You know how it is - you're writing away on a novel or a short story and conscious that it's all getting too long. Either there's a word limit at the publisher you're aiming for, or you just don't want to stray too far from the main focus or point. Sometimes, that means cutting scenes to a bare minimum; sometimes it means leaving them out. And sometimes, it can be fun putting those missing scenes back in - or at least writing them up and sharing them with the readers.
I've done that with 'Necessity's Door', the gay-undercover-cop-posing-as-rentboy story just published by Riptide Publishing, and this is the result. If you've read the book, you'll know this slots in at the very beginning - a sort of prequel, if you like. If you haven't read the book yet, I hope this will whet your appetite for more!
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"You two - my office - now!"
The shout rang out across the squad room with all the force the inspector could put behind it, which given his flaming red hair and usual state of temper was no small amount. Paul McKee, known to all and sundry as Mac, winced. There were other detectives in the room - old Toby keeping his head down behind a pile of books; Janice fielding three phone calls at once - but he knew without looking the call would be for them. It always was when the inspector yelled like that.
Sure enough, his partner Jake was already scraping back his chair, mouth a mock grimace but his eyes dancing with hidden mischief. Mac sighed, and hoped it wouldn't be bad news. They'd only just got off a massive job that had entailed Jake going undercover for months, posing as the lover of an accountant who was laundering his company's funds. With less than a fortnight for the poor bugger to recover, he prayed the undercover work wasn't about to start again.
Nobody was listening to his prayers. The first thing Greyson said when they marched into his office was, "Shut the door." He was a funny old sod but he was fierce about operating an open-door policy; he rarely if ever asked anyone to shut the door. This must be bad.
"Is there a problem?" he asked, hoping to attract any flak away from Jake. He'd been worried about the bloke lately - Jake's moods had been swinging more than usual and he'd come off that last op looking positively crushed. Fair enough it had been hard work but not that hard. He'd wondered if Jake was coming down with flu but there'd been no sign of it yet.
"Yes, there's a fucking problem. I've just got off the phone to the Chief Inspector and he's just got off the phone to the headmaster at St Cuthbert's. He's not a happy man."
"Who? Old Huggins or the headmaster?"
"That's Mr Huggins to you, Sonny Jim." But the inspector seemed to be calming down; when he next spoke it was less of a bellow. "We've got to do something about this bastard Frank Warren. His lads have been camped outside the school entrances morning and afternoon, selling drugs to the kids. He's got about a quarter of the school hooked if the headmaster is to be believed."
Mac whistled. That was bad. Seriously bad. "How do we know it's Warren? There are other dealers in town."
"One of the kids' older brothers knows someone who works for him. He's been boasting about it, apparently. Fucking bastard. I mean, adults you can forgive up to a point but kids? They don't stand a chance."
"Yeah. So where do we come in?"
The inspector rubbed the back of his neck. "I want you to get Warren. Nail him to the floor. Get something - anything - on him that will stick. I want him off our patch and out of my hair."
"And that means one of you going undercover again."
Mac gritted his teeth. Not again, not now, not so soon.... "What's the angle? What do we know about Warren?" He was afraid, horribly afraid, he already knew the answer.
"Not much," the inspector admitted. "The only thing I've been told is that he likes men. Younger men, working the streets, and nice-looking to boot."
"Shit," said Mac.
"Fuck me, not again," said Jake. He'd been quiet up to now but even he could see where this one was heading, judging by the look on his face. The mischief had all gone. "Go on, then, tell me the worst," he added.
Mac ached for his partner the whole time the inspector was outlining the job. It was much worse than he'd thought. Not just undercover this time, but deep undercover - as a male prostitute of all things. How the hell was Jake going to make that work? Would he really have to work the streets? Would he have to go with other blokes? Mac felt his toes curling up the more he thought about it. But that was the job for you. You got paid once a month so you had to do the work, even if the work was shit. And this one really was shit. He'd just have to make sure he was there to watch his partner's back. Jake might be an experienced copper - and a grown man - but he didn't trust him out there on his own.
Being an openly-gay detective in Birmingham comes with its share of problems. For one, the pay is awful. For another, Jake always gets stuck with the crappy undercover jobs. Like posing as a prostitute to catch the new crime boss in town—a man notorious for rough sex with pretty young rentboys.
Jake’s latest op is fraught with difficulties, all of them men. Like his partner, Mac, who he’s secretly fancied for months. And his new client, Graham, who he keeps sleeping with for reasons far beyond maintaining his cover. And of course there’s the target, Frank Warren, who’s much harder to lure than Jake had anticipated.
The longer the job drags on, the tougher it gets for Jake to juggle his own needs with those of the job. They may be closing in on Warren, but Jake’s heart—and moral compass—are slipping through his fingers. Mac is there to back him up, but is he really the man Jake needs? Tough to tell among all those lies Jake's been telling himself and everyone else.
Like the sound of it? Want to read more? There’s an excerpt and further details at the so feel free to click on over there and have an explore.
Good Luck to all!
All you need to do is answer the following three simple questions, the answers to all of which can be found in ‘Necessity’s Door’. When you have the answers, and I’ll put all the correct entries into a hat (well, actually a willow-pattern bowl, but who’s checking...) and the first correct entry drawn from the bowl at the end of the blog tour will win the prize.
- Here’s the questions:
- 1. What is the real name of The Blue Baboon gay club?
- 2. What colour is Frank Warren’s hair?
- 3. How much does Warren pay Jake for sex?