Anniversary excerpt: A Fatal Writers Conference

The first book in the Fatal Writers' Conference series released on this day in 2008. My, time has flown ....

Setup: Bea Emerson (pen name B.R. Emerson) was present when a famous author died, autographing a book for Bea at a writer's conference. Bea and L.J. Remarchik, the detective in charge of the case, have an impassioned kiss – but nothing else happens because L.J. is worried about a broken heart.

“Bea, I’m sorry.”

“Good night.”

We stared at each other for one long, painful moment. Then he pulled the door open and left, closing the door quietly behind him. I heard him pause outside my door.

I peeked through the eyehole. He was there, staring at the floor. Despite the rejection, I ached to touch those shaggy white curls. I wanted to tear open the door, throw my arms around him, and drag him back inside.

He turned and walked away.

I leaned against the door, exhausted. I couldn’t believe it. Just a few minutes ago I’d been in the throes of one of the most orgasmic kisses of my life.

Now I was alone.

This made no sense. I replayed the conversation in my mind. What man cared about one-night stands? What man cared about a relationship unless it was forced down his throat and he had to deal with it?

What had that telephone call been about?

I pushed away from the door, belly-flopped onto the bed and cried.

All the accumulated stress, anger and lust poured out of me. I heaved big gasping, choking sobs, wetting the sheets as I pounded the pillows, making silent screams into their soft, cushiony folds. It was messy, cathartic and quick. A minute later I sat up, feeling better.

That damn Remarchik. So he had scruples. Who cared? I’d manage without him. I’d been living a man-free existence for a long time and I’d continue to do so. To hell with him.

I tugged off my sweater and pants, suddenly anxious to get out of my party clothes. I’d slip into my Bruce T-shirt, make myself a big old likker drink and watch movies until my brains oozed out of my head. I went to the closet, shoving aside my party dress to find the hanger for my pants. As I did, the dress twisted on its hanger. Something looked wrong. It didn’t feel right, like the plastic wrap was torn. Maybe the cop— Ryan?— had snagged it or something when he peeked into the closet.

I pushed the dress over on the closet rod and stared at it.

It was slashed to ribbons, the fabric drooping in limp strands. I pulled the tatters out and stared at what remained. Somebody had methodically slashed through my dress, leaving it a thready mess.

I dropped it on the floor, panic making my hands tremble. Somebody had gotten into my room and done this. When? How had they done it? When did I look at that dress last? I changed clothes today and …

I didn’t pause to think. Too much had happened in the last two days for me to rationalize this most recent act of violence. I snatched my jeans out of the closet and dragged them on then fumbled on the sweater I’d worn earlier. I spent a precious minute finding a pair of sandals before snatching up my purse and flinging open the door. Remarchik was downstairs someplace. I’d find him and have him do something about the dress. He’d know what to do. He was a cop.

The hallway outside my room was full of party-goers. There must have been a wedding in progress somewhere because four women all dressed in similar burgundy dresses were milling around my door. Five men with them were in tuxedoes, carrying bottles of champagne. They jammed the hallway, laughing and shouting. I scooted behind them and headed for the stairs near the service elevator Officer Ryan and I had used earlier.

In twenty seconds I was out of sight and in a headlong flight down the stairs.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS