by Carolyn Arnold
GENRE: Police Procedural, Thriller
Sometimes the past should stay there…
The murder is one of the most heinous Brandon Fisher has ever seen, but that’s not why it has his and his colleagues’ attention. The FBI’s interested because the prime suspect is one of their own, Paige Dawson.
But Paige didn’t go to Valencia, California to kill anyone. She had set out on “vacation”—her new lover in tow—only to confront the man who had raped her friend twenty-some years ago. While the hands of the law are tied, she wants him to face the fact that he destroyed a young woman’s life and know that, as an FBI agent, she’ll be watching his every move. But instead of accomplishing her goal, she wound up in the back of a police cruiser.
Now Paige must face off with a hard-nosed detective determined to stick a murder charge to a fed. But with the trained eyes of the FBI on the case, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the evidence lends itself to a serial killing, not an isolated incident. And as long as the local authorities are focused on Paige, the real murderer is still out there, possibly waiting to strike again…
“Agent Fisher.” I had answered without checking the caller ID, but the ensuing silence on the other end of the line had me pulling back the phone and consulting it now.
SANTA CLARITA V.
That tells me nothing…
“Hello? This is Special Agent Brandon Fisher. Can I help you?” I looked for Zach, but he was gone again.
There was no verbal response on the other end of the line, but I heard a distinct exhale, followed by more deep breaths.
Santa Clarita… Where was that? It sounded Californian.
And I knew only one person in California.
There was a jagged intake of breath. A sob, maybe?
“Oh God, Brandon.” It was Paige, and she was definitely crying. And Paige didn’t cry. I’d witnessed the odd tear fall when our relationship had ended, but this was different. Something was very wrong.
I leaned on my desk and looked around, but no one was nearby.
“What’s going on? Are you okay?” I asked. I gave her a few seconds to respond. She didn’t. “Where’s Sam? Is he okay? Talk to me, Paige.”
“Shh. I don’t want everyone to know.”
“What’s going on?” I was starting to get annoyed that she was avoiding my question. She was the one who had called me.
“I’m in trouble,” she began. “Big trouble.”
“What kind of trouble?”
“I’m in…jail,” she ground out.
Her words struck me as a physical blow. I even stopped breathing for a second. I sank back into my chair. “You’re what?”
“There’s been a misunderstanding is all.”
I’d hope so…
“Where is Sam?” I asked again.
“Please, Brandon, don’t tell Jack or Zach.”
Another aversion tactic. “I don’t know much to tell.” My concern for her was quickly morphing into irritation. “Where’s Sam?” I repeated a third time. Maybe I should record myself and just hit “play.”
Another deep exhale into the receiver.
“Talk to me,” I entreated.
“He doesn’t know.”
“What? How can he not know you were—”
“Shh! I can’t explain everything over the phone. I need you to get me a good defense attorney and send him to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. Have them ask for Detective Grafton or Mendez.”
A good defense attorney?
“What are you suspected of?”
“I don’t want—”
“You called me, remember?”
She sighed. “Something I might be regretting…”
“I’m sorry, but you asked me to get you—”
Jack came up next to my desk. He ran a hand along his throat, indicating my call needed to end. Now. And based on the way he was staring me down, refusing him wasn’t an option.
“Where’s Zach?” he asked.
“God, is that Jack?” Paige whispered. “Brandon, you can’t say a—”
I cupped the receiver portion of my cell phone and held it away from my ear. “He’ll be back,” I told Jack. “He probably just went to the bathroom.”
“Hang up,” Jack demanded. He never tolerated personal calls on the job, but this was going overboard. Besides, this particular one wasn’t personal. Or was it?
And why did Paige call me and not Sam? Was it just that I was familiar, or did she not want to give the new guy a bad impression? I dismissed the idea of her still harboring feelings for me before I even considered it, but whatever it was, I wasn’t sure I was completely comfortable with it.
I got up from my chair and walked away from Jack, taking my cell phone with me. I had it pressed to my ear again and could tell Paige was still on the line. I could feel Jack’s eyes watching me, but so far, he wasn’t following.
“I will do what you asked,” I said into the receiver, “but it would help to know what you’re…you know.” I didn’t want to say being charged with, seeing as Jack was still within earshot.
“I don’t want to get into it with you, Brandon. Hell, I probably shouldn’t have even called you. I just thought I could trust you.”
“You can.” The words had come out of their own volition.
“Thank you. I just need a defense attorney who is good at getting the innocent off—” Someone spoke to her in the background. “Yes, I know… Fine,” she said, her voice muffled, probably from her hand over the receiver. Then back to me. “I’ve got to go.”
“I’ll get you someone.”
“Remember, Detective Graft—”
“Grafton and Mendez. I got it.”
“One more thing, Brandon. Please let Sam know I’m okay.”
“And what about the part where you were…” I couldn’t elaborate as Jack was now literally breathing down my neck.
“You can’t tell him I’ve been arrested.”
“Can I trust you or not?” she asked impatiently.
I nodded even though she couldn’t see it. “You can.”
“Sam’s at the Hyatt Regency, room 328.” Then she hung up. With the conversation over, I was left to face Jack, and based on his epic scowl, I was going to have explain why I didn’t hang up the second he had told me to.
“I need to make another phone call,” I said.
“Not right now you don’t,” Jack replied.
Zach came back to his desk, a confused look on his face when he saw the two of us, and Jack gestured for us to follow him into his office.
I was pacing in front of Jack’s door, not wanting to go in because I needed to get Paige that lawyer ASAP.
Jack gripped my shoulder with a firm hand. “Go inside.”
“Uh, yeah. On it.” I pressed on a smile and went into his office.
Jack shut the door and didn’t bother to take a seat. Neither did Zach or I, but the two of us kept looking at each other for a clue as to what this was about.
“Paige has been brought in as a murder suspect.” Jack delivered the statement as if it were any other case—direct, punchy, and succinct.
I swallowed roughly, my throat so dry I wondered if my mouth was even producing any saliva. I sought out one of the chairs that were positioned in front of Jack’s desk.
Jack’s gaze followed me until I sat down. “That was Paige on the phone with you, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah,” I choked out.
His jaw tightened. He shook his head. “Unbelievable.”
I wasn’t exactly sure what he was referring to—Paige’s arrest or my consorting with the…enemy?
Jack closed his eyes. “She just couldn’t leave it alone.”
“Leave what alone?” Zach asked.
Jack let out a heaving sigh, met my eyes, and then turned for the door. “Come on, we’re going to California. I’ll explain on the plane.”
Welcome Carolyn Arnold! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
I am an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. I have four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and have written nearly thirty books. My genre diversity offers readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.
Is Violated a single title, or part of a series?
In a way, both. It is part of the Brandon Fisher FBI series, but can be read as a standalone without the reader missing out on anything crucial to the plot.
What were your inspirations for the story?
Unfortunately, I can’t reveal this as it would be a spoiler for the book and give away the killer’s motivation. What I will say is that the book’s message is one that became quite personal to me during the course of working on the manuscript. The deeper message is really that we should live life forward and not become obsessed with the past at the sacrifice of the present. Nothing in the past can be changed so if we remember this, we can let go and move forward.
When did the writing bug first bite?
When I was a teenager I wrote romance novellas, and even wrote into Harlequin for their submission guidelines, but it wasn’t until I was around thirty that writing came back into my life and stuck. At that point, there was no turning back. Books became a part of my everyday life whether I was writing them, editing them or reading them.
Who are you favorite authors, book/series?
I love Janet Evanovich, David Baldacci, Sandra Brown, and Lisa Unger to name a few.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
I spend time with my husband and friends. I love to read, watch movies, and go out for nice dinners. Sometimes I meditate and journal.
What is the one thing that you would tell an inspiring writer to do?
Write. Simple as that. One word at a time and if you keep going for long enough you’ll have the first draft of a full-length book.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international best-selling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.™
Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and beagle. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.
Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:
Website – http://carolynarnold.net/
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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Carolyn Arnold will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.