Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sample Sunday - Ties That Bind Chapter 25

Today's #SampleSunday comes from TIES THAT BIND, chapter 25.  It shows a personal side to Detective Madison Knight.

Chapter 25

S
o you actually took time off?”  Cynthia leaned into the corner of the couch, her legs tucked beneath her. 
“And that’s hard to believe?” Madison took a sip of her wine.  If Cynthia wanted to look at the situation as her simply taking some time, so be it.  She didn’t need to know everything.
“Coming from you, yes it is.”
“Maybe it’s time to change who I am.”
“Now, it sounds like you’re pouting.”  Cynthia pressed her lips together.
“I was backed into a corner.  And I am a little burnt out lately.”
“But that’s the state you thrive in.” 
Cynthia’s eyes met hers and she could no longer hold back from telling her how events had played out and the real reason she ended up with some time off.  Pride.
“Okay, it makes more sense now.”  A smirk tugged at the corner of her mouth.  “To prove a point.” 
 “To prove a point?”  She did her best to deny how close her friend was to the truth.
“Yeah.  The Madison I know always has to prove a point, be the one to have the last word–”
“You think you know me so well.”  Madison considered denying the allegation but the words melted on her tongue.  She had to admit Cynthia did know her, perhaps even better than herself. 
Cynthia smiled at her.  “Your eyes give you away.  And even your stubborn nature can’t refute it.”  She emptied her wine glass and placed it on the coffee table.  “But there are some things I don’t know.” 
Madison didn’t like the look in her friend’s eyes.  “Don’t even want to ask.”
“Well, there is one thing I’m dying to know, and every time I bring it up, you clam right up or find a way of changing the subject.”  Madison went to speak but Cynthia held up her hand.  “Toby Sovereign.  What is the deal with you two?”
Madison rolled her eyes, and a small laugh enveloped her.  Their relationship had been over long before she knew Cynthia.  “You’ve got to be kidding me.”  She lifted her wine glass, a ‘fish bowl’, nearly empty from its second refill.  She swirled it, took a draw.  “Still haven’t had enough.”
“Come on.”
“Begging doesn’t suit you Cyn.”  She smiled at her friend and looked at the television where An Affair to Remember played at a low volume.  Both women had been talking so much, it mostly served as background noise.  Madison referred to Cary Grant.  “Can you believe Terry was named after him?  A Casanova?”  They shared a laugh but Madison sighed relief the subject was redirected. 
Looking back to the screen, Nickie Ferrante was desperately appealing to Terry McKay, working his charm and trying to make her forget her fiancée in a moment of weakness.  Really, the whole appeal of a playboy using his charm to manipulate a woman - how is it some just couldn’t see through it?  Maybe it was the alcohol, but Madison’s heart skipped a beat.
“So that’s where his nickname came from?”  Cynthia laughed.
“Yep.  His mom was a Cary Grant fan but his dad refused to let his son be called Cary.  Said people would confuse it with a girl’s name.  Not that Terry is really that much better.”
“That’s hilarious.  But I guess Terry must have had the Cassanova effect on his wife.”
“At least at one time.”  The words blurted out.  Madison hurried to get up, hoping it would distract Cynthia from picking up on the negativity in her voice.  “Refill?”  And if the movement wouldn’t serve to be enough, the offer to bury her comment under an opportunity to indulge might.  “Cigarette?”  Normally she discouraged her friend’s habit but whatever worked to change the subject again.
“Are you kidding me?  They’re having problems?”  Cynthia turned to watch Madison in the kitchen. 
No such luck.  And no matter how much she tried to avoid clichéd sayings, she couldn’t help but think of the expression ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’.  Why couldn’t they find something less personal, less confrontational, possibly even something positive, to discuss?  “Forget I said anything.”
“You’re kidding right?  I’m just supposed to forget.”
“Yes.”  Madison plastered on a full fake smile, sure to show all her teeth.
“Oh man, shut that mouth.”
“What?”
“Your teeth are purple.”  Cynthia pointed at the red wine.  “Been drinking a little, missy?”
“Hey, no more than you.  And speaking of teeth−”  She needed to stop drinking. 
Cynthia’s eyes widened.  “Oh yes, Mr. Bright White.”
“Shut up.” Of course Cynthia picked up on her reference, the beautiful ME, Cole Richards, his bright white teeth.  They must be fake.  Madison tossed an empty takeout container toward her. 
 Cynthia raised her arms to fend off the projectile.  “Yep, it’s love.”
“Please, I’ll have you know he’s a happily married man.”
“So he is, but Terry isn’t?”
“How did we get back to that?  I don’t have any more small containers over here.  Next time, it will be something heavy.”
“How can you hold it against me?  My detective skills are further honed thanks to you.”
“Don’t blame me for your shoddy ability.” 
Cynthia hurried toward her.  Madison moved. 
“Now would I ever hit you...”  Cynthia’s voice dripped with sarcasm.
Madison enlarged her eyes and went to step back.  But Cynthia caught her and jabbed her right shoulder.  “At least your detective skills are in better condition than your reaction time.” 
With another mention of Madison’s job title, the lightheartedness of the wine transformed into serious meditation.
“I can tell by your face you’ve gone back to work.” 
Madison topped up their glasses.
“You need to let work go when you’re not on shift.”
“This isn’t a job I can just turn on and off, Cyn.  It stays with me twenty-four seven, three sixty five.  It’s something that I pretty much breathe.”  She inhaled deeply, her heart getting worked up.  The thoughts of finding Laura’s killer was quickly becoming an obsession.  “My job is, sad to say, my life.” 
Madison could tell by Cynthia’s facial reaction she struggled to find words of encouragement, a means of rebuttal.  “See even you have nothing to say.”
A sinister grin encompassed her face.  “You need to get laid.”
Madison nearly choked on her wine, forcing a burgundy mist to spew into the air before spitting the rest of it into the sink.  She remembered the man that did his best to hit on her earlier in the week at the bar.  She’d keep that to herself.  “I say to you, I have no life, and your first reaction is I need sex.”  Cynthia nodded her head.   Madison laughed.  Raising her head to face the ceiling, she asked, “Where do I meet these people?”
“People, Maddy, or men?  Anywhere.  In a bar, grocery shopping, online‒”
Madison reciprocated the punch from earlier.  “You know what I meant.  The friend I have in front of me.  I’ll spell it out for you.  I don’t want you to overexert your skills.”
“You’re just a cruel person Miss Knight.  Here I am thinking of your best interests and this is the thanks I get.”  She headed back to the couch and dropped herself down hard enough that her legs come off the floor.  She proceeded to lie on her side and snuggle her head into a throw pillow.  “I’m sleeping over.”
“Oh, you think so.”  Madison winked at her friend but it was lost to closed eyelids.  “Cyn…”  She repeated it louder and still no response.  Her friend was asleep.  She envied her ability to fall asleep so quickly.
“Guess we’re just getting too old for this.”  Madison spoke softly while working around the room turning off the electronics.  She took a large draw on her wine and hit the lights.
But as she lay in her bed, she was more wired than tired.  Her eyes were open in the darkness of her small bedroom and she felt a chill run through her which caused her to lift the covers and burrow all but her head beneath them. 
Night time was the enemy.  With it came all the distorted, twisted people bent on violence and destruction.  She felt goose bumps rise over her body.  Laura would have seen her death coming.  She would have faced it.  {snipped to avoid a possible spoiler}


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Detective Madison Knight concluded the case of a strangled woman an isolated incident. But when another woman’s body is found in a park killed by the same line of neckties, she realizes they’re dealing with something more serious.

Despite mounting pressure from the Sergeant and Chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars, and a partner who is more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, Madison may have to go it alone if there's not going to be another victim.

Available to buy in E-book or Paperback: