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Private detective Chris Mason thought he only had to worry about his brother Dylan discovering he was dating Homicide detective James Harris. Dylan and their best friend, Ron Abrams, don’t like James, and Chris has to handle their animosity towards his lover. But then Chris is targeted by a serial killer who leaves snapdragons with his victims.
James leads the Snapdragon investigation as head detective. As each murder links Dylan and Ron to the killings, James questions Ron’s motives and his connections to Chris. Ron’s pet name for Chris has always been Snapdragon. Could there be more behind Ron’s playful teases than Chris knows?
When Ron’s attraction to Chris is exposed, their friendship totters. Is a darker side to Ron revealed? Could he be involved with the Snapdragon murders? And will Chris be able to solve the case before he becomes the killer's next victim?
James’s stomach growled.
“I should feed you before we go.”
“Do with me what you will,” James said, running a hand down the side of Chris’s face.
Chris said, “We’ll have to continue this tonight.”
“You’ve got a date.”
Chris quickly dressed in jeans and a T-shirt while James stepped into dress pants, then stood in front of the closet and sorted through his shirts. Chris went to the compact kitchen and pulled open the blinds on the sliding glass door that led to the deck. He looked at the lake in the distance for a brief moment, then focused on making breakfast.
Inside the refrigerator, he found a gallon of milk and vegetable juice, some cheese sticks and a head of lettuce that was beginning to brown. The freezer contained only two frozen dinners and a box of fruit bars.
The two cabinets next to the fridge had spaghetti sauce and hot dog buns. Chris shook his head. “Do you have any food?”
“Now you see why I eat out all the time,” James said as he stepped into the kitchen and knotted his dark blue tie. “I’m never home.”
“I’m going to have to work on this.”
James shrugged. “Just let me know what to get. I’ll do it.”
“Oh, I can think of a lot of things for you to do,” Chris said with a smile, stealing a kiss.
James’s phone rang. He shook his head as he pulled the phone from his pocket. “That’s work.”
Chris rubbed James’s arm.
James answered. “Harris…I’m at the store.”
Chris looked at him.
James held up a finger and looked down. “Okay, I’ll be there,” he said, then ended the call and placed the phone in his pocket.
“Who was that?”
“Reynolds. I have a meeting at 2:30 and I have to be there.”
“After you’re finished at the store, of course,” Chris said with a smile.
James lightly kissed him. “He doesn’t need to know where I am.”
“It bothers me that you can’t trust your own men.”
“There’s very few people we can trust right now,” James said. “I’m not taking any chances.”
Chris placed his hand on James’s chest. “Please be careful. I worry about you.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I care about you,” Chris said, moving close so their lips almost touched.
Chris kissed him deeply as James moved him against the cabinet.
Something scraped across the wooden patio. A deck chair tipped over, then a man in a white mask stepped into view. The man raised his right hand and swung a crowbar at the door, shattering the glass. James grabbed Chris’s arm and led him into the living room as the front window was smashed in. A crowbar briefly poked through the blinds and curtain, followed by another crash of breaking glass from the kitchen.
Chris followed James to the bedroom.
“Stay here,” James said and pulled his gun from the holster, then stepped back into the living room.
The house was silent.
There were three loud bangs against the front door.
Chris snuck out of the bedroom as James stood back and readied his gun in front of himself.
“It’s Ron!” Ron said, then banged again on the door.
James lowered his gun as he let out a sigh, then opened the door and Ron rushed inside.
“Are you two okay?” Ron asked.
Chris swallowed hard.
“Dylan took off after them,” Ron said. “They got in a Jeep Wrangler, but I didn’t get the plates.”
James glanced outside. “Where’s the officer?”
“I was hoping you knew,” Ron said. “He drove off just before the Jeep showed up.”
“I wasn’t notified.”
Ron’s jaw tightened. “The plan remains the same.”
“We’ll be there,” James said.
“We’re going to get you someplace safe,” Ron said.
Chris ran his hand over his face, looking at the shattered patio door. This attack had been as bold as the night before at his house. The attempts to get him weren’t stopping and he couldn’t guess when the next one would be. So far, they had all been lucky. Dylan, Ron, and James were all trying to protect him, but what if the next time their luck ran out?
He glanced around the destroyed kitchen. The killers knew he was at James’s house. How could they have known, though? Did they follow him? Was someone close after him?
“Hey,” James said as he hugged Chris. “It’s okay now.”
Chris closed his eyes and held James tightly.