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I was immediately drawn into the story by the quality of the writing and by (the) characterization of Eliot. I found him immensely attractive. I'm off to immerse myself in your extensive backlist.


Sunita for Dear Author
A crippling knee injury forced Elliot Mills to trade in his FBI badge for dusty chalkboards and bored college students. Now a history professor at Puget Sound University, the former agent has put his old life behind him — but it seems his old life isn’t finished with him.
A young man has gone missing from campus — and as a favor to a family friend, Elliot agrees to do a little sniffing around. His investigations bring him face-to-face with his former lover, Tucker Lance, the special agent handling the case.
Things ended badly with Tucker, and neither man is ready to back down on the fight that drove them apart. But they have to figure out a way to move beyond their past and work together as more men go missing and Elliot becomes the target in a killer’s obsessive game…

On his walk back to the Administration offices, Elliot phoned Tucker.

“Lance,” Tucker answered crisply following the second ring.

Like that, it was as though he stood in front of Elliot, all aggressive masculinity, and Elliot’s heart started to pound hard in that fight or flight reflex. It irritated the hell out of him, but there was no denying his physical response to Tucker.

“It’s Elliot.”

A pause. “Elliot.” Tucker’s tone was neutral. “What do you want?”

“I have new information for you. Another student, a kid named Gordie Lyle, has apparently disappeared.”


“I haven’t had a chance to look into it, but his aunt reported him missing to Tacoma PD.”

“What makes you think there’s a connection?”

“Gut feeling mostly. It’s one hell of a coincidence.”

Silence. Tucker said, “I don’t put a lot of stock in gut feelings.”

“Do you put a lot of stock in coincidence? Because this is a big one.”

Elliot’s daring to contradict him seemed to be the signal Tucker was waiting for. He said flatly, “Give me a break. It’s a college campus, for God’s sake. Don’t tell me you’re doing bed checks every night. I know better.”

“The Lyle kid has been missing four days. According to his aunt, that’s not typical. And, as we both know, Terry Baker has yet to turn up after three weeks.”

“That’s it? That’s your connection? Two boys from the same college campus don’t show up to class for a few days?”

Elliot understood what Tucker was saying. And fair enough. Boys will be boys. Had Lyle been female, then sexist or not, the rules were different. Even so, given the lack of progress in the Baker case, was there a valid reason not to acknowledge a possible link?

Elliot lowered his voice to avoid the attention of students sitting nearby on the grass, engrossed in their laptops. “Are you telling me you won’t even consider a connection?”

“I didn’t say that. I said it was too soon to draw that kind of conclusion. I’ll follow it up. What’s the contact info on the Lyle kid?”

“I’m on the way to get it. But since you don’t think there’s anything to this, why don’t you let me talk to the aunt? It’s less likely to freak her out than a G-man showing up at the door.”

“No way. You want to play security consultant, that’s your business, but I don’t need your help and I sure as hell don’t want your interference in my case.”

“You just pointed out you don’t know if it is your case. Anyway, Charlotte Oppenheimer asked me to act as liaison between the university and the various investigative agencies, so I’m in whether you like it or not.”

Tucker gave a curt, disbelieving laugh. “Now the university president is dictating to the Bureau? I don’t think so.”

“She’s not dictating. She’s asking a favor. Of me.”

“Let me clarify a point here,” Tucker said almost pleasantly. “I don’t want you involved in my—”

“And I don’t give a flying fuck what you want.” That time Elliot hadn’t bothered to lower his voice.

The silence that followed was sharp enough to cut an ear on.

Unexpectedly, Tucker laughed. “Okay. Well, I’m glad we’ve got that cleared up.”

Elliot realized he was gripping his cell phone so hard his knuckles were white. Nothing like a little internalized stress. He said with an effort at evenness, “You’re not my first draft pick to work with either, okay? But I told the Bakers I’d try to help. I gave my word, so that’s what I’m going to do. If you don’t want me to share information I uncover, I won’t.”

“The expectation—”

“Montgomery’s expectation is that the exchange of information will be a two-way street. You know that as well as I do, Tucker. Why do you have to be such a prick about this?”

Elliot heard the echo of his words with something akin to astonishment. They weren’t really going to have this conversation were they? That was unbelievable enough—let alone that he would be the one to initiate it.

Tucker said cheerfully, “I guess you bring out the worst in me, Elliot.”

It was Elliot’s turn to laugh, though there wasn’t a lot of humor in it.

“Great. Well, maybe we can put aside our differences long enough to get through this case.”

There was a pause and then Tucker said, “Tell you what. You want to talk to the Lyle kid’s auntie, you go ahead. I have my doubts this is a viable lead, but hey. I’ve been wrong before. The university is making the connection, so maybe it exists. Let me know what you turn up.”

It was a race to see who could disconnect faster.