Title: Torn and Frayed
Author: Rodd Clark
Series: Gabriel Church #2
Genre: M/M Erotic Thriller
Release Date: January 9, 2016Summary:
“Conscience isn’t something all people are born with...”
Gabriel Church is a portrait in contrast. It would be easy to get lost in his pale-blue eyes, ache with the need to feel the strength of his masculine frame. He appears to be nothing but animal and instinct. The only people who know the full depth of that truth are dead, murdered, or two thousand miles away.
Gabe is a serial killer. For the first time in his life, he has more on his mind than his own survival. This time he is running from Seattle to protect the only person he thinks innocent in his laundry list of crime and murder: Christian Maxwell, his biographer and unexpected lover. Drawn to a place he never thought to return, Gabe finds new and different realities. Realities that insist he let go of his tragic past, those incredible perceptions of God, and his own divinity. He must open his eyes to what the love of a good man can do to heal a broken soul.
But when the killer is confronted by his own willingness to love and sacrifice, he is forced to ultimately ask the question: Just how far will he go to save a life . . . when all he’s ever done is take them?
Cars weaved dangerously onto onramps as everyone was frantically trying to make it to offices, day jobs, or the nearest shopping malls. Everyone was out to make a living, but for him life was different. In the burbs, Gabe made a living with a towel and a pair of shorts. Stopping in at motel pools, appearing like any other guest out for a swim. His true intention was spying for purses sitting open by the women tanning themselves on chaise lounges.
Gabriel wasn’t vain, but he knew what catnip a strong physique could be for a lonely female traveler, and he knew how to work the tourist trade even better than the brown-skinned boys from the beaches of Puerto Vallarta. But it was more than loose change he’d be begging for. Motel pools were ideal because husbands rarely swam with their families, but mothers knew the importance of getting screaming children out of tiny motel rooms and into pools. It meant they could sit in quiet solitude, possibly reading and tanning their alabaster skins as urchins on sugar highs splashed and frolicked at their feet.
It was the perfect savanna for hunting when you had a build like Gabriel’s. And if his target was a lone single woman, he often used his skills to get her to draw him to her room for sweaty sex between the sheets. Purses and pocket books were easy, and when they weren’t available, there were pool games for money and poker with betting. He considered his petty theft something few would miss, and his efforts enabled him to stay off the grid and under anyone’s radar. He’d never been arrested or ticketed for any of his minor crimes for cash because he was that good. A tempting smile went a long way for him, and he could be charming and self-effacing whenever he needed. Christian had chuckled and called him whore when he’d explained how he maintained his existence back in Washington. Remembering that incident brought a faint grin to his face, and he found pleasure that the writer hadn’t judged him harshly, as others might’ve.
“You do what you have to if you want to survive, little buddy.” Church had offered over Christian’s raucous laughter. It had been one of the first times they’d discussed his manner of survival or money during one of their many frequent interviews in the Mayflower. He had to admit they’d been a little drunk by then after Maxwell had purchased a bottle of premium bourbon and carried it back to their suite as entertainment and distraction. They were inebriated more often than he cared to admit, but it was a necessary evil when Christian was asking him to reveal his deepest, darkest secrets. The only way he could get to the impervious truth was by laced libation and longing looks of sympathy and interest. One of Gabe’s fondest memories came from them sitting on the sofa in the spacious suite at the Mayflower in their underwear, close enough that their knees were touching. They were already high on bourbon and colas, and they laughed and joked well into the night. It was something Gabriel had never experienced before, as unfathomable as that might have sounded.
Gabriel Church is 36, was born in Kentucky, and is a drifter. He’s toned and big, sexy and dangerous: the anti-hero of the series and dresses rough and casual. It is his body that attracts not the denims and flannel and t-shirts he is accustomed to wearing. But if there was one thing that anyone would remember about Gabe is his eyes: pale-blue slate and mesmerizing.
Church is a dichotomy because he appears to be a redneck illiterate from the outside, but in truth has his deep profound thoughts and belief-structure. His voice is masculine without being wordy, but his control is always sensed and displayed by the few sentences he blurts out. His speech illustrates a subtle wisdom with a serious knife-like edge, because after-all, he has seen and done it all during his lifetime.
Gabe is street smart, but even with his high school education he shows he is envious of Christian’s brain and intellect. He considers the man an enigma and struggles with the knowledge that his life could have turned out very differently had he been given the same chances at a college education. One he feels that Christian has taken for granted.
Gabriel survived only by his wits, and in a place where a bed with clean sheets is considered a luxury. He has never known wealth and comfort but sees the futility in such pursuits, namely because he has seen the others he has killed die without fanfare and without their protection of wealth or reputation. The rat race of others, as Church has called it, it something fragile and easily destroyed in his perception. He holds no interest in obtaining any financial freedom, nor does he expect to ever find it.
Gabe relies on his ability to read others and spot their weaknesses; it may be why he is so fascinated with Chris Maxwell, his polar opposite. Christian doesn’t seem to possess that skill at all, and this creates a symbiotic relationship of Gabe wanting to protect his lover from the dangers he sees so clearly.
One thing Gabe would say he was good at, if asked, was his ability to fuck, and fuck well. He would smile his twisted grin and flash his pearly whites, but in truth the reality was that he considered himself a survivor, regardless of the odds. He lives his life without assistance, makes no apologies and is very much the man’s man, counts only on his own abilities to get from point A to point B.
Church has not spoken to anyone in his family since he left as a young adult. But for him in particular, the ghosts of his childhood haunt him more regularly than he would care to admit.
Gabe finds out that his breaking point is his lover: Christian Maxwell. Or more precisely the fact that despite thinking that he can walk away from him to protect him, to simply forget the writer and equate him as the same collateral damage he thought appropriate for his mother and sister, he can’t.
Christian Maxwell is an attractive and educated man, very erudite and currently in his mid-thirties. He is living as a closeted gay man when our story begins, but finds himself desperate to connect with someone who can break him out of his destined routine.
Christian as a protagonist is trained and educated with a background that gives him the leg-up over his peers, where Church is self-taught and possesses than skill of reading people and sizing up his competition.
Christian was raised with financial comfort and due to his degree always assumed his life would run according to plan. He is the exact opposite of Gabriel Church.
He is a bit of a loner. Christian loves his family but doesn’t seem to express pride in them or their accomplishments and he can go weeks without speaking to them.
Christian has important flaws; namely his inability to walk away from such a dangerous figure as Gabriel Church. Chris allows his lover to make the decisions regarding his own personal safety.
Where Gabriel takes challenges head-on, Christian wavers with the morality issue and losing the only person he desires, regardless of his better sense of right and wrong. He knows he could be considered an accomplice to murder in the very least and may be wanted for questioning in the death of a young woman in Seattle. But it is a matter of trust for him and that faith is equally tested many times for him.
In the end he hopes to be the one to change Church. To show him the error of his ways and for Church to want to settle down with him, even if settling is to be on the run with his lover.
What people are saying about Rubble and the Wreckage – Book 1 in the Gabriel Church Tales . . .
Can you trust a serial killer that has no remorse? That bathes in manipulation? I am not going to tell you if Christian trusts, believes, or falls for any of it but I will tell you it’s a drug for those who crave a dark twist in their daily reads. It’s hot between these two. It’s also suspenseful and nerve wracking. Venture outside your comfort zone for this book. --Diverse Reader
I don’t give away spoilers, but I will say that this book pulls no punches, makes no apologies, and basically kicks ass and takes names! Grab it if you want a mind-bending, sexy read that will leave you wanting book two . . .! --Bike Book Reviews
A psychological thriller, this book was a page-turner from beginning to end. I highly recommend Rubble and Wreckage. --Joyfully Jay Reviews
This is a wonderful book for the person who likes stories that offer in depth character studies of flawed people. Both men are very complicated and probably equally fragmented except on opposite sides of the law. Rubble and the Wreckage is a sizzling read. Nothing is what it seems; nor is it so simplistic as a killer grooming a writer to be a patsy for murder like a predictable TV movie. --Love Bytes Reviews
Rodd is an amazing narrator and manages to weave a thrilling and intriguing tale of sex, lust, love, mystery and danger. --Bayou Book Reviews
Rodd lives in Dallas, TX at the moment but hails from the sticks of Oklahoma. Check out his web presence at RODDCLARK.COM. Interested in the M/M Mystery, Romance and Thriller genres but has a varied interest in many books. It has been written that his writing has a very dark and distinctive voice with a need for deep exploration and analysis. “Torn and Frayed” is the sequel to his popular romantic thriller, "Rubble and the Wreckage." The third chapter of the series should be released later in the year and give readers a chance to see how their wicked story is resolved.
Torn and Frayed #2
Rubble and Wreckage #1