After witnessing his father’s
murder, Victor Bronte runs for his life. He hides out in a pub where he meets
Mark Murphy, a charming, handsome guy who’s had his share of bad luck. They
quickly hit it off, making Victor forget the killer’s after him.
Mark Murphy’s been wallowing in
self-pity ever since his cheating ex broke his heart. When he meets Victor, the
sexy hunk who offers him a supporting ear and a drive home, he quickly forgets
his woes and becomes smitten. As their love blossoms, they promise to take
things slow. Not an easy feat when the urge to tear each other’s clothes off
and make passionate love dominates their every thought.
But that’s the least of their
problems because the killer’s still out there, and now he has a new target. In
order to protect Mark, Victor has to give the killer what he wants. But he has
to figure out what it is first. To do that he has to go back to the very place
his father was murdered. Time is ticking, and so is the killer’s patience and
desire for blood.
Witness’s Submission Excerpt:
It was like the
Fourth of July! Stars exploded in Mark’s head right before the shock subsided
and the pain set in.
punched him smack in the eye! Moaning, he tried to stop the throbbing.
“I’m so, so
sorry, Mark.” Guilt plagued Victor’s face as he jumped off the bed and ran to
the kitchen to get a hand towel. He tossed ice cubes in it and came back a few
seconds later, placing the towel on Mark’s right eye. “Please, put this on it
to stop the swelling.”
Mark did what he
asked and stared at him with his good eye. “What was all that?”
“A nightmare, I guess.”
“Was it a
nightmare? Because the look in your eyes now that you’re awake tells me differently.”
He paused. “You have the fear of God in you.”
his gaze away. “It’s probably my imagination.”
Mark placed his
hand gently on Victor’s. He was obviously hurting and Mark wanted to help him
like Victor had helped him the night before. “You can talk to me, you know. I’m
a real good listener.”
Victor stated with fear in his eyes.
“Victor, I can
see how much this is bothering you and how scared you are now. Even last night,
I saw how emotional you were and how you tried to hide it from me.” He remained
motionless. “In your dream you were shouting at someone that they wouldn’t win.
That they murdered your father and that now you’d be coming after them.”
Tears began to
film Victor’s eyes and he turned completely away. He waited to compose himself,
before replying, “It was just a dream. It wasn’t real.”
pushed his shoulder, so he would turn and look at him. Cupping his face, he
peered long and hard at Victor. “Something is bothering you. It manifested
itself in your dream. Please tell me what it is. Maybe I can help you, even if
it’s just by listening.”
Victor shook his
head. “If I tell you, I’d put your life in danger.”
widened. “Then it’s true. Your father was killed?”
into Mark and let the sorrow break free. He cried silently, only a few tears
escaping his eyes. But Mark’s strong, wide shoulder and his kind and gentle
strokes on his arm seemed to be enough to help him find courage inside to
speak. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he sat up and peered into Mark’s eyes.
“My father was a
private investigator. My mom was his research and office assistant until she
died four months ago. After that, I took over helping him. He was working on
several cases, which I assisted him on. But there was one that he worked on
alone for months. When I asked him if I could help, he refused. He’d get
nervous whenever he had the file open on his laptop and I’d walk into the room.
I’d see him rushing to change the screen before I could see anything he was
investigating on that case.”
He took a deep
breath and continued, “A few weeks back, he started acting weird. He was
nervous, scared. I asked him what it was, but he said he couldn’t tell me. Not
yet. And on the morning of the day he was murdered, he warned me. He had said
if anything ever happened to him, that I shouldn’t trust anyone, even the
police. That I should just get out of Tinley Town, go far, far away, and never
“Why would he say that?”
“I don’t know. He wouldn’t tell me more. And now I’ll never know because he’s
gone forever.” He sighed and blinked, trying to dry the tears that threatened
to tell him the graphic details of his father’s murder and when he was done,
Mark rubbed his back and hugged him. “I’m so sorry for what you went through.
And you had no one to talk to, just keeping it all inside you.” He kissed his
cheek sweetly and hugged him tighter. “I’m here now for you and I will help you
speak. He closed his eyes and hugged Mark back for a few minutes. Breaking
free, he added, “This may sound crazy, but I have this uncontrollable feeling
in the back of my mind that the killer is following me. He can see me. He knows
who I am.”
his brow. “You feel like he can see you now?”
Victor shook his
head. “No, not now. This sounds so crazy!”
Mark tilted his
head and shrugged. “It could be you’re paranoid. And I don’t blame you after
what you’ve been through, what you saw. Or maybe you’re right. Maybe the killer
has been following you ever since you ran out of your house door yesterday.
Either way, you need to call the police. They need to investigate your father’s
Victor moved to
stand, pure terror resonating from his eyes, his body. “I know, but whatever my
dad was investigating was big, real big. He didn’t trust the police on it. And
he said I shouldn’t, either!”
“Calm down. I’m
not the enemy here, Victor. I’m your ally, your friend who wants to help you in
any way I can.”
Victor sat back
down, his eyes cast to the floor. “I’m sorry for over-reacting, but my nerves
“I know.” Mark
sighed, then after some thought added, “You still need to report your dad’s
murder to the police. You can’t let his body rot, abandoned in the house. You
also need to bury him.”
With the word
“bury,” Victor’s eyes seemed to water. He blinked. “I know that. That’s why I
plan on going back there today. Report the murder. But before that, I need to
get my dad’s laptop and all his files on this mysterious case he didn’t want me
knowing anything about.”
began to beat faster. “No, you can’t. Your dad said it’s too dangerous. He said
you should get out of Tinley Park and never go back.”
Victor gazed at
him. He cupped his cheek and kissed him lightly on the lips. “You’re an
amazing, sweet, kind guy, Mark. I can see in your eyes you’re worried.” He
sighed. “But you have to understand that I’ll never be able to live with myself
if I don’t solve this case. I need to know what my father was investigating and
more importantly, I need to know who murdered him. I want justice served, my
father’s murder avenged.”
“Even if it
kills you?” Mark said, his voice cracking with stress.
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
ExcerptCovet Thy Neighbor:
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
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
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
“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
“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
“What, as in an undercover
“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
Adam frowned. “Why are you doing
“I’m still in shock. It’s like I’ve just been
cast in the lead role for a story in The Twilight
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.
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.
Vincent wants to get closer to him, Jacob wants to run away.
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.
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?
To Serve and Protect :
“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
“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,
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
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.”
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 delightfulcharacters she creates will bring
hours of enjoyment to her readers as they have done for her.