Wednesday, April 29, 2020

High Stakes & Scandals in High Places #MFRWhooks

The Conspiracy of Silence

#Mystery #Suspense #Thriller

A depiction of the life-and-death struggle of a gutsy female lawyer who goes to great lengths to save her lover from a murder rap.


The conscience of a town steeped in sexism, vanity, and hypocrisy is pricked by the brutal murder of a mysterious woman in a park in Los Angeles. But the shock is transformed into a steamy, seductive scandal when the body turns out to be that of Susan Whitaker, the flamboyant wife of the governor of California.
Soon, a dazzlingly intricate shuffle of volatile links lead the police to the delicate theory of a secret lover/blackmailer, and to the indictment of Benjamin Carlton, Hollywood’s most influential black celebrity. 
Then curious things begin to happen when Carlton’s ambitious girlfriend, Rita Spencer suddenly unearths the shocking secret that Susan Whitaker did not, in fact, exist. She little realizes however that her discovery of this colossal fraud is a mere curtain-raiser to a chilling world of ugly skeletons dating back to the assassination of a U.S. senator in a Washington hotel sauna, skeletons connected to riveting sex scandals in high places, skeletons the FBI and political king-makers will kill for...

The Hook - {Book Excerpt}

The dim figure lurked in the dusking patch of tangled shrubbery until darkness enveloped him. Then he choked and swore and frothed at the mouth, and went down on all fours. After a while, he clambered out of the shrubbery like a ghost, picked himself up, and wiped his hand across his brow. Tall, with an athletic build, he covered his hands with fleeced gloves and masked his face with a hood. He had a definite presence in spite of the aura of repulsion that swelled around him like foul breath. For a moment, he stood in death-like silence in a navy hooded sweatshirt, a pair of matching pants, and black running shoes. His dark brown eyes studied his environment like a bloodhound determined to unearth a misplaced object without losing its sense of smell.
A short distance away, small cylindrical light bulbs cast an eerie glow over the lush greenery of Glennon Park, capturing its beauty in a halo of kaleidoscopic brilliance. And then a throng of men in fancy tee shirts and short pants intermixed with women in jeans and sleeveless tops whisked into view. The dim figure, hearing their muffled voices over the sound of the fountain’s cascading waters, stiffened. Like him, the fountain stood in an unlit area of the park. Surrounded by luxuriant shrubs, it was the place where randy youths who often exploited the shadows for romantic mischief loved to loiter.

But on this particular night, there were no lovers necking by the fountain, something else had taken their place. A black diamond Cadillac stood beside the fountain. The unusual sight caused the dim figure’s hands to shake with excitement. Cars were not allowed that far into the park, so whatever fantasies within the limits of human accomplishment the Cadillac’s driver had conceived, this was the wrong night for it, he mused. This will be my last murder, he decided, the climax of a long, enterprising career as the greatest hitman of all time. He was a killer so efficient and so elusive that even the FBI nicknamed him Shadow of Death for his uncanny ability to dissolve into a penumbra after every hit.

He looked up and recognized the wonderful head of hair and the slender, sensual neck as the lone occupant of the Cadillac appeared in silhouette against the fountain. His pulse quickened at once. He mopped his brow with a handkerchief and contemplated the lady’s mesmerizing beauty. Thinking of her now as a victim seemed odd to him. He had loved her once; in fact, he still loved her, a reality that put him in a quandary—a lethal clash between his obsession and his survival instinct. The survival instinct, he knew, had to win, for between them now stood the only thing that love could not subdue—a dark secret.
The Shadow of Death moved with stealth in the semi-darkness toward the Cadillac, his hands shaking with excitement with every step he took.  His only accomplice was his own shadow, perceptible to no eye but his. It seemed innocuous even to him, like a specter, only there to see, not to arbitrate. It moved when the killer moved and stopped when he did, like a minion with no initiative of its own, an android programmed to repeat the action of its mentor, as only a ghost would, only to be saddled thereafter with the damning knowledge of the truth, a truth that would elude the rest of the world—an everlasting witness, a ghost that would never die.
There was deafening silence inside the Cadillac. All around it, darkness closed in as slowly and unfalteringly as the approaching evil. The killer’s face was impassive, his heartbeat regular, but his muscles were taut as he strained to open the driver’s door with his gloved hand.
She did not see him, could not see him, because she was leaning face downward on the steering wheel.
Gripped by a morbid fascination with death, he stared down at her, the roaring tension inside him silenced by his cold determination. Everything would depend on this moment, this act, he mulled over, staring around the fountain. He wanted no interruption and there was none. He reached for her throat, giving her no chance to react.
There must be no error, he steeled himself against the guilt he knew was coming. His pressure on her throat was fierce. Time, thoughts, fear, regrets, all ceased to exist as an eternity seemed to roll by in a matter of seconds. And then relief flooded his being.

It was over, he almost smiled. It bore the mark of his usual professional touch—smooth, fast, painless, and very peaceful...

Buy Links

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

#MFRWhooks: Young, Carefree and Broke…

 A black man, a white girl, and a deceptive job offer

#RomanticThriller #Interracial #Blackmail 

Femi, a young, black graduate with a First Class degree in Chemistry, has no long-term ambitions until he meets Jessica Rhodes, a blonde exchange student from San Diego. When they land two spectacular job offers within the first week of graduation, their bleak honeymoon is transformed into a dream. Egged on by a free trip to New York to evaluate one offer and a 30-day grace period to accept the other, they are surprised to find their future dangling over a multi-billion dollar cliff-hanger as they hop across the Atlantic. What they don't know is that undisclosed details of the deal will not only pitch them against each other but will also drag them to the place where dreams end and nightmares begin. 
Will their fragile marriage survive the greed, the captivating allure of Black Gold, and that vile, ancient tradition that seeks to determine who should be married and to whom? 


He’s black. She’s white. And they think nothing of it until he takes her home...

The scene where the young man takes his new American bride back to visit his parents without having first informed them of her existence is riveting, agonizing, and devastating as he runs unsuspectingly into a titanic clash between his parents’ traditional values and his European education, and this passage stands out as a gem in 𝐁𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐆𝐨𝐥𝐝.

The Hook - {Book Excerpt}

The splendid country-style bistro named Replay Café was located on Rue Grimaldi in the heart of Monte Carlo. It was a chic spot for high rollers and charming tourists, and its best-selling drink was the champagne-based l’apèritif Stephanie, a compulsive choice for the glamorous people who patronized it.
This evening—the last day of Femi and Jessica’s short-lived honeymoon—the bistro was packed, as usual, with many of its patrons waiting in line for a chance to enter. Notwithstanding the long queue, the honeymooning couple successfully bluffed their way in and found a table at the rear of the café beside a group of young, extravagant tourists, who were guzzling the expensive, sought-after drink and chattering away in French.
No sooner had they settled in than a waiter stepped forward, making them exchange gloomy glances. “Should we stay?”
Jessica’s gaze dropped to the fancy tablecloth. Teeth gritted, she sat still, unsure of what to do.
Femi gazed at her in trepidation, embarrassment oozing from every pore of his skin the way sweat seeps through a runner’s shirt. Short on cash, he realized he couldn’t afford two glasses of the drink though he was eager to treat her to it.
The waiter reached their table. “Hi,” she smiled.
Jessica lifted her face. “L’apèritif Stephanie,” she said in a steady voice. “One glass.”
The waiter glanced sideways at Femi, nodded and turned without speaking.
“We can afford one glass, right?” Jessica mumbled, averting her gaze. “I think it’s better than walking out in embarrassment, don’t you agree?”
“I agree,” Femi’s gaze remained on her face. “One day…” he said.
Jessica waved him to silence. “We’ll share it,” she offered, reaching for his hand on the table. “I understand, okay? Now, don’t give me that look.”
His gaze moved from her face to their clasped hands. He grimaced. “Okay.”
They lapsed into silence until the drink arrived. The surrounding noise increased. Gleeful laughter filled the bistro. Several couples, including new arrivals, chatted, laughed, and kissed. In silence, the duo sipped the drink through two straws, listening to the loud chatter at the nearby table with increasing discomfort.
“It’s the eve of our D-day…” Femi whispered, watching Jessica over his straw.
“Don’t say that,” she rebuked him in a mild voice. “It’s just the beginning. We have two offers on the table; we only have to decide which one to accept.”
Femi exhaled. “We know nothing about this VenChemical Group except that it is based in New York and its chairman is Italian,” he paused and regarded her. “If we accept their offer, we don’t quite know where they’ll send us.”
“New York,” Jessica said without hesitation.
“I doubt it. I was interviewed for their Africa Operations Unit, I’m not sure that’s based in New York.”
Jessica sipped the champagne-based drink and gazed thoughtfully at him. “Well, we’ll be in New York in the first week of your employment, isn’t that what they said? The orientation…”
“Yes, yes,” he nodded. “The orientation program comes first and then the moment of truth.”
“You aren’t considering the NNPC offer first, are you?”
Femi puffed his cheeks in thought.
“I mean, they gave you until the end of the month to respond…”
“I know,” he averted his gaze, pondering the job offer from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation—NNPC—a seemingly simple decision that was somehow enmeshed in the complexity of his craving for foreign currency.
Jessica regarded him. “If you choose the NNPC, I’ll understand,” she hesitated for a fraction of a second. “It’ll be like a homecoming for you, right?” She breathed. “You know I’ll live with you anywhere but if you think about it, the VenChemical Group is offering you a better condition of service and they’ll be paying you in dollars.”
Femi did not respond.
“Listen, seeing as we have until the end of the month to respond to the NNPC, why don’t we play all the cards?”
He looked up. “You mean, going to New York tomorrow to assess the VenChemical offer?”
“Right,” Jessica beamed. “After all it’s an all-expenses-paid trip. If it works out, we stay, if not we go to Lagos and take up the NNPC job.”
Their eyes locked.
She softened her face when he smiled. “Would you have acted differently if I were the one with two job offers on the table?”
“Nope,” he shook his head and a broad smile crossed his face.

Buy Links

Amazon Kindle  |  Paperback  |  Add to your Goodreads TBR list!         

Please take a few minutes to check out the other Book Hooks this week!