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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

☀☄ Cady Delafield [1-3] - Joyce Proell

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for the Cady Delafield series, a Historical Mystery Romance by (Champagne Books).

There are currently three books in the Cady Delafield series.

PREVIEW: Check out the full details of each book below, including synopsis, trailers and excerpts. Author Joyce Proell will be awarding one ebook each of: A Deadly Truth, A Burning Truth and A Wicked Truth to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


Synopsis | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

The Series: Cady Delafield

A Deadly Truth | A Burning Truth | A Wicked Truth |

Click on the book cover to Look Inside the book on Amazon and read longer excerpts.

A Deadly Truth [1]

When Doyle Flanagan finds two strangers in his library—one dead and the other the beautiful but meddlesome Cady Delafield, his life begins to unravel as all clues point to him for the murder.

As the sexual tension sizzles and Victorian conventions crumble, Cady risks job, reputation and family ties to help him clear his name. Even as his life hangs in the balance, his passion for her drives him on, but will the truth about him be the one thing to scare her away?

[Published 1 July 2013, 272 pages]

Excerpt

One

Chicago
1881


Cady Delafield drew a breath of wintry air and stepped from the hansom cab. Against the sun’s glare, she narrowed her eyes staring up at the austere yet beautiful townhouse, one of dozens lining the prosperous street. What business could a near penniless student like Fiona, a woman short on family and connections, have in this affluent dwelling?
      “Wait for me please,” she directed to the ruddy cheeked driver who held open the cab door. “This shouldn’t take long.” As quickly as the slick ice covered walkway allowed, she hustled to the building’s door, her brow drawn with question about Fiona’s recent disappearance. She rang the bell, tapping her foot while an unsettled feeling slithered across her shoulders making her shiver. “Where is everyone?” She jabbed the bell a second time. A home this size often employed several servants, yet curiously, no one answered. The puzzling matter brought forth two other questions which had plagued her all morning. Whom did Fiona meet here last night and where was she now?
      Scowling, Cady gave a hearty rap to the door and was surprised to see it creak open. Curious, she stuck her head inside.
      “Hello?” Bouncing off the high ceiling, her voice ricocheted with an eerie resonance. A wide, carpeted staircase led to a second floor. Alongside it, a center hallway flowed to the back of the house. “Hello? Is anyone here?”
      Her gloved fingers tensed around the door handle. A voice in her head clamored walk away, but she had to find Fiona. When the young woman’s roommate had come to her worried to tears about Fiona not coming home last night, Cady could hardly refuse to help. As school administrator, she knew Fiona was a top student, dedicated, and conscientious and not given to spending the night away from the tiny flat she shared with Rosaline.
      When a gust of chilly air pressed at her back, Cady scampered inside prepared to tell anyone she met about the open door. A deserted parlor sat on the right of the entrance while near the base of the stairs two mahogany pocket doors were closed tight.
      “Hellooo.” She tipped her head, straining to hear and caught only the wind whistling off the nearby lake.
      “This is ridiculous,” she scoffed and marched across the foyer. After one unanswered knock, she slid the door open and peeked inside. Heavy drapes cast the room in a dim light. A figure, no more than a shadow, lay on a sofa.
      “Forgive me,” she murmured backing away but something about the woman made her pause.
      “Fiona?”
      Getting no reply, Cady paraded over to the bay windows and threw open the drapes. Light spilled through the lace under curtains. “Fiona. What in the world…” Cady spun about and gasped.
      Stretched out on her back, head nestled on a pillow, Fiona stared at the ceiling with lifeless eyes.
      The room became a kaleidoscope of dizzy movement. Cady grabbed the top edge of an easy chair for support. “Oh,” she moaned struggling to regain her equilibrium.
      “Good God,” she whispered, her head reeling. Fist pressed against her lips, she edged closer. Hair neatly arranged, hands crossed in a virtuous pose over her heart and clothes resting smooth and undisturbed about her limbs, Fiona resembled a body laid out for viewing. But this was no funeral parlor. The whole arrangement, as Cady could think of no better word for what lay before her, was unreal and eerie.
      An arctic cold gripped her. Trembling, she crossed an arm over her chest, her fingers digging into her upper arm. Swallowing back the lump in her throat, she poked the young woman’s shoulder and prayed the thick twill of her jacket would rise on a gulp of air. Yet regrettably, Cady knew her student, one of her most gifted, would never graduate, marry, laugh or breathe again. Tears stung her eyes. She brushed them away, aware she must send for a priest, a doctor. No, no. The police.
      “What are you doing here?”
      She yelped and twirled toward the blaring voice, heart pounding in her throat. A glowering man filled the doorway. Danger clung to him as tangible as the fur collared overcoat draped over his shoulders.
      “I…ah…” She swallowed convulsively, her gaze riveted to the frightening man. Whiskers shadowed his strong chin while hair, black as oil, spilled in haphazard strands across his forehead.
      “I asked you a question.”
      “She’s dead,” she whispered.
      His blue eyes grew wild. “What?” He exploded into the room.
      Cady shrieked and snatched a bronze statue from a nearby end table. “Don’t come any closer!” He jolted to a stop and surveyed the weapon clutched in her fist. “Put it down.”
      “Not until you explain yourself. Who are you?” Her voice wavered like a frightened moth captured in a bottle. She couldn’t trust him. If he would stay put, she could slip around him and run for the police.
      His mouth set into a thin slit, he started forward.
      “No! Don’t come any closer.” She brandished the statue determined to use it if necessary.
      “Don’t be ridiculous,” he snapped. “I’m not going to hurt you.” Now an arm’s length from the sofa, he glanced down at Fiona. “If I’d wanted to hurt you, I would have done so before now.”
      He skimmed a hand across the dead woman’s forehead.
      “Don’t touch her.”
      His mouth crimped with annoyance, but to her surprise, he withdrew his hand. Then, in one dramatic, fluid movement, he yanked his coat from his shoulders and hurled it into a nearby chair. He faced her and said, “Who are you?”
      She sucked in a ragged breath. “A woman is dead. Have you no feelings?” As the tart words slipped from her mouth, she realized the foolishness of antagonizing him.
      “Of course I care,” he said as though she were an idiot. “I care very much. Now, please, hand me the statue.” He thrust forth an upturned palm.
      Uncertain about his intentions, she shifted foot-to-foot. Tired lines rimmed his eyes but his bold manner, as though he ruled the kingdom, suggested he was accustomed to getting his way. Keeping well away from his reach, she edged past the fireplace and closer to the door.
      “I didn’t kill her,” he offered. “As you saw, I arrived home only minutes ago and she…” His gaze slid in Fiona’s direction. “She appears to be dead for some hours. She’s as cold as the room.”
      Cady blinked not certain if she’d heard correctly. “Your home?”
      “My home. You heard correctly.” A muscle twitched in his cheek, a certain sign his jaw was tightly clenched. “And since you are standing in my library, I should like to know your name.” As she had nothing to hide, she said, “I am Miss Arcadia Delafield, school administrator of Women’s Preparatory College.” In a defiant gesture, she threw back her shoulders. “I didn’t kill her either.”
      “So you say.”
      She inhaled a strident breath, shocked at his effrontery.
      “What do you know about this woman?” Frowning, he glanced about the room, as if searching for a lost item. “Where’s Booker?”
      “I don’t know who Booker is.” A wave of sadness rose as she dipped a chin toward the body. “She’s Fiona Murphy, one of my students.”
      Grasping one of Fiona’s hands, he inspected each fingertip then laid the hand on her chest before he repeated the process with the other hand.
      “What are you doing?” No murderer would exam his victim with the same concentration one might use when reading a map.
     v As if he hadn’t heard her, he inched Fiona’s high collar aside. Cady was startled to see him flinch.
      “What is it?” Sharp pinpricks stabbed at her nerves.
      “The skin’s been brutally lacerated.” A weary sigh escaped his lips. “She’s been strangled.” His tone sounded so bleak and his expression was so haggard she knew a moment’s pity for him. “Strangled with a garrote I suspect.” He shot her a dubious glance. “But you already know.”
      “No! How could I? I never saw her neck.”
      “Why is it, Miss Delafield…?” He inhaled deeply, his broad shoulders rising at the effort. “Why is it upon returning home, I find two strange women in my library and one of them is dead?” His gaze smoldered. “What have you to say?”
      “Well, I…I can’t explain it anymore than you.” Cheeks burning, she resisted the urge to glance away from his stony glower. “You act as though I killed Fiona when, in fact, you have as much to account for, perhaps even more, given the murder occurred under your very roof.” A nasty sound rolled deep in his throat. She ignored the threatening noise.
      “Fiona wasn’t in school this morning. She never misses class.” Speaking of the girl made her voice hitch. After a labored swallow, Cady continued. “When she didn’t return home last night, her roommate reported something was wrong.” She set the statue on a table and fished a scrap of paper from her handbag. “Her roommate had no further information, but apparently Fiona had an appointment to meet someone at this address last night.”
      “Not possible,” he replied with the utmost assurance. “I was out for the evening. As to my manservant, he has a standing engagement on Wednesday evening. No one else resides here.”
      As she studied the elegant cut of his clothing; the black evening suit, the starched bib and stiff wing collar with the top button undone and the missing tie, her suspicions mounted. No man wore full evening dress before noon which suggested he hadn’t been home last night. She had no reason to trust him. Yet to kill someone and leave the body on the library sofa
     overnight for the servants to find the next day made no sense. But then again, where were the servants?
      “So you say, but Fiona never came home last night.” Blinking back a tear, Cady waved the note in the girl’s direction. “You can see the outcome.”
      His stern face darkened. “May I see the note?” He thrust forth an upturned palm. She considered slapping it aside.
      She hesitated, but as his impatience bristled ever higher, she passed him the paper if only to keep him from ripping it from her hand.
      He studied the note, glowered then moved to stick it in his pocket.
      “No. I’d like it back.”
      She blanched beneath his formidable gaze, but to her relief, he handed her the note and said, “It’s not my handwriting. If you mean to offer this as evidence to the police, it will gain you nothing.”
      The police would make the final decision. She searched his face for some sign of truth, but his strong features and sharp, quick gaze revealed no clue.
      The silence clamored between them like an electrical tension wire. With his brow creased, he stalked over to the window, pushed the curtain aside and lifted the lower sash. “Is it your cab at the curb?”
      “Yes,” she replied but doubted he heard her over his loud bellow to the driver.
      “What are you doing?”
      “I need a messenger,” he said, closing the window with a thud. He turned and his stare was so intense she looked away.
      “Did Booker let you in?”
      Before she could answer, someone knocked. The bow-legged cabbie stood in the doorway. Fingering the rim of his cap, his rheumy gaze swept over the shelves of books and settled on Fiona. His watery eyes widened in alarm.
      “There’s been an accident,” the big man in evening dress said plucking a calling card from his waistcoat pocket. “Take this to Inspector Dinsmore. You’ll find him at the Cook County Jail.” Only a fool would disregard his curt demand. “Tell him to come at once, and tell no one else what you’ve seen.”
      The driver took the card then slipped her a questioning look.
      “Yes, do as he requests.”
      Any smart woman would have taken this chance to run, but she’d made a promise to lead her students to a better life. With Fiona’s future stolen, the promise weighed even heavier. Furthermore, the unsavory aspect of murder would throw the school’s donors into a tizzy. For the sake of both Fiona and the school, Cady needed to learn more about the circumstances surrounding her death. At the very least, she’d watch over the body and ensure no clues were pocketed or destroyed.
      “And take her with you,” directed the tall man in eveningwear who shoved a coin into the driver’s hand. “Take her wherever she wishes to go.”
      “No, I’m staying right here.” The bold declaration surprised even her, yet with the police about to arrive, she doubted he would cause her harm.
      “I insist you leave, miss.” He motioned to the door.
      “No, I believe I’ll stay.” Despite his thunderous glower, she slipped into an armchair, all grace and good intentions, settled her crocheted handbag in her lap and forced a charming smile. “You may go driver. And hurry back.”

A Burning Truth [2]

In 1881, the air in Chicago is rife with worker discontent, yet business titan Doyle Flanagan is hopeful for the future. He looks forward to a lifetime of peaceful bliss with Cady Delafield and leaving the wretched past behind. But his life is once again thrown into disarray when his office is vandalized and the night watchman viciously murdered. Clues lead to a powerful organized labor movement. Targeted in the press as anti-labor and with a big rally staged next door to his offices, Doyle must uncover the culprits before his wedding plans and his livelihood go up in smoke.

Plagued by memories of four brutal deaths, school director Cady Delafield is determined to drive the recent tragedies from her mind and enjoy being courted. Although his commanding personality threatens to overshadow her, Doyle Flanagan is the most dynamic man she’s ever met. When another tragedy unfolds placing him at the center, she takes action—action that could shatter her future dreams.

[Published 1 February 2014, 252 pages]

Excerpt

One

April, 1881 “Why, it’s outrageous!” Cady Delafield said with a laugh.
      In the soft glow of the carriage lantern, she glittered in the familiar way which delighted Doyle to his very core. He’d missed seeing her bright smiles and playful attitude absent these past few weeks.
      “It’s almost midnight,” she added and crimped her mouth in mock disapproval, but failed to mask her teasing. “Surely, Mr. Flanagan, you aren’t serious about traipsing about in a lumber yard near the docks at this time of night?”
      “It’ll only take a minute.” Happiness strummed through his body with each hopeful sign of her recovery from the recent tragic events. She was plucky, determined and stubborn. But the death of three women and seeing a man blow his head off left a person altered. He knew this for a fact. He’d watched the man pull the trigger too.
      “Besides.” He dropped a hand over his chest affecting a bit of melodrama. “Aren’t you the least bit curious to see where the master potentate, the supreme leader, the Great Poohbah—” “Oh, please.” She thrust up a palm forestalling any more joking. “Great Poohbah, indeed!” He chuckled and angled his long legs on the carriage seat so his knee leaned against hers. It struck him as unbelievable he’d known her only five weeks. Time enough to fall in love and fall he did with both feet crashing through the floor. His familiarity and ease with her made it seem as if they’d been the best of friends since childhood. Soon, when he believed the horrific events were behind them, when she no longer complained of nightmares or jarring flashbacks, when the world was again solid beneath her feet, he’d propose marriage. The notion made him smile.
      “If I’d known you were having such a challenging time finding suitable lodging,” he said, admiring the new way she’d looped and curled her red hair on the top of her head. “I would have helped sooner.”
      In the dim carriage light, her hair glowed with a rich, earthy tone. He longed to pull out the pins and let the silky mass slip through his fingers like cool water. “If I’d known, I would have brought the rental list along with me this evening and you could have looked it over before we went to the theatre. Besides, you’ve never seen my office.” He wagged his brows, projecting a playful leer, wishing for more of her musical laugh.
      “Oh…”
      And just like that, her mood changed becoming grim and quiet. He suspected the memory of Edward Villard in her office, a gun pressed to his temples, had quashed her spirits again. Turning her face away, she drew back the window curtain. Beyond her shoulder, Doyle saw the brick and clapboard buildings. The blackened windows of Hibbard’s Hardware reflected a glimmer of yellow from the corner street lamps.
      “So you’re still set against living with your grandmother,” he said, well aware the mention of the old woman seldom failed to get a rise out of Cady. He preferred her fired up than bleak and despairing.
      “Grandmother Ophelia and I don’t see eye to eye on things.” Cady blew a breath of warm air against the glass. It clouded over. With the tip of a gloved finger, she delicately scrawled in cursive the letter D, paused then wiped it away with the heel of her fist. “She wants to run my life. Besides, she’ll never accept I’m a working woman. Hardly a day goes by when she doesn’t harp about me being a school administrator. The fact the school teaches women job skills so they can work goes against her grain.”
      “The idea of a woman working outside the home doesn’t fit with her generation,” Doyle added. Cady made a chirruping noise of disgust. “According to her, a woman should marry, preferably a wealthy man, have kids and sit on her duff commanding the lives of her family for the rest of her life.”
      From what Doyle observed, Ophelia Prentice ruled the roost in her opulent home, managing to dominate her widowed daughter and four granddaughters. In a prudent move, he offered a polite smile and remained silent. If he hoped for a happy marriage some day, he’d keep his mouth shut on the subject of Cady holding down a job.
      But despite the frequent strife between the two women, he couldn’t help but wonder if he figured into Cady’s reasons to flee the comfort and safety of her grandmother’s mansion. Ophelia made no secret of her dislike of the Irish and him in particular. It didn’t seem to matter that he’d been born in this country. The woman quivered with hostility every time he stepped into her parlor. “Has Ophelia expressed an opinion about me courting you?”
      “We’re here,” Cady declared with exaggerated gaiety. The carriage jerked to a stop. Not waiting for assistance, she flung open the door and hopped out, pointedly ignoring him.
      Stubborn puss. When the feisty woman chose to avoid something unpleasant, she simply changed the topic. Yet indirectly, she’d answered his question. Ophelia did not support the courtship. Lips pressed together, he followed her from the carriage and requested his driver to wait.
      He and Cady would finish this conversation later. But for now...
      He swung her into his arms.
      “Doyle,” she squeaked. Inclining her head in the direction of the driver perched high on his seat, she mouthed, “Phelps.” The man, bundled in a heavy overcoat, had the professional poise to stare straight ahead at the empty, darkened street.
      Doyle grinned. Undeterred, he gave her a kiss filled with promise and suggesting, for this one time, he’d allow her evasion.
      “Come on.” He tugged her hand.
      Together they crossed the walkway to his offices and lumber works. A globed-topped street lamp threw a whitish haze over the three-story brick building. He pulled a key from his vest pocket, unlocked the front door to Flanagan Woodworks and followed her into the front lobby. Two gas wall sconces hissed softly and spread a faint light over the room which, except for the large desk, resembled a comfortable parlor. A kerosene lamp burned at the corner of the reception desk. In the desk’s center lay an open newspaper weighted down by a half-eaten apple.
      “Tatter, the night watchman, must be off doing rounds.” It struck him odd he should wonder why Tatter would leave behind his unfinished fruit.
      “Oh, this is impressive,” Cady announced, eagerly scanning the plump leather sofa and jewel-toned brocade chairs in the reception area. A hint of light-heartedness was back in her voice. “What? No Turkish rugs? No hookah for the Great Poohbah?” She slid him a mischievous look. “No lurking camels?”

A Wicked Truth [3]

The wedding date is set, and life is magical for Doyle Flanagan and Cady Delafield. Honor bound to repay an old debt, Doyle agrees to help an old friend find her sister. As he searches for the girl, painful memories surface, stunning Cady when she discovers facts about Doyle’s hidden past.

In spite of incredible odds, Cady and Doyle’s love has flourished. But in the midst of a life threatening accident, murder, and Doyle’s secrets, their wedding date and happiness are in jeopardy. Mired in tragedy, can they overcome the turmoil with a fateful decision that changes their future forever?

[Published 7 September 2015, 305 pages]

Excerpt

Prologue

Thursday, May 12, 1881

She never considered her life might end in a tawdry room with a stranger. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Not to her. Even her worst nightmares never conjured such horrors. Yet here she was, sick with fear and loathing, and her chances of survival limited. Would death be the final solution?
      Heavy footsteps in the hallway drove her head from the pillow. Fear thudded in her ears.
      No. No. Not again.
      Not another… Her stomach twisted. It was inconceivable she could endure such atrocities much longer. Frayed and bruised, surely she would go mad.
      The footsteps stopped outside her door. Terror rose as a key jiggled in the lock. Eyes stretched wide, she swept a hand beneath the pillow and grasped the cotton fabric wound about the jagged shard of porcelain. How foolish of him to leave behind a water pitcher. With the proper thrust, she’d shattered the glass, and after taking what she needed, hid the rest under the dresser. If she were lucky, he wouldn’t notice its absence. Hope spread in her chest then died just as quickly.
      When the door swung open she scrabbled to her knees, the crude knife obscured by the pillow and covers. She shook her head, dispelling the sluggish effects of the drug slipped into her drink last night. A means to keep her compliant and her brain addled. Shivering and clad only in frilly undergarments, she yanked a sheet to her chin. She lost count of the number of days she had been held captive and used by men for their vile pleasure. Had it been five or six days? More? Another hour, a minute, even a mere second was more than she could bear.
      Dressed in gentleman’s attire, he entered the room, his jowly face partially shadowed by lamplight from the dresser. “Charlotte,” his voice rumbled. There was no mistaking the man in charge, the man most to fear. She shrank beneath his cool gaze of indifference. Towering and broad chested, his hands were the size of bear paws. They hung loose at his side. “No need for alarm, Charlotte.”
      “My name’s not Charlotte.” Where the strength came to refute him, she didn’t know.
      “You’re mistaken about the name.” Though soft spoken, the tone of danger in his voice brought goose bumps to her arms.
      A second man garbed in similar finery followed him through the doorway. When she recognized him, her heart lurched. Chin lifted in defiance, she glowered at the leering monster who had destroyed her innocence. A noise of distaste grated in her throat. Expensive, well-tailored clothes, gentrified men, it made no difference. They were all pigs. He closed the door. The latch caught with an ominous click amid the silence.
      “You remember Mister…” For the first time, the man in charge glanced at the portly fellow, whose color rode high in his rounded cheeks.
      “Ah…Miller,” the second man supplied, his hesitation suggesting it wasn’t his true name. She didn’t care. She only wanted to be free of this bedchamber, to leave behind the garish room with stale air and the lone window nailed shut, hidden behind heavy drapes.
      “Mr. Miller so enjoyed your company the other night. I trust you’ll welcome his attentions again, Charlotte.”
      Her gorge rose at the heightened gleam in Miller’s eyes, a man of similar age to her silver haired father. Maybe if she spilled the contents of her stomach across the bed he’d be revolted enough to turn away and leave her alone.
      “I’m not dressed for company.”
      One enormous paw rose, quelling further comment. Clearly he would tolerate no argument. “I didn’t think it necessary to dress her for the occasion. However, if you prefer…”
      Miller waved off the offer. “Either way, she’s enticing.”
      It sickened her to recall herself styled as a ten-year-old girl, the pinafore, the cascading locks and the hair bow. Since then she’d been left with nothing but a robe and her undergarments. Hate rose like bile.
      “Quite refined,” the big man boasted. He smoothed the hair above his ear, drawing attention to the missing end of his pinky finger. With vicious glee, she imagined the tip had been bitten or ripped off at the joint in an accident or in a fit of anger.
      “Skin like a baby’s behind.” Eyes dancing with impatience, Miller stepped forward.
      She reared back, and startled when her bare skin struck the cold brass bed rail, causing him to laugh. How she hated his wrinkled face. Had she been a succulent bird on the spit and he a starving man, he could not have appeared hungrier. Almost salivating, he dragged the tie from his neck as he came closer. Shrugging off his jacket, he tossed it on a nearby chair. Never once did his gaze wander. It ate into her skin, raising the hair on her arms.
      “I brought champagne.” The missing pinky man poured the liquid into two thin stemmed glasses on the dresser.
      “I don’t want to drink.” Her voice wavered.
      “You’ll drink and be pleasant about it. He thrust the glass her way.
      Afraid the alcohol would dull her thinking, she hesitated, but his fearsome glower was worse, and reluctantly, she accepted the offering. After pretending to sip, she set the glass on the nightstand.
      “Now, do be charming,” he advised with an unmistakable warning. “I’ll leave you to get reacquainted.”
      Hope for an escape flared when he left her with Miller. With only one man to outwit, she had a chance. His predatory smile stirred another chill. Fighting off an urge to shriek and run, she forced a pleasant expression and beckoned him closer.
      His bushy brows lifted with surprise. “Want it, do you?” He made a crude gesture, and her hand gripped tighter around the hidden weapon. He tugged off his shoes, half stumbling in his eagerness. “Don’t be afraid.” He worked the buttons of his trousers. “I won’t hurt you.”
      Right. The pain between her legs never went away. She was done with being hurt.
      “So soft,” he crooned as plump, damp fingers slid down her neck. His gaze moved lower, as did his hand. She tried not to gag. Instead, she imagined her body rising above the bed, floating like a cloud away from this brute. When he gripped her breast and squeezed, tears of pain stung her eyes.
      Be steady, she urged herself and lowered her gaze to the pillow.
      “You’re eager,” he chuckled, mistaking her intent. “Let’s lie down.” He pushed her against the mattress.
      Strength, she prayed. Give me strength.
      He reclined next to her, his head propped up with a hand. The other hand roamed across her body, a painful tweak there, a pinch here, as though he had the right.
      Biting back a sick taste, she touched his thick neck, disgusted by the folds of fat as she pulled him in for a kiss. Nausea roiled inside when his tongue slithered into her mouth. He tasted of wine and cigars and a foul metallic taste, like blood. Angling his body, his heavy weight anchored her against the lumpy bed. He pushed between her thighs.
      Fury built, but she held it in check. Then, as he squirmed against her, grunting, she whipped out the weapon. It arced through the air, and with all the power she possessed, she stabbed the flabby muscle beneath his ribs. The impact juddered along her arm. A bellow of rage rang in her ears. His head shot up. Eyes wide with disbelief, he stared, not comprehending.
      Again and again, fueled by an out of control rage, she struck him. He jerked like a landed fish. In defense, his arm swung up. He clutched her wrist as he screamed. Rolling to the side, he kicked out. His arms flailed. Blood seeped into his shirt, spreading over the white linen.
      “What the hell!” a voice roared.
      The other man, the purely evil one, had returned. Her heart shot into her throat.
      Strong fingers dug into her upper arm as she was yanked from the bed. Wildly, she jabbed with the knife, crazed with anger, determined to slash and maim. A mammoth palm slapped her face. Stumbling, she hit the wall. Her ear blared.
      He knocked the knife from her fingers, and with both hands, he shook her until her head wobbled. “What have you done?” His voice boomed. Miller whimpered in the background. “I want to go home,” she shouted.
      The veins in his neck stood out in livid ridges. His face wrinkled in fury. “Home? I’ll send you home.” He swung his burly arm and the impact knocked her off her feet. When she hit the dresser with a loud crack there was a flash of pain then nothing more.

Cady Delafield series
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About the Author

Joyce grew up in Minnesota and attended college and grad school in Chicago. After working in mental health, she retired at a young age to write full-time.

Her first book, Eliza, was published in 2012.  The Cady Delafield mystery series followed next with A Deadly Truth, A Burning Truth and the last, A Wicked Truth published in September, 2015.

When she isn’t writing mysteries or historical romances, she loves to swim, walk and is a crossword puzzle fanatic.

She and her husband live in Florida and Minnesota, in her very own little house on the prairie.

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