Ace of Hearts
Shevaughn Robinson is investigating an especially gruesome case which emerges into serial murders. The story evolves as she follows murder after murder trying to solve the case, not realizing the murderer is a man who not only becomes obsessed with death, but obsessed with her.
By Jean Holloway Published by PHE Ink P. O. Box 940217 Houston, TX 77094 PHE Ink and the portrayal of the quill feather are trademarks of PHE Ink. All characters and events in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to action person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The cataloging-in-publication data is on file with the Library of Congress. Library of Congress Control Number: 2009907864 ISBN: 978-0-9824475-9-8 Copyright � by Jean Holloway All Rights Reserved Printed in the United States of America Printed in 2007 by Firefly Publishing & Entertainment Reprinted in 2009 by PHE Ink Genre: Fiction/Thriller Dedication I dedicate this book to my motivator, biggest fan, best friend and sister, Lori, who was there almost thirty years ago, in the beginning. She helped breathe life into this and then revived it and pushed me until I had the opportunity to sign a contract. If it weren't for you, Sis, well, you know, I couldn't have done this without you. I love you. And to Fred, my soul mate. I've been so blessed to have you at my side through life. You always support me, no matter how offthe-wall my ideas may seem. You're the best! Acknowledgement I've always been cynical when rappers who, with their disrespectful lyrics and cursing, would start with "I just want to thank God first." I find myself in the same predicament, but I do thank God, for blessing me with the opportunity to see this come true. A big group hug to old and new friends that believed in me and helped me by reading and editing. Thank you, my Heartbeats; my daughter, Kim Benjamin, my sisters, Lori Whatley and April Patterson, my daughter-in-law, Terri Ross and good friend, Chanteasea Swain. The Pulse (my auxiliary reading group); my son, Spencer Ross and close friends, Jeanie Callaghan, Angie Davis, Michelle Dygan, Kay King, Melissa McMath, Georgia Price and Sheryl Smith. And the Pulse, Part II, my son Edwin Ross, my adopted daughter, Shonna Peters and good friend, Beverly Haynes. Thank you, Yira Dirocie, Esquire "The Negotiator". You quickly became a friend and supporter, patiently answering all my legal questions and giving me support & encouragement. Thanks to NBCC and Curtis Bunn, the venue that introduced me to my publisher, which encouraged me to continue pursuing my goal. And a VERY special thank you to Firefly Publishing and Entertainment - Diane Dorc�, Publisher, Editor and friend. It was a rough ride, but you took me where I never thought I would go. And to my new publisher, PHE Ink, who encouraged me to re-release and Dana Pittman of Nia Promotions for the great new cover. I would be remiss if I didn't mention my late Mom, Sweetie. You tried to wait, but God called you before you saw the finished product. I know you're watching. We all miss you, deeply. Last, but definitely not least, I want to thank my late Dad, Bo. Vocabulary was his fort�. Talking with him or most likely listening (boy, could this man verbalize!) often sent me to the dictionary to figure out what he was trying to tell me, thus building my vocabulary as well. Look, Daddy, you made me an author! I hope everyone enjoys this effort as much as I did creating it. Prologue Lenora's hands shook as she lit the candles. Everything had to be perfect. This is your chance with someone that can help your career... your life, she thought. Besides, he was gorgeous. Born and raised in a totally middle class home, she never felt satisfied with her surroundings. Everything always looked just a bit shabby to her. In 1963 at the age of seven, Lenora boxed up all her toys and began reading. By fifteen, she was at the top of her class. Several prominent universities vied for her attention during her senior year. College turned out to be a breeze. There she learned a lot more than academics. She learned about men and used it to her advantage, vowing never to return to the humdrum life she left behind. Pleasing men became her major. Lenora saw great things in her future, great things and she was determined to have it all. Tonight was her first step up the ladder of success. 2 Ace of Hearts First impressions were important. Therefore, everything had to be just right, from the Chicken Marsala she checked for the fifth time to her appearance, which was capital S-E-X-Y. By eight o'clock, it would be. At seven forty-five, Lenora slipped into her one pair of imitation designer lounging pajamas. The turquoise color set off her caramel brown skin. She was in the process of admiring her reflection in the mirror when the doorbell rang. Right on time. She smiled so wide and hard the corners of her small mouth cracked, causing her the slightest pain. She quickly forgot it when she opened the door and saw him. He was everything she had remembered and a little bit more. He was wearing an impeccably tailored charcoal gray Brooks Brothers three button suit with a crisp white shirt and a gray, blue and white tie. The blue in his tie matched his dark blue eyes. She watched as he ran his fingers through his russet hair and watched as it fell back into place and softly landed over his eyebrow. Something about the move came across as sexy. His polished black wing-tipped shoes had a shine so bright the reflection of light bounced off them. In her eyes, he could have passed for a lawyer or politician. He was exactly what she wanted in a man: rich, powerful, handsome and tall. Not so tall as to overwhelm her or cause her any strain, but just enough so that if she fell into his arms, he could catch her without bending. "I'm glad you could make it," she said leading him into the living room. She watched him look around her townhouse. She was very proud of her little place. Even if her money was limited, she did well with what she had and she had the mortgage to prove it. Jean Holloway 3 "Let's have some wine before dinner. I picked up a bottle, just for the occasion. Is red okay with you?" Lenora reached for the chilled bottle of Chianti. He nodded in agreement. She poured each of them a glass, and then settled down on the couch for what she believed to be the start of something wonderful for both of them. She wasn't much for small talk, so she jumped right to the subject. "So, what is it exactly that you do?" She knew the answer before he started. She did her research. Lenora patiently listened as he went on and on about his education, but noticed he didn't mention family until he revealed he was stuck in an unhappy marriage. Next, came the line about his wife not understanding his needs. Lenora smiled a wicked smile. That was something she was more than capable of providing. She knew he hoped she would take care of that, but prayed her office reputation hadn't preceded her. She hoped he didn't know how understanding she could be. They sat in the little dining nook, under the dim lights, exchanging small talk, drinking, eating and enjoying the ambiance of the evening. Lenora had him right where she wanted. "Let's go back to the living room," she suggested. Lenora stopped as she passed the small black lacquer liquor cabinet in the corner, retrieved a bottle of Martell cognac she saved for special occasions and her smoke box. Once they settled on the couch, she rolled a few joints of Panamanian Gold and then poured two stiff drinks. She 4 Ace of Hearts lit a joint and passed it to him. Soon, between the joint and the drinks, they were happily on their way to cloud nine -- laughing, snuggling and simply enjoying the moment. He moved in closer, placing his hands on both sides of her face. "I want you," he whispered, kissing her deeply, with so much passion that Lenora moaned with excitement and anticipation. They necked like teenagers on the couch for almost an hour. Although Lenora knew she should stop him, she couldn't, wouldn't, not when it felt so damn good. They couldn't get enough of each other. Before she realized it, they were both lying on the couch. He had her pinned down, squeezing her breasts a little too hard. It hurt. The effects of the joint were wearing off and she no longer felt as hot and horny as before, in fact she just felt tired. I have to put a stop to this, she thought as she sat up and gently pushed him away. "Hey, slow down," she warned. He smiled back at her, but said nothing. She tried to get up and he pushed her back down onto the couch. It scared her a little. It surprised her that he was being so forceful. She had already decided he would get nowhere tonight. She knew how to handle anxious men. She also knew she had to hold off for a little while. She shouldn't give in immediately if she wanted to keep him interested. "I invited you for dinner, nothing else," she said, firmly. "I mean it. If you can't control yourself, you'll have to leave," she said, struggling beneath him, but to no Jean Holloway 5 avail, he was so much bigger and stronger than she was. Her efforts to remove herself only left her more exhausted. In an instant, everything changed and Lenora knew she was in big trouble, but she hoped she could talk her way out of it as she had done many times before. When he spoke, she looked into those blue eyes and actually saw them go cold. It reminded her of an albino snake. "You don't get it, do you?" he asked in a voice raspy with lust. "The last thing I want to do is control myself." Lenora sat straight up as that comment set in. "Don't ruin a perfectly good evening," she said in a stern tone, hoping to stop him from thinking anything more would transpire that evening. It didn't stop him. Instead, he grabbed her by her top and slammed her back against the couch. Shocked, Lenora slapped him, hard across the face. They struggled for several minutes before he got her pinned back down. This time his hands were around her throat. "Who the hell do you think you are?" he asked, as his hands grew tighter. She would have answered, if she could, but she was trying too hard to breathe. He kept glancing around the room, as if someone else was there, but there was no one else. It was just the two of them. She begged and pleaded for him to let her go, but it all came out in indistinguishable, choking sounds. At one point, he seemed to let up, his eyes drawn to a small 6 Ace of Hearts picture on the end table. She realized he was staring at a family photo. Why would that make him so angry? Lenora was losing the fight. She tried to scream, but couldn't. He cut off her air supply. Darkness, which had been crouching right outside her peripheral vision, grew and began to close in. As her life dissolved, she focused one last time on his face. She was shocked to see that he was smiling. � � He knew it. The bitch had everything he had ever wanted, even a real family. His anger ignited like spontaneous combustion. "Heartless bitch, you should have wanted me," he seethed, increasing the pressure against her larynx. He watched her struggle, fiercely at first, then futilely. He knew she couldn't stop him and watched her begin to lose consciousness. She tried to claw at his hands, get them off her throat, but he was too strong. She tried to smack him again, but his arms were longer and his face loomed just out of her reach. He smiled as he felt her body twitch and go limp. Damn, if she been more agreeable, she would still be alive. Why did she have to be such a heartless bitch? That's when it dawned on him. The reason he had no luck with women. They were all heartless. Suddenly, he knew exactly what he had to do. He returned to the kitchen and found a pair of her latex gloves under the sink. He realized how small they were as he struggled to put them on. They fit tight, like a second skin. Then he searched the drawers until he found a knife Jean Holloway 7 that was as sharp as a scalpel and grabbed a small saucepot from the dish drain. Quickly, he went to work, performing the operation with a surgeon's skill. Since she was dead, the bleeding was minimal. Then he scooped his prize into the pot, carried it to the bathroom and flushed it. It disappeared, just as he hoped it would. Next, he went back into the living room, sat down and stared at her lifeless body. Shit, if it wasn't for that gaping hole in her chest, she would still be beautiful. He could turn her on her stomach and not have to look at the mess he made. It marred her beauty. He flipped her over on the rug. Now, staring at her ass, his past fantasies returned. He visualized himself inside. All he had to do was pull down her pajamas bottoms. She couldn't fight anymore. As he admired her body, he began to touch himself and found his hands slipping off the silk fabric that enclosed his desire. At last, someone who would accept him without any argument. He knelt down over her, stroking her body with the tip of his engorged penis. Slowly, holding her buttocks apart, he pushed inside. The warmth and strangeness thrilled him. He put his arms under her and pulled her body up to meet him. God, this was even better than he imagined. He counted and didn't get past the fourth stroke. Since satisfying her did not concern him, he let himself go and had the most heart-wrenching climax he ever experienced. After regaining his composure, he pulled up his zipper and -- good husband that he was -- took the dishes off the table, scraped the remnants of her great meal into the 8 Ace of Hearts sink, neatly filed the plates and the knife into the dishwasher and turned it on. He looked around the living room one more time. Everything looked so neat. He walked around the room and casually knocked over the ceramic lamp, breaking it against the second ledge of the end table and then systematically tossed pillows across the room, dislodging pictures from the walls, sending them shattering to the floor. He swept the ashtray, centerpiece, and smoke box to the floor. He hesitated, then picked up the small dime bag and placed it in his back left pants pocket. He stopped for a moment and stared at the picture of her family, then threw it like a Frisbee, shattering glass against the walls, crushing the rest under the weight of his heel. Now, he hoped it would appear to be the work of some random vandal. He dragged Lenora's body by her ankles and laid her behind the couch. His work here was done. He went back into the kitchen and removed the dishes from the dishwasher. After locating the right cabinet, he put them away. He slipped the knife into his left pants pocket and put on his jacket making sure it hid his secret. On his way out, he spotted Lenora's purse on the counter. He dumped the contents, found her wallet and checked it for money, transferring her thirty-eight dollars to his inside jacket pocket along with the gloves. All this and a tip too! Something sinister is going on... And Love has nothing to do with it. First, he seduces them... Then he kills them... What he does next is unspeakable. NY Detective Shevaughn Robinson gets her first big case, investigating an especially gruesome murder case, which emerges into serial murders. The story evolves as she follows murder after murder trying to solve the case, not realizing the murderer is a man who not only becomes obsessed with death, but also obsessed with her. Title: Ace of Hearts Author: Jean Holloway ISBN: 9780977412662 Price: $14.00 To learn more about Jean Holloway visit: www.deckofcardz.com. Shevaughn Robinson has gone from the cop everyone doubted to the "golden child" of the Portsborough Police Department. Helene Elliott is found dead from an apparent suicide, but the police department is pressured to take on the investigation. Elliott's case awakens a complicated relationship with Terri Becker who resents Shevaughn for the death of her husband, the serial killer dubbed Ace of Hearts. Will Shevaughn's attempts to move forward inadvertently lead death to her front door yet again? Black Jack is the sequel to Jean Holloway's acclaimed debut novel, Ace of Hearts. Buckle up and follow Shevaughn as she moves closer to solving the Elliott murder, unknowing rekindling old grudges and awakening sinister spirits. Get ready; it's going to be a bumpy ride Title: Black Jack Author: Jean Holloway ISBN: 978-0-9824475-0-5 Price: $15.95 To learn more about Jean Holloway visit: www.deckofcardz.com