Bad Moon on the Risepart #7 of Dark Hollow Wolf Pack Series by Shannon West / Mystery & Detective / Romance & Love
“Do you have any idea what time it is?” Lt. James Tucker growled into the phone, his voice harsh with sleep. Surely it had only been a few minutes since he’d finally made it to bed. He tried to get his eyes to focus on the clock next to his bed, but he couldn’t quite manage.
A surprised silence on the other end was replaced with a little chuckle. “Actually, I do know what time it is. It’s two forty-five. Rise and shine, sweetheart. ”
Tucker slumped back on the bed, closing his eyes again. “Bryson. I’ll get you for this, I swear to God. ”
“Promises, promises, big boy. ”
“I’m hanging up now. I’m hoping this is just a bad dream. ”
“If it is, it’s fucking nightmare. ” Bryson’s tone turned somber. “The son of a bitch got another one, Tucker, and it’s bad. ”
Tucker rubbed a hand over his face and sat up wearily on the side of the bed, trying to get his brain working. “Where?”
“The Nightstick on Front Beach. The alley that runs beside it. ”
“Hell, I just left there about an hour or so ago. ” Tucker sat up in bed, groaning, running a hand across his face. “Shit. I’ll be there as quick as I can. ”
“This is a bad one. ”
“Yeah, so you said. ” Tucker sighed again, feeling like an asshole for not asking right away. “Who was it, Bryson?”
“A patrol officer, name of David Adams. I didn’t know him all that well personally, but he’s been on the force about two years. His wife just had a baby. ”
“Shit. ” There was a tense silence on the phone as Tucker shook his head trying to clear the last vestiges of sleep. “Be there in a few. ”
“I think the killer’s escalating, Tuck. I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so much blood. He ripped the guy apart. ”
Shit, another fucking murder. This one sounded even worse than the last, if Bryson was that torn up.
“Okay, Bryson. ” He kept his voice low and calm. He and Bryson had been partners for a couple of years, and his partner usually kept it together in all but the particularly gruesome homicides. He’d rarely heard such unsteadiness in his normally laid-back voice. The third savage murder in their town in ten days, and they were still no closer to finding the killer. The first murder had been right outside the police station, in the parking deck late at night. A patrolman on his way home was severely beaten and killed not a hundred yards from the station. The second murder was actually quite near Tucker’s apartment, in a little park where he liked to jog, a young guy out for an early morning run. He was beaten so badly as to be unrecognizable, and had to be identified by dental records. Now another police officer had become a victim. Because of similar teeth marks found on the bodies, they knew that the murderer was the same—some kind of serial killer, though they hadn’t released that information to the public yet. He seemed to be targeting white males in their mid-twenties.
How in the hell could this keep happening in their town? Beach towns were no stranger to incidents involving police, and Panama City Beach had more than their share of fights and drunk and disorderlies, usually stemming from too much alcohol and too much partying by the young crowds that flocked to the area during spring breaks and summer vacations. Murders, however, were not that common—especially these brutal attacks.
“Don’t let anybody near the crime scene and don’t move the body till I get there. I’m on my way. ” Tucker hung up and headed for the shower. He sighed and stepped inside the shower stall, turning on the hot water, and standing under the spray to shake the grogginess from his head. Bryson said it was two forty-five. That meant he’d only made it to bed a couple of hours earlier. He stood under the warm stream of water, letting his mind wander back to everything that had happened earlier that evening.
Tucker had worked late and got to the Nightstick well past his usual time, way after ten. The bar was near his apartment, and though it was nominally a gay bar, it actually had a neighborhood feel in the early evenings and attracted a pretty mixed crowd, including a lot of tourists. It was situated right on the beach and had a great deck with a tiki bar that attracted the college crowd. Even some cops were attracted by the name and the easy atmosphere of the place, so they often stopped by in the late afternoons or early evenings for a drink after their shift.
But the bar took on a different feel this late in the evening, with most of the tourists gone. It was packed when he got there, and the lighting murky. The dimness in the club this time of night suited Tucker fine. He was gay and out to his closest friends, but he still liked to keep his sexual orientation as private as possible. Why invite trouble? Most of his co-workers were cool, but there were still a few homophobes on the force, so he chose to keep his private life just that— private.
Smoke hung in the air, and men were spread out all over the room in booths or up against the walls. Immediately the familiar smell assailed his nostrils—cigarette smoke, men’s cologne and spunk, a heady mixture. A few were dancing on what passed for a dance floor, but was more of a peanut-shell-strewn patch of hardwood in the middle of the club. He made his way across this floor to the bar, feeling eyes on his ass as he twisted between the men groping each other as they swayed to the bluesy music.
He settled himself on a stool, ordered a beer, and turned back toward the room, checking it out. He got a few nods and smiles as his gaze swept over the crowd, and then his attention was caught and held by the vision making his way toward him from across the floor. The guy was big—at least six feet three or so and totally hot in a way that made his mouth go dry and his cock sit up and take notice. He had dark hair, cut very short, and his tight T-shirt and those jeans hugging his butt left no doubt about the fact he was in great shape. He walked right up to Tucker and slid onto the stool next to him. A waft of something like a hint of spicy cologne, a clean male scent, and something else delicious he couldn’t quite put his finger on, hit Tucker hard as he turned toward the guy, leaning in a bit.
“Hi. Can I buy you a drink?” Tucker asked, his voice sounding jittery and breathless even to his own ears.
The man lifted big brown eyes to Tucker and smiled, revealing even, white teeth. Holding up a glass, he said,“No, thanks. I have one. ”
Tucker looked down at the beer in the guy’s hand and felt himself blush. No shit, Sherlock. Get a grip and don’t blow this. He looked back at the handsome profile turned slightly away from him. The man had high cheekbones, a straight nose, and sinfully luscious lips. He was larger and more muscular than Tucker liked his guys—he usually preferred the cute little twink types, since Tuckerwasn’t a big guy himself, but he’d definitely make an exception in this case. The man was fucking gorgeous.
Tucker smiled back at him. “Are you meeting someone special?”
The man turned toward him and looked him up and down before he smiled. “Yeah, I think so. ”
Tucker felt his face flame. What the hell was going on with him? He never acted like this. This guy had him blushing like a virgin. Tucker fidgeted for a few seconds, pulling at the label on his beer with a fingernail before turning back to the man and making himself act more casual and relaxed. What the hell—he was acting like a fucking teenager. “Mind if I keep you company while you wait?”
“Not at all,” he said warmly, turning toward him,his gaze moving over Tucker’s face again.
“So, uh, what’s your name?”
“Gavin,” he said. “And yours?”
“My name is James Tucker, but everyone just calls me Tucker. If I can’t buy you a drink, would you like to dance while you wait on your friend?” He surprised himself with the offer. Even though it was pretty late, there still might be a chance of someone he knew coming in, but he wanted this man in his arms, and he really didn’t care, at that moment, who saw him or didn’t see him.
Gavin’s eyes moved over him slowly, and he nodded. “Sure,” he said, standing up beside Tucker. “I’d like that. ”
Tucker eased off the barstool, took his hand and pulled him onto the dance floor. Gavin was maybe four or five inches taller than Tucker’s five-ten—okay, five-nine and a half—and probably outweighed him by a good thirty pounds or so. Normally, this would have bothered Tucker, but not tonight. Not with this man. Tucker put his arms around Gavin’s waist and pulled him close, reveling in the feel of his hard body against his. Tucker slid one hand to his sweet ass and moved in closer, so that Gavin’s rather impressive package hit Tucker somewhere just above his groin.
Before he could start to sway to the music, Tucker was a little surprised to feel Gavin pull his head down onto his shoulder, and move his hands up to rest possessivelyacross Tucker’s back. He tensed at first, but then relaxed and decided to go with it, nuzzling his nose in close. His arms seemed to loop themselves around Gavin’s neck by their own volition. He started to pull them down, but Gavin’s breath was fanningagainst Tucker’s temple and he felt himself just relaxing into it. Tucker’s cock grew harder than it had been in way too long.
They moved slowly together to the music, and Tucker allowed his hand to roam over Gavin’s ass, caressing and squeezing his butt cheeks. Gavin made a soft sound that traveled directly to Tucker’s cock. Then he moved his lips to Tucker’s ear and whispered, causing a shiver to ripple down Tucker’s back. “Let’s go to the back room. ”
The bar had a curtained room in back that catered to those who wanted a quick, anonymous fuck or a blow. This normally wouldn’t have appealed to Tucker, but suddenly, he wasn’t so sure.
“The back room? You want that? But what about your friend? The one you’re meeting?”
“I want you, Tucker. ” Gavin pulled his head back and cast that brown-eyed gaze directly into his face.
With a groan, Tucker grabbed his hand again and led him toward the curtained room. They stepped inside and were instantly in the dark, only a faint glow from a black light over a tiny bar and the sliver of light coming under the curtain illuminating the space. Others had made it there before them, and Tucker gave himself a moment to let his eyes adjust before finding a relatively quiet corner to pull Gavin into. Even though he was so big, Gavin seemed quiet. Feeling protective, Tucker positioned himself with his back to the room, standing in front of Gavin.