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Didi Oviatt

Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.

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Prompt Stories

#ARC sign up! Choose Between 7 books, Amazon #kindle Gifted!

My writing buddy Kim and I are inviting all friends to an ARC read and review round! This means you will be gifted a FREE Amazon Kindle copy of one of the below books, in exchange for an honest review. The event is taking place between the 1st- 31st January 2018. The only polite request is, if you receive a copy of the book you signed up for, please read and leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads during January 2018. Note that all but three of these books are novella length, and should not take long to read. Feel free to forward this event onto anyone who you may feel is interested! Sharing is caring!!

Further descriptions on each book can be found on Amazon Author Pages here:

DIDI’s BOOKS

KIM’s BOOKS

We are both so excited for this freebie review round!! It’s a hell of a way to kick of the new year.  The requests have been coming in and neither of us can wait to see your shining reviews on Amazon and Goodreads!  Thank you readers!

LET ME CHOOSE MY FREE KINDLE GIFT, I’d LOVE TO LEAVE A REVIEW!

Happy Reading!!!

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Start 2018 With Free Books!

Hello Book Lovers!

My co-author and I are inviting you to our Author Review Copy read and review round…. this means freebies!
 

1st-31st January 2018

Would you like a FREE Amazon gifted copy of one of our books below? (plus more!!!) There’s no catch, we promise. We’re doing an ARC read and review round. Anyone who is interested in a book will be gifted a copy, in exchange for an honest review. Check out the blurbs, if something takes your fancy there’s a Google forms link THAT CAN BE FILLED OUT HERE to indicate your interest and you will receive a free copy directly. The link will be clickable at the bottom of post as well.
Happy New Year!
Happy Reading!

The Red Room, Romance In The City

The Red Room is book one of the Romance In The City novella series, of steamy and romantic standalone short stories.

Rita Lane lives a double life in her day job she’s a receptionist at the prestigious London Park Hotel. By night her adventures begin. As a thirty something year old woman she is content with her single status. Richard Clarkson a New York based guest at the Park Hotel has firmly closed the door to romance, after a rocky marriage. As soon as Rita checks Richard into the hotel as a guest the sparks and electricity between the two begin.

After hours, the day before Valentine’s Day , their paths cross in an unexpected way. Rita and Richard’s desire for each other is on maximum …. will they cross the line to become more than just friends? The Red Room is a steamy short story set in London with diverse characters that will leave you wanting more.
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Lover’s Retreat, Romance Set In Paradise

Lover’s Retreat is book #2 of the Romance Set in Paradise Series of stand alone modern, steamy, suspenseful and romantic stories. All set in exotic locations around the world.

For thirty seven year old recluse Yasmin O’Neil, life feels like one crisis after another. Her husband left her five years ago, she starts to suspect she’s losing her hearing, and then her mother is diagnosed with cancer. When her mother passes away her fortune changes. Yasmin is fifty thousand pounds richer from her mother’s estate. Yasmin takes her fate into her own hands after years of being a recluse, she rediscovers herself at a spiritual retreat in Sri Lanka south Asia, before she plans to spend the next six months travelling around the world. In Sri Lanka, Yasmin’s path crosses with Michael Thomas, an army soldier on his own path of self discovery. With their luke warm initial encounter the pair don’t hit it off straight away. After some push and pull the two are finally on the same page. Their encounter turns from luke warm to steamy sizzling hot.

In Lover’s Retreat two very different characters originally on different paths, embrace the need for change and companionship. Set in the back drop of paradise, palm trees and untouched nature of Sri Lanka, these two lonely souls gain more than just self discovery they gain a soul mate.

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The Suspenseful Collection Volume #1

For Mature Readers Only:

A suspenseful novel with a twist. Eight short stories, by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With just creativity and the use of writing prompts, to craft one tale, with two different writers. This anthology of suspenseful, fast paced and engaging tales covers multiple genres. From heart felt romance, crime, fantasy, and steamy historical fiction. There is a story for everyone!

Steamy Historical Crime Fiction: It was The First Time I Killed A Man.

It’s 1972 and New York’s first female serial killer Lisa Vanacilli is in the hot seat again, ten years after her conviction of murder to the first degree and innocent plea. The ruthless but sexy reporter Tiffany Low cracks Lisa for a confession… at a price. Lisa is strong, courageous and says it how it is. This story has been extended due to reader’s demand. And is only for adult readers.

Psychological Fiction: Every Time I Hear That Voice From The Basement.

George appears to be harmless. The local neighbourhood geek on the outside, married to Jolene. In reality, he’s a very disturbed man. His path crosses with Dana, the local check out girl. This is a psychological suspense story with a twist.

Crime Fiction: The Entrance To The Tunnel Is His Only Way Out.

Juan is a wanted man, and an ex-gang member on the run from Atlanta to Mexico. With a hundred grand in cash stolen from his ex-boss, he meets an unlikely fate in Mexico. A fast-paced crime fiction story.

Contemporary Romance: When His Hands Run Up My Thighs I…

Love has no time limit, age limit or use by date. Sarah now in her fifties is reunited with her long-lost love Joshua. They last had contact in 1961. In the present day, thanks to the advancement of technology their paths cross. A heart-warming and modern tale, about long distance love, that will leave you warm inside.

Suspense: We Only Said Goodbye With Words, I Died A Hundred Times:

In 1963 Russian Femme Fatale Mila Petrov is London’s top Madam. Her entertainment house is booming, she has a team of London’s strongest women behind her. Unfinished business from her past creeps up and haunts her. It’s nothing she can’t handle. A suspenseful historical tale, with a strong femme fatale.

Fantasy: The Ones Who Live At The Bottom Of The Ocean, Come To The Surface.

A beautiful coming of age story, featuring sixteen year old Zoe and her mother May-Li. Myth becomes reality, as Zoe finds out who and what she really is. Her mixed descent reveals more than what meets the eye. This fantasy story is set against the backdrop of a Greek island and Hong Kong, China.

Suspenseful Crime Fiction: Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defence

California’s sassy, tough, and likeable defence lawyer Catherine has taken on a case so high profile, if she wins she’ll become a partner of Martin Law Firm. Defending forty six year old Mrs. Chevelle. An ex Las Vegas show girl, now a Hollywood wife, on trial for the murder of her high-profile husband. She claims she’s innocent. Readers are taken on a fast -paced journey on a mission to seek the truth.

Contemporary Fiction: It’s A Man’s Man’s World:

A beautiful modern tale showing the love and appreciation of a woman. James Brown said it right when he said, “it’s a man’s man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl.”

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Search For Maylee

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.

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Havana Heat
THIS IS FREE NOW ON AMAZONHavana Heat is book one of the Romance Set in Paradise series of modern,steamy, suspenseful and romantic stories, set in exotic locations around the world. In Havana Heat readers are transported to the paradise of Cuba’s capital Havana, following the romance and heat build between Spaniard Detective Sebastian Garcia, and London born and bred wedding planner Melinda Jones. Melinda’s path crosses with the handsome and charming Detective at Casa De Amour Hotel as a guest at her client’s exotic location wedding. Both characters are in search of a slice of paradise, away from their own troubled love life back home. Once their paths cross the romance and sizzle begins.

When all hell breaks out at Casa De Amour Hotel, and conflict builds over their past both characters are faced with a decision to take a risk and see out their romance, or walk away. Forever asking themselves what could have been. Romance, thrills and excitement await in book one of this modern romance series set in paradise.

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YES PLEASE I’D LOVE AN AMAZON GIFT
ENTER YOUR EMAIL ON THIS FORM

Short Story #kdsuspense Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defense

Kim and I are so excited to announce the progress we’re making on The Suspenseful Collection Vol 2! The bonus scenes and stories are coming along and they couldn’t get any juicier! To bring back the spirit of our suspenseful tales we’ve decided to share one of the bonus stories from Vol 1 today. This is one of my personal favorites from the first set of our short story adventures, so enjoy readers!

AUTHOR ONE: SCENE ONE

“Your top is very stripey today.”

Dean announces with a quizzical lift of one brow. He’s practically blocking the doorway into the breakroom. I hate it when he does that. Our firm is the largest on this side of California, and of all the Lawyers that Martin Law could’ve chosen to partner me up with on the most important case imaginable, it had to be Dean.

Dean Pritcher, the handsome young successful entitled douchebag. He doesn’t have much of a filter on the stupid shit he says. And he gets away with it because his father is one of the most powerful money grabbers known in the law business. Dean has a thing for me– a major one. The annoying flirtatious comments have been in full swing, ever since I accidentally let him get into my pants during last year’s Christmas party. That’s right, I said accidentally, and I also said, during – not after.

The wine was exceptionally fruity, which I love, and he was very easy on the eyes that night. We’d had too much to drink, and after a few laughs about the Firm’s crappy choice of music, we wound up sneaking off to fuck in his office. The rest of the party was singing Rocking Around The Christmas Tree in anoying rounds of staccato, while I was two rooms over rocking a shaft of my own. And singing a whole different kind of tune. It was actually a very exceptional fuck, and I can’t even begin to explain how much hate to admit that. I’ve told him time and time again, that it was a one time thing. He’s yet to accept that as a reasonable turn down.

“Can you move please? The coffee over there isn’t going to pour itself into my mug.”

I hold up my black coffee cup with the words smarty-pants-attorney scrawled in fancy pink and white letters across it, and flash my most sarcastic grin in his direction. This is the cheesiest coffee cup a lawyer could possibly have, but my mom gave it to me as a gift when I passed the BAR a few years back. I haven’t started a single morning since without it.

“And, I love this shirt.” I retort as I squeeze past.

My mom raised me and my three younger siblings on her own, she couldn’t afford to pitch in a dime on my schooling. My father is long gone. He’s been in the six foot hole he belongs in, for fifteen years exactly this month. My dad was the entire reason behind my drive to make it through law school. I intend on playing my dutiful part in keeping men like him off the streets, and out of the beds of women who clearly deserve better than waking up each day hoping it isn’t their last.

I paved my own way, I waited tables and climbed more stripper poles than I like to talk about to get myself here. I’ll be damned if I let a spoiled little daddy’s boy brat, like Dean mess up my chances of making partner in this Firm. I honestly don’t even think he likes me that much anyway. To him I’m more of a challenge than anything else. The one woman who’s ever turned him away. I’ve even heard him refer to me as a “prick tease” to his friends, when he assumed I was not within earshot to overhear such absurdity.

“I’m not a fan, it makes your tits look smaller than they really are. The necklines way too high.”

“I hate that you know what my tits look like.”

I really do love this shirt. The stripes are small, and they’re several shades of black and gray. The material is mostly spandex so it’s very soft against my skin and tucks nicely into this particular black pencil skirt. It’s my favorite skirt, I have it in four colors. Dean remains in the doorway, but he rotates himself to keep a close eye on me as I pass. He does this often.  He doesn’t even actually use this break room, he has a single serving coffee machine and fridge in his own office. The only reason he comes here is to pester me. Even though we already spend enough time around each other as it is, especially with this particular case we’re working on. I can feel his eyes as they scour over my backside. I shift all of my weight onto one leg, to accentuate my curves. Fuck it, I might as well show off what he can’t have.

“Did you get the email I sent you last night? Mrs. Chevelle will be here in an hour, and we need all of those documents finished.” I say, while spinning back around to face him.

“I thought we were talking about your tits.”

I roll my eyes at his tenacity, this man is relentless.

“Can we please be professional?”  I ask wholly irritated.

“I mean, I know you’re young. But maybe it’s time to act my age for a change instead of yours.”

Dean’s perfectly white teeth make themselves known as he bites his lower lip. Wanting and teasing me with those soft squishy lips, just before displaying his biggest grin.

“So you’re finally going to admit that you’re my cougar?” He asks with his sparkling brown eyes and  smiling from his cheeks.

 “Oh my God,”  I mumble. “Just have it all ready, okay? I’ll be in your office in forty five minutes to review it before she gets here.”

I shove my way through the small space he’s allotted me for a passage through the doorway. My chest rubs softly across his upper abs on my way past, making my nipples slightly perk, and my hips brush his thighs. He practically towers me in height, making him that much harder to resist. The short contact of his body heat sends a shock between my legs. I hate that he makes me wet so easily. I find it best to stick with irritation and spite when dealing with him. It makes things much easier.

“It was finished an hour ago, Kitty.”

He hollers after me, just loud enough to be heard by the few suits at the end of the hall way. They don’t even look up.

“It’s Cathrine.” I retort, without looking back.

“Kitty-Cat.” He calls followed by a purposefully low humming purr.

I can hear the smile behind the words. I grin, despite myself, as he can’t see my face anyway. Then I flip him the bird over my shoulder, and sway my hips just right in step, knowing full well what those sexy eyes of his are locked on.

 

****

 

I’m actually surprised at the stack of pages he gracefully hands over to me. He leans across the desk, putting his weight on his forearms, and smirks in my direction. I thumb through the pages, double checking the format and signature markers in each section. Dean added in all of our client’s information in the exact places needed. For being a shoe-in Attorney here, and given the job based on his father’s name, he’s surprisingly bright.

“I’ve got to admit I’m impressed, Dean. Everything looks great.”

He leans back into his chair, pushing it a couple of feet to the side of his desk, to get a better look at me. We’re now a mere couple of feet away, without any furniture between us to block his view.

“I concur.”

He says while rubbing his chin in thought and staring blatantly at the exposed portion of my legs.    

Before I have a chance to put his inappropriate innuendos in check, there’s a light tapping on his door. His entire office is made of the type of distorted glass that can be seen through from one side only. We can look out, but no one can look in. There are few offices in the building of its stature, and of course his is one of them. It made our one time sexual encounter that much more intoxicating. It was like having sex in public, yet not a soul could see it. I wonder how many other girls he’s fucked in this very room, as I look over to see the silhouette of his secretary standing at the door.

As soon as I turn back to Dean he winks at me. I wonder briefly if he’s secretly a mind reader. He calls her in without breaking eye contact. Becky is very tall and skinny with a quiet mousy voice. She blushes every time she addresses Dean, and stumbles over her words often. She walks in slowly and hesitant then clears her throat.

“Yes, um, Mr. Pritcher, you have a client here. Shall I, um, send her in?”

Dean hardly acknowledges her presence. He continues to stare into my eyes, refusing to let a blink slip through. The gaze is intense. I hate it when he does this in company. It’s like he’s staking an intense claim on me. Pretending that no one else around can pull his attention away. It’s irritating. Cute, but most definitely annoying nonetheless.

“Go ahead and welcome her in, Becky. I think Cat and I are ready. Aren’t we Kitty-Cat?”

“It’s Cathrine.” I correct before turning to the timid girl. “Yes, we’re ready Becky, go ahead and send her in.”

Becky doesn’t look over at me. She’s just as stuck on Dean as he is on me. Just like every other girl around here. If he’s in the room, no one else on the planet exists. I just hope the judge is as impressed. I’m yet to work a case with him, and we could really use the help on this one.

Beth does as she told, and shows Mrs. Chevelle in.

I instantly see my mother’s young face peering out through the eyes of Denessa Chevelle. Minus the prominent scar that my mom sports above her right eye, compliments of a grazing bullet provided by my dad’s nine millimeter. Denessa actually looks nothing like my mother, but the demeanor of a timid and abused pet is written all over her face. My heart pulls in a familiar ache for her.

I stand to my feet and walk over to greet her formally. Mrs. Chevelle keeps her head to the floor, staring at the tiles. A habit like this only comes from years of abuse. The woman clearly has no confidence or self respect. Her eye is still blackened from the night that put her on the path to this very Martin Law office.  I introduce myself and Dean before urging her to take a seat on a plush white chair across from my own. We are sitting face to face on the opposite side of Dean’s desk. I straighten my back and place a comforting hand on her knee.

“Mrs. Chevelle, I want to start by telling you that everything we talk about today will stay in this office. No matter what it is.” I tell her.

She nods and finally looks up to make eye contact with me, though Dean is still avoided completely. She’s glanced in his general direction, but has trained her eyes to avoid any direct contact with those of a man.

“You’re safe here.” I continue. “We work for you, and are bound by law to maintain the utmost discretion. Do you understand that?” I ask softly with genuine concern.

“Yes.” She replies softly and it’s my mother’s voice that I hear.

My heart races as my mind runs circles around the similarities in this circumstance. I was only fourteen years old when my mom took my father’s life in self defence. He was too drunk to actually hit  his target. He made one shot that grazed the side of her face, and in return she finally snapped. My mom stabbed my father repeatedly in the chest and head with the crafting scissors she had in her hand when he tried to kill her. I personally  locked myself and my little brothers in the  bedroom. I remember helping them to hide from our dad underneath my mom and dad’s  shared bed when it happened. I came out of the room by the coaxing of a uniformed officer, and witnessed firsthand the bloody mess that was my home.

Mom was lucky, and didn’t have to face trial after the entire incident. She buried my dad and has been reminded of her own past by the scar on her face, every time she looks in a mirror.

Mrs. Chevelle isn’t going to be so lucky. Her husband was a very well known public figure, and not everyone around believes her story of self-defence. In a way, you could say that I took the case in honor of my own mother. I finally get the opportunity to do what’s right by a woman who defended herself, before she wind up dead at the hand of a man who claimed to love her, just as my mom did.  Dean’s voice pulls me back from the distracting memories.

“Mrs. Chevelle, we need to start by asking you a few questions.”

Author Two: Scene Two

“Okay, no problems.”

She replies without moving her eyes over to Dean. I take the lead, I can see she feels more comfortable speaking to a woman.

“Mrs. Chevelle, can you tell us a bit about your marriage to Ronald?”

I watch Mrs. Chevelle take a deep breath and swallow hard at my question. She’s nervous. I remember the look on my mom’s face, as she was asked the same question all those years ago. As my eyes well up I get up from my seat, smooth over my shirt and sit down beside her on the other sofa. My knees touch hers and I take her small and wrinkled hands in mine.

To my surprise she doesn’t flinch, but her head remains low.  She grabs both of my hands tightly, and starts to sob lightly. As I hold onto her small hand it’s like an electric current runs from her to me. I feel it, the hurt, the pain, the years of being knocked around like a fuckin’ bean bag. For what, in the name of love? Because she’s  too scared to up and leave, and  try to make it on her own.

I look deep into her face as I wait for her response. The current runs through me deeply still.  I can feel my breathing become deeper. It’s right here and now that I make up my mind, guilty or not there is no way she’s going down for this shit. I’ll work that courtroom and whip those jurors into line and get a not guilty verdict. Pretty boy Dean, better step up too and not fuck up with any amiture moves.

For a woman in her late forties she looks good. That’s what money and good botox does for you. The only tell- tell sign she’s a woman of a certain age are her weathered hands, rather than her face.

“When you’re ready Mrs. Chevelle please.” I softly encourage her to speak.

“Well I don’t know what to say really. The stories you read in the glossy magazines and newspapers really don’t fit the truth. Ronald was a twisted man. No matter how much he gave to charity or how many humanitarian things he did it was all a cover up.”

I gently let go of Mrs. Chevelle’s hands to pick up my legal pad and pencil. I’m not missing a beat of this. I fix her with an empathetic look and brace myself to hear her story.

“Behind closed doors Ronald Chevelle was a bully, drunk and a very nasty man. I had to grin and bear it all for years.”

“Can you go into a bit more detail Mrs. Chevelle?”

Dean cuts in. I almost forgot he was in the room. I shoot him a warning look. The last thing I need is Mrs. Chevelle to clam up. He’s moving too fast, with women like this you have to let them talk with little interruption. Mrs. Chevelle places her hands over her face, a muffled voice comes from behind them.

“Please, please I can’t talk with him here.”

I look over at Dean, I nod my head toward the door. I watch him unfold his lean body, adjust his tie and head out the door.

“He’s gone Ms. Chevelle. Please when you’re ready tell me a bit about your home life?”

“Ma’am there’s no point really is there? No one will believe me, no one will understand just what I went through. I may as well give up.”

“No, no we must tell your story, you have to trust me… Please let me help you.”

“Did he ever put his hands on you Mrs. Chevelle?”

She looks up at me with damp pale blue eyes, her thin penciled eyebrows meet in the middle as she searches my face. I know she’s trying to feel me out, to see if she can trust me.

“Umm hmm.”

She mumbles and blinks, as she does a single tear falls to her plump cheek. Her mascara runs as her tears start to overflow violently once again. As the tears escape her she stays mute, staring off into space. I take a deep breath and brace myself for the shit I’m about to hear.

“Mrs. Chevelle, what’s your earliest memory of him hurting you?”

I hand her a tissue from the box on the table and watch her wipe her nose and smooth over her blonde sleek shoulder length hair.

“When I was pregnant about four months or so. I was in the kitchen cleaning the floor. I had terrible nesting syndrome everything had to be just right. Ronald hated it, as soon as he placed something down I’d tidy it away. Anyway, I was mopping the floors and forgot to tell him. He came in and almost slipped as he entered the house. He stormed into the kitchen and grabbed me by the hair. He yelled in my face why the fuck didn’t I tell him the floor was wet? I told him I never heard him come in or I would have. Then he… he.”

I take her hand again and hold it tight. C’mon lady, open up tell me. She looks down at our hands intertwined and speaks in a small voice.

“He threw me to the floor and smashed my face off of the tiles, then he kicked me in the stomach– twice and raped me.”

My keep my poker face in check, but inside I’m fuming. Son-of-a bitch.

“Mrs. Chevelle, is that the reason you… is that how the-”

She cuts me off.

“Yes, yes that’s the real reason I lost my son at four months pregnant. I never miscarried like the glossy magazines said. He kicked it out of me.”

I sit up straight, for a moment. My face slips as I think back to the headline of  Hello magazine all those years ago. Mrs. Chevelle did an interview with them following the “miscarriage” she had. She played the grieving mother over the loss of her son. She confessed following complications she can now no longer have children. She conceived late as it was in her late thirties, it was a miracle it happened.

“He made me do it, Ms. Ms…”

“Call me Catherine, please.”

“Okay, he made me do it Catherine. He made me decline a makeup artist the day of my interview, as they would see the black eyes. He demanded that I do my own makeup and cover up my marks well. He said if he looks at the magazine picture and noticed unperfect makeup he’d beat me.”

“Mrs. Chevelle, is he the reason you can’t have children.”

She bows her head again and sniffs back the tears and snot, threatening to escape her.

“Yes.”

I my mind, I’ve won this case already. That piece-a-shit can go to hell. I place my personal emotions inline and smooth over my chocolate brown sharp blunt cut bob. I tuck the longer section of my hair at the front behind my ear, let go of her hand and make some swift notes. I keep my eyes low, I can’t afford for her to see my true feelings over this sick bastard.

“Mrs. Chevelle, was this the first beating? If not can you confirm how long ago this first beating was?”

“I was thirty seven so almost ten years ago. This happened the first one was two years after we married, when I was twenty.”

I do the math, that’s over twenty five years ago.

“Right, and before this day in the kitchen how did he treat you?”

“Well, he was a little rough, ya know during sex. He liked very strange things sometimes he’d want to tie me up and punish me really punish me. I’d have welts all over my breasts and thighs from the strap marks. He also asked me to do weird things like…”

“It’s okay, when you’re ready keep going.”

Mrs. Chevelle sighs. Her face pinches up into the most painful look I’ve seen on any one in a while, it’s clear this is a hard trip down memory lane for her. Her voice starts of slow and then ends up in a shrill plea by the time she’s done.

“Maybe I’m the weird one? I don’t know but he.. he liked to force himself on me. Nothing would stop him period or no period, he would still force himself on me and inside me, then tell me to clean up the mess and say it was all my fault. Catherine, I’d beg and plead and tell him how painful it was and I was in pain from time of the month cramps but he never stopped. One time he held me by the neck and forced himself inside me up against the wall. I was terrified, he was high on cocaine. Afterwards he beat me, told me it was all my fault”

“Mrs. Chevelle, can I confirm a few things? 1. You said no, and made yourself clear. 2. He would still demand sex from you. 3. He would enter you with force, while you had not consented to sexual relations?”

“Yes, that’s true.”

“Thank you.”

Mrs. Chevelle, this is going to be a hard question to ask, and even harder for you to answer. But you’ll be asked it in court, so we need to prepare. Why didn’t you file for a divorce?”

Her timid face looks up at mine. I take in her smudged makeup as she moulds her pretty face into a frown. Her pale blue eyes plead with me.

“Catherine, please don’t judge me okay. Look at you you’re pretty, you have brains you’re an Attorney you go to work and kick ass everyday. Men respect you because you deserve it.”

She looks away from me for a beat as she continues.

“Shit, you demand Catherine. I wish I could be like you. I saw the way that other Attorney looked at you when you told him to go. He knew better than to fuck around with you.. Me, I.. I can’t do that. I don’t have brains.”

I’m flattered, I study her closely and prick my ears up, something big’s coming I can feel it. With a look of shame she lowers her lashes again to her lap.

“I can’t read… properly.  I got pregnant at fifteen and my parents disowned me, I worked every strip club in London, after I gave up my child for adoption at sixteen. I’m British, not American I hide my accent well after so many years here. At eighteen, I came over here to the USA on a visa. I worked the poles every night. That’s all I knew and still know how to do even to this day. I was a Las Vegas show girl. That’s how I met Ronald one night at The Golden Nugget hotel downtown Las Vegas. He had money and demanded a private show, so I did it for the $10,000 tip he was offering. Back then to me that was a lot of money. Now I have shoes that cost more than that. The rest is history. I stayed by his side for security, I told him I wanted to learn to read and write and go to work, just like you be something ya know? He said no, pretty girls don’t need to learn that stuff. So I stayed home, kept the house clean, went shopping and tried to make friends with the other Hollywood wives.”

Mrs. Chevelle, pauses and takes a breather. She looks into my eyes, and then back down at her lap. I take her hand again and listen.

“The other wives never really accepted me, in their eyes I was just a stripper that got lucky. They were all fake toward me and I know they spoke about me behind my back. They would laugh when I found it hard to order from the menu, I couldn’t read for God sakes I wasn’t stupid. I had one girlfriend our friendship was never made that public, we were never pictured together. We met one night out at a celebrity charity event Ronald was hosting. She sat next to me and started to talking to me like a normal human being she liked me. She knew my background and wanted to talk to me for research about stripping and the underground world of stripping. She was a littl  older than me and wiser, she helped me a lot over the years. Ronald knew about our friendship.”

“Who? Tell me who is or was your girlfriend? Maybe we can talk to her as well as a witness.”

“No, we can’t she’s dead.”

“Dead?”

“Yes, my one time girlfriend was the author Jackie Collins. You know her right? We bonded over the struggles of adjusting to the USA, her being British she understood me. We would sit for hours and gossip about all the stories she was writing. She was so talented and great to talk to. One day, Ronald came home, he caught Jackie trying to teach me how to read, and write. He threw her out, told her not to come back. Called me a cunt then beat me black and blue. I was never allowed to talk to Jackie again.And I wasn’t allowed any female friends.”

My mouth hits the floor. Ms. Collins herself. Well I’ll be damned.

“Gosh, I’m sorry to hear that Ms. Chevelle. I’m sorry for your loss of friendship and the treatment.Thank you for telling me your backstory. It’s useful for the jury to know.”

I flip over my page, and jot down again her story.

“Ms. Chevelle the night you attacked your husband, it was self-defence right?”

She hesitates to respond, for a moment I wonder if she is guilty of murder.

“Yes, of course.” She replies in a low voice.

“Okay. I think we’ve had enough for today. We’ll meet up in a few days before the trial starts and go over a few more things. Is that Okay?”

“Umm hmm.” Is all she says as she starts to sob again.

I can’t help myself I reach out to her and hug her tight against me, as he breaks down crying heartfelt sobs. Her shoulders shake and my blouse is covered in her makeup, but it’s Okay. As I hold her I wipe my own eyes and try to return to me. The tough ball-breaking Attorney and not the emotional wreck I feel. I can’t believe it. Raped, beaten, deprived of  the right to educate herself. If it’s the last thing I do, and for the sake of my own mother this woman is walking out of that court room, with a clean name.

 

****

 

After Mrs. Chevelle leaves, and Dean walks in, I  decide head back to my office. I  completely ignore Dean as he walks in. I brush past him and shove him slightly to one side.

“Wow, what’s got into you?”

“Nothing.” I call back as I walk off down the corridor fuming.

“You sure Kitty-Cat?”

I stop dead in my tracks, I spin around and sashay back up to him. Even in these heels he still towers over me. I get up in his face, before I know it the Brooklyn fire in me comes out. It’s like I step back in time, remembering what it was like having to protect myself and my little brothers in the ghettos of New York. Under his six foot three height I push Dean’s cheek , point in his face and yell up at him.

“Yo’, call me that one more time I’ll snap ya fuckin’ neck, got it?”

I spin around and the whole corridor looks my way. Fuck these suits. I straighten my skirt, hold my head up and sashay back to my office with my bitch face on show. The one I always reserved for those pricks back in Brooklyn. No one meets my eye as I walk along. I’m not in the mood for his banter about my tits, how good my ass looks in this skirt or how much he’d love to bend me over his desk or fuckin’ Kitty- Ca namest. Now is not the time to piss me off with that shit.

I sit at my desk with my heels propped up. Reflecting on life, how unfair it can be sometimes. Some people don’t have the silver spoon others seem to have. They have to do what they have to do to get through each day. Even if it means staying married to a rapist, drug addict and abuser. My blood boils harder just as the door knocks.

“Yeah, come in.”

A timid looking Becky enters my office, she pushes her glasses back and shuffles over to me like a mouse. He eyes rest on the floor and her shoulders hunch over.

“Urm, Catherine, Mr. Pritcher-”

I cut her off. From my desk I remain rooted with my heels propped up, I bark at her.

“Stop Becky. Look at me when you’re talking to me God damn. Hold your fuckin’ head up. Get out of my office, and come back in. Let me know you’re present don’t shuffle in like a chump.”

Becky looks at me wide eyed and scared. Like a rabbit caught in headlights.

“Catherine, I’m sorry.”

“Becky, shut up and get out there, knock the fuckin’ door with some clought. Then get back in here and tell me whatever it is you wanna say. Go.”

I watch her turn on her flat sensible heels and walk out. The door knocks louder. Good girl. Now don’t let me down, show me who you are Becky. In she walks head high and hands clasped in front of her.

“Catherine.”

“What?”

“Mr Pritcher wants to know if he can meet with you in five minutes?”

“Hmm, okay.”

She lowers her head. Ready to leave.

“Becky, sit down.”

“Am I in trouble Catherine cos I..”

“Sit down Becky.”

She takes a seat opposite me at my desk, I swing my heels down and lean over, I look her in the eyes. Of course she moves her eyes away from mine. In a soft voice I try to boost her confidence.

“Becky, in life there are two types of people the doormats and the stilettos let’s call them. The doormats will never get very far, as the stilettos are too busy walking all over them. You see where I’m goin’ with this?”

“Umm I think so.”

“Becky, I don’t know why you come across as so shy, but people will take advantage of that if you let them. I’m not saying change who you are, if you’re a shy person that’s fine. I’m saying believe in who you are, have fire in you. Be the stiletto not the doormat. Okay?”

She looks me in the eye, a small smile creeps over her face and her eyes light up.

“I’ll try. Catherine.”

“Good girl”

“Catherine”

I sigh, I need a drink and a smoke.

“What? Becky”

“Can I ask you something?”

I swing my heels back up on my desk, and lean back in my chair.

“Sure, shoot.”

“Can I assist you as your secretary. I like Mr. Pritcher but…”

“But what?”

She lowers her eyes, again.

“Eyes up Becky, I’m over here.”

“Sorry, yes. I like him but I want to shadow you. I think I could learn a thing or two and I’m debating whether to study law.”

“Okay, what else, that can’t be the only reason. You can shadow any Attorney as his secretary. Don’t bull shit me Becky, what’s up?”

Becky lowers her eyes again. What is wrong with this kid?

“He tries to touch me, Catherine I don’t like it.”

“What, you don’t like it? Every woman in here wants his hands between their legs are you kidding me?”

I laugh out loud at this joke, she can’t be serious. Becky’s face stays numb and straight. I see her eyes well up with tears and she looks at the ground again. For a moment I regret my joke.

“No I don’t like it. I’m… I’m not really into boys like that. I, I.. Catherine I don’t know how to say this but I have a girlfriend, no one knows and I don’t want anyone to.”

 

You can knock me down with a feather. All this time I thought Becky was getting wet over him when she looked at him, it was a look of fear and disgust. He made her nervous that’s why she stutters around him.

“Jesus Becky, really? I’m sorry for my bad joke. Okay starting Monday, you’re on team Catherine. Leave it all to me.”

Becky’s face lights up and she gets to her feet.

“Thank you! I better get going I have a few reports to type up.”

At the door she looks back at me.

“Catherine, you’re awesome. No one has ever stood up to that prick like you did back there.”

Before I can even respond she scurries through the door and closes it behind her. I laugh a belly rolling laugh…  shy reserved Becky actually said prick.

 

****

 

“So, what did she have to say then, Catherine?”

Dean’s voice snaps me out of my daydream as I stand over at my window, looking out at the blue California skyline. I feel him behind me. I smile at his emphasis on my name. That’s right bitch fall in line. Runs through my mind, as he stands behind me in my personal space. I don’t face him. I continue looking out of the window.

“First things first. If You put your hands on Becky again, I will snap ya fuckin’ neck that’s a promise. Second as of Monday, she’s my secretary find yourself a new one… A male one preferably. Third, I don’t care who your father in this law firm. If I hear so much as a whisper that you’re pawing any women in this place you’ll be sorry. Got that pretty boy?”

“Got it.”

“Good. Now we got a case to put together I need you on point. Let’s get to work.”

I spin around and face him. He’s so close I can smell his scent.

“And one more thing. You follow my lead on this case, stay in line.”

Dean looks down at me, he gives me a salute.

 

***

Monday June 1st 2016, California Supreme Court.

 

In the ladies room I look myself over. I feel good I take in all the minor details. The sharp fringe of my blunt bob, minimal make-up, my best well tailored black Chanel skirt suit, sky high red bottom Christian Louboutin heels. Perfect. I feel confident I’ve got this in the bag. I was raised a strict catholic by my mom, I bow my head in prayer before I walk out. Today as confident as I feel I’ll need God on my side. The prosecution lined up a good case. Naturally they have played on her as a money grabbing whore. She was a stripper, doing what she had to do before she met that bastard, been there. That does not give her a motive for murder… I hope.

 

****

“All rise please. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we’re here to hear the case of Mrs. Dennessa Chevelle. On trial for the murder of Ronald Chevelle.”

 

I watch an officer move over to Mrs. Chevelle and hand her a bible to place her hand on. She gives her plea of not guilty and the show begins. The prosecution swim around her like sharks.

 

“Mrs. Chevelle, is it true you were a stripper before you met your late husband?”

“No, well yes but not a stripper I was a performer in Las Vegas. That’s how we met.”

“And how would you describe your financial situation at the time, stable? Or unstable?”

“I.. I did not have much that’s true but I got by.”

“Mrs. Chevelle, if you could please answer the question.”

“Unstable.”

“Unstable you say? Is it fair to say a man like Mr. Chevelle was desirable due to his financial status?”

 

The fuckin’ douche, he’s wasting no time. I get to my feet and call out to the judge.

“Objection!”

“Ms. O’Neil, please remain seated. As you were Mr. D’Costa.”

I look over at Mrs. Chevelle and hope she doesn’t fall for the trap.

“No, certainly not. How dare you assume such a thing. He was my husband, not a meal ticket!”

That-a-girl Mrs. Chevelle. I take a seat and breathe a sigh of relief. I look over at the jury. Predominantly female, excellent. I’ll let this prick paint whatever picture he wants of Mrs. Chevelle. When I take the stand, I’ll hit ‘em with the abused woman story and give them some shit the female jury members never got to read in Hello magazine.

 

****

 

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as you can see the prosecution has tried to paint a picture of a money grabber, a whore and stripper.”

I walk closer to the jury and slowly walk past their stand with confidence as I talk.

“The woman you see over there in that stand, is none of these things.”

I stop for a beat in front of a female juror around Mrs. Chevelle’s age.

“You see that lady over there, she was an abused woman, mentally, physically and emotionally.”

A female juror moves her eyes over to Mrs. Chevelle and takes a closer look. Right on cue, Mrs. Chevelle blows her nose into her tissue and wipes her eyes. Perfect. I watch the women in the jury stand some more. Their faces move from pinched up discomfort to shock. Beautiful. I walk back across the room again and command their attention.

“Ladies and gentlemen, what you don’t know about Mrs. Chevelle is she endured years of beatings. I’d like you to cast your mind back around ten years ago, Mrs. Chevelle miscarried. Or so we were told. Mr. Chevelle, beat that child out of her on the kitchen floor, and blackened her eyes. He then raped her at four months pregnant. The interview you read in Hello magazine was a facade, he made her give that story.”

I hear the gasps from the jury stand, I look over at Mrs.Chevelle with her eyes lowered playing her part well.

“Ladies and gentlemen, for nearly twenty six years Mr. Chevelle raped her high on cocaine, beat her, made her do sexual things she did not want to do. Including things like threesomes, water -sports and rough sex, including anal sex. She did not want it, at all, none of it. She never asked for it she was forced into it, she never consented. This happened for years.”

The jury are stunned of course they are. The never imagined that the glossy magazine pictures of Mrs. Chevelle and her husband would hide such a lifestyle. I glance over at the prosecution and smirk.

“Ladies and gentlemen, is this the great land of the United States of America? Where everyone has freedom of speech and equal access to human rights?”

I let the question linger as I walk over the the jury, I turn and point back at Mrs. Chevelle.

“Mrs. Chevelle was denied all of this, on purpose by her abuser. Mrs. Chevelle is unable to read or write at the age of forty six years old, sadly. When she arrived in the USA from London, aged eighteen and met her late husband  this was her aim. To learn these skills. She expressed her interest to her late  husband. He said no.”

I turn fully to Mrs. Chevelle up on the stand.

“Mrs. Chevelle, can you please repeat what Mr. Chevelle said when you expressed your desire to learn to read?”

In a timid voice she responds to me.

“He.. he said no. Pretty girls don’t need to learn how to do those things.”

I look back at the jury, the women have their hands over the mouths, their eyebrows are raised in shock. Excellent.

“Mrs. Chevelle, can you please explain to the jury what happened the night your late husband got home, and he found you with a girlfriend, learning to read?”

Mrs. Chevelle clears her throat, wipes her eyes at the painful experience of reliving what that bastard done. I can see it written all over her, she’s dying a slow death up there with these memories.

“I, was very good friends with the late author Jackie Collins, she understood me while other Hollywood wives shunned me. You may not believe it but it’s true. Jackie, years ago tried to help me to learn a few words and read, just a few not many. He walked in on us, he threw her out, called me a cunt then beat me within an inch of my life. Jackie and I were banned from speaking to each other from that day. And I was never aloud friends.”

Mrs. Chevelle sobs and throws her arms up in the air. She becomes erratic and emotional. Like a crazy woman she throws her arms around the courtroom, as tears of pain escape her.

“I never done it on purpose, I never meant to kill him but he was going to kill me.  He attacked me that night I hurt him. Oh God I can’t do this. Someone please just take me away now if that’s what you want to.”

She offers her wrists to the guards next to her. They wrestle her to her seat where she sobs more and cries out.

“For years I took the abuse, he beat my baby out of me, I can’t have kids because of him, he raped me consistently, and locked me out of the house in the garden with no clothes on, he made me do cocaine with him, I hated it. I lost count of the number of men and women that would enter me on those nights, when he had wild parties with cocaine that I had to be part of. He made them do all kinds-a shit to me… and he watched while he masturbated himself and then came over me. He was a sick son-of-a bitch.”

My eyes well up for a moment and if I blink, I’m going to break down myself. I compose myself as best I can. I look up at the ceiling as I breath heavy. I give it a beat, and allow the jury to watch Mrs. Chevelle in an emotional state mutter to herself and slap the side of her head calling herself stupid.

 

****

 

After just ten minutes of deliberation the jury enter the room, with their verdict. My heart pounds. This is the biggest case I’ve worked. A high profile Hollywood wife on trial for murder, I gave as good as I get on this case. I worked the courtroom and bat off all the busllshit the procecution tried to make stick on Mrs. Chevelle, she has to walk free. The judge hushes the room with her stern voice. A female judge, I like it. I watched her listen to the evidence, but it was hard to read her.

 

“All rise please. Juror number five how do you find the defendant Mrs. Denessa Chevelle. Guilty or not guilty of murder of the first degree?”

Juror number five walks over to the stand. A middle aged man with grey hair and small glasses speaks up.

“Not guilty your honour.”

Bingo.

“How do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty of manslaughter?”

“Not guilty your honour.”

 

I wink at the prosecution as they sit there and stew. I can’t help it, very unprofessional I know. Who gives a shit, this is cause for celebration.

 

****

 

One week later:

 

My office door knocks, I look up from my paperwork.

“Yeah, come in.”

Becky walks in, she’s a changed woman. We hung out one weekend at the mall, we ended up in the options she has a new pair of funky hot pink glasses. I take in her sharp outfit, she wears flat black brogues with white ankle socks, a plated black shirt, a crisp white shirt is tucked in… and a  black tie. Her nails are also a hot pink shade to match her glasses. She looks so cool, and individual. She’s starting to express herself with her dress sense. She said it makes her feel confident.  The whole office knows she’s gay after she brought her girlfriend to afterwork drinks. Good for her, her confidence has grown and she has fire in her belly.

“Catherine, Mrs. Chevelle is here to see you. She doesn’t have an appointment is that okay?”

“Yeah of course, send her in.”

I push my papers to one side and wonder what she wants. As she sweeps in with a cloud of perfume.

“Catherine, so good to see you. I’m sorry to drop in unannounced like this.”

“No problem take a seat, what can I do for you?”

“Catherine, I’m going back to school I’m learning how to read at forty six can you believe that I have a private tutor. I’m also setting up a service for abused women in Kentucky, to help give something back to the community.”

“That’s great.”

“There’s something else as well”.

Mrs. Chevelle looks around the room and leans in close to my desk.

“Catherine I can trust you right?”

“Right of course, always.”

“I want to thank you for helping me walk free, and these are for you.”

A shoe box lands on my desk from Mrs. Chevelle’s large purse.

“Just a little something to say thank you.”

I open up the box and eye a pair of gladiator style high  heels. Sexy  and patent black , as the weather heats up these would be great to let my toes out a bit.

“Why thank you! Oh my you really did not have to.”

“Oh but I do Catherine, you helped me when I most needed it. And lemme tell ya somethin’ else.”

I smile as Mrs. Chevelle’s accent dips back to it’s original London cockney accent.

“That  bitch had it comin’ to him. It wasn’t self defense darlin’. That was cold blooded murder. He never attacked me..  That night I  had enough of his bitchin’ ‘bout dinner not bein’ as nice as what the cook does. So I thought fuck it… I’ll shut you up good ‘en proper. I picked up the sauce pan an’ battered that bastard to death, I loved every fuckin’ moment of it the little prick. I met him when I was eighteen, from the age of twenty I took the beatings, I’m forty six. That’s over twenty- five fuckin’ years love, I had enough.”

My mouth is on the floor. At the confession, her spunk, and most of all her brutal honesty and acting abilities  in court and when I interviewed her myself. As she gets up from her chair she winks at me, then kisses my forehead, just like my own mom did. I’m too stunned to talk. She laughs and disappears out the door. The lingering smell of Chanel No. 5 is all that’s left.

The Suspenseful Collection Vol 1 is now on sale for $.99!!!

 

Happy Cyber Monday E-Book Sale Day!

HAPPY EAT YOUR HEART OUT ON E-BOOK SALES DAY!!!  Cyber Monday is possibly the biggest day there is for Kindle fans!  I personally have four books on sale, but the bigger picture is downloading every single one of your top TBR while they’re on sale! (the ones that actually are, anyway…. which is most likely a very large percentage of them!)

The first place to look is here!  This is a link to a whole slew of books that are on sale and it includes authors like L.S. Fellows, Barbara M. Webb, Felicia Denise, Jordan C. Robinson, Liv Bartlet, yours truly, and more!!

As for my own books, here are the links and descriptions of the ones you can find for 99 cents today!!  Enjoy shopping from home/the office ALL DAY LONG!  I know I will!

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.

Not everything is as it seems in what appears to be an average family. When danger lurks so close to home, skeletons emerge, and the darkest of secrets surface, causing twisted desires to become reality. Aggravated Momentum offers the perspective of some very diverse and unique characters, including fun, witty personalities to fall in love with, along with an intellectual killer to die for. You may be surprised as to whom exactly you can relate. Is it the cold, calculated murderer, who’s name is yet to be revealed? Markie or Kam, the independent sisters, guilty of nothing more than getting tangled with the wrong people at the most inopportune times? Or, the cowardly snake curled in a hidden corner? Who are you, exactly? And, more importantly, who are they? The deeper you dig into the psyche of another, the more breath taking are the secrets you will find.

Young Jackson Bellony is scarcely a man when a rain of lightning heralds the end of the world. The Company is just a mysterious group that drops care packages into his village and harnesses the technology that others lack.

Soon an enigmatic drifter wanders into Jackson’s village and warns that The Company isn’t to be trusted. But before any decisions can be made, Jackson is taken away by The Company, after being told he has what it takes to be a super-warrior.

The enemy, they say, is the Lamia: a creature that’s half woman, half snake. The apocalyptic storm killed much of mankind but awoke the Lamia, which now endangers those who weren’t killed by the century of destruction. It’s a monster, and The Company needs Jackson and his superior comrades to defeat it.

But, is Jackson really the one who can save the world?

For Mature Readers Only:

A suspenseful novel with a twist. Eight short stories, by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With just creativity and the use of writing prompts, to craft one tale, with two different writers. This anthology of suspenseful, fast paced and engaging tales covers multiple genres. From heart felt romance, crime, fantasy, and steamy historical fiction. There is a story for everyone!

Steamy Historical Crime Fiction: It was The First Time I Killed A Man.

It’s 1972 and New York’s first female serial killer Lisa Vanacilli is in the hot seat again, ten years after her conviction of murder to the first degree and innocent plea. The ruthless but sexy reporter Tiffany Low cracks Lisa for a confession… at a price. Lisa is strong, courageous and says it how it is. This story has been extended due to reader’s demand. And is only for adult readers.

Psychological Fiction: Every Time I Hear That Voice From The Basement.

George appears to be harmless. The local neighbourhood geek on the outside, married to Jolene. In reality, he’s a very disturbed man. His path crosses with Dana, the local check out girl. This is a psychological suspense story with a twist.

Crime Fiction: The Entrance To The Tunnel Is His Only Way Out.

Juan is a wanted man, and an ex-gang member on the run from Atlanta to Mexico. With a hundred grand in cash stolen from his ex-boss, he meets an unlikely fate in Mexico. A fast-paced crime fiction story.

Contemporary Romance: When His Hands Run Up My Thighs I…

Love has no time limit, age limit or use by date. Sarah now in her fifties is reunited with her long-lost love Joshua. They last had contact in 1961. In the present day, thanks to the advancement of technology their paths cross. A heart-warming and modern tale, about long distance love, that will leave you warm inside.

Suspense: We Only Said Goodbye With Words, I Died A Hundred Times:

In 1963 Russian Femme Fatale Mila Petrov is London’s top Madam. Her entertainment house is booming, she has a team of London’s strongest women behind her. Unfinished business from her past creeps up and haunts her. It’s nothing she can’t handle. A suspenseful historical tale, with a strong femme fatale.

Fantasy: The Ones Who Live At The Bottom Of The Ocean, Come To The Surface.

A beautiful coming of age story, featuring sixteen year old Zoe and her mother May-Li. Myth becomes reality, as Zoe finds out who and what she really is. Her mixed descent reveals more than what meets the eye. This fantasy story is set against the backdrop of a Greek island and Hong Kong, China.

Suspenseful Crime Fiction: Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defence

California’s sassy, tough, and likeable defence lawyer Catherine has taken on a case so high profile, if she wins she’ll become a partner of Martin Law Firm. Defending forty six year old Mrs. Chevelle. An ex Las Vegas show girl, now a Hollywood wife, on trial for the murder of her high-profile husband. She claims she’s innocent. Readers are taken on a fast -paced journey on a mission to seek the truth.

Contemporary Fiction: It’s A Man’s Man’s World:

A beautiful modern tale showing the love and appreciation of a woman. James Brown said it right when he said, “it’s a man’s man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl.”

Has It Really Been A Month?

I can’t even believe it’s been a full month since I released Search For Maylee! I just want to throw out here how grateful I am for everyone who has read my book so far. I’ve been completely washed over with positive comments and it means the world! Help me to celebrate Search For Maylee’s one month release-aversary by enjoying this short excerpt:

Threatening tears welled in her eyes, confirming the quiver of her voice to be genuine. Of course Jeremy noticed the hesitant display of emotion. He already knew that Autumn had a secret, one that she’d reveal when she was ready, and not a minute before. It didn’t matter that he wanted to push her for more information, because he didn’t actually dare too. Jeremy knew more than what he was letting on, and plus it was visible that Autumn might snap with violence, or even worse, cry. Soothing emotional women had never been Jeremy’s strong suit, so he left it be. She’d come around eventually, and patience was always on his side.

The thinking wheels in Jeremy’s head were practically visible on the curves of his face. A pulsing clench of his jaw read ‘piss off’ and the wrinkles on his forehead shouted ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this’.  With a mere flick of his hand, but no words, Jeremy pointed the way. It was in the exact opposite direction of the clearly visible freeway sign sitting comfortably at the stoplight to their left. Jeremy sunk himself into the seat, leaning far enough back that he could barely see out the window. Then he pulled the hood of his light jacket up over his head and crossed his arms over his chest. He was irritated, but compliant.

After a full hour’s test drive, Autumn learned two stiff facts. The first fact was that she had definitely chosen the right car. Not a single person so much as glanced in their direction. The second was a much more sickening fact, there were places in this city that were equally as disgusting as they were heart wrenching. In merely one morning, and without even exiting her vehicle, Autumn had witnessed a drunken mother slapping around her toddler, a hooker sleeping on her street corner after a long night’s work no doubt, and two groups of young men exchanging drugs and money in plain daylight. That’s not to mention the windowless apartment buildings, and heavily ‘caution’ taped sidewalks.

Description:

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.

Flash Sale! The Suspenseful Collection $.99

Kim and I have a lot to celebrate, so we decided to mark down the price to our short story collection so that our readers can celebrate with us!!  Between the up and coming release of my new novel Search For Maylee, Kim’s nomination for best romance of 2017 for A Stranger In France, and our new magazine writing adventure with The Conscious Talk Mag, we can’t help but to raise our glasses!

So if you wish to celebrate with us, please enjoy our short story collection for the dropped price while it lasts!  Enjoy!

DESCRIPTION:

For Mature Readers Only:

A suspenseful novel with a twist. Eight short stories, by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With just creativity and the use of writing prompts, to craft one tale, with two different writers. This anthology of suspenseful, fast paced and engaging tales covers multiple genres. From heart felt romance, crime, fantasy, and steamy historical fiction. There is a story for everyone!

Steamy Historical Crime Fiction: It was The First Time I Killed A Man.

It’s 1972 and New York’s first female serial killer Lisa Vanacilli is in the hot seat again, ten years after her conviction of murder to the first degree and innocent plea. The ruthless but sexy reporter Tiffany Low cracks Lisa for a confession… at a price. Lisa is strong, courageous and says it how it is. This story has been extended due to reader’s demand. And is only for adult readers.

Psychological Fiction: Every Time I Hear That Voice From The Basement.

George appears to be harmless. The local neighbourhood geek on the outside, married to Jolene. In reality, he’s a very disturbed man. His path crosses with Dana, the local check out girl. This is a psychological suspense story with a twist.

Crime Fiction: The Entrance To The Tunnel Is His Only Way Out.

Juan is a wanted man, and an ex-gang member on the run from Atlanta to Mexico. With a hundred grand in cash stolen from his ex-boss, he meets an unlikely fate in Mexico. A fast-paced crime fiction story.

Contemporary Romance: When His Hands Run Up My Thighs I…

Love has no time limit, age limit or use by date. Sarah now in her fifties is reunited with her long-lost love Joshua. They last had contact in 1961. In the present day, thanks to the advancement of technology their paths cross. A heart-warming and modern tale, about long distance love, that will leave you warm inside.

Suspense: We Only Said Goodbye With Words, I Died A Hundred Times:

In 1963 Russian Femme Fatale Mila Petrov is London’s top Madam. Her entertainment house is booming, she has a team of London’s strongest women behind her. Unfinished business from her past creeps up and haunts her. It’s nothing she can’t handle. A suspenseful historical tale, with a strong femme fatale.

Fantasy: The Ones Who Live At The Bottom Of The Ocean, Come To The Surface.

A beautiful coming of age story, featuring sixteen year old Zoe and her mother May-Li. Myth becomes reality, as Zoe finds out who and what she really is. Her mixed descent reveals more than what meets the eye. This fantasy story is set against the backdrop of a Greek island and Hong Kong, China.

Suspenseful Crime Fiction: Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defence

California’s sassy, tough, and likeable defence lawyer Catherine has taken on a case so high profile, if she wins she’ll become a partner of Martin Law Firm. Defending forty six year old Mrs. Chevelle. An ex Las Vegas show girl, now a Hollywood wife, on trial for the murder of her high-profile husband. She claims she’s innocent. Readers are taken on a fast -paced journey on a mission to seek the truth.

Contemporary Fiction: It’s A Man’s Man’s World:

A beautiful modern tale showing the love and appreciation of a woman. James Brown said it right when he said, “it’s a man’s man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl.”

A Miracle Baby Story #kdsuspense Week 5, Vol 5. #shortstory

A Miracle Baby Story

Author One Scene One

The newspaper is thick and crunches heavily in my hand as I wad it into a tight ball, and squeeze it in my tired overworked fingers. The outhouse is dark and the smell makes me nauseous. Everything makes me nauseous. I’m guessing myself to be a couple months along, but it’s hard to tell. There are only three things I know with absolute in my life right now. One, there’s is definitely a baby growing in my sixteen year old belly. I feel it move and I’m even starting to show. Two, it’ll never be accepted. Even less so than myself, if that’s possible. And three, I’ll have to take Jesse up on his offer to take me far away from this place… eventually.

“Adsila!” My mother shouts.

“Yes, Momma?”

I yell back at her before I use the thick newspaper to wipe. Then I stand to adjust my knickers under my layered green striped dress.

“Adsila. I’ve been looking all over for you.”

Momma’s speed walk carries her in my direction, chickens scattering at her feet.

“We’ve got a lot of work ta’ do today, that corn ain’t gonna pick itself.”

As I step out of the outhouse, a different rancid smell consumes my nostrils. I’m downwind from the beef and we just had a massive rainstorm. It’s not as bad as the smell inside, but the switch from one bad scent to another hits me like a twister, nearly causing me to either faint or throw up. My body can’t decide which need is the stronger. Instinctively I hold out a steadying hand and lean against the old cracked wood of the outhouse door, to aid in holding myself upright. I look up at mama with pleading eyes, willing her to cut me some slack from the chores.

“Adsila, my blossom, are you okay? You look sick.”

My momma is a very beautiful woman in her late forties. She’s muscular and her once smooth pale skin has leathered by the sun, but she’s pretty nonetheless. Blossom is the meaning of my Cherokee name, and every time my momma says it I can see the love and reassurance in that concerned wrinkle between her eyes. She told me once that she named me Adsila as a sign of hope for us, because the most beautiful flowers blossom in the hardest ground. They’re tough, and so are we. Momma is white and was engaged once to a confederate soldier. After riding four weeks to meet up with him, she wound up raped and beaten within an inch of her life in the middle of an unexpected battle.

To her fiance, it didn’t matter what she’d been through, or that it was an attempt to visit him that brought her there in the first place. The man saw her as ruined. She was dirtied by an Indian, so he left her behind on the battlefield to rot. She’d been taken in by an elderly Cherokee woman. She picked up bits and pieces of the language, and grew to love the people.

Momma quickly learned that the man who’d raped her was an outcast in the tribe, and the only one of their men who would do such a thing to a woman. Rape was deeply frowned upon by the elders, and no one grieved for the man when he died in the same battle that he’d ‘ruined’ my momma. Just over nine months later, I was born with full square cheekbones, thick dark hair, and the purest olive Native skin. Momma stuck with the Cherokee people until I was three before settling on our makeshift ranch on her own. The people she loved and called family we’re being pushed west, and picked off regularly. Being alone with an Indian child was a big risk, but so was staying with them.

Our ranch sits on a vast prairie land in Tennessee. Our home is small and we barely keep enough animals to get us by, but we’ve made it this far. There’s a town a day’s ride from us, but we don’t make the trip very often. Mainly because I’m not welcome. Most of our supplies are brought to us by the women in town. They come to our ranch for Momma’s famous “mud”, or so she calls it. After spending so much time with the Cherokee people, they taught her many things about plant life. She has a green thumb, and is seen as a healer of sorts. No matter the rash, wound, fever or sickness, Momma can mix up something to help. It’s the only thing that’s kept the townsfolk from coming out merely to slit my throat in my sleep. They’re not too keen on allowing Indians to stick around. Even young ones. I keep to myself with my eyes at the ground. Except with Jesse.

“Sorry Momma. I’m okay, just a little sick.”

“You get sick a lot.”

Momma stares at me with her hands on her hips, just waiting for the confession. She knows I’m pregnant. She has to, it’s getting obvious. But, I still haven’t actually told her, and she’s the type of woman to wait for me. She’s tough, but when it comes down to it, we’re a team. She isn’t going to force it out of me until I’m ready to talk. I remove my hand from the outhouse door and force myself to stand up tall despite the swirl in my guts.

“I’ll be okay, Momma. I’m sure it’s the heat.”

“The heat,” she rolls her eyes, “yeah.”

Momma reaches up to tuck a long thick strand of my black hair behind my ear. After moving it from my face she takes a long look into my guilty eyes.

“If you’re sure you feel okay, we really do need ta’ tend ta’ the crops.” She says a little gentler than before.

“Okay Momma.”

“I tell ya’ what,” Momma starts. “If we get all this corn down before the sun drops, then tomorra’ we’ll take a day off and go into town.”

“Town?” My head snaps up.

As much as I hate the people in town, our trips are always bitter sweet. Momma holds her head high and marches us from shop to shop. I get to pick out something nice, and as long as I don’t make eye contact with anyone the abusive comments are usually minimal.

“Well, I was thinkin’ we could pick out some new material and make ya’ another dress or two. What do you think about that?”

She definitely knows. I look down at the stretched material around my middle and nod. This must be her way of making me talk. I’ll have to tell her while we measure me and sew I’m sure of it.

“‘Kay,” I agree, a little embarrassed. “Let’s get to it Momma.”

The chickens cluck and scatter as we make our way to the small fenced off corn field. I’m in the middle of filling my second basket of freshly plucked ears of corn, when the sound of a galloping horse pierces into my eardrums. The butterflies in my chest are confused with the sinking feel of a rock in my stomach. I never know what to expect with visitors. Please be him, I think, please be my Jesse.

“Ms Hattie!?” The voice is deep, and definitely  does not belonging to Jesse.

I let my hair swoop back to its usual place, covering a quarter of my face. The man is clearly drunk, as he struggles to swing a foot to dismount from his horse. He ties the animal to a post of our fence by its reins. Momma straightens her back and sashes proudly in his direction. Ready to face the world.

“Where’s he at, Hattie?” he slurs. “I know my boy’s been foolin’ ‘round with that mix breed of yours.”

Momma lets out a sigh, she knows how bad this can turn and how fast, but she keeps her composure.

“Sherif, why don’t you let me pack a few ears of this fresh corn in your pack, and send you off  with some coffee. We haven’t seen your son.”

I keep my hands busy, picking corn and placing them in the basket. Jesse’s dad hates me even worse than the rest of the townsfolk. Especially when he drinks. Momma reaches a kind hand for Sherif Brink’s shoulder. He throws it aside and marches at me full force, like a bull ready charge.

“Where’s my boy?”

His breath is thick with bourbon, it nearly makes me gag. A light spray of spit showers my face.

“I haven’t seen Jesse, sir.” I speak to the dirt at my feet.

“Bull shit!” He shouts, before reaching down and wrapping his fingers around a rock. He stands back up tall, “He didn’t show up, you mutt. Jesse was supposed to help me at the jailhouse today, and he never came. He ain’t home neither.”

Momma has been on his heels since he began swaying to my direction.

“Sheriff put down the rock.” Her voice is firm. “What in the world do you plan on doin’ with that?”

“You shut up!” He demands, pointing a finger in Momma’s face. “Answer my question mut!”

“I don’t know sir, maybe he forgot.” I plead, my eyes glued to the rock in his fingers.

Thwack. Everything goes blank.

***

My vision begins to focus, Momma’s face transforming from two to one and the blur lifts. As my consciousness regains I feel a thick wet warmth down my legs. I must have been out for a while because I’m lying in my bed and a familiar hand is laced tightly in my fingers. I try to speak, but my voice catches in my dry throat. I want to tell her. I want to tell her, but I can’t form words. As my eyes roll back in my head and I start drifting back away, I listen. His voice is deep and sweet, it warms me through the cold dark pain.

“Ms Hattie, please,” Jesse pleads. “Please tell me me she’s gunna’ make it.”

“I don’t know Jesse. If you hadn’t have showed up when you did he woulda’ kept kickin’ her.”

“Oh my God, she’s bleeding” he cries. “The baby.”

Again darkness consumes me.

***

“Adsila, my love?” I whisper her name.

“Yeah?” Her voice is smooth.

The grass is soft under our backs and the sun is blinding above us. Her hand is small and warm in the palm of mine. My heart thumps as I look down at her rapidly growing belly. She’s due anytime. My father hasn’t been to her ranch since the incident, thank God.

“When are we going to talk about leavin’?” I ask, for the hundredth time, hoping that just maybe this time she’ll listen.

“We can’t Jesse. You know I can’t leave Momma.”

I watch closely, completely relaxed as she rubs her free hand over our miracle that’s somehow still alive. My mind races back to that day. The day my father nearly killed them both. I shudder, and close my eyes tightly.

“What if someone sees the baby? What if he comes back?” I plead.

I want more than anything to take my beautiful Adsila, my blossom, away from this place. I would have left two years ago, the day I turned eighteen had she agreed to come with me. But she won’t. I understand her need to stay with Hattie, I do. But, how are we going to hide a little one?

“I know we have to go, Jesse.” She finally admits. “They’ll find a way to take her I know they will. But we need Momma. I can’t have this baby without her and we both know it.”

“Her?” I sit up, and smirk. She grins back at me, her tall cheeks lift even higher.

“It’s a girl, I just know it.”

Author Two Scene Two

 

“Oh yeah? Is that so?” I mock her in a playful tone. “What happens if it’s a boy?”

“Then I’ll be just as happy, as long as it’s healthy.”

“Yeah, me too.”

I turn my attention from the blue sky above us and look at my one true love. She’s beautiful, no matter what my dad or any of the town’s people say. Her black hair, coco coloured skin, full lips and bright brown eyes blow me away. I don’t understand it, I don’t understand the hostile attitude toward her just because of who she is. She never asked to come into this world as she did, as a product of a rape. And even if she had been conceived in love between two different people from different backgrounds, what’s the big deal? I can’t help but have a different opinion to the rest of this town, even if I never fell in love with her.

“So what’s the plan Adsila? You’re due any time now and really we need to decide what we’re gonna do. It’s a miracle you’re both alive after what my dad did. I plan on keeping it that way.”

“Okay, let’s do it, I don’t wanna leave my momma but we need to stay safe.”

The words fall out of me before I even have a chance to really think about it, life won’t be easy here not with another Cherokee child one half of the community will accept the baby, maybe as he will be part Cherokee but the other half won’t. Life’s hard enough for me as it is. And then there’s Momma, if I stay her life will be even more harder, if I go I’ll break her heart.

***

“I’m not sure you’ve thought this through  Adsila, Georgia? You wanna head to Georgia?”

“Yeah Momma, we might be more welcome there.”

I watch my momma pull herself up to her full height, as she takes in my plan.

“Child, there ain’t no way you’re goin’ ta Georgia.”

“But Momma, it’s just the next state and maybe people will accept us, me and the baby.”

“That may be so, but how are y’all gonna live? That’s my concern as ya momma ya can’t live off thin air.”

“Will you come with us?”

I know it’s a stupid question, but I have to ask. For a second, Momma’s face looks like she’s considering a life in Georgia. Then it clouds over as she looks off into the distance at the chickens running free in the yard.

“I can’t.”

“Why not.”

“ I just can’t I’m too old to be doin’ that journey and settin’ up a new home.”

“But Momma–”

“Nothin’ else to say Adsila.”

I get to my feet from the steps of the porch and reach out to her, to try and reason with her some more, she turns her back as she heads over to the chickens. I never imagined that it would come to this, that I would be forced to make a decision between my momma and baby. I need them both, and I need Jesse too.

***

“Arrrrgggh Momma please make it stop please!”

“Stop hollerin’ and focus  Adsila. Your body can’t do it by itself.”

Momma pats dry my damp brow as I pant, yell and try my best to stay calm.

“It’s  a few weeks early, sometimes it happens. Now push  Adsila… pusssssssssssssh!”

I snap my eyes shut and do as Momma say’s ,she knows best, but this pain is killing me how to women do this more than once?

“All right, I can see the head. Deep breath now, that’s it. Push Adsila pusssssssh!”

“Awwww Momma make it stop please.” I clamp down and push again.

“That’s it, that’s it…. here come the shoulders, keep pushing…. Good girl!… That’s it….push. You done it!”

Waaaaah  waaaah

The sound of my baby greets my ears, and for the first time in my life I know what true pain feels like.

“It’s a boy…  Adsila we gotta boy child!”

“What… what, really? Oh gosh Momma,, why didn’t you tell me it hurt so much?” I manage to pant between breaths. I can’t believe it. I have a son… a king.

***

I rest with my eyes closed, the fan on full blast next to me and  my king cradled across my chest feeding. He’s a hungry boy, I feel like the life is being sucked out of me. I’ve been in bed since he arrived, just over two hours ago. Not one part of my body feels like what it once was, before or during pregnancy. No one prepared me for what childbirth really means, how it feels and how amazing the end result is. For nine months I’ve felt the connection with him inside me, every turn he made, or leg that kicked out as he bedded down in my womb for the night will never leave me. There’s something about carrying a child that changes you, I’m only sixteen but I feel much more older now, now that my body has gone through the whole experience of feeding, keeping safe and protecting a baby. I feel grown.

I hear a light knock at the door which causes my eyes to snap open, and pull my king closer to my chest to protect him. I’m full of nerves thinking about the reaction he will get from town folk. His dark hair, eyes and tan skin giveaway who he really is skin deep.

“Ma’am, can I see Adsila please.”

“Go right on through.”

I instantly relax at the sound of Jesse’s voice. I listen closely as his boots clunk against the floor, then my door slowly creaks open.

“Evenin’”

I look up at Jesse at the foot of my bed, with his hat in his hands and a broad smile on his face.

“Hey, you okay?”

“More like are you okay? How are ya’, can I see?”

“Sure, come on over.”

Slowly Jesse makes his way over to the side of my bed and peers at the tiny bundle in my arms. I watch his face light up.

“Wow, can I hold?”

“Mmm hummm.” I give nothing away, I hand over our king and wait for Jesse to notice it’s a boy. He unwraps the blanket gently to get a good look.

“No way, haha well, what have we here? That don’t look like no girly parts to me!”

I can’t help but laugh at his surprise.

“A boy, amazing.” Jesse shakes his head and smiles down at the baby as he covers up his tiny body.

“Look at him, he’s just fine, all of him. He has your hair too.”

“Sure is, he’s a miracle.” I look up at them both beaming.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t come over sooner, dad was around and he would only ask questions. I had to wait until the bourbon took over and he passed out.”

“It’s okay.”

“Have you spoke to your momma yet?”

I watch Jesse move around the room rocking the baby back and forth, with a proud look on his face as he talks baby talk to him. My heart swells.

“Yeah, kinda she’s not happy as you can imagine, and I’m not sure if she will come with us.”

“Adsila we have to go, you know this as much as I do we can’t stay around here. Both of us are targets as well as the baby. Already, the town folk are avoiding me, I know they’re  callin’ me names behind my back. Not that I care, I just don’t want him to grow up in this environment, this … I don’t know what to call it  He is a miracle as you say, after the beating you took, he deserves more than these narrow minded folk here.”

“I get it Jesse, but Momma’s right how are we gonna live?”

“I’ll think-a somethin’”

I lower my lashes to the bed, and pray he does.

“Maybe I can find a job too maybe–”

“Are you crazy? No way! You stay home look after… after, what we gonna call him?”

It feels like I’m frozen in time, as we stare at each other. To see Jesse and the baby bonding already my mind is made up, we need to leave and soon. No matter what people think our baby was conceived in love, no violence, no hate and he is so innocent. If people can’t accept me or us around here we’ll travel across the USA until we find somewhere that will. Maybe even farther overseas if we need to, there must be a place we can fit in. A white American boy, with a Cherokee girl and bi-racial child.  He’s mine, ours and we’ll protect him.

“Earth to Adsila… did you hear me, what we callin’ the little guy?”

“King… I wanna call him King, let’s pack a bag.”

updated-telling-tales-weekly-challenege-kim-didi53

Thank you for voting this prompt in!  Both Kim and I absolutely loved writing this baby story! Has it been 5 weeks since we retured from our break to publish the first volume of stories.

Bitter sweetly I’m announcing ANOTHER break.  We have big plans. Even bigger than with the first volume of The Suspenseful Collection!  I know I know that’s hard to top, but we totally do. We’re going to expand a handful of our stories in the second set, and add even more bonuses than before!!!  OMG I’m so excited, and don’t worry we’ll keep you posted with the progress as we go. As you can imagine, our break will need to be a little longer than the month we took last time, so wish us luck. We’ll be back with the interaction of votes and weekly tales soon!!!!

Check out our first collection here:

 

When Miracles Happen #kdsuspense

If you were to choose one miracle story to read, what would it be?

Thank you for voting!!  Kim and I plan to write a very touching heart felt short story with the winning prompt.

updated-telling-tales-weekly-challenege-kim-didi53

This interactive writing challenge is simple and insanely creative. It’s a group effort and we are so glad to have you join in the writing fun!!  I hope you’re ready to challenge us by choosing which prompts we can transform into stellar suspense!  Give us your best shot!  You vote on our weekly prompt, and we provide the entertainment. It’s that simple!  The super easy steps are as follows:

STEP ONE: Every Wednesday we’ll post a voting poll with a few prompts to choose from.
STEP TWO: With the click of a button, you cast your vote on a prompt. (voting will stay open for three days.) Once the winning prompt is announced you can join us and write a story too. Use #kdsuspense to link in.
STEP THREE: READ AND ENJOY!  Every week on the following Tuesday we will post the short story that transformed from the very winning prompt.
 
All comments on the story posts will be open. We love feedback, and I’m willing to bet you will never guess who wrote what!! Therein a challenge of your own! (Yes, one of us writes with  British English spelling, and one of us in American English spelling. We are well aware, and ready for some trickery. Trust me, we are brilliant at adapting styles.)

To explore our previous #kdsuspense stories Click Here

Crime Scene Investigation! #kdsuspense Week 4 Vol #2

The Crime Scene

AUTHOR ONE: SCENE ONE

23:12 p.m. Down Town Los Angeles

“Evening, Detective McBride. This is Detective Flynn, what ya got for us?”

As Detective Daniel McBride listened to the low down from the LA CSI forensic team, Detective Kate Flynn drowned out the sirens, and low hum of voices as she moved her eyes over the crime scene. Mr Wang’s Chinese restaurant is normally a busy eatery, popular with tourists and locals. Tonight, it’s cornered off with police tape, and the media everywhere. They circled the scene like a hungry pack of wolves waiting to fed. Flynn glanced over at the restaurant, the steel shutters covered with graffiti are lowed over the entrance.

“McBride, I’ll catch you inside okay? I’m gonna head in and take a look.”

McBride nodded and returned his attention to the forensic team. Detective Flynn made her way over the Mr. Wang’s, she eyed the outside of the building and news reporters with a sharp eye. Mel Turner a well-known CNN News reporter caught Detective Flynn’s eye. Mel jogged toward her, as she stepped in line with Flynn’s path she shoved a microphone under her nose, and a camera man zoomed in on the action.

“Detective, Detective do you have any idea who the killer is?”

“No… not at this point.” Flynn responded avoiding the camera, mindful not to give away too many details. She kept walking at a brisk pace to the crime scene.

“But Detective, you can’t be serious, this is the third murder in one week. You mean to say the LAPD are still clueless about the killer?”

Flynn stopped dead in her tracks, annoyed at the reporter’s bravery. Cleverly, she tried to get a rise out of her with her comment.

“Ma’am get that microphone outta my face. With all due respect, this is a crime scene and y’all need to move away from here.”

Flynn, increased her pace toward Mr. Wang’s, her flat loafers pounded the pavement as a swarm of reporters headed her way. As Flynn approached the restaurant’s entrance, she inhaled a deep breath, cameras flashed behind her.

Bang bang!

“Open up, LAPD.” Flynn announced in a flat tone.

A quick badge flash at the forensic team member, covered in a boiler suit, goggles with camera dangling from his neck gained her access.

“Thanks, Detective Flynn. Can you lead me to the body please?”

“This way Detective.”

Flynn stepped over the threshold of the restaurant into what looked like a regular Friday night occurrence. As she scanned the scene of the crime, it appeared tables were dressed in traditional Chinese cloths, delicious Chinese food  left half eaten along with glasses of wine. The guests must have been horrified to find out their meal had to be interrupted as the LAPD were on their way.

“Where’s the owner?”

“Right this way ma’am.” The forensic responded over his shoulder as he led Flynn into the kitchen area. Mr. Wang sat on a crate with his head in his hands sobbing. Flynn lower herself to his level.

“Mr. Wang, I’m Detective Kate Flynn.”

“Hmm, Detective, my business, my customer! Everybody leave unhappy no money, I need money to send home, my wife in China.”

Flynn watched Mr. Wang’s tears overflow as he threw his arms around in frustration, gesturing to the empty dining area and LAPD and forensic team crawling all over his restaurant.

“Mr. Wang, I need to ask you a few questions in a moment okay?”

“Hmm hmm.” Is all Mr. Wang responded as he lowered his head and wept some more.

With a sigh, Flynn pulled herself up to her full five foot nine height, then glanced at the forensic to her left.

“Right this way, Detective.”

***

“Detective.”

Another forensic in a full body suit acknowledged Flynn’s presence with a nod, as he took photos of the body outside the back area of the restaurant.

“Stephen, hi. Okay what have we got here?”

“Well, as you can see Detective, the victim is a white female, around her late twenties, found behind the dumpster over here as Mr. Wang put out the trash.”

“Hmm, okay. Any obvious cause of death?”

“No stab wounds, or gunshots noticed. We’ll need to wait for the full autopsy report.”

“Okay, don’t fall asleep on this one, contact the coroner’s office asap. I’ll be over there first thing for a report. Prints, evidence, I need that on my desk before noon tomorrow.”

“Yes ma’am. No problem, Detective.”

Flynn spun on her heel and walked around the outside area of the restaurant, just a small garden area cornered off by a fence. A few dumpsters, bags of trash, nothing appeared obviously out of place. The question was how had the killer gained access to dump the body. She walked over to the open gate and examined the lock another forensic was dusting off, presumably for prints.

“Flynn, how’s it going?”

The sound of Detective McBride’s voice over her shoulder startled her, she was deep in thought, as she imagined what could have motivated the killer to use the back entrance of Mr. Wang’s to dispose the body.

“Not good, white female, late twenties no obvious signs of death as yet.”

McBride rubbed his grey beard, and narrowed his eyes in thought. The contrast of his salted pepper beard against his smooth chocolate skin, gave him a slight Denzel Washington look.

“Shit, same as the other two, hard to say if there’s a link though, they’re the same age group but no connection with the background. One Hispanic and one African- American.”

“Hmm, we need to find out who she is and see.” Flynn responded as she glanced back over at the victim’s body on the floor.

“Right, what about Mr. Wang?”

“He’s inside in tears, concerned over his business, naturally.”

“Take him in, leave no stone unturned. See what he knows.”

“I’m on it.”

McBride watched Flynn make her way back inside the restaurant, then moved his eyes slowly over the scene of the crime.  He felt the sense of urgency he felt every time a crime was committed, especially a murder. Three bodies, one week, three females, late twenties and one killer on the loose. He and Flynn, had work to do.

***

“This is Detective Kate Flynn, today is Monday 28th August 2017. Present is Detective Daniel McBride. This interview is taking place at Los Angeles Police Department, in interview room three. Mr. Wang you are not under arrest, however we’re carrying out routine investigation questions as you were the first one at the crime scene. You are being interviewed under caution, anything you say may be used as evidence in a court of law. For the purposes of the tape can you please confirm your name, and date of birth.”

“My English… no good, I sorry, not perfect.”

“Take your time Mr. Wang, if at any point you don’t understand or need an interpreter please let us know.

Mr. Wang lowered his gaze to the worn brown wooden table, that separated him and the two detectives. He felt nervous, in all his years in America he had never had a brush with the law.

“Okay, I try.”

“Thank you, when you’re ready sir.” McBride reassured him.

“I Chan- Lee Wang, 13th February 1950.”

Flynn took over the questioning, while McBride made swift notes.

“Thank you. Mr. Wang are you the owner of Mr. Wang’s Chinese eatery in downtown Los Angeles?”

“Yes.”

“And for how long have you owned that establishment sir?”

“Since I in America.”

“Which was when please sir, when did you arrive?”

“Ten years, 2000.”

“Thank you. Mr. Wang. Can you tell us in your own words what happened tonight, when you found the body?”

Mr. Wang hesitated, the shock of finding a body on his premises put the fear of God into him.

“Okay, okay. I clean plate, put food in trash bag, tie bag and go outside to dumpster… then… then.”

Mr. Wang places his hands over his face, as he broke down sobbing again. He is inaudible behind his sobs. McBride and Flynn glanced at each other, mindful this could all be an act. McBride cleared his throat and took over the lead.

“Mr. Wang if you could continue please sir, when you’re ready.”

“Yes, yes. I go outside to dumpster and push bin to wall, too far forward, not in right place… Then it no push. I look down, behind, I see body.”

“And then what did you do?”

“I ran inside, call police.”

“Did you touch the body at all?”

“No sir … No no no way.”

“Did you recognise the victim?”

“No.”

“Does anyone else have access to your property Mr. Wang?”

Slowly, Mr. Wang shook his head as if deep in thought.

“No, nobody.”

Feeling as though the interview was leading to a dead end, McBride closed the interview, pending further investigation.

“Thank you, Mr. Wang. That will be all for tonight, it’s late you’ll be released with no further questions– for now.

***

8:00 a.m. The Coroner’s Office

“Good to see you Kate as always, under such sad circumstances but good nonetheless.”

Dr. Solvinac eyed Flynn over his half-moon glasses, as he finished off his autopsy report.

He took in her tall stature, and short blonde hair. On the outside Flynn was all business, and radiated more of a masculine air about her. Her tailored dark pant suits, low heel loafers, bare fingernails and lack of cosmetics, gave nothing personal away about her or any kind of femininity. Underneath it all, she had a heart of gold. Over the years the two had become close, since she transferred to the LAPD from the Nevada Police Department, Las Vegas.

“Morning Doc, good to see you too.”

Flynn approached the table with caution, on top was the victim from last night. Her pale skin contrasted against her blonde hair.

“So, who is she?”

“Here we have Danielle Bray. Her ID was in her pocket, oddly. The killer must have taken off with her purse.”

“I see, what else do you know?” Flynn pressed as she followed Dr. Solvinac around the table.

“Thirty five years old, a drinker quite heavy, probably been dead around twenty four hours before she was found. Prior to that she had intercourse, semen was present in her mouth and internally, the semen however is mixed there was more than one man.”

“Thirty five! She looks so much younger! McBride and I were sure she was in her twenties.”

“They all look young in death, Kate. Danielle is in her thirties according to her photo ID, and the autopsy I done.”

“I see, and you say more than one man? And the cause of death?”

“Strangulation, not with the hands, more like stockings or some such thing. There was a struggle too. And yes, just to make your job that much harder there were two semen samples found.”

“She was a busy lady.”

“She sure was, I’ll run a check on the samples and come back to you as soon as I can.”

Flynn, bit the inside of her lip and looked over Danielle’s body slowly.

“Thanks Doc, I’ll be in contact.”

“No problem, see you when the next one turns up.” Dr. Solvinac lightly chuckles.

“That’s not funny Doc, we’re gonna find him.”

“Or her, you never know…” Dr. Solvinac retorts.

***

“Hey, what’s the latest.”

“She’s thirty five.”

“Thirty five, get outta here, really?”

“Yes really, death by strangulation too. Danielle Bray.”

“Hold on a sec, lemme run her name through the database see what it throws up.”

“There’s more, two semen samples present.”

McBride let out a low whistle on the other end of the line.

“I’m on my way to base, see you soon.” Flynn, pressed end on the call to McBride, threw her car in gear and took off.

***

“Morning boss.”

“Morning.” Flynn responded as she made her way through the open plan office, of the LA Police department, to McBride’s office. As she opened the door her partner was slumped in his chair, deep in concentration looking at his screen. Ever the snappy dresser today McBride had on his pink shirt open at the neck, with no tie and a pair of black braces. Gold cuff links sparkled at his wrists. Without so much of a greeting Flynn got to business.

“So, what’s up, anything come up?”

“Yep, she works over at the bank on Main Street. Minor records on driving offences, drinking under the influence a few years back. Her next of kin is Leena Bray her younger sister.”

“Right, we better pay a visit and give her the news, then come back and see if this case links up with Kelsey Lopez and DeLisa Jones.” McBride responded as he stood up and reached for his suit jacket.

“Hard to say, Kelsey Lopez, Hispanic, poor, unemployed, DeLisa Jones African- American from a good background, with a nine-five. What the hell could these three women all have in common?”

McBride blew out a slow breath at Flynn’s question. “Wrong place, and the wrong time that’s all we know for now.”

***

“Can I help you?”

“Detective McBride, this here is Detective Flynn.”

McBride flashed his badge, and Colgate white smile at the pretty blonde who opened the door. Flynn remained poker faced, and unfazed.

“Are you Leena Bray?” McBride questioned.

“Yes.”

“We need to speak to you about your sister, Danielle. May we come in please?”

“Sure.”

Lena moved to one side, full of confusion she let the detectives into her home. Flynn and McBride walked into Leena’s neat and tidy small condo apartment. Both detectives looked around alert, as they tried to pick up clues about the lifestyle this young lady led.

“Take a seat, would either of you like something to drink?”

“No thanks I’m fine.”

“I’m fine too, thank you.”

“Well, all right, take a seat.” Leena nervously gestured to the seating area.

All three of them lowered themselves to the coach. Flynn, took control.

“Leena, your sister’s body was found late last night.”

“What? Where? How… I just spoke to her the day before yesterday and.. Are you kidding me?” Leena’s pretty face moulded itself into a pleading look.

“No, afraid not. She was found behind a dumpster, by Mr. Wang’s downtown.”

“Downtown? What the hell was she doing there?” The disgust was clear in Leena’s voice.

“When was the last time you saw your sister?”

“I spoke to her the day before yesterday, she had some hot date to go on as always.”

“Did she say who it was with?”

“Some guy named Ryan, she met him online, via an advert he placed.”

“Did she say anything else?”

“Nope, just filled me in on her crazy love life as usual and how things were going at the bank.”

AUTHOR TWO: SCENE TWO.

***

“What do you have for me?” Flynn asked the uniformed officer waiting by an interrogation room. “This better be as urgent as you claim, we don’t want any repeats of last time.”

Officer Dannally lowered his head in shame. Remembering his false alarm. He’d pulled Flynn from the the actual scene of a crime the very hour the act took place. He looked up at her from beneath his bushy unibrow that stood out against his pale skin. He cleared the lump from his throat before he spoke.

“Yes, ma’am,” he forced through a timid voice. “I have a security guard from a night club downtown. He’s been watching the news and claims to have seen each victim the night of their attacks.”

“Hmmm.” Detective Flynn nodded at the Officer Dannally in approval. “Do you think he’s telling the truth?”

“Seems so, yes,” he answered, still a little embarrassed at her recognition of his last big mistake.

“Has he been briefed and aware of the camera?”

“Yes ma’am.”

Mcbride chimed in, “I think we should both go in with this one, don’t you boss?”

“Agreed.”

Mcbride forced open the heavy metal door to a cramped interrogation room. The walls were a dark gray, and the floors thinly industrial grade carpeted. The supposed security guard sat on the opposite side of an elongated fold up table. It separated him from the two entering detectives. Flynn reached her hand across the table first to greet him.

“Sir. I’m Detective Flynn and this is my partner Detective Mcbride.”

The man stood to return the courteous introduction. He was tall, well over six feet with wide shoulders and a sharpe serious look on his smooth mocha face. His dark eyes explored the length of Flynn’s tailored, form fitting suit. After an obvious smirk consumed his face and he adjusted the belt line of his pants, he shook her hand first. His grip was purposefully weak but his hand was big enough to completely engulf hers. The warmth of his rough skin mixed with the way he undressed her with his eyes made her cringe.

“Detective.” He smiled.

Flynn ran a hand down the front buttons of her suit as she took a seat, wholly uncomfortable, which was rare. Not many men were capable of getting under her skin, but this particular one had that look. The look of someone hiding a twisted secret. Something disgusting lurked behind his undressing glare. Flynn’s detective intuition charged full speed ahead, alerting every part of her that something was off with this guy. Her heart pounded in her chest trying to get out. But, she put it in check and put her most collected face on show.

After shaking Mcbride’s hand in just the same fashion, they both took their seat, joining Flynn at the table. Mcbride didn’t waste any time.

“So you say that you’re a security guard at a club down town?” He asked.

“Yep, the Boom Room,” he beamed, looking mostly at Flynn. “Been there for five years now.”

“I’m sorry,” Flynn jumped in. “I don’t think we caught your name?”

“Thomas Toby, or Tom if you’d rather.” He threw her a wink.

“I’ll stick with Thomas,” Flynn mumbled with disgust.

Mcbride placed his large black leather briefcase on the table and began rummaging through photos of each victim. Soon a snapshot of each girl before their murders was laid out on the table.

“So Thomas,” Mcbride said, “You claim that you’ve seen each of these girls in the club within this last week?”

“Yep, every one.” He sat up a little taller in his seat, seeming proud of himself.

“And you’re sure of it?”

“Without a doubt.”

“What else can you tell us? Anything you can think of is helpful.”

“Well, like I said, I’ve been working there for five years. I can tell you a lot actually.”

Thomas scratched his chin with his thumb and forefinger in thought. It wasn’t a look of straining to remember, so much as pondering on how much to actually give away. Finally he nodded to himself as if to confirm the direction he wanted to take. Then he grinned the same proud smirk he sported while shaking Flynn’s hand and blurted out his words.

“They’re escorts. Everyone of them.”

Both Flynn and Mcbride perked up in their seats.

“That’s impossible,” Flynn said. “Not one friend or family member said anything about this. Trust me, we’ve asked every single one.”

“They wouldn’t know, now would they?” Thomas grinned. “Would your daughter want to tell you she was a prostitute?”

“I thought you said escort?” Mcbride corrected.

“Yes, of course.” Thomas rolled his eyes, peeling them away from Flynn to finally give Mcbride his attention.” I can’t speak for this one,” he said while pointing at the Hispanic girl, Kelsey. “She was new to that crew and seemed to carry herself with more class. But blondie here was well known for how deep her deep throat could go, if you know what I mean.”

“So you actually know these women?” Flynn asked, “You didn’t just see them”  She accentuated the way she announced ‘see’ while signaling quotations in the air with her fingers.

“I wouldn’t go that far, ma’am.” Thomas corrected her with a giant grin and while holding both palms in the air as if to playfully surrender. “I haven’t actually spoken to any of these women, but they come into the club very often. And, I know their boss well.”

“How well?” Mcbride asked.

Thomas’ smile spread nearly from ear to ear. He leaned across the table on his elbow, and spoke in a low menacing voice, “He’s my brother.”

***

“Officer Dannally?”

“Yes, ma’am?”

He stood immediately at attention as the door to the interrogation room slammed behind Mcbride and Flynn.

“I want several search warrants, and I need them within two hours or less. Do whatever you have to do to get them rushed through. We have to act fast before night rolls around. We have a lot of new information, and several leads. I want them all looked into before we have any more victims on our hands.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Grab a pen, I don’t want you messing this one up.”

***

Toby Enterprise was located in the heart of downtown L.A. on a skyrise overlooking the city. Mr. Jarek Toby, Thomas’ brother, stood by his corner office window with arms folded tightly across his massive chest. The resemblance between him and his brother was uncanny, and he gave Detective Flynn the same uneasy feeling… Maybe even worse. She paced the large open room, taking in every book and photo on his overstuffed shelves.

“Tell me again why you’re here.” Jarek grumbled.

“We’re here to talk about your escort service.” Mcbride said, while sitting perfectly calm and collected in a fluffy black leather chair. One ankle propped up on the other knee and hands casually set in his lap.

“I no longer run an escort service.”

One side of Jarek’s lip curled up and his eyes danced with the excitement of a skilled liar.

“Yes Mr. Toby, we’re well aware that the operation was shut down three years ago for prostitution.”

“Which brings me to ask again. Why are you here?”

Mcbride sat forward and lowered his eyes. “Because we’re also aware that your previous clientele upped the price they were willing to pay you to keep the business running under the radar.”

The smirk on Jarek’s face quickly melted away, yet he stuck to claiming his innocence in the matter.

“Toby Enterprise is strictly a holdings company. I buy out businesses, break them down and sell them for a very substantial profit. The escort side of things was a liability. There never has been a need to do anything under the radar. With all do respect Detectives, you’re looking in the wrong place.”

“We have three dead girls on our hands who I’m sure would beg to differ if they were able.” Flynn said, as she stopped to take a closer look at a photo.

The still frame she stopped at sat next to one of Jarek and Thomas together on the beach. It clearly ranked up there with family and it instantly raised the hairs on Flynn’s arms.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Jarek insisted.

Flynn turned on her heels, and held up the photo. “Mr, Toby?” She asked. “Explain to me exactly how you and are brother are both so closely acquainted with Mr. Wang as to be in a photo with him and his entire family?”

“We did business years ago.”

“What kind of business?”

Jarek remained stone faced, yet the color of his ears darkened from a very light brown to a deep scarlet. “Toby Enterprise was a silent partner for Mr. Wang’s restaurant.” He paused as a spark of recognition lit on his face. “Wait a minute. How do you know my little brother?”

Mcbride chuckled, “Wow, you really are in deeper shit than you realize, aren’t you?”

“Okay, what the fuck did that low life tell you exactly?” Jarek scowled, the anger rising in the back of his throat.

“That’s beside the point.” Flynn interjected. “What do you mean was a silent partner?”

“Mr. Wang screwed us out of millions, and at the same time drove a wedge between Thomas and me. When I said I stopped running the escort business, I didn’t mean the entire business stopped.”

“Well Mr. Toby. Why don’t you fill us in on exactly what you do mean.” Flynn said with one hand on her hip and the other still holding the photo in the air. “Also, why don’t you explain to us why you keep these photos in your office if the hate for these individuals is so clear?”

Jarek slumped forward in defeat. With his weight supported by his elbows on his desk he buried his face in the palms of his enormous hands. He pulled in a large breath of oxygen and then let it out very slowly, while rubbing his hands up and down his face.

“You don’t know my brother,” Jarek said. “There’s a reason he’s doing this. He must have finally found out about the affair.” He rubbed his face again with the palm of his hands, this time much rougher, and much more urgently. His demeanor flipped from irritation to an odd sense of urgency and fear.

“What affair Jarek?” Mcbride asked, “Explain quickly please. We’re running short on time, and I’m running short on patience.”

Jarek let out a long breath of anxious air, his cheeks blowing out like a balloon. He reached over the top of his desk, holding a hand out for the photo. Flynn handed it over willingly and finally took a seat in the chair next to Mcbride. She gave Jarek her full and undivided attention, knowing that whatever he had to say must be big. Jarek began pointing at the faces on the picture.

“This man here is Chin-Lou Wang, he his Mr. Wang’s brother. This woman is Sue-Lee and she is Chin-Lou’s daughter. Thomas was engaged to her when she and I had an affair. When Mr. Wang and his brother found out about the affair he threatened to tell Thomas as well as my wife. The escort business was under investigation at the time. So I backed out of our silent partnership in the restaurant giving Mr. Wang full profit. Then I handed the escort’s clientele over to Chin-Lou to run quietly after it’s downfall through Toby Enterprise.”

Detective Mcbride leaned back in his chair and said, “I can imagine Thomas wasn’t very happy about you handing over the business like that?”

“Not at all. Especially when I wouldn’t tell him why I went over his head.” Jarek shook his head in shame. The grief was visible in the purse of his lips and the wrinkle between his brows from pulling them together.

“What happened between Thomas and Sue-Lee?” Flynn asked. “And if you handed over the escort services then why would Thomas say you still run it?”

“Sue-Lee died in a car accident shortly after it all happened. Thomas didn’t take it all very well. He signed over all of his shares of the business to the staff and then took off. I haven’t seen or heard from him since.”

“Hmm…” The wheels in Flynn’s head were turning like a well oiled machine. There had to be something else. Something they were missing.

“Like I said.” Jarek continued. “My brother is a dangerous man. He sent you here knowing that I’d spill the beans. He wouldn’t have done that unless he has something planned… Something big.”

“Do you have anything to hide, Mr. Toby?” Flynn asked. “Any other reason for your brother to send the police to your office? He’s clearly out for revenge. If he wanted us to find out that Mr. Wang’s brother ran a prostitution service then he would have sent us straight there. This is more than just a wild goose chase, you must have something else to hide.”

“No ma’am, I swear I told you everything I can think of.”

Before anyone had the chance to say anything else, there was a loud knock on the door. Four uniformed men barged in, the first holding up an official document.

“Officer Dannally, I’m glad to see you finally made it.” Flynn stood and took the document from the officer’s hand before turning back to Jarek. “Jarek Toby you are hereby under arrest. You a have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney, and if you can’t afford one, then one will be appointed to you. You have been charged with tax evasion.”

“You can’t prove anything!” Jarek shouted over his shoulder, cutting her off. A pair of shiny cuffs clicked as they secured his wrists in place behind his back.

Flynn turned her back to him as she reached into her pocket to answer the phone call ringing in. “Detective Kate Flynn here.”

“Kate, it’s Dr. Slovinac down at the coroner’s office.”

“It’s great to hear from you Doc. Please tell me you have something useful.”

“We have a match to one of our seman samples.”

“And, who was the lucky guy?”

“The specimen in her mouth came up as one Thomas Toby. Does the name ring a bell?”

“Yes Doc. Thank you. Call me as soon as anything else comes through.

Flynn clicked off her phone and slid it back to is place in her pocket. She turned to face Mcbride, “It seems like our boy Jarek here was telling the truth. It’s time to use our next warrant and pay Thomas a little visit.

As they made their way to the door amongst the chaos of the officers searching Jarek’s office a menacing laughter crackled through the air. Mcbride turned back around his face twisted in confusion.

“Is something funny, Mr. Toby?”

“You’re dead!” he laughed. “My brother is going to kill every last one of you mother fuckers.”

 

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