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Connections eMagazine

August 2019

Message from the Editor The Purpose of this eMagazine is to connect readers and bloggers with authors. This is a FREE seasonal magazine that is produced quarterly. I hope you’ll take the time to look around. There are some amazing authors, great promos and tons of free stuff included in this edition. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” — George R.R. Martin While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe. You’ll receive an automatic email when a new edition is published. Just click the box below and fill out the form. Don’t worry, your information will never be shared or sold.

FEATURE Reader’s Choice Finalists... Get to know this year’s finalists, their work, and the final winner’s of the 2019 Connections eMagazine Reader’s Choice Awards.

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Top Ten Finalists 1.

Stories People Love

2.

How to Write for Success

3.

Katashi Tales

4.

The Westwood Witches

5.

The Truth Finder

6.

Hall Pass

7.

Imagine

8.

Private Messages

9.

Grace in Mombasa

10. Then Again Free Books

Hot Deals—99 Cents Author Tips and Tricks Paige Carter

Click pictures and images throughout the publication for Additional information


MPSmith Publishing and Connections eMagazine does not endorse any information contained in the articles or advertisements throughout this magazine. All contents Copyright Š the individual authors and used with their permission. All rights reserved.


EDITOR-In-Chief... Melanie P. Smith

PRODUCED by… MPSmith Publishing

Unrequited Love by PA Rudders

Melanie P. Smith

Lost in London by Brenda Mohammed

Chasing Mermaids by Sylva Fae

Music by Jaykishan Kapdi Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine

Hidden by Penny Luker

Would you like a listing in the next issue of Connections eMagazine? Click here for submission requirements.


The Connections eMagazine Reader’s Choice Award is open to all independently published authors and their work. This is an annual award. Authors can be nominated by anyone who has read the novel. Books are judged on cover design, character &/ or world development, good flow & compelling into, presentation, and Reader’s Choice. We had a lot of great entries this year and the competition was close. I hope you will take a minute to check out the winners.


Categories Thriller | Mystery | Horror

Romance

Paranormal | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

Non-Fiction

Children’s Books

Young Adult

Other Fiction

3rd—Bronze

2nd—Silver

Finalist

1st—Gold


Gold Medal Stories People Love by Brenda Mohammed Different in content but connected by common themes of hope and love, Stories People Love, contains six fictional short stories of Crime, Adventure, and Love with real life lessons. One Night in Paris - What happened in Paris that night? Read and be intrigued. Lavender - Deception, lies, murder, and mystery with lots of twists and turns will keep you guessing how this story will end. Whispering Hope - A passionate young girl finds true love with a brilliant scholar. Yesterday - Take a trip down memory lane with a trip across the world by two young adventurous girls.

The Dirtiest of all evils - A thrilling murder mystery. Love Conquers All: True love knows no bounds.

Intro: Great intro, well written and easy to read with good flow . Character/World Development: Short stories of morals, inspiration and following your dreams. Cover: Excellent, Professional, Fits the Romance Genre well. Presentation: Professionally edited, No obvious typos, excellent grammar, formatting and overall presentation Prize: Gold in Overall and Romance Categories

Romance


Silver Medal How to Write for Success by Brenda Mohammed Valuable nuggets of truth for new and aspiring authors. The book covers plotting, writing dialogue, narrative, building a story world, choosing a book title, writing the blurb, what an author should do before and after publishing, choosing categories, creating an author brand, book marketing, and most of all how to get sales and reviews.

Informative Intro: Clear well-defined objective. Author uses her own experiences to focus on the essential areas of writing and how to achieve success.

Compelling Topic: Valuable and informative subject matter. Provides easy to follow instructions and insight. Cover Design: Nice cover, appealing and well balanced. Prize: Silver Overall / Gold Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction


Bronze Medal Katashi Tales

by Shiju H. Pallithazheth

Children’s Books Intro: Good Hook, starts out similar to ancient folklore collection and the fables grab your attention immediately. . Character/World Building: Good world development. Reader is introduced to a mix of human stories and animal fables. Presentation: Professionally edited Prize: Bronze Overall | Gold Children’s Katashi Tales is a literary masterpiece that reveals fifteen hair raising stories and unheard fables from the human world and animal kingdom, as well as places of which you have never dreamed. Find out if John the Baker will ever bake again.Will Scarlet find true love?What will be the fate of King Mukanko?Why does Mary the granny keep dancing?Will Jumbo’s size and power save him from hunters?These inspiring tales that reveal the wisdom of monks and promote humanity, will take you on a journey filled with laughter, tears, and extensive knowledge. Filled with real-life illustrations, Katashi Tales is a priceless, collectible treasure for every household. It is a book that can exchange hands for generations to come.


Mystery | Thriller | Horror

Young Adult

Non-Fiction

Fantasy | Paranormal

Children's Books

Other Fiction

Romance

Gold Winners by Category


Mrs. Fitzroy by Rachael Wright Brash, streetwise, Captain Alexander Savva of the Hellenic Police is called to investigate the crumpled mess of a car, and the body inside it, being battered by the sea. With the brakes com-

The characters were developed so well that I would get lost in the world that was created on the pages of each chapter. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time trying to figure out where the story was going to take me! -Amazon

promised, John Fitzroy had no chance of surviving the steep roads along the coast. Where many investigations struggle for suspects, Savva has no lack of them.

“What a wonderfully crafted thrill ride.� - Amazon

Intro: Compelling intro with very vivid and detailed descriptions, draws you into the story . Character/World Development: Compelling characters, great world development and a lot of emotion

Thriller | Mystery | Horror Winners


Poison Pen by Val Tobin Intro: Entertaining, begins with a well thought out murder and flows smoothly into the investigation.ly Character/World Development: Quirky characters that are lovable, delightful and sometimes delusional but immediately feel like old friends. “ Sharp, clever, crisp dialogue with a story that will keep you guessing “ -Amazon

The Killer Success has eluded aspiring author Conrad Barnes, and he blames Leon Patterson, his close friend and greatest rival, for all his woes. He has the perfect solution: rid the world of the egotistical bastard—and he knows the perfect person to frame for the crime. The Victim Leon Patterson has it all: fame, fortune, adoration from fans, and respect not only in his small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake but also around the world. He’s a pillar of the community and a leader in the writing group he organizes. He’s generous with his time, helpful to his friends and fellow authors. Life, for Leon, is perfect until Conrad arrives at the door one fateful morning.

The Three Authors Robin refuses to leave the house, Daphne has OCD, and Beth falls asleep at the most inopportune moments. When the evidence in Leon’s murder points to Beth, the three decide there’s only one thing they can do: catch the real killer. All three find themselves caught in a cat-and-mouse game where anything can happen and no one is safe. Can they overcome their fears and phobias before Conrad claims another victim?

The Detective Detective Jacob Turner is a modern-day Columbo in search of a clever killer. Logic tells him that to catch the murderer he must follow the evidence, but instinct tells him something doesn’t add up. Then, the case becomes personal and the hunt is on ...

We had two well-deserved gold winners in the Mystery category this year.


Jacks or Better by Mike Billington & Marisa Porto

Intro: Strong start that draws you into the story from the first sentence Character/World Development: Great world development with descriptions that make you feel like you are actually there. “Simply said, I guarantee that, once opened, you will not be able to put Jacks or Better down. “ “...Interesting premise...strong plot … memorable characters...” -Amazon Three dead men, all named Jack, are found in a boat in the middle of a small southern Ohio lake. They didn't know one another and none of them had a criminal past. So, why did they die? And why were their bodies dumped in a boat and set adrift? The answer to those questions will take reporters Mel Palazzo and Mick Church on the ride of their lives. Along the way they will uncover a secret dating back to the last days of the Vietnam War, engage in a battle of wits with some Pentagon bigwigs and try to separate fact from fiction in a world where lies and half truths are the rules everyone but them seems to play by. "Jacks or Better" is a thriller with a cast of unforgettable characters written in a fast-paced style by two veteran journalists.


Neither of them had expected this. Tess Andrews needed to disappear. Ian Blackwell wanted the gossip chasers to stop disrupting his life. When the two of them said yes, neither had any idea who the other was, and they had nothing for each other but disdain and mistrust. But when Ian is threatened, Tess has a choice to make. Keep her head down, or help the man she married face an opponent who could destroy them both-and risk him discovering her secret.

Bronze Medal

Intro: Compelling. The story draws you into the mystery and suspense in the first paragraph.

Character / World Development: Great character development, emotionally intriguing


Unrequited Love - Flash Fiction Lucy Brannen simply adored Tommy, and why shouldn’t she? He was a handsome fella, what with his thick, jet black hair, and eyes that could entrance the most reluctant heart. Everyone loved Tommy; Lucy’s parents, her friends, and even complete strangers too immediately took to him. It was something Lucy understood and accepted, having fallen for Tommy’s charms more than two years before. Yes indeed, Tommy was something special, even if his demands and attention-seeking sometimes made her feel invisible. She had some sympathy now for how new mothers must feel when everyone’s attention and compliments were all directed towards the baby, like the mother wasn’t even there other than as some glorified slave … where was the appreciation and attention she deserved? Whatever her occasional misgivings though, Lucy continued to dote on him, attending to Tommy’s every whim, everything from preparing his meals right down to even trimming his nails, nothing being too much trouble for her. All she asked in return was the occasional show of love and affection, to be treated as something a little more special than his personal servant. It wasn’t entirely true of course; Tommy did treat her to the occasional glimmer of attention, snuggling up to her when she least expected it or gazing into her eyes, enchanting her all over again. But such emotional shows were few and far between, and invariably seemed to coincide with when he wanted something, like a snack from the kitchen; as smitten as she was, Lucy was not stupid, fully aware the relationship was utterly and completely on his terms, and not hers. The truth was, Tommy treated their home as little more than a hotel, often lounging around all day while she went out to work. The least she could have expected was for him to be there for her after a hard day’s work, but no, Tommy was a law unto himself, coming and going whenever he pleased, and at all hours of the night. Lucy often wondered if Tommy would even notice if she just left, walked out and never came back, at least apart from the need to get himself another dogsbody? She knew she never would though; Tommy meant too much to her, and besides, what would have been the point? Tommy knew his worth and would have been sure to land on his feet elsewhere, perhaps even with that little blonde next door, the one always paying him compliments and attention. There was one person though who wasn’t seduced by Tommy’s charms, and that was Lucy’s best friend, Clara. She treated Tommy with the same indifference he pretty much treated everyone else. When Tommy and Clara were in the same room, you could almost feel a literal drop in temperature, such was the coldness between them. It was not surprising then that whenever Clara visited, Tommy would either make himself scarce all together or at best, somewhat rudely go and feign sleep in another room.


And so it was today when Clara called, Tommy just huffed his annoyance and flounced out past them when Lucy opened the front door to her friend. “Sorry about that, he’s in a bit of a mood,” Lucy apologised.

“Don’t apologise for him, he’s always in a mood,” Clara reminded her in reply. “If he wants to behave like a spoilt brat, that’s his problem.” Lucy just shrugged, her loyalties torn as they always were. “Look, Lucy, I’ve no sympathy,” Clara bluntly told her. “I told you at the start … if you wanted slobbering affection, undying loyalty and the rest of it, you should have bought a dog … Cats are different.” * Tommy surveyed his kingdom from atop the mahogany bookcase, having snuck back in via the cat flap. Satisfied that all was well, he looked down on his devoted human. Even though Clara had now left, Tommy was in no mood to jump back into Lucy’s arms. No, he would make her wait for another snippet of the attention she so desperately craved and needed from him, and why not, she was after all his slave, as all humans were to their feline owners. Clara on the other hand, she clearly had no understanding of the honour and privilege it was to belong to some feline God or Goddess, never having shown him the deference he was entitled to, not even so much as kneeling before him to present some delicious offering. Her presence or lack thereof was therefore of little interest to him, assuming her to be one of those evil creatures that didn’t bow down to their feline masters or mistresses, or worse still, she might even be … a dog person … urghh, was all Tommy could muse to himself at the thought … Tommy leapt down from the bookcase, landing beside Lucy on the sofa. He had kept her waiting long enough, a suitable penance he thought for giving some of her attention to another. Nonetheless, he snuggled beside her, again gazing up into her eyes, allowing the soft touch of his fur to brush against her bare skin. He even allowed her the rare privilege of stroking and caressing him. Any thoughts of replacing Tommy with some slobbering little puppy as Clara had suggested instantly evaporated, Tommy’s mastery and ownership of her once again assured that more than any cage or set of chains could ever do. https://rudderswriting.com


Stories People Love by Brenda Mohammed

“After reading the contents I can truly say it is one of my favourite books. The six stories are well written and told in an easy to read manner. They are filled with values and morals and are all connected by themes of hope and love.� - Amazon

Different in content but connected by common themes of hope and love, Stories People Love, contains six fictional short stories of Crime, Adventure, and Love with real life lessons. One Night in Paris - What happened in Paris that night? Read and be intrigued.

Into: Great Intro, well written and easy to read with good flow

Character/World Development: Short stories that include moral messages, inspiration and following your dreams

Lavender - Deception, lies, murder, and mystery with lots of twists and turns will keep you guessing how this story will end. Whispering Hope - A passionate young girl finds true love with a brilliant scholar. Yesterday - Take a trip down memory lane with a trip across the world by two young adventurous girls. The Dirtiest of all evils - A thrilling murder mystery. Love Conquers All: True love knows no bounds.


“A modern day Cinderella story” It’s never too late to find your happily ever after…

At 40, Thea has lost all hope for the fairy tale life she always dreamt of. In an attempt to help her family, she has found herself trapped in an emotionally abusive marriage. It has taken it’s toll and she is no longer the young, confident woman she once was. Her husband, Malcolm, is controlling and flaunts his many affairs with younger women in front of her. When Malcolm wants to play house with his latest mistress, he buys Thea a week in Hawaii with her favorite singer. It’s all under the guise of a charitable donation, of course. From the first moment Thea heard Liam’s sexy voice come over the radio, she has fantasized about him being in her bed.

“A tremendous Cinderella-style love story. If you love hot, steamy romance books you'll love this story! “

- Amazon

Intro: Interesting and compelling intro. Book starts with a question. “Everyone deserves to live a fairy tale life… don’t they?” Character / World Development: Great character development. The characters come to life from the very beginning


Lilianna For so long, my very existence teetered on the brink of death That's what happens, when you lose the other piece of your heart I can't sleep, write or work Until, I meet him The one who won't let me fade back into the darkness Now, I'm feeling things that I shouldn't But the man is determined to breathe me back to life And, it's been so long since I took a breath Zane I've been called a cold heartless bastard one too many times However, I didn't get to where I am by not taking chances I'm the successful owner of Club Syn And then I meet her I'm torn between my mysterious caller and the raging storm Now, I'm feeling things I've never felt before One is untouchable, the other continues to push me away And, it's been so long since I've been inspired

Private Messages by Conne Lafortune Intro: Great Start. Pulls you in from the very first page and keeps you interested throughout Character / World Development: The characters are flawed but loveable. Their stories are emotional and compelling

“Some stories touch the soul from the first moment you read the pages. I'm in love with Zane and Lili and their struggles, their painful past, and their willingness to love again ‌ Truly and expertly written. - Amazon


This story has enough tension to make it suspenseful and just the right emotional upheaval to keep the reader engage. -Amazon

Intro: This is book two in a series and it seems to pick up where the first book ends.

Finalists

Richard and Maria's wedding is dreamily romantic, but both of them are still haunted by past rejections. Sinister letters and unwanted gifts arrive, and the more each tries to protect the other by keeping them secret, the heavier the burden of guilt and anxiety. However, when vicious attacks on lives and property begin, Richard and Maria are determined to uncover the identity of their enemy, but they have no idea who might have a motive. Will their love hold fast or the old saying “marry in haste, repent at leisure� prove true?

Character / World Development: Good character and world development. The book combines romance with believable drama and tribulations.


PERMANENTLY

First to Fall (Lessons in Love Book 1) by Olivia Blake

Meant to Be (Sweetbriar Cove Book 1) by Melody Grace Poppy Somerville believes in happily-ever-after. It's the reason her romance novels have won devoted readers all over the world - and why she's broken off her engagement just weeks before the wedding instead of settling for less than true love. Escaping to her aunt's beach cottage in Sweetbriar Cove, Poppy is looking for inspiration to end her writer's block and finish her new book. She just wasn't counting on the handsome, gruff contractor making such a racket next door... Cooper Nicholson doesn't believe in soul-mates. He thought he'd found his forever once, and the world proved him wrong, so when the cute brunette comes storming over and demands he keep the noise down, romance is the last thing on his mind. But his new neighbor is full of surprises, and soon, their chemistry is too hot to ignore.

It took only one day at college for life to throw a wrench in Alyssa's plans. When she walks into the quirky used bookstore just off campus she expects to find a few old paperbacks, not to lose her head over the store's sexy owner - and Kyle is way out of her league, the kind of sex-on-a-stick bad boy who would never give a girl like her a second thought. Or would he? There's nothing Alyssa loves more than a good challenge, and this one promises to be a lot more exciting than running for class president. She just wants to make Kyle notice her, that's all - to see her as a woman. How hard can that be? She'll stop before she gets in over her head. But she can't get those smoldering brown eyes and sinful smile out of her mind, and she keeps imagining his full, soft lips hovering a breath away from her own. Would kissing him really be so dangerous?


Falling For You (Sapphire Bay Book 1) by Leeanna Morgan After six years of focusing on her career, Natalie Armstrong craves the peace and tranquility that only Sapphire Bay can give her. But returning to her grandparents’ cottage isn’t as easy as she imagined. No one told her about her houseguest or the unexpected changes in the small town she calls home

Heather (Hart Land Book 1) by Chris Keniston Boston cardiac surgeon Heather Preston has invested everything to achieve her dream of working at a world renowned hospital. When an unsettling call from her grandfather the retired general brings her back to her childhood lakeside home, she rediscovers the appeal of life in a small town, the joys of free-spirited youth— and Jake Harper. After serving in the military, Jake Harper has returned home. The slower pace and neighborly spirit makes Lawford the perfect place to settle down. Pitching in may be second nature to the former Marine, but while helping out at Hart House he discovers things may not always be as they seem, especially one irresistible surprise—Dr. Heather Preston.

Gabe Lanigan is a former NYPD detective. His new career as a bestselling crime writer has brought him everything he didn’t want—fame, fortune, and a deep distrust of strangers. When Natalie arrives in Sapphire Bay, their unlikely friendship sparks into something he never expected. But he needs to be careful. The real reason he left New York City is closing in fast and Natalie is standing in his way.

Redemption Lake: A Winston Radhauser Mystery: #1 by Susan ClaytonGoldner Tucson, Arizona – Eighteenyear-old Matt Garrison is harboring two terrible secrets: his involvement in the drowning death of his 12-year-old cousin, and a night of drunken sex with his best friend’s mother, Crystal, whom he finds dead in a bathtub of blood. Guilt forces Matt to act on impulse and hide his involvement with Crystal. Matt’s world closes in when his father is arrested for Crystal’s murder. Matt heads for the lake where his cousin died—the only place he believes can truly free him. Are some secrets better left buried?


If She Knew (A Kate Wise Mystery—Book 1) by Blake Pierce

Montana Cowboy (Big Sky Mavericks Book 2) by Debra Salonen

5 year old empty nester—and freshly retired FBI agent—Kate Wise finds herself drawn out of her quiet suburban life when her friend’s daughter is murdered in a home invasion—and she is implored to help.

Austen Zabrinski looks the part --

Kate thought she left the FBI behind after 30 years as their top agent, respected for her brilliant mind, tough street skills and her uncanny ability to hunt down serial killers. Yet Kate, bored with the quiet town, at a crossroads in life, is summoned by a friend she can’t turn down.

Serena James knows trouble when it hops her fence--

Kate hunts the killer, she soon finds herself at the forefront of a manhunt, as more bodies turn up—all suburban moms in perfect marriages—and it becomes apparent there is a serial killer stalking this quiet town. She unearths secrets from her neighbors she wishes she never knew, discovering that all is not what it seems in this picture of model streets and neighbors. Affairs and lying are rampant, and Kate must sift through the town’s underbelly if she will stop the killer from striking again.

He's got the ranch, the boots, the hat and even a few head of cattle, but everybody in Marietta, Montana, knows the former golden boy of Marietta High is a wealthy politician, not a cowboy.

Texas Roots: The Gallaghers of Sweetgrass Springs by Jean Brashear When scandal and an ambitious prosecutor wreck talented chef Scarlett Ross's life and she learns of a grandmother she never knew she had, she flees the notoriety to pay an anonymous visit to Sweetgrass Springs, Texas, a small town kept alive only by her grandmother's determination and carried on the strong shoulders of sexy Texas cowboy Ian McLaren. There she is surprised to discover a yearning to sink roots deep in the Texas Hill Country—but she is terrified that the secrets she's hiding will endanger everyone she's come to love.

Moving to Montana and deleting her blog seemed like the perfect solution to her online stalker problem. Serena’s ready for a fresh start, but when her escrow on her ranch falls through, she has to scramble to find an immediate but temporary safe haven to rent for her herd of 50 alpacas, two llamas and one giant dog. Serena’s barely moved in when Austen Zabrinski hops the fence in need of a lift. Even at first glance, Serena can tell he's nobody cowboy, but who's to say that isn't a good thing?


The Girls Across the Bay (The Knox and Sheppard Mysteries Book 1) by Emerald O’Brian

Love and Shenanigans (Ballybeg, Book 1) (The Ballybeg Series) by Zara Keane Three days before leaving Ireland on the adventure of a lifetime, Fiona Byrne returns to her hometown to attend the family wedding from hell. When she discovers the drunken vows she exchanged with the groom during a wild Las Vegas trip eight years previously mean they're legally married, her future plans ricochet out of control. Gavin Maguire's life is low on drama, high on stability, and free of pets. But Gavin hadn't reckoned on Fiona blasting back into his life and crashing his wedding. In the space of twenty-four hours, he loses a fiancĂŠe and a job, and gains a wife and a puppy. Can he salvage his bland-but-stable life? More importantly, can he resist losing his heart to Fiona all over again?

A bond stronger than blood. A connection that could end it all. Madigan Knox and Grace Sheppard became sisters the day they entered their foster home. After living through a childhood nightmare, one brave act set them free, but split them apart into different homes. As adults, they are reunited in the small coastal town they dreamed of living in as children, but the reality of life in Tall Pines is far from what they had imagined. When a woman is found dead in her home, Madigan reports on the crime while Grace investigates. A dark connection to the victim is discovered, pulling them both closer to the crime and the traumatic past they are desperate to move on from. With old wounds ripped open and dark secrets threatening their bond, the sisters must rely on each other more than ever before to survive.

Deadly Stillwater: A compelling crime thriller (Mac McRyan Mystery Series Book 3) by Roger Stellijes Two girls gone. One detective under pressure. And no time left The ruggedly handsome Mac McRyan, a fourth-generation cop, is faced with a brazen daytime kidnapping, a media storm surrounding the case, and political scrutiny. An abduction is just the beginning in a case of betrayal and revenge that will ultimately strike at the heart and soul of the St. Paul Police Department.

From the searing streets of St. Paul to the murky waters of the St. Croix River, get the riveting mystery you won't be able to put down until its last gripping minute.


Intro: Good flow. The fantasy feels normal and

by

mundane as it’s told through the eyes of a teen, — like a casual family gathering that is anything but typical.

Character/World Building: Great world



building and development. You get a sense of the magic and the family dynamics from the first page.

The plot of the book delivers a gorgeous world or shall we say two worlds with both myth and magic as well as secret organizations and government cover-ups. “ - Amazon

Aero trembled as she held the box sealed inside black paper. The dilemma was a difficult one – her mum had told her the box contained secrets she might not be ready for. Once she opened it, there would be no going back… Aero has always felt like a misfit and an outsider. Thankfully, having a best friend like Lilly, along with a grandma like Joanna, makes life worth living. But a terrible event tears her world apart, and Aero Westwood is about to discover that her family has more secrets than most.


Then Again By Rick Boling Intro: Good flow and draws you

into the story immediately

Character/World Building:

Great character development from the beginning. You immediately feel like you know the sarcastic, struggling artist from the very first page.

“I love science fiction for its bold ideas, but characterization often takes a back seat to hardware. THEN AGAIN is the perfect book to press on your non-SF-fan friends. It's brilliant, filled with mind-boggling concepts and characters that live and breathe.“ - Amazon


Intro: Good hook, compelling descriptions

that draw you in right from the beginning

Character/World Building: Descriptive

fantasy world that pulls you into the story and the world immediately

Darkspire Reaches by CN Lesley

“...an enchanting fantasy world that has its beginning shrouded in mystery.� -Amazon

The wyvern has hunted for the young outcast all her life; a day will come when, after being rejected by civilisation and the tribes, she must at last face him. Abandoned as a sacrifice to the wyvern, a young girl is raised to fear the beast her adoptive clan believes meant to kill her. When the Emperor outlaws all magic, Raven is forced to flee from her home with her foster mother, for both are judged as witches. Now an outcast, she lives at the mercy of others, forever pursued by the wyvern. Soon her life will change forever. A unique and unsettling romantic adventure about rejection and belonging.


Intro: Intro draws you into the story of espionage and intrigue immediately

Character/World Building: Good world A young unemployed misfit with a talent for remote viewing is offered employment with a team of military contractors. His life soon changes for the better. The new job brings excitement and certain perks. One of these being proximity to the woman who recruited him and this is the prospect which thrills him the most. However, in order to stay, he must learn to fit in and follow orders despite his complete lack of any military background. He is soon embroiled in a world of espionage involving highly restricted quantum technology which opens up an alternative reality in which a person’s memories can be visited. After witnessing a terrible deed committed by a high profile target, his conscience will not allow him to simply forget it as per instruction. Instead, he becomes determined to seek justice. However, following this path may cost him dearly.

and character development from the first chapter

“...this is one of the most intricate plots I've read in a while! It's fast-paced action that keeps unfolding one layer of the story at a time until it builds to the 'high stakes' turning point, that you think you've sort of figured out how it's going to end, and then it happens completely different. “ - Amazon


Hard working city girl, Misty Statesly travels to a coastal town in Victoria to save her job from sabotage and hopefully win over her new clients from a sleazy work colleague. The feeling of déjà vu fills Misty when she runs into a gorgeous guy in the town’s supermarket, and it happens again when she meets her new client – Braven O’Geary. Braven is mesmerised by the mark on the inside of Misty’s thigh when they find themselves in a compromising position. A matching mark he had given his soul mate whom he was led to believe had died in a car accident with her parents, some sixteen years earlier. When Misty discovers she has lost memories, and the sexy as sin guy in front of her is not only her client, but also her soul mate and husband. Yeah, crazy, just does not come close enough to what Misty is feeling.

Can Braven and Misty outwit the cat shifter clan and survive the evil plot his ex-fiancé and the Alpha have orchestrated? Will Misty regain her lost childhood memories and fight for the man she loves, embracing her new strange world or will she die this time for real?

Character/World Building: Great

world development. Good descriptions, compelling characters and vivid setting.

Kept in the Dark of Love and Lust By M.L. Tompsett

“This is an exciting and hot shifter romance that lovers of paranormal romance will want to devour!” -Amazon

Intro: Starts strong. Interesting and controversial intro that gets the story moving.


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3

Lethal Remedy Paige settled in with her second cup of coffee. It was a perfect morning. The slight breeze was wreaking havoc with her files but it cooled the air just enough to make the morning pleasant. She settled back on the comfortable patio chair and closed her eyes as she tried to relax. For the first time in a long time, she had two whole days off. Two days to do whatever she wanted, two days to herself. Dax and Zeus left the previous afternoon, headed for Nephi to spend the weekend helping Ken with some project. Carmen decided to rent the Ledbetter house and this weekend she was settling in, trying to make the place a home. That would be a challenge, Carmen had big city taste and was now living in a small town. She reached out, blindly searching for her mug when the doorbell chimed. Paige frowned as she made her way to the front door. Her surprised turned to curiosity when she saw her boss standing on her front porch in regular street clothes. She rarely saw the discernible man in anything but his uniform. “Sheriff.” Jericho frowned as he stepped into Paige’s living room. Apparently, they still had a long way to go to get back on track. “I was wondering if you could spare a few minutes this morning.” “Sure,” Paige waved him forward. “I was just working, well mostly relaxing… in the back.” She stepped through the French doors and settled back on the lounge chair.

Continue Reading Pg. 63

This is a continuing storyline. A new episode is published in each issue of the eMagazine - Box sets can be purchased at any eBook store

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“This is an excellent book for anyone who finds him/herself contemplating becoming a writer.� -Amazon

Informative: Valuable and informative. This book provides easy to flow instructions and insight into the self-publishing world and would be an asset to any writer.

How to Write for Success by Brenda Mohammed Valuable nuggets of truth for new and aspiring authors. The book covers plotting, writing dialogue, narrative, building a story world, choosing a book title, writing the blurb, what an author should do before and after publishing, choosing categories, creating an author brand, book marketing, and most of all how to get sales and reviews.

Non-Fiction


The better prepared you are, the less stress there will be for you and your child. Navigating Family Court: In the Best Interest of Your Child, written by Rhonda R. Hopkins, a twenty-year veteran within the family court system, will offer the following insights: *What to Expect When You Go to Court *What Things a Judge Might Order *What is Involved in a Custody Evaluation *What to Do if there are Issues Involving Drug/ Alcohol Abuse, Child Abuse/Neglect, or Domestic Violence *Information on Mediation, Parent Education, and Counseling *A List of Things You Should Gather for Easy Access *Tips on Co-Parenting *And More!

“Divorcing? Love your children? Read this Book!�

-Amazon

Intro: Great intro, informative, and well versed on this emotional but important societal topic

Informative: The author gives insights on how to get through a family case in the best of ways during the worst of times

Navigating Family Court by Rhonda R. Hopkins


Intro: This is a difficult, intense, and compelling topic written by a survivor. The intro was perfect, similar to an older woman sitting on her front porch relaying her adventures and struggles to the next generation. Informative: Emotional, heart-wrenching with vivid descriptions that make you see, smell and hear the world throughout this enthralling story.

“A stunning portrait of resilience in the midst of chaos.� -Amazon

Walking Over Eggshells is an autobiography that tells the story of a mentally abused child, who married a "Walter Mitty" clone. They moved from England to Kenya, from Libya to Botswana and on again to South Africa. It took all her courage to survive in situations that were at times dangerous, sometimes humorous, but always nerve wracking


Criminal Suspense

Book 2

Book 3

Book 1

www.melaniepsmith.com


Intro: Good Hook, starts like an ancient fable and grabs your attention.

Character/World Development: A mix of human stories and animal fables. Entertaining.

“An engaging entertaining read on life lessons that emerge in a gentle voice touched with humour, for a smile, or laugh out loud moment that points to a path of a united humanity. A recommended read to infuse the soul with delight and lessons of wisdom for any age.� - Amazon

By

Shijy H. Pallithazheth Katashi Tales is a literary masterpiece that reveals fifteen hair raising stories and unheard fables from the human world and animal kingdom, as well as places of which you have never dreamed. Find out if John the Baker will ever bake again.Will Scarlet find true love?What will be the fate of King Mukanko?Why does Mary the granny keep dancing?Will Jumbo’s size and power save him from hunters?These inspiring tales that reveal the wisdom of monks and promote humanity, will take you on a journey filled with laughter, tears, and extensive knowledge. Filled with real-life illustrations, Katashi Tales is a priceless, collectible treasure for every household. It is a book that can exchange hands for generations to come.


Spike the dinosaur had not always been so nice. In fact, not too long ago, Spike was a bit of a mean dinosaur. He didn’t like to share, didn’t understand honesty and didn’t know how to say he was sorry. He loved eating the other dinosaur’s sandwiches. But that was before Mike, the microraptor, showed him what kindness was and how he too could learn to get along and be the good dinosaur friend. Activities included. Available in Spanish also. Intro: Great moral message. Spike was selfish and clueless until he is taught values and friendship.

Spike The Not so Nice Dinosaur By

Denise McCabe “ A truly fun and worthwhile children’s story. The story is fun and adventuresome … The colorful drawings are plentiful (on every page) and masterfully done..” -Amazon Character / World Development: Illustrations are professionally done and appealing to age group.


Scaredy Fox hates his name. Watching girls doing yoga in the park gives him an idea on how to get a new name. Will the forest animals be impressed by a fox doing yoga? Will Scaredy Fox get a new name he can be proud of?

Intro: Great topic and moral message in a fun story that will appeal to children.

“This is a breathtakingly beautiful children's book. Important positive messages about resilience, self-awareness and positive strategies to change the ways in which one is perceived by others. “ - Amazon

Illustrations/ Content: Great story, Illustrations are colorful and appealing to children


By Brenda Mohammed She sat on the tour bus and gazed around.

Copyright@BrendaMohammed

Was she really in magnificent London town? The tour guide pointed out famous places, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. ************************************* The passengers alighted at Camden Market. She realised she did not even have a basket. She looked up and saw the London Eye. Should she attempt that ride in the sky? ************************************ There was Big Ben her friend told her about. He promised to take a photograph in that spot. She looked around, but he was nowhere near. He once told her in a conversation he’d be there. ************************************ The bus drove off, but in that spot, she stood frozen. Several minutes passed and she looked up to heaven. Suddenly encircled in smoke she was about to scream. She widely opened her eyes, it was all but a dream.

Brenda Mohammed is an awardwinning, best-selling, multigenre author, and poet from Trinidad in the Caribbean. She has published over twenty books and is currently looking forward to an upcoming world tour where she will be visiting New York, London, Switzerland and France.

Learn more about Brenda on her website‌ https://allauthor.com/page/ brenchris/


AMAZING eBook

My Sister is Missing: The most creepy, fastpaced and gripping thriller of 2019 by Clarissa Ann Lynch

A twenty-year-old local mystery that has never been solved. A bone-chilling VHS tape depicting a horrific crime. Neighbors with something to hide. And a sister who is missing.

Emily has to find out the truth. But is her sister Madeline the victim…or the one to blame?

Dangerous To Trust (Spies, Lies & Lovers - Book 1) by Teresa Hill As Dr. Grace Evans worked her way from war zones to natural disasters, a mysterious man was always watching over her. Co-workers at the international relief organization joked that she had a guardian angel. Over the years, she’d come to trust him, despite not knowing his name or how he knew what he did. But if he said it was too dangerous for her team to stay where they were, they left. Until one day, Grace goes too far, and her mystery man doesn’t get there in time. Held hostage by a dangerous dictator, there’s only one man who can save her. And this time, there’s no hiding who he is or why he’s always watched over Grace.

“A well-written, fast-paced thriller that is packed full of twists and turns, mystery and suspense. “


The Secret Of Us by Liesel Schmidt When your other half leaves you…

Without a Trace by Carissa Ann Lynch Lily’s gone. Someone took her. Unless she was she never there… A little girl has gone missing. Lily was last seen being tucked into bed by her adoring mother, Nova. But the next morning, the bed is empty except for a creepy toy rabbit. Has Nova’s abusive ex stolen his “little bunny” back for good?

At first, Officer Ellie James assumes this is a clear custody battle. Until she discovers that there are no pictures of the girl and her drawers are full of unused toys and brand new clothes that have never been worn… Is Ellie searching for a missing child who doesn’t actually exist?

After her fiancé breaks up with her in ‘their restaurant’, leaving her with no explanation other than an apology scrawled on a napkin, Eira no longer feels at home in North Carolina. So she leaves for the Florida coast, hoping that rebuilding her life will be easier somewhere new. But while her new home may hold no trace of the past, life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned…and suddenly, a chance meeting turns Eira’s life upside down. …how do you know who you are?

Finally faced with the opportunity to ask her questions about love, lies, and the life she thought was hers, Eira realises that hearing the answers is going to hurt. Yet if she is brave enough to listen, finding the missing piece of the past might lead her to a brighter future than she ever thought possible…

Coming Home to Holly Close Farm by Julie Houston Charlie Maddison loves being an architect in London, but when she finds out her boyfriend, Dominic, is actually married, she runs back to the beautiful countryside of Westenbury and her parents. Charlie's sister Daisy, a landscape gardener, is also back home in desperate need of company and some fun. Their great-grandmother, Madge – now in her early nineties – reveals she has a house, Holly Close Farm, mysteriously abandoned over sixty years ago, and persuades the girls to project manage its renovation. As work gets underway, the sisters start uncovering their family's history, and the dark secrets that are hidden at the Farm. A heartbreaking tale of wartime romance, jealousy and betrayal slowly emerges, but with a moral at its end: true love can withstand any obstacle, and, before long, Charlie dares to believe in love again too...


Summer on the Italian Lakes By Lucy Coleman

You're All Mine: A Dark and Twisty Psychological Thriller You Can't Put Down by Ruth Harrow As Dr. Grace Evans worked her The worst secrets are often hidden by the shiniest facade… Heather lives in her dream house, has a handsome husband and a successful career. Famous in her field, she has legions of devoted followers on social media. But all is not as rosy as the Pinterest-perfect picture she lets them see. Behind closed doors lurks a more sinister story. Heather would be horrified if people knew about the violent scarlet stain near the fireplace… or the shocking secrets that keep her awake at night and could destroy everything she cares about... Managing an exciting new project should be a breeze, but when she is forced to work alongside the school bully that made her life hell, a new nightmare starts. Her perfect facade begins unravelling before the watchful eyes of her followers. Awful happenings start to reach Heather in the one place she should be safe - her home. Has one of her obsessive fans taken things too far? Or is the ghost of her distant husband haunting her?

The feel-good read of 2019, perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Karen Swan. Bestselling Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping - and steamy - love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling... Not only does she have writer's block, but she's a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life. So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer's retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson - could this be just the thing to fire up Brie's writing and romantic - mojo? Brie's sundrenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer's very own happy-ever-after... Escape the January blues with this sundrenched, heart-warming story from the bestselling author of Snowflakes Over Holly Cove.

Tales of the Feisty Druid Omnibus (Books 1-7) by Candy Crum and Michael Anderle She missed the war, but she’ll be damned if she loses her chance for revenge. Ten years after fleeing Arcadia to save her life, Arryn is all grown up. She spent the past decade in the Dark Forest with the druids, training in warrior combat and battle magic. Now that Arcadia is safe and Arryn is more than capable of taking care of herself, she decides to go back in order to search for her father. The only problem is that the city she once called home isn't safe at all. Arryn knows she has to do what she was raised to do: fight. She won't rest until the wicked are dead and the innocents are finally able to rise from the darkness.


Free to Dream (Amaryllis Series Book 1) by Tracey Jerald Cassidy Freeman doesn’t believe dreams come true because every night her dreams trap her in a nightmare she barely escaped as a child. She maintains rigid control over all aspects of her life, giving the illusion she's strong and confident. Allowing very few close enough to see the brave heart buried beneath, she’s convinced she’ll carry her burdens alone. From the minute they met, Caleb Lockwood disrupted everything by destroying her sense of order. His patience, compassion and sensuality obliterated her defenses. It’s as if he knew her from the inside out. Helping his younger brother hire a wedding planner shouldn’t have led to this. In just a few short days, Caleb’s learned untold secrets about his family – and about the Freemans. When he demands to meet them, he doesn’t expect the pull he feels towards the petite dynamo in front of him whom life has dealt an unspeakable hand With Caleb, Cassidy’s lost her semblance of control. Now, she's not sure she wants it back. Not if giving it up means having a chance at something she never imagined.

A Summer of New Beginnings by Lisa Hobman

The Sheriff's Woman by Jack Weger Rachel Cameron prefers to lick her wounds and protect her children from gossip and shame in isolation on a small homestead in the Ozark Mountains. But life-long bachelor and exMarine Sheriff Garrett Stark has other ideas. Drawn to Rachel, he wields all the power and charm he can muster to insist Rachel return to town for her safety and that of her children. Exasperation and anger rule on both sides. Rachel balks, but does not anticipate the raft of dizzying emotions stirred by the Sheriff’s relentless attention. The moment Garrett takes her into his arms, Rachel knows she has to make a choice. Honor the truth and face her fears or live forever as an outsider.

Meet Zara Bailey, a travel writer paid to cover some of the globe's most luxurious locations. Jetting from wooden huts on stilts in turquoise seas to boutique hotels with roaring fires to 7* penthouse suites with panoramic views of the world's most glamorous cities... Zara knows hers is the definition of a dream job!

So she is seriously shocked to receive her next assignment; Scotland's Northcoast 500 route. By bicycle. Sleeping in a tent so basic it can't remotely be dressed up glamping! But this could be just the distraction the recently heartbroken Zara needs. No men, no romance, just the breathtakingly rugged Highland scenery. Until she meets croft owner Lachlan Grant, and his black and white Border Collie Bess, that is...


Sunshine & Secrets (Paradise Cookery School Book 1) by Daisy James When newly heartbroken, Michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia. But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected…. With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed and with cocoa pods going missing from the plantation, Millie's going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Barker, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?

The Vampire Gift 1: Wards of Night by E.M. Knight When 17-year old Eleira wakes up in a strange, unfamiliar room high above the redwoods of California, she has no idea what's waiting for her in the dark. A trio of hauntingly beautiful vampires with a taste for her blood… An ancient sanctuary locked away in time… And a wicked queen determined to do anything to hold on to her rule. Caught between three vampire brothers and coveted for her bloodline, Eleira is swept into a world of supernatural magic where nothing is as it seems and betrayal lurks behind every corner. She must fight for her survival or risk being made prey for the very creatures who keep her there. But when she discovers a dark, twisted prophecy with her at its center, she is pulled deep into the heart of The Haven... and realizes that the vampires she seeks to escape might just be the key to her salvation.

Royally Schooled by Mckenna Hames

They come from two different worlds. Their love goes against centuries of tradition. But he doesn’t give a damn. Maggie

The royal family needs a tutor. Someone they can trust. Someone who isn’t swayed/distracted from their duties by working for royalty. Edward

I’m expected to make the best match for my country. But marriage has never interested me. Then Maggie waltzes into our lives and turns my world upside down.


All items on Sale at time of publication, however prices are subject to change and may not be permanently reduced Hot Daddy by Ashlee Price Victor needs a new nanny. And me? I need money after the crash of my music career. He saw me for who I was. An innocent girl still holding onto her Vcard. Waiting for the right man. Of course, I gave into his charm. A gorgeous single dad with hypnotizing brown eyes. One night together and I was his. I was taken… I was obsessed. The problem, though? He just hired me and now I’m his employee. We’ve got rules that we need to stick to. Stay professional. No phone calls, ever. Forget that we ever slept together. Except that now… we need each other. His son is in danger. And I’m pregnant.

Misunderstood (Brother's Best Friend Book 3) by Katy Kaylee Ryder Malloy. Selfish. Arrogant. Self-absorbed. Prick. An epitome of manliness. Six-foot-three, all hard, chiseled muscle. My brother’s ex best friend, and my new client.

Four years ago, he took my innocence and left – without a word. Today, he’s the star quarterback who needs an image makeover, And I’m his publicist, who doesn’t quite believe him. Task at hand: Swallow my hate for him and concentrate on the job at hand – making Ryder look like a real life knight in shining armor. Complications: I’m falling for him all over again.

My Romantic Comedy: Once Upon a Time - Interlude - Happy Ending by Mary Kelly Reed SOMETIMES OUR DREAMS COME TO LIFE IN AMAZING WAYS Erin simply adores romantic comedies. Whether it be When Harry Met Sally, Two Weeks Notice or Roman Holiday, they all make her dream and believe that everything is possible in life. In order to convince her friends that they are wrong to be cynical, it is decided: She's going to test the scenarios of her favorite romantic comedies in real life. What better way to prove that she's right? Whether your favorite romantic comedy happens to be Serendipity, You've Got Mail, or Down with Love, it's highly likely that she has tried them out, and that she can inform you about their effectiveness. To begin with, she chooses Clueless, the most timeless of romantic comedies. After all, she could use some good karma, and to find love for her sister or her best friend seems like a good start to her.


This is the story of Earth in the fifth millennium. Vrail has developed unusual powers. He uses his ability to read minds to locate dangerous criminals. He is a Truth Finder and explores the joys and dangers of his powers as he finds his place in a violent and unstable world.

By Penny Luker “Thought provoking, stimulating. and futuristic with enough modern touches to make it feasible.“ -Amazon

Intro:

Emotional beginning with

a son communicating telepathically with his dying father. Great beginning. Plot was easy to follow with good flow.

Character/World Building: Excellent character development. You get a sense for the main character immediately and find yourself developing an emotional connection due to his strengths and his struggles. World building also done well.


Imagine By Jenna Greene Intro:

Good flow and an enjoyable start.

The book opens with a typical bedtime seen in an average household.

Character/World Building: Great character development. The opening scene introduces us to a typical, average school girl who loves reading about adventure… then suddenly, she’s sucked into one.

A fierce wind and a blast of green light during a strange storm causes everything to change for Katharine Bowers and Becky Thatcher. The girls wake up in Oren, an entirely different realm than their earthly city. They meet Enalie, a fading magical presence who sets an incredible destiny before them… then simply disappears. Left alone to fend off creatures that hunt them in the night, they must relay a magical heritage that doesn’t make sense, and – if possible – save a world that they know nothing about.

This is a must read novel. Full of action, suspense and cinematic level storytelling, Imagine is a wonderful introduction to the world of Oren and heroes like Kat and Becky. If you enjoy a good fantasy novel with strong female lead characters and a large dose of magic, then Imagine by author Jenna Greene is the book for you. -Amazon


Intro: Tense and action-packed opening. You are immediately drawn into the world of Theo and the danger and challenges he faces.

TheUnbornHeroof DragonVillageby RonesaAveela Character/World Development: Great world building, including a map of the area to give the readers a visual of the world that has been created

An exceptional coming-of-age story filled with life lessons. Good vs. evil along with a healthy supply of magic aided by a touch of science. Fast paced filled to the brim with plenty of action. Suitable for pre-teen on up and highly recommended. -Amazon

The day fire and ice erupt from the sky, everything changes forever for twelveyear-old Theo. He discovers that dragons are real when Lamia, a three-headed monster, kidnaps his sister. A witch and a talking magpie help him open the portal to Dragon Village, a land he knows only from myth, a place filled with terrifying creatures. A young woodland nymph befriends him when he arrives. He must learn to trust his instincts as he searches for a way to defeat Lamia before the dragon sacrifices his sister. In his journey, he uncovers secrets that reveal that only he can save the mystical land.


By Sylva Fae

Lying in the secret field, my outstretched arms the pillows for my three cloud dreamers. The sun warms our faces and the long grasses tickle our bare legs. Behind, the tall trees form a dark wall contrasting the bright field beyond. The hedgerows buzz with life as bees and butterflies dance with the wild flowers. Our gaze floats dreamily with the drifting clouds and our breathing calms as we meditate on the changing forms. Wisps of white tinged with golden light transform into magical creatures above. I alternate watching their blue eyes sparkling with youthful daydreams and floating in my own reverie. Little fingers point out mermaids swimming across the blue seas. They lazily glide past and merge with the surf. Another finger points. A dragon dives, breathing flames as the sun’s fiery glow burns through. We watch together, breath held, as the dragon retreats to his snowy cave. We breathe as one, eyes roaming the blue, and share the moments as fairy castles rise from the mist and unicorns are born to dance the skies. And as I slump down at my desk, the stresses of work weighing heavy, I close my eyes and drift back to the secret field. Just for a moment, I escape. Snuggling down in the long grass, I hug my little ones close and together we go chasing mermaids across endless summer skies.

Sylva Fae owns a wood where she and her husband run survival courses and woodland craft days. She escapes to the woods at every possible opportunity to enjoy the peace and fresh air. She takes her girls off on adventures in their own enchanted woodland, hunting for fairies and stomping in muddy puddles. You can find additional stories andmore adventures on heron website Discover about Penny her website‌ https://sylvafae.co.uk/blog/ https://pennyluker.wordpress.com/


Music – Shri Jaykishan Hariharbhai Kapdi “Aum” Music is a singing in general sense. But music consists all these three things - singing, playing of an musical instruments and dancing. Dance follows playing of an musical instruments, playing of an musical instruments follows singing. So, in all these three things singing is the best / king. There are five arts: 1) Music 2) Poetry 3) Drawing 4) Sculpture 5) Architecture. In all other four arts, people should have a vision of understanding it and may not be as much as liked in comparison of a music. Music entertains all the people in general. In Indian music it is stated that Lord “ Bhrhama” (Creator of the universe) has given a blessing of music to “Saraswati Devi” ( Indian goddess of a knowledge and music) and music is flowing from “Saraswati Devi” to “ Narad Muni” (a saint of god and goddesses) and “Narad Muni” to “Bharat” and “Bharat” has created “Bharat Natya Shashtra” (“Bharat” Name- Dance Theory). “Bharat Natya Shashtra” is the origin of a music and original book of an Indian Music. Music is divine and music is related with a God and Goddesses.

God and Goddesses 1

Goddess Sarswatidevi, Shri Narad Muni

2

Lord Shri Ganesha

Playing an Indian musical instruments “ Vina-Vadan” (Indian string instrument) “Mridang-Vadan” (Rhythm)

3

Lord Shri Krishna

“ Bansi-Vadan” (Flute)

4

Lord Shri Shiva / Natraj

“Tandav-Nritya” (Dance)

5

Goddess Parvatidevi

“Lasya-Nritya” (Dance)

6

Lord Shri Indra and Lord Shri Brahma

“Kartal”


Sr. No.

Name of Musical Notes (India)

EUROPE

SPAIN / FRANC E/ ITALY

Origin

Inspiration / Equality

Color

1

“Shadaj”

“Sa”

C

Do

Navel

Peacock

Red

Moon

2

“Rishabh”

“Ri”

D

Re

Heart

“Chatak” Bird / Ox

Green

Mercury

3

“Gandhar”

“Ga”

E

Mi

Breast

Goat

Golden

Venus

4

“Madhyam”

“Ma”

F

Fa

Larynx

Crow

White

Sun

5

“ Pancham”

“Pa”

G

Gol

Mouth

Cuckoo

Black

Mars

6

“Dhaivat”

“Dha”

A

La

Palate

Frog/Horse

Yellow

Jupiter

7

“Nishad”

“Ni”

B

Si

Nose

Elephant

Blue

Saturn

Planets

Music adds towards physical, mental, economical and spiritual aspects of a mankind. Physical Aspects: A singer has to get mastery on breathing. It is one type of “Pranayam”. It strengthens the lungs. Dance itself is an exercise of a body. Metal Aspects: Singing and listening removes our sorrows, sadness and misery and our mind becomes fresh and joyful. Good and divine music not affects / influences only mankind, but also affects / influences animals and birds. We see a snake dancing with the voice of a “Bin” / Flute. Cows gives more milk - while listening a music . Economical Aspects: Music is also an education. It can be a profession. So raises our economical status. Spiritual Aspects: By adorable songs (Praise of a God and Goddesses) mankind gets an emancipation through music.

Jaykishan is a music teacher and composer from Bhavnagarm India. You can connect with Jaykishan Kapdi on Facebook at...

https://www.facebook.com/jaykishan.kapdi


Character/World Development: Emotional and compelling from the very start. Great character development.

“This is one of the most beautiful

stories I've read in a long time. “

Intro: Compelling intro. Story begins with a difficult birth. The doctor is unable to save the mother and the baby barely survives. The reader is pulled in immediately. From the day she was born, Grace Clifton has navigated a life of loss and heartbreak, without a mother to guide her and through the ravages of two World Wars. With England in the midst of a Second World War, Grace experiences the excitement of love and romance, but all too soon, it turns to heartbreak. Through it all, Grace is sustained by her unwavering faith in God, but when all she holds dear is ripped away from her, Grace is left devastated and doubting everything she’s ever believed in.

Grace in Mombasa by Tracy Traynor

“A beautiful and touching story about one woman's belief in God “ - Amazon


Intro: Amazing descriptions that draw you into the story immediately. The vivid detail makes you feel like you are actually there with the characters seeing and feeling what they feel.

Character/World Development: Great character development with realistic interaction, emotion and struggles.

“In this story, the conflict, courage and devotion to duty are not only on the battlefields but also on the home-front. A vivid picture is created of life for all concerned during a major war. “ - Amazon

Families torn apart by the Great War. When war is declared in August 1914, Bill, a farm boy brought up in a village on the Duke of Buccleuch’s Northamptonshire estate, is plucking up his courage to ask his sweetheart, Florrie, to marry him. Florrie has given up her dream of being a dancer to bring up her siblings and protect them from their violent and abusive widowed father. For her, marriage to Bill is love, escape, and protection: a dream to be clung to.


This is a tale wrought from memory, forged with imagination and skill, and told with a deep understanding of time and place - Amazon

Intro: Great intro, good flow. Hooks the reader in immediately with conflict and emotion Character/World Development: Compelling characters. Great world development that depicts the emotion, anxiety and fear that surrounds the threat of war and the devastation it creates

The swinging sixties – a time of peace, love, violence and revolution. In 1962, as the Cold War erupts in sudden crisis over Cuba, Cordelia, Beatrice and Rosalind are fourteen. Dubbed by their English teacher the three witches from Macbeth, they have already recognised one another as outsiders, with no idea that their alliance will turn out to be a lifelong friendship. Their personalities and choices lead them along very different paths, but they never lose the strong thread of their connection. Through the passions, disappointments, losses and triumphs of their lives the trilogy of novels follows them through the years, reflecting the many changes that have taken place for women over six decades. Exits and Entrances chronicles the eventful era between 1962 and 1972 as they grow from girls into women.

Exits&Entrances WRITTEN IN WATER


Intro: Compelling intro. Based on a true story, the book starts off with a basic but important question “who murdered Charles Petri?” Character/World Development: Quick easy read that draws you in from the very start. Great world development and descriptions of the time and place where the story takes place

Who poisoned Charles Petrie? Dr James Collymore, a man familiar with poisons, a man harbouring a dark secret that, if exposed, would ruin his career; Florrie, the maid who supplied Charles with his bedtime drink; Bert Kemp, a disgruntled groom, who used poisons in his work, who four months previously had predicted Charles’ dying day; Mrs Jennet Quinn, a lady’s companion with a deep knowledge of poisons, and a deep fear of dismissal; or Grace Petrie, Charles’ wife of four months, a woman with a scandalous past, a woman shunned by polite society. With crowds flocking to the courtroom and the shadow of suspicion falling upon Grace in the shape of the hangman’s noose, could dashing young advocate, Daniel Morgan, save her?

“I couldn’t put this one down… Smartly written, tight dialogue, crisp believable characters, and intelligently designed scenes made this a really great read. “ - Amazon


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As part of this competition, we sometimes receive nominations for books where the author is given an excellent rating by the judges. These books have received a perfect, or nearly perfect, score in every criteria; Compelling intro; Amazing world and character development; Attractive cover; and Professional presentation. However, many of these authors are new or simply do not have the following of their fellow authors. This makes it impossible to compete once the public voting phase is added into the score. As such, we have created the Judges Choice Award. We hope you will give these books a chance, they truly are amazing stories.

By Sylva Fae Scaredy Fox hates his name. Watching girls doing yoga in the park gives him an idea on how to get a new name. Will the forest animals be impressed by a fox doing yoga? Will Scaredy Fox get a new name he can be proud of?

This is a breathtakingly beautiful children's book. The illustrations are gorgeous. From the rich autumnal tones of the leaves to the eloquence of the expressions on the animals' faces, 'Yoga Fox' is a visual delight

-Amazon


A Tangled Web By A. Claire Everward

“There was enough romance and suspense to keep you fully engaged and rooting for that HEA. The story flowed smoothly at a steady pace that kept the reader’s interest to the very end. This was a great read and I would definitely recommend it to others. “ -Amazon Threats loom and a long-hidden secret is at risk of being uncovered as a man and a woman locked in an unwanted marriage find themselves embroiled in a tangle of destructive webs.

Saving Grace “What a great story! I was hooked from the beginning and could not wait to read on and find out what was going to happen the next day in court. This book has it all, mystery, romance and the fun of trying to figure out whodunit. Fabulous writing, and excellent storytelling.” -Amazon

Based on a true story and written by Hannah Howe, author of the Amazon #1 Sam Smith Mystery Series, Saving Grace, "the courtroom drama of the year." With crowds flocking to the courtroom and the shadow of suspicion falling upon Grace in the shape of the hangman’s noose, could dashing young advocate, Daniel Morgan, save her?


– Mary Wortley Montagu

& Tricks


The web is a wonderful tool. There’s instant access to a wealth of knowledge on any topic - including Self-Publishing. Here are a few examples to help authors along the way.

Kindlepreneur The Free Amazon Book Description Generator Tool. Change font size, add bold and italic styles, you can even add a horizontal line. Just paste your book description on the site, highlight sections to make them look how you want, generate the code and paste into Amazon. It’s that easy. https://kindlepreneur.com/amazon-book-description-generator/ How to Format Internal Dialogue The most common question asked is “How do I format it?” The answer depends on POV (Point of View) Learn the difference when writing in Omniscient POV; Regular Third Person POV; and First Person POV. https://marcykennedy.com/2013/05/how-toformat-internal-dialogue/

Social Media Platforms for Authors How should authors use social media? Which platforms are the best ROI for time spent? Explore the pros and cons of Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram from an author’s view point. What works, and where to focus your efforts. https:// bethanyrutledge.com/blog/social-media-platforms-for-authors/

How to Lend a Kindle Book One of the best things about reading a good book is the ability to share it with all our friends. Did you know Amazon allows you to share certain Kindle books with anyone you want, as long as you have the email address associated with their Amazon account. Follow a step-by-step guide on how to lend and the pros and cons associated with this service. https://bookriot.com/2018/10/26/how-to-lend-a-kindle-book

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By Penny Luker Gerald couldn’t believe his eyes. The skeleton he’d unearthed was like none he’d ever seen. In fact it was incredible. Carefully e removed the red earth to expose more of the whitened bones. The lower half of the skeleton was particularly delicate. At regular intervals he poked his head up and checked no-one was watching. This find would make him rich. His friends, if you could call them that, would stop laughing at his ‘little hobby’. He’d be world famous. Gerald Farthing, architect extraordinaire; finder of the unique skeleton. He could see himself being invited to universities to explain why he’d decided to dig there.

He was so engrossed with his musings that he failed to register the delicate Gaelic music seeping into his head. The music was exquisite, hypnotic, even spiritual. Gently he started to caress the smooth bones. They felt like silk to his roughened hands. The music drew him down and he curled his body around the skeleton. Suddenly he was drowning in a sea of earth, which piled deeper and deeper over him. Gerald had held his dream fleetingly for a moment but no-one ever knew that he’d discovered the bones of a mermaid.

Discover more about Penny on her website… https://pennyluker.wordpress.com/


Lethal Remedy

Continue Reading | Episode 3 Jericho glanced briefly at the files, then focused on Paige. “As your boss, I guess I’m expected to warn you about burnout and the need to take a break from the work now and again. But, I’m not going to because I’m not here as your boss.” “Why are you here?” “I think we need to talk and there never seems to be time,” Jericho settled into the chair across from her. “At the office I mean. I wanted to discuss Chaya’s case.” “Um…” Paige hesitated. “I’m going to be honest, I have no idea what to call you. Sheriff seemed to annoy you but…”

“Let’s go with Jericho,” Walters sat forward. “I realize it’s going to take time… to get back where we were before. But let’s start there.” “Can we?” Paige asked. “Get back there, I mean. I also wonder if we should. I mean it feels like that is moving backwards not forwards.” “So, what do you suggest?” “I don’t know,” Paige said in frustration. “I mean, I was wrong and I need you to know that. I was upset because I thought you just let a killer go free. That file proves otherwise and I hope you will forget all the horrible things I said about that and accept my apology.” “I already have, Paige.” “But at the same time, you and mom betrayed my trust. You kept this huge secret and in my head I know I shouldn’t blame you. Mom was the one that insisted the relationship stay this big secret, but I just don’t understand why. I mean, as her daughter she should have told me. And now she’s not here. I can’t confront her about it. So, when I’m with you, I just refocus that anger toward you because you were part of that.” “I was an unwilling part, but yes, I was part of it.” “Do you know why?” Paige asked softly. 63


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3

“No,” Jericho sighed. “And I know it won’t help, but her need to keep our relationship a secret hurt me, too… back then, just as much as it’s hurting you now. I wanted the world to know, but Chaya said she wasn’t ready. Maybe she was worried how it would impact you. Maybe it had something to do with your father. As I understand it, you were pretty close to your dad.” “I was,” Paige agreed. “But he had been gone a long time by then. I accepted his death and I would have accepted mom’s need to move on. She was really happy here. For the first time since dad died, she was truly happy. I wish I had known why. Known you were partially responsible for that.” The two of them sat in silence for several minutes, each lost in their own memories. “I think that’s another reason I’m confused about where we go from here,” Paige broke the silence.

“How so?” Jericho asked. “Because after I read that letter, I knew there was someone out there, a man here in town that mom loved with all her heart. Someone that, if things had been different, in all likelihood would have become my step-father. She loved you and I can see you loved her. It would have been the natural progression of things. Now, I can’t stop wondering why I really got the job. Did you hire me because I was the most qualified candidate, or did you hire me because I was the daughter of the woman you loved?” “I hired you because you were the most qualified and because I loved your mother… and in spite of that as well.” “What do you mean by that?” “It was difficult, at first,” Jericho admitted. “Seeing you every day, remembering Chaya each time you did something that was so like her. I knew it would be, but over time, our interaction became more about you and less about her.”

64


Lethal Remedy “Dax said I got so upset with you because I thought of you as a father figure, sort of like I do Nathan Porter,” Paige confessed. “In a way, I guess he’s right. I thought of you as a mentor, but some of the feelings are the same… just like Nathan. Maybe that’s what has made this so difficult - the emotions. Now that I know you may have been my step-father, it seems a little strange to think of you that way.” “Then don’t,” Jericho said immediately. “Back then, it would have been an honor to be your step-dad. I would have been good at it, I think. But that time has passed. Let’s not try to make this something it’s not. Let’s do like you said… move forward. I truly think the best way to do that is to let things develop naturally… as we solve your mother’s murder. I believe together, we actually have shot at doing just that.” “I guess I can do that,” Paige picked up the file she’d been working on. “I realized something this morning.” “What’s that?” “You and I… we were working the same leads, just going about it in a different way,” Paige pointed out. “I investigated most of the same people you did. I just tracked them electronically. You have a file on Margaret Swenson, I have a file on Ms. Swenson as well. You tracked her down, physically, and asked her all the right questions before ruling her out. I tracked the money; gas purchases, restaurant tabs, hotel bills, stuff like that. I ruled her out my way, you ruled her out your way. I think it might be a good first step to combine files. I’ll tell you what I know, you tell me what you know.” “I’m thinking that might be a good second step,” Jericho smiled. “So what do you think we need to do first?” “Take a good look around that abandoned factory,” Jericho said soberly. “Have you been back there?” Paige asked. “I mean after you found her?” “No,” Jericho frowned. “I always knew I would have to go, but I’ve been procrastinating. It’s not a place I want to revisit but I think we need to take the time to search it. Your mom was looking for something, a clue this Tracy girl left. We need to find that clue.”

65


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “It’s been a long time,” Paige considered. “It may not even be there anymore. Maybe it never was. If I’m right, this has to do with Tracy Douglas and her untimely death. Mom referred to an incident… something that happened to Tracy a few weeks before she died. I tried to talk to Samara about it, but she shut down immediately.” “Samara Vega?” “Yeah,” Paige affirmed as she shuffled through the file in search of the photo. The instant she found it, she set it on the table in front of the sheriff. “The three of them were close, in high school. Then Tracy died, and mom and Samara apparently went their separate ways. I tried to get details, but Samara clammed up. She was visibly upset when I showed her that photo and even more concerned I had made the connection. She tried to brush it off, but she knows something. A secret she’s too afraid to share.” Jericho picked up the photo and studied the three girls. “I didn’t live here then,” he began. “When the three of them were in high school. If I had to guess, this picture was taken sometime around graduation. The irises have already bloomed and those look like lilies in the background. Yeah,” Jericho paused. “If I had to guess, I’d say late May or early June.” “I hadn’t noticed that,” Paige said as she frantically searched for Tracy’s obituary. Seconds later she pulled it from a stack of papers triumphantly. “Says here, Tracy died on May twenty-fourth just before graduation.” Jericho continued to study the photo of a young Chaya Carter… No, she wasn’t a Carter yet. That came later after she left Manti and met Dylan Carter. In this photo, she was Chaya Davis. So young and full of life… nothing but time ahead of her. “I think I should try talking to Samara.” “Do you think she’ll give you more than she gave me?” “It can’t hurt to try,” Jericho decided. “Give me an hour. Let me see what I can get from her, then the two of us will head out to that old factory and take a look around.” Just as he finished speaking, an uneasy feeling engulfed him. Jericho stood and moved to the railing. He focused on the nearby forest, waiting for the slightest movement. After several minutes, he turned. “Do you ever get the feeling you’re being watched out here? Then, suddenly the feeling disappears.” Paige frowned, “All the time.” She stood to stand next to her boss. “Dax has darted, more than once, into the forest and spotted evidence someone was out there. Do you think we were being watched?” 66


Lethal Remedy “Maybe,” Jericho shrugged. “But if so, they’re gone.” He waited as Paige began shoving all their files into a large case. “You have a copy of my entire investigation. I think it might be a good idea if you copied everything you’ve gathered so far as well. That way we’ll have two complete files... a backup copy of everything. I don’t like this feeling I have in my gut that someone is waiting for the perfect moment to break in and steal everything you’ve got there.” “Follow me,” Paige said lifting the large case. Once inside she moved to the room she’d set up as her office and slid back the hidden compartment where she kept all her clues. Once she slid the documents inside, she pulled out a small wooden box and flipped open the lid. “Mom had this hidden in the wall, with the photo, and that letter to you she hid in a sort of diary. It looks like a school ring, one an athlete would wear. Maybe give his girlfriend like that wrestler did with the girl we found up the canyon.” Jericho took the ring and studied it. It was commonplace to engrave the owner’s initials inside the ring but this ring was smooth. Either the owner had worn it so much the engraving had worn down or there never were initials to begin with. “I don’t see anything that points to an owner. Any idea who it belonged to? Maybe a mention of a boyfriend in Chaya’s diary?” “Nope,” Paige took the masculine item when Jericho held it out and returned it to the box. “The diary’s not from high school and it’s not a true diary. Just a record of things she had on her mind. Stuff that only made sense to her. The ring might not mean anything, but I have to believe mom hid it away for a reason. I keep going back to Tracy Douglas. She has to be the catalyst in all this. I just can’t figure out why.” “Maybe Samara will enlighten us once I have a chance to corner her alone,” Jericho glanced at his watch. “Give me an hour. I’m going to confront her at home, lock that up tight and we’ll head to the factory as soon as I return. If you agree, bring your case file to the office on Monday and Margie can copy it for me. She’s discreet and can take care of it while the rest of us are handling calls.” “Do you think it’s a good idea to bring Margie in on this?” Paige asked. The woman was still angry and barely speaking to Paige these days.

“She’s already in,” Jericho moved toward the door. “On my end, she has been for years. Think about it. You can let me know on our way to the Tillman Factory. I’m not sure if you caught it, in my report, but when I found Chaya on the factory floor, she was gripping a cuff link. I have to assume it belonged to the killer. I’ve researched it, of course, but so far I can’t find a thread to tug - kind of like that ring. I have no doubt when we solve this thing it will all come together. Until then…” 67


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “Until then,” Paige echoed. “We have a lot of evidence and not a single suspect. Are we kidding ourselves? Believing we can solve the mystery after all this time?” “I don’t think so,” Jericho moved to the patio. “And I don’t think you believe that either.”

***** Jericho stepped to the front door and rang the bell. A series of emotions crossed Samara’s face as she stood just inside the door. “Good morning, Ms. Vega.” “Sheriff,” Samara swallowed hard, worried about this visit. “I was wondering if I could come in and talk to you about an old case,” he said conversationally. “Um…” Samara hesitated. “Well, I’m just getting ready to go to work. Can this wait?”

“I’m afraid it can’t,” Jericho took a step forward. “I’ve spoken to your supervisor, told him you might be just a couple minutes late. He agreed to stay a few minutes over if necessary.” Samara frowned. She was out of excuses, there was a reason Sheriff Walter’s was so successful and why he was respected by the entire community. He never left anything to chance. “Okay, then.” She stepped inside and held the door so the lawman could enter. Once she had closed the door, she moved cautiously to the couch and sat down. “What is this about, Sheriff?” “I’m glad you asked,” Jericho settled into a chair directly across from the terrified woman. She knew something, he was sure of it. “I came across an old photo this morning, one of you, Tracy Douglas and Chaya Carter.” “Oh,” Samara’s hand shot to her mouth as she gasped. He knew, and he was investigating. Was he only looking into Chaya’s death or Tracy’s as well? “I was hoping you could tell me about Tracy,” he settled into his chair. “Um, well that was so long ago,” Samara swallowed. “What would you like to know?”

“Something specific,” Jericho pressed. “I’m afraid I need to ask you about the time just before her death. Chaya mentioned there was an incident. Something terrible that happened to Tracy. Maybe something she was distraught over, a reason that might explain her sudden depression and help me understand why a girl like that, a young woman that had her whole life ahead of her, would jump to her death.” 68


Lethal Remedy Samara studied her hands for several seconds. She was afraid, terrified the slightest answer might make her a third target. But she couldn’t lie to the sheriff. Maybe it was time to explain. She swallowed hard and glanced up, meeting the sheriff’s eyes. “We went to a party. All the seniors were supposed to be there. It was a celebration, sort of a pre-graduation event. We all wanted to blow off some steam, you know? Our parents were putting so much pressure on us to find a good college and get a good job. We just wanted to have a little fun, enjoy the summer before we had to start school again.” “So the three of you went to this party together?” Jericho asked. Samara nodded. “It was up the canyon, somewhere on top in a meadow. A bunch of the guys built a big bonfire, and we just hung out, drank a little too much and crashed. That was the plan all along, nobody thought it was a good idea to drive down the canyon after drinking like that.” “And what happened?” “Tracy disappeared,” Samara admitted. “I didn’t notice at first, neither did Chaya. We were talking to a couple guys… the Baker twins. They were cool and I think Blake had a thing for Chaya. Jake was nice, but I didn’t get the feeling he was really into me. Anyway, we got caught up. The alcohol didn’t help. We just lost track of time. When some of the kids started to coordinate sleeping arrangements, we realized Tracy had been gone a long time. Chaya insisted we start looking for her. The four of us, the Baker boys helped, we split up and walked the entire area around the camp. We didn’t find her so we decided to head into the woods. There were a couple clumps of trees on either side of the meadow. I went with Jake, Chaya went with Blake. The guys insisted, said they didn’t want us girls wandering out there alone… not with so many guys drunk and all. “Did you find Tracy?” Samara swallowed hard again. “Chaya and Blake did.” A tear trickled down her cheek and she impatiently brushed it away. “Chaya stayed with her while Blake came to find me. She was a mess. Her shirt was ripped and her knees were bloodied. She was completely covered in dirt and grass. She had this look, like she wasn’t really there. I think she was in shock or something. Me and Chaya drove her back to my house. Chaya drove, she wasn’t drunk like I was. The guys followed us there but didn’t stop. They just wanted to make sure we got home okay. My parents were out of town that weekend so we had the house to ourselves. 69


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Chaya tried to get Tracy to call the police, but she said no. She said he had threatened her. She was really scared, which scared me. Tracy was always so bold, so fearless, but that night - she was terrified. She was still shaking and wouldn’t calm down. We begged her to tell us who he was, but she just shut down completely.” “Can you be specific? I know it’s hard,” Jericho added. “But I need to know what happened to Tracy. Was she physical assaulted? Beat up by someone? Raped? What happened to your friend?” “She was raped,” Samara said softly. “She was never the same after that. For the first week, after, she barely said two words. Then, she got angry. She decided to fight back. I begged her to let it go but she wouldn’t.” “And you never learned who her attacker was?” Jericho pressed. “No,” Samara shook her head immediately. “I think she might have told Chaya, or at least said enough that she figured it out. When Chaya moved back here, she was determined to make the man pay. I begged her to let it go. So much time had gone by and all I could think of was how terrified Tracy had been. Chaya didn’t know it, but the day she died, Tracy told me she was going to confront him. She was going to make sure he knew he hadn’t gotten away with it. Then she jumped off that cliff. Chaya insisted it wasn’t suicide… even back then, in high school, when it happened. She was even more adamant when she moved back years later. I told her that was the very reason we should let it go. If the guy had killed Tracy, going after him would be dangerous. I refused to help her and when she continued to push… I got angry. I wouldn’t talk to Chaya and avoided her completely. She died, and I never had the chance to tell her how sorry I was. I don’t know if helping her would have been the right thing to do, or if I would be dead now, too.” Jericho felt for the woman sitting before him but there were several things that needed to be cleared up. “Samara, I know this is difficult. I know it happened a long time ago, but I need you to think about that night.” “Okay,” Samara swallowed hard. “This was mid-to-late May,” Jericho began. “You said you went to the top of the canyon, in a meadow. Is that right?”

70


Lethal Remedy “Oh, I understand,” Samara nodded. “There was still snow way up on top. We didn’t make it all the way to Skyline or anything. We just went to the top of where we could get. The road was still closed and further up there was still snow. But that year was warmer than usual and we thought it would be okay.” “But you guys camped out in the open?” “Some of the kids did,” Samara told him. “The guys kept the bonfire going and some of the kids just gathered around the fire, hoping it would keep them warm. We took a tent and warm sleeping bags. All three of us had been to girl’s camp. We knew how cold it could get at night, even if the days were warm. So, we were prepared for the lower temperatures. Like I said, it was warmer than usual, but I think the party was that first week in May and the nights were still chilly.” “Okay,” Jericho continued. That made more sense. “Now think about the kids, the guys tending the fire, the girls scattered around visiting. Were they all from Manti High?”

“No,” Samara said confidently. “Some were from Gunnison. I didn’t know them all but I think they were from Gunnison. I know for sure they didn’t all go to Manti.” “Okay, good,” Jericho praised. “You’re doing great. Now think about Tracy. You said she went missing. Do you know how long she was gone?” “I don’t,” Samara looked at her hands. “Let’s walk through it,” Jericho suggested. “You three arrive and then what? Do you walk over to the fire together? Did you get separated? How did you and Chaya end up with the Baker twins?” “We got out of the car and started toward the fire,” Samara said slowly. “We were halfway across the meadow when Janice Peters marched over and blocked our path.” “Janice Peters? Is that Janice Owen now?” “Yes,” Samara nodded. “She was upset at Chaya and Tracy. Something about flirting with the football players at the last practice.”

“Okay,” Daniel Owen was a football player, sounded like typical high school jealousy. Jericho had heard somewhere they were an item in high school.

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Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “Tracy finally had enough and she pushed Janice away,” Samara said slowly. Obviously remembering that night well. “Chaya shook her head at Janice, kind of like she was pathetic and sad. Janice stomped away and we walked in the opposite direction. We were wandering around, looking for Tracy when the Baker brothers approached us. They handed us a couple drinks and we joined them by the fire. Like I said, I don’t know how long we sat there before we noticed Tracy wasn’t there. I remember glancing around, at first… you know, right when we sat down. Tracy was talking to someone…” “Think, Samara,” Jericho prodded. “Who was Tracy talking to?” “It was a guy, a football player I think,” she sighed. “Why do you think it was a football player?” “I’m not sure,” Samara considered. “He was taller than Tracy, bigger, you know? His shoulders were big, but I didn’t know him. I think he might have played for Gunnison. Gone to Gunnison. Then a bunch of our guys, our football team, walked up and the group hung out for a while. The first guy, the one I didn’t know left I think. Yeah, I’m pretty sure he walked off and left Tracy with a bunch of guys from our team. That was the last time I saw her. Jake gave me another drink, it was strong… some kind of juicy thing and I lost track of time after that. We were just laughing and joking with the guys until it got late.” “Okay,” Jericho nodded. “Last question. Do you remember any of the guys from your team that was there when the guy from Gunnison left? Who was still taking to Tracy?” Samara frowned, then her eyes grew wide. “It was one of them, wasn’t it?” “Why do you say that?” “Because I always thought it was an athlete,” Samara considered. “I can’t remember if Tracy said that or if Chaya did, but I always believed it was an athlete that attacked Tracy. Someone strong, strong enough to hold her down and strong enough to scare her into keeping quiet.” “Strong or influential?” Jericho asked.

“Maybe both,” Samara said slowly. “I remember Tim Akron was there. And Benny, uh… Benny Sutton. Benny always hung with Brad Timpson but I can’t say for sure about him. There were at least three others, I know there were at least six or seven of them. It was hard to see that far away and it was night time. It was just getting dark when we arrived and this was thirty minutes or so later.” 72


Lethal Remedy “What time did you arrive?” “I’d say just before nine.” “I think that’s all I need,” Jericho stood. “I really appreciate your cooperation on this. I know it must have been difficult and I’m sorry your friend had to go through that. If I have any further questions, can I stop by?” “I guess that’s okay,” Samara also stood. “But I don’t think I can help any more than I already have. That’s all I remember. It was so long ago and Tracy didn’t want to talk about it.” “Well,” Jericho reached the front door. “Like I said, thank you for your assistance I really do appreciate it. You have a good day.” Jericho was still going over his conversation with Samara when he rang Paige’s doorbell. It took longer than expected for her to open the door. When she did, she was holding a phone to her ear.

Paige motioned for Jericho to come in. “Gage, discussion over. I’m heading to the clinic right now. Wait for me. You know if you leave, I’ll just track you down.” She paused and shook her head. “See you in five.” “Why is Gage at the clinic?” Jericho asked immediately. “It’s his day off.” “High school kid,” Paige slid her holster through her belt and buckled the latch as she talked. “Gage was conducting one of his spring clinics, kid went down. Apparently, the doctor thinks he had a heart attack. Gage is a little freaked. You know how careful he is with those kids and he feels responsible.” “Let’s go,” Jericho headed for the door. “I’ll drive. We can go to the factory when we’re done if there’s still time.” “And you can tell me how things went with Samara Vega,” Paige called out before climbing into the Sheriff’s vehicle. Jericho climbed behind the wheel and pulled onto the highway. “I can give you the short version now.” “Even better.”

73


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “Tracy Douglas was raped at a drunken teen party up the canyon in early May. Samara doesn’t know who the suspect was, Tracy wouldn’t say. But the guy scared her. Could have been an athlete of some kind, which makes sense if that ring has anything to do with the incident.” “Right,” Paige considered. “Because that was an athletic ring, one the basketball players or the football guys earned at the end of their first year.” “How did you know that?” “I did graduate from Manti High, sheriff.” “Right,” he pulled into the closest stall and headed for the main clinic doors. Gage was sitting in a large chair that looked small compared to his huge frame. The guy was big but all muscle. “Tell me what happened,” Jericho took the seat next to his man. “I don’t know,” Gage began. “We were running a new play. It was tough because it was new so I told the kids to take ten. I wanted them to rest before we tried again. Joey talked back, said I was babying them and it was going to hurt their chances. You know, to get picked up by a good college. He wanted to run the play again. I told him we were taking a ten-minute break and he could either sit the bench now, or he could sit there the entire first game next week.” “How’d he react?” Paige asked. “Mouthed off a bit, but he sat,” Gage told them. “Next thing I know he’s on the ground clutching his chest. He was lucky, Marv was there and knew what to do until the medics arrived and brought him here. The doc says it was a heart attack brought on by exertion. He thinks this is my fault, that I pushed him too hard.” “How would he know that?” Paige stood. “He wouldn’t, Gage. Ignore that doctor, I’m going to get answers.” She moved to the desk and demanded the woman call the doctor treating the high school kid. “I’m sorry, but he’s busy at the moment,” the middle-aged woman said sternly. Paige set her badge on the top of the counter. “I need to speak to the doctor treating the kid,” she repeated. “Now.” 74


Lethal Remedy The woman stood, letting out a loud “humph,” as she disappeared through the back door that led to the emergency room. Within minutes she returned with a man wearing a white coat and a stethoscope. “I’m a busy man, deputy,” he said as he approached. “I already explained the situation to the coach over there. The one Sheriff Walter’s is speaking to. I don’t have time for this.” “Make time,” Paige said flatly. “What is the boy’s condition?” “I’m afraid that’s confidential.” “But you are certain he suffered a heart attack?” “Yes,” the doctor said, a little too condescending for Paige’s liking. “That was easy to ascertain. As I told the coach, Joey Thatcher suffered a heart attack brought on by extreme exertion.” “And what procedure did you run to determine that?” Paige demanded.

“What?” the doctor blinked, then blinked again. Clearly, he wasn’t used to explaining himself. “What did you do to conclude it was caused by exertion?” Paige repeated. “Couldn’t have been a tox screen because you wouldn’t have the results back yet. I’m not a doctor, you said you are. What did you do to determine his medical condition was a result of football practice?” “Deputy…” “Carter,” Paige provided. “Deputy Carter,” he sighed loudly. “I am the medical professional here. It’s obvious to me the boys were pushed beyond their limits and Joey suffered severely for that man’s overzealous need to win at any cost.” “Were you there?”

“Was I where?” “Were you at the practice?” Paige questioned. “Did you witness the boys being pushed? Did you see them exhausted… pushed beyond their limits?” “Of course not,” he huffed. “You know very well I was here when that boy arrived.” 75


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “When will the toxicology results come back?” Paige pressed. “I’m not conducting a blood screening at this time,” the doctor straightened, clearly preparing for a challenge. “That kid was transported by ambulance, escorted by an officer to this facility. This is now a police matter and we need a blood draw, immediately,” Paige ordered. “I won’t authorize that,” the doctor told her. “Why?” Paige asked. “You got something to hide, doc?” “Please leave this area,” he turned and took two steps toward the door. “I’ll be back,” Paige warned before she too turned and headed for the exterior door. She paused and turned to Jericho. “Boss? I need your keys.” Jericho approached. “What’s going on?”

“I saw Timothy Potter outside with that Jared kid,” Paige shrugged. “I’m going to interview them, ask them about the level of activity the team engaged in before this happened. Then, I’m going to take their statements to Judge Potter, use them as probable cause to get a warrant to draw blood from Joey. Then I’m coming back here with Heidi to retrieve the blood myself and send it to the lab of my choice for testing.” “And you are going to do all of that because?” “Because that doctor is hiding something and I’m going to find out what.” She snatched up his keys and walked out the door.

***** Judge Steven Potter read through the warrant application, pausing to read his grandson’s statement twice before he set it on the table and looked up at Paige. “Clever, I’ll give you that.”

“I’m sorry to bother you at home, sir,” Paige said respectfully. “But this couldn’t wait.” “What are you after here?” Potter asked.

76


Lethal Remedy “I’m not sure,” Paige admitted. “But Gage was adamant he didn’t work them too hard and the other kids corroborate his story. I need to know if there is something dangerous the kids need to look out for.” “As in drugs?” “As in drugs,” Paige admitted. “But as you recall, this is the first year they’ve practiced out there in the spring. Normally this is their down time. Gage was the one that decided to hold this spring training session. He’s working the kids the way the pros do. That means they’re out on the field during a time when the field is being fertilized, I also know Todd uses some kind of insecticide to kill the bugs and the weeds. What if something like that was responsible? How many kids have to get hurt before we look into it?” “I’m giving you the warrant,” Potter signed the paperwork. “It’s a bit of a stretch but I’m giving it to you because we do need to know. And because I know, even though their parents would deny it, that those kids play around with steroids to bulk up for the scouts. Those energy drinks are nearly as dangerous if you ask me. That much caffeine can’t be good for a kid that age. Draw your blood but keep me posted. I know that’s probably not an appropriate request, but Tim’s on the team and I need to know what we’re dealing with.” “You have my word,” Paige left the judges home and made her way back to the clinic. She was going to enjoy serving this one on the good doctor. She reached for the radio and called for Heidi. Their own technician, who was also a phlebotomist, would handle the draw. Paige wanted to keep things in-house. Well, except for the sample she planned to send to the Bureau.

***** It was nearly an hour later when Jericho and Paige climbed into his department vehicle and pulled away from the clinic. As Paige expected, the doctor was not happy about the warrant. He pushed back a little, but knew he didn’t have standing against a court order. Heidi drew two samples of blood. She was on her way to the lab to oversee the testing herself and to package the second sample as Paige had requested. “I know you think that doctor is involved,” Jericho finally said. “But I talked to Nell and she thinks he’s got something against blood draws. Any draws, not just this kid. Said it seemed personal.” 77


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “Maybe,” Paige shrugged. “But it doesn’t matter. I needed the blood and he stood in my way. Now he’s on the list. Could be nothing, could be he’s hiding something. I’ll figure it out. I didn’t know him, did you?” “No,” Jericho took a right turn. “I asked Nell about that as well. Apparently, he’s new. Only been in town two weeks. Nobody knows him that well, but the feeling around the clinic is positive. He seems competent enough.” Jericho left the main road and entered a long driveway. The road had once been smooth, paved in asphalt and probably well-traveled. Now, it was mostly dirt with about a million potholes and chunks of black, sloughed-off asphalt scattered about. Jericho was dodging and swerving the best he could but every few seconds he hit a large obstacle and the tires bounced over the damaged section or fell into a large hole. Paige was grateful when he finally came to a stop in front of the ancient building. She forced herself to take a deep breath, emotions were starting to surface that she needed to avoid. She glanced at her boss and realized he was having an even harder time. That was understandable, he was the one that found the woman he loved inside this structure, shot and left dead in a puddle of her own blood. Paige pushed that image out of her mind and shoved open the door. “If you want to hang out here, I can go in alone. Take a look around and see if I can find anything obvious.” Jericho sighed, pulled the handle and slowly slid from the car. “We do this together.” “I know this is hard,” Paige pushed. “You could hang out in the parking lot, stand guard or something.” Jericho grinned at that. “We’re not burglarizing the place. Let’s get this over with.” The building was well built and would have been a hub of activity in its day. Paige glanced around, wondering what she was looking for. Several forklifts had been parked haphazardly to the side of the large room they were currently standing in. The place was dirty and smelled like dust. Paige figured at one time it had been a professional looking business but years of neglect had taken a toll on the massive structure. The walls were falling off the framing in several places, probably due to vandalism. Old shelves had been toppled and were lying in pieces on the floor. “Any idea where we should start?” “Let’s head to the far end of the building and work our way backwards.”

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Lethal Remedy “Sounds like a plan,” Paige followed the sheriff down a long hallway and into what appeared to be an office area. They search the section thoroughly then moved to the next room and did the same. After nearly two hours, the duo decided to call it a night. “Why don’t you pick me up at eight tomorrow morning and we’ll get an early start.” Paige began before nearly colliding with Jericho’s back. She side-stepped and studied the ground. The object of her boss’ current focus. Within seconds, she realized this was the spot. She was standing over the place her mother had died. There was still a large rust colored stain on the concrete but the area surrounding the stain was clear of any debris. It struck Paige immediately, nobody has been here since mom died. She took a minute to walk around, focused on the work, forcing her mind to ignore the emotions. After several minutes, she decided there was nothing here, no evidence left forgotten, waiting for the daughter to find the one clue that would bring closure after all this time. She shook her head and moved to stand beside Jericho. Thinking she’d find something that everyone else had missed was stupid and arrogant.

Jericho couldn’t move, he couldn’t look away. Memories flooded his mind and he froze in place. This was the reason he hadn’t come back here. He knew the instant he did, he’d be drawn to this spot, he’d see that night all over again, envision Chaya’s tiny body crumpled among the dirt and blood… so much blood. He barely noticed when Paige slid her arm through his and guided him toward the door. It was only when he exited the building, when the cool night air hit his pale face, that he started to recover. That’s when it hit him, something he hadn’t thought of before. “How did he know she was here?” “What?” Paige turned, Jericho looked a little better now. The color was finally returning and he didn’t look like a ghost. “How did the killer know Chaya was here?” Paige frowned. She had gotten the impression her mother’s trip to this factory was spontaneous. A last ditch effort to provide closure for her friend. Chaya Carter wanted to move forward, to stop keeping secrets from the man she loved and to do that, she had to try to fulfill Tracy’s last request. Chaya had to drive out and look for whatever her friend had left in the abandoned building. “Maybe he was watching her, like he’s watching me.” “I guess that’s possible,” Jericho surveyed the area. “Or, it could have been a crime of opportunity. Chaya’s little red sports car was distinctive. If he lived in the area, one of those houses up there, he may have spotted her here and wondered over to investigate.” 79


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 Paige shook her head. “I’m not buying it. This was premeditated, at least bringing the gun to the factory was planned. He could have spotted her, grabbed his gun thinking he could scare her… the way he scared Tracy at first. Brought the gun to heighten the threat. But at some point, he decided to use the weapon to murder an innocent, helpless woman. I won’t apply some kind of panic defense to his actions. Once we charge him, I have no doubt his lawyer will do that for him.” “I agree,” Jericho climbed into the car. “And I wasn’t making excuses. I just took a look around and it hit me. The call Chaya made to my house was spontaneous. I could tell.” “Wait,” Paige closed the door and turned to face Jericho. “What call?” “It’s how I knew she was here,” Jericho admitted. “How I found her so quickly. Although by the time I got here, she had been dead for several hours.” “Mom called to tell you where she had gone?”

“She called and said she was sorry for keeping secrets,” Jericho said softly, the last call from Chaya echoed in his mind. “She said there was just one last thing she needed to do, then it was over. She’d put the past behind her and we could move forward. It was almost an afterthought, just before she clicked off. She said she thought it was safe but if anything happened to her, she was at the old Tillman Factory. I didn’t get the call until hours later. She knew I wouldn’t. I believe she did that on purpose. She left the message on my home machine, knowing I had to work that night and couldn’t interfere. The instant I heard it, I jumped in my car and rushed to your house. Her car wasn’t in the drive and I knew, something horrible had happened at the factory. My heart dropped the instant I pulled into that lot and spotted her car.” “It wasn’t your fault,” Paige recognized the guilt. “Mom called you at home on purpose. She didn’t want you to interrupt her mission.” “I think we should look into each of those houses,” Jericho tried to change the subject, once again studying the horizon. The parking lot was located in a sort of valley surrounded by rolling hills. Each hill contained a home. “I know the people who own them now, but we need to look back. See who owned each house the night your mother died. My gut is telling me this might be important.” “Okay,” Paige pulled out her seatbelt. “I make it a rule to always follow my gut.”

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Lethal Remedy Jericho pulled into Paige’s driveway and waited for her to climb from the vehicle and enter her house before he backed onto the highway. It was going to be a long, difficult night but he was determined to get through it without alcohol. He’d been down that road before… he would not return. Anyway, he’d already learned nothing could dull the pain. Paige stepped through the front door and sighed. Time to call Nathan. She pulled out her cell phone and hit send. It only took two rings to hear his voice. “It’s late,” Nathan answered. “Is everything alright?” Paige proceeded to explain the situation, asked for a favor running the second sample of blood and filled him in on the night’s activities. “I’m worried this mission of yours is dangerous and will only end in heartbreak,” Nathan said sympathetically. “I guess at least you have that sheriff working beside you. That eases my worry some, especially with Dax out of town again. Just promise me you will be careful.” “So you trust Jericho now?” Paige asked. “What changed?” “I didn’t know your mother,” Nathan said in answer. “But Dylan was a very good friend. I can only imagine the pain your sheriff endured when the woman he loved was murdered that way, in his town, while he was on duty. The death of someone you care about is a great motivator. That became obvious when your father died. He’ll protect you. There’s no doubt in my mind Jericho Walters will do the right thing. That alone has changed my mind about the man.” Paige frowned. “So, is that why we’re close? Because of dad?” “We’re close,” Nathan told her. “Because I love you, kid. We met because of Dylan. Be careful. I don’t like the situation out there and it’s worse because I’m stuck here in Washington. Just watch your back. If you’re getting closer to the truth, the man harassing you might start to get desperate.” “I wish you would stop worrying so much,” Paige dropped onto her bed. “I’m being careful and there are enough people watching out for me a paid assassin couldn’t get through.” “Not funny,” Nathan scowled.

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Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “You sound busy and I’m beat,” Paige said in answer. “I’ll call you tomorrow, make sure the lab received the sample and they’re willing to take a look. I’m betting some kind of steroid, make sure they test it for everything. Something is off about this case, I can feel it.” “Talk to you tomorrow, kid.”

***** Paige was just about to climb into bed when a thought struck her. She picked up her phone and dialed Walters. “Did you forget something?” “I need to do something, first thing. Can we make it ten instead of eight?” Paige asked. “Why?” Jericho asked immediately. “Unless it’s too personal.” “I need to pay a friend a visit… a friend of Gage,” Paige told him. “I think Gallager can help him get past this. You know, team spirit and all that.” “I’ll be there at ten,” Jericho agreed before he clicked off.

***** Paige was tired, dirty and frustrated. She’d spent the entire day scouring the abandoned factory for clues but hadn’t found a single one. They still had at least another day, maybe two, worth of searching but she was beginning to get discouraged. What if they never found that mysterious clue Tracy had left? Did they actually need it? Maybe tracking homeowners would help… and maybe not. She decided to run a hot bath and soak a while before bed. *****

Daniel stepped into the dark, musty building and flashed his light around the vacant space. What had the sheriff and Paige Carter been looking for out here? It was bad enough Chaya’s daughter was looking into her mother’s murder. Had she talked her boss into helping? His heart began to race and panic threatened to immobilize him. He moved forward, 82


Lethal Remedy made his way down the long hallway and stopped next to the spot where the nosy woman had died. He knew he should feel guilty about her death. He should probably feel guilty about killing Tracy, too. But he didn’t. He hadn’t done it for fun or out of curiosity. He’d done it out of necessity and he would never regret that. But with two police officers looking into the matter he had to be sure. Needed to know there was nothing to find, no evidence that would track back to him. As he walked from room to room, he let himself remember. He had wanted Tracy Douglas the instant he saw her. She was beautiful, strong willed and so independent. Nothing like the girls his mom insisted he date, the young women that would grow up to be proper ladies. No, Tracy would never have the approval of his mother, but he had to have her anyway. He’d gotten his chance that night at the party. It should have been perfect, all of them drinking and having a good time. She should have felt honored he wanted her. Instead, she said no. How dare a girl like that say no? To him? Well, he’d shown her, hadn’t he? He took what he wanted but afterwards, he realized she might be a problem.

He’d threatened her with the first thing that had come to mind, her father’s job. She would never risk him getting fired… or at least that’s what he believed at the time. But nearly a week later, she’d taunted him. Threatened him… him. He couldn’t allow it, couldn’t let her get away with thinking she had the upper hand. That’s why he agreed to meet her, but he picked the place. He’d insisted on it. She may have been strong-willed, but she was naïve. It was so easy to maneuver her next to the cliff and give her a little shove. That should have been the end of all this. He thought it had been until that night. The night Chaya Carter drove out to this factory. He spotted her car immediately, grabbed the gun and came down to see what she was doing. He knew she was looking into Tracy’s death, knew she didn’t believe her friend committed suicide but he’d been sure there was no proof. That nobody would listen if she cried foul. Now he wasn’t sure. Chaya Carter claimed to have evidence, something that would prove he killed Tracy. She had mocked him, threatened him and in his anger and frustration, he had shot her. He knew she was dead, almost immediately but that hadn’t been enough. In his rage, he had emptied his entire magazine into her lifeless body. He kept shooting until the slide locked back and he couldn’t fire anymore. Nobody was supposed to find her out there. She should have wasted away, been devoured by wildlife, remained a missing person forever. But she had been located that night, and he hadn’t had time to cover his tracks. He just hoped there wasn’t any tracks to cover. Not with the nosy woman’s pesky daughter sniffing around. Especially since she brought in the sheriff. He spent nearly an hour searching the place before deciding it was safe. There was nothing in this building to find. 83


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 ***** Paige stepped into the building and approached Margie’s desk. “Did Jericho tell you I was bringing these in?” “He did,” Margie looked up, then casually slid open a desk drawer. “Just slide them in there and I’ll take care of it.” “Thanks,” Paige turned and spotted Gage. Her friend was still not himself. She approached his desk and took a seat in his single visitor’s chair. “I heard you’re thinking about canceling spring training.” “You should have stayed out of this, Paige,” Gage glanced at her then looked out the window. “Mark didn’t need to get involved.” “Sounded to me like he wanted to get involved even before the incident,” she countered. “How come you didn’t bring him in to begin with?”

“Sissy didn’t want him to go back,” Gage shifted and focused on Paige. “They moved here to get away from the life. She didn’t want him back in so soon.” “But coaching is a lot different from playing,” Paige argued. “She has to know that.” “I guess she does,” Gage gave in. “And Mark is going to help with the training. In fact, he’s going to take over as head coach. I’m stepping back, I’ll assist as I can but the job keeps me pretty busy.” Paige frowned. “Is that what you really want? I know you love helping those kids.” “It’s what I want,” Gage stood. “Hey,” Paige also stood. “Don’t do that. I’m only trying to help. I only want what’s best for you.” “I know,” Gage sighed. “And no, we’re not canceling spring training. We have practice tomorrow afternoon. I’m told it’s the talk of the town. It’s the first time Mark Gallagher and Gage Clayton have played together in years.” “But you’re going to let Mark take lead?” “I think it's best,” Gage said and shrugged. “We’ll make a good team and this way I can focus more on defense and he can work on offense.” 84


Lethal Remedy “Maybe I’ll come by,” Paige headed for her desk. “See if you really are as good as everyone says you are.” “Yeah,” Gage grinned. “Like you don’t already know.”

***** Paige was sitting on the bleachers the following day, enjoying the workout when another kid collapsed. She was off the bench and on the field within seconds. Keith Cotton was having a hard time breathing. She had just finished ordering a medic when Marv, the team doctor dropped to her side and began working on Keith. Paige moved out of his way and headed for the parking lot to wait for the ambulance. “What happened?” Gage demanded. “I was on the other side of the field and didn’t realize there was a problem.”

“Oh,” Paige said sarcastically. “So, Keith collapsing on the field wasn’t your fault?” “Not the time, Paige,” Gage grumbled. “I told you something was wrong here,” Paige continued. “That kid was not extending himself. He was just standing there, waiting for Mark to call the next play when he went down. You watch for the transport, I need to make a call.” Paige moved away from her friend and dialed Nathan Porter. “I just got the results,” Porter said in answer. “Literally seconds ago.” “Another kid went down, just seconds ago,” Paige said in answer. “What did they find?” “There were chemicals in the kid’s system,” Nathan said scanning the report. “They believe he was on some kind of steroid, performance-enhancing mixture. The tech that dropped it off said they’d never seen this particular drug before and the heightened levels of amphetamines combined with the human-growth-hormone probably caused the heart attack. They are going to try to isolate each component and break it down, figure out the formula which will apparently help them track the manufacturer.” “Thanks, Nathan,” Paige sighed. “These kids have talent, why would they inject something into their system that might cause permanent damage and ruin their chance of a lucrative career?” 85


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “Because they want that lucrative career,” Nathan provided. “And the competition is stiff. I’ll let you know when I have more and in the meantime, I’ll email over these results.” Gage stepped up next to Paige. “Did you find anything?” “Yeah,” Paige turned to look at her friend. “Those boys are using steroids. Something new, apparently. Some kind of performance-enhancing mixture that is making them sick.” Gage frowned. “I need to talk to Mark about this. I didn’t even suspect doping. We need to figure out a plan to stop it before someone dies.” He turned and walked away.

***** “I thought you were going to handle things out there,” an angry voice said through the phone. “I just learned the FBI’s lab has a sample of my product and they are analyzing it to determine the manufacturer.” “I told you before,” Doctor Warner sighed. “I don’t work for you. I did what I could to stop the investigation out here, but the cop got a warrant. It was out of my hands.” “How did the information end up in the hands of the Feds?” he demanded. “That is the last thing I needed right now. My backers are getting nervous and several more players have had… unfortunate reactions.” “I told you to decrease the amphetamine,” Warner warned. “You didn’t listen. I’ve done all I can do for you. I have a good job, a new start and I will not risk that just so you can get rich doping kids.” “You wouldn’t want those nice people out there in Utah to learn how you paid off med school would you?” “I’ve kept up my end of the deal,” Warner backed down. “There’s no reason for you to back out of the deal now.” “Find out why the feds are involved and see what you can do to prevent this.” “I’ll see what I can find out, but as far as contacts at the Bureau, that’s your area of expertise. I don’t know a soul at that level and you know it,” Warner reminded the annoying, greedy businessman on the other end of the line. 86


Lethal Remedy “I’m already working on that,” the man said. “But I need to know who ordered it. So far, my people can’t get answers. Until I know why it was requested, I won’t know how to stop it.” Warner stepped from the private office and made his way to the emergency room. He had patients to see. He stopped abruptly when he spotted Deputy Carter. She was behind this mess, he was sure of it. And if he could just keep a lid on things for another week, the statute of limitations would expire on that little matter of fraud he engaged in years ago. Once he was in the clear on that, he could come clean about the drugs. “Doctor,” Paige said coolly. “Hello, Deputy Carter.” “I guess you know by now that another kid has collapsed.” Warner frowned. He hadn’t known. “Has he been seen?” If he could get to the kid soon enough, there might be hope. If he hadn’t had a full-blown attack, the effects of the steroid might not be permanent. “I think they are waiting for you,” Paige narrowed her eyes at the doctor. He was acting rather suspicious today… same as the last time she met him. “Then I better get to it,” Warner moved past her. “My patient needs me.” “Just thought you should now,” Paige called after him. “Joey had drugs in his system. But you would know that if you’d agreed to the tox screen like I asked. I’m guessing Keith in there has the same drug in his. Are you going to make me get another warrant?” “I suggest you speak to his parents,” Warner said before pushing his way through the door. Paige pulled out her phone and dialed Judge Potter. Once she explained the situation to him, she agreed to wait before taking any action until he called back. Apparently, the good judge was friends with Keith’s father… golfing buddies or something. She paced the waiting area, impatiently waiting for word to come back. Rather than a call from the Judge, Paige came face to face with Kevin and Susan Cotton.

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Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “Steven explained the situation,” Kevin said before Paige had a chance to speak. “I agree, we need to know if he’s been taking steroids. I don’t want to believe it but lately, he’s been acting a little strange. We blew it off, thought he was just stressed over tryouts. If he bought drugs from someone, I need to know. And believe me, he’ll tell you where he got them.” “Thank you,” Paige put a hand on Susan’s arm. The woman was obviously near tears. “I was there when it happened. Keith was in pain and obviously in distress but I don’t think it was a heart attack. Marv got there immediately and the transport was quick. The doctor is with him now. I’m not a medical professional, but I honestly don’t think he had a heart attack like Joey.” “Thank you for that,” Susan whispered. “I’m just so worried. Do you think they’ll let us go back?” “Let me check,” Paige moved forward and spoke to Nell for several seconds before waving a hand at the Cottons. The instant they were in front of the counter, Nell led them into the back to be with their son. She was surprised when Jericho settled into the chair next to her. “I’m told you handled that well,” he said as he shifted, then settled. “Like a real professional. Maybe there’s hope for you yet.” Paige grinned. “What brings you here?” “I was looking for you,” he admitted. “Went by the high school and Marv told me what happened. I assume Gage is around here somewhere.” “No,” Paige shook her head. “I told him I’d handle it. He’s with Gallagher, trying to come up with a strategy to make sure none of the other kids experiment with that poison.” “After two medical situations on the field, I suspect they’ll think long and hard before diving in,” Jericho told her. “I hope so,” Paige turned. “Why were you looking for me?”

“Have you been back to the factory?” he asked. “Did you go back out there alone?” “No, why?” “Because someone has been there... after we left.” “How do you know?” Paige was sure there wasn’t an alarm on the building. 88


Lethal Remedy “The dust on the floor has been disturbed,” Jericho told her. “Whoever went out there must have realized they left prints because they left scuff marks, not prints. We can’t track them. Can’t even tell the size.” “And you thought I’d do that?” Paige asked, offended. She had no reason to hide her tracks that way. “No,” Jericho told her. “That’s why I came looking for you. I think we are making someone mighty jumpy.” “Can we use that somehow?” Paige considered. “Maybe put a hidden camera in the factory and see if anyone goes back.” “We could try, but I doubt they are going to return,” Jericho decided. “I walked through the building, seems they made their way through the entire place. If they were after something, they either found it or gave up.”

“Or he knew we had been there and wanted to know why.” “Could be,” Jericho shifted in the uncomfortable chair again. “Margie left that file in your desk drawer and I’ve locked the copies up with my originals.” “What did she do with the ring?” Paige asked. “We booked both the ring and the cuff link into evidence,” Jericho advised. “I thought it was the best place to secure them just in case. Margie cataloged them and they’re out of sight but safe.” “Good,” Paige stood. “I need to see if there’s an update, call Gage and then I’m headed home. When do you want to head back out? Finish the search at the factory?” Paige stopped abruptly and frowned. “Why did you go out there? Alone?” Jericho stood. “I needed to. Needed to see if I could get some kind of closure.” “Did it work?”

“Not really,” Jericho sighed. “I saw the tracks and shifted back into cop mode. I’ll get there, eventually. It’s just going to take time.” “I agree,” Paige shrugged. “And catching the SOB responsible might expedite the timeline.” “It might,” Jericho said before he walked out the door.

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Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 ***** It was Monday, a full week since Keith had his episode. His parents were still trying to get a name from him. So far, he wasn’t talking. He was willing to take whatever punishment he had earned, but he wouldn’t be a rat. His words. Paige knew even if she charged him with possession, it wouldn’t stick. The drug was new and steroids were technically legal. She would just have to be patient and hope Kevin and Susan got through to him. In the meantime, Gage and Mark had called an emergency meeting with the parents and the players. They implemented a new rule. Anyone who wanted to participate in the spring training program would have to agree to random drug testing. The players immediately agreed, realizing it was a rare opportunity to be coached by two retired pros. The parents voluntarily signed a waiver giving permission for the testing wanting to give their kid the best chance at success. Since then, they hadn’t had a single incident. Paige pulled into her driveway and shut down her vehicle. She hadn’t had a day off since the last time she searched the factory with Jericho. Things were always busy in the summer and the past week was no exception. As she made her way to the front porch, thinking how nice a day off sounded, she spotted Dax. He was standing near the steps and she could see his frown from a mile away. “What?” “You need to call this in.” Paige glanced at the door and bit her tongue in anger as she dialed Jericho. “I think we spooked him.” “What happened?” “Someone broke in,” Paige admitted. “And this time, he didn’t try to hide it. I’m going to take a look around and see if there’s a need to call in Heidi.” “I’m on my way.”

“You don’t…” Paige didn’t finish that sentence because Jericho had already disconnected. “What do you mean you have him spooked?” Dax demanded. “And why do you always insist on poking the bear while I’m out of town?”

90


Lethal Remedy “I haven’t poked any bears,” Paige stepped through the door and frowned. Her house was a mess. Clearly, her intruder was looking for something. Most likely the files. Too bad they were still at the office, tucked away inside Paige’s locked desk. Just dumb luck, actually. She planned to bring them back home days ago. Every night she got a lengthy call and headed straight home, too tired to drive back to the office and retrieve them. Paige stepped over slashed cushions and broken lamps and swore. The stuff wasn’t worth much, but it was hers and it was going to be expensive to replace. “Anything missing?” Jericho asked as he glanced around the room. This looked like anger… frustration. Their mysterious stalker was upset about something. Jericho was pretty sure he knew what. “What did you do with the files?” “They’re still at the office,” Paige said over her shoulder as she made her way to the office. “I kept meaning to bring them back home, but it’s been busy.” “Good,” Jericho said relieved. “We have copies but I’d rather he not know what we know. Gives us an edge.” “I agree,” Paige shoved a bookcase out of the way as she made her way to the desk. She grabbed the legs from the upside-down desk chair and set it in the upright position before dropping in with a sigh. “I’m thinking someone is pissed.” “I’m thinking that’s an understatement,” Dax leaned against the doorjamb. “What have you two been doing while I was away?” “Investigating,” Paige and Jericho said at once. “Well,” Dax considered. “I’d say you’re getting close.” “We’ve been searching the Tillman Factory for clues,” Paige told him. “Looking for whatever Tracy left for your mom,” Dax nodded. “Makes sense. You think he saw you? Maybe he’s worried what you found.” “I think he knows,” Jericho picked up a wooden chair and settled in. “We know he’s been there, looked around some. We planned to head back tomorrow. It’s the first day we’ve had off in a week.” “Want help?” Dax asked.

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Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3

Jericho considered. “Sure, but that might make you a target as well.” “After living next to Paige, chasing ghosts from the shadows for months, I guarantee I’m already a target. Let’s see if we can end this once and for all. If there’s a clue, we’ll find it.” He took another long look around the room. “You want to crash at my place? Zeus stayed with Ken so it’s just me.” “Yes,” Jericho answered. “She does. I’ll be by in the morning to pick you up. Do what you can to lock up here and I’ll send Gage and Heidi over in the morning to see what they can find.” Paige frowned. “With all that rage, there could be DNA.” “And it will still be there in the morning,” Jericho stood. “Now, I’m heading home. Lock up, that’s an order. I don’t want you messing with my crime scene.” He turned to look at Dax. “I’ll be at your house at nine.” “Yeah, I know,” Dax said when Jericho left. “Sucks to take orders but he’s right. Let’s get some sleep. We have a factory to search.” Paige reluctantly followed Dax out the door. Once they reached the kitchen, he turned and pulled her against him. “I’ve missed you,” after a long, passionate kiss he took a step back. “You go up and pack a few things, I’ll scrounge up a few two-by-fours to secure the door.” Paige watched as Dax disappeared out the back door. She wanted to be mad at both Dax and her boss but deep down she knew they were right. She just hated taking orders from anyone, especially her sexy, dominating neighbor. With a sigh, she turned and headed up the stairs to pack. Letting her stubborn streak show wouldn’t do any good if there was nobody in the room to see it.

*****

Paige was on the dirty, grimy floor reaching for a metal object when her phone rang. She reached into her pocket, started to straighten and knocked her head on the side of a forklift. She was cursing under her breath as she answered the call.

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Lethal Remedy “Bad timing?” Nathan asked. “No,” Paige rubbed the side of her head. “What’s up?” “The lab tech got back to me,” Nathan sobered. “They know what the drug is and who is making it. Apparently, a kid died two days ago in Colorado. Denver. Autopsy showed he had the same concoction in his system.” “Is he well-known? And how did he get the drugs to Manti? I mean Denver, sure. That’s a big city but Manti is small, it’s a risk.” Instead of providing answers, this call just posed more questions. “The manufacturer’s a chemist,” Nathan provided. “Boyd Eastman. Used to live in San Diego. Got fired from his last job about nine months ago. We figure he’s been working on the formula for over a year. He’s pushing it to athletes as some wonder drug. Promises it will beef them up in time for the fall when the scouts are out recruiting.”

“Makes sense,” Paige still didn’t understand how he got his product to Manti. “There’s one more thing,” Nathan continued. “That doctor, Warner. He used to live in San Diego. Left the job just over a year ago. Disappeared completely. I mean he was totally off the grid until he surfaced in your little town out there in Utah. I’d say it might be worth a conversation.” “I agree,” Paige frowned. She knew there was something off about that guy. “Any problems? By that, I mean with his license or rumors of anything fishy before he disappeared?” “Not that we can find,” Nathan admitted. “Strange really, seems everyone loved him at the hospital. Claimed he was a standup guy and a great doctor.” “There had to be something,” Paige disagreed. “Bigwig out of California doesn’t just up and disappear then end up in Utah. I’ll get to the bottom of it. Thanks for your assistance.” “Happy to help,” Nathan said honestly. “And DEA was grateful for the tip. Now, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong,” Paige sighed. “We’re just out here searching the factory again and I might as well tell you, because somehow you always seem to find out on your own, I had another break-in.” Nathan frowned. “How bad?” 93


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “I think I’ve angered someone,” Paige admitted. “The house was a mess, but he didn’t get what he was looking for.” “The files?” Nathan guessed. “I’m told Dax is back. I think you should stay with him for a few days.” Paige rolled her eyes. “Now you sound like Jericho.” “Just another reason I trust that man,” Nathan decided. “But you didn’t agree and I’m not hanging up until I get a commitment.” “I haven’t had an invitation,” Paige countered. “Okay,” Nathan said slowly. “But if you do, you promise me you will accept.” “I don’t want you calling Dax and ordering him to invite me to be his guest.” “He doesn’t have to,” Dax said behind her. “You’re already invited.” “There you go,” Nathan said triumphantly. “And I’m glad you brought him in on this.” “Okay,” Paige relented. “I’ll stay for a few days. Happy?” “Ecstatic,” Nathan told her. “Now I have to go but call me tonight, I’m worried about you.” “I know,” Paige said, resigned. “And I’ll call when I get home.” Once she hung up, Dax took her hand. “I think I found something but I need your help.” “What?” Dax led her to a back room that looked like it had once been some kind of locker room or storage area. “I’ll pull this bank of shelves out as far as I can. You see if you can pull that bag out from behind there.” Paige crouched down and studied the area Dax indicated. She glanced up when she heard a noise. Jericho stepped into the room.

“Did you find something?” “Maybe,” Paige wasn’t sure. “I’ll help Dax,” Jericho said moving to stand beside the younger man. “You pry that out of there and we’ll see what we have.” 94


Lethal Remedy The three of them worked for several minutes, Dax and Jericho pulling the unit out as far as they could while Paige tugged at the pack. It looked like a backpack but it was wedged in between the wall and the shelves. Finally, Paige gave the strap a hard tug and the pack dislodged. She tumbled backwards and landed on her behind but at least, the bag was free. “It looks like something a girl might use,” Jericho said, studying the outer design. “I agree,” Paige grinned. “It also looks old… ancient, like something a girl might use back when oh… you were in high school.” Jericho shook his head and smiled. “Let’s head back to your place and see if we found Tracy’s hidden treasure.” “Why not do it here?” Dax asked. “Because we know he’s been here and we know he could be armed. I prefer to do this in private, where we can make sure nobody is watching,” Jericho turned to leave, the others followed. As Jericho pulled out of the parking lot, Paige filled him in on her conversation with Nathan. “I’m going to need to question him. Today if possible.” “You in a hurry?” Jericho asked Dax. “I have some time,” Dax answered. “Mind if we head to the station instead?” “Not at all.” The three of them stepped into the station and made their way to the conference room. Paige carefully unzipped the backpack and dumped the contents onto the large conference table. There was a young girl’s skirt, a gold men’s necklace and a notebook. Paige flipped open the cover and began to skim the pages. “This is definitely Tracy Douglas’ notebook. Look, this appears to be a writing assignment and she’s written her name and 4th period at the top of the page.”

“Do you think that skirt…” Jericho began. “It’s possible,” Paige answered. Dax frowned, completely confused. 95


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “There’s no photo,” Paige said deflated. “Mom’s letter said she was looking for a photo. All that for nothing.” She looked up at Jericho, defeat showing in her eyes. “Look through the book,” Dax suggested. “Maybe she hid it in there.” “There’s nothing. Wait!” she said immediately as she turned another page in the book. “This looks like a letter to my mom.” “Read it out loud,” Jericho insisted. CIf you found this pack that means the Troll has done something awful. I told you to look for a photo because I planned to snap a shot of him before I head up the trail. Proof that I was with him, I guess. Maybe that’s stupid but I’m afraid. He’s late I guess. I’ll take the camera with me, just in case I get the chance later. I wasn’t sure I should meet him out there. I’m scared, but I have to confront him and he won’t meet anywhere but out by the cliffs. By now, I’m sure you know who it was. If not, when you look in my backpack and see the ugly gold chain, you’ll figure it out. I’m sorry. I know I handled this all wrong, but he threatened my father. You know how sick mom is, I couldn’t risk it. If anything happens to me, take this to the police. The skirt was the one I was wearing that night. It has… well, you know. The necklace I ripped off when I was fighting him. It also had that stupid ring on it, the one he brags about, but it must have gotten lost in the woods. Ms. Busybody claimed he was going to engrave it with something romantic but I saw it and he didn’t. Tell Samara none of this was her fault… or yours. I had no idea what he was going to do. He just said he wanted to talk to me about something in private. I was stupid, I know that now. I followed him into the woods willingly. That’s where my part in this ended. Make them believe you. If something happens at the cliffs, don’t let them say I just fell. He did this. I know I said I’m scared already, but I’m totally freaked out. Maybe I shouldn’t go, but I have to. Tell the cops it all happened so fast, I couldn’t even scream before he covered my mouth with his hand. He was pushing so hard, that’s how I got the fat lip. Once he had me pinned to the ground, he tied that ugly scarf around my mouth so all I could do was silently cry… Anyway, I love you guys, whatever happens was fate, I guess. Never look back, you and Samara fly for me. Sweet dreams and reach for the stars. -T 96


Lethal Remedy “That’s why mom said that all the time. She got it from Tracy.” Paige used the palm of her hand to wipe away the tears that had fallen. This was the reason her mother had been killed. Because a stupid jock forced himself onto a young girl, then killed her to keep her silent. Such a senseless chain of events. Whoever this troll was, she was going to find him. She was going to destroy him the way he had destroyed Tracy, her mom… and her. “I’ll package that up and send it to the lab,” Jericho stood. “We have that blood sample from your house. If we’re lucky, the lab will get a match. At least we’ll know for sure we’re dealing with the same man.” Paige had forgotten that. “I’ll take care of it.” “No,” Jericho shook his head. “You have a doctor to question and I think I just heard Gage come in. I want him to go with you.” Dax watched Paige exit the room. He was worried about her. This whole thing was taking a toll. bag.

“She’ll be fine,” Jericho said as he gathered the evidence and secured it in a large plastic

“Will you?” Dax asked casually. “I know it was hard to go back out there, to the factory. What you did, it wasn’t easy and not many men could do it.” “I’m sure you have,” Jericho tried to brush off the compliment. “I’m not most men,” Dax shifted. “I’ve done things most men never dreamed of. Doesn’t mean it was easy and it doesn’t mean I liked it.” Jericho looked up. “No, it wasn’t easy but it was necessary.” “Like I said,” Dax came full circle. “Are you okay?” “I will be when we track this pervert down and lock him up for the rest of his miserable life.” “I get that,” Dax stood to follow Jericho out of the room. “But just know I’ve been there, not the same but… the same, if you get my meaning.” “I get it and I appreciate the gesture.”

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Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 ***** The two deputies stepped into the clinic and walked to the desk. “Not again,” Nell sighed. “We just need to speak to Doctor Warner.” Frank Warner stepped from the secure area and approached the officers. “I assume this is about that steroid case.” “Your assumption is correct,” Paige said flatly. “Is there somewhere we can speak in private? She was in no mood for this and hoped the good physician didn’t try to give them the run-around. “Let’s take this to my office,” Frank told them. Once they had settled into the cozy room, Frank pulled out his phone, scrolled through his photos and handed the phone to Paige. “I believe this is the man you are looking for.” Paige looked at the picture, noticed the date then focused on Warner. “You took this yesterday?” “I did,” Warner admitted. “I can give you the name of the man who developed the drug in the first place but I can’t be sure this is the man dealing to children. I believe it is. I believe, if you question him, you will find he has been living in San Diego and recently relocated. I do not know that man, can’t tell you his name. That picture is the best I can do.” “Why don’t you start at the beginning,” Paige suggested. “You knew, when we brought Joey in, that he was using some kind of steroid. That’s why you refused to do the blood screening.” “I suspected,” Warner sighed. “I got into a little trouble a few years back. A few months after I graduated from med school. Well, a fellow graduate came to a few of us with this amazing deal. I should have known it was too good to be true, but at the time I was desperate, drowning in debt and it seemed like a perfect solution.”

“Was it illegal,” Paige wondered. “I suspect it was,” Warner nodded. “Which is why I got out and kept the details a secret. I’ve been biding my time, waiting for the statute of limitations to run out. I haven’t dared asked if what I did was unethical or illegal.” 98


Lethal Remedy “Why tell us now?” Gage asked. “Because if it was a criminal act, time has run out,” Warner provided. “He can’t ruin my life anymore. I don’t have to live in fear of losing my license.” Paige considered. Everywhere this man worked, the staff and the patients loved him. If the statute had run out, did she really need to know what he’d done? She’d leave that for later. “So this man, someone you knew from San Diego was blackmailing you?” “Yes,” Warner admitted. “He somehow found out what we’d done and he approached me at the hospital. I rebuffed him. He pressed, when I still said no, he threatened me with my past. I ended up quitting my job abruptly. I had hoped he would find someone else to assist with his little enterprise. He didn’t. I spent a few months at my grandparents’ old cabin. It needed upkeep and repair anyway so it was time well spent. But I missed my work. I searched the internet, found a clinic in a small town where I thought nobody would look for me and I applied for the job.”

“But he found you,” Paige surmised. “He did,” Warner lowered his head. “Once again, he came out. He threatened me, said he’d go public with my past and I’d lose my job. He threatened to take it to the medical board, get my license suspended. I knew I had nowhere to go, so I caved.” “Okay,” Paige frowned. “First, who is this guy? I need a name.” “Boyd Eastman,” Warner provided. “He was a chemist I guess. He says we went to college together but I don’t remember him.” “Okay,” Gage wrote down the name. “And when you say you caved, what exactly does that mean?” “I don’t believe I did anything illegal,” Warner said abruptly. “He said he had people to sell his stuff. Said someone would move out here to be close to me. I just had to stall. Make sure nobody connected any… incidents to the steroid.” “Which is why you refused to draw blood,” Paige realized. “And why you insisted it was my fault,” Gage said angrily.

99


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “I’m sorry about that,” Warner said contritely. “It has been my experience small town coaches do push their players too hard. They think because they don’t live in the big cities they have to push harder to get their players noticed. Win more games, get in the spotlight. I just assumed.” “I guess you’re not a fan,” Paige grinned. “Of football?” Warner asked. “No.” “Which is why you didn’t know Gage here was a pro linebacker,” Paige provided. “He knows how much to push and when to back off. He doesn’t need to seek the spotlight. One word and any one of those kids will have the shot of a lifetime.” “I’m sorry,” Warner looked at Gage. “I guess you are built for it but I had no idea. I do apologize, sincerely.” “What makes you think that guy is selling?” Gage changed the subject. “I’ve been watching,” Warner provided. “When Keith came in, I was close. I’m not sure how the rules work… you know the criminal stuff, so I counted out a date. One I knew was well beyond the time frame. I told myself once that date had passed, I was in the clear. I still had another week when we talked about Keith. Once I was sure, once I knew I was safe, I started to look into the drugs myself. I’m not okay with some thug selling drugs to kids just to get rich.” “And you saw this guy…?” Paige held out the phone. “I saw him talking to the kids, but I think I recognize him,” Warner told them. “He looks familiar. That’s why I think he came from San Diego. Maybe got treated in the ER or something.” “Can I email this to myself?” Paige asked. “Sure,” Warner agreed. “Really, whatever I can do to help you out on this, just say the word.”

“I think you have helped,” Paige stood. “I’m not going to bust you on the previous stuff. If you say it’s over, I’ll accept that for now. Just know, I’m watching you.” did.

“Uh…” Warner hesitated, should he tell them the rest? Might get him some points if he 100


Lethal Remedy “Yes,” Gage stopped. “Eastman has contacts in the FBI,” Warner told them. “He called me, after you sent that sample to their lab. I assume that was you. He wasn’t happy. Said his contacts were having a hard time getting to the bottom of it. He wanted to know who they were sent to and who authorized it. Damage control, I guess. Anyway, I don’t know who he knows in the Bureau, but he has contacts. I uh… well, I just thought you should know.” “Are you saying they’re dirty or just that they give him a heads up?” Paige asked. “I think they just give him a heads up,” Warner corrected. “I don’t think they are dirty or do anything illegal or anything. Just provide information, let him know if trouble is coming.” “I’ll pass that on to the right person,” Paige studied the doctor. She was torn. He had obstructed her investigation, but he seemed okay. “Don’t get in my way again and we won’t have any trouble.”

“I get it,” Warner had expected this. The threats, the ego and all the rest. He’d have to suck up to the police in this town or he’d be harassed on a daily basis. “I’m not sure you do,” Paige studied him. “What I’m saying is I’m giving you a pass on this one. I looked into you. San Diego, the hospital… they couldn’t say enough about you. All good. The staff here, they already respect you. As long as that continues, we won’t have a problem. But don’t stand in my way again. I won’t look the other way twice.” Warner studied her, surprised. She wasn’t going to make life difficult for him. Maybe small towns were different from the big city. He actually might end up liking it here. If not, he could always move on. “What about Eastman? What do I do if he calls again?” “He won’t,” Paige paused in the doorway. “The feds already picked him up. We’ll work on the local guy and once we get him, this should all be behind us. Thanks again for the cooperation. I think Gage and I will swing by the high school and see if we can see a slimy looking guy lurking around.” Warner smiled as the cops left the room. He really did hope this was all behind them for good. ***** Paige followed Gage into the back parking lot of the high school. The instant he stepped from the car, three students approached him. 101


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3 “Hey, coach.” Paige stood back, this was her partner’s world, not hers. She liked how he brightened when the students looked up to him. He was a natural at this. Sure, he was a good cop but coaching on the side… that was Gage’s real talent. Hopefully, Mark would be able to talk him into staying. She’d talked to the former tight-end a few days ago. Mark had been offered the head coach position when school started back up in the fall. He said Sissy was even on board but he only wanted the job if he could continue to work with Clayton. Paige could see why. She was about to step forward, pull out her phone and start asking if the kids had ever seen the man in the photo but Gage beat her to it. Once the photo came through on her email, she immediately forwarded it to Gage and Nathan. Between all of them, they should have the man’s identity before the end of the day. “Yeah,” Jared nodded. “He’s been hanging around a lot. We think he’s creepy. Usually stops by just before lunch and then he’s always in the parking lot after school.” “Have you ever talked to him?” Gage asked. “Naw,” Jared shook his head. “Like I said, he’s an old guy. Kind of creepy the way he hangs out here all the time.” Paige pulled a card from her pocket. “If you see him, while you’re hanging out here today… can you give me a call?” “Sure,” Jared took the card then froze. “Is he the one? The guy that sold that crap to the players?” “We think he might be,” Gage nodded. “And we don’t know anything about him. Don’t confront him or anything. He could be dangerous.” “I’ll call,” Jared said frowning. “Joey may never play again and he was our best runner. I’ll call when he shows. He always shows.” “Thanks,” Gage gave his shoulder a pat as he walked away. “Now what?” Paige asked. Gage headed for the bleachers and took a seat. “Now you tell me what’s going on. Who broke into your house and why didn’t you call me?”

102


Lethal Remedy Paige sighed as she settled in next to her partner. She should have filled him in before, but he’d been preoccupied with the whole drug thing, she didn’t want to bother him. “Do you have the ring?” Gage asked. “It’s in evidence, why?” “I’d like to see it,” he told her. “They’re basically the same, but each year they’re a little different. I could at least tell you what year it was issued. The guys get them after their first year on the team but everyone that finishes out the year gets the same one. I have a book, a listing of what the rings looked like all the way back to when they started. Might not matter, but we’d know for sure.” “It might help,” Paige decided. “When we get back to the station, we’ll get it out of the back and look it up.” She glanced up and saw Jared pointing toward the parking lot. “I think our guy may have just arrived.”

The two of them headed for the parking lot. They had just walked around a line of parked cars when they spotted the man in the photo. Unfortunately, he also spotted them. He ran, the two deputies chased. Paige was closing in, trying to decide the best way to stop the guy once she was close enough when two hundred pounds of muscle flew past her and tackled the scrawny punk. Paige grinned at the cheering she heard from the high school students. Gage was going to be even more of a legend by the time this day was through. Once Gage had their guy cuffed and back on his feet, Paige patted the dirtbag down. “Well, well,” she said shaking her head. “What do we have here?” “That’s an illegal search,” the guy objected. “Haven’t searched you yet, Einstein.” Paige pulled a large baggie out of his jacket pocket. “Looks like coke to me. And at a school no less, sounds like an enhancement to me.” She gave his shoulder a little shove. “Get going, to the cars. You’re under arrest.” “For what?” “Possession with intent to begin with,” Gage gripped his arm and led him to the car. “This is my school and you’re not welcome here.” “I want a lawyer,” the guy screamed. 103


Paige Carter Season 2—Episode 3

“Great,” Paige said casually. “Maybe you can get Boyd Eastman to hire you one.” “That’s what this is about?” the dealer considered. “I want a deal. I’ll tell you everything just get me a deal on the coke.” “I’ll talk to the DA,” Paige evaded. She knew Tolman wouldn’t deal. He hated drug dealers and hated the ones that preyed on kids even more. She’d let him talk, get the details on Eastman then turn the weasel over the Tolman and let him explain why he was headed to a cell. The following day, Paige woke, confused. She took a look around and remembered she was staying with Dax. But he was gone. The noise outside had her hopping from the bed to glance out the window. A huge smile spread across her face when she saw what had awakened her. Dax had at least five boxes, each containing a dozen donuts spread out on her front porch. Her driveway was full and pretty much everyone she knew had arrived to help put her house back in order. She jumped from the bed, pulled on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and was finger combing her hair into a ponytail as she darted across her neighbor’s front lawn. “I can’t believe you guys,” Paige said happily. “I hope Jericho didn’t give a direct order.” “Nope,” Jericho emerged from behind a large truck. “This is strictly a volunteer operation.” “Who’s minding the store?” As far as she could tell the entire department was on her front lawn. “Laurel Bluffs is covering,” Gage handed her a cup of coffee. “Department emergency, one of our members was in need.” “You guys didn’t have to…” “We wanted to,” Margie appeared from nowhere. “So, shut up and tell us where to start.” Paige grinned. “I’m not sure that’s possible.”

“You know what I meant,” Margie scolded.

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Lethal Remedy Something inside Paige settled. It seemed since the moment she’d arrived at that old factory with Jericho, her life had been a little upside-down. Seeing her friends, laughing, joking and working to help her put her home back together tilted everything back into place again. She still had work to do. She’d never let the murder go. But right now, she was going to enjoy good coffee, good donuts and amazing friends.

Current Season Available on my Website www.melaniepsmith.com

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Connections eMagazine August 2019 edition  

August 2019 - Connections eMagazine is a FREE publication for those who love to read and the authors who make it possible. Our August editi...

Connections eMagazine August 2019 edition  

August 2019 - Connections eMagazine is a FREE publication for those who love to read and the authors who make it possible. Our August editi...

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