He lifted the receiver, propping it on his
shoulder, starting to type again as he said, “I
painted a bullseye on my chest, went outside, then
shook my ass, taunting the shooter to come get me.” He
stopped typing. “Hmmm…maybe that can work in a book.”
“It would be better to do that in fiction than
reality,” a deep baritone said.
That voice. Although he had heard it only once, he
recognised it. Evan lifted his head, dropping the
phone from its perch. He winced as it clattered to the
desk. He picked it up.
“Shit. Sorry…the phone fell.” He breathed deep as
he continued. “You’re absolutely right. I would never
do that in reality, Detective. Probably not in a
“Not Detective. We did away with that formality.
It’s Ian. Why probably not in a book?”
“Because my main protagonist would not go for
“Then make it a wacky sub-character. Someone that
your main character would look at and wonder, ‘What
the fuck?’” Ian stated.
“You know, that could work. Even down to the ’What
the fuck?’. You seem to know my main protag. Have you
read my books?” Evan held the phone firmer.
“No, I haven’t. But my research for the case
included some about your writing.”
Evan was disappointed that he hadn’t read them. “Do
you like mysteries?”
“When they’re written close to the way things are
“I try to do that. I’ll send you some of my books,”
“That isn’t necessary, Evan.”
Evan didn’t reply either way, changing the subject.
“I’ll use the bullseye thing in my new book. It’s
going so well. Getting shot at seems to be great
inspiration.” He laughed.
“Tell me what you’re writing about. Or is that top
secret while you’re working on it?” Ian asked.
He hesitated. Usually, while he was writing, he
didn’t share his plot with anyone…aside from Danny.
His heart ached at how he missed that. Ian spoke
“I understand. I—”
Evan interrupted him. “No, that’s okay. It’s just
been a while since I’ve done that.” He cleared his
throat, then told Ian what he was writing.
Evan stood as he spoke. He went to his bookcase and
pulled out the hardcover editions of the first six
books in the series. He always had extras. He placed
them on the side table in his home office and wrote a
note for his assistant to mail them to Ian at the
police station. Grabbing the card Ian had given him,
he clipped it to the paper so he had the address. Evan
sat again, relaxing back into his seat. He enjoyed
Ian’s insights into his plot. Evan glanced at the
time, realising they had been talking for almost an
“Sorry. You should have told me to shut up. When I
get going about my stories, I tend to keep going.”
“No problem. I was enjoying it. Sounds like you do
keep things close to reality,” Ian said.
“I try. Thanks for listening to me. Maybe I’ll pick
your brain for some of my research.”
“Pick away,” Ian offered.
“Be careful what you agree to. I can go on for
“We can keep talking as long as you’d like. I’m
home for the night. I can’t promise to not start
snoring in your ear.” Ian laughed, a warm sound.
“Oh. Umm…long day, huh?” Evan asked.
“Just another day. Lots of cases, very little
“Just like my case. Is that the reason you’re
calling? Did you find something?” Evan asked.
“Nothing yet. I know you spoke with Hunter a few
times, but I had some other questions.”
“Sure. Go ahead.” Evan glanced out at the view
behind his house.
The oasis of flowers, trees, and comfortable
seating beckoned him. Standing, he crossed his
spacious office and paused before the glass door. He
slid it open and stepped outside. He curled his bare
toes into the plush grass. He wandered as he answered
Ian’s questions. In the semi-dark of his garden, Ian’s
voice, despite the professional edge of his questions,
“Well, that’s it.”
There was a pause, then Ian said, “About the book,
I think you really are going somewhere with making the
car blow up. But you should get the feel of it right.
The scent and sounds. I’ve heard the bomb guys talk
about how each bomb has a different scent and feel to
Evan listened as Ian told him about it. He sat on
the padded bench swing in an alcove of trees towards
the back of his garden. He plucked at a thread he saw
in the zigzagged pattern of the seat. He stopped,
hugging a blue cushion. They continued to chat about
his book and some of Ian’s experiences as a cop. Evan
returned inside when it darkened and started getting
cooler. Not bothering with the lights, he sat back in
his comfortable office chair, discussing his book and
other things with Ian. As the conversation wound down,
he was reluctant to get off the phone. Ian yawned
“You’d better go sleep, before you start snoring in
my ear,” Evan teased.
“I’d better, since I don’t want to frighten you
with my loud rattling.” Ian chuckled, his voice
“Night, Evan. It was…good talking with you. I’ll
let you know if I hear any more on your case.”
The dial tone sounded in Evan’s ear. He frowned at
the phone. He’d heard the regret and shift back to
professionalism in Ian’s tone. Evan replaced the
receiver, putting his head back on the chair. Ian was
an enigma—one Evan hoped he would get a chance to know
Just as a friend. He’s going to be a friend.
Evan might have been attracted to him, but he
wasn’t sure if he was ready to pursue anything else.
Ian would make a good friend. Evan was already looking
forward to their next conversation. Evan brought his
computer out of hibernation and went back to writing.
Ian’s insights made the scene he was working on get
Much later, Evan got ready for bed. He could have
kept writing, but he had a workout session planned
with Gio and Brooks. After today’s—he glanced at the
clock, noting it was after two a.m.—yesterday’s, and
the intense exercise routine they had gone through, he
knew he needed his rest. He didn’t even think of
Sliding between the covers, he was still too keyed up
to go to sleep. Evan ran his hand over the front of
his pajama shorts, stroking along the ridge of his