Available: Silver Publishing
‘Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased, thus do we refute entropy.’ Spider Robinson.
Derek Martin becomes a suspect in the murder of his ex-lover. Chance Martin, Derek's twin and a disgraced TV reporter, is certain Derek isn't the killer. Then a second man is murdered, pointing to the existence of a serial killer.
Detective Nico Villa, is bent on capturing the 'Slasher'. He is none too happy when Derek involves himself in the case, above and beyond some initial assistance on Derek's part.
Meanwhile, Chance's ex and the reason for his disgrace, newspaper reporter Tyler Burke, becomes caught up in what is happening when he tries to assist the detective and make amends for what he did to Chance.
Can these four men stop the 'Slasher' before he stops them? And in the process, will the attraction, both new and renewed, that Derek and Chance feel respectively for the detective and the reporter, survive what is to come?
"We're what?" Chance Martin looked at his twin as if he'd lost his mind, which in Derek's case was not beyond the realm of possibility as far as Chance was concerned. He loved his brother but sometimes he could be really off the wall. Now just might be one of those times.
"We? Last time I checked, we had different apartments."
Derek continued pacing Chance's living room, hands locked behind his back. "I have to get out of town," he muttered.
"Oh boy. Now what have you gotten yourself into and why does your going on the run mean I have to come along?"
"Because we're family. We're… two sides of the coin."
Chance cocked an eyebrow. "Okay, I'll buy that since it's true, but you haven't said why we have to move."
Derek stopped pacing, flopping down on the other end of the sofa, hands behind his head as he stared up at the ceiling. "Remember Monte?"
"Montgomery Forest Hightower the Third? Elitist and snob of the first order? Yeah, I remember him. You're well rid of the son of a bitch. What's he got to do with anything?"
Chance sucked in a deep breath. "By dead, I take it you don't mean he had a massive heart attack or ran his fancy car into a tree."
"I wish." Derek shot a dark look at his twin. "If you'd keep up with the news, you'd know this already. His body was found yesterday, buried in a vacant field between the Cherry Creek bike path and the Polo Grounds. Apparently he'd been reported missing about two months ago. His parents had everyone and their brother looking for him."
"Two months…" Chance frowned. "That would have been around the time the two of you broke up. Oh boy!"
"Yeah, 'oh boy'." Derek rubbed his forehead between two fingers. "The only… well, saving grace, I guess you could call it, was that almost no one knew we were together."
"Me and…?" When Derek didn't respond, Chance said, "I guess right now you should be glad the asshole was closeted and didn't want to flaunt your relationship."
"Right now, I am. Believe me. But if the police find out…"
"You could be screwed, considering how angry you were when it happened. Still, Der, leaving town is not the best option and when you start thinking rationally, you'll know it."
"Yeah, I guess you're right, but damn it, Chance. What if someone says something to the cops? What if they find something in Monte's car or… or…" Derek's voice faded out as he bowed his head, burying his face in his hands.
"Then you tell them the truth. The two of you had a major fight and you broke up with him."
"Oh, that'll convince them I'm innocent," Derek muttered scathingly.
Chance reached across the intervening space to grip his twin's shoulder. "Probably not, but it's a start. What do you know about what happened?"
"Just what I heard on the news before I came over here. Some man was letting his dog run in the field. The dog stopped and started digging. The man thought it had found a gopher hole or something and went to investigate." Derek shivered. "He said the dog was whining and then he saw why. It had found something. He thought it was part of a dead animal at first and pulled the dog away. He saw what looked like a decomposed hand. He called the cops and, well—"
"They found the rest of the body. How did they figure out so fast it was Monte's?"
"I don't know! Maybe he was still dressed and they recognized what his family reported he was wearing when last seen? Damn, Chance, all I know is the news reports said it was him."
"Did they say how he was killed?"
Instead of answering, Derek got up and went over to Chance's computer. Booting it up, he went on line.
"You are probably the only person in the world who has blocked the news from showing up on their homepage," he muttered, as he entered two words into the search engine and pressed the Search button. When the results came up, he clicked on one of them before saying, "Here, you can read it for yourself."
"I'd rather not," Chance told him. But still he came over, standing behind his brother as he read the article. "Okay, that's just… "
Derek nodded as he read what the reporter had written. "Someone had to have known what he was like, how he treated people, and they were not happy."
"You think? Let's hope, as much as we both disliked him, that he was already dead when his cock was cut off."
Derek scanned the next paragraph. "Apparently that's not all the killer did to him, although the cops haven't released any more information about it."
"Someone hated him with a vengeance."
"And it wasn't me, though I'd be hard pressed to prove it."
"Of course it wasn't you." Chance breathed deeply then said, "Move, please." When Derek relinquished the chair, Chance sat down. He typed in a web address and when the page opened, there was a box asking for the user name and password. "Let's hope he hasn't changed it," he said softly.
Derek watched, shaking his head when the site Chance wanted came up. "Is he that stupid?"
"No, just lazy. He had four passwords he'd rotate between. I knew two of them and luckily for us, he's using one of them right now." Chance scrolled down the page, found the file he wanted, and opened it. "Here's his notes on what the police told him." He chuckled. "I bet he's not too happy that he can't reveal all."
"Would you be, if you were still a crime reporter? At least he's trustworthy enough they, or at least one of the detectives, was willing to open up to him."
"That was his big plus. They'd talk to him because they trusted him. He'd hold back on things until he got the go-ahead and then beat everyone else to the story."
"Just like you. You and Tyler made a good pair."
"Once," Chance said sourly. "And we are not going there."
"You still have a thing for him."
"Not at all. What's past is past. He screwed me over once too often. And then…" Chance frowned deeply as he closed the site. "So at least we know for sure exactly what the killer did and unless the cops are total idiots, which they aren't, they're not going to come after you."
Derek shook his head. "After what happened with you, how can you say that?"
"They had good reason to be angry with me, thanks to Tyler. Okay, maybe it wasn't totally his fault, but …"
"I know. I still don't get how two men who were so good together on a personal level could be such rivals when it came to your jobs."
"Name of the game, Der. The first one to break a story comes out the winner and we were both very competitive on that score. I blew it because of that." Chance got up, heading to the kitchen. "And we will not rehash the whole thing. What's done is done. I quit before I was fired and walked, from the job and from him." He smiled morosely. "You and I are definitely twins. We both have lousy luck with men."
Derek chuckled. "As Mom would say, maybe we should try our luck with women. It couldn't be any worse."