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Murder By Design

By Jade Falconer



Description

Sidney has it all: he's a gorgeous, sought-after male model, and he lives with Alan, who worships the ground he walks on. He's surrounded by friends and luxury. His life may not be conventional, but he's happy.

Then Alan is murdered, and Sidney is arrested for the crime. All evidence points to Sidney, but the detective assigned to the case is sure they've got the wrong man. Detective Greg Wilson is convinced of Sidney's innocence, but is it because he's falling for him? Can Greg solve the case before it's too late?


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Excerpt

Greg waited in the room adjoining the interrogation room. It was important not to let it appear that he was waiting for Sidney, but to make Sidney wait for him.

Sidney was led in. He looked pale under the harsh lights, and he looked around at the empty room. Then he sighed and took a seat at the end of the table, folding his hands in his lap.

Greg looked at him for a moment through the two-way glass. He felt as if he knew him already, though they’d never met. He slipped out of the observation room and into the other room, taking a seat across from him. “Mr. Singer, I’m Detective Wilson. I’ve been investigating the murder of Mr. Spencer. I’ve asked you here to answer a few additional questions with regards to your earlier statement.”

Sidney’s gaze took in the detective, and a slight frown creased his forehead. “Okay, but listen. Are you in charge here? ‘Cause my car got impounded, and it’s really a pain in the ass ‘cause I couldn’t even get my stuff out of it. Will I get it back soon?”

He was even more stunning up close, and Greg had to think for a moment to understand what he’d asked. “Yes. I apologize for the inconvenience. I’m in charge of the investigation. As soon as the car is ready it will be returned to you. Now, I had a question about your whereabouts on the night of the twenty-first. In your statement, you said you were with a Mr. Andrew Dowling between the hours of one-thirty AM and two-thirty AM, is that correct?” he asked.

A smirk played about Sidney’s lips. “Yeah. Andrew. I’d been working that one for a while. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, you know?” His gaze flicked over Greg, and his head turned to the side as he really looked at him.

“Do you know of anyone else who might have seen you together?” he asked. He didn’t need a thorough explanation of what they were doing together. He could imagine. He again cursed a little twinge of jealousy. It was completely ridiculous. This man didn’t know him, and surely wouldn’t be interested in him even if he did.

Sidney seemed to think about it. “There were lots of people there,” he said. “None of the names I gave you?” He trailed off, looking searchingly at Greg’s face. “Andrew denied it, didn’t he?”

Greg could see the very moment that the realization dawned on Sidney. “I’m afraid he did. I’ve been unable to locate anyone that saw you during that period of time. If there’s anyone else you can think of, anyone at all.” His heart went out to him. Greg knew this man wasn’t guilty. He had no evidence to support it; he just knew.

Sidney was silent for a long moment. “I loved Alan. I couldn’t have killed him,” he whispered, eyes shining with unshed tears. He looked down, blinking them away. “No one whose name I know, other than the ones I gave you,” he whispered. His hands twisted together in his lap.

Greg was rarely moved by a suspect’s tears, but this time was different. “I’m not saying that you killed him, Mr. Singer. I’m saying that all the evidence is pointing towards you. We are canvassing the employees of the club and people identified as regular patrons, but we still haven’t come up with anyone who can verify that they saw you during that period of time. And if you were in a private situation with Mr. Dowling, I doubt we will, either.”

“A private situation?” Sidney snapped, looking up directly into Greg’s eyes. “I was sucking his cock, Detective. He was coming in my mouth. And he’s so scared he’s pretending it never happened. That asshole. I’m so screwed now.” He buried his face in his hands.

Greg regarded him seriously. “I know this is a difficult time for you, Mr. Singer, but I do have a few more questions I need to ask.” He waited for Sidney to compose himself. He wanted to tell him that he’d been searching for evidence to prove his innocence, but that would sound weird. “I can assure you, we are doing everything possible to make sure that the right person is brought to justice.”

Sidney blinked at him. “You just said that there’s no proof that I was with Andrew. So you obviously think I’m the right person.” His voice held a small tremor but no more tears flowed. “Are you going to arrest me?”

“My opinion isn’t what’s important. It’s what the evidence suggests. I may have to arrest you, yes, but I’m hoping to avoid it.” He knew he shouldn’t have admitted that, but he knew no one was observing the interrogation. “Can you tell me if there’s anyone that you can think of who might want to frame you for this crime?” he asked delicately.

Sidney’s eyes widened and he leaned closer. “Frame me?” he repeated, biting at his lip. “Does that really happen outside of books and movies?” He gazed at Greg uncertainly.

Greg’s eyebrows furrowed. “Mr. Singer, if you were going to murder someone, wouldn’t you want to make it look like someone else did it?” he asked. The other man looked so fragile and pale. Greg wanted to offer him comfort, but he couldn’t.

Sidney pouted. “I wouldn’t want to murder anyone,” he protested. “I don’t know. I suppose people might be jealous of Alan and me. But I work hard. I didn’t just live off him.”

There was another question Greg wanted to ask. It was the only source of doubt in his mind, though he knew the other man might take offense. “In your statement, you referred to Mr. Spencer as your boyfriend, and yet it wasn’t a monogamous relationship, is that correct?”

Sidney once again regarded Greg for a long moment before answering. “Alan liked to watch. He couldn’t...” He looked down, tears leaking out of his eyes. “He’d had some kind of surgery and he couldn’t have sex. But he loved to watch me. I know it sounds weird, but he wanted it. It was his idea.” He looked up at Greg. “I didn’t kill him.” The tears trickled down his face unheeded, running his eyeliner.

Greg pulled a soft cotton handkerchief out of the pocket of his jacket and handed it to Sidney. “Were you aware that you were his sole beneficiary?” he asked. The question was really more to bring to Sidney’s attention that the case against him was grave.

Sidney took the handkerchief and dabbed at his eyes. “No. I didn’t know,” he said quietly. He looked up at Greg. “That looks really bad, doesn’t it?”

“I can’t lie to you, Mr. Singer. All the evidence points to you so far. Money is certainly motive enough for most juries. Your whereabouts at the time of the murder can’t be corroborated. The only thing we’re missing is the murder weapon.” He frowned. “If you can think of anything that might eliminate you as a suspect, I’d be more than happy to investigate it.”

Sidney stood up abruptly, hands on the table. “How about the fact that I didn’t fucking do it?” he demanded, but he was trembling. He sank back into the chair. “Oh God, I don’t want to go to jail,” he sobbed into his hands.

Greg’s hands were tied. There were so many things he wanted to say that would be completely inappropriate. “I wish I had better news for you, but unfortunately, those are the facts. I don’t have any more questions for you. You’re free to go. But I have to advise you not to leave town.” He stood as well, feeling awkward. “Can I offer you a ride somewhere?”

“I was supposed to meet Justin for lunch. I guess you could drop me at the restaurant,” he sniffled. He held out the sodden handkerchief. “Um, here. Sorry.”

Greg accepted the handkerchief. “Don’t worry about it,” he said, going to hold the door open for Sidney. “Oh,” he said, pulling his business card out of his pocket. “I want you to take this. My cell number is on the back. If you think of anything, anything at all, I want you to call me right away, all right?”

Sidney stepped closer and took the card, looking at, it then up at Greg. “Thanks,” he breathed. “You, you’ve been very nice. Considering.”

Greg stared into the warmest brown eyes he’d ever seen. He swallowed hard, feeling even more flustered than he had at Chris’ obvious overtures. “I’m just doing my job,” he said quietly. “I don’t want to arrest the wrong person.”

Sidney gazed back without moving for a long moment, then spoke. “Then don’t arrest me. I didn’t do it.” Then he turned and walked out the door.