Here's where I have the pleasure of sharing excerpts from other writers whom I admire and maybe introducing you to a new writer.
Karen McCullough’s wide-ranging imagination makes her incapable of sticking to one genre for her storytelling. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas, which span the mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. A former computer programmer who made a career change into being an editor with an international trade publishing company for many years, she now runs her own web design business to support her writing habit. Awards she’s won include an Eppie Award for fantasy; three other Eppie finals; Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.
Although Sarah Anne Martin admits to pulling the trigger, she swears someone forced her to kill her lover. Homicide detective Jay Christianson is skeptical, but enough ambiguous evidence exists to make her story plausible. If he gives her enough freedom, she’ll either incriminate herself or draw out the real killers. But, having been burned before, Jay doesn’t trust his own protective instincts…and his growing attraction to Sarah only complicates matters.
and here's the excerpt:
Detective Jay Christianson surveyed the crime scene from just inside the door of the room. On the far side of a spacious office, the body of a bald, heavy-set man rested in a pool of red that soaked the plush carpet beneath and around him. The victim wore a navy polo shirt, khakis, and loafers. Blood spattered the far wall in two main blotches with sprays of smaller drops surrounding them. The smaller patches had started to dry to a rusty brown at the edges while more heavily drenched areas remained fresh and dark red. Dark spots disfigured the gold brocade drapes of the nearest window. A gun--the murder weapon, he presumed--lay on the floor to his left, near an immense desk of dark wood. A couple of overturned drawers lay beside it and papers littered much of the floor. He wrinkled his nose. A faint tang of gunpowder still hung in the air, beneath the nauseating smell that suggested one of the bullets had ripped an intestine.
The combination of money and violence guaranteed this case a high profile. Looked like he wouldn’t be getting any sleep tonight. “Messy,” he said.
Jay’s partner, Sam Hennesy, shook his head. “Yeah.”
While the evidence specialists took photographs and videotaped, the medical examiner waited his turn, along with the detectives.
The first cop on the scene stood at the side of the room, his complexion a bit green, but his eyes steady and serious. He was young, but he’d done the right things and was holding together. He’d do.
“You want to talk to the girlfriend while we wait?” Sam asked.
Jay didn’t take his gaze off the body. “Where is she?”
“Next room,” the young officer said.
“She saw the crime?” Jay asked. “She said so?”
“More than that. She said she did it. She shot him, but she said she was forced to. It’s…bizarre.” The officer shrugged.
“Go write it up. Right now, please,” Sam said. “Her exact words to you.”
The cop nodded. He led them to the next room down the hall, some kind of den, and then left without shutting the door. A young woman huddled in a chair. She was barefoot, with long, tangled dark hair, wearing a blood-stained robe. She looked young, early to mid-twenties maybe, pale, shaky, and very attractive, even with her hair a mess and no makeup on her tear-streaked face. Her dark eyes, wide but glazed, tracked them as they crossed the room.
“Ma’am?” Sam said.
Her eyes widened and her gaze focused on Sam. “He’s dead, isn’t he?”
Jay glanced at Sam, who nodded.
“Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry,” Sam said.
She drew in a sharp breath, and a single tear slid down her cheek. She wiped it away, leaving a pink smudge, and looked up at them, her glance moving from one to the other. “You’re police officers?”
“Detectives, ma’am,” Sam said. He introduced himself and then Jay. “And you are?”
“Are you a relative of the deceased?”
“Vince. His name was Vince. No.”
“You live here?”
She nodded. “I’m his-- Was his…companion.”
“Companion? What does that mean?” Jay asked.
She looked up at him and shrugged but didn’t say anything.
She’s either in shock, none too intelligent, or very clever indeed. Jay’s mental antennae began to vibrate. She’s certainly pretty and knows it.
His hormones knew it, too. Even though she might well be a murderer. Christ. He suppressed the surge of anger along with the message from his groin.
As he met her gaze, though, something else inside him responded. She looked dazed, confused, and helpless. The stupid, gallant part of him that had failed to rescue Theresa woke, suggesting he had another opportunity to rescue someone in need.
No way. He wouldn’t go there again. Not in this lifetime. He needed to focus on the case.