When runaway Kip Faulkner was seventeen, he witnessed two men commit a murder. Fear kept him from telling Sheriff Long the truth about what he'd seen. Guilt made him turn his life around. Eleven years later, he's the owner of a reputable private investigation agency in Denver.
John Rigby looks like a typical biker, tattoos and all. But Kip discovers he’s the antithesis of that stereotype when he hires John to work for his agency.
When Kip learns about a recent killing exactly like the one he witnessed and recognizes one of the killers in a blurry photo on the news, he vows to find out how the two murders are connected ... and if there have been more.
With John's help, can he learn the truth behind the murders while the two men fight their mutual attraction? Or will Kip become the next victim?
When Kip got home, he flicked on the TV, settling down to watch the end of a show he liked. He was half asleep, the result of his long day, when he realized the news was on. He reached for the remote, stopping when the news anchor began reporting that the body of a missing man had been found in the mountains. Kip instantly flashed back to the murder he'd witnessed eleven years previously.
"Mr. Alexander," the anchor said, obviously recapping previous stories, "was the business banking manager for South Market Credit Union in Denver. The day after his disappearance three weeks ago it was discovered that a large amount of cash was missing from the bank's vault. The police were unable to locate him until his body was discovered in a shallow grave five miles outside of Silver Plume early this morning. He'd been shot twice in the back of the head. The only clue to his killer is a photo of a man discovered on Alexander's cell phone. From the time stamp, and the background, it was taken soon before his murder." A picture appeared on the screen, with a request for anyone to call if they knew or had seen the man. He had been caught in profile, obviously moving when the victim had shot the photo, so his face was blurry. Nonetheless, Kip recognized him.
He shuddered, his thoughts going back to the last time he'd seen him. He had been pointing a gun at Kip, seconds before Kip took off running. The man looked older than he remembered, but that wasn't surprising. It was eleven years ago. Who is he? Why did he kill Mr. Alexander the same way Mr. Constantine was murdered? Constantine stole payroll money, Alexander walked away with money from the bank where he worked. Both of them disappeared right after. There has to be a connection because the same thug was involved in both killings. But eleven years apart?
Kip promised himself he'd start searching in the morning for similar murders. He had the resources upstairs in his office which would allow him to go deeper than just looking for news stories. If he wasn't so tired, he'd have gone up right then and there. "But a working mind is a necessity," he grumbled.
Shutting off the TV, he went to bed, his mind whirling. His sleep was plagued with nightmares about the murder he'd witnessed. By the time morning arrived, he felt as if he'd barely slept at all -- and looked as if he hadn't if his reflection in the mirror was any indication. A hot shower, followed by a cold one, helped some and by the time he went upstairs to the agency he felt and looked almost normal.
* * * *
"Mr. Rigby is here for his interview," Nina said, coming into Kip's office ten minutes after they opened. "He's kind of cute."
"Nina. Honestly." He shook his head.
"Yep, honestly," she replied with a grin, handing Kip the man's résumé.
"Give me five minutes to look at this again then bring him in, please."
She did, and then ushered Mr. Rigby into Kip's office. Kip's first impression of the man was that he wasn't at all cute, or even terribly good looking. Rugged would have been a better description. It took him a moment to realize part of the look came from the tattoo he could see covering Mr. Rigby's neck, as well as the fact that he sported a mustache and needed a shave.
If nothing else, he could intimidate someone we were after -- or a client, which might not be good.
"Please have a seat, Mr. Rigby."
"Thank you," he replied, although he didn't move. "And call me John, if you don't mind. It's less formal. Yes, I know this is an interview, but still ..."
Kip found it interesting that John's voice belied his appearance. It was quiet and slightly husky. "John it is," he replied. "I'm Kip. Kip Faulkner." He held out his hand, they shook, and then he beckoned to the chair beside his desk. When John sat, Kip did as well, pressing his fingertips together as he studied the man. "Tell me about yourself."
John smiled. "There's not much to say that isn't in my résumé. I'm thirty. I've been doing investigative work since I graduated college with a bachelor's in criminal justice. I'm duly licensed, like you." He glanced at Kip's license hanging on the wall behind him."
"Why did you decide to become a private investigator?"