When his husband, Darrin, is murdered right in front of him and the killer vanishes into the darkness, Mitch Cavanaugh must learn to move on. As he tries to gather up the shattered pieces of his life, and the police search for the murderer, he's approached by a stranger who claims to know why Darrin was killed. Then the man disappears.
Six months later, and with the police no closer to finding the killer, Mitch suddenly discovers he may now be the man's next target. It will take the combined efforts of Mitch, the police, and a new friend, Chad, to stop the killer before he strikes again.
It was cold and windy, with a touch of winter in the air, although it was only late September. However it didn't bother Mitch. He and Darrin were on their way to their favorite restaurant to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their wedding.
Mitch remembered vividly the day Darrin had dropped down on one knee and proposed. Of course they'd had to go out of state to get married but that just added a certain spice to the occasion. "It's as if," Darrin had said with a laugh, "we're eloping before our families find out what's happening."
Not that either of them had a family. Darrin had been left, literally, in a basket on a church doorstep when he was only a week old and had never been adopted. He'd lived in foster and boys' homes until he was old enough to be out on his own. Mitch's mother had abandoned him and his father when he was six. His father had raised him, to the best of his abilities, until the day he'd died of a massive stroke when Mitch was fifteen. Mitch spent the next few years, until her death, with his father's much older spinster sister. By then he was nineteen, in college, and more than able to take care of himself, thanks to money she left to him as her only remaining relative.
Now, Mitch was surprised and amused when the limousine pulled up in front of their house in one of the suburbs of the city. "Trust you to go the whole nine yards," he'd said, hugging Darrin.
"Only the best for my best man," Darrin countered, kissing him lightly.
"I'd better be your only man." Mitch ducked away, grabbing his suit coat off the back of the sofa while deftly avoiding the inevitable swat to his ass Darrin gave him every time he made that comment. It was a running joke between them, one of many, and often as not Darrin was the swattee, not the swatter.
Darrin adjusted Mitch's tie one more time and they went out to the limo. Kathy, their next door neighbor was just coming up her walk and called out "Happy Anniversary. Have fun and behave."
"Behave? As if," Darrin called back with a grin before getting into the limo.
That's my man, the perennial teen. Mitch smiled at the thought as he joined Darrin. Not that I'm complaining in the least. He proved the latter by kissing Darrin quite heartily, earning a smile and a raised eyebrow from his husband. "Just needed to show you I love you," Mitch murmured.
Darrin pulled him close with a whispered, "Love you too," casting a quick glance at the limo driver.
"Hey, have at it," the driver said. "Trust me. You two making out is a hell of a lot better than some of the things that happen in here. I could tell you stories."
Luckily he didn't, much to Mitch's relief.
"Gentlemen, we're here," the limo driver announced. He stepped out to open the rear door.
* * * *
"Ten years, who would have believed it?" Darrin smiled, lifting his glass. They were at one of the best restaurants in the city, seated at a table for two, candlelight accentuating the romantic atmosphere of their anniversary.
Mitch smiled back happily. "Ten almost perfect years." He tapped his glass to Darrin's then took a drink of champagne.
"Almost?" Darrin's eyebrows arched in amusement.
"Well, there was the time..." Mitch winked. "All right, absolutely perfect." Now it was his turn. "And here's to ten more... or fifty... or one hundred."
Darrin laughed. "At which point we'll be a hundred and thirty-five plus. I wonder if they'll let us have champagne in the nursing home."
"Baby, we ain't gonna be in no stinking nursing home. We'll be sitting on the Riviera watching the sun go down, toasting the stars and life, and... and us."
"That we will," Darrin replied softly, taking Mitch's hand in his. With a slight tug, he drew Mitch close enough to kiss.
Of course, at that very moment the waiter arrived with their desserts. He didn't bat an eye as he set them down and walked away.
"Now there's a man well trained in the art of diplomacy," Mitch commented before digging into his Décadence de Chocolat. "God, this is heaven."
Darrin shook his head. "You're going to put on ten pounds, my love."
"And you aren't?" Mitch looked at his husband's Warm Sticky Date Cake and waggled a finger. "Fifteen pounds, not that it'll show on you."
Darrin leaned back enough to check Mitch out and smiled. "I don't think either of us really has to worry too much. A couple of hours at the gym tomorrow--"
"I can think of a much better workout." Mitch lifted a bite of his dessert to his lips, seductively sucking it off the tines of the fork, all the while keeping his gaze locked with Darrin's.
"Are you trying to entice me to our bed?" Darrin asked, his voice growing husky with desire.
"In time, my love, in time. Right now I'm enjoying the anticipation I see on your face and the lust in your eyes."
"How did I manage to find such a wonderful, sexy man? And more to the point, how did I manage to keep you?"
"You married me." Mitch leaned toward Darrin, who met him halfway, and they kissed gently. "I love you," Mitch whispered. "More than life, I love you."
"I love you too, my sweet, wonderful man. Until death do us part, I will love you heart and soul."