I wanted to give you a taste of Deadly Ties. Below, are two different excerpts from Deadly Ties.
“The Hound’s Tooth. Do you know where that is?”
“Yes. East side of the city. Give or take.”
Her fingers brushed back her thinning, rather straggly hair. A haircut and color were definitely in order. The dull grey she now sported made her look much older than her years. Of course, the stress and worry might have added to that. Time to get a full makeover. If she was going to fight the rich, she would have to look like them. She’d learned a lot on the inside and, if you were going to fight someone with money, you needed to play their game, their way. But some things needed to come first. She’d heard all the rules: check in at the halfway house, meet with her parole officer regularly—she or he would tell her how often to come in—keep your nose clean, no drinking, and a bunch other stuff she didn’t care about. They just didn’t really understand how the real world worked. An ice-cold beer with a whiskey chaser was exactly what she needed and was first on the list. She didn’t plan on following all the orders she’d been given upon her release to a T. She’d do enough to keep them from checking on her too closely.
“I’m to take you—”
“I know where you’re to take me but, since the government is paying for you to drive me, I’m sure we can come up with a good reason I had to take a detour. Do you want to make twenty bucks or two hundred?” When his eyes widened, she knew she had him. After giving him directions to where she intended to go, she turned and stared out at the passing countryside. Most would say the view was depressing—dull, grey skies; bare trees having shed their summer glory, their spoils littering the dull, colorless countryside; everything was dead waiting for the snow to arrive—but to her it was beautiful. It was definitely way better than what she’d been looking at for almost twenty years. To her this was life. This was freedom. It was a chance to fix some things, to make amends to those who deserved it, and to make those responsible pay.
As she looked forward to ensure that the driver was taking her where she’d asked, she noticed his license hanging by the mirror. I had his name and age. “A few years before you can retire, I see.”
He ignored her but then it hit her, she was now retired. She was sixty-seven, the age the Canadian government now said you had to be to get a full pension. It made her wonder, if someone like her who had never worked, at least not for a paycheck, would be eligible for the bit of cash the government figured was sufficient for people to live on in their old age. They’d explained all of her finances and what would happen once she was on the outside. But she hadn’t cared. She’d find her own sources and means to get what she wanted. The little pittance the government wanted to give her wouldn’t pay for what she needed. She doubted they’d appreciate their money being used for the purposes of buying information and more than likely a weapon or two.
Laughter rolled through her and burst forth in a kind of grinding, guttural sound like that of an old rusted-out train squeaking and clanking along the tracks. The government would pay her while she got her revenge. Life couldn’t be sweeter.
She stretched her arms wide, loving the freedom and knowing she didn’t have to worry about someone shoving something life-threatening into her side. As she rolled her head around to loosen the kinks and enjoy the free movement, she noticed a car behind them.
“Has that car been following us for long?”
“It pulled out of the penitentiary parking lot right after us.”
“Two hundred bucks if you lose them.”
The guy didn’t even acknowledge her. She was sure he doubted she could pay.
“Give me your phone.” She glared at him until he handed it over. A quick phone call and she knew her problem would be taken care of. The person following her could be anyone, but there were several people who would be interested in her release. She just didn’t want to waste the first moments of freedom worrying about them.
“Turn on Broadsmoore. Go two blocks, take a hard left on 29th, stay on it.”
He nodded and, although he wasn’t going as fast as she’d like, she knew that by the time they got there her friend would be ready to create an accident. Knowing that was taken care of, she thought back to the town, which was now a city, she’d left behind long ago. The place she needed to return to but couldn’t show up as herself. That would shut people up faster than being hit by a bolt of lightning. No, she needed to come up with another way to get answers and to slip back into Camden, unnoticed. The people she needed to weed out and find knew the system better than her. That’s why she’d paid and they hadn’t. So, how could she find out what she needed to know?
She’d read a lot about her hometown. A lot of change had happened in eighteen years, some of it for the better, some of it not. One thing was for sure, the ones she needed to visit still lived in the area. For that, she was thankful. If she’d had to look on the Internet, she’d have been lost. She’d taken some computer training while in jail, but just felt too freaked out and overwhelmed to think there was that much information available for everyone. Besides, she didn’t need electronic help; cash in the right hands still trumped everything. Her being sent to jail, wrongfully accused, quickly came to mind. Well almost. Someone had upped the ante and decided she was a good candidate to frame. She even had a good idea who was behind it. She’d figure it out. She had all the time in the world with no requirements of her except to check in with her parole officer regularly. Which she would, and she’d be the most repentant old lady they’d ever seen.
It hadn’t concerned her that she’d gone to prison because she had in fact killed a man, just not the one they sentenced her for. What bothered her was who and why someone had killed her ex-husband. He hadn’t been much of a man, let alone a husband—his eyes and hands had strayed a little too much. The cryptic messages he’d left her a week before he died had suggested things were going on. Things that might have been why he’d been killed.
She ran through all that she knew and had learned over the years, when an idea finally formed.
Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to take up golf.
She laughed, something that sounded like wind whipping through a rusty barrel. She was going to fix things. She’d gone to jail for the right reason but the wrong murder and now it was time for someone else to pay. The good thing about being incarcerated, it was a great place to make connections. Now to gather some of those people who had the skills she needed, starting with a beautiful, bright, young, computer savvy woman who could be bought.
“Really, so you have nothing?” Kyara wasn’t sure whether she was ready to spit or slap someone.
“I’m sorry, but we haven’t found anything. We’ve checked out a few leads. Our assessment is that it was some teens, probably high on meth, who trashed your mother’s place. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“So, you’re telling me there’s a big problem with meth in the area?”
The police officer, who had so politely agreed to meet with her briefly, glanced in the file in front of him. “Well, not a big problem but like any city we have our issues with drugs. That stuff does crazy things to people’s brains and they act in a way they wouldn’t otherwise.”
“That’s all you’ve got? Nothing? No one? And no reason? You’re telling me this is random?” Kyara pushed to her feet, knowing this was a waste of time. Before she could move though, the door opened and another police officer came into the room. He nodded at the other one who got up and left. He then closed the door. Kyara’s eyes widened.
“Have a seat, please.”
It didn’t sound like a request but an order. Kyara tentatively sat down, never taking her eyes off him. Something had shifted. There was something very ominous about the man, she just wasn’t sure if it was his overly bushy eyebrows, his military cut steel grey hair, his six-foot-five, two-hundred-and-fifty-pound frame, the rigid way he was holding himself, or the hard look on his face. She almost got the feeling they felt she was guilty. Realizing he was talking; she pulled her mind back to the conversation.
“… please tell me about your relationship with Elizabeth Wilson.”
She realized she’d missed who he was, his rank, and what this was about. But that wasn’t something she was about to ask him to repeat. Her stomach felt weighted with rocks. “Uh, she’s my grandmother.” What has she done now?
“Where is she?”
“You know she got out of prison a while ago?”
“Well, she hasn’t shown up for her parole meetings for the last month. Any idea where she is?”
“No.” One thing Getty had taught her was to keep your answers short, then they’d never come back to bite her.
“Any idea where she might be staying?”
“Have you seen her?”
“No.” Kyara clasped her hands tightly into fists.
“If you hear from her, you’ll let us know?”
The policeman stared at her with a look that almost had her diving under the table, but she could hear Getty telling her to grow a backbone and not let anyone intimidate her. She felt like a bowl of mush on the inside but sat rigidly looking in his direction, just not directly into his eyes. It was another tip her grandmother had given her, as a way of standing up to someone without really intimidating them but not really backing down either. Finally, he stood up, so Kyara followed suit.
“If you hear anything that might help us, you’ll let us know?”
Kyara nodded. “I will. And you’ll let me know when you’ve caught the person who damn near killed my mom, right?” She turned and reached for the door, unsure if she could even get out. She was pleasantly surprised when it opened but didn’t stop to wonder about it. She just kept moving, heading for the front door before the intense heart palpitations and her shaking muscles dropped her to her knees. Once outside she beelined it for her car and was never so happy for automatic doors as she knew she’d never have been able to fit a key in the lock to unlock it. Sitting in the driver’s seat, she didn’t dare look around; she just started up her vehicle, put it in gear, and drove away. The thought that someone might come out and ask her more questions kept her driving on autopilot. She pulled into the hospital parking lot before she even realized where she’d driven to.
Pressing her hands to her face, she tried to settle her shakiness and calm the unsettled rattlesnake nest that seemed to have invaded her body. Getty. Everything seemed to come back to her. And now she was skipping out on parole. Kyara’s head snapped around as she realized that if the police were asking where her grandmother was, then they probably truly felt she knew where that might be. Which meant someone may be following her. She looked around at the busy street and the traffic going to and from the hospital. After watching for a good five minutes and not seeing anyone who looked suspicious or out of place or anyone overly interested in her, she relaxed a little. No one had followed her there. She snorted. She didn’t even remember driving there, so knowing if someone had been behind her or not was a joke. She had no idea.
Pushing away her thoughts, she closed her eyes and laid her head back on the seat. She needed to pull it together before she saw her mom. As much as she tried to shut out everything, it wasn’t working. She wasn’t even sure if she lasted five seconds with her eyes closed. They popped open so fast it took her a second or two to realize that it was because she felt like she was being monitored. Her head snapped around to scan the area. A husband was helping his in-labor wife try to walk to the hospital, stopping every few steps for her to hunch over and clutch her stomach. Another man emerged through the front doors on crutches. A group of about eight people huddled under the front overhang while they sucked on their cigarettes as though they were being given life. It was a busy place. Several people were coming and going, some staff, some patients, and some she had no idea about, but again no one seemed to look her way.
The sound of a siren caught her attention. Her first thought was that it was the police and they were coming to arrest her. A few seconds later, an ambulance went flying into the emergency bay just off to the left of the main doors.
It still didn’t settle her nerves that the cops wouldn’t show up. They wouldn’t question Mom, would they? That thought propelled her out of the car. She raced inside and ran up the stairs to the second floor and was at her mom’s room within minutes. The sound of voices coming from the room slowed her down and had her leaning against the wall just outside. She strained to hear but could only catch a few words.
“… tests … any change.”
“Sure, Dr …”
Sighing with relief, Kyara realized that it was the physician and nurse talking about her mom. It didn’t sound like there was any change. Feeling defeated and rattled, and knowing she wasn’t up to them telling her that her mom still wasn’t doing great but that she would recover, had her dropping her head back against the wall. The door to the stairs she’d just came up opened. An old woman with a cane stepped through and then stopped suddenly when their eyes met. There was an astonished look on the woman’s face. Kyara wished she could see her eyes and face but couldn’t because of the stupidly huge sunglasses she was wearing. Kyara pushed away from the wall and took a step toward the woman. The old lady spun on her heel and disappeared through the door…
Deadly Ties Book Blurb
She went to jail for the right reason but the wrong murder.
With her mom in a coma, Kyara is determined to discover who is behind the brutal attack. Does her grandmother’s recent release from jail have anything to do with it? The police believe that some meth addicted youth are responsible but what Kyara uncovers is shocking. Is anyone telling the truth? Even Ryan who she thought might be able to help her is harnessing his own dark secret. Is he truly trying to help her or does he have his own agenda?
The golf course wasn’t built because the sport was gaining in popularity but to hide a deadly secret. Those responsible are determined to keep it buried and those who know anything are being silenced. Kyara finds herself trying to catch an old woman, stay ahead of those trying to kill her and unveil the truth. But can she do it before a town pays the ultimate price?
The plot was intricate and it made me want to finish it quickly so I could discover all the mysteries.
Author C H-Jackson
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Multi-Award winning author, Maggie Thom. Author of The Caspian Wine Series – Captured Lies (Book of the Month - LAS Reviews and Reader's Favorite Finalist), Deceitful Truths and Split Seconds (Award Winning) – and her other published novels, Tainted Waters (Suspense and Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine), Deadly Ties & Fractured Lines (new 2020). Click here to learn more.
Her motto: Read to escape… Escape to read…
"Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!" InDtale Magazine
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