Willow Rose’s beloved detective, Harry Hunter is back in this thrilling second installment of the bestselling series.
When a mother and her child are pulled out of the harbor in their car, the case seems pretty straightforward for Miami PD and Detective Harry Hunter.
Everything points to a murder-suicide.
They were homeless, living in their car, and the mother decided to end it all for them both by driving into the water.
But the case is not what it looks like, Detective Harry Hunter soon realizes.
Harry’s daughter is carrying devastating knowledge about their deaths, and soon she becomes the killer’s next target.
As Harry races to protect her, he is betrayed by someone he thought he knew, leaving him terrified of trusting anyone in a town filled with liars.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 2 – PG
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I'm normally inspired by real-life stories when I write my books. In this case, it was two very different true stories that inspired me.
I can't tell what they are about without spoiling the story.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Most of my books have a female protagonist, so this time I wanted to write a mystery series with a male detective from Miami. Some of my characters are inspired by real-life characters from the stories that inspired the book. Many of them are built upon people I know or have met briefly.
“Girl fourteen, acute cardiac arrest.”
I was running behind the stretcher as I heard the paramedic give the message to the nurse in the ER. I don’t know if it was hearing him say the words that made me finally break down and cry, or if it was the sight of them rushing my daughter down the hallway, asking me to stay back, that did it to me. I leaned forward, hands resting on my knees, still panting, when Jean came out to the waiting room and saw me. We hadn’t seen each other for weeks, and as her eyes fell on me, I started crying even harder. “Harry!” She rushed to me, grabbed me in her arms, and helped me sit down. It wasn’t an easy thing to do with a big guy who’s six-foot-eight and weighs more than two hundred and thirty pounds. Especially not for a small woman like Jean. But Jean was a lot stronger than you’d think. She spoke with a shivering voice. “What happened? I saw them rush someone down to surgery. It looked like… Was that Josie?” I nodded, gasping for air. I could hardly get the words across my lips and struggled to tell her. “Sh-she fell. They have an important volleyball game next week. She had just been out running, then came back into the yard where I was sitting, then she just fell. It was like she deflated. I…I don’t understand. I…I…she wasn’t breathing; she was completely gone. There was no pulse or anything, Jean; she was just lifeless. I frantically performed CPR. I was so scared; you have no idea. But I got her heart beating again while my dad called for help. The paramedics came and rushed her into the ambulance…her heart kept shutting down, they said, and they barely managed to keep her alive.” I looked into Jean’s eyes. They were filled with worry and fear. She was breathing heavily. Jean cared for my daughter almost as much as I did. I continued, my voice cracking: “What’s happening to her? She was fine this morning, and then she said she’d…go for a run…and now this? What’s happening to my baby?” Jean grabbed my hands in hers, and I leaned my head on her shoulder. I could tell she was moved too. Jean was a nurse at the ER, but she was also my neighbor, and we had been very close until recently. Until my wife, Camille, woke up from her brain-injury coma due to an overdose three years ago, Jean had been the one taking care of us all. But now that my wife was better and was awake, Jean had pulled away. Maybe because we had kissed, maybe because we had decided to start dating the moment before Camille awoke. Sitting here, I suddenly missed Jean more than ever. “What’s happening to her?” I asked. “Will she be all right?” Jean took a deep breath. It was obvious that she was shaken. “She’s in good hands. That much, I know. They took her into surgery right away.” “Tell me she’s going to be all right, Jean. I won’t be able to live without her. She’s my everything.” “I know, hon,” she said. “I know. They’re doing all they can.” The doors to the ER slid open, and my dad stepped inside, looking distressed. My dad, the retired pastor, who was always there for me…who was always there with an encouraging word or ready to step in when I needed someone to look after Camille or my daughter, Josie. He was, in many ways, the rock I leaned on, and I wouldn’t know how to do all this without him by my side. “I drove here as fast as I could,” he said and hugged Jean when he saw her. “Any news?” “Not yet,” Jean said. “I’ll go check now and keep you posted, okay?” “Thank you; you’re an angel,” my dad said, holding Jean’s hands in his. He had always been very fond of Jean, so much so that he was the one who pushed for me to start dating her, even though Camille was lying upstairs in a vegetative state. “I told Camille,” he said when Jean was gone. “Before I left.” “And?” “She seemed upset, but I’m not sure she fully understood.” I nodded. Camille was awake, yes, and had been for about a month. It was an answer to our prayers, a miracle even, but she hadn’t been the same since she woke up. She was still unable to control her body and could only be pushed around in a wheelchair. She could barely speak and mostly just said our daughter’s name; that was all, and she struggled to understand what was going on around her and things we told her. The doctor told us it would require lots of rehabilitation, and that we shouldn’t expect her ever to be completely herself again. He also said that her reaction would be different to things, and we couldn’t always count on it. She could be smiling yet be sad without us knowing it because she couldn’t control her reactions the way other people could. “She might have understood it,” I said. “But she just couldn’t react the way you thought she would.” My dad sighed and put his hand on my shoulder. “I’m sure you’re right, son. I’m sure you’re right.” I knew how he felt about Camille. He still believed I should put her in a nursing home, where they’d know how to take proper care of her. I think he still had a hard time forgiving her for doing drugs again, when she had been clean for years, and thereby ruining my life and Josie’s. I was struggling with that part as well if I was completely honest. Even though I didn’t like to admit it since she was the one with the brain injury, she was the one trapped inside of her body. I had hoped to get some answers out of her when she finally woke up, but so far, I knew nothing about what happened or why she had started to do drugs again when we were doing so well together. Our life had been perfect up until that point. Why would she risk destroying our family? “Here’s the doctor,” my dad said as the door opened, and someone came inside wearing a doctor’s coat. We were the only ones in the waiting room, and the man in the white coat turned to look at us, then approached us with worried eyes. The way he looked at me made my stomach churn. It didn’t seem like it was going to be good news.
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