Words, Words, Words: Liebster Award Winner!


I am absolutely delighted to have won the first award for my blog! After receiving the Liebster Award, Science Fiction, Transmedia & Fandom passed it onto me! This award is normally given to bloggers by other bloggers, and I am honored to be part of this tradition. To learn more about the Liebster Award, check out this detailed WordPress post by Lorraine Reguly.

The Rules
1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
3. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
4. Answer 10 Liebster questions given by the person who nominated you.
5. Nominate 5-10 bloggers who you feel deserve this award
6. Ask your nominees 10 questions.
7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs and/or emailing them.

11 Random Facts About Me
1. I’m a sci-fi television junkie.
2. I have a 3-year-old daughter whose favorite activity is telling stories, and I think that’s just about the coolest thing ever.
3. I’m a seventh-generation Texan.
4. I have a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century literature, but when I was an undergraduate, I sold all my eighteenth-century books back because I hated them!
5. I teach college English online.
6. I grew up in a town with a college that has a rodeo major.
7. I have lived in New York City, L.A., New Orleans, and near Atlanta.
8. I love the color pink.
9. Summer is by far my favorite season.
10. I spend as much time in swimming pools as I possibly can.
11. I could eat enchiladas for every meal for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy.

My Answers to Science Fiction, Transmedia & Fandom’s 10 Questions

1. Who is your favorite author?

I hate “favorite” questions! I like too many different kinds of books to choose favorites. I tend to have lists of favorite authors according to genre and to time period. But at the moment, here are a few: I love books by Neil Gaiman, Lois McMaster Bujold, Faith Hunter, Stephen Graham Jones, Ilona Andrews, Carrie Vaughn, Richelle Mead, Rachel Vincent, Holly Black, Janny Wurts, Jennifer Estep, Rachel Caine, Patricia Briggs, Janet Evanovich . . . and those are just the ones who come to mind immediately!

2. Which books/movies/TV shows have inspired you most?

When I was in kindergarten, The Hobbit was my nightly bedtime story. By the time I was in the fourth grade, I had read all of The Lord of the Rings. I also read the entire Trixie Belden series in the fourth grade. These two series pretty much set my love of fantasy and mystery in stone!

3. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

This year, it’s having two novels accepted by different publishers in the same week!

4. If you could have a conversation with one fictional character, who would it be?

Bob Howard, the narrator of Charles Stross’s The Laundry Files series. I would love to have a sit-down with the computational demonologist who protects England (and the world!) from Lovecraftian nightmare monsters.

5. What prompted you to create your blog/website?

Initially, I started my blog to promote my first novel, Waking Up Dead. But I quickly decided that I wanted to promote other writers, too, and to write about all things word-related.

6. Which non-fiction book(s) would you recommend?

Most of the non-fiction I read is academic—recently, I’ve been reading a lot of books analyzing popular culture. I’m currently reading a couple of books with articles of mine: Nadine Farghaly’s Examining Lois Lane: The Scoop on Superman’s Sweetheart and Deborah Christie and Sarah Lauro’s Better Off Dead: The Evolution of the Zombie as Post-Human. I’m looking forward to reading Sherry Ginn’s The Worlds of Farscape and her forthcoming edited collection of essays on Dollhouse.

7. What is your favorite music genre to listen to?

I have eclectic tastes. I listen to everything from classical to country to alternative to rock to rap.

8. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Use active voice.

9. Which advice would you give an aspiring writer?

Keep writing new things. Always have a work in progress. Finish writing a piece, do a quick edit, and submit it somewhere for publication. Then move on to the next project. Don’t wait to hear back—that way lies madness! If it’s rejected (and often it will be; that’s the nature of writing for publication), don’t let it get you down. Just send it out again and go back to your work in progress.

10. What was the most recent TV show and/or movie you liked?

I’m currently obsessed with The Big Bang Theory. I discovered it two weeks ago and have watched all seven seasons. But I rarely watch sitcoms; I’m much more likely to watch supernatural dramas like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries, Walking Dead, Teen Wolf . . .


Nominate 10 Bloggers
1. Melanie Karsak: http://melaniekarsak.blogspot.com/
2. Fabulosity Reads: http://fabulosityreads.blogspot.com/
3. Tashara Talks: http://tasharatalks.com/
4. Deborah Melanie: http://deborahmelanie.blogspot.com/
5. Refreshingly Riki: Miss Riki’s Musings: http://missriki.com/
6. KateMarie Collins: http://katemariecollins.wordpress.com/
7. Marie Lavender: http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
8. Diaries of 2 Thick Chicks: http://diariesof2thickchicks.blogspot.com/
9. Reading Until I Fall Asleep, by Bebe Knight: http://www.readinguntilifallasleep.com/
10. Nancy Wood: http://nancywood-books.com/blog.html

My 10 Questions For The Nominees
1. What prompted you to start blogging?
2. How do you decide which guests to invite to participate in your blog?
3. How do you determine which topics to write about on your blog?
4. What do you consider your most interesting trait?
5. What do you find inspirational?
6. Who are a few authors you look up to?
7. What book are you reading now?
8. What books have most influenced your life most?
9. What is the most frightening thing you have ever done?
10. What is something on your “bucket list” and why do you want to do it someday?

Waking Up Dead’s BEST WEEK EVER!

This last week has been absolutely fabulous, and I wanted to share it with everyone!

The first amazing thing to happen was that Waking Up Dead hit several genre bestseller charts in the UK; in itself, that would have been wonderful, but check out the company it was keeping when it hit #2 in Ghost Suspense in the UK:

#2 in UK Ghost Suspense

At #6 in Horror in the UK, it was all Stephen King . . . and me!

#6 UK Horror

And it also hit #1 in Paranormal Suspense in the UK!

#1 in UK Paranormal Suspense

By Thanksgiving day here in the U.S., Waking Up Dead was on bestselling genre charts in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Germany.

If that weren’t enough, I found out that Waking Up Dead was chosen as the alternate read by the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club, hosted by Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, Bonnie Burton and Kiala Kazebee.

I discovered this when I got a Goodreads notification that Felicia Day had posted about my book.

I had to check to make sure it was really THAT Felicia Day.

It was.

I got a little dizzy.

And their main choice for December is Laurell K. Hamilton’s first Anita Blake novel, Guilty Pleasures–more exciting company for Waking Up Dead to be keeping!

Vaginal Fantasy Book Club Choice sm

On Thanksgiving Day, I discovered I had been awarded the Liebster Award for Blogging (check back here soon for more information on the award!).

In a week of thanksgiving for all the great things in my life–family, friends, a life I love–I have been even more thankful than usual for all the readers who are reading Waking Up Dead and sharing it, and for those who follow and read this blog; you all rock! Because of you, this week has been just about perfect.


Spotlight On: Earth’s Magick by Mel Massey



Coming Soon from Solstice Publishing

Life in Trinity Hills, Texas goes from normal to deadly for Mela Malone. Whenever Mela falls asleep, a mysterious Hag creature tries to kill her. What begins as dabbling in protective spells from an ancient Grimoire, leads to her initiation into an ancient order of warrior witches known as the Elementai.

Mela learns war is coming with The Darkness and the Hag is only one of the evil creatures in its service. As an Elementai, Mela learns it’s her duty to find four part-human sisters who can help defeat the evil that threatens to return to the world. With every new discovery, Mela uncovers ancient secrets that complicate her quest further.

As war approaches, everyone must make a choice – fight with the Elementai for all life on Earth, or fight for The Darkness…

Author Bio:


Mel Massey studied Cultural Anthropology and History of Religion. Her husband serves in the United States Army and she is the mother of two adorable monsters. Mel spends most of her time talking to her imaginary friends.

Book Highlight and Giveaway: My Date from Hell

Title: My Date From Hell by Tellulah Darling

Genre: Young Adult

Series: The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #2

Sophie Bloom’s junior year has been a bit of a train wreck. After the world’s greatest kiss re-awakened Sophie’s true identity as Persephone (Goddess of Spring and Savior of Humanity), she fought her dragon-lady guidance counselor to the death, navigated mean girl Bethany’s bitchy troublemaking, and dealt with the betrayal of her backstabbing ex, Kai (sexy Prince of Darkness). You’d think a girl could catch a break.

Yeah, right.

With Zeus stepping things up, it’s vital that Sophie retrieve Persephone’s memories and discover the location of the ritual to stop Zeus and Hades. So when Aphrodite strikes a deal that can unlock Sophie’s pre-mortal past, what choice does the teen goddess have but to accept?

The mission: stop media mogul Hermes from turning Bethany into a global mega-celebrity. The catch? Aphrodite partners Sophie and Kai to work together … and treat this suicide mission as a date. Which could work out for Sophie’s plan to force Kai to admit his feelings for her–if she doesn’t kill him first.

Add to that the fact that BFF Theo’s love life and other BFF Hannah’s actual life are in Sophie’s hands, and suddenly being a teenager—even a godlike one—seems a bit like … well, hell. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie?

The YA romantic comedy/Greek mythology fireworks continue to fly in My Date From Hell. Love meets comedy with a whole lot of sass in book two of this teen fantasy romance series. Breaking up is easy; dating is deadly.

Amazon | iTunes | Kobo


pointed her gun at me again, kind of casually. “Your problem is you’re too hung

up on the past. You gotta move forward with yer life.”

I heard

Hannah give a smothered laugh.

“You got

this cutie pie in love with ya, and instead of enjoying his company, all you do

is whine.” With a quick flick, Aphrodite opened the cylinder to reload.

“He’s not

in love,” I said.

She peered

at Kai. “Whattya talkin’ about? Sure he is. Everyone knows Kyrillos

loves Persephone.”
       “I’m Sophie,” I ground out.

She waved

the gun around. “Ya ya. That too.”

That too?

I took a deep breath, folded my fingers over my palms and looked slightly to the

left of her in case I accidentally started blasting. Didn’t want to go down in history

as the girl who killed the Goddess of Love.

“Nope. It’s

just desire,” I said with faked calm. “Kai is so resistant to the idea of being

in love with me that your arrows don’t work. Besides which, when he actually does

fall so hard for me that he doesn’t know which way is up, I want him to know he

chose that of his own free will. That he chose me.” I threw him a sweet smile.

“Chose you?”

Kai got this look of “have we had this conversation before?” on his face. My smile

got tight.


scooped up a saclike pink purse laying on the ground. She rooted around in

it. “Desire is part of romantic love, silly,” she said to me.

She pulled

out a handful of bullets and dumped them in Festos’ hurriedly outstretched hands

before turning back to Kai. She gestured with the still-open chambered revolver

toward him. “Your body knows what’s what. Stop fighting it.”

Kai glowered

at her.

She laughed

it off, reloading. “And you,” Aphrodite said to me, as she plucked more bullets

from Festos’ hand to load into the chamber. “Yer just as bad with your own issues.”

She couldn’t

know about my insecurities around Persephone could she? Aphrodite narrowed her eyes

at me.

I gulped.


shot me a look of disgust and popped the final bullets into the chambers. She gestured

at each of us in turn with one pink, sparkly manicured finger. “I’m gonna start

gettin’ real mad about how youse is all dealin’ with love.”


a whole bunch of drags around here where love is concerned,” Festos agreed.


so much for inviting him along,” Theo said to me.

I grimaced

an apology at Theo, then shot back at Festos, “Seems there’s a whole bunch of dogs

here, too.” I looked between him and Kai.

“Oh don’t

forget Pierce,” Festos replied cheerfully. “He’s a total mimbo.” “He is not,” Hannah

defended. “He’s pure love.”


threw her a fond smile. “I like you, girlie.” “Love in name, hormones in game,”

Theo countered. “Look at us all in agreement,” Festos replied.

“No, because

you’re talking about lust,” I protested.

“Lust is

pretty good too,” Aphrodite said, “but it ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.” She

clicked the cylinder into place and looked at me. “We got a deal? You’ll get Jack

to kill the campaign?”


undo the love thing?” I asked.

“Nope. You

could do with a little love in your life. Kyrillos is obviously brimming with love

for ya now,” she ignored Kai’s snort, “so you’re gonna enjoy it.”


what?” I asked.

“A date,”

Kai piped up. “I’d say I’m ready now.” He arched an eyebrow as if to say “ball’s

in your court.”

“I think

it’s a great idea,” I slid my arm around his waist and pressed myself up against

his side.

A look of

surprise flashed across his face. “Perfect.”

I could

outdate him any place, any time. I brightened. This was going to be fun. The touching

part wasn’t a downside either.

“The fate

of the world does dee-pend on you loving each other,” Aphrodite said. “So, good.

We’ll start with a date.”

“Still say

it’s a euphemism,” Festos burst out. “And Kai doesn’t date.”

Kai snaked

his arm around my waist before pressing his fingertips into my hip. “Never wanted

to before. Sophie’s the exception.”

“The euphemistic

exception?” Festos asked. “Shut up,” Kai and I fired at him in tandem.

Festos took

it in stride, waggling his eyebrows cheerfully at Theo who pretended to look disapproving

but totally wasn’t. Even Hannah didn’t bother to hide her smile.

“Only thing

is,” I told Aphrodite, “I have to be back at school by Sunday morning. I have a

meeting I can’t miss. So I’ll have to get this thing with Jack done quickly to have

time for the date.”

“Going together

to find Hermes is the date.” Aphrodite looked at me like I was an idiot.

“You two need as much together time as possible.”

No way.

I needed all my wits about me to handle Kai. Something that couldn’t happen if I

had to track down Hermes at the same time. I tried a new tactic. “A date involves

dinner and a movie. Something romantic. Finding Hermes hardly counts.”

She pinned

me in her gaze. “Had so miny of them, Miz Expert? All a date is, is two people spendin’

time to deepen their attraction.”

“Or kill

it,” Hannah piped up.


scrunched up her nose. “Huh?”

“There are

far more first dates than second,” Hannah explained. “Which means that after spending

time, those people realized they were not a match.”

“What she

said,” I seconded.


narrowed her eyes at Hannah. “I don’t get ya. You talk like that but you’re so brim

up with love.”

“I’m a confounding

enigma,” Hannah replied cheerfully.


threw her hands up. “Enough’a this nonsense. You’ll go together to find Hermes.

And you’ll be date-like doin’ it.”

That sounded

like a threat.


like you planned it that way,” I said to Kai.

His smile

grew wider as he gave my waist a squeeze. “Told you I get what I want. Feel

free to let that sink in.”

Tellulah Darling


1. YA romantic comedy author because her first kiss sucked and she’s compensating.

2. Alter ego of former screenwriter.

3. Sassy minx.

Geeks out over: cool tech.

Squees for: great storytelling.

Delights in: fabulous conversation.

Writes about: where love meets comedy. Awkwardness ensues.

Sassy girls. Swoony boys. What could go wrong?

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Spotlight On: A Vampire’s Christmas Carol

A Vampire’s Christmas Carol (Novella)
Cynthia Eden


This holiday season has bite.

Ben Prescott hates Christmas—he’s a vampire, and to him, there’s certainly nothing jolly about the holiday season. While the humans are running around being merry, he’s hunting in the shadows. Ben plans to spend the holidays his way…by stalking deadly prey.

But fate has other plans for Ben.

Three visitors are coming Ben’s way…A demon who will force Ben to face his past, a ghost who will show Ben the present he could have, and a shifter who will reveal the darkness that waits in Ben’s future. Unless Ben can change his ways, he may just turn into a real monster, one who can’t be saved by anyone or anything.

‘Tis the season…to be undead.

Ben’s redemption rests in the hands of the one woman he loved and lost—Simone Laurent. If Ben is going to have a chance at being more than just the beast in the darkness, he has to prove himself to the lovely Simone. A very hard task, considering that, once upon a Christmas Eve, Simone died in Ben’s arms…

This book features one very tortured vampire, a sexy ghost from his past, and hot scenes designed to melt the winter snow. Plenty of action, adult situations, and steamy times are ahead. Happy holidays! 

Available for purchase at 

Lust clawed through him. The need, the red-hot desire, seemed to
burn Ben from the inside.  He grabbed
Simone, yanked her flush against him. His mouth locked on hers. He’d always
tried to be so careful with her in the past. Played the gentleman because she mattered.
He wasn’t
a gentleman any longer. Ben wasn’t even sure what he was. He just knew he
needed Simone naked, and he had to be in her.
He carried her back to his
bedroom. He ignored the glittering New York skyline. She was the only thing he
could see. Desire pounded through him. His cock was so swollen that he hurt
His teeth were extending.
Stretching in his mouth.
Ben dropped Simone on the bed
and stepped back, horrified.
“Ben?”  Simone sat up on the bed and pushed back the
blonde hair that had tumbled forward. “What’s wrong?”
            She was so gorgeous and
sexy staring up at him.  Looking at him
with those wide, dark eyes.

I’m going to hurt her. He grabbed for the control that he’d always
held so easily in the past. Only that control was broken. Shattered. “You need
to leave.”

About the Author

USA Today Best-selling author Cynthia Eden has written over twenty-five novels and novellas. She was named as a 2013 RITA® finalist for her paranormal romance, ANGEL IN CHAINS, and, in 2011, Cynthia Eden was a RITA finalist for her romantic suspense, DEADLY FEAR.
Cynthia is a southern girl who loves horror movies, chocolate, and happy endings.  She has always wanted to write (don’t most authors say that?), and particularly enjoys creating stories about monsters–vampires, werewolves, and even the real-life monsters that populate her romantic suspense stories.

Cynthia’s foreign sales for her books include translations to Japan, Germany, Thailand, Greece, and Brazil.
(Back in the day…) Cynthia graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Alabama where she studied Sociology (because people interest her) and Communication (because she likes to write about said people).  Cynthia has worked as a college admissions counselor, a teacher, and as an editor. But now, Cynthia is thrilled to be spending her days making up stories.



A $100 Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Presented By

Spotlight on: The League of Skull and Bones, Book 1 of the Grimm Chronicles

Jess Grimm has the ability to travel to any dimension in the multiverse. There’s only one problem… it’s killing her.

Jess is a in a race against time to find a device that can slow the progression of the power inside her, but she isn’t alone. Others want her power, and they don’t care how they get, or if she is dead or alive when they do.

The only person willing to help her is the mysterious Ronan Sparrow a member of the League of Skull & Bones, one of the very groups that want her power. But what does Ronan want in return? Can Jess trust him or will she find herself alone with enemies on all sides?

The League of Skull & Bones, Book 1 of The Grimm Chronicles


I wasn’t alone in the dark.

Snarls and growls surrounded me, running my blood cold. I moved my head from side to side, scrunching my eyes, trying desperately to catch sight of the beasts before they reached me. My crimson swords weighed so heavily in my hands that I felt as if I’d been fighting for what seemed like eternity.

Claws and fangs suddenly slashed out from the darkness and I did my best to defend myself, though in my heart I knew it was a losing battle. The beasts were overpowering me and soon I wouldn’t be able to stop them. No one was coming to save me. I was alone.

Talons slashed across my back and warm blood trickled down as pain shot across my spine. I stumbled and the beasts—I was sure—tasted victory. They moved in at me in waves. I spun my blades trying to battle the never-ending tide, trying to survive.
It was hopeless. For every monster I took down, another two took its place. I wanted to live, I wanted to fight, but the agonizing pain of my flesh being torn and sliced was too great to bear. I couldn’t go on. The jaws of one of the beasts clamped on my wrist, and I lost my grip on one of my swords. It fell from my hand and clattered to the ground and with it went my last vestige of hope.

Blood drained from my body and my vision faded. I would soon black out, and then the beasts would feast on me. A scream bubbled in my throat and my mouth fell open, but no sounds came out. I closed my eyes, not wanting to see my own death and hoped that darkness would take me before the beasts did.

I bolted out of bed, my mouth still open in a silent scream, and my sheets tangled around me soaked with sweat. I stood at the foot of my bed, my breathing coming in ragged gasps.
The nightmares came almost every night. I couldn’t escape them no matter how hard I tried. I yanked at the sheets, dragging them off me and tossing them back onto the bed.

I’d worn only an old t-shirt to bed, though now I wished I had worn more. I didn’t want to see my scars, didn’t want to be reminded yet again, but I couldn’t stop my fingers from tracing over the ugly scars that marked my arms and upper torso.
I walked from the top floor of my loft, down the stainless steel steps to the kitchen area. I yanked open the fridge and grabbed the container of milk and took a gulp. I placed it back in the fridge and slammed the door closed. I slipped down onto the couch that faced the large windows dotting the walls of my loft and sighed at the breathtaking view of Paris. It always calmed me.

My fingers mindlessly drifted over the scars on my arms. They were a reminder of the very real night I had been trapped in a nearly unwinnable fight. Monsters had surrounded me and had almost killed me. If it hadn’t been for my friends, I would have died.

But I hadn’t died, or had I? I was far from the girl I had once been. Once I was the prettiest girl in school, and the girl who had hit every club and had had a blast when she had moved to Paris. But after the vicious attack everything had changed, most of all me.

My fingers suddenly stopped, settling on the edges of identical tattoos on both my forearms. I glanced down at the image of a Skeleton Key. My scars refused to cross paths with the tattoos, as if they knew that they dared not go near them.
I slid my finger over the tattoo, and felt a buzz of power run through me. These unwanted tattoos were another reminder of something else entirely. But unlike my scar, I had chosen these.

The monsters may not have gotten me, but these tattoos were a different matter. They marked me for death.

I pulled my knees up into my chest and took a deep breath. Maybe I would wait here until dawn. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about any more nightmares or death that constantly stalked me.
I sat alone in the dark looking out on the City of Lights, awaiting the dawn and praying that I could keep death at bay and that I wouldn’t hear the sound of monsters.

Available on

Would you like to review The League of Skull & Bones? 
The blog tour kicks off January 13th – 17th. 

MJ Fletcher was born in New Jersey and now lives by the beach with his very understanding wife and daughter. He has been writing since he first stapled pages together as a child and called them a book. He finally realized his ambitions when his comic book series Adam Zero The Last Man of Earth was published by Ronin Studios. His other comic book work includes Digital Webbing Presents and The Hero Initiative. His first novel The Doorknob Society released in 2012 was nominated for a Cybil award in the young adult category. He has continued writing the Doorknob Society Saga his rollicking steampunk adventure series as well as working on numerous other writing projects.

Excerpt: Give Me Hope by Zoey Derrick

Give Me Hope Blog Tour Banner

Give Me Hope

Give Me Hope

Author: Zoey Derrick

Series: The Reason Series (#2)

Genre: Paranormal Romace/Fantasy

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: Nov 19 2013


An Angel is he…

From the first moment he saw her, MIKAH BLAKE was seized by an inexplicable need to protect Vivienne Callahan, a fragile but fiery young woman who’s awakened a slumbering power within him. With his encouragement, Vivienne has begun to turn her life around, and things seem to be heading in the direction of a slow but certain happily-ever-after. But that happy ending is side tracked by a rising evil that is determined to destroy her.

When her dark past comes back to claim her, Mikah is caught in a whirlwind of events that lead him down a path he was born into but never understood. Until now.

Can Mikah save Vivienne? Will his love be enough? Will he be able to control his angelic powers and use them to protect his newfound love?


Book Links




Author Info

Zoey Derrick

It is from Glendale, Arizona that Zoey Derrick, a mortgage underwriter by day and romance and erotica novelist by night, writes stories as hot as the desert sun itself. It is this passion that drips off of her work, bringing excitement to anyone who enjoys a good and sensual love story.

Not only does she aim to take her readers on an erotic dance that lasts the night, it allows her to empty her mind of stories we all wish were true.

Her stories are hopeful yet true to life, skillfully avoiding melodrama and the unrealistic, bringing her gripping Erotica only closer to the heart of those that dare dipping into it.

The intimacy of her fantasies that she shares with her readers is thrilling and encouraging, climactic yet full of suspense. She is a loving mistress, up for anything, of which any reader is doomed to return to again and again.


Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Personal Page






I pull the detective’s card from my pocket, dial the number and wait.


The voice is tentative, groggy from sleep. Not like the confident officer I met last night. “Detective Stevens?” I ask.

He clears his throat. “Yes.”

Much better. “This is Mikah Blake. We met last night.”

“Oh, of course. What can I do for you?”

“I sent you an email this morning that shows your boy Riley meeting his dad outside my building around two this morning. I have a security detail working on the full video exchange.”

“Are these cameras yours? The ones used to capture these images?”

“Yes, I had the security system installed a couple years ago, the previous one was shit.” I can hear my own irritation coming through. “If we find something you can use, you call your evidence boys and have them come get it.”

“Uh…that’s great. Thank you.” I can hear it in his voice: He’s not used to being told how to do his job.

“Don’t thank me yet. I want a report on Vivienne’s building from last night.”

“It doesn’t work like that, Blake. This isn’t quid pro quo here. What is your need to know?” The skepticism can be heard in his voice and the pain in my back spikes.

“Because when I arrived here this morning, there was a cab parked outside. Still is. I’d like to know when it arrived.”

“I can’t do that, Mr. Blake.”

“Don’t give me that bullshit. Why don’t you call your guy parked down the block from her apartment and ask him. Then we can move on from there.”

“Alright, hang on.” There is a series of clicks. Then he comes back on the line. Ring. “Blake?”

“Yup.” Ring. “Thanks, Detective.” I know he’s violating company policy. Ring. And, I know it’s killing him to give in to my demands.

“Yeah.” Irritation fills his voice. Ring. “Just don’t say anything when he answers.” Ring.

Click. ”You’ve reached the voicemail of Officer Anders. Please leave—” Click.

“What the hell?” Stevens says. “It’s ringing, so it’s on. But why not answer?”

“Let’s find out, shall we?”