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A Lover’s Game (Stonewall Investigations #4)
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Zane Holden, the founder of Stonewall Investigations, has been haunted by the same case for years. He’s had loved ones taken by the serial killer known as the Unicorn, and his drive to find the monster is higher than ever. Finally, he feels like he’s getting close.
Something else that’s getting closer? His wedding day to the man of his dreams.
Lorenzo De Luca found the love of his life in Zane. He’s the happiest he’s ever been. His career as a high powered defense attorney is at a peak and his daydreams are filled with wedding bells and honeymooning.
It felt like absolutely nothing could go wrong.
But with the tensions from the case rising and a new presence in Enzo’s life making themselves known, there’s suddenly a lot that could go wrong. Zane and Enzo will have to tread carefully on their way to a blissful union. As Zane pushes closer to the Unicorn, the danger increases exponentially, until both men are faced with an excruciating reality: this all has to end one way or another.
The two men will need to come together and find strength in their love before they get torn apart by their fear.
A Lover’s Game is the fourth book in the Stonewall Investigations series. It can be read as a standalone although it is recommended to at least read book 1 in the series. It is a full-length, steamy gay romantic mystery novel.
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The heater in my car filled the space, keeping me warm against the cold morning air. My back felt like it was cracking in half. Sitting in a car for six hours straight usually does that—try eight hours and you’re risking some type of sores. I was currently on the tenth hour, so yeah, not too happy. Rain splattered down in heavy drops on the windshield, dancing across the roof, slapping on the windows and trailing down. The sun was up, having started its ascent about two hours ago. My vision was obscured, but not enough to hide the door I’d had my eyes cemented to since last night. There was a camera sitting on the passenger seat, but I hadn’t needed it at all. Next to the camera was a black folder, papers sticking out of the corner. A photo was falling out. I grabbed it and glanced down, making sure for the fifth time today that I was in the right spot.
It was a photo taken a year ago, judging by the time stamp. The day was bright and sunny back then, and coming out of the three-story broken-down apartment building was the man I’d been waiting so long to see. He was a middle-aged guy with a stony expression and a duffel bag in hand. His name was Joseph Thompson. He was a driver for a couple of different ride-share services and had an estranged mother, no lovers, and no pets along with seemingly no friends. He had what appeared to be a simple life without any complications. Paid his taxes and didn’t have any arrest records under his name.
He was also the prime suspect in a case that had haunted me for years.
Joseph Thompson was the man who I thought to be the Unicorn, a serial killer who’d been terrorizing the gay community like an infection set to destroy the body, one limb at a time. One of those limbs was my husband, Jose. I had lost him to this demented killer. It was the impetus for me in opening Stonewall Investigations and kicking off my career of solving people’s problems. From working with scared spouses wanting to make sure they weren’t being cheated on, to suited-up lawyers wanting to prove their client’s innocent, I assisted whoever walked through the doors of my agency.
But the Unicorn had always been elusive, a problem I could never seem to crack.
Until he wasn’t. Until a man had been put behind bars and the Unicorn’s reign of terror had been ended. Or at least, we thought. A man had been caught and prosecuted and thrown behind bars, even admitting to the killings… only to find out later that the man was never the Unicorn, just some sick fuck trying to take credit for the murders. With him behind bars, the killings started again. Gay men were found in their beds, arms splayed out, legs pressed tight together, wearing only a clean pair of white briefs, a serrated blade dug into their foreheads with a hilt that was ivory and spiraled and morbidly resembling that of a unicorn’s horn.
And so the Unicorn was back. I knew the NYPD was going to drag their feet—they didn’t want to admit a mistake, and they certainly didn’t want to admit they had no idea who the killer was. I knew I had to get Stonewall involved.
I thought I had too personal of a connection to the case, so I assigned it to Collin Eilish, a young man in my agency with a heart of gold and a future ahead of him as bright as the sun.
Until it happened again. In one night, it felt like the sun was snuffed out. Collin was taken by the Unicorn, and all our lives were upheaved.
The pain of losing Jose echoed through me when we had to bury Collin. Knowing I was the one who put him on the case only made the crushing weight that more excruciating. Thankfully, my fiancé was there by my side. Lorenzo De Luca. The man who had picked up my shattered heart, fixed all its broken pieces, and reawakened in me the immense power of love. He helped me carry some of that weight, only so that I wouldn’t collapse under it.
Enzo. My Enzo.
I could never lose him. It was one of the reasons why I kept this case from him. I didn’t want him knowing I was back on the hunt for the Unicorn because I felt that the more he knew, the more danger he’d attract. I knew he would go out looking for something to help along the case, even if I told him not to. And that would put him way too close to this psychotic killer. I was already playing with fire by picking up where Collin left off. The Unicorn may have thought I backed off after Collin was killed. It gave me some space to breathe, because I knew the second this killer discovered I was still chasing him, the tables would be turned, and I had no doubt I would become the hunted.