by: Cynthia Roberts
Release Date: November 6, 2016
Publisher: Cynthia Roberts
Does an ex-cop ever lose his "nose" for investigating? Freshmen Senator, Bryon Gallagher, certainly hasn't, when the love of his life, Jessica, is kidnapped by a mad man. No stone is left unturned, as he plays the role of senator by day and rogue detective by night, calling in favors and working his past snitches to the bone to find her. The only problem is, who does he focus his efforts on ... her deranged, former father-in-law who lusts after her, a crazed felon hell-bent on revenging the execution of his brother put to death under the Senator's newly passed Death Penalty Bill, or an unknown psycho, looking for his "moment of fame"?
Pawn for Malice is a thrilling and passionate love story that is a blend of crime action, suspense, and self-discovery, or one could even say, a cross between Safe Haven meets Criminal Minds.
The swollen corner pockets of the striped, vinyl canopy overhead were near to bursting despite the protection it provided from the torrential downpour. Mindlessly, Jessica stared at the quarter-sized holes the pelting rain was carving into the ground surrounding her and the other members of her dead husband’s family. She noticed how other’s in attendance were failing miserably at maintaining control of their umbrellas, as the forceful winds wrestled to pull them from their grasps.
Streaks of lightning illuminated the sky above distracting her attention. Her petite frame shivered, as she looked up. The chilly autumn winds penetrated her thin raincoat and whipped at the veil covering her heart-shaped face. The dark mahogany casket in front of her was beautifully draped with a blanket of white gardenias and yellow roses. Despite that her husband’s lifeless body occupied its confines, she felt void of all emotion.
She wanted nothing more than to see this day come to an end. Her husband’s parents, Hal and Lorraine Wilton, were playing their grieving role for the media and those in attendance impressively. It sickened her to have to stand there next to the both of them.
What a charade, she thought, gazing to her right at Father Mulcahy, pastor of St. Augustine’s church. He was doing his very best to offer some semblance of closure. Jessica knew Father Mulcahy viewed her in-laws ‘pretend show of grief’ a complete sham as well. If it wasn’t for her pastor’s support and refuge at times, Jessica knew she would be the one lying there in the casket instead of Richard.
Her eyes slowly scanned the faces of the mourners standing before her. Most were merchants from town, who she knew were there more out of fear, than respect for the Wilton name. The entire front row of onlookers shuffled forward closer to the casket, as Father Mulcahy cleared his throat to conduct the final prayer.
Another gust of wind caught the pastor’s wide-sleeved surplice and puffed him up like a billows, threatening to lift him skyward. Jessica could not help but smile, as she watched him wrestle to maintain some sense of reserve and control. He was such a witty man, who could stir someone to laughter faster than the winds that lashed about him. His soft Irish brogue could calm the most unsettling soul like a mother’s lullaby.
Jessica sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly, as he raised his arms heavenward and began the blessing.
“Dearly beloved. We gath’r here befar ya t’day to bid farewell to Richard Michael Wilton, a lad loved and …”
Jessica rolled her eyes in disgust. It was going to take every ounce of strength she could muster to get through this ceremony.
Dear God, she silently prayed, give me strength … pa …leez.
Absently, she reached beneath the dark veil she wore, and rubbed her bruised and swollen cheekbone. It was throbbing like a bad toothache.
Would she ever forget, she wondered, as the ache began to remind her of that terrible evening?
Her husband’s rage was the worse it had ever been the night he died, driven by the alcohol he had consumed and his heinous reaction toward her evening out in the company of her Aunt without him. She had been raised to be a strong, compassionate, and independent woman. The apple did not fall far from the tree, where he was concerned though. Like his father, Richard was dominating, controlling, abusive, and a womanizer.
Their one-year marriage was a mockery of what true love was supposed to be. Richard did not prove the man he had projected during their courtship. He had only pursued her, because his father had ordained it. She was, after all, heir to the Newcombe Dynasty. It wasn’t long, before abuse became a part of her everyday existence.
Their argument that night, had turned terribly heated, when she announced her plans to divorce him. He had caught her off guard with a sucker-punch that had sent her reeling backward. He wasted no time climbing atop her, his hands circling her throat, squeezing until she was on the edge of greeting death.
She remembered the sneer upon his face, as he slowly reduced the pressure around her throat and then rolled off her. He had watched her crawl on her hands and knees to escape him, her eyes blinded by stinging tears, as she tried desperately to suck air back into her lungs.
When he had attempted to rise, he weaved, then stumbled, losing his balance and falling onto their glass coffee table. As it imploded, it afforded her the opportunity to seek refuge in their bedroom. She had managed to lock him out, as she retrieved the small snub-nosed revolver she knew Richard kept in his Gentleman’s Chest.
She had dialed 911, and told the dispatcher Richard attempted to choke her and she feared for her life. The dispatcher knew she was in possession of her husband’s gun and promised to stay on the line with her, until a unit arrived. The dispatcher heard Richard’s threats to kill her, when he broke the door down. They had recorded her terrifying pleas for them to hurry and her blood-curdling screams, when the door’s panel splintered apart and the shot that went off, killing her husband instantly.
Jessica shuddered as tears streamed from her eyes. It was over. The District Attorney exonerated her on the basis of self-defense. Now, all she had to do was get away from Hal Wilton, who she knew, would do everything in his power to stop her. She gazed upon the casket still feeling hopeful. Nothing was going to stop her. Not even the great Hal Wilton.
The party she had attended with her Aunt the night that Richard had died, had been a liberating and glorious reprieve for the short while they were together. What she hadn’t expected, was her immediate fondness for the handsome Senator from upstate New York she had been introduced to.
Sen. Bryon Gallagher was the kind of man a woman wanted to see his slippers under her bed, and his body in it. Despite his charm and formidable good looks, he stood behind a political platform she respected. Jessica understood why her Aunt supported his re-election for office so adamantly. He was a decorated Special Forces Marine veteran and a well-respected former police detective for the City of Albany. When the young senator learned of Jessica’s degree in public relations and communications, he had offered her the opportunity to fill a vacant position in his executive office as Director of Communications. She had accepted it happily, knowing no matter what it took, she would make it happen and her aunt would help her accomplish that goal.
I wish I was there right now, she admitted silently. There was nothing she needed more, than a brand new start, knee deep in a position that would fill her days and many evenings, working for a distinguished senator, who was bent on changing the world. If it wasn’t for her Aunt Florence being called away for an emergency board meeting, Jessica knew her aunt would have been there right now by her side, striking fear into the likes of Hal Wilton.
She watched as those before her shuffled uncomfortably, exchanging nervous glances amongst themselves. She pitied them for the mindless puppets they had become, and detested Hal for making them that way. She shot her father-in-law a look of disgust.
Hal Wilton reined with tyranny both over the town he owned and his family. Even now, they stood high upon a dais, separating them from the “little people”, as he so often referred to the townspeople as.
Jessica jumped with a start and stiffened, when Hal’s left hand glided along her back and began to massage it seductively. As his palm slid to her derriere and cupped it possessively, she reached her left hand behind and dug her manicured nails into his flesh until he released her. Even though he could not see her face, she still sent him a look of disdain.
“Stop it!” She hissed in a voice that was low, yet menacing.
She took a quick step sideways and looked about to see if anyone witnessed the exchange. She wanted nothing more than to slap the snicker from his face, as he then reached his arm about his wife’s shoulder, pretending to be the consoling husband and grieving father, spurring his wife to whimper even louder.
Purchase A Pawn for Malice from:
Pre-order A Pawn for Malice at the special pre-order price of $2.99, before November 6, 2016. The full retail price of $4.99 goes into effect on Nov. 6th.
My love of reading romance fiction goes back to those early years when I was raising a young family. It wasn't until much later in life I actually took up the pen to write my first historical romance, Wind Warrior. I really don't fit into one specific niche. Once a story starts to flow, it's only then I know what genre/sub-genre it will fit under.
I have only one regret, and that is not getting to this point in my career much sooner, rather than later. Life has a way of setting up roadblocks, which for me, was supposed to work out that way. Because of those detours, I have become a more passionate and expressive writer, allowing me to create the kind of raw human emotion I want my readership to feel.
It is my hope you walk away with not just an entertaining read, but the importance in knowing, "Without imagination & dreams, we lose the excitement of wonderful possibilities."
Places where you can find Cynthia Roberts: