Excerpt from Risky Redemption


RISKY REDEMPTION (Rogue Security) wins the mainstream category of the 2018 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense!

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“Good try, Jake, but you’re not sneaking away from the topic. Why did you break up with Bonnie and all the others?” Angela asked.

“All the others? What is this, an inquisition?”

She leaned over him, her face inches from his. “Answer me, Mr. Stone.”

Jake pushed her aside, swung his feet to the floor, and sat up with his back to her. “This sucks. But okay. Here’s the ammunition you want. Yeah, I dated Tanya, Bonnie, and all the others. I screwed them. A lot. But if they’re honest, they’ll tell you they had a really good time. We had fun; we had sex. It never got any more serious than that.”


“Why did I screw them?” He twisted around and shot her a lecherous smirk. “I like to fuck, that’s why.”

“Stop it, Jake. I’m not going to let you hide behind your vulgar vocabulary. I know you use it to put me off balance. It’s not going to work this time.”

“Well, aren’t you clever, Miss Shrink.”

She inhaled slowly, held the breath a moment, and then blew it out through pursed lips. “I’m asking why you never have serious relationships with women.”

Jake tunneled his fingers through his hair and scratched his scalp, obviously stalling. “It’s simple, Angela. They were superficial relationships that didn’t have anything meaningful to grow on. Why would a woman want a long-term, serious relationship with me anyway? Even you called me a playboy.”

“Maybe you always escaped before they had a chance to grow.”

“Sure. Whatever you say, Miss Shrink.”

“Okay, this is what I say. I think you cut and run because you’re afraid one of these ‘superficial relationships’ might get serious. Deep down inside, you want it, but you’re afraid of it, too. So you hide. You’ve hidden the real Jake from Tanya, Bonnie, et al. And now, you’re hiding from me.”

Steel shutters closed behind his eyes. Cold, hard, emotionless gray stared back at her. “Believe me, you wouldn’t like the ‘real Jake.’ I don’t even like him.”

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