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A Reno PD Case File
A serial killer known as the Confessor is kidnapping and torturing gay men, and Reno Police Department Evidence Technician Leif Carson is determined to catch him.
His personal life isn’t any less stressful. Despite being a virgin and having zero experience with men, he can’t stop thinking about his best friend’s ex, Rafe Castillo. Rafe is suffering from PTSD, but that doesn’t stop Leif from wanting to be with him.
Complete opposites, they’re an amazing fit once they do get together—until Rafe’s PTSD gets in the way and he walks away from the relationship before it has a chance to truly blossom. Even though he has intense feelings for the man, Leif has no choice but to let him go.
When the Confessor kidnaps Rafe, Leif does everything possible to locate him before he’s murdered. Rafe’s near-death experience changes him profoundly, but the danger isn’t over yet. Leif and Rafe will have to face pure evil together if they’re going to last.
Thanks for joining on the blog tour for my newest release Confessions. Today I wanted to share an exclusive excerpt that highlights Leif’s intelligence and shows why he’s such an amazing evidence technician.
At this point in the story the main characters Rafe and Leif have met and started their relationship. However, Rafe is kidnapped by a serial killer and Leif is determined to rescue him.
And with no further ado here is the excerpt starting at the end of chapter 15.
“Rafe’s been held by this psycho for days. He was the backup victim while the killer tortured Fitzpatrick. That would mean Rafe is next up to be brutalized. It’s probably happening right now. This very instant.”
Cristian pulled me close and wrapped his arms around me in a rare instance of sensitivity.
“We’ll find him. I promise.”
I wanted to stay strong, but I couldn’t, no matter how much I tried. I buried my face in Cristian’s shoulder and cried.
Cristian let me weep for several minutes. Then he stepped back and held me at arm’s length. “I know this is tough, Leif, and I know you want to lose yourself in your fear and grief, but now is not the time for that. Now is the time to pull yourself together. We all need to be one hundred percent so we can save Rafe. We are going to save him. He’s not going to be the next dead body we discover.”
He was right. As much as I wanted to collapse and let the emotions overtake me, I couldn’t. Rafe was depending on me. He needed me. And I wasn’t going to let him down.
LEX APPROVED overtime for anyone working the confessions case, and Jeremy’s boss allowed him to get involved as well. Cristian and Jeremy worked together, trying to track Rafe’s movements the night he disappeared. I focused on Rafe’s cell phone again. It still hadn’t been turned on, but I made calls and managed to locate the last place there had been a signal.
I relayed that information to Jeremy. “The last tower it pinged off was on Red Rock Road, just off where it intersects with North Virginia.”
“We’ll head out there, but the phone was probably dumped there.”
“Any luck finding anyone who saw him Monday night?”
“Not anyone other than the bartender at White Swallow. He didn’t see Rafe leave, so that led nowhere. We checked all the other clubs. Most of them recognize Rafe but didn’t see him Monday night.”
“I wonder if he met up with someone through an app. Do you know which ones he used?”
“Only Grindr, none of the others. Claimed he didn’t need the others to locate the men he needed.”
“Of course.” Grindr was one of the Android apps where all the information was stored on the user’s phone. Other programs had online pages as well, and I could’ve hacked into his page. “Without the actual phone, there’s no way to learn who he interacted with that night.”
“I know,” Jeremy replied. “We’ll go see if we can locate the phone. We might be lucky.”
I set my phone down and concentrated. I pulled up a map of Reno and found Red Rock Road. After it intersected with Virginia, it became a less used road. It passed a few smaller residential neighborhoods before becoming a gravel road. I changed to a topographical map, and it showed steep terrain that was not easily accessible.
Why would anyone drive out there? And where could they be going?
Most likely the killer had a private location out there, but with dozens of smaller roads and trails spiking off the main road, it would be impossible to narrow it down. But there had to be a way to figure it out; there had to be.
I found the piece of footage that showed a small body of water. Basing a hypothesis on the killer being stationed somewhere out on Red Rock Road or beyond, I searched for any bodies of water that existed in the area. There were more than a dozen dams, springs, and lakes formed out of the holes remaining from old mines. Those were just the catalogued ones. There were probably even more.
“Fuck! What am I missing?”
There was a connection I hadn’t made yet. It had to be right in front of my eyes. After taking out a pad of paper, I scribbled some notes.
-Bodies of water—springs, dams, lakes in mining holes
-Red Rock Road—four wheelers, SUVs, no residential
-Flame Checker flower. Grows in mine tailings
The word mine suddenly jumped out at me. A flower that grew near mines. Water that could be from an abandoned mine. And a road that wouldn’t have existed except for the mining rush in the late 1880s.
Back to the map, I expanded my search to look for ghost towns and former mining communities on or near Red Rock Road. There were several, but I narrowed it down by ones that had nearby water. I had to go by the listed bodies and not worry that the one in the footage might not be catalogued.
I made a short list of possible locations: Poeville, Treasureton, Margaret, Striking, Owens Station, Hope, and Bells Mines. It appeared most of the places were ghost towns, with nothing left for anyone else, not even a building. But I knew that didn’t stop some people who believed they could remine the area with new equipment and strike it rich.
A quick Internet search of the ghost towns told a little about the various locations. According to one site, the post office in Poeville was still intact. It sat on top of a hill away from the rest of the community because the town’s founder, John Poe, was an arrogant bastard. His house and the local market had also been up there, but the market had collapsed, and the house had burned down with him in it. The post office must’ve been made of sturdy material, because it had survived the ravages of time.
I went back to the image of the lettering on the wall behind the victims. I filled in the possible words, and indeed it might have once read “Welcome. Poeville Post Office.”
Emboldened and hopeful, I searched for where the nearby body of water, the Peavine Dam, stood in relation to the post office. My heart surged when I learned it was directly behind the building. This was it! My gut told me it was.
I texted Jeremy and asked him and Cristian to come back to the station. While I waited, I checked out current mining applications in the Poeville area. Sure enough, there were four purchases in the past five years. One man had bought three plots in lower Poeville, and a corporation named Prime Real Estate had bought the land the post office sat on.
The noises I’d heard in the background were most likely mining equipment running. Perhaps a dump truck driving up and down a road, hauling and emptying something like gravel. Gravel would explain why the sounds reminded me of unloading my Legos into a box.
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Meet the author:
Ethan Stone doesn’t write your typical boy meets boy stories. With a combination of love and suspense he makes his characters work hard for their HEAs. If they can survive what he puts them through, then they can survive anything. He enjoys Romance with an Edge.
Ethan has been reading mysteries and thrillers since he was young. He’s had a thing for guys in uniform for just as long. That may have influenced the stories he writes.
He’s a native Oregonian with two kids. One of whom has made him a grandfather three times over; even though he is way too young.
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