Excerpt from A QUESTION OF FIRE by Karen McCullough
Cathy wasn't paying attention to traffic, so she wasn't sure when she first noticed the dark blue Toyota that kept popping up in her rearview mirror. When she changed lanes, it did, also, and when she turned right and then right again, the Toyota stayed in line behind. She made a sudden left turn and zigzagged around the next couple of blocks, to come out a half mile further up the road than she wanted to be. A look in the mirror confirmed the Toyota was still there, two cars back. She continued to watch it when she swung into the employees' parking lot at the newspaper building, but the blue car cruised on, down the street and out of sight. She was too far away to get a look at the driver.
Ray was in his office, so she knocked and entered at his nod. She filled him in on the conversation with Lowell and added her belief that she'd been followed back from his office. He expelled a long sigh and picked up a cigarette that had been smoldering in the ashtray.
"Off the wagon again?" she asked.
He looked at the cigarette and nodded. "Brief trip this time. It's all your fault. Worry sets me off."
"Forget it. I'm carrying all the guilt I can handle right now."
He sucked in another long pull and expelled slowly, trying to blow smoke rings that never quite achieved circularity.
"What is it?" she asked.
"I talked to Lieutenant Norfolk," he said. "No line on the killer yet. They searched Bobby Stark's apartment, but didn't find anything that looked like evidence."
"They checked the air vents and conditioners?"
She heard more in his tone. "Well?"
Ray blew a perfect ring for a change, then put the cigarette down. "They did find a stash of crack."
A QUESTION OF FIRE: When Catherine Bennett agrees to attend an important party as a favor for her boss, she knows she won't enjoy it, but she doesn't expect to end up holding a dying man in her arms and becoming the recipient of his last message. Bobby Stark has evidence that will prove his younger brother has been framed for arson and murder. He wants that evidence to get to his brother's lawyer, and he tries to tell Cathy where he's hidden it. Unfortunately, he can only manage to give her a cryptic piece of the location before he dies. The man who killed Bobby saw him talking to her and assumes she knows where the evidence is hidden. He wants it back and he'll do whatever it takes to get it, including following her and trying to kidnap her. Cathy enlists the aid of attorney Peter Lowell and Danny Stark, Bobby's prickly, difficult younger brother, as well as a handsome private detective to help her find the evidence before the killers do.
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Bio: Karen McCullough
Karen McCullough has written and published nine novels in the romantic suspense, mystery, and fantasy genres and won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy. She’s also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres.
Her most recent publication was a Christmas paranormal novella, VAMPIRE’S CHRISTMAS CAROL, publised by Cerridwen Press in the anthology BENEATH A CHRISTMAS MOON. Forthcoming releases include a Gothic novella from Red Rose Publishing, which will be part of the SHADOWED HEARTS anthology, and a mystery novel, AGIFT FOR MURDER, from Five Star/Gale Group, with hardcover release scheduled for January 2011.
A member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the Writers’ Group of the Triad, she is a former president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.
She invites visitors to check out her home on the web at http://www.kmccullough.com