Please enjoy this sample chapter from the book . . .
MOSES LEE LOVED a crowd to play to. Having the beach littered with onlookers was a good thing. It made him look important, and he was all for that. He motioned for two of his deputies to keep the crowd at bay while the ambulance with the coroner made its way onto the beach for the second time in less than a month. Lee motioned to another officer to cut the sirens. He couldn’t hear himself think with all that damned noise going on. The flashing red and blue lights left an eerie glow highlighting the body partially buried in sand.
Doc Martin pulled up behind the ambulance and alighted from his Jeep. He headed across the sand to where Chief Moses Lee stood waiting for him. Moses knew Doc hated working with him, but he had little choice in the matter since the good people of Beaufort kept electing him Chief of Police over and over again.
“What do we have, Chief?”
“Same MO as last time, Doc. Two shots, one through the heart and one in the balls. I sure hope the bastard got the one in the heart first.” Lee laughed at what he thought was a funny line and watched as Doc Martin cringed at his words.
“Let me take a look,” Doc stated as he moved past the Chief. “And for God’s sake keep those people out of here and away from the crime scene.”
Moses watched as Doc took a small tape recorder out of his coat pocket and knelt by the body.
“Male Caucasian approximately thirty-five to forty years of age,” Doc spoke into the recorder then moved closer to the body.
“First gunshot wound in the upper left chest area, most likely through the right atrium. From the amount of blood, the bullet might have nicked the aorta.”
“Yeah, so that matches the last one,” Chief Lee added.
Doc looked up at Moses and said nothing else until the Chief took a step back.
“Second gunshot wound appears to be through the genitals.”
“What the hell do you mean ‘appears’? Looks like his nuts were blown off if you ask me.”
Moses watched as Doc stood to his feet and placed the recorder back in his pocket. The look of disgust on Doc’s face didn’t bother or intimidate Lee in the slightest. “As you said, it’s the same MO. I can’t really tell much out here. The sooner we get the body back to the morgue the better,” Doc stated and walked right by Lee headed toward his Jeep.
“We’ll get right on that, Doc, as soon as I finish collecting any evidence lying around,” Lee said. “And I see someone I’d like to talk to. Go ahead and have your guys bag him, and I’ll come see you in the morning.”
Chief Lee watched the medical examiner drive his Jeep over the sand and back toward the road that ran in front of the Warfield Hotel. He smiled to himself when he saw Justin Warfield and his brother, Peter, headed his way.
“Peter, nice to see you home again.”
“Chief Lee.” Peter nodded toward the Moses. “It’s good to be home.”
“What’s going on, Moses?” Justin asked, trying to see around the Chief.
“We’ve got ourselves another murder. Same as the other one,” Lee answered and watched as Justin’s face, for one fraction of a moment, showed surprise.
“Another . . . one?” Peter asked his brother.
“It happened about two weeks ago. We found an old friend of your brother’s shot, not a hundred feet from where this body was found.”
Moses watched as Justin and Peter seemed to have some sort of silent conversation. Moses wondered if Justin could be hiding something. He certainly looked scared.
Stepping away from the brothers, but still watching them, Lee ordered his deputies to disperse the crowd of onlookers. Everyone watched as two paramedics put the black-bagged body onto a gurney, then carried it across the sand to the waiting ambulance. The gurney was lifted and shoved into the back end of the vehicle and the doors were slammed shut.
“I’ll be around first thing tomorrow to speak with your staff and maybe a guest or two. It’s just routine, and I’d like to keep you in the loop, of course.” Moses watched as Justin nodded, and without saying a word, turned and headed back up the beach to the Warfield. Peter quickly followed him.
MARCUS STOOD on the dunes directly behind the Warfield and watched the scene going on up the beach from him. The ambulance was just pulling away, and the crowd was slowly breaking up. Peter and Justin walked close together and talked as they headed back to the hotel.
Marcus had just finished a conversation with Stony Whitecastle. The man needed an update on what was happening in Beaufort. Stony was Marcus’s first client for his new private investigator business and a dear old friend. Ian McAlister had been Stony’s partner, and Stony wanted Marcus to find out who had murdered him.
Stony and Ian had been together for nearly ten years. They met when Ian was a regular at the club Stony owned in Atlanta: the Gentleman’s Club.
The exclusive club catered to a specific clientele—southern men who enjoyed the company of other men. In places like New York or California, being gay was becoming a more open way to live, but not in the South; being gay here still held a stigma that was hard to shake. No one wanted to do business with a fag. That was just the way it was.
Marcus knew that Ian had started coming to the club while he was in college at South Carolina and that he had been Justin’s roommate. After college, Ian joined a brokerage firm in Atlanta and continued to visit the Club where he eventually met the owner. The two finally became a couple a few years later. They moved to Miami Beach where they had lived for the last ten years. Ian had opened his own firm and had done quite well for himself. Stony still owned the club, but someone else managed it now. Marcus thought back on the telephone conversation they had shared before he’d come to Beaufort.
“Marcus. I need your help. I returned from Beaufort this morning after retrieving Ian’s body and his belongings.” Stony’s voice had an edge to it.
“Why was he even in Beaufort?” Marcus wondered if Justin had anything to do with Ian’s visit.
“I have no idea,” Stony stated, then added, “He’d been quiet for a few days before he left. More withdrawn than usual, and he wouldn’t answer me when I asked what was wrong.”
“All right, so why do you want me to look into things. The police are investigating—”
Stony interrupted before Marcus could finish. “That black bastard doesn’t give a shit about what happened to my Ian!”
After Marcus finally got Stony to calm down, his friend also mentioned that Ian’s key card to the Gentleman’s Club was missing from his wallet.
Marcus concentrated on that one phrase—the key card to the Gentleman’s Club was missing from his wallet—as he turned and headed back to the Warfield. He had a bad feeling about what was going on. With the new victim having been shot in the same fashion as Ian, were the two men connected in some way? Was there a connection to the Gentleman’s Club? Who had taken it and why? Every member of the Club got a special key card that identified them as a member. Marcus had one himself, and he assumed Justin had one too, since he’d seen him at the club several times over the years.
Most men came to the club just to be able to be themselves, relax, have a few drinks, dance with a good looking guy, or find someone to connect with. There was no prostitution in the club, but if you met someone there and you hit it off, there were rooms available for limited amounts of time. Marcus knew this because he had spent a night in one of those rooms with Justin.
It had also become clear from their earlier interaction in the bar that Justin hadn’t recognized him, or remembered the one night they had shared. Marcus knew he shouldn’t have been upset that Justin didn’t remember, after all he had been very drunk that night, but it still had hurt. Though feeling disappointed didn’t stop him from hoping. He wanted a chance to see if things could be as good with Justin as he’d always fantasized about. There was no doubt that the sex would be great, but there was more to a relationship than that. Those were the things Marcus wanted with Justin.
With a sigh, Marcus turned and headed back to the Warfield. He had a bad feeling about what was going on. Who would have kept Ian’s Club card and why? Could the body on the beach tonight be connected to Ian’s murder in some way? Did any of it have anything to do with Justin Warfield? The last question weighed heavy on Marcus. He didn’t want to believe that Justin had anything to do with these murders, but he wondered where Justin had been when these two men were being killed.
As Marcus approached the hotel, Peter’s distinct laughter echoed across the deserted beach. Looking up, Marcus saw the silhouette of a man leaning over the banister of a balcony on the top floor. It wasn’t Peter, so Marcus assumed it was Justin. The man, whoever he was, was running his hands through his hair and talking to someone behind him in the shadows. At that moment, Peter came out onto the balcony, and Marcus knew he had been correct. It was Justin. Justin sipped from a glass of something that Peter had just handed him. Lingering only a moment longer, they both turned and went into the room behind them.
It was going on two in the morning when Marcus let himself into his suite on the third floor of the hotel. He had walked along the shore for some time after everyone left. On his first visit with Peter, they had stayed at the family home, which was located on the west side of Beaufort itself, but only Caroline lived there now. With Justin living at the hotel permanently, Peter had wanted to be where his brother was, so Justin had arranged for the two friends to have adjoining suites that connected with a pass-through door. There was no noise coming from the rooms that Peter occupied, so Marcus assumed he was already in bed or still with Justin in his suite on the top floor. Exhaustion overtook him, and he peeled off his clothes and climbed into the bed. The fresh cotton sheets felt smooth and cool on his bare skin. Marcus had always slept in the nude for just that reason; the feel of the material next to his skin was such a relaxing end to the day. Sleep didn’t come as easily as he had hoped. His mind was filled with Justin’s face or body or eyes or just . . . Justin.
Drifting Sands is available in e-book and print from all major sellers. Details for Drifting Sands, including sellers' links, are at:
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And remember, the much anticipated second book of the Warfield Hotel Mysteries series, Crashing Waves, by C.J. Baty, will release 18 September 2016.
Justin Warfield ran away to Italy to put the events of last summer and a certain dark-haired private eye behind him, to no avail. If anything, he can’t help but rehash what happened over and over. When he finally returns to South Carolina, the hotel he runs with his brother has suffered a series of incidents that are starting to look less accidental after a death threat is received.
Not satisfied that Moses Lee and his local police will find the culprit, Peter Warfield calls in the services of his good friend Marcus Drummond to help. Marcus is torn. He wants to help his friend, but he also knows that if Justin has moved on after their failed flirtation last summer, he will be devastated.
Tensions mount as danger seems to follow them at every turn, stalking them as they get closer to solving the mystery of who is behind the sabotage of the hotel.
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