Title: FOUR TRAGEDIES
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Word Count: 80,000
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obsession is:
Charlie Reddmann and Hayes Keller are fearsomely obsessed with protecting their family and neither knows the lengths the other has gone to in order to do so. Hayes considers the Reddmanns his true family, but he was forced to leave them and Charlie behind when his parents threatened to expose a secret that would destroy the Reddmann legacy. Since he’s been gone, Charlie’s done everything in her power to keep that secret buried, care for what’s left of her family, and protect, at all costs, the son Hayes doesn’t know exists.
University professors are dying in Hanover, North Carolina, and their murders bear a striking resemblance to the deaths of Shakespeare’s wronged heroines. Police Chief Charlie Reddmann is on the case, which becomes professionally and personally complicated when her ex-fiancé, FBI Agent Hayes Keller, joins the investigation. Charlie’s walked a tightrope since the day Hayes left, balancing her job, motherhood, and her family’s demanding legacy. Just as she considers moving forward with a new job and a marriage proposal from her best friend, Hayes reappears, throwing her present and future plans completely off balance.
Hayes’s parents blackmailed him out of Hanover twenty years ago by threatening to expose the Reddmann family’s darkest secret. He doesn’t intend to jeopardize the life Charlie’s built during his absence, but when her current relationship falters, Hayes sees a window of opportunity to win back the woman he still loves. If he’s going to stay in Hanover for good, he’ll have to regain Charlie’s trust and finally put an end to his parents’ unrelenting threats.
But as the case Charlie and Hayes are investigating leads closer and closer to home, the tightrope they’re both now walking is stretched taut under the weight of their past and their secrets. If it snaps, the free fall will be deadly.
First 250 Words:
Jefferson Willett was a legend.
A legend for his oft-cited treatises. For the gilded awards lining his office walls. For the well-placed students who had crossed the threshold of his lecture hall. Willett’s scholarship and his progeny were their own institution.
Hanging from the rafters of a barn with a thick rope cinched around his neck, face so swollen it was hardly recognizable, Jefferson Willett seemed anything but legendary.
Charlie stepped back as the crime scene techs loosened the noose and lowered him into a body bag. She waited as the techs conducted their preliminary examination, thankful he hadn’t been dead long enough for a smell to permeate.
“Got something, Chief,” said the tech peering into Willett’s mouth. He reached in and extracted a rolled strip of paper. He dropped it into her gloved hand, and she carefully unfurled the tiny scroll. Handwritten in red block letters was the strangest suicide note she’d ever read:
#1 – A PLAGUE UPON YOU, MURDERERS, TRAITORS ALL!
One word caught her attention, ratcheting up her heart rate and transforming the scene from merely disturbing to potentially dangerous.
“Step away from the body,” she ordered as she took several steps back herself. She raised her voice so everyone working the scene could hear. “We’ve got a quarantine situation. Shut those doors and call the biohazard team.”
A stunned moment of silence and a shouted “Now” later, the barn doors swung closed with a thunderous bang, shuttering the morning light and plunging them into deadly darkness.