Monday, October 24, 2011

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Retired from the Marine Corps and the California Department of Corrections, Major Matt Rommel's life has been one long exercise in applied violence. The gold rush in internet stocks made him a wealthy man. Now, he is a docent at San Francisco's Palace of the Legion of Honor. He spends his days surrounded by art treasures and his nights in the Mission District at Vince's bar. Matt Rommel is a grizzled combat veteran who is afraid of women.

The roller-coaster years of the internet boom and bust have also changed the life of Carolyn Kast, leaving her with a failed marriage to a man committed only to his forlorn hope of a technology company. Now, Carolyn is a single mother in her middle forties with a troubled six-year-old daughter who is obsessed with the scarred, giant of a man she saw on a visit to the museum.

As Carolyn struggles to make a living at her fledgling ad agency, Brand Loyalty, and keep her two new partners from each other's throats, it is becoming clear that someone is trying to kill her. Carolyn is at a loss for either a motive or a suspect.

But her daughter Aubrey knows what to do. Go to the man she has decided is an enforcer for Santa Claus: The Scary Man!


Matt Rommel stood at the door, a thoroughly surprised man. That, in itself, gave Carolyn Kast some satisfaction. She was still uncomfortable. How was she going to explain herself?

“Madam, what are you doing here? How else have I transgressed? What new injury have I perpetrated?”

Carolyn looked at Matt Rommel. “You could invite me in.”

“Yes, of course. Won't you please come in?”

Carolyn stepped into the foyer, making a deliberate effort not to be seen looking around, surveying the home, any gesture that could be interpreted as mercantile. She had to know. What was this man doing? Was he living in one place and pretending to live somewhere else? Why? Of course, she knew that before she could reasonably ask, she was going to explain why she was here at all. How was she going to explain her own actions first?

“You're probably wondering why I am here,” she began.

Matt Rommel motioned toward the spacious living room, its carpets and furniture a careful study in tans, browns and gold. The ceilings were high, but it still seemed warm. “Would you like to sit down?”

This reception was much different from the one above Vince's bar. Carolyn had an insight. This was his home and, being his home, the demands of hospitality were greater. “No thank you,” she said. “When I left the bar, I got turned around in traffic. When I finally got things straightened out, I noticed your Cadillac. You were driving so slowly that I thought you might be having car trouble so I followed you in case you had to pull over. When you pulled into the garage, it occurred to me that maybe it wasn't car trouble. I thought maybe you were ill, so I…”

“Knocked on the door to see if I was all right?” Rommel ventured.

“Exactly. I gather you are. All right, I mean,” Carolyn continued.

“Yes, thank you. I'm fine.”

“I'm glad,” she said. “Well, I have to be going. You just remember that little talk we had.”

“About respecting your privacy?”

“Yes.” Carolyn flushed scarlet. However lame it seemed, it was apparent that Mr. Rommel was prepared to accept the pretense so she would just have to bluff her way through. As she stood, a chirpy tune blared from her purse. “I'm sorry. I have to get this,” she said, answering the cell phone.

“Carolyn Kast.”

“It's me, Denni. Are you still in the City?”

“Yes, but I'm just leaving, and I should be there to pick up Aubrey in less than an hour.”

“I don't think so,” Denni responded. Her tone seemed strained.

“Why? Is something wrong?” Without knowing why, she braced herself. She could see, both Mr. Rommel and the dog were responding to her tension, studying her.

“The San Francisco Police called. They need you to meet them back at the office” Denni spoke slowly, choosing her few words with care. “Sarah has been murdered.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Need some suspense in your off time?

Then this book is for you!

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Angelica Chappell’s story made huge headlines. Only a few months ago, she released a new
pharmaceutical drug called Krytonix that effectively slows the spread of cancer cells. She had no idea her story would attract the attention of a serial killer. Suddenly, she is a target whether she realizes it or not. This killer is interested in more than her life. He wants her reputation, too. His first mission is to sabotage Krytonix.

William Pierce worked undercover for the FBI for five years to bring down a ruthless mobster that he ultimately is forced to kill. Two months have passed by since that assignment. Still, William saw things he can’t talk about. He did things he can’t talk about. He believes his soul is damned. Returning to “normal” everyday life isn’t an option. He isn’t the same man he used to be. He refuses to return to FBI headquarters, and instead, becomes a rogue agent with an agenda.

When Pierce's agenda leads him to Chappell, it will take both of them to keep Angelica alive and figure out who is after her. William soon finds himself developing feelings for Angelica. Too bad for her killer, William worked as a trained hit-man for the mob. Will he find her killer and hand him over to the legal system to see that justice is served, or will he search and destroy?


She wished he would leave her alone. She even considered putting up the optional privacy window between the front and back of the car. Of course she wasn’t okay. Didn’t he understand just how serious this situation was?

“Want me to turn the radio to that funky station you like?”

The “funky” music he referred to was a hip-hop channel that played a combination of some rock, some rhythm and blues, and a bit of rap. It was actually the most listened to station of the area. It was also Patrick’s favorite. The old man had odd tastes. One of her grandfather’s rules was that the station had to be turned off, or tuned into a classical station unless otherwise requested by the passenger. That rule applied to Chappell family or guests. Patrick was asking if she wanted that music so he could listen to what he really wanted to. She wondered if he knew she was onto his little deception.

“Sure,” she said.

“Here you go.”

A new Justin Timberlake song filled the car. It didn’t help Angelica to relax. Her chest burned with stress and fear. The air she breathed actually hurt. Her life as she knew it could be over.

After another couple of minutes, Patrick tried again to start a conversation. “This will blow over, honey. Trust me. Everything does. People aren’t going to blame you. Everybody loves you.”

He was so wrong on so many levels. The public would want someone to blame and she would get that honor. She would be crucified. She expected that reaction and it was justifiable. She knew the burden was hers. Truth be told, she didn’t care what people thought and never had. Why should she? She never saw anyone outside of the lab anyway. She didn’t care if people hated her because of Krytonix. She did care that people were going to die because of her drug. It was her failure. It was her responsibility to figure out what was wrong. People’s lives were on the line. She accepted that accountability.

“Oh shit. Hang on.”

The hair on Angelica’s neck stood up when she heard the panic in Patrick’s statement. Her stomach nosedived to her feet and returned in utter turmoil. Her eyes darted to the road to find the source of the problem. They were close to home, a quiet part of town where tourists didn’t venture and traffic was far less dense. The road was curvy, leading to a steep grade to the top of a deserted hillside that held the Chappell Mansion.

“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit,” Patrick said again.

They were traveling much too fast for the winding road, even heading uphill. Patrick was wildly stomping on the brake, but nothing was happening. The car continued to accelerate as if he held the gas to the floor. He fought for control of the steering wheel, but it looked as if it simply rotated round and round with the ease of an arcade game. Patrick’s face was flushed bright crimson and sweating, his eyes wide and glazed.

“Do something!” Angelica cried in desperation, torn between shock and fear.

It was obvious Patrick was doing his best. The sharp curve before them would be upon them in seconds, and unless some kind of miracle intervened, they were going straight ahead—over a sand dune and into the ocean.

Angelica grabbed onto the seat and held as tightly as she could. The car continued to accelerate. Everything seemed loud. Patrick was groaning. The radio was blasting. The roar of the tires was like drums beating a tune of anticipation.

In the last second, when all possible hope of rescue was gone, Patrick screamed. Angelica dipped her head in her lap and closed her eyes. The Lord’s Prayer was on her lips when she felt the car lurch into the air and plummet into empty space.

Monday, October 3, 2011

NEW! Don't miss this great mystery

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When the case of an alleged suicide of a local poet is handed to her detective boyfriend, and things just don't add up, Police department counselor Alayne Vaughan pursues the case, almost losing her love,

-and life-

in the process.


“Yes, I mean, in the middle of a protective order, you don’t sleep with your ex. How can you do this kind of work?”

“Lance, we slept together in the middle of my restraining order.”

“Those restraining orders don’t mean anything.” Lance moved his chair back from the table so he could sit with his legs spread wide.

“My boss took it pretty seriously.” Alayne was in the last month of her six months’ probationary period at her job, so she could still get fired.

He flapped his hand. “The only reason Norma Jean got one—she knew the judge. What Norma Jean wants, she gets.” He frowned. “And now she wants me.”

“She has you.”


“Well, you knew there’d be a price to pay.”

“I would rather marry you than her.”

Another country music song yodeled to a close. “Can you see what you’re playing at?” When she was mad, Alayne occasionally slipped into her mother’s phrasings. “When it’s safe, you come forward. If I
moved one step toward you, you’d run a mile. Angel does the same thing.”

“If he was here, he probably wouldn‘t even let me talk to you, right? You know I never stopped you from talking to whoever you wanted to.”

“At least I know he cares.”

“Then why are you here all alone?”

“He’s mad because I keep wanting to find out what’s happening in his case. Remember that night we went to the poetry reading—Kaitlin Sommers?”

“That girl who killed herself?”

She nodded. “Did you think she was beautiful?” She had been jealous of Kaitlin that night at the reading. She had accused Lance of staring at her, but he pointed out that as Kaitlin was the only person on stage, who was he supposed to look at?

“Sure…what a waste.” At his words, she realized she experienced no jealousy. She was over him!

“It might not have been suicide.” Alayne pitched her voice lower. Not that anyone had returned from the dance floor. “Supposedly, she had coke residue in her nasal passages, and there was a dirty condom under the bed, freshly used.”

“Why would you kill yourself after having sex?”

“I can think of all sorts of reasons,” she said. “But Angel won’t even try to find out who it was.”

“He’s the investigator?”

“Yeah, but he’s convinced it’s suicide—the gun shot wound, the suicidal tendencies.”

“And you don’t think so?”

“I’m going to look into her death, find out what happened.”

Alayne was about to tell him more when, suddenly, a flash of white descended on them—Mary Beth in her wedding dress. “You can’t spend the whole night talking to people you already know. Circulate!”

After Lance left, Alayne pretended to be absorbed in her wedding cake, but the granules of sugar coagulated in her throat. As she convulsively tried to swallow, she told herself she had done the right
thing by leaving Lance. He had cheated on her with Norma Jean.

Then why was she sitting at a wedding reception alone while he danced with a rich, blond lawyer? And why, on the nights she had been unable to sleep, had she driven out to West Lake Hills to see where they now lived together? That last night—she still couldn’t think of it as stalking even though that’s what Norma Jean had called it in the police report—the sleek black BMW in Norma Jean’s slanting driveway had invited Alayne to stop her own little Toyota, grab the jack from the back, and smash in the head and tail lights of
the BMW. Alayne would have broken the windshield, but hadn’t known until she took a big thwack, that it was basically impenetrable. She had scuttled away, horrified at how far she had gone. Norma Jean’s house had been dark, but at the sound of glass breaking and neighboring dogs barking, lights flickered on before Alayne drove off, her foot shaking on the accelerator.