by Carolyn Arnold
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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…
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MONDAY, AUGUST 24TH, 11:10 PM PACIFIC TIME
CANYON COUNTRY, CALIFORNIA
THE MARK WAS IN HIS FORTIES, had no kids, and worked a white-collar job. Average height, average looks. Nothing was truly memorable about him except for his uncommon first name, and that was only because it belonged to a character from a popular eighties movie.
She had followed him to some honky-tonk in Canyon Country, an unsavory location at any time of day, but factor in the late hour and it was even worse. But Ferris had chosen this dive as his hunting ground. Women were easier to lure in with a little chemical persuasion, and that was easy to pass off around here.
He entered the bar with head held high, his back straight, the tease of a smirk on his lips—the end of the evening a foregone conclusion in his mind. He was sipping on his first bourbon, though he was acting as if he was on his third by slurring his words and talking loudly. He’d even thrown a sway into his swagger. Somehow he always managed to make his eyes look bloodshot, too, furthering the charade. And the women would come. And the women would fall for his tricks.
Tonight, she’d be that woman, but she’d be his last. He had to learn there was a price to pay for his actions.
She was sitting down the bar from him. Occasionally, he’d pass her a look—the predatory kind that made her blood boil. She smiled at him, doing her best to convey carnal hunger with her gaze, smearing on a seductive curve to her lips. She dipped her finger into her manhattan and sucked on it—the cherry juice sweet, the whiskey bitter.
Ferris was off his stool and sidling up her to within three seconds.
The ruse worked every time. It also helped that she exploited what nature had given her—a slender frame and shapely legs. High heels accentuated her well-defined calf muscles, and men stared when she walked into a room. When she paired even higher stilettos with a short skirt and crossed her legs, men’s mouths tended to fall open. She utilized all these virtues tonight.
She flashed another sultry smile, and he lifted his glass toward her before tilting his own back and draining it. He set it back on the bar and knocked on it to get the bartender’s attention.
“I’ll have another on the rocks and—” he rolled his head toward her “—get the lady whatever she’d like.”
Time to feign innocence and flattery.
She waved a dismissive hand in his direction. “I really shouldn’t.”
She saw the quick look he gave her glass before meeting her eyes again. “Nonsense. Please, it would be my treat.”
If she stripped his voice of its candy-coated tone, his words were pushy and controlling.
“Well”—she angled her glass, showing how little of her drink she had left—“only if you’re sure.”
If she had actually been given a chance to prove her acting skills, she could be living in a sprawling mansion by now.
“Absolutely. What will it be?” Ferris asked, a grin teasing his lips as he tugged down on his left earlobe. It wasn’t hard for her to figure out what was going on. Ferris was asking for something “special” to be added to her drink—the “special” being some kind of date-rape drug.
She lifted her glass to the bartender. “Another manhattan.”
“Coming right up.” The tender left to make their drinks, and she watched him, taking the time to calm her heartbeat and flow of adrenaline.
“I like a woman who can handle her whiskey.” Ferris was looking quite comfortable beside her now. He was fully facing her, his left elbow perched on the counter, and he wasn’t discreet about his drifting gaze, which gravitated to her thighs.
“What can I say? I’m a little whiskey girl.” The words from the country song rolled off her tongue, cinching her gut, but she had to do what was necessary to pull him in.
“Toby Keith,” he said.
“Toby Keith.” He pointed to a speaker on the ceiling. “The singer who sings that one.”
“Ah, yes.” And here, she thought she was doing well by knowing it was even a country song. She smiled at him again. He truly thought of himself as a woman’s man.
“Have I seen you here before?” he asked.
She dipped her head.
“I knew it. I never forget a beautiful face. So what’s your name?”
“Names really aren’t important, are they, baby?” She extended her hand, her long, narrow fingers bowing before him in feminine elegance.
“Oh, she’s mysterious. I like it.” He kissed the back of her hand, and she was proud of herself for not rolling her eyes.
The bartender returned and placed their drinks in front of them. “Here you go.”
From her observations, Ferris seemed to keep a running tab here. Rape now, pay later?
Oh, and Ferris would pay…
“You never told me your name,” she said, falling into her role.
“Oh, I can tell you mine, but you can’t—”
“Uh-huh.” She sucked on the tip of her finger again.
“Ferris.” He still held onto her other hand, and she pulled it back shyly.
“Are you from around here?” she asked, resorting to the necessity of small talk.
“I just fly in from time to time for business.”
“Ah.” She’d have to call upon her acting skills for this performance. She knew he lived less than three miles away from this place. “What business?”
He tapped his jacket pockets, then slid a hand inside one. “How embarrassing. I don’t have any cards with me. Besides, I don’t really want to bore you. Why don’t we talk about you?” He leaned toward her and lifted his rocks glass. “To a fun night.”
“To one we won’t remember.”
They toasted, and he took a long pull of the amber liquid. She pressed her own glass to her lips and pretended to take a sip.
It is my pleasure to welcome Carolyn Arnold, author of Violated, to Room With Books!
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m an international best-selling author. 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.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I caught the writing “bug” in my teenage years and started out with romance novella. At that young age, I went so far as to write into Harlequin for their submission guidelines. I thought it would awesome to write a full-length novel but at that time never got anywhere with that dream. In fact, it wasn’t until thirteen years later—in 2006—that I was reunited with writing. Since then I have never looked back.
It’s so neat how life can guide you to your purpose. I get chills whenever I share how I was brought back to writing and I’d like to share the story here.
I was working for a large company that had branches in various cities and I was employed in the accounts receivable department of the one in my home town. But after being there for about a year, the rumor came in—and it was a credible one—that my department as well as a couple others would be relocated to Toronto area. Well, there went any sort of motivation!
I was friends with the receptionist and close to the end of one work day, she emailed me “tell me a story.” Now, she was an avid reader but I never said anything to her about how I wrote as a teenager. In fact, I had pretty much forgotten all about the dream to write a book. But when I saw her email, I just fired back a few paragraphs from the top of my head. She liked it and wanted more. We went back and forth a few times and she said “you have to finish this.” That book ended up being Life Sentence, my first full-length novel.
How long have you been writing and who or what inspired you to write?
I answered a bit of this above, but not the part about inspiration. I’d just have to say it’s something I need to do. I have all these stories in my head…and all these characters. It’s either get this out or go mad. And I absolutely love being able to entertain people around the world. This fact never ceases to instill a deep gratitude.
Do you do a job in addition to writing and would you tell us more about it?
I’m one of the fortunate and blessed authors who are able to write full-time.
How would you summarize Violated in less than 20 words?
I can give it to you in 29 words…
FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher sets out to prove the innocence of a fellow agent suspected of murder and finds himself on the hunt for a serial killer.
Now, let’s talk about writing and how you came to be a published author.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
Well, even when I was writing romance novellas as a teen, it was never a hobby—and that was a long time before I made a dime. I’d have to say I really became a writer, though, in 2006, when I started working on my first full-length novel.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
I published Ties that Bind in May 2011. It was when self-publishing was just starting out and a very popular option. So when an author friend of mine said I should put my book up, I thought, why not. I had been working on it for years by that point. And the rest as they say is history.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to “The End”?
Well, I can’t say from the original idea to the end, because there are a lot of times I have a story concept but don’t get around to writing it for a while. But from the point I decide that I’m going to write a book, I’ve written a 100,000 word first draft in just a little over a month.
What can we expect from you in the future? More of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
You can expect many more books. I see myself sticking to my four series for the most part, but I just may divert course a little and also release some standalone titles. However, my first priority right now is satisfying my series’ readers.
Who is your favorite character from your books and why are they your favorite?
This is hardly fair when I have so many. LOL I love Madison Knight for her tenancy and dedication to finding justice. I love Brandon Fisher because he’s dedicated to his job and balances his boss’s gruff nature. I love the McKinleys because they’re loving, giving people. I love Matthew Connor because he’s a loyal friend and a great leader.
What is your routine for writing?
At the start of the year, I decide what I want to release in the next twelve months. From there, I plan out when I need to write and what and how much per day to meet these release deadlines. Of course, the planning process also involves allowing time for rounds with a professional editor and subsequent revisions.
When it comes to sitting down and writing, I prefer peace and quiet…and when I say quiet, I mean like a tomb. There are times, however, that I’ve put music on when writing a particular scene, but those instances are very few and far between.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
It depends on the book, but if I don’t know a title right away, it usually doesn’t take long for one to come to me.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?
In every single one of them. Here are a few:
Violated reminds us of the futility of defining ourselves by our past choices, mistakes or regrets. It shows the importance of letting go, surrendering, and going with the flow, and living in the now.
The killer in Blue Baby, the fourth in the Brandon Fisher FBI series, teaches us that happiness comes from within and that we shouldn’t give that power to someone else.
The entire concept of City of Gold is to encourage people to believe that the impossible is possible if only they believe.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
eBook for fiction and hardback or paperback for non-fiction.
What is your favorite book and why is it your favorite? How many times would you estimate you’ve read it?
I’m assuming you’re referring to a book that isn’t my own? Because if you’re referring to my own, I love all of them, they are all my favorite, and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read or worked through them.
If you’re referring to other author’s work, I might get booed for this, but I’ve never read someone’s else book more than once. I do have favorite authors, though, such as David Baldacci, Sandra Brown, Janet Evanovich, and Lisa Unger to name a few.
That’s enough of the serious business. How about a handful of fun questions?
What is your favorite food? Pizza.
Who is your favorite singer or group? Bon Jovi.
What is your favorite color? Blue.
What is your ideal getaway dream vacation? Australia.
What final words would you offer to our readers?
Be entertained. Live inspired. Never settle and always expect awesome in your life.
Thank you for spending time with us at Room With Books. I appreciate your time and wish you the best with your book. I hope you will come back again!
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.
Website – http://carolynarnold.net/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold
And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.
Carolyn Arnold will be awarding $25 PayPal Cash through Rafflecopter following the tour.