to befriend the sexy, charming Nero Thorn, the erotic writer Nicola idolizes, he quickly accepts. He thinks it’s an easy job until he gets to know the mysterious BDSM author. Overwhelming emotions he can’t explain draw him ever closer to Nero.
Nero Thorn’s a recluse and he likes it that way. When he literally bumps into his shy, handsome new neighbor, Nicola Dupré, sparks fly. He’s drawn to Nicola like a moth to a fire and he quickly falls in love. But he has a dark, dangerous secret he’s kept hidden from the world for years. If Nicola ever finds out who he really is, he’ll run away in fear.
There’s a serial killer out there, and the murder of his sixth victim was written in Nero’s last novel before it ever happened. There’s a connection between Nero, the sixth victim, and the killer, and Nicola has to figure it out before the killer strikes again.
Nicola gazed at the book, then up at Adam, who peered at him with a curious look as if he waited for some type of reaction. “A book? You give me a book.” The poor lighting had Nicola turning and twisting the book so that the streetlight’s illumination a few feet away could beam on it.
“Look at the name.” Adam gestured with his extended finger.
Nicola’s brow lifted when he read the name Nero Thorn. “Look at that. One of my favorite erotic suspense authors has a new book out.” He flipped the trade paperback over to check out the back cover blurb, but the unreadable black print made him squint. “You shouldn’t have,” he joked.
Adam’s eyes rolled. “It’s not a present.”
Nicola nodded. “I figured that. But how is this book The Messenger’s Gift going to prepare me for my meeting with Captain Moore tomorrow?”
“Read the back cover and see if it reminds you of anything.”
Nicola groaned. “Sorry, I can’t see it. It’s too dark.”
“Wait a second…”Adam took out his cell phone and slid his thumb on the screen until he found whatever he looked for. “I have the perfect app for just this situation.” All of a sudden a bright light beamed from the phone’s screen.
“A cell phone and a flashlight, too. Will wonders never cease.” Nicola marveled at it.
Adam half laughed. “I got a ton of apps just as cool as this that I can show you.”
Nicola put up his hand. “Nope. Not interested. A cell phone was made to make calls, not be a multipurpose gadget.”
Adam grumbled, turning off the light feature, and began to place the phone back in his pants pocket. “Fine, then forget the whole thing.”
Feeling like a horse’s ass, Nicola halted his movement. “Sorry. Bad joke. But you know I’m not a tech geek.” He pointed a wagging index finger at the phone. “Go on, give it to me.”
Once Adam did as he asked, Nicola began to read the blurb, which described one hell of premise. “Damn, that’s good,” he said once he finished.
Adam gave him a big-eyed, sideways glance. “And?”
Adam rolled his eyes. “Doesn’t it remind you of a murder that happened here just two months ago?”
Nicola shook his head. “Sorry. I hadn’t been keeping up with the news in Chicago. So, a dismembered body was found in this park?”
Adam nodded. “Exactly how it’s described there in that book.”
Nicola frowned. “Well, it’s probably some whacko who wanted to make Nero’s fiction story reality.”
Adam shook his head. “No, can’t be.”
“Because the murder happened before this book was ever released.” Adam crossed his arms.
“So then Nero based his story on the murder.” Nicola shrugged.
Adam chuckled. “How could he base his story on a murder that still hadn’t happened?”
He shook his head. “What? You’re not making any sense, dude.”
Adam exhaled deeply and then answered, “Nero wrote the story a year ago, before the murder ever happened. But the story was only released a month after the murder happened.”
“Well, maybe the murderer got an advanced copy of the book and was inspired by it.”
Adam shook his head again. “Not possible as no advanced copy was available yet. The book was supposed to be released this week, but the publisher decided to publish it little more than a month after the murder happened. They thought it would boost sales. And they were right. Sales soared and it’s a best seller.”
Nicola stared at the copy. “Okay, that’s creepy and one hell of a coincidence. But I don’t get what it has to do with us and why we’re here talking about it.”
“Because, partner, that is what Captain Moore is going to talk to you about tomorrow.”
“What? About the murder?”
Adam added, “Yeah, we’ve been assigned to the case. You and I. I’ve been working closely with the captain for the past month and he’s been prepping me.”
It dawned on Nicola. “Oh, so that’s why you know so much about this book and the murder.” He flipped the book in his hand as he stared at it. “So Nero is a suspect?”
“Sort of. But he has one hell of an alibi for the night of the murder. And reliable witnesses to back up his alibi, too.”
“Then he’s not the murderer.”
Adam tipped his head from right to left. “Maybe. Maybe not.”
Nicola stood and stretched his legs. A cramp had begun to form, tightening his neck and shoulder muscles. “Did Captain Moore tell you what I’ll be doing?”
“Oh, yeah. Since Nero isn’t considered an official suspect, it won’t be your everyday detective’s work. So you don’t have to take it if you don’t want to.”
Nicola knew that look Adam gave him. “Oh, no. It’s that bad?”
“Well, it depends on how you look at it. If moving into the condo next door to the sexy author who you once told me you’d do anything to have one night with, just to see if he’s as good in bed as the heroes in his stories, doesn’t appeal to you, then yes, it’s that bad.”
Nicola’s jaw dropped and his eyes almost popped out of their sockets. “Excuse me! Did I hear correctly? The captain wants me to move into the condo next to Nero’s?”
Adam’s lips tightened and he nodded.
“What, as in an undercover operation?”
“Exactly! An unofficial undercover operation.” Adam pointed at him as if he had just deciphered a phrase in the game of charades.
“Why me? I’ve never done undercover work. What if I goof up and blow the whole operation?”
“You’re the best man for the job. You’re one of Nero’s biggest fans, and since you don’t yet feel up to working full-time in homicide at the precinct, it’s a good assignment to start getting your feet wet.”
Nicola sat down again and shook his head.
Adam frowned. “Why are you doing that?”
“I’m still in shock. It’s like I’ve just been cast in the lead role for a story in The Twilight Zone.”
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About the Author:
Jessica Frost has always had a passion for fiction and the written word. Add to that her wild, vivid imagination and her pure romantic tendencies and she soon realized she had the traits needed to become a romance author. She decided to take the very big first step not that long ago and wrote her first erotic romance story. And she has not looked back since.
Being a romance writer is a dream come true for her. Having the opportunity to create fantasy worlds where anything and everything can happen is an amazing feeling. She hopes these worlds and the delightful characters she creates will bring hours of enjoyment to her readers as they have done for her.