Author: Charli Coty
Release Date: January 30, 2017
Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Word Count: 78600*
Sex Content: Explicit
Charli Coty © 2017
All Rights Reserved
Colin always hesitated before getting into the rickety old elevator. It didn’t seem safe to ride in something, even four floors, if you could see the individual boards―which looked suspiciously similar to two-by-fours―vibrating. Or maybe it had more to do with the dust, grime, and cobwebs coating every visible surface, or maybe the preconceived notion he’d had that college would be different from high school. He held his breath and stepped in as the door closed.
He looked around, and thought he was alone in the lobby until he’d made it halfway to the front door. Someone cursed, and Colin turned to see a pair of black Doc Martens lying on the floor, partially sticking out from the mailbox alcove. He recognized the white symbols hand drawn on the backs of the heels. The guy who owned those boots―Tattoo Guy―lived in the building, but he and Colin hadn’t done more than nod hello. Colin’s mom had warned him time and again not to talk to anyone in the building because he’d be dragged into some drama or other, and he needed to focus on school. Maybe Tattoo Guy was hurt and needed help. He couldn’t just leave.
He reached the juncture of the hallway and the alcove housing the tarnished little brass doors to everyone’s mailboxes and saw another familiar someone. The large man was hunkered down beside Tattoo Guy. He wore battered jeans and steel-toed boots with a hole in the leather of one toe. The neck of his dark-green T-shirt was stretched out of shape, and his black leather jacket looked a half size too small. Colin struggled to come up with a word to describe him but couldn’t think of an antonym to doppelganger. That man was everything Colin was not, especially tall and dark.
“What’s that purple mist?” Colin asked, startling himself. He never spoke to strangers, especially not about―
“It’s more a fog.”
Odd. The man didn’t seem surprised. It did remind Colin of pictures of fog rolling in around the Golden Gate Bridge. Only these misty tendrils were purple and gradually disappeared as they moved farther away from Tattoo Guy.
“Why won’t you answer me?”
“What else do you see?” He turned slightly toward Colin but remained hunkered down, studying Tattoo Guy but not touching him.
“Nothing.” Colin blinked, and that fast, it wasn’t true anymore. “Crap, his tattoo just moved.”
“No. The flower.” The purple tendrils had decayed so much they’d stopped diverting Colin’s attention from the blood on Tattoo Guy’s arm and the back of his shirt. He was obviously more than hurt.
“The violet moved?”
“It slapped the cymbal. I heard it.” Colin thought about running, but his feet refused to move.
“It’d help if one of them named the killer.” The large man stood slowly and brushed off his hands. A little over six feet tall and slightly bulky, his long shaggy hair and full beard shot through with gray made him look like a street person. “Some of these tats have mouths. Are they saying anything?”
“What?” Colin took a step back. “Aren’t you going to call the police?”
“Already have. But I plan on starting an investigation of my own. The police are busy. If he doesn’t have any family to make noise―and I know he doesn’t―they won’t put much effort into finding out who killed him.”
“Why do you think someone killed him?”
“Murder is purple.” He slowly reached into his jacket and smiled as he brought out a pastel-green business card. “I’m a private investigator. Al Green.”