Zane Holden hasn"t had the easiest go of things. His childhood was rough and adulthood was no walk in the park either. The only good thing in his life would be Stonewall Investigations, an investigative company he found to work primarily with the LGBTQ community. Things were ok and Zane was finally healing from a personal tragedy but the reemergence of a serial killer turns his world upside down.
Lorenzo DeLuca is a cocky defense attorney dripping in Italian charm. He"s well known as one of the best lawyers in New York City, a title he worked hard to achieve. When he picks up a difficult case, he finds that he needs extra help. This leads him to Stonewall, where he meets Zane for the first time and instantly feels himself falling for the mysterious and stone-cut detective.
Both men have their own hangups to work through, but both men are having a hard time denying the connection between them, even though both are trying.
When fate insists on pushing them together, Zane and Enzo give in and start exploring their feelings. They"ll need to balance their budding relationship with the stress of Enzo"s case, which takes them both on a twisting journey toward the truth, all while a bigger threat looms on the horizon.Books by Author:Max Walker Books
The heater in my office offered some refuge from the biting New York City winter outside, and still, my blood ran ice-cold. I pushed my chair back and stood, grabbing the photos on my desk. My eyes went over every single morbid detail as if I had to etch it all into my memory. As though I didn"t have four other similar photos already burned into my brain.
"This happened yesterday"" I asked Andrew, my assistant.
"Mhmm," he said. I glanced up at him, seeing him looking as uncomfortable as I felt. His arms were crossed tight across his chest, covering the Nike logo on his black sweater, like he was creating a protective barrier around himself. He knew what this meant. He understood the nightmare that was riding into town on a skeleton horse. My eyes went back to the photo.
They were taken in the victim"s bedroom. An unmade queen-sized bed sat in the center of the room, which was sparsely furnished with a few different IKEA pieces and some hand-me-down dressers. The white-and-black-striped comforter was soaked through in dark red. The man was lying face-up, wearing nothing but a pair of black briefs, his arms out and his legs together, as if someone had been above him, straddling him. His eyes were shut, his face a pale blue. From his forehead sprouted the hilt of a knife. The signature. I already knew it was an eight-inch serrated blade, sharp enough to cut through bone as if it were warm butter. The hilt was made out of ivory, white and carved with thick spirals running down the entire length.
I dropped the photos on the table and peeled my eyes away from them. For a moment, I thought I would be sick. The waffle and coffee I had hours earlier rolled around in my stomach. I walked to the window, pulled open the latch, and lifted it up. Immediately, the sound of the New York streets erupted into the room as though an orchestra had suddenly started playing outside. Honks and shouts and laughs all blended together. Buses coming to a stop from surrounding streets, sirens fading into the distance. I looked outside, seeing people walking and going on with their lives, wearing their thick coats and heavy scarves. There was still some dirty snow piled up on a few corners, but for the most part, it had all melted away. A lady walked with her golden retriever, both wearing matching sweaters.
I took a breath. Somewhere out there, past the crazy sweater lady and the crying baby and the honking cabs, somewhere, the serial killer who had terrified the gay community years ago was coming back, out from whatever hole he had crawled into. Someone who had completely ripped my life in half and set it on fire. He was coming back out of a hole I had previously thought was his grave, but I was now realizing we had all been much too optimistic.
"Could this be a copycat"" Andrew asked. His voice was shaky.
"Maybe," I said, knowing the chances were slim. "But that crime scene is exactly like the old ones. Down to the brand of underwear he puts on the victim and the pose they"re left in. The sheets look the same, too. It"s all the same, and we know how obsessed this monster was"is. Shit. I can"t believe he"s back." Sleep tonight would be difficult to find. I wasn"t normally shaken by things. It was one of the main reasons I"d gone into my line of work. I was a detective because I could look past the gruesome and see the answers when others couldn"t. The figurative writing on the wall was literal for me, and the script was done in blood. It was why I opened up my own investigation agency ten years ago: Stonewall Investigations. We were an agency that worked primarily with the LGBTQ community since, statistically speaking, they were less likely to report problems to law enforcement over fear of discrimination. Of course, we took on cases from anyone who walked in through the door, but I was happy to offer a place specifically for those most scared to come and find help.
And I"d seen plenty of shit in those ten years. Most of our cases weren"t as dark as murder, but some were, and those all stuck with me. But this set of murders hit much closer to home than any of the rest. My husband was taken by this monster. My Jose. He was killed in cold blood and left behind like the man in the photo. It still gnawed at my insides with a dull set of teeth, even though years separated me from the incident. Sure, time numbed some of the pain, but it never erased it fully. No, you needed more than time to erase all that. Some people turned to drugs, others alcohol, some looked to sex. I avoided all three and kept my head buried in work, distracting myself from the constant shadow left behind by the man I loved.