Murder, Romance, Mayhem, Oh, my!
Immerse yourself into Elkridge as each couple learns to conquer their fears while fighting for love. Plus, discover clues left to answer the question: Who murdered Sheriff Sam?
If you like a sensual romance, intense, emotional topics, a thread of mystery, and a cozy happy ending, then the Elkridge Series is for you. Let’s have some fun, shall we? Purchase your copy of BLINDED to start solving the mystery today.
Targeted Age Group:: recommended for 18 years or older.
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Both my mom and dad grew up in small towns and I loved the idea of a microenvironment for the setting of my series. Since childhood, I heard many fun stories about small-town life. I lived in a fairly small town growing up, so I figured why not create a town in Colorado? Elkridge was pulled from many different elements of nearby mountain towns to create a unique place. Don’t go looking for Elkridge, it doesn’t exist, but have fun visiting the locals throughout my new series.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
There are a lot of characters in my books. The character that is most real to me is Sam. My brother, Sam, was always going head first into life. Always wanting to be the hero, he often didn’t listen to other people’s advice. Don’t get me wrong—we were best friends, and I loved him dearly. When he died just before I graduated high school, I was devastated. I can relate to how both Mara and Joey feel about people they love being snatched from their lives. Those feelings are real, and even after all this time, I still can feel the chasm my brother’s absence has left on my heart.
Sam pulled up to the old logging road gate.
He’d expected the metal structure to be locked, not wide open. He reached for his shoulder radio and engaged the mic. “Dispatch, this is Gaccione on Lonely Ridge, heading to Red Fox Lane.”
“10-4,” The female dispatcher replied.
Why the hell is the gate open?
“Please 10-21 the permit manager and ask if anyone has permission to be on this logging trail.”
He studied the ridge while waiting for the dispatcher to make the call and report back. By the sun's angle, he judged there would be enough time to meet Leza before the sun set.
“Sheriff?” The dispatcher came back on the line. “No permit has been issued in the past few months.”
“10-4. Good to know. 10-3, Sam, out.” He pressed on the accelerator and proceeded up the dirt road.
He drove slowly, looking right and left. A quarter mile in, he spotted something reflecting a ray of sun, pulled to the left-hand side of the dirt road, and stopped his car.
He opened the car door, put a foot on the ground, and swiveled to pick up the object.
A gold necklace.
Not just any necklace. Leza’s necklace.
He scanned the area, but didn’t see any tracks.
What does this mean?
The instant he turned, pain blasted through his chest, and he staggered back.
He gulped in air and time slowed.
His attention locked on his hand, full of blood, and he staggered back another step to lean on the car.
Still struggling to breathe, he reached for the radio mic on his shoulder. Clicked the button, but blood flooded his mouth, drowning his desperate call for help.
The world tilted and he hit the ground.
Leza. You warned me. Why didn’t I listen?
Oh, God. Joey…bro.
Sam used his clumsy, dangerously-numb hand to scrape up a fistful of gravel and ice. Begged his body to feel something. Anything. Tried to roll to his side, fighting for a shallow breath, and spit out a mouthful of blood and saliva, watching the splatter slowly fade into the snow.
Think. You have to think.
Wrapping his fingers around a jagged rock, he used every ounce of energy to write something short and significant. Joey would catch his meaning. His brother knew him better than anyone.
“You just wouldn’t back off, would you?” The familiar voice came from somewhere behind him. When a boot drilled into his kidneys, Sam gasped and jerked and rolled while excruciating pain shaded the world black.
Sight returned slowly, and Sam squinted against the sun, mesmerized by the vibrant blues and greens above and around him, and the glint of Leza’s necklace, almost within reach. The cold from the ground seeped into his bones. He tried to reach out to grasp the necklace, but his left arm could barely move, and his right was pinned beneath him.
A hand with Leza’s necklace dangling from between its fingers suddenly came into focus, then a familiar face.
“You,” Sam whispered. “But why?” He forced his hand to creep back up his chest, touched the radio button again, opened his mouth to speak, but a pooling bitterness invaded his mouth, filling his throat, robbing him of air.
He was out of time.
“We all have skeletons in our closet.” The man enunciated each word, every one a crossbow bolt of disgust aimed directly at Sam. The man looming over him drew in a long breath and then slowly exhaled.
“Why?” Sam managed again.
“You’re all about protecting family, aren’t you?” the man sneered. “Isn’t that what you’re doing? Trying, in your ignorant, ham-handed way, to protect this town? Well, I’m protecting what’s mine.”
“This is…big.” Sam fought to stay alert.
“Granted, it’s gotten out of hand.” The man paused to scan the old logging road and surrounding woods, then glanced up to see a hawk fly overhead, then looked down at Sam again. “Too many people are involved now. The more people, the more mistakes—the more mistakes, the more people like you who wind up dead. Moving that quantity of drugs was hard enough, but now with the…”
“Women?” Sam prompted.
Suddenly, hands were patting his body, searching pockets until the man found what Sam hoped he wouldn’t. “Nice try, Sheriff, but no one will hear this recording. Our nice little visit has come to an end.”
Blood pumped from the single bullet hole in Sam’s chest and pooled on the ground. “Wait…” he choked, trying and failing to lift his head. “Your…word. Leave…sisters…alone.”
And Leza if she isn’t already dead.
He closed his eyes, and fought to stay conscious.
“You’re not in a position to make demands. In a few minutes, none of it will matter to you anymore.”
Terror pulsed through his body.
The silence tick, tick, ticked by like a bomb on a countdown to detonation. But there was no bomb, only a critically wounded body. Knowing he had only seconds left, Sam fought against the blackness closing in.
The tall man nudged his right shoulder with his boot, yanking him back to consciousness. “It’s unfortunate you got in the way. I’ll do what I can,” he promised.
Footsteps barely audible against the crisp winter breeze disappeared altogether.
Sam fought for air. Still clutching the rock, he made one last effort to scratch out a message for his brother. He focused every bit of energy into his now-useless hand.
The feelings in his legs and arms had faded. In fact, cold, bitter cold, was the only sensation remaining. That, and regret.
Life wasn’t about a job or politics or old family quarrels. No, it was about the small moments…like playing video games with his nephews, or teaching his nieces how to fly fish, or family dinners.
Joey. Oh, God.
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