A published novelist and an award winning poet, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Mystery Writers of America, and is a founding member of the Florida Writers Association.
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About the Book
Char and Diana Mansville, two sisters in their early twenties, lose their parents in a tragic accident. Finding themselves on the brink of financial disaster, they re-locate to southwest Florida to live with their aunt, a beautiful and wealthy ballroom dancer. Once there, they meet handsome and charismatic Roland Donovan, who is a sociopath and involved in a deadly insurance scheme. Stricken by Diana's beauty and charm, he sets his focus upon her and relentlessly begins his pursuit of her.
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Daniel came home late—later than he should have. Molly had already left for work. Before leaving, she’d fed the kids and sat them down in front of the TV. Normally, Daniel would have been home hours ago, but today he’d stopped for a beer, something he hadn’t done for months. Even though he knew she’d be mad at him, especially when he told her he’d been fired, he’d needed some time to himself.
Daniel suffered from schizoaffective mental disorder, and until recently had been taking his meds regularly. But a couple of months ago, he’d gone off them when he started to hear the voices, and began to self-medicate with alcohol. On a positive note, his sex drive had come back, and he’d even lost weight. Molly had liked that. But what she didn’t like were his mood swings—his highs and lows. Sometimes he could be mean, bordering on destructive.
He knew he should go back on his meds, but he felt that if he did, Molly would complain about their lack of a sex life and that he was getting fat again. There was, he felt, just no way of pleasing that woman.
That afternoon at work, he’d decked his boss for something he’d been asked to do and that he felt was personally demeaning. What did his boss think he was, his personal slave? Shortly after the incident, Ed had told him to leave, never to come back. Fine, he’d thought. He’d stomped out to his car, opened the trunk, and proceeded to smash the boss’s car with a tire iron he’d retrieved.
Following that, he’d stopped at a bar, and as soon as he got home, he went to the fridge in search of a beer. Usually, Molly would keep one or two in the fridge for herself, but tonight there were none.
“That does it!” he exclaimed. “The kids are going to bed right now and I’m going out.”
After putting the kids to bed, Daniel abruptly left the house, got into his old Ford sedan, and headed for the bar near Pinnacle Peak.
Today was David and Jocelyn’s thirtieth wedding anniversary. Their children, Diana and Char, had originally planned on giving their parents a huge party to celebrate the occasion. But those plans were cancelled when their parents had told them that they preferred to dine alone with each other that night, at the restaurant where they had first met.
The restaurant, rustic and just as western as Scottsdale had once been, was just a short drive from their house. Knowing that if David wore a tie the waiters would cut it off—which was the custom of the restaurant—they both dressed casually in their western wear. David wore his black denims, boots, shirt, and cowboy hat, while Jocelyn wore her black denims, boots, and frilly white western shirt. She’d always hated hats and never wore them. A good-looking couple in their early fifties, they’d always attracted attention when they went out. Tonight would be no exception.
David had once suffered from a drinking problem, but after nearly losing his family and his business to this addiction, he had since joined a support group. A successful recovering alcoholic, he was now a sponsor to several younger men who suffered from this same addiction. Tonight at dinner, he retained his usual sobriety. However, knowing Jocelyn would on occasion enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner, he offered to order a glass for her. She politely declined, saying that she preferred coffee instead. After dinner, as they walked across the parking lot to their car, they noticed it had begun to rain, something that seldom happened outside of the monsoon season.
“I don’t remember where we parked our car, and it’s dark tonight.”
“Very. It’s a new moon and raining on top of that. I’ll certainly be glad when we get back home.”
Hearing a screech of brakes, David quickly looked to his side to see a dark car that had just pulled into the parking lot and was rapidly bearing down upon them. The driver of the car braked, but it was too late.
Daniel had pulled into the parking lot too fast and was unable to control his vehicle. It was dark, raining, and he couldn’t see clearly in his inebriated condition. He thought he saw two people ahead of him and he braked, but he skidded and felt the car hit something. Afraid to stop for fear of what he might have done, he raced out of the parking lot and sped back down the road the way he had come. He still wasn’t able to see well; the rain was coming down harder and his vision had grown more blurry. Thinking he knew where the shoulder was, he attempted to pull the car over, but the shoulder wasn’t there and his car went over and rolled down the hillside. Everything went black, and Daniel never woke up again.