Sample Sunday

April 1, 2011 – “Food to Die Smiling For” – Part 2 – Italian Lunch for a Serial Killer

Okay, I know it isn’t Sunday–but if I wait until Sunday it will take four weeks to finish this, so here’s Part 2

Food To Die Smiling For – Part 2 – Italian Lunch For A Serial Killer

If you caught Part 1 – Irish Breakfast then you know that Carrie Thompson was chosen by serial killer, Ian McGregor to prepare his last three meals, with a special dessert prior to his death by injection. Installment two is Italian lunch. Hope you enjoy the story, and the recipes.

Closing the laptop I cursed softly. I was only a little jealous of Sammi’s gorgeous looks, but I have to admit there were times I would kill for just half her brains. I’d wasted an entire hour searching the internet for information on McGregor’s Italian murders and found zilch. I needed to plan tomorrow’s luncheon and get some sleep. Or maybe I just needed to get some sleep. I didn’t have to show up tomorrow. What could they do? Sue me? I’d never wanted to take part of this stupid reality show anyway.

“Money, money, money, MONEY!” Sammi breezed into the room waving small sheets of paper. “You’ll never guess what we’ve got?”

“First of the month bills?” I muttered.

“Nope. We’ve got reservations. ” Sammi laughed, waving the sheets under my nose. “Lots and lots of reservations. All wanting that delicious Irish breakfast you served McGregor. Carrie do you know what this means?”

“Yeah, the whole world is sick.”

“You are so not going to do this.” Sammi flopped down beside me. “This is our new restaurant. Our new apartment.” She eyed my old flannel pajamas. “And your new wardrobe.” Her lower lip poked out in an undignified pout. “Come on, Carrie, this is our future.”

“What’s wrong with my clothes?” I pulled a thread, enlarging the hole at the frayed elbow. “They’re good for at least another millennium.” I raised my head, giving her a sheepish grin. “I hate computers and I don’t have lunch planned yet.”

“Sammi to the rescue.” She grabbed the laptop and opened it, clicking away at keys. “Soup, salad and bread sticks. Oh, and a glass of water with two slices of lemon. Waiter says he was adamant about it. Didn’t want three or one–he had to have two slices of lemon.” Sammi closed the laptop. “So, now all you have to do is whip up something amazing and after lunch we’ll go shopping.”

“I still don’t like this. McGregor likes games, and he’s playing one now. I just don’t know what his angle is. I feel like a bug caught in a spider web watching as this huge hairy legged monster crawls toward me, knowing that when it finally reaches me I’m going to die a horrible death.”

“Ooh, yuck. You would have to use spiders. Now I’m never going to fall asleep. I’ll look like a hag tomorrow and McGregor will think his comments got to me and I lay awake all night thinking about him.”

Yawning I grinned at her, before heading for the bedroom. “You look like a hag? Not in my wildest dreams, and not if you hadn’t slept for weeks. I on the other hand am going to look like the miserable person I am if I don’t get some sleep.”

Groaning I reached for the alarm, shutting it off and rolling over. Soup, salad and bread sticks with water and 2 lemon slices. That wasn’t too hard. Maybe I could snooze for another hour. Rolling back onto my stomach I hugged my pillow and sighed. Just a few more minutes then.

A light tap sounded on the bedroom door just before it opened and a cheery voice called out. “Wake up, sleepy head. Big day ahead.”

“Go away.” I groaned again, pulling the pillow over my head. No one should be that cheery at four o’clock in the morning. Sometimes I hated her. This was one of those times.

“Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows in the sky. . .”

Tossing off the covers I stumbled to the kitchen seeking caffeine and silence. If I could just market Sammi’s morning attitude I would be filthy rich. I could even do the commercial. A morning shot of me with “Feeling tired, run down, a little low this morning?” Then a quick fade out to Sammi. ” Take a Sammi pill. You’ll sing your way to happiness.”

Pouring a cup of rich Columbian coffee with extra caffeine, I was almost tempted to kiss the coffee maker good morning. My best investment yet. All I had to do was program it the night before and Walla, fresh coffee awaited my feeble brain.

Breadsticks. I could mix those up, take a quick shower, dress and then do the salad and start the soup. With any luck we could slip out early and miss the media throng which would probably be heavier today than yesterday. Reheat the soup in the prison kitchen, chill the water, slice the lemon and hope he choked. Now there was a headline. “Hell’s Kitchen reject serves killer meal.”

Six hours later Sammi slapped the chef’s hat over my curves. “Don’t take it off this time. I don’t like the way he looked at you.”
“At me? You’re the one he was drooling over. You and your eye-candy idea.” I muttered pushing the hat away from my eyes.

Sammie frowned, rearranging the hat. “There’s a difference. Me he might want to ravish, you he has other plans for.”

“Yeah, like destroying my career.” I mumbled, biting into a bread stick. “These are really good.”

Sammi took a step back, giving me the critical once over. “Nope, not your career. He could have done that at breakfast. It’s more than that, Carrie. Something he said about strawberry curls and his first date. I looked it up. None of the women he killed had strawberry curls.”

I felt the color drain from my face. “None?”

Sammi shook her head. “None.”

As planned our early trip to the prison allowed us to skip the media entourage, which would be very critical later. But what’s the old saying–any publicity is better than no publicity at all? I even found myself on Google last night. A sneaking suspicion was growing though. One I didn’t like, and suddenly making him smile took on a whole new meaning for me.

“Ready?” Sammi picked up the salad and a bowl of breadsticks while I dipped out a serving of soup. “Don’t forget two slices of lemon in the water.”

“Ah, there’s my beautiful ladies.” McGregor smiled for us, then faced the camera giving them a thumbs up. “And it smells like a meal to die smiling for.”

Placing the food in front of him we stepped back and I began my little speech. “I hope you enjoy, Mr. McGregor. We have a delicious Zuppa Toscana soup, with soft bread sticks and a Tomato and Avacado Empresso Salad. And for your drinking pleasure we have ice water with two slices of lemon.”

Minutes passed as McGregor simply sat there, eyeing us. Sammi poked me in the side, raising one eyebrow. I shrugged. I couldn’t make him eat. Pasting on a sickly sweet smile, I cleared my throat. “Dig in. We wouldn’t want your food to get cold.”

“I’m waiting.”

“Waiting?” I stammered.

“The hat. Can’t seem to bring myself to eat with that hat on your head. Just does something awful to my appetite.”

I reached for the hat and Sammi stopped me, mouthing a silent no. McGregor laughed. Pulling off the hat I shook out my curls. “Better?”

A look of satisfaction crossed his face. His eyes closed momentarily and a deep sigh escaped his lips. “So much better,” he whispered picking up his spoon and dipping into the soup. His eyes never left my face as he finished the meal. “I really like having dessert with every meal. And some desserts are so much sweeter than others. Do you want me to me smile, Carrie? Do you really want me to?”

“We just want you to die, you . . . ” Sammi was furious, green eyes flashing fire. I stopped her.

“Yes, Ian, I want you to smile.”

Our eyes locked across the table, a challenge issued and accepted. He nodded slowly, turning to the camera and flashing that gorgeous smile he had become famous for. People forgot the women he killed, but they remembered that smile.

The prison compound went wild as the camera crew grinned back at him with all thumbs up. “There you have it ladies and gentlemen. Once again, unknown Chef Carrie Thompson has created Food To Die Smiling For.”

Recipes:
Soft Bread Sticks

1 cup water (70° to 80°)
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

TOPPING:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
In bread machine pan, place the water, butter, salt, flour, sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and yeast in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed).
When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Cut each portion into 12 pieces; roll each into a 4-in. to 6-in. rope. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes.
Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately brush with butter; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm. Yield: 2 dozen.

Tomato and Avacado Empress Salad

Ingredients
For the Green Empress Dressing:
1 (8.5 ounce) can sweet peas, drained
1 cup fresh herb leaves (parsley, chive, basil and/or mint)
2 scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white, distilled vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste

For the Salad:

3 large ripe tomatoes, each cut in 6 slices
2 small avocados, pitted and peeled, each cut in 9 wedges
18 slices low-fat mozzarella
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions
1. To make the dressing, puree all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
2. Alternate the tomato slices, avocado wedges and mozzarella slices on a serving platter or 6 individual plates. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle half the dressing over salad and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.

Zuppa Toscana Soup – One of my favorites, and you can change it to fit your diet. Low Carbs–change the potatoes to califlour and it’s still delicious

INGREDIENTS
1 lb ground Italian sausage
1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic puree
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
¼ of a bunch of kale

1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
2. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
3. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
4. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
5. Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
6. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!

Grab a great book, fix a good meal, and ENJOY! Love mysteries? Check out The Jacody Ives Mysteries – only $.99 for your Kindle and Nook or they’re also available on Smashwords.

The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery

Sacred Secrets, A Jacody Ives Mystery

 

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March 27, 2011 “Food to Die Smiling For” – Part 1 – Irish Breakfast for a Serial Killer

FOOD TO DIE SMILING FOR

Ian McGregor had chosen me.

The letter shook within my tightly clutched fingers. It didn’t make sense. I wasn’t some great chef with a million followers. I couldn’t even get on Hell’s Kitchen. My small International Cuisine restaurant was so far off the map that Google didn’t even recognize me. So why would the notorious serial killer pick me to prepare his last meals?

Rolling my eyes toward heaven I grimaced and muttered. “You hate me don’t you? You really, really hate me.”

“Who hates you?” Sammie asked, shoving a cinnamon roll into her mouth.

“God hates me. And Ian McGregor is going to destroy me.”

Sammie swallowed the roll, eyes growing huge. “Ian McGregor chose you?”

I nodded, holding out the damning letter.

“Woot! ” Sammie screamed, doing her little happy dance. “We’re in the money. We’re in the money.”

“Only if he dies smiling.” I scowled, taking back the letter. “And in the last five years no one has died smiling.”

Sammie stopped in mid hip roll, the seriousness of the situation sinking into the brain beneath all that blonde hair. “Ooh, crap.”

“Yeah, ooh, crap is right. All our work, money, everything will be lost. All he has to do is frown, burp or God forbid , fart, and we’re destroyed. And he’s made it plain his intention is to kill me.”

Sammie took the letter frowning as she read it again. “I don’t get it.”

“He killed his first two women in Ireland, and he wants an Irish breakfast. The second two in Italy, and he wants an Italian lunch, and the last two in Louisiana, so he’s chosen a Cajun dinner. What’s that say to you?”

Sammie grinned, breaking into song. “Memories, like the corners of my mind. . . .”

Flopping down on the sofa, a remembrance of our first and only month’s profit, I sighed. “Better enjoy them. In three days or less, memories are all we’ll have left.”

A lot of people believed that just because Sammi was your typical California blonde, gorgeous beyond what any woman had a right to be, and with those honey gold locks, that she would be your typical ‘dumb blonde’. In truth, she was brilliant, and her next words reinforced that beyond my wildest dreams.

“You’re looking at this all wrong. They called him the ‘Killer Food Date’ because he always chose a restaurant employee, preferably a chef, and he always took them out to eat before he killed them. He’s a sadistic, mentally unstable connoisseur serial killer. And what does every serial killer want?”

I shrugged, sinking into my misery, reading the letter again. “Dessert and he doesn’t even tell me what country he wants it from.”

Sammie started her little happy dance, again. “Memories. They want to remember and enjoy their killings. That’s his dessert.”

“Sammie, that’s sick.”

Sammie laughed and punched me in arm. “Carrie, you’re so you. Get with the program. Of course it’s sick. But all we have to do is find out what he ate on the majority of his “killer dates” and I guarantee you he’ll die with a smile on his face.”

Taking the letter, she scanned it again. “Tomorrow is breakfast. Let’s see what we can find.”

Pulling out the laptop she clicked away. “Easy as pie.”

“Pie for breakfast?”

Sammie rolled her eyes. “Of course not silly, although that’s not a bad idea. The restaurant owner said he had bread with some kind of cream spread and tea.”

“What kind of bread?”

Sammie shrugged. “Doesn’t say, but it was Irish bread. Can’t be that many Irish breads, can there?”

“Dozens. What kind of spread?”

Sammie glanced at the article. “Doesn’t say.”

Great. Just great. All I had to do was pick the right bread, the right spread and pray. Of course, God hated me so prayer wasn’t going to do much good. I was dead. My career over before anyone besides Ian McGregor even knew I existed.

“Wasn’t your grandfather Irish?” Sammie cooed excitedly, still counting that imaginary money she saw falling from heaven.

My grandfather was Irish and I had some of grandma’s recipes. “This could work,” I mumbled, Sammie’s excitement becoming contagious. “I need to grab grandma’s recipes and start cooking.”

Sammie nodded still rolling her hips in a happy dance and singing under her breath. “We’re in the money. We’re in the money.”

I didn’t have a clue who made up this silly death watch game but after a long, sleepless night I had a real good feel for being on death row and waiting for the clock to count down. Glancing at my watch I loaded up the breakfast basket. Where the heck was Sammie? Shouldn’t your best friend and business partner be here when they lead you to the gallows? Three days. I had three days of this nightmarish hell. If I made it through today.

“Look what I bought you?” Sammie flounced into the room, long hair swaying. “You’re going to be lovely.”

“I am not wearing that hat.” I shivered, glancing at the chef’s outfit from hell.

“Oh, yes, you are!” Sammie pulled at my arms, shoving them into the jacket before pushing the hat down on my head and turning me towards the mirror. “See, lovely.”

“I look like a buffoon.” I stated, trying to pull off the hat as Sammie pushed and pulled, arranging it over my strawberry curls.

“You have to dress the part.” Sammie stated, pushing a few stray curls under the hat.

I glanced at her hot pink mini. “So what about you?”

Sammie grinned mischievously. “I’m eye-candy. If the food doesn’t make him smile, maybe the thoughts of slitting my throat will.”

“Jesus, Sammie.” I buttoned the coat, taking one last glance in the mirror.

Grabbing the basket, she examined the contents pulling out the jar of ice cold water. “Where’s the tea?”

“We’ll have to make it at the prison. You can’t reheat Irish tea. Makes it taste bitter.”

“No problem. ” Sammie took me by the arm, pulling and pushing me toward the door. “We have to make our way through the media, so let me do the talking.”

“Media?” I squirmed under her intense gaze. “No one said anything about media.”

Sammie didn’t bother answering. Instead she pasted a radiant smile on her face and led me out into the glare of camera flashes and microphones shoved my way.

“Ms. Thompson, were you surprised when Mr. McGregor chose you?”

“Carrie, is it true you had an affair with Ian McGregor before he started killing women?”

“Is it true that Hell’s Kitchen turned down your restaurant because it was beyond repair?”

The questions were fired at me from left and right. Sammie never lost her smile as she opened the limo door and pushed me inside, and with a swivel of her hips and show of long luscious legs climbed in beside me. “Ms. Thompson has no comments.”

Pulling off the hat I tossed it on the seat beside me as the driver weaved his way through the media. “You should have let me answer them. Where do they get that stuff?”

Sammie shook her head. “They’ll change their tune when this is all over. And they don’t get it anywhere. They make it up.”

The limo pulled through the prison gates and Sammie rearranged the hat on my head. “Now, show those pearly whites, and let’s go make a killer smile.”

“What you got for me for, sweetie?” McGregor posed the question to me, but his eyes were traveling up and down Sammie’s body, a slow smile spreading across his handsome features.

I swallowed hard, trying to find my voice. “We have a delicious Soda Bread with cream spread and tea.” I placed the plate in front of him and poured the cup of tea. “I hope you enjoy it.”

He raised an eyebrow, finally allowing his gaze to drift to my face. “Take off the hat.”

Pulling the hat off I pushed the curls back from my face.

“Aye. That’s what I wanted to see. Those strawberry curls. My first date had strawberry curls, you know.” He picked up a slice of bread covered in cream spread, bit off a huge chunk and washed it down with tea. “I like women with strawberry curls.”

“Thank you,” I whispered glancing at Sammie who simply smiled and shrugged. What difference did it make what he liked as long as he smiled. The single film crew Warden Temperman had allowed inside the cafeteria was hanging on to every word, cameras honed in on McGregor’s face.

“I’d like to see you in strawberry curls.” McGregor turned his attention back to Sammie. “Think you could do that for me? We could do lunch tomorrow.”

I felt Sammie stiffen by my side. This wasn’t what we had expected. McGregor was up to something. The implication was clear. Sammie wore strawberry curls and he’d smile–if she didn’t. . .

Sammie started to speak, but I cut her off. “I’m sorry, Mr. McGregor. Strawberry’s not a good color on Sammie. I guess you’ll be eating alone tomorrow.”

Taking Sammie’s arm I pulled her back toward the entrance. My career might be over, but I wasn’t playing this lunatic’s game.

We’d taken only a few steps when the camera crew went wild. “There you have it ladies and gentlemen, Chef Carrie Thompson has pulled off day one of our death watch contest by preparing “Food to Die Smiling For”.

I glanced back to find McGregor smiling from ear to ear holding a second piece of bread. Sammie was humming “we’re in the money”, and I could hear the prisoners in the background screaming and clapping. I met McGregor’s gaze, noting the gleam in his eyes, slight nod of the head as he took a bite. He’d let me win day one, but tomorrow was a new challenge. He didn’t think I was up to it. I smiled back, nodding just slightly. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

McGregor laughed, shaking the chains that held him to the table. “I’ll look forward to it.”
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Recipes used for this story:

IRISH CREAM SPREAD
1 c. whipping cream
1 2/3 c. Irish whiskey
1 tsp. instant coffee, dissolved in almond extract
2 Tbsp. white corn syrup
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients in Blender. For storing use a glass contained and store in refrigerator.

SODA BREAD

2 cups of all purpose flour
3 Tbsp cold butter
2Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup raisins
2 eggs divided

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and powder and salt in bowl
Cut in butter until crumbly
Mix together one egg and buttermilk and pour into flour mixture
Stir until moistened
Fold in raisins
Kneed on floured surface for 1 minute
Place on greased baking sheet and cut an X 1/4 deep in top
Beat other egg and brush over top
Bake at 375 for 30 – 35 minutes

(Soda Bread recipe is compliments of Tanya Cyrus’ grandmother. Hope you enjoy it.”)

If you enjoyed the story and the recipes, then I hope you’ll join me next week for Lunch With A Serial Killer – Part 2. Can Carrie make him smile? Or does McGregor have plans other than breakfast, lunch and dinner? Could it be dessert?

Still HUNGRY for some great reading, writing and food? Check out these stories and recipes:

Recipe for a Chocolate Orgasm – http://www.sibelhodge.com/my-blog.php

Soup – http://sarahbarnard.co.uk/blog/

Magic Mushrooms Killer Omelette – http://bit.ly/gH2Vew

Eastern Promise – Baklava – http://bit.ly/e782iQ

Firehouse Chili – http://tinyurl.com/4lz6ytd

Recipes that you’ll love – http://bit.ly/fq7qZZ

Asparagus, Watercress and Pan Roasted Cherry Tomato Risotto – http://tinyurl.com/639wj3K

Lobster dip – http://wp.me/p19omh-82

Tom Ryan Cookies – http://bit.ly/LWOWmw

Paralytic Pavlova – http://ow.ly/4mWYQ

Best Ever Sugar Cookies – http://on.fb.me/h5xxjZ

Sweep Him Off His Feet Sundae – http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fvmaarten.blogspot.com%2F2011%2F03%2Fsample-sunday-sweep-him-off-his-feet.html&h=06df2

Books:
The Crossing – http://bit.ly/elLVfj/

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March 20, 2011 – Mel Comley – Final Justice (A  Lorne Simpkins Thriller)

A Chateau in Normandy

September 2009.

Chapter One

A smug satisfied smile stretched across Baldwin’s handsome but menacing features as he surveyed his lavish surroundings, self-congratulation exuding from every pore. Tonight would be all about him, his ability to manipulate others, as months of meticulous planning came to fruition.

A couple of the scantily clad girls, all of Eastern-European extraction, giggled in the corner. He scowled at them, when he realised they’d been helping themselves to the potent punch, intended for his esteemed guests.

With its final tune-up complete the band drifted off to get changed. Meanwhile, the experienced agency waiting staff were tinkering, adding the finishing touches to the thirty-foot table laden with some of the world’s finest food, specially imported for tonight’s soiree.

His gaze drifted out over the large terrace and he took in the incredible view; the view that had sold the chateau to him. A view that took in thirty acres of manicured lawns, bordered by hedges shaped like animals; luxurious surroundings more suited to royalty than a lad brought up, or rather dragged up, in the boarded-up slums of Salford, Manchester. A lad with a rap sheet longer than the Seine.

Most of his men were already standing in position, their weapons safely concealed beneath their smart tuxedos, they would be joined by the others once the limos arrived.

Baldwin glanced at his watch for the tenth time in as many minutes, his irritation bubbling just below the surface. The guests should have arrived at seven, a full ten minutes ago; where the bloody hell were they? He marched over to the window and craned his neck to look up the long tree-lined drive. Nothing, not a limo in sight, nothing but the grey gravel, glistening in the evening sun. It didn’t bode well, not in his book, anyway. His blood began to pump harder, faster so much so that the vein in his temple jutted out, just as it always did when something didn’t go according to plan. His plans.

‘Well?’ he asked, when Julio, his second in command, joined him at the window.

‘Nothing as yet, boss. Everything’s ready though.’

‘That much I can see, you bloody moron. Now go and see what the fucking hold-up is. I want this evening to go smoothly. You understand, Julio, no cock-ups.’

‘Yes, boss. I’ll get onto it straight away.’

‘Never mind, I’ll see for myself, I know how those guys can twist you round their fingers.’

Baldwin stormed into the communications room located next door. The room was littered with pizza boxes and a bottle of scotch sat on the desk in front of his men. The three men, all built like bouncers, leapt to their feet. ‘Look at the bloody mess in here. Did I say you could drink on duty? This is supposed to be serious business tonight. I’m warning you, fuck this up and you’ll pay for it, with your lives. You got that? Now, what’s the bloody hold-up?’ his glare unnerved the men, and they nodded, like toy dogs in the back of a car.

Baldwin stepped forward, a menacing look in his eyes. He stopped in front of the youngest of the three men, their noses a few inches apart, ‘I said, have you got that, Benji?’

The man gulped, his eyes bulging with fear, he nodded again, ‘Yes, boss, I got it.’

‘This is your final warning, Benji. Screw this up and….’ Baldwin left the sentence unfinished on purpose.

The new recruit backed away and Baldwin let him go, for the time being; he’d had his eye on him for a while, and had come to the conclusion that the man’s attitude stank. It hadn’t escaped him that the man thought highly of himself and enjoyed strutting around as if he owned the place, ‘Now, let’s start again, shall we? Tell me, what the hell is going on?’ He sat on the corner of the desk, looking at the ten TV screens attached to the wall in front of him, each showing a different area of the chateau and its grounds.

‘The limos called in a few minutes ago. They got held up a couple of miles up the road. They should be here within ten minutes,’ Benji said.

‘Make sure they are. I’m getting anxious and I don’t need to tell you what that means, do I?’

The men nodded their understanding of the unspoken threat. His anxiety was notorious, and often resulted in bouts of violence. Despite his men having muscles ten times larger than their IQs, when Baldwin went on the rampage, they all turned into quivering wrecks.

With the threat still lingering in the air, Benji pointed to one of the screens, as a car pulled into the drive, ‘Here comes the first lamb now.’

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Final-Justice-Lorne-Simpkins-thriller/dp/B004OEKFYO

http://www.amazon.com/Final-Justice-Lorne-Simpkins-thriller/dp/B004OEKFYO

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/43071 For other ereaders.

Final Justice (A Lorne Simpkins thriller)

www.amazon.co.uk

This is the sequel to Impeding Justice but is also a standalone thriller/adventure. After suffering a breakdown and quitting the force, former Detective Inspector Lorne Simpkins is contacted by a friend at MI6 to help in a covert operation. Against her will, Lorne is convinced to help track down an . . .

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March 13, 2011

When I started writing Sacred Secrets, I had found a collection of my oldest son’s poetry from earlier days when we both wrote things that we were pretty sure would never see the light of day. Some of those poems were so beautiful, so sad, and so appropriate for the emotions I hoped to inspire in Sacred Secrets that the two of us collaborated on the book. The majority of the poetry in Sacred Secrets was written by Charles. When I started writing Passing Judgment this poem was truly an inspiration for part of that work. A satirical look at drunken days, and the devil’s call. I hope you enjoy it. And I hope you’ll check out Sacred Secrets, A Jacody Ives Mystery and let us know what you think. Charles and I have talked about writing a story together. Our styles are different, which I think would compliment each other. We’ll see.

SIP YOUR NUMBED PARADISE

Crumpled cigarettes litter the table,
Alcohol burns the throat,
The patter of self-destruction forms,
Cacophony of voices permeate the air,
A den of forgotten dreams,
Washed away with pinpricks to the brain,
Here there are no names,
Faces are all that matter,
Time is merely a formality.

Sit down, take your soul off,
Let it sit in the corner for a while,
You don’t need to worry about it,
We’ll take away the cause,
Sip your numbed paradise.

Dance away your memories,
Who needs them here,
You are in this moment,
Just let go of your future uncertain,
You can certainly be sure its worthless.

Sit down, take your soul off,
Let it soak in the view,
A little taint never hurt,
We’ll take away the consequences,
Sip your numbed paradise.

The lights are now less faded,
We’ve got to bid you farewell,
Our time,
Out of time,
So long yet so short,
But come back tomorrow,
A kindred spirit cannot be denied,
Your table will be waiting.

Sit down, take your soul off,
Do you remember where you left it,
We’ll help you find it,
Sip your numbed paradise.

By: Charles W. Prather, Jr.

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March 6, 2011 Sample Sunday – Excerpt from my wip – Find Me.   This is the first draft of this section, and all comments and critiques are welcome.

Setup:  Catherine Mans has just learned that her real name is Catherine Abigail Blanchard, and the parents who had raised her are not her real parents.  Now she’s on the run, one step ahead of the FBI and an unstable psychic who is destroying her life and killing anyone and everyone close to her.

 New Orleans was a fascinating place and under other circumstances she would have loved to explore the local shops, visited the tomb of Marie Levaeu, and sampled the local cuisine.  This was where she was born.  These were her people.  She wanted to learn everything there was about them.  She wanted for the first time in her life to feel at home somewhere.  Like she really belonged.

” Fantom nan mache.”

Catherine turned toward the voice, heart pounding.  She didn’t know what was being said, but she understood the tone.  The eyes that met hers were huge, expressing fear and something else, perhaps awe or admiration.  But why would this old man be afraid of her?  Or admire her? 

“I’m sorry, I don’t speak French.”  Catherine stated, turning back to car and tossing in her packages. 

“Ou se pitit fi manman ou lan.”

Catherine turned back to him, taking out a few dollars.  He clearly was very poor.  “I’m sorry, I really can’t understand what you’re saying.  Please take this.”

A young woman stepped up beside the old man, reaching out to take the money.  “It isn’t French.  It’s Haitian Creole, and Grandpa said, ‘The ghost walks’ and ‘You are your mother’s daughter’.”

“Ou vin.  Rete avèk nou.  Satan an pa jwenn ou.”

“Non papa.”  The young girl took his arm, attempting to pull him away.

“Silans.   Li te vin.”

“Grandpa says you’re to come with us.  That way the devil can’t find you.  But I want you to say no, because if you come the devil will find us, and it will kill us.”

 Catherine could see that people were starting to gather, paying attention to the conversation.  She couldn’t afford that attention.  She needed to end this without upsetting the old man too much.

“Please, tell your grandfather he has me confused with someone else.  I’m not from here.”

“Li di I ‘ou te mele avèk yon lòt moun.”

The old man shook his head, pointing to Catherine’s eyes.  “Pa gen erè.  Ou se pitit fi ki mouri a Abigail Blanchard.”

The girl looked at her more closely, a new respect showing in her eyes.  “Grandpa says there’s no mistake.  You are the dead daughter of Abigail Blanchard.”

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February 27, 2011

Thought I’d try something different this week.  A little flash fiction.  I was trying to keep this to 500 words, but it ran over slightly topping out at 602.  I might be able to cut it some, but I liked the way it turned out.  Hope you enjoy it.

SOUL RETRIEVAL

Prophetic.  The things we say.  The things we do.  They all move us in a general direction, pushing us toward our final destination.

 At ten a.m. this morning, Hon. Jeremiah Sed Mason had opened his mouth and sealed his fate.

Now here I was.  Standing on a street corner.  Waiting for fate to intervene.  Destiny to arrive.  The cigarette tasted kind of strange.  Not at all like I’d remembered them.  The body was nice though. A real traffic stopper.  Not like the last one.  Seniority had its benefits.

“Hey, sweetheart, I’ve got a hundred bucks, if you know what I mean.”

Tossing the cigarette I turned toward the voice.  I knew exactly what he meant.  I even knew who he was.  George Chatman.  By day a floundering accountant.  Tonight a pawn in destiny’s plans.  He’d been standing across the street for over an hour trying to get up the courage to make this move.  Problem was poor Gina had officially retired about ten minutes ago.   Letting my gaze move slowly down the oversized, unattractive, virtually repulsive frame, I smiled slowly, coming back to the nondescript beady eyes.  “Sorry, I’m busy.”

Nice voice.  Deep and rather sultry.  Gina probably had a lot of repeat clientele.  Undoubtedly she would be missed.

“Oh, I see, my money’s not good enough for you.” 

Lighting another cigarette I took a deep drag, blowing the smoke in his direction.  The taste might have changed, but the world hadn’t.  Still full of pompous jerks who believed that money was God, and bought all things.  I’d like to believe that even Gina would have turned this one down.

“That’s right, sweetheart, your money isn’t good enough, and neither are you.”

I could feel the rage growing inside him. One too many rejections in a world  full of rejections.  And this time by a woman he considered low on the scale of humanity.  Someone so beneath him that the mere possibility of rejection had never entered his mind.  The beady eyes twitched, hands clenching and unclenching just as the red convertible pulled up to the corner and parked.  Right on time.

“Hey gorgeous, you ready?”

Without even a glance at my would- be suitor I let those long, luscious legs carry me towards the car.  Throwing in a little extra swing of the hips.  After all, Gina had the package, might as well work it.

 I wasn’t surprised when the bullets struck, but Jeremiah was.  I liked the look of shock and pain that crossed his face right before his soul exited his body.  Pain was something he would need to get used to.

 Things happened rather fast.  People screaming, rushing for safety.  The police officer screaming at George to drop his gun.  Which of course he did.   Putz.

Pushing out of Gina’s lifeless body I waltzed over to Jeremiah.  Another benefit of seniority.  I got to keep Gina’s image until the next time.

“Let’s go, Jeremiah, ” I stated in that deep sultry voice taking him by the arm.

“Where are we going?  What happened?  Are we dead?”

Always the same.  “Don’t you remember what you said this morning, Jeremiah?”

“What I said this morning?”

Some jerks were worse than others.  “Yes, Jeremiah, this morning.  When you signed those documents to let an innocent man take the fall for your good friend Judge Lehman.  Don’t you remember how the two of you laughed, and Judge Lehman asked you where you were going?”

I loved the look on his face as realization slowly dawned.  I smiled.  Gina’s warm, sexy smile.

“You said, ‘To hell if I don’t change my ways’. ”

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February 20, 2011

For those of you unfamiliar with SampleSunday it’s a time for authors and readers alike to sample portions of current books or perhaps a WIP.  Today, I decided to share another section of my current WIP.  A little girl talk between Catherine and Rosetta.  Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you enjoy it, and please leave a comment, even if it’s only–stopped by for samplesunday.  Have  a great one.

 EXCERPT FROM “FIND ME”

“What are you watching?”  Catherine asked, walking into the sitting room.

“The House of Usher with Vincent Price.”

“How can you watch that stuff–and eat?”

Rosetta laughed holding out the bowl of popcorn.  “Want some?”

Catherine shook her head.  “I’m having enough trouble sleeping without adding to it.”

Rosetta flipped off the TV.  “So, we’ll talk.”

Catherine eyed her suspiciously.  “About?”

“You know, the only good thing that’s come out of this is the fact that we’ve been forced to spend more time together.  Girl talk.”  Rosetta, shifted on the couch, getting more comfortable.  “Catherine, you spend seventy-five percent of your time with the dead, and the other twenty-five looking at insurance files on arson cases.  Don’t you want more?”

Catherine shrugged.  “My life is so much better–was so much better than before that I never really thought about it.  I’m happy doing what I do.”

“Are you?  Don’t you get lonely?  Want someone to talk to, share things with?”

Catherine knew where the conversation was going and shifted it quickly.  “You’re one to talk.  When’s the last time you had a date?”

Rosetta pulled off the wig.  “Look at me?  What man in his right mind would want to crawl into bed with that?”

Catherine didn’t blink, answering honestly.  “One that loved you.”

“Fat chance of that.  Even if they could get past the weight and weird habits long enough to develop an interest, one look at my freako hairdo and they’re out the door.”

“Rosetta, you have a lot of wonderful qualities.  Any man out there would be lucky to find someone like you.  You’re kind, loyal, and you make the best damn chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted.”

“Stop avoiding the topic, Catherine.  What are you going to do about Cody?”

“It’s complicated, Rosetta.  I don’t know how to explain it.”

“Relationships are always complicated.  You love him, he loves you, everything else will work itself out.”

Catherine sighed.  “If it were only that easy.  Cody may love me, but he doesn’t trust me, and he doesn’t really like my abilities.  Haven’t you seen the way he closes himself off every time we’re together?  It’s like he’s afraid I’ll see something he doesn’t want me to see.”

Catherine yawned.  “It’s almost midnight.  Who knows what they’ll have planned for us tomorrow.  We should probably get some sleep.”

Rosetta switched topics abruptly.  “Brian asked me to go to work for him.”

Catherine turned to look at her, eyes wide.  “Work for him?”

Rosetta nodded.  “He says that I could have a real future with the FBI.  All the latest equipment.  Keeps telling me he’s never seen anyone as good on a computer as I am.”

Catherine started to speak but stopped herself.  She’d lost her home, her office and her abilities all in less than a week.  Odds were before the week was up she’d lose her life.

“That sounds like a really good opportunity.  Maybe you should consider it.”

“I told him no.  So he asked me out to dinner.  Guess he thinks he can change my mind.”

Catherine laughed.  “Or maybe he’s going to get you drunk and take advantage of you.”

“Just what I had in mind.”  Rosetta quipped just as someone pounded on the door.

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12 thoughts on “Sample Sunday”

  1. alboudreau said:

    Wow, Linda. This piece made me feel as though I was eavesdropping on a private conversation. There was nothing that stood out to distract me from my immersion in the conversation. Really well executed, in my opinion.

  2. Who the heck is at the door? How could you? You know I’m toooo nosy for you to stop like that. Great one…

  3. true gift for dialouge here. great stuff, Linda. I’m thrilled to have read this during samplesunday, and now my TBR grows larger. grin

  4. I always look forward to reading your samples. Great stuff as usual.

  5. Linda, Soul Retrieval is awesome! You need to have made that a novel length story. BTW, you aren’t modeling this tale after a few judges, are you? LOL jk

  6. I loved your flash fiction story.

  7. Read the flash fiction – loved it.

  8. Loved the flash fiction! Thanks for sharing with us.

  9. Really loved them. Can’t wait for your next book.

  10. Linda, I am really loving Find Me. This excerpt was excellent. I would love to read it all when you finish.

  11. MSthriller, thank you so much. I’m loving this one myself, as I never know what the characters are going to do next. This part of the book was totally not in my original thoughts but has become the defining base for a lot of things.

  12. Love the scene with the French Creole dialogue. It’s fun to see the differences and similarities with regular French.

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