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One of my all time favorite series. The quality of the writing, the depth of characters, the emotions and passion, and basic story telling skills gives the wonderful series a place in my keeper file.

*A GOLDEN BLUSH RECOMMENDED READ*

Literary Nymphs
To say goodbye is to die a little…
Like recovering from heart surgery isn’t exasperating enough?
When a half-century old skeleton is discovered beneath rotting floorboards during the renovation of Cloak and Dagger Bookstore, Adrien turns to hot and handsome ex-lover Jake Riordan — now out-of-the closet and working as a private detective.
Jake is only too happy to have reason to stay in close contact with Adrien, but there are more surprises in Adrien’s past than either one of them expects — and one of them may prove hazardous to Jake’s own heart.

Reaction hit me, and I slid down the wall and dialed 911.

I was having trouble catching my breath as I waited — and waited — for the 911 operator, and I hoped to hell I wasn’t having a heart attack. My heart had been damaged by rheumatic fever when I was sixteen. A recent bout of pneumonia had worsened my condition, and I’d been in line for surgery even before getting shot three weeks earlier. Everything was under control now, and according to my cardiologist, I was making terrific progress. The ironic thing about the surgery and the news that I was evidently going to make old bones after all was that I felt mortal in a way that I hadn’t for the last fifteen years.

Tomkins pussyfooted up to delicately head-butt me.

“Hi,” I said.

He blinked his wide, almond-shaped, green-gold eyes at me and meowed. He had a surprisingly quiet meow. Not as annoying as most cats. Not that I was an expert — nor did I plan on becoming one. I was only loaning a fellow bachelor my pad. The cat — kitten, really — was also convalescing. He’d been mauled by a dog three weeks ago. His bounce back was better than mine.

I stroked him absently as he wriggled around and tried to bite my fingers. I guessed there was truth to the wisdom about petting a cat to lower your blood pressure, because I could feel my heart rate slowing, calming — which was pretty good, considering how pissed off I was getting at being kept on hold in the middle of an emergency.

Granted, it wasn’t much of an emergency at this point. My intruder was surely long gone.

I chewed my lip, listened once more to the message advising me to stay on the line and help would soon be with me. Assuming I’d still be alive to take that call.

I hung up and dialed another number. A number I had memorized long ago. A number that seemingly would require acid wash to remove from the memory cells of my brain.

As the phone rang on the other end, I glanced across at the clock on the bookshelf. Three oh three in the morning. Well, here was a test of true friendship.

“Riordan,” Jake managed in a voice like raked gravel.

“Uh…hey.”

“Hey.” I could feel him making the effort to push through the fog of sleep. He rasped, “How are you?”

Pretty civil given the fact that I hadn’t spoken to him for nearly two weeks and was choosing three in the morning to reopen the lines of communication.

I found myself instinctively straining to hear the silence behind him; was someone there with him? I couldn’t hear over the rustle of bed linens.

“I’m okay. Something happened just now. I think someone tried to break in.”

“You think?” And he was completely alert. I could hear the covers tossed back, the squeak of bedsprings.

“Someone did try to break in. He took off, but —”

“You’re back at the bookstore?”

“Yeah. I got home late this afternoon.”

“You’re there alone?”

Thank God he didn’t say it like everyone else had. Alone? As though it was out of the question. As though I was far too ill and helpless to be left to my own devices. Jake simply looked at it from a security perspective.

“Yeah.”

“Did the security alarm go off?”

“No.”

“Did you call it in?”

“I called nine-one-one. They put me on hold.”

“At three o’clock in the morning?” He was definitely on his feet and moving, dressing, it sounded like, and I felt a wave of guilty relief. Regardless of how complicated our relationship was — and it was pretty complicated — there was no one I knew who was better at dealing with this kind of thing. Whatever this kind of thing was.

Which I guessed said more than I realized right there.

Jake’s voice was crisp. “Hang up and call nine-one-one again. Stay on the line with them. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

I said gruffly, “Thanks, Jake.”

Just like that. I had called, and he was coming to the rescue. Unexpectedly, a wave of emotion — reaction — hit me. One of the weird aftereffects of my surgery. I struggled with it as he said, “I’m on my way,” and disconnected.