TITLE: Island Detective
AUTHOR: Sue Brown
RELEASE DATE: 30th June 2021
Universal – https://readerlinks.com/l/1828736
Series Link – https://readerlinks.com/l/1828737
Cranky middle-aged author with an addiction for coffee, and a passion for romancing two guys. She loves her dog, she loves her kids, and she loves coffee; in which order very much depends on the time of day.
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Her website: http://www.suebrownstories.com/
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Skandik and Owens, private detectives. Can they find a man who vanished over thirty years ago? Or will their first case break them apart?
With a new job as a private detective on a small island, Olaf has everything he’s dreamed of. A life as an openly gay man, a partner who adores every fuzzy hair on his body, and his adopted family and friends who love him. So why does he feel something is still missing?
With a promotion that’s his for the taking, Paul has everything he never dreamed of. His closeted cop is finally in the same country as him. His interfering family and friends are happy for him. So why isn’t he satisfied?
Then on his first day of business Olaf gets the worst possible case. To discover whether a sixteen-year-old gay boy who disappeared thirty-five years ago is alive or dead. As they delve into the dark history of the boy’s family, both Olaf and Paul are forced to confront their relationship.
Will Paul take the promotion? Will Olaf walk away if he does? Or will they face the fact that their relationship is more important than anything else?
Paul’s flat was a disaster zone. Paul usually kept it tidy but when he worked nights he didn’t care. He slept, and he worked on repeat. Sometimes he ate. Usually when Olaf nagged. Paul cleaned up his flat just before Olaf arrived. This time Olaf got to see the mess in all its glory. He briefly contemplated tidying, but he wanted to see Paul more than a clean kitchen.
He filled a backpack with a change of clothes for them both and toiletries. Then he headed to Paul’s parents. The schools were disgorging their pupils as he drove, adding more time to the journey. By the time he arrived he had a pounding headache and tense muscles from shouting at the oblivious kids spilling into the roads in front of him and the parents taking up the space in their SUVs, which had never done anything more than brief trips to the supermarkets and schools.
Olaf grabbed the backpack and headed for the door. He raised his hand to bang on the door, only for it to open without warning.
Jim smiled at him, but Olaf could see the lines of tension around his eyes and mouth. “Hi, Olaf. He’s in the lounge. I’m warning you. He’s grumpy.”
Olaf felt some of the tension leave his body. Grumpy was normal. Grumpy he could deal with.
Jim stood back so Olaf could walk down the hall and into the lounge. Paul was in one corner of the sofa, a huge scowl on his face. At least Olaf thought it was a scowl. It was hard to tell through the bruising. Olaf’s heart did a flip-flip as he looked at the swollen eyes and nose, and split lips. His right arm was in plaster from his fingers to his elbow. Paul had taken a real battering. If the man who’d hurt Paul had been within reach, Olaf wasn’t sure he could have controlled his anger.
Paul looked up as Olaf entered the room. “What the hell are you doing here? You’re supposed to be working. You’ve got a job to do.”
“Shut up,” Olaf muttered, dropping the bag, and striding over to Paul. “Just shut up.”
Then he was next to Paul and hauling him—albeit gently—into his arms. He felt resistance, then Paul curled into him, and Olaf swore he heard a sob. Paul smelled rank, sweat and blood overlaid with hospital scents, but Olaf didn’t care. He would take that for having Paul in his arms.
They stayed like that for a long while, Olaf muttering in Paul’s ear. If challenged afterwards, Olaf wouldn’t have been able to repeat what he said, but it boiled down to ‘I’m here, I love you, I’m here’. Paul, who wasn’t that keen on over-the-top displays of affection, stayed enfolded in Olaf’s arms and didn’t move. Olaf realised Paul had fallen asleep. He was content to stay where he was, grateful Jim and Mattie had given them a few moments to be alone. He needed it to control his own feelings, anger and fear bubbling so close to the surface.
But eventually Jim poked his head around the door. “Do you want a coffee, Olaf?”
Olaf smiled at him. “Please, Jim.” He stayed where he was though. He wasn’t going to let Paul go for a second.
Mattie came in with a cup which she placed on the table next to him. Then she bent to kiss him on the cheek. “He couldn’t relax until you were here.”
Olaf kissed the top of Paul’s head. “I was just the same. If I don’t get a ticket after the speed I drove up here, I’ll be surprised.”
She sat on the edge of the other sofa and fixed her gaze on him. He felt like a butterfly pinned under a microscope.
“You two can’t go on like this.”
Olaf didn’t pretend not to understand. He and Mattie had had too many similar conversations. “I know.”
Olaf didn’t think she needed a third ‘I know’. That wasn’t the answer she wanted. Mattie hated Paul being in the police force. It had been a source of contention for years. Paul had admitted he joined the police mainly to annoy his mother, except it turned out he was a damned fine police officer. What Mattie wanted was for Olaf to sling Paul over his shoulder and carry him back to the Isle of Wight to live happily ever after. What was it about mothers and cavemen?