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Tarnished Hero

By Temple Madison


Published by JMS Books LLC at Smashwords

Visit jms-books.com for more information.


Copyright 2018 Temple Madison

ISBN 9781634865340

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Cover Design: Written Ink Designs | written-ink.com

Image(s) used under a Standard Royalty-Free License.

All rights reserved.


WARNING: This book is not transferable. It is for your own personal use. If it is sold, shared, or given away, it is an infringement of the copyright of this work and violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

No portion of this book may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher, with the exception of brief excerpts used for the purposes of review.

This book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It may contain sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which might be considered offensive by some readers. Please store your files where they cannot be accessed by minors.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published in the United States of America.

NOTE: This ebook was previously published by Liquid Silver Publishing.

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Tarnished Hero

By Temple Madison

Prologue

Click, click, click—the echoing sound haunted the dark city streets like a spine-tingling nightmare. Each lonely, isolated step continued to crunch along the asphalt until at last a frightened, solitary woman in stiletto heels emerged from a leaning shaft of cold darkness. She rushed swiftly along, darting between parked cars, and then across a rain-washed street. In her haste she stumbled over a crumbling curb that viciously ripped at her hose. With a muffled curse she quickly gained her balance and continued running and staggering, the eerie silence of the late hour causing her to turn and cast an anxious eye behind her. Sheer, black terror gripped her when the massive shadows took the heart-stopping shape of a man’s profile. She could hear the far-off ghostly sound of his shoes as they scraped along the hard surface.

She turned, hurrying away.

Her heart thrashed in her chest.

The shadow man stayed with her, moving when she moved, stopping when she stopped. She shivered when she felt the fog’s misty kiss upon her cheeks, an icy chill on the nape of her neck, and pulled her trench coat closer around her. One by one the lights of the restaurants blinked out, and the smell of burned coffee grounds mixed with rotting garbage, made her stomach heave.

She stopped.

She couldn’t go any further.

Her breathing was heavy and labored as she leaned her head against a cool, wet lamppost. Finally opening her eyes, she found herself looking down into a shallow pool of blood, but quickly realized it was the reflection of the red, garish neon lights on rushing rainwater. Her head jerked upward when the halogen light above her sputtered to a whisper, leaving her standing in total darkness. Dread slowly climbed up her spine like a coiling snake as she looked around for somewhere to run. Finally, she hurried across the vacant street into the lighted park, hoping to find someone to help her. The moment she got past the wide arched opening she stopped, looked around, and even though it looked as if she was alone—she felt a presence close by.

He was behind her.

She could hear him breathing.

She could hear the rustling of his clothes.

She could hear the crunch of dirt beneath his shoes as he moved closer—and closer.

Finally forcing herself out of her frozen state, she turned and saw her stalker. Her eyes widened in surprise at what looked like a hideous mask that loomed dark and ugly before her. As she turned to run, her scream came swelling into the night, but turned to a gurgle when she was immediately grabbed from behind. She felt a hand on her mouth, muffling the gurgling sounds of torment and fear.

The man wrestled her into a dark corner behind a large trash bin and threw her to the ground. Fear surged through her as the cold glitter of a large steel blade danced threateningly before her eyes. Beyond it she could see the madness gleaming in his eyes, and the next thing she knew the cold blade sliced across her throat. She had just enough life inside her to reach up and clutch one side of his mask and tear it away—before everything went dark.

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Chapter 1

Later that evening

The sound pierced the air like a tiny echo in the distance, growing louder and louder until you could see the whirling red and blue lights of cop cars as they stabbed the dark skies with rainbow-like colors. When the vehicles finally came to a screeching halt, the thudding sound of opening and closing of doors filled the night, and uniformed officers spilled out of the vehicles, their guns drawn, and their resolve geared up to jump anything that moved.

Now, as tall, dark, and deadly, I’ve-seen-it-all Eddie Scarlett made his way through the uniforms, he slipped his gloves out, and prepared himself for the job he had to do. Eddie’s main job with the precinct was that of a Back-Alley Cop—a code name for going undercover. They had code names for almost everything these days, but a serial killer was still a serial killer, and that’s what they had on their hands now—a dirty freakin’ serial killer.

As his gaze moved along the ground at the bloody and mutilated woman’s body, Eddie was unmoved. In his earlier years he would have been crying—literally. He would have his hands covering his face, his tears creeping through his fingers as he looked down at the horrible sight. But not now. Through the years his heart had turned to stone. In fact, Eddie Scarlett had been an undercover cop at NYPD so long, and had seen so much, he felt dead inside.

In his dark trench coat, he blended with the night, slithering in and out of close quarters like the most venomous of snakes. He carried a Glock close to his heart, and walked strong, not nervous like some did by always looking over their shoulders for something suspicious. This giant was dangerous to all the street punks, dealers, and gangs in the area. Even when he was off duty his radar was up, and along with the uniformed patrol, he did his best to keep the streets safe, but every now and again a killing of this magnitude would happen, and they would call him in to do a down and dirty examination of the crime scene by collecting any kind of physical evidence he could find. He spent his time digging out the residue from beneath the victim’s fingernails, taking a mold of the killer’s handprints as well as estimating his height and weight by the imprints of body parts he might have left in the mud. If he was very lucky he would find strands of the killer’s hair in the victim’s hand, giving them color, length, and DNA, but in this case he found her hand wrapped tightly around a torn mask. All this added together would give them a starting point in identifying the suspect.

Now, with his job finally done, he rose to his feet, took one last look at the victim, and knew he was lying to himself. He did feel something, but it wasn’t sadness, grief, distress, or regret as one might suspect, but anger, rage, fury, and a deep desire to find the monster who did this and tear him from limb to limb. To calm himself, he took a few deep breaths, wiped his hand along his swarthy jawline that was covered with a five o’clock shadow, and then made his way through the uniforms to find the OIC. When Eddie found the man, he revealed what he’d uncovered, helped the others canvass the area one last time for anything missed or unseen, and then secured the crime scene. When the forensics unit finally arrived, he gave them what he had, and then conducted a grand tour that was every bit as professional as the tour guide at Kennedy Center.

With his job done, Eddie couldn’t get away fast enough.

He quickly slammed into his car, turned the ignition on, and felt the welcome purr of the engine. With a lead foot he revved it up over and over, his anger showing. The moment he got the car in motion he maneuvered it out of the parking spot, and gradually gained speed until he felt the wind slapping at his face from the open window. He longed for a wind that was clean and crisp for once, but as usual, he was hit in the face by the sickening odor of blood that quickly got lost among other disgusting odors. Drugs, alcohol, immorality, rape, corruption, muggings, perversion—all a colorless, ghostly, and intoxicating danger that drifted through the city streets like an invisible giant. Eddie looked from left to right, and even behind him, an eye out not only for other traffic, but undesirables.

The ugly criminal types.

The guilty ones.

The ones, who, if they even moved, he’d be down on them in a New York minute.

So, with deadly black eyes, and a dark trench coat covering his back, Eddie drove along these busted up streets of New York like it was the bed he slept on—when he was able to sleep.

Once Eddie got back to the precinct, he learned they had already nabbed a suspect, so he had just enough time to drink a cup of cold coffee in lieu of a stiff whiskey sour, wolf down a cold sandwich in lieu of a hot meal at the diner, and knock back several swigs of water, still trying to get the stinking taste of the street out of his mouth. Finally, he crushed the disposable cup in his hand like it was the neck of public enemy number one, and threw it into the wastebasket.

Now it began.

He walked toward the dull, drab, scratched up door with the word Interrogation Room stretched across the top panel like it was an invitation to hell.

Oh, joy.

The moment Eddie opened the door, he was hit in the face by cigarette smoke mixed with sweat. The room had personality. Every sicko perp that had ever been in there left some kind of odor to float around in the air. It was the only room in the precinct that could, along with Baskin-Robbins, boast of over thirty-nine flavors—or was it thirty-one? Thirty-five? Hell, did it matter? No chocolate or strawberry here, only the smell of tension, hate, and fear, along with the tiniest stench that told him that this room had been used for something other than interrogation.

Hundreds of angry, killing, grappling hands had fisted and splayed on that rickety, scarred up old table that looked as if it had been found in a dumpster somewhere. Rage you could almost taste hung in the air, giving the room a one-of-a-kind persona that was so real it could almost stand up and fight back.

He was deep in these ugly thoughts when suddenly he stopped short.

Sitting there at the little scarred up interrogation table wasn’t the blood-covered, black-eyed monster he’d expected, but an innocent looking, blond-haired baby.

Not baby in the sense that he was young, but baby like in, oh, baby!

Eddie’s years of experience told him this wasn’t the freak they were after. This was a hot little number that must have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Eddie’s eyes lowered, beginning at his leather-clad feet and red flashy socks, and traveled up along his muscled frame to a net muscle shirt. Eddie almost laughed out loud when he noticed his red shirt matched his red socks. Sitting there all muscled and tattooed, Eddie wondered what he did for a living.

A model, an actor, or something much worse—a street walker.

He couldn’t help but wonder what kind of smell would linger after this man left the room. Maybe a bit of the spicy cologne he could smell wafting off the guy from where he stood. Too bad it would be eaten up by the nastier scents.

Approaching the suspect, he looked down at the clip board he was carrying, and said, “Adam? Adam Dunbar? Is that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me.”

With his answer, Eddie pulled up a chair, scraping the floor as he swung it backward and straddled it. When the boy looked up at him, Eddie had to hold his breath to keep from gasping. He had the bluest, the most beautiful, the most innocent, the most—

“I didn’t do it,” Adam said, his smooth voice breaking the silence in the room.

“Do what?”

“You know what…” He hesitated when he saw Eddie. “You look familiar. Do I know you?”

“The name is Eddie Scarlett.”

“Oh, my God, you’re Eddie Scarlett? The Eddie Scarlett I’ve heard so much about?”

“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I’m not the anything. I’m just a New York City cop doin’ his job.”

“Nah, you’re not just any old cop. You’re the one they call Demon, right?”

“They do if they want to get their heads bashed in.”

“You think I don’t know who Eddie Scarlett really is?” Adam said. “Everyone knows Eddie Scarlett and his reputation. I’ve heard that you’ve got a heart as black as death, and they call you a back-alley cop, but I don’t know why. Is it because you know every back alley in the city?”

“No, it’s because…never mind.”

“Hey, is it true that once you even pulled a gun on a guy you were having sex with because he wouldn’t do what you wanted?”

“That’s a lie! He just wanted to ruin my reputation.”

“I’d say your reputation is already in the toilet, Demon.”

“If it is, it’s right there with yours and everybody else’s. Now how about we…”

“You patrol the streets nightly,” Adam said softly, looking closely at Eddie. “Your impressive frame always dressed in black. Cop black. Always swaggering to the music of the streets. I’ve heard all about your hot little episodes in those back alleys. For a favor, of course. I have to admit that I never expected to see you when I was brought in, but here you are with your wolfish smile looking at me as if I was your next meal. You’re a predator, Demon, a legend. You draw your sex partners in like a predator. Your voice, your touch, your desire to consume them. They become an ember within your fire. They become a possession—branded by the Demon.”

“Now you listen to me you little twerp…”

“Okay, okay. I know when to put a plug in it. So…you gonna give me a chance to tell you what I saw, or is this some kind of railroad job?”

“You got something to say, I’m all ears, but I don’t want to hear anything else about what goes on in the streets.”

“Okay…well…it goes like this. I was goin’ out to meet a friend at a bar on the other side of the park, and decided to go through to save myself some steps. I was just approaching the front entrance when I heard something, and went over to investigate. The next thing I knew some stupid cop grabbed me, and pushed me up against one of them fuckin’ chain link fences puttin’ some kind of steel bracelets on me. I tried to tell ‘em they had the wrong guy, but would the officer listen to me? Hell no. While he had me up against the fence the real killer got away.”

“You mean he was in the immediate area?”

“Of course he was. I saw him as clear as I see you. They would’ve seen him, too, if they wasn’t so…”

While Adam was talking, Eddie continued his interested inspection of the man’s body that included a snake tattoo that wound up the guy’s muscled arm. “I don’t see any blood. Did you wear something over your clothes when you killed her?”

“Killed her? Haven’t you been listening to me? I didn’t fuckin’ kill the bitch, I was just passing by, for God’s sake. She was already dead before I showed up.”

“All right. Don’t get your panties in a twist here. I don’t think you did it. I’m just conducting an investigation. It’s my job, you know.”

“Sounds to me like you’re tryin’ to railroad me…Demon.”

“All right, let’s get this straight right now. My name is Eddie. Did you get that? Eddie Scarlett. Demon is the name the dirt on the street gave me.”

“Sounds like you enjoy saying your own name. I’ve heard about people like you. Narcissistic as hell. You got a problem…Demon.”

“No, you’ve got the problem which is why you were apprehended and brought in here. Like I said before, Demon is only a street name.” He looked around. “Are we on the street?”

“I’m gonna be in about two seconds,” Adam said as he jumped up.

“Where the hell do you think you’re goin’?”

“You can’t keep me here. You said yourself that I didn’t do it, so arrest me or let me go.”

“Sorry, but I’ve got to get some information from you first.”

“Like what?”

“Like your name, your job, where you live, how old you are.” He indicated the chair. “Have a seat.”

“I told you my name,” Adam said as he sat down. “And why the hell does it matter where I live if I’m not the one they’re lookin’ for?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I might want to send you a birthday card.”

“You’re a smartass, you know that?”

“Takes one to know one.”

Adam looked at Eddie as if he were crazy. “I’ve been out of elementary school for years. I guess you didn’t make it, huh?”

“Naw, they took me out of elementary school and made a cop out of me. Let me give you a little advice, kid. Drop the attitude, and you’ll make this a lot more pleasant for the both of us.”

“What you call attitude is personality.”

“With a personality like that you’ll never win friends and influence people. Just answer the freakin’ questions so we can go and stop tormenting each other. Keep in mind we might want to call you back in for a lineup.”

“Me? In a lineup? But I thought…”

“No, not you. We need you to identify the perp.”

“Perp?”

“The perpetrator. The accused. The killer. You know, the one that got away? Anyway, if that’s true then we’ll want you in the observation room to look at a line of…perps. By the way, before you leave, we need you to sit down with our police artist and give him a description of the man you saw.”

“What’s to identify? He wore a mask that was half torn off.”

“Then you must have seen half his fuckin’ face.”

“It was dark.”

“Dark, hell. There are lights all over that place. Just tell them what you know. The mask the face…whatever. You can do that can’t you?”

“All right, let’s get this over with. My name is Adam Dunbar. I’m…I’ll be twenty-five in November. Twelfth to be exact. I’m not working right now, but I’ve got a job waiting for me at KingStar Advertising on Wall Street. Anything else you need?”

“Wall Street, huh? Fancy address.”

“Don’t be too impressed. It’s just one of those rag-tag businesses that clusters around Wall Street for the prestige it gives them. CitiBank is a good example.”

“Okay, so what do you mean, ‘waiting for you?’”

“It just means that I won’t be going to work right away, not until after…”

“Not until after what?”

“Does that have anything at all to do with why I’m here?”

“I won’t know that until you tell me. Besides, since you object to giving me your home address, I’d like to at least know where I can find you if I need you.”

“Well…unless it’s something I can help you with in the next few days, I’m afraid you’ll be out of luck. I’m going abroad very soon to take care of…something.”

“Something? Something like…what?”

Adam took a big, impatient breath, and said, “If you must know, I’m going to Sweden for a medical procedure.”

Sweden…medical procedure. The minute Eddie heard that, his radar went up. “Say, isn’t that where they have all those, se…uh…what kind of…”

“None of your fuckin’ business! Jeez! I’ve never seen anybody so friggin’ nosy about things that don’t concern them!”

“I hope it’s not life-threatening because we can order you to stay in town in case we need you.”

“For a friggin’ lineup? Look, Demon, I’ve told you all I’m going to tell you. If you want to keep me in town you’ll have to lock me up.”

“Look, I don’t want to do that. Can you at least give me some kind of timeline? What are we talkin’ here, weeks…months?”

“I’m not sure how long it’ll be, but I figure I should be back in about three to four weeks.”

“How soon are you leaving?”

Adam gave a slight shrug. “Sometime in the next few days.”

“Are you gay?”

“Wha…”

“Do you feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body?”

“What the hell…you have got more gall…all right, yes, I am gay, but…that’s it. If you want to know anything else, too bad. You’re digging into stuff that doesn’t have a fuckin’ thing to do with this case.”

“I guess I was right then. About your panties I mean. Are they pink?”

Before Adam had a chance to answer, he felt Eddie’s hand slide gently over his, and turned his curious gaze downward. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Feeling your hands. They’re nice and smooth. Whatever you do, you don’t do it with your hands.”

“I could turn you in for groping me.”

“Groping you?” Eddie said, surprised. “Don’t you know the difference between touching and groping?”

“Touching or groping, they’re both against the law,” Adam said as he jerked his hand away.

“You want me to show you what groping is?” Eddie said as he leaned over, and grabbed Adam’s thigh and squeezed it. “That’s groping.” He began moving his hand up, coming dangerously close to Adam’s crotch. “And this?” he continued, clamping his hand down on Adam’s cock and rubbing it. “This is foreplay.”

Adam almost came up out of his chair. “My God, what…what the…”

“Ever been with a cop, kid?”

“If…If I had I wouldn’t be too proud of it.”

“If you had you’d remember it. Like the bumper stickers say…we do it better.”

Adam indicated toward the mirror on the wall. “If I were you I’d be worried. There are people watching.”

Eddie smiled. “That’s not the observation room. It’s in another part of the precinct. That’s just a mirror.”

“Damn,” Adam said.

“Yeah,” Eddie said, his words breathy as if he was turned on. “We could even do it if we wanted. No one would know.”

“They would if I told them.”

“You think they’d listen to a hooker? By the way, what’s the going rate for a quick fuck?”

“I’m not a fuckin’ hooker, but if I were it would be more than you could afford.”

“Not a hooker? Okay. Would you turn your ass up for a free ride out of here?”

“What are you talking about? I can go anytime I want.”

“Not if I say otherwise. All it would take is a word from me and…”

“Now I know why they call you Demon.”

“Just chalk it up to education, kid. And while you’re doing that, pull your fuckin’ pants down.”

“So that’s it,” Adam said as he stood and slowly began unbuckling his pants. “I’m not here because I’m a suspect, you just wanted a good fuck, right?”

“Hey, a cop has to get it wherever he can,” he said as he quickly reached over and locked the door while Adam was leaning over the table, the man’s beautiful, perfect butt exposed and ready for action.

Eddie walked up behind Adam, his hands squeezing and caressing Adam’s smooth cheeks. He felt his cock rise in response to this gorgeous hunk of flesh. Eddie was mesmerized by something he didn’t see often—his clean, incorruptibility. He was hot and alive, and it had been a long time since he’d been so quickly aroused by anyone. He was used to having quick encounters in dark alleyways, his cop car, or along the side of a building with those who were willing to fuck for favors. The sidewalk fucks were easy. The hard part was returning home alone. But this one, he wanted to take slow, he wanted to savor Adam’s body on a nice big bed. Eddie wanted to see all of Adam, feel the man’s beautiful lips sucking his cock—but this wasn’t the time or place.

He looked around at the scarred walls, the ratty conditions. Hell, he couldn’t do this. Not in a fuckin’ interrogation room. It was wrong—even if the guy was a hooker.

“Pull your pants up, kid.”

Adam whirled around. “What? You’re not going to fuck me?”

“Did you really think I would?”

“But why not? What made you change your mind?”

“I don’t know,” Eddie said, looking at Adam, wanting him. Finally, he turned away, hating himself. “An attack of conscience, I guess.”

“You bastard, you don’t have a conscience! You did this just to humiliate me. Well I don’t humiliate so easily, copper!” Adam yelled while adjusting his clothes. “You made me want it, then you refused me. Demon is not the right name for you, freak. Satan! Beelzebub! The Prince of Darkness. Try those on for size.”

“Oh, yeah?” Eddie said as he slowly began to boil. Moving quickly, Eddie turned Adam around, pushed him against the wall and grabbed his pants, and practically ripped them apart in getting them down. “You want it? You want to be fucked, blue eyes? Okay, I’m game.” Eddie quickly pushed Adam down on the table, undid his own pants, and pulled Adam’s butt toward him and opened the man’s cheeks. Just as he had his cock in his hand, and was about to penetrate Adam’s ass, he said, “You just remember when the chips are down this was your idea.”

“Yeah? Was it me that locked that door over there? Was it me that grabbed your cock? May I remind you that you threatened me with lock up if I didn’t cooperate?”

The truth hit Eddie between the eyes. Had the simple need for human warmth turned him into a monster on the make? No! No! This was different—something deeper than desire surged through him. He couldn’t make up his mind.

Adam waited, standing still until he turned suddenly. “What’s it gonna be? You gonna fuck my ass, or what?”

Eddie looked at Adam. “What the hell do you care? Maybe you should just leave.”

“Leave? Now? Now that I’m here with Eddie Scarlett, the Demon, feeling your hands on me, feeling your rock hard cock against my ass? Begging, wanting, determined to stick it in? Now, tonight, I’m your prey. Every single stroke of your hand burns me. You’re holding me in place. I’m trapped—like a fly.”

“Look, I don’t know who the hell you are, and why you’re saying all this, but…”

“Demon, fuck me for God’s sake. The truth is, I’ve been wanting this for a long time. Ever since the first time I ever heard about you.” With that, Adam turned, leaned over the table, inviting Eddie with a naked butt to fuck him.

Eddie was tempted. He looked down to Adam’s perfect butt, and knew he should throw the guy out, but instead Eddie grabbed Adam, pulled him up, and slammed him against the wall.

“If you want to get serious, then it can’t be on that table, it’s too shaky,” he said as he pushed his stiff cock against Adam and they meshed together as though they belonged together. Eddie could feel Adam nudging against him, the smell of his cologne clinging to him, and with a hunger as big as the whole outdoors, Eddie licked at Adam with his lips and tongue while kissing him breathless.

“Are you going to fuck me,” Adam growled, “or are we going to stand here all night eating each other?”

“You sure you want to? Remember, I’m a cop.”

Looking right into Eddie’s eyes, he quirked an eyebrow, and said, “We’re wasting time.” Sliding his gaze over to a door, he asked, “Where does that go?” Not waiting for an answer, he pulled away, opened it, and looked back over at Eddie. “Well, look what we have here. Is this where it all goes down? Is this where you cops fuck ass?” He quickly walked into the small room, sat on the cot, and tested its weight.

As he did, he looked up at Eddie with a cool, liquid stare that dried Eddie’s mouth. He gave Eddie a seductive, fuck me trash-boy look that would melt Eddie in his tracks, but it was the sinister, almost cool-sly secret smile that hinted at the exciting mysteries of his flesh that really reeled Eddie in. Eddie was mistaken. He’d thought this Adam Dunbar was one of those childish boy-whores you see on the street all the time, but he wasn’t. Since he usually got his on the street, he was used to a hard street smell, the feel of dirty, torn jeans, the soft, worn odor of a leather jacket, and the musty, unwashed smell of lank hair, but this guy was so clean, he squeaked.


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