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by Kate Roman
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Mick Reese is a Korean War veteran turned private eye, making a living sifting through the seedy underbelly of 1953 Cincinnati. But the night he busts into the Shooting Gallery, a casino cum criminal hotbed, all that changes. Accidentally rescuing Julian Marion, only son of a notorious crime boss, doesn't bode well for Mick's life expectancy, but Mick hadn't planned on falling for Julian like a ton of bricks. Now they've got to find some way to escape a city on high alert and a madman bent on revenge. Every time Mick feels his resolve failing, he just looks in Julian's eyes and keeps on going.
eBook Publisher: Torquere Press/High Ball, 2010 www.torquerepress.com
eBookwise Release Date: February 2011
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [137 KB]
Reading time: 86-121 min.
Mick Reese swore as Angie stumbled, her plum-painted fingernails digging into his skin. He caught her as she fell, shivering and crying weakly into his jacket.
Mick knew what came next. He tried to stay out of the way as she noisily vomited on the threadbare, gold carpet lining the narrow hallway.
When Angie recovered, he brushed away both her apologies and thanks. "Thank me when we finally manage to get out of this nuthouse." She wiped a hand shakily across her mouth, smearing already feathered lipstick. Her bloodshot eyes were wide and unfocused.
"C'mon." Mick tugged Angie forward, doing most of the walking for both of them. He indicated a narrow red door at the end of the dingy hall. "We're almost there, okay? Through the door, down the steps and bam! You're a free citizen again, and nothing Richard Marion can do about -- "
From a painted bronze door at Mick's shoulder came the unmistakable sound of leather hitting flesh, then a choked off cry. Mick's heart tore in his chest. He'd known from the start this case would be a doozy, and since he'd taken Angie's sister's money, he'd seen and done things that made Korea look like a Kiwanis luncheon. But something about that one voice, the raw, frightened emotion it carried, stopped Mick in his tracks. He put an ear to the door.
"Mr. Reese," Angie whined. "Mr. Reese, they'll be back soon, and -- "
Mick silenced her with an angry gesture, then pointed to the red door. "Go!" he whispered hoarsely. "I'll meet you outside."
Angie started to protest and Mick shook her thin shoulders. "No time! Get going! I'm right behind you!"
She took a few tottering steps, tripping on the broken straps of her high-heeled shoes, then snuck a peek back at Mick.
With an oath, Mick gave her ass a firm smack, then pointed at the door.
Nodding, eyes filled with tears, Angie stumbled along the hall toward the exit.
Behind the bronze door came the sound of a fresh strike: the snap of a whip carving flesh, then another choked off cry. The noise ended abruptly, its place taken by dark, low chuckling.
Mick frowned, pressing closer until his ear made contact with the peeling paint.
Abruptly, the chuckling gave way to the twang of bedsprings and a frenzied, animal-like wailing that froze Mick's blood. With a savage cry, he reared back and kicked the door open, slamming it against the wall.
On a stained yellow coverlet, a naked boy of perhaps eighteen lay spread-eagled, his back and buttocks lined with thin red welts. He was tethered roughly to the bed, wrists handcuffed to the headboard and ankles wrapped in thin chains that led away over the coverlet's edge. The bonds were so taut as to give the lad no room to escape his vicious punishment, and his straining muscles were limned with sweat. Under matted blond curls, a pair of wide blue eyes turned in appeal to the door. Mick sagged against the doorframe, overwhelmed by the sight of someone so beautiful so ill-used.
"You've just made the mistake of a lifetime, friend," a low voice snarled. "And I'll make sure it's the last one you'll ever regret."
Mick's eyes flew to the room's other occupant. At the foot of the bed was a burly, hideous ogre of a man, like something that had clawed its way free from a Grimm's fairytale. Naked save a filthy towel tied around his waist, the man was covered in a pelt of thick, dark fur. It began at his ankles and crawled up over his thighs and chest and barely avoided joining the hair on his head. His eyes were flat black, like a shark's, and a riding crop dangled loosely from one wrist.
Mick recoiled at the waves of sheer hatred roiling off the youth's attacker like a foul smell. The ogre snarled and took a step forward. Immediately, Mick sprang. He leapt nimbly onto the edge of the bed and launched himself at the man, knocking him off his feet.