Title: Rubble and the Wreckage
Series: The Gabriel Church Tales, Book One
Author: Rodd Clark
Publisher: NineStar Press (originally published 1/30/15)
Release Date: April 30, 2018
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Genre: Contemporary, murderer, reporter, enemies to lovers, thriller
Gabriel Church knows you can’t take a life without first understanding just how feeble it is. If you desire murder, you hold a life in your hand. Whether you release it to grant life or grip tighter to end it, it is at your command and discretion.
Gabriel is a serial killer with a story to tell.
Christian Maxwell studied abnormal psychology in college but chose instead to focus on a career in writing. His background comes in handy when he thinks of writing about a serial killer. He can’t think of anyone more qualified to write the story of Gabriel Lee Church and in the murderer’s own words.
It’s been done before, but never with a killer who has yet to be captured or convicted. With nothing more than a gentleman’s understanding between them, Christian records Gabriel’s life story. Gabriel doesn’t ask for his complicity, nor does he ask for his silence. Christian’s interest in the man, though, is fast becoming something more than academic.
When Christian and Gabriel become unexpected friends and then lovers, the question remains: What is Gabriel’s endgame…and why does he want his story told?
Rubble and the Wreckage
Rodd Clark © 2018
All Rights Reserved
“Tell me your story,” Christian Maxwell began, wetting his lips and leaning in. He stared at the killer across the table and rested his forearms on the notepad before him, watching how those pale eyes were darting from side to side as he surveyed his surroundings. Even with his look of nonchalant detachment, it’s clear he was a man who lived his life on a razor’s edge and nothing escaped his observations.
Gabriel Church looked back at the writer. His eyes implored, practically begging for good and gory details. The man squinted a bit in excitement for that which was to follow, glassy-eyed in anticipation. His expression was wanting. Gabe had seen that look many times before.
Gabe was reminded of that old saying “Better the devil you know.” Although he barely knew this guy, he might as well be making money off his story as anyone else. Just like the first time he thought of telling what happened, the memories came through as something indifferent and emotionless, and with more afterthought than close consideration.
“Ever been out to the Florida Keys?” Gabe asked. When he only received a nod from Maxwell to his question, he continued absently, “For me it was like driving to the Keys, a few miles over the speed limit on that old US Route 1—you know, the one they called the Highway that Goes to Sea—under fleecy clouds with the fresh coastal winds slapping you in your face, under a vast, unending blue on blue…it is rather freeing.” His hands wrapped around the dusty old cover of the book he was holding, more as an effect than something to read.
With a faraway gaze in his eyes, Christian listened to him speaking. He pretended to jot notes down and concentrating more on that distant expression on Church’s face. Christian let the words take him to Florida, where he imagined the wind slapping his hair, the sun beating down as he rode in the passenger seat of Church’s mental trip along Highway 1. It was going to be a good book when he finished it.
He didn’t want to interrupt the man but couldn’t resist. “It didn’t begin in Florida did it? I presumed it happened elsewhere.”
The killer’s posture changed as he replied. He sat up straight in the chair, his eyes narrowed. “If you think you know where it started then why are we sitting around hashing old news?” His voice was steady and cold and dampness grew under Christian’s pits.
“Because no one has ever asked you for your side of it. Usually a serial murderer doesn’t get a chance to explain why he murders. And I”—pointing to his chest—“want to give you that opportunity.”
“Mighty big of you,” Gabe said as he reclined backward in his chair and stared at him in knowing, mocking fashion. It was as if he was acquiescing solely because it represented an interesting way to spend his idle time… He rubbed his rough forefinger across the lip of the wine glass as a carnal abstraction as he watched Maxwell jot his notes, even though they hadn’t even begun his tale. “Shouldn’t you wait till I start to speak before you scribble down all those pretty words?”
Christian looked up and smiled sheepishly. “It’s just mood stuff. You’ll have to get used to that early on—meaning my process.” He put his pen down and folded his hands neatly to hide his notes. “I’m a little fastidious or obsessive at times.”
“No worries. The same has been said of me.”
The bent smile of a killer reappeared and twisted Church’s face into a mocking evil caricature, sending a shiver down Christian’s spine. He smiled back and returned a look that seemed to place them on equal understanding. It was going to be tough yet totally worth it, he thought. At least after the book was complete. And so he picked up a pen and fell headlong into his task and flashed another imploring gaze in the direction of his sexy study subject then waited.
Gabe recognized the untidy anticipation and reluctantly continued, “Actually, it began in Texas, still we need to go back to where the…umm, desires, I guess is the word, first came into clear focus, don’t we? I mean, you want the full picture, don’t you?”
When Christian didn’t even offer a conciliatory word, Gabe continued. “Before Florida, before Seattle, I had been somewhere else… It was a better place for me because it still held some type of promise. Nothing exactly carved into stone…if you’ll pardon the pun.” Church’s head lolled back as if he were about to break into a hearty laugh.
He was a dangerous, sick man. Anyone could see that. His reference to the markers of his varied victims, as well as his nonchalant manner in describing his affinity to murder, was unsettling, even for someone as akin to pathology as he was. In college, Christian Maxwell was known for a dark sense of humor and an uncomfortably quiet nature. It was off-putting to many of his peers. His so-called friends would jokingly offer that it was going to be Christian who would be famous, more for the salvo of bullets that hit other students from his safe vantage in some random clock tower or rooftop.
The look on Maxwell’s face, as he sat across from Gabe, was pensive as if he was about to interrupt again but questioned the insolence. The killer had nothing but time and didn’t like breaking his train of thought so early.
“You’re looking like you want to derail the train, my boy. So what’s your affliction, Adelaide? You have some thoughts you wanna share?”
Christian hung his head in shameful anticipation of the words that would follow. His efforts in getting the interview were substantial, and he didn’t want to fuck up before he even got the first few chapters down on paper. He wanted it to linger, to drag out the tale and capture every subtle nuance. He thought the killer might become agitated with schoolboy innocence and enthusiasm.
In truth, Gabe was enjoying the salivating younger man hanging on his every word, like a lover anticipating their next stimulating, wet kisses.
“I’m sorry. I apologize, I do… I just wanted to ask you about the first time you killed?”
Gabe laid the book on the table at his side and crossed his arms. “Patience is a virtue, son. To know the story, we have to go back. Back to before I would gain fame with my exploits.”
Meet the Author
Rodd lives in Dallas, TX and can be reached through his web presence at RoddClark.com.
If you were to ask him, he would say that enjoys M/M mysteries and suspenseful romance mixed in with his thrills. “Give me a good ole spy novel or fantasy to keep me up at night,” he might add. When he isn’t writing or reading, he claims to be the zookeeper of his menagerie of critters who call his place home. From cats to dogs to friendly raccoons, he enjoys them all.
With a dark and distinctively disturbing voice, his characters are flawed but intriguing; such as the main character of Gabriel Church in his romantic fiction series The Gabriel Church Tales, which begins with Rubble and the Wreckage.