Crossroads available now from Phaze (watch for Crossroads Revisited in

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Frank McGuire, private investigator, is sent on a mission to find his ex-partners missing son. If he finds him in the seedy bowels of the city, what will he do about the unshakable feelings he's harbored for Rand for years?


From the corner of the candlelit bedroom, an outline of a body beneath the bed sheets flooded Frank's vision. At a foot-dragging pace, he inched his way forward, praying Rand was alone in that bed. He meant to put the fear of God in him, and his plan would only work if he didn't have company for the night.

Images of the young man behind the bar flooded his brain. He strongly resembled the seventeen year old who stood in front of his father's casket at the cemetery five years ago. It was Rand all right in that bed. A box had been tucked under his arm on the walk home, and now, Frank intended to find out what was in it. The kid must have sensed a presence. He sat up in bed, rubbed the sleep from his eyes, and glanced around the room. His body tensed and his eyes widened¯forest green at the moment and glistening like jack pines after a summer storm.

His voice barely a whisper and strained, Rand asked, "Who's there?"

Frank put the gun to his cheek. "Get up."

With trembling arms, he pushed the covers off, dragged his legs over the edge of the bed and stood up. The whites of his eyes gleamed stark against the dark shadows in the room. "What do you want?"

Frank had taken the bullets out earlier, but the kid didn't have to know that. He placed the gun to his forehead and grabbed a shaft of his thick, dark hair. "I'll ask the questions." He flicked the
switch on a dim lamp beside the bed. "Do you understand?"

Rand swallowed hard, nodded and stared at the black hood covering his face. A fleeting moment of recognition passed over his face, but it wasn't possible he could make out Frank's features behind the disguise.

His lean, well-muscled body sent a shiver down Frank's spine, every inch taut and smooth, covered only by a pair of blue boxer shorts. His dark hair rested above his shoulders, glossy like his mother's, and streaked with mahogany. Reflected light caught the angular planes of his face, the carved cheekbones and generous mouth. This was going to be harder than Frank thought. Determined to scare the shit out of him if need be, he had to find out what he was up to and he had to get his hands on that box.

Rand's voice faltered. "I don't have any money, no jewels, not even a pack of smokes, if that's¯"

His head reeled to the side when Frank delivered an open-handed slap to his cheek. "Keep your mouth shut! Unless I tell you to speak, you say nothing, got it?"

Another nod.

For emphasis, Frank slapped him again on the other side of his face.
"Where are the drugs?"

"Drugs?" Anger and fear slithered through his voice.
"You've come to the wrong place if you're looking for smack or coke."

Frank holstered the gun, grabbed him by the hair again, and shoved him toward the wall, face first. A fine bead of sweat had broken out on his forehead and his hands were clenched tightly at his sides. "You call me sir when you address me."

"Yes, sir."

"What's in the box you carried home tonight if not drugs?"

"You followed me?" Rand cranked his neck around to look at him.

Frank pushed his face into the wall and kicked his feet out until his legs were spread wide. "Put your hands on the wall, palms flat. You even twitch, I'll drop you quicker than butter melting in a pan, got that?"

"I ain't got no drugs, man . . . I mean, sir."

"Such a smart, pretty boy, and a quick learner." Acutely aware of the smooth, tanned skin of his shoulders and back, mere inches from him, and the sinewy muscles of his forearm stretched out to the wall, Frank sucked in a quiet breath. To heighten the tension, Frank put his hand on his back and snapped the elastic band of his briefs. "You know what they do to little boys in prison?"

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