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... a near-perfect mystery. Suspenseful, sexy and with just enough characters and diversions to keep readers guessing.

Gary M. Kramer, Philadelphia Gay News
Fifty years ago a glamorous Hollywood party ended in murder — the only clue a bloody Tarot card. Timothy North is trying to find out what happened that long ago summer’s night, but when a Tarot card turns up pinned to his front door, the only person Tim can turn to for help is his ex-lover, Detective Jack Brady.


(Included in the print collection Boy Meets Body: Volume I)

The card was wedged under the brass 17 on my apartment door when I got back from my morning swim. For what felt like a long time I stood dripping on the welcome mat, staring at the slightly crooked number and the colored rectangle beneath.

A Tarot card.

Finally, I removed the card, examined it. A castle in flames, a man and woman plummeting to the cliffs below, and the words The Tower.

Not good. Even if I turned it upside down so that the man and woman seemed to be doing handsprings through the clouds and lightning, it still looked pretty ominous.

I told myself that someone was playing a joke on me.

Funny stuff.

Only a handful of people even knew I was writing a book about the Aldrich case. For that matter, who would care if they did know? It was dead news in every sense.

I stuck my key in the latch and stepped into my apartment, eyes adjusting to the gloom. Dusty sunshine poured through the arched living room window. Everything looked just the way I’d left it an hour ago. In the kitchen alcove the old dishwasher was steaming, stereo lights flashed from the entertainment center, and the screen of my laptop, which sat on the coffee table, offered a gently rolling view of star-lined outer space.

I walked through to the bedroom. The bed was stripped, sheets piled for laundry in the doorway. The mirrored closet doors were shut. I got a look at my face as I moved to open them, and was irritated to see that I looked worried: hazel eyes narrowed, tanned face grim, body tense —

Jesus. The last year had turned me into an old woman.

I slid open the closet doors, jumping back as a box of photos tumbled from their precarious perch on the shelf above and dumped snap shots across the carpet.

A photo of me — in a gold-sequined sombrero no less — and Jack celebrating my thirtieth birthday at Don Cuco’s landed by my bare toes.

I stepped over the pictorial retrospective of my life, and moved on to the bathroom, poking my head inside. Another glimpse of my frowning face in the cabinet mirror — and, by the way, I really did need a haircut, I reflected, momentarily distracted by the wet spikes of my chlorine-bleached hair. The shower dripped noisily. I yanked back the curtain with a plastic rustle.


Okay, bathtub ring, but otherwise nothing sinister.

Of course nothing sinister. Nobody had broken in. Why would they?

But why would someone leave a tarot card on my front door?

I went back to the kitchen, poured a glass of OJ and drank it slowly, studying the Tarot card.

Was someone trying to tell me something? Was it some kind of clue?

More likely it was just some kind of weird coincidence. Right?

And even if it wasn’t a weird coincidence what was I supposed to do about it? It wasn’t exactly a lead that I could follow up. And I couldn’t picture myself going to the police over something so vague. There was no defined threat and I had absolutely no suspect in mind.

I could always talk to Jack.

I stared out the window over the sink at the row of second story apartments, red doors and turquoise railings glimpsed through the tangle of ivy and bougainville.

Jack Brady was a homicide detective with the Glendale PD. We’d gone out a couple of times. Slept together once. We were still on friendly if distant terms.

The blinds to Jack’s apartment were up so it looked like he might be home.

I stripped off the swim trunks, tossed them over the shower rod, pulled on a pair of jeans and a clean T-shirt, stuck the Tarot card in my pocket and headed upstairs to Jack’s apartment.

I could hear Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps playing behind the scarlet door. The smell of something spicy drifted out the open kitchen window. My stomach tightened but it had nothing to do with hunger — not for chili, anyway. I’d liked Jack a lot.

I knocked and the door opened. Jack stood framed in the doorway. He was about thirty-five, just over medium height and built, grey eyes and dark hair. He had a small white scar over his left eye brow and a dimple in his right cheek when he smiled — he was not smiling now. Music and the aroma of garlic and onions wafted around him.

“Hey, Tim,” he said briefly, neutrally, after a pause.

“Hi, Jack,” I said. “Could I talk to you for a minute? I could use some advice. Professional advice.”

He hesitated — just long enough for me to realize I was making a mistake. Jack was the one who’d lost interest in pursuing a relationship. We were neighbors, not friends, and this was probably the equivalent of complaining to a doctor you’d met at a party about that pain in your neck.

“Yeah, sure,” Jack said, and he stepped aside, nodding for me to come in.

Worse than looking pushy, gauche, I realized this might seem like I was coming up with an excuse to see him again. So instead of coming in, I took a step back and said, “You know, on second thought, it can probably wait.”

“Whoa!” He caught my arm as I turned away. “What’s this?” He was smiling now, his eyebrows raised.

The feel of his hand on my arm reminded me vividly of our one and only night together. The warm sure slide of his palm stroking my belly, knuckles brushing the sensitive skin between hip and thigh, long strong fingers closing at last around me…

I let him draw me into his apartment.