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The Murder Collection

Pt. 4

Emporium Press

January 18, 2017

Cover art: Dianne Thies, Lyrical Lines

Copyright: Emporium Press / C.S. Poe

Genre: Amateur sleuth mystery, romance, choose your own adventure

Pt. 3 ended with two options:

Dean climbs down the ladder.

Dean jumps to the street below.

Readers are back to getting Dean into trouble and chose 'he jumps!'

This was not going to end well.

But I didn’t have time to back down. One more second on the fire escape and I’d have a bullet in my head.

So I jumped.

I flailed and grabbed at the air as I dropped like a lead balloon before my fall was suddenly broken, and I collided with a passerby below.

“Son of a bitch!” they shouted as we both crashed to the sidewalk.

I landed right on top of the guy’s chest, splayed across his body like a bug on a windshield. “Ow,” I groaned. “My elbow….”

He took a strong breath, and I rose with it. “My everything,” he protested with a hiss.

I raised my head to look at my unplanned for savior.

Dear God, I almost killed a model! He was Japanese-American, with thick black hair, stern eyebrows, and a really sexy goatee.

“Er— hi,” I stated.

Model-Guy opened his mouth to speak, but his eyes widened as he stared past my shoulder. He suddenly wrapped his arms around me and rolled us to the side, where I ended up underneath him.

Another shot cracked the air, and I realized Charlie from above tried to fucking shoot me again!

“Stay here,” my model demanded.

“Where am I supposed to go with you on top of me?” I protested.

He narrowed his eyes and scrambled to his feet just as Charlie jumped down from the fire escape. Model-Guy reached into his open coat but froze when Charlie trained his gun on him.

“Don’t even think about it, pig,” Charlie warned. Despite breathing heavy from the chase, his voice was deep and instilled a fear that bore down into my bones.

“Don’t do something you’ll regret,” my model said, slowly removing his hand from his coat and raising both to show he wasn’t a threat.

“As if I’d ever regret shooting a cop,” Charlie barked.


Model-Guy had his back to me— he was the only defense I had against certain death.

I let out a breath. The white puff dissipated into the cold air. A sideways glance had confirmed that nearby pedestrians had run from the area.

It was just the three of us, in a standoff that wasn’t going to end in my favor.

But then I heard sirens.

Not far off either.

A block, maybe two at most.

The gunfire from the chase on the fire escape must have roused someone to call 911! Thank God!

Charlie lowered his gun and in turn raised a finger like a weapon, mock pulling the trigger at Model-Guy. “Bang. You’re dead too, pig.” Charlie turned and fled down the street.

“Shit.” My model started to run after him.

“Wait!” I protested. I got onto my hands and knees, staggering to my feet. When I looked up, Model-Guy was shoving into my personal space and backing me up against the wall of the building. “Raise your arms,” he ordered.


“I said raise them,” he said again.

“Hold up, I don’t have a weapon!” I said when he started roughly patting my clothes and touching my body in a very clinical, not-sexy manner. “That guy tried to kill me!”

“That guy is Charlie ‘Doc’ Houdini,” Model-Guy answered.

“His real name is Charlie?” I asked. What’re the odds of that.

“That name doesn’t ring a bell with you?” he asked me.

“Should it?”

The sirens were getting louder.

“Turn around,” he said.


He grabbed my arm roughly and forced me to face the building. “Because you were just in a shootout with a wanted murderer and I don’t like you.”

“But I didn’t do anything!” I said as he held me firmly against the cold, brick wall.

“We’ll see.”

“Christ, guy!”



“Detective Jiro Watanabe, homicide.”

“I can’t believe I fell into the arms of a cop.”

“You fell on me. I didn’t intend on catching you.”

“Aren’t you sweet,” I muttered.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Dean Stewart.”

“Dean,” Watanabe repeated and okay, yes, I really liked the way he said my name. “What were you doing on the fire escape?”

I saw flashing lights at the end of the block from the corner of my eye. “I was— oh fuck.” Everything had been a whirlwind, but now that I had half a second to recover my sanity, I remembered the water closet. “There was a dead guy!”

Watanabe turned me around. He stared hard. Definitely a cop face. “Where was there a dead guy?”

I swallowed and raised a finger, pointing upward.

Watanabe didn’t look away from me.

“I f-found him,” I stuttered. And now I could see the shoulder holster and gun inside his open coat.

“You found a dead man,” Watanabe repeated, like he was trying to rationalize the words of an insane person.

“In my water closet.”

“Are you on drugs?”


Watanabe, still gripping my arm, walked me away from the building. He moved to the road and waved at the incoming cop cars.

That’s when I said probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever uttered in my entire life.

“You’re really gorgeous. I’d love to paint you.”



  1. Dean denies the comment and claims momentary insanity.

  2. Dean rolls with the outcome.

The Murder Collection Home - Pt. 5

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