1st Murder – Excerpt 1



“Get comfy. It will probably be a while before Bruno collects you,” he said before shutting the door and audibly locking it.


Actually, no. It was wonderful.

It gave me time to escape.

A small window—but one I’d be able to slide through—broke up the wall on the far right. I pulled a chair against the wall and stood on it, trying to pry the window open.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said to the empty room with a swear.

Someone had padlocked the window. I might break it, but the noise would alert anyone close to my escape.

After another minute, I gave up the idea and returned to the desk, rummaging through the drawers for anything that might help me get out of my current predicament.

I came up empty-handed. Mostly.

Files were stuffed in the unlocked filing cabinet. Receipts of different shipments, which must have moved through this warehouse when it was in regular operation. They were all dated 2001 or earlier.

I abandoned the filing cabinet and returned to the desk, looking for something to pick the padlock. Katy’s insistence to always carry a lock-pick set no longer sounded like an unrealistic precaution.

The locked door jiggled. Something scraped on the knob.

“Shit,” I whispered and grabbed the closest heavy object as a weapon.

Bruno had come back way sooner than I expected.

I braced myself against the far wall, planning to fight my way out. No matter what, I couldn’t leave this building with Bruno or I’d never make it.

My life flashed before my eyes, the things I hadn’t done on repeat in my memories. Who would catch Brent, find Jalinda’s killer, and feed Not Brent if I died?

The door opened, and I raised my stapler in front of me, ready to chuck it or slam it against someone’s face.

A head popped through the opening and smiled. He fucking smiled. “Who are you going to hurt with that thing?”

“You.” I chucked the stapler at his head.

He ducked, and it slammed against the back of the door. “Fucking hell, Vonnie. Do you want everyone to know I’m rescuing you?”

My eyes widened, and I searched for something else to throw. “You’re rescuing me? I’m in this mess because of you.”

Broadrick entered the room and closed the door behind him. “Really? I’m the one who told you to go poking around the woods and sneak up on armed men during a weapons exchange?”


Broadrick closed his eyes—not smart when I was still looking for a weapon—and spoke to himself or the Big Guy above for a moment. When he finished his private moment, he said, “I’m here to rescue you.”

“Yeah, why?” What was he? Only a part time bad guy?

“I have no idea,” he said with a shake of his head.

“What are you even doing here? You’re working for the bad guys now? Turned on the government? What the hell, B?”

Broadrick was always a model soldier. I’d never believe he’d sold out the military if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

He looked at the ceiling again. “I can’t explain, but it’s not what it looks like.”

I scoffed. “That’s what they all say.”

“Can’t you just appreciate that I’m here to save you now? You know, so you don’t die. Or worse, end up in Bruno’s harem.”

Could I?


But only until we made it to safety and then it was back on.

“Fine.” I stomped toward him, but he didn’t move for the door quick enough. “I guess this is a perk of no one believing you exist.”

“What?” his forehead furrowed.

“None of my friends believe you’re real.” I shrugged and pointed toward the door, reminding him we were escaping.

He didn’t make a move toward it. “Of course, I’m real.”

Oh, my word. Were we really going to do this now? “I know, but they’ve never seen you.”

And now they never would because I’d never admit I once dated a criminal.

“I’m right here, Vonnie.”

“You’re impossible.” I motioned to the door, and this time he turned, seeming to remember where we were. I reached down and recovered my weapon. “Let’s go so I can beat you with my stapler.”