My second novel with Inkspell Publishing is “Vanishing Act” the sequel to “Devious” and you’ll recognize some of the same main characters. Yet each book can be enjoyed on its own. Jamie Richmond, my heroine, is still enthralled with the attentions of Malone.
The story opens just after Christmas when Jamie’s best friend, Linda Davis, makes her first appearance. With plans for a romantic New Year’s Eve filled with dining and dancing, Jamie sets up Linda with a blind date that turns out to be more than she ever imagined. Soon Linda finds herself captivated by her own budding romance, to the delight and confusion of Jamie. But Linda has captured someone else’s attention as well. A stalker suddenly makes their presence known and Linda’s life is thrown into a tailspin. When she disappears without a trace on a snowy Saturday, the police are baffled. But Jamie is determined to figure out two important things: who took Linda and where she is, before it’s too late.
At the heart of this story is romance. Here is an excerpt from the story. In this scene, Jamie and Linda are on their way home from exercise class when they decide to stop for coffee and a chance to catch up.
We pulled into a coffee shop that she likes to frequent. I got a slice of iced lemon loaf and a cup of tea. Linda got a vanilla coffee and a raspberry muffin. I waited until we were seated at a little table far from the doorway or anyone else.
“So are you going to tell me what’s going on, Algae? You’ve been beaming a thousand watt smile since you picked me up.”
I saw the color radiate on her cheeks. She lowered her eyes and took a sip of her coffee. I waited. Finally she drew a deep breath and raised her face.
“I think I’m in love,” she said quietly.
I sat back in amazement. This was the same woman, who, not three weeks ago, had sworn that they were just getting to know each other, just going to take it slow. Suddenly she was talking love. Before I could respond, she waved a hand at me.
“Just be quiet and listen, Jamie. I know that’s difficult for you, but please just hear me out.”
I tore a corner off the pastry and popped it into my mouth, then closed my eyes to savor the lemony sweetness, and let it dissolve on my tongue. I imagined this was how a sunbeam would taste. When it was gone, I opened my eyes and gazed at her. I extended my right hand and just looked at her.
“Vince came over last night. I wanted to cook for him, so I made shrimp with angel hair pasta. You know the way I do it, with mushrooms, red peppers and fresh parmesan cheese.”
My stomach growled. It’s one of her signature dishes. I started to comment but Linda waved me quiet.
“So we had some good, Italian wine, a white one that really went well with the pasta. I had the stereo on, something soft like Diana Krall and Van Morrison. After dinner, we moved to the sofa. The fire was lit and we only had one light on low. I had been in a bit of rush to get dinner ready when I came home from work, so I hadn’t bother to change.”
She paused to sip her coffee. I couldn’t keep quiet. “What were you wearing?”
“You know that turquoise sweater with the cowl neck?”
I nodded. It does magical things for her eyes.
“That and a black, wool skirt, some stockings, and those black leather boots that come up to mid-calf.”
Linda loves boots. She has several pairs and usually likes the ones with a two-inch heel. I knew exactly the outfit she was describing. It could stop traffic any time of the day or night. Like she couldn’t do that already! I waited for her to continue. She took another taste of her coffee, and then started talking quietly again.
“So we’re on the sofa, sitting there, just listening to the music. He had an arm draped over my shoulders. And I mentioned that I had to get out of my boots. My feet were starting to cramp. That’s when things got…different.”
I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear this, but there was no stopping her now. “What do you mean, different?” I asked.
“Vince told me to move to the other end of the sofa. Then he slowly unzipped my boots and pulled them off me. My legs were in his lap. He started to massage my feet, chasing away the aches and pains. Then he moved up to my ankles. And the whole time, he just kept talking, keeping his voice very low and soft.”
“What did he say?”
Linda shuddered with the memory. “He told me all of the things he was going to do to me, all the ways he wanted to please me.”
I pulled back the sleeve of her jacket. Her arm was covered in goose bumps. “Do you really want to tell me this, Linda?”
“I’ve got to tell you, Jamie, because I still can’t believe it happened. It was like I was hypnotized. He was in total control of me. I couldn’t even move.”
Somehow no words found their way out of my mouth. I just stared at her so she kept talking.
“I swear he touched on every fantasy, no matter how dark, I have ever considered. And the whole time, he just kept talking softly, massaging my legs. I thought I was melting from his charms on New Year’s Eve. That was nothing compared to last night. Jamie, by the time he finally undressed me, I was so far over the edge, I didn’t think I’d ever make it back.”
I would have never believed my good and kindly doctor would be capable of fulfilling all her fantasies. And even if I had, I could never have imagined how dark these fantasies would turn out to be.
Could this be Linda?