Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Length: 221 pages
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Robert Winter here today. Robert is going to give us a tour of the locations in his novel, Every Breath You Take. Welcome, Robert!
A Virtual Tour of Locations in Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
Every Breath You Take is set in Washington, DC, where I have lived for more than 25 years (with a few breaks to live in New York). The city has grown and changed tremendously in that time. When I moved here in 1990, the population was on the decline as people fled to the suburbs in Virginia and Maryland. Most recently, census figures from 2016 show Washington’s population has reached a 40-year high.
That growth shows itself everywhere in new construction and in lots of traffic, but in some ways Washington retains its charm. There are lots of pretty bicycle trails, for example, such as this one that connects DC to Maryland.
There are also moments when you see a famous building, like the Capitol or the Washington Monument, and realize what a beautiful city DC really is.
In Every Breath You Take, Zachary Hall works for the Treasury Department. Although no scenes take place in his office, I’ve always thought Treasury has one of the more attractive buildings.
When Thomas Scarborough picks up Zachary at a bar, he brings him back to his condo. I let Thomas live in a swank development called CityCentreDC, which houses several high-end fashion stores, great restaurants, and condos with great views. Thomas lives on the top floor, of course.
On a memorable Sunday, Zachary visits the National Gallery of Art with Thomas and another character, Randy Vaughan. Before he meets them inside, he sits for a while near a fountain. In the story, it had not yet been turned on, but I’m including a picture of the working fountain and its accompanying display of azaleas.
While he wanders on the Mall, Zachary also spots a building called the Newseum. Not only is this place a museum related to the freedom of the press and the other rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, but it also houses some famous relics including a piece of the Berlin Wall and an antenna from the World Trade Center.
It develops in the story that Zachary begins dating a man named Sam who has an apartment in an attached building called the Newseum Residence (to the left in the picture above). Sam lives on the top floor. I’m not saying anything more, but after you read Every Breath You Take you might want to take another look at that top balcony!
The last stop on our virtual tour is one that I didn’t use in the book, but that any lover of mysteries and intrigue might particularly enjoy – the International Spy Museum. My favorite feature is a collection of tools of the spy trade, including a tube of lipstick that converts into a derringer. I’ll have to find a way to use something like that in a future story, maybe one about a drag queen spy…
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the DC in which Zachary and Thomas find love and danger. If you know DC and I’ve missed one of your favorites, please tell us about it in the comments! You can find out more about my experiences in DC at my website.
When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.
Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.
But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.
Across the street the man with the silver-framed glasses stood back in the shadows and stared at the front window of the garden apartment. He could see the back of his quarry’s head as he watched a small flat-screen TV.
Eventually the head nodded forward and then jerked up. When it happened a second time, the creature turned off the TV and then the lamp and headed to bed.
The man waited for another half hour with his back pressed against an alcove formed where two brownstones met. The street was quiet. Almost no one walked by, and the lone person who came down the street failed to notice him in the shadows.
The man felt his breath grow hoarse, and blood rushed in his ears as his heart began to pound. He cultivated that sensation as he reached into his coat pocket for the screwdriver that rested there and made himself imagine the creature’s hands touching the Beloved’s face. Stroking his body. He curled his fingers around the screwdriver and then clenched and unclenched rhythmically. Its thick handle felt rough against his palm because of the grooves and sharp edges he had chiseled into it. He had ideas for other implements that would serve his purpose, but for now, this would do just fine. This would make his point.
His throat was dry, and his eyes burned from focusing on the darkened window, but he felt invincible. The tension in his body climbed exquisitely, and when he could take no more, he slipped across the street and stepped down to the locked gate. It opened easily with his small set of picks. The gate made no noise when the creature went through it earlier, so he was confident and quick and didn’t bother to lock it behind him. Child’s play, he thought as he worked the lock on the apartment door.
The tumblers clicked into place.
He stored his lockpicks, slipped inside the darkened apartment, and then closed the door behind him as silently as he could. Streetlight came through the slatted blinds the boy had failed to close completely. He waited quietly until he heard a faint snore from the back and then removed his glasses and tucked them in an inside pocket of his jacket. The scarf his quarry had been wearing caught his eye, and the man bared his teeth as he lifted it off the coat tree and tugged it tightly between his hands. It was well made. It would hold. He smiled.
He slid through the gloom toward the room where the creature lay sleeping. He was hard, and the blood in his erection pulsed in time to the pounding of his heart. That boy had dared to touch his Beloved. He had probably even been fucked by him. But that wasn’t enough—oh no. He came back for more.
It had taken the man so long to find his Beloved and interpret his subtle clues. He finally understood what was required of him. The undeserving gnat must be chastised, and he would be the Beloved’s angel of retribution. He was conscious of the weight of the screwdriver in his pocket, the scratch of the wool scarf in his hands, and the power in his arms.
He reached for the boy on the bed.
Meet the Author
Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.
Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.
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