Gazes Into You

Mr & Mr Detective Story - #1

by Alex Jane

Gazes Into You - Alex Jane - A Mr & Mr Detective Story
Part of the Mr & Mr Detective series:
  • Gazes Into You
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 3.49
Pages: 319
ePub - First Edition: $ 3.49
Pages: 319
Paperback - First Edition: $ 7.99
ISBN: 978-1546876304
Size: 5.10 x 7.80 in
Pages: 248

Ex-detective John Right likes to watch.
There’s no harm in it.

The latest object of his obsession—a twenty-something stranger who chains his bike outside John’s office—doesn’t feel the weight of John’s eyes on him, doesn’t know about the secret recordings or what John does with them in the dead of night. Except when the kid disappears, John finds himself doing far more that just watching.

Reluctantly, John has to start thinking like a cop once more as he frantically tries to track down his mystery man. Although when he finds him, John is left with more questions than answers. And the more he learns, the more he wishes he’d never started looking in the first place.

Can John get to the bottom of the mystery without giving away his own dirty secret? And without giving in to his urge to do more than simply watch?

Well…nobody’s perfect.

Published:
Publisher: Independently Published
Editors:
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: MM
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 36-45
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Age Difference, Antihero, Badass Hero, Bodyguard/Guardian Angel, Criminals & Outlaws, Hurt / Comfort, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Rescue, Trapped Together, Uncommunicative Masculinity
Word Count: 76000
Setting: New York City
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Excerpt:

Chapter One

“I can hear you twitching from here.”

The cheap earpiece crackled and squeaked but John could still make out the lilt of amusement in Ben’s voice. He forced a smile even though he was alone, hoping it might stop the knot of tension forming in his throat from giving him away. Pulling the microphone attached to his lapel up to his mouth, John tilted his chin down towards it. He needed the extra volume for clarity.

“I am not twitching.” He squeezed his thigh to stop his leg from jiggling up and down, not wanting to make a total liar out of himself. “Just get back here,” he snapped. He instantly regretted it when Ben hit transmit just so John could hear him chuckling from the third floor.

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John leaned back in the ergonomic chair his employers had kindly supplied, his weight making it roll back slightly on the tiled floor. It just went to show how the guys in charge had no idea what they were doing. Splashing out on fancy chairs but buying in the cheapest security equipment money could buy. A few years ago, he might have kicked up a fuss about the grainy monitors or unreliable comms, banged on the table and written up a risk assessment that might have made a difference. But now—now he turned up for work, did his shift and went home. Like the good little worker ant he’d become. Or should that be the cliché he’d become? Ex-cop turned security guard. At least it was a career trajectory of sorts.

The bank of monitors flickered in front of him, and John let his eyes run over the familiar monotone parade of empty offices, deserted corridors and views of the street outside. It was quiet out there at this time of night, just off the beaten path, a side street that no one ever thought to use as a shortcut. Well, almost no one.

The thought had John’s forefinger absently dipping into the side of his collar, pulling it away from his neck like the noose it was. He’d never gotten used to the whole suit and tie thing.

The five years John had spent in uniform, he’d hated it too. Not what the uniform represented. No, he couldn’t have been more proud when he became a cop. But being buttoned up felt so claustrophobic. Getting bumped to detective didn’t make things any easier. Maybe in some precincts you could get away with a more casual look, but his Captain had been certifiably OCD and that top button had to be fixed at all times. In all other respects, the guy had been a peach to work for but that top button thing…

It got to him so badly that even when John had been lying in the hospital bed, mouth dry as hell, still not quite sure which month it was because of the morphine, and the Captain had stood in front of him, stoically informing John he was being pensioned off, the first thought that had popped into his head was Well, at least I won’t have to wear that stupid tie anymore. All John ever wanted was to be a cop, and yet, all he could feel in that moment was relief over that stupid tie.

How in God’s name he had ended up in another job that was trying to choke the life out of him was pondered long and hard on those nights when he stared at the streetlights illuminating the ceiling, longing for sleep—or death—depending on how long he had been awake. He hadn’t adequately figured that one out yet.

John let out a shuddering breath, his palms nervously smoothing downward over the red silk tie all the way to his belly, his left hand finding his right wrist as they moved. Hooking back the cuff with his index finger, he glanced at the time, faking casual even though no one was there to see it. 8:11. The bounce in his knee started up again.

Fucking Ben. He’s doing this on fucking purpose.

Craning his neck around, John thought he might catch a glimpse of movement through the frosted glass door of the security office but there was nothing. Most of the time, being stuck in the small room for a ten-hour stretch was just fine. Ben called it cozy and it was. Except when it was 8:12 and Ben was fucking around with the schedule.

John’s finger went to his earpiece, ready to give Ben the hurry-up, when he heard the elevator doors in the corridor finally slide open. By the time Ben was in the room, John was already on his feet, pulling his gray jacket closed and fastening the button.

“In a hurry, old man?” Ben smirked.

John grabbed the flashlight from the desk and pushed past him, mumbling, “Shut the fuck up.”

Ben laughed as he slumped into his chair, wheeling himself backward so he could keep sight of John storming down the corridor. As the door slowly closed, Ben yelled through the gap after him. “You’re a sick fuck, John Right. Sick!”

John pulled the master keycard from his back pocket, muttering to himself as he dragged it through the reader. “I know. Believe me, I know.”

He’d heard it before. Maybe not those words exactly, but variations on the theme. It was ‘weirdo’ when he was a kid, called out in that singsong way that children have when they don’t really know how cruel words can be. By the time he got to high school, it was ‘freak’, spat in his direction every time he got tripped or hit or his lunch tray ended up on the floor. ‘Pervert’ came later, whispered under the breath of men he longed to touch. Just once. In the grand scheme of things, ‘sick fuck’ wasn’t so bad.

The reception area was lit, but only just. The bluish light actually made the fake plants, plastic Venetian blinds and faux wood on the semicircular desk look good. Almost. In the daylight, it looked cheap and officious, despite its attempt at friendly. At least the night lights gave it an air of the unusual, eerie with its alien glow. Like something out of the X-Files.

John checked his watch again. 8:14.

He moved slowly to the far corner, keeping his eyes on the window as he backed away from it. He wasn’t hiding, not exactly. It was the mantra he repeated to himself every night. Not hiding; just being discreet. It wasn’t his fault that his sweep of the lower floor just happened to coincide with—he looked at his watch.

The numbers rolled over to 8:15 and like clockwork, he appeared. John literally set his watch by him.

The kid rolled by the first window, leg raised to dismount the bike even though there were ten feet left to go before he got to the lamppost. John couldn’t breathe for a second and the sensation felt more like pain than pleasure. The kid—John couldn’t help think of him like that, even though he must have been in his early twenties—was wearing the green cargo shorts tonight. Hadn’t seen them in a while. And with the dark green jacket too. It wasn’t his usual combination, but he looked good. The night before, he’d seemed a little tired, pale and distracted, but tonight when the kid shook his bangs away from his face as he dismounted, he was smiling. Not the wide cheeky grin he sometimes sported; only the corners of his mouth were turned up slightly but his eyes were relaxed and happy. John smiled reflexively, as if mimicking the expression somehow made a connection between them.

The kid dragged the huge satchel he’d slung diagonally across his chest around to his front and pulled out his D-lock. When he’d shown up with the new bike a few weeks ago, in seemed he’d also invested in a better lock. The mountain bike was worth a lot more than the piece of shit he had previously. Even John, with zero knowledge about anything with pedals, could tell that, and he’d felt strangely proud about the sensible precaution.

Bobbing his head to whatever music he was listening to through his headphones, the kid secured the bike, having to fold his huge frame down to get in close enough to do it. John, himself, was over six foot and the kid must have easily matched him in that department. Really, John should have gone outside, told him to move it. Told him that, for security reasons, he couldn’t keep it there. That’s what he should have done eight months ago. Except he hadn’t. He’d just taken a step back into the shadows, pretty much in the spot he was standing right now, and watched. And kept watching. Every night. Like clockwork.

John had tried to stop. For years he’d tried. Even talking to a therapist hadn’t helped. He could only go so long before the cut of a hip or the strong line of a shoulder would catch his eye and then John was right back to sneaking glances from behind a newspaper or standing in the shadows. But when John saw this kid, he didn’t even bother trying to turn away. He was too perfect. John didn’t want to miss a second—didn’t even blink—until the kid was out of sight.

Sick fuck is right.

Ben didn’t have any idea this was why John was such a stickler for the schedule. Not really. Ben had made a joke about the kid once, when he’d realized that John was always right there when the guy pulled up outside and chained up his bike. John should have laughed it off, kept his cool, but he didn’t. He’d blushed, too shocked to do anything else, assuming he’d been caught out again. Thankfully, Ben was oblivious, too caught up in finding things to tease the new guy about, and this time the joke had stuck.

Except that Ben didn’t know the half of it. Didn’t know how close to the truth he really was.

~•~

The following morning, shift over for another night, John unlocked the front door to his apartment, but instead of blessed relief at returning to his sanctuary, his weary heart sank. The dog next door was barking. Short, sharp yaps, evenly spaced like a metronome. Which meant his neighbor was out for the morning. Which meant even trying to sleep without a little something to help him along was going to be a waste of time.

John slipped off his suit jacket in one fluid motion and carefully hung it on a padded wooden hanger he kept on the coat rail next to the front door. He crossed the wide, open living space, going down the short corridor to the bedroom. Unlike the care and deference he showed to his jacket, the remainder of his clothes got the short shift as he stripped naked as quickly as he could, trampling everything into a pile at his feet, desperate to lose the shirt and tie and anything else that was touching his skin.

When he finally made it into the shower, he stood under the water for a long time until he realized that either he could hear the dog over the noise of the water or he was starting to imagine it. He soaped himself quickly, letting his fingers linger on the thick rope of scar tissue running down the center of his chest, before rinsing off under the spray. He toweled off, but clearly not enough, as patches of water bled into the fresh t-shirt he pulled on and his sweat pants stuck to him in places as he wrestled his heavy legs into them.

Damp feet slapped on the bare wood floor, picking up grit as he padded back out of the bathroom, but he paid the irritation no attention. His stomach was growling but his need for something else was much stronger. He made a beeline for his jacket and stuck his hand roughly into the inside pocket, rooting around until he pulled out a small memory stick.

This ritual he had was loved and hated in equal parts. Every day, he sat in the big armchair, cursing his laptop and its slow-ass boot-up sequence that tortured him until he could work his way through files and sub-files until he hit the hidden folder he wanted. Every day telling himself that he needed this. To sleep. Nothing more.

There wasn’t eight months’ worth of footage, but it was close. And that was only because it hadn’t occurred to him initially that he could copy the surveillance feed that covered the street outside the building. He hadn’t imagined that this thing—that the kid—needn’t be a fleeting moment, once a night, that it could be forever and always and right there in John’s home, whenever he wanted it.

He stuck the memory stick into the port, tapping his fingers until the icon appeared and held his breath as he dragged the file across the screen.

‘Files Copying’ were the two most frustrating words in the English language for the two minutes they mocked him. He watched the little progress bar, willing it to go faster, and passed the time by pressing the heel of his palm to his fattening dick. But finally, the video player opened up and there he was. Gray. A little fuzzy. But right there.

“Hi,” John whispered to the screen as the kid cycled onto it. John’s hand slid under the waistband of his sweatpants, pulling out his half-hard cock, momentarily disappointed that the fabric had claimed that first smear of pre-come. Somehow it felt better than lube and besides, he had no motivation to go get any when that ass was on the screen. He licked a sloppy stripe from his wrist to his fingertips and hoped it would be enough instead. His hand moved slow and determined as he drank in the sight of the shorts and the bangs and tattooed forearm, the kid’s lithe body bending and stretching, and that damn, sweet, addictive smile. All he could think was sick fuck as he angled the screen a little closer, and for some reason it made him come harder than usual.

~•~

The first night the kid didn’t show up, Ben joked with John about being an addict. John laughed along with it and when he got home, consoled himself with watching the footage of a night from two months before. It had been raining and the kid was soaked to the skin, hair plastered to his face, and John slept just fine.

Eight days later, it wasn’t a joke anymore. John stood in the darkened reception and watched the minutes tick by until it was 8:42 and he was suddenly aware of Ben yelling at him on the comm. John’s hands were shaking so hard he had to grip the reception desk so he didn’t come apart completely and wondered how in hell it had come to this. In the end, he did the only thing he could think of. He walked back to the security office, took off the earpiece, placed it on the desk in front of Ben with the barest of apologies and walked out. He’d slept a total of three hours in three days and all he could think about was finding the kid before it killed him.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Amber on Love Bytes Reviews wrote:

First off, I love this author. I think it’s a proven fact that if you can make something that should be totally off-putting like stalking, understandable then you are in fact a genius storyteller. Because in regards to this particular story with these particular characters, I totally understood it, not only that…it was way hot when it was all said and done.

So…I think a trigger warning is appropriate in this case because the main character is in fact a stalker but he has reasons. And John isn’t even remotely scary or dangerous if anything he’s the quite opposite. But he’s conditioned to keeping people at a distance. That’s how he prefers it so he’s made it a habit of watching from afar.

Jason was essentially in the wrong place at the wrong time and almost lost his life because of it. Lucky for him he had John who unbeknownst to Jason, was looking out for him in more ways than one.

This story is chalked full of twists and turns, suspicion and violence centered on what all happened to Jason and why.

Slowly but surely we get answers and Jason also finds out just how long he’s had John’s attention.

Again, I have to reiterate that on so many occasions this could have gone really bad, but it doesn’t. In fact, it really did just keep getting better and better. It’s so hard to no love John. He’s an amazing character who has flaws. I loved that Jason held onto his anger but trusted his heart and instincts. I loved the gift of acceptance that Jason gave John. There was so much awesome to this story.

Overall, I whole heartedly recommend it although I know it won’t be for everyone. Great writing, amazing story…fantastic start to a series!! Can’t wait for book 2….!!!

5 Stars

Sue on Books Laid Bare Boys wrote:

Ok so I really don't know what it is about this book but I can't stop thinking about it!!
I think from just the blurb that I knew it would be one of thos books that I couldn't put down and when I read the first chapter I knew I was right.
John, an ex cop who had been pensioned off after being injured, got his kicks from watching people. When I say watching, I mean following their moves every day, recording them and then touching himself while replaying the tapes.
Now I know this may sound very creepy but it really wasn't and I'm not sure what that says about me....
When the object of his perverse desires disappears he is thrown into a major panic and goes to an old friend on the force to help find him. What he discovers is a broken man needing help.
Jason was totally oblivious to being watched. When a case of mistaken identity almost ends his life he is thrown into a situation where he needs a lot of help and protection. What he doesn't realise is that the man protecting him is the sort of person you would normally run a mile from.
The situation both of them are thrust in to begins to change them both and as the story develops, revelations and relationships threaten both of them.
Can they move past the horrors they face and become whole together?
There is so much more I want to say but I'm not sure how to...
Whatever you do, don't miss the link at the end for the bonus chapter.
I can't wait for the next book in this series and I hope there are many more.
5 out of 5 stars.


Re - Trigger warnings.

Most of the violence is off page. There's no sexual element to any of the violence described as it happens or as a memory.

About the Author

After spending far too long creating stories in her head, Alex finally plucked up the courage to write them down and realized it was quite fun seeing them on the page after all.
Free from aspirations of literary greatness, Alex simply hopes to entertain by spinning a good yarn of love and life, wrapped up with a happy ending. Although, if her characters have to go through Hell to get there, she’s a-okay with that.
With only a dysfunctional taste in music and a one-eyed dog to otherwise fill her days, Alex writes and walks on the South Coast of England—even when her heart and spellcheck are in New York.