This week's Midweek Tease #MWTease comes from
Wren and Deverel
Lucian Wren and Beau Deverel have always been friends. They think they know everything about each other, but they both hide a secret desire. They’re devoted to each other, but they’ve never revealed the depth of their feelings.
When Lucian starts a private investigation service, and Beau joins him in the fledgling agency, little do they know what a delicious, close encounter on their first case will lead to.
This case is bizarre. Is there a hidden reason the client has chosen their newly formed agency for such an important job?
As Beau and Lucian dive headlong into the mystery, their relationship deepens, and their friendship changes forever.
Erotic, romantic—a friends to lovers gay mystery, romance.
Words: 42,881 Encompass Ink December 2016
Read the teaser:
Beau took the stairs two at a time to the office where he expected Lucian to be waiting for him. He strode into the long room. “Hi, how did the meeting go?”
“We have our first job. It’s art theft.”
Beau knew instantly that Lucian was worried. A concerned frown leapt onto Beau’s face.
“You’re not really happy about it. I can tell.” He approached Lucian, dragging a chair with him to sit alongside his friend.
Lucian sat in front of his open laptop and Beau glanced at the screen. He saw a document, full of row after row of small print in columns. “What’s that?”
Lucian took his finger from the trackpad and ran his hand through his glossy brown hair.
“A database—I’m looking for a record of the stolen painting.” His sigh told Beau that he was having no luck.
“Who’s the artist?” Beau watched Lucian’s shoulder’s slump.
“Matisse, but it seems to have no provenance.”
Beau couldn’t help grinning at the specialist term. “You’ve picked up the art world’s language already.” He tried to cheer Lucian. “Matisse is huge you know, famous, sought after, not to mention valuable. Does the painting have a name?”
Lucian twisted in his chair to be face to face with him. “The client gave me a photograph of the painting and on the back there’s a name. I forgot to ask in the meeting. I forgot to ask a few things. I couldn’t look in the databases without a name. I have a weird feeling about this job, Beau.”
Beau’s gaze traced a path over Lucian’s handsome face. A shade of stubble darkened Lucian’s angular jaw. His hair stuck up from his forehead as if he’d run his hands through it a few times that afternoon. His deep blue eyes held anxiety. Beau fought down the urge to reach out a fingertip and run it down Lucian’s cheek to trace the curve of Lucian’s delicious lips. He ached to hug Lucian and comfort him. He stuck to less risky action. “Let me see the photo.”
Lucian moved a pad full of handwritten notes and picked up a photo. He handed it to Beau.
Beau took it, careful not to brush Lucian’s fingers with his, because in his experience the feel of Lucian’s skin made his cock stir. He turned the picture over and read the name aloud.
“‘Before the dance,’ I’ve never heard of it.” He gazed at the photograph. “It doesn’t even look like a Matisse to me.”
Lucian’s laugh brought his head up to look at his friend
“How many Matisse paintings do you know?"
Beau grinned. “Not many I guess.” He gave the photo back to Lucian. “What is it about this job that gives you a weird feeling?”
Lucian took a deep breath. “It’s the way the client, Jack Starling, didn’t answer all my questions, and Beau, if this is a priceless painting, why choose a fledging detective agency to find the thief? I need a cup of coffee. Do you want to go to the diner on the corner? I’d like a decent cup. The stuff I made earlier isn’t good.”
Beau stood. “I’d love to go to the diner. I didn’t get lunch and only had coffee for breakfast. Tell me exactly what happened in the meeting.” He extended his arm, about to slip it around Lucian’s shoulders and then caught himself, and dropped it fast.
Lucian talked as he retrieved his jacket from the coat stand placed against the wall by the door. “Starling avoided telling me if he’d made an insurance claim and if he’d reported the theft to the police. He just seems off—arrogant, rich, controlling, and devious.”
Beau stood next to Lucian as he locked the office door. “Maybe he was nervous. I’m nervous, you know, since this will be our first case. I don’t have much of an idea where to start, if I’m honest.” He led the way down the stairs to the street, his boot heels making a dull thud on the polished wooden treads where Lucian had the old-fashioned linoleum removed.
A fine drizzle of rain dampened Beau’s face as Lucian walked alongside him to the diner.
“I’ve already found the address for the man in Seattle that Jack thinks stole his painting and then disappeared. He owns a gallery. I think we should start there. Go see the guy, if he’s there, if not try to establish his whereabouts, or exactly when he left the city. Someone must know where he is.” Lucian hunched his shoulders and bent his head against the shower.
Beau cast a sidelong glance at Lucian as they walked. “That’s great, well done. When will we go?”
Lucian gave a little shake of his head as he pushed open the door of the diner. “Starling told me the guy’s name and that he deals art in Seattle, so I can’t take the credit, but I did find the exact address and researched the gallery.”
Beau followed Lucian to a table and sat opposite him. He fiddled with the menu enclosed in a plastic stand, running his eyes down the list of sandwiches on offer.
Lucian continued talking. “I think we should go as soon as possible. When can you get away from work?”
Beau brought his schedule to mind. He knew there was nothing to do but take some leave. “I’m owed vacation time. I’ll take a week or two. I need to be with you for this case, for our first case, without interruption, so I’ll tell dad tonight, teach tomorrow’s classes, and then we can take off. It’s about a three hour drive isn’t it?”
“Unless there’s heaps of traffic, but I figure if we start the drive at the right time we’ll miss the rush hour at this end. Is that enough notice for your dad?”
“It will have to be. I never take vacations.” Beau saw the troubled look that flashed in Lucian’s eyes. A surge of tenderness made him lean toward Lucian. One of these days I’ll forget myself, reach out and kiss him. “It’ll be fine, Lucian, really.”
Copyright Elodie Parkes 2016 Encompass Ink
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