Hi guys! We have Andrew Grey popping in today with his upcoming release Fire and Onyx, we have a short guest post from Andrew and a great excerpt so check out the post and enjoy! ❤️ ~Pixie~
Fire and Onyx
Undercover sheriff’s deputy Evan Whittaker is close to infiltrating a vicious local gang. He just needs to find an opening. Instead, he finds Wes Douglas, a web designer who is raising his irresponsible brother’s son. Wes agrees to help with a stakeout, but he pays the price when his home is destroyed in a shootout.
Evan’s always been a loner, but when he invites Wes into his home, living together feels right, and the two men only grow closer as they adapt to each other’s lives and rhythms. A future as a family looks brighter by the day, but all of that could collapse when Wes’s brother—and his connection to the drug dealers—crashes into the life they’re carefully building.
.•.•.**❣️ Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N ❣️**.•.•.
I love writing the Carlisle Deputies series in part because I love writing police stories and in part because I really like getting to tell stories about my home town. I often use real places or businesses in the stories, but I change the names most of the time and sometimes I even switch their location a little in order to better suit the story. However the flavor of the town is real. Carlisle is a small town with a lot of history and I consider myself lucky to live here. There are wonderful people and I’m happy to say that it even has an active downtown.
Like every town, Carlisle has its problems and some of them I highlight in these stories. But mostly it’s an incredible place to live and I’m proud to call it home.
EVAN WHITTAKER’S gut churned, hard, and he had to work to suppress it. Weeks of effort, and he could see the whole thing going down the fucking drain right before his eyes. Officers stormed the ramshackle house two miles west of Carlisle, where the suspects had been not two hours before. And the biggest pile of shit of all, Sheriff Briggs had backed him and he’d been wrong—and now it was pretty clear that the house was empty and the suspects had moved on.
Pierre kicked in the front door, and the deputies surged forward; another team led by Clay would be coming through the back. Evan could see it all playing out just as planned, but without the suspects.
“Clear” rang through the house as room after room was checked.
“Where the hell did they go?” Pierre asked when they met in the living room, which had been ripped to hell, with huge holes in the walls and the carpet trashed. “We had eyes on them the whole time.”
Evan groaned. Someone had messed up, and he was sure this was going to end up coming down on his shoulders—not that he could blame anyone. The sheriff had gone out on a limb, and Evan could hear it snapping out from under him.
“Ravelle, Whitaker, you better come down here,” one of the deputies called. “Be careful, though.”
Evan made his way to the basement stairs, which were rickety beyond belief. He went down, shivering in the dusty, rustic space. “Damn it all….” Part of the foundation had been removed and shored up to leave a tunnel of sorts. Evan was willing to bet that they’d gotten out there and disappeared into the surrounding wooded area. It would have taken maybe a few minutes and they would be out.
“Check out in the woods,” Pierre ordered, but Evan was pretty sure their suspects were long gone. All that they were left with was a house that had been used to cook meth and little else. At least he hadn’t been wrong about what the house was being used for. That might keep his ass in one piece, but it was definitely going to get chewed on. He should have thought of an escape route and looked for it.
“Shit,” one of the men called from above as smoke billowed through the door. The deputies went up the steps, and they crashed back through to the dirt floor.
“Are both of you okay?” Evan asked, helping Phillips, the deputy nearest to him, to his feet. He brushed himself off, and Evan pointed him toward the tunnel. “Get the hell out of here. This place is going to be an inferno.” Already the roar of flames sounded overhead, and Evan hoped to hell everyone else got out, because this house was going to burn down around them otherwise. “You too.” He helped Pierre get Phillips out. He was covered in dirt and walking gingerly. “I’ll be right behind.”
Phillips went through the hole, and Evan pointed for Pierre to go next as embers and burning debris fell through the hole that had been the stairs. Already the air was fouling, the roar increasing from above. Evan bent and crawled along the dirt passage, and emerged to clouds of smoke whirling around them on the breeze. The others were already helping Phillips away from the conflagration, and the officers made their way around the edge of the property to where the rest of the responding team had gathered in front.
“IS EVERYONE out?” Evan asked, joining the other men as the old house nearly self-destructed. Before the fire department could arrive, the place was fully engulfed and the roof was already caving in. Just another craptastic thing to add to the list of the screwups of the day.
“Yes,” Pierre told him. “We aren’t getting anything from that scene, but everyone is safe.”
At least that was something. Too bad Phillips was injured.
“An ambulance is on the way,” Pierre relayed, and then acknowledged a radio confirmation.
“What the hell happened?” Evan asked, turning to the other deputies.
“Checking the last room in the back, I pulled open the closet, and it was rigged with lighter fluid,” Clay explained.
Evan nodded. There wasn’t a damned thing they could have done. This had clearly been planned, and they had fallen into it. “I want these sons of bitches so bad, I can taste it.” He clamped his jaws together in frustration.
“At least no one else will be using this place as a hideout.”
The fire department arrived, and the outer walls collapsed as they began spraying water. Evan dreaded the report he was going to have to write. A big, fat nothing. That was what they had, after weeks of work and all this effort—a pile of ash and no suspects.
A call came through the radio. “The suspects appear to have had cars waiting and are long gone.”
The nail in the coffin of this fucked-up day, and to make matters worse, the sky opened up, dumping a torrent of rain all over everything and everyone. Evan ran to the car, pulled on his rain gear, and waited while the fire department doused the remaining fire, which died quickly. Once he had secured the scene, he drove back to the station. It didn’t help his foul mood that the sheriff was waiting for him and he received the chewing out he expected.
“I’m not angry that the bust broke down, but you should have been more prepared and checked for an escape route. It’s pretty classic,” Briggs said when he calmed down. “Now we’ve got nothing at all. Most of the evidence burned in the fire, so we have little to track them with, and anything they left behind—”
“Sheriff,” Evan interrupted, “there is one thing they definitely left behind: the business itself. There’s no way they’re going to just walk away. They packed up shop in that location, but they’re still going to need to fill the demand they created, or someone else will step in.” At least he could track them through their product.
Sheriff Briggs leaned forward. “We’ve been dealing with these assholes for two years now, and every time we get close, they scamper away and crawl back under some rock, only to surface again. I want them stopped—now. So you figure out how in the hell we’re going to do that. People are scared, especially folks out in the county where they operate, and if we don’t put an end to this, then the people of this county are going to put an end to me.”
The truth was that Briggs had fought and worked hard for his job, and he deserved it, as far as Evan was concerned. The difficult part about this whole damned thing was disappointing the sheriff. The entire department respected him greatly. He wasn’t just elected, but had been part of the department and knew the county like the back of his hand.
“And I thought we had them.”
“Which is when things usually fall apart.” Sheriff Briggs placed his hands on his desk. “Go back to the drawing board, and come up with a way to put an end to these guys.” His gaze bored into Evan. “This can’t be allowed to continue in this area. Whoever is behind this shit is making fools of us. They seem to know where we’re going to strike and are always one step ahead of us.”
“Yes. I know we had a leak that we plugged a while ago, but….” Evan was well aware that guys like these had plenty of money and were willing to spread it around to buy support and protection. It was also possible that they were using leverage of some sort against a cop or their family in order to gain cooperation. “I’ll go through everything again, and if there is someone working with these people, I’ll find them.” He set his jaw, knowing the look he was giving the sheriff. Turncoats absolutely made his blood boil. Evan believed in the brotherhood of officers, and someone like that put them all at risk.
“I’ll be doing the same. But as far as I can tell, it’s possible that they have deduced our movements and that we’re dealing with someone really smart who knows the area.” Sheriff Briggs leaned back in his chair.
“I agree.” The wheels were already turning. “Maybe we can put those two things together and come up with someone who might fit the bill. If they knew the area, especially between Carlisle and Newville….” An idea was forming, but Evan didn’t have quite enough information. He couldn’t track down every smart person in the damned county.
“I’d concentrate on people out near Newville and the surrounding area. See if anyone has seen anything or if they’ve noticed any suspicious activity. Talk to a few community leaders. It’s a small community, and people definitely talk. Someone out there knows who this guy is and is sheltering him right now. You know that, and so do I. There’s no way he can exist in the community unless that’s happening.”
“I’m on it.” Evan figured he was getting off lucky. Though this wasn’t directly his fault, it was his investigation, so he was responsible for the results—good and bad.
“Write your report and get it filed. Then go home and get some rest. Be here fresh in the morning, ready to take a new look at this.” Briggs turned to his computer, and Evan left his office.
“How bad was it?” Pierre asked as soon as he closed the door.
Evan shrugged. “The thing I can’t stand is letting Briggs down after he went to bat for me.” He’d had no way of knowing about the escape in the basement. The exit aboveground was surrounded by thick bushes, and it wasn’t likely to have been visible even from a drone. It happened, and they all needed to learn from it. “At least I’ll know what to look for next time.”
“That’s true.” Pierre turned, heading toward his desk, then paused. “Jordan asked me to remind you that we were supposed to have dinner tonight with his friend Marcus.”
Evan groaned. Everyone from his friends to his mother had decided to fix him up in the last three months. “I know I agreed, but another one?”
“Since your breakup with Antonio… well, you’re on the market and a catch.” Pierre grinned. Apparently any gay deputy who wasn’t currently in a relationship was a catch. Or maybe it was some sort of huge betting pool to see who could get Evan his next boyfriend. He wasn’t sure what the prize could be, though.
“Peachy,” he muttered. “Where are we meeting?”
“Café Belgie at six thirty.” Pierre walked back toward him. “And after this, I promise I’ll tell Jordan that this is the end. No more fixups. I had asked him not to do this, but you know Jordan when he sets his mind to something. He thinks you and Marcus will be perfect together. Though he said the same thing about Brad, and look how that turned out.” Pierre actually snickered, the bastard.
Brad was indeed a nice guy, at least in public, but in private he was bossy, egotistical, and thought that he was God’s gift to men in general and that they should all bow down before him… in more ways than one. Needless to say, he and Brad had had no additional dates.
“Yeah, thanks for that. If it’s that bad….” He trailed off into a growl.
“Don’t worry. Marcus is a nice guy.” Pierre hurried away, and Evan had plenty of time to wonder just what he might have meant by that. Was everything in his life turning into complete and total crap? He really hoped not, but things weren’t looking good.
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.