A Hardesty: Vice Cop gay murder mystery.
When a U.S. senator is named as a possible vice presidential running mate, all hell breaks out in his attempt to hide that he has a weakness for sadistic sex with rent-boys. When his thugs mess up an attempt to silence one in a D.C. hotel, snitches descend on D.C. vice cop Hardesty, not a stranger to vice himself, particularly with snitch rent-boys. Hardesty’s attempts to figure out what is what and who is doing who are complicated by his own partner’s decision to freelance blackmail the situation and to cut down on the competition in the process. Hardesty’s efforts to save the one rent-boy who isn’t snitching leads him on a merry out-of-town chase.
Jason’s head was turned to the side and he could see a garrote strap laying on the bed. He no longer was paralyzed. There wasn’t any doubt what these two goons had in mind—or why. Now that Etheridge was a national candidate, it was cleanup time on his background. Jason gathered all of the adrenaline that he could to unleash in one stroke. It was now or never.
With only one wrist out of the handcuffs and heavy metal handcuffs hanging from the other wrist, he now had a weapon of his own. He swung the loose cuffs at Fred’s head in a desperate lunge that, nonetheless, worked a charm. Fred’s eyes went large in surprise and pain as the metal of the free cuff slammed into his temple with the sickening sound of crushed bone. He toppled off the side of the bed and onto the floor with nothing louder than an “Ooof,” which was covered from the bathroom with the grinding noise from the shower head.
Jason walloped him again on the side of the head for good measure, but the goon was already down for the count. Jason scrambled around on the floor, finding the key to the handcuff and freeing his other wrist. It was only a matter of seconds before he’d pulled his clothes back on, grabbed up the money from the dresser, and scooted out into the hall.
He couldn’t chance the elevator and the lobby. Who knew that these two goons were the only ones who had been sent to capture and eliminate him? He had seen the fire escape through the window at the end of the corridor when he’d been shoved into the room. The window didn’t want to cooperate on opening, but, feeling infused with superhuman strength fueled by the survival instinct, Jason muscled it open and scrambled down the fourteen stories of metal scaffolding before Chaz turned the shower off in the hotel room.
Did he dare go back to the apartment on R Street in Northwest D.C., near Logan Circle, that he shared with three other rent-boys to at least gather his shit together before he escaped town? Had he ever told the senator or any of his goons where he lived? He didn’t think so. The goons had always picked him up on the street—on 13th Street—when the senator wanted to be serviced—just like they had tonight.
Yeah, he thought he could chance it. He’d been stupid, though. In that last argument he’d had with Etheridge, he not only had revealed that he knew who Etheridge really was, but that this gave him some form of control over Etheridge. But he’d never have snitched on Etheridge—not that the senator could or would count on that, Jason now realized.