When Spence Harden and Jeff, his writing partner and sometime lover, move into the house once owned by Spence's murdered parents, they have no idea what awaits them. First, they discover someone is stealing items from them, but have no clue who, or why. And then the unthinkable happens. Jeff is killed and Spence is framed for his murder.
Crime reporter Gregg Rowe wants to help Spence clear his name. All Spence needs to do is decide if he believes Gregg, or if the man himself is the killer. Once Gregg convinces Spence he's telling the truth, the pair set out to discover if there is a connection between Jeff's murder and that of Spence's parents ten years earlier ... while fighting their growing attraction to each other.
The guys had finished supper and were doing dishes when Spence got a phone call. When he answered, a man asked, "Is this Spencer Harden? Do I have the correct number?"
"It is. How can I help you?"
"You probably don't remember me. I'm Franklin Vernon. I knew your parents. I fact ..." He hesitated for a second. "They were at our house the night they died."
"I know," Spence replied, his hand tightening on the phone.
"I didn't know you were back in town until I saw you walk by our house a couple of days ago. I almost came out to say hello but, well, that's beside the point right now. This will undoubtedly sound strange. I'd like to talk with you about what happened."
"You're father said something to me that night that might relate to why he was killed."
"I presume you told the police."
"No. I didn't want to soil his reputation."
Angrily, Spence replied, "Even if it could have helped find his killer?"
"I ... I'd rather explain everything to you in person," Mr. Vernon said. "Tonight, if possible, before I lose my nerve."
"All right. I'll be home all evening."
"It would be better if you come here where we can talk in private, without my wife or your friend around. She's off visiting her sister at the moment."
Spence hesitated. Something about this felt off. On the other hand, if he really does know something. "Give me twenty minutes. I need to change clothes."
"Excellent. I'll see you then."
After they'd hung up, Spence told Jeff what Mr. Vernon had said.
"You're not going alone," Jeff replied adamantly.
"Yeah, I am. If he does have information ... Well, from what he said I don't think he'll tell me if you're there."
"I can, umm, wait outside."
"I'm a big boy, Jeff. I think I can handle a guy who has to be at least sixty, if I remember right."
"Drive. Don't walk."
"A whole two blocks? Uh-uh."
"Quit worrying. I'll be back before you know it."
Spence gave him a hug, went up switch out his T-shirt for a regular one, then took off. It would have been a nice evening for a walk, if that's what he was after. Warm with a slight breeze. He didn't really notice, however. He was too busy wondering exactly what Mr. Vernon was going to tell him. That Dad was in the Mob and they killed him to shut him up? He owed money to a loan shark and was killed because he couldn't pay up? Our damned books are getting to me. Still, if Mr. Vernon hasn't gone off the deep end in his old age, he might know something.
When Spence arrived at the Vernon house, he was surprised no lights were on inside. It didn't stop him from ringing the doorbell, then knocking when Mr. Vernon didn't answer. That didn't bring any results either, so he went around to the back. There were no lights showing there either, and when he knocked on the back door, no one answered.
"Okay, where are you? What's going on?" he murmured. Finally giving up, he headed back home.
He'd just crossed from the path into the back yard when he realized the back door was open and something was lying on the porch steps. In the light coming from the kitchen, it looked like ...
He raced across the yard. Jeff was sprawled down the steps, blood pouring from a gaping wound in the back of his head. Spence knelt beside him, taking out his phone. When the nine-one-one dispatcher answered he said, "There's been an accident. My ... my housemate fell, I guess, and cracked his head."
"How badly," the woman asked.
"It looks ..." He gulped. "Bad."