“A walk? Now?”
“Come,” he said, pulling on her hand. “The fresh air will make you feel better.”
“But it’s so late...”
"He ignored her protests and helped her get dressed, making sure she wore only her own clothes and not anything that he’d bought for her. When she reached for her wristwatch, he grabbed her hand and impatiently said, “For God’s sake, cara, you’re not going to a fashion show!” It was windy outside, the sky just hinting at the coming dawn. They walked up the hill, along the cliffs...
“Isn’t the view incredible?” he said, stopping her after the path widened again.
“Yes,” Maria said, snuggling her back up against his warm chest. Far below, the waves were exploding over the rocks, the spray filling the air with brine. He kissed the top of her head, hugging her tightly. It was a shame. She was a beautiful girl—he was already developing a paternal, protective feeling for her...
"He gently turned her around and kissed her again, aggressively, shoving his tongue deeply into her mouth. When he drew away, her eyes widened—all at once, somehow, she understood everything. He shoved her into the abyss.
Lust, Money and Murder
By Mike Wells
“And what is that?” he said, raising an eyebrow. “I’ve seen those other girls—”
“What other girls?” “The others...” Elaine realized that she had no concrete evidence of anything this slimy man did.
“I want my money back. I spent two thousand dollars here, and I want it back!”
“I’m afraid that’s out of the question.”
“Really? Then I think I’ll go to the police and tell them what you just did to me.”
“And what was that?” he said, raising his eyebrow again.
“You...” She realized she had very little to say. He touched my knee.
“Yes?” he said. “I’ll—I’ll tell my father what you did. He’s six-three and weighs two hundred and fifty pounds. He’s a construction worker.”
"Mr. Eskew’s dark complexion lost a little of its color. He watched her for a few seconds. “There’s no reason to make threats,” he said, cordially. “At Rising Star, we guarantee satisfaction.” He stepped behind his desk and crouched to one of the cabinets. She heard clicking. It sounded like he was opening a safe. “Two thousand dollars, you said?”
“That’s right.” Elaine was sure this was some kind of trick. She couldn’t believe he would actually refund her money. He shut the safe and placed two bundles of $100 bills on the desk, then pushed them towards her. She stared at them.
“Go ahead. Take it.”
"She picked them up before he could change his mind, putting both bundles in her purse."
Lust, Book 1, tells the early story of Elaine Brogan, the female main character...but also throws in the setup that leads on into Money... Murder...
Elaine had been Daddy's girl since the day she was born, especially after her mother left the family and ran off with another man. Her father had sent her to good schools and later when she became involved with a possibility of becoming a model, he made sure the money was provided... Unfortunately, he was stealing on the job to do that...
Elaine was also very smart, so when she reached the point when the modeling scam requiried touching, she knew enough to demand all of her money back, threatening to have her father come to get it if she didn't leave with it.
She Got the Money...
But she also got her father put in jail. The money she had been given was counterfeit and when her father had tried to deposit it, the bank caught it! The investigation also brought his earlier thefts out and he was convicted.
Then he committed suicide... Elaine could not forgive herself for having first demanded that money, and then getting counterfeit in return. Payback was her goal...
She went to school to learn all about design--of money!
She also applied for and got accepted for the Secret Service. She wanted to find the man who had given her that money and make sure he went to jail for what he'd done to both her and her father. She finished with her training and was sent to Montana...
Did I tell you that, just as the head of the model agency realized, Elaine was a beautiful woman... So much so that her new boss, well, you know, right? Elaine refused to play--she was soon on her way...
To Bulgaria! Of course, I wanted to go off on that supervisor who sexually harassed Elaine...but...it's not a new story, unfortunately...
The outcome, however, was something that man would never have anticipated. She loved her new job! She not only had excellent training, she had an eye for detail. Soon, she was known all over the world for her ability and sample bills were sent into Sofia's office, where she would easily discover whether or not it was phony... she personally improved detection of counterfeit tremendously!
She also fell in love with her boss...
They'd had their first date when Elaine was
contacted by a man she'd met during training
who worked for Treasury. Not only did he tell her that her boss was under investigation, but
he had made arrangements for immediate transfer to Washington to handle a special project reporting to him!
Readers should note that this is a series. The first three sections are now available, but another volume is already in the works.
When Elaine hits Washington is when the action spirals outward, with surprises, danger and some nasty men, including the Russian mafia, who are working to keep the ability to continue the production of counterfeited American dollars going..
At the same time, there was one minor character, Dmitry, a taxi driver, who was responsible for one of the most thrilling scenes in the book and for saving Elaine's life... The Hummer following Dmitry didn't make it... Hey, Elaine needed all the help she could get!
“Very near, I think.”
“You think?” He swerved around another tree. Suddenly they were in a small clearing. They sped across the open snow and entered another section of the woods, this one much less thick with trees. The Lada picked up speed. Dmitry tried to see through the shattered windshield, then stuck his head out the window. “There!”
"Through the cracked glass Elaine could see a narrow bridge, made of wood. It was definitely not for vehicles, but for pedestrians. “Are you sure this car will fit?” she said anxiously.
“I think so.”
“Dammit,” Elaine said, looking back out the rear window. The Hummer was gaining on them again—the trees were spread far enough out that it was able to follow their path now. Elaine could see the river to the right... Dmitry swerved in the other direction, away from the bridge.
“What are you doing?” Elaine said. “We need much speed.” To the left, the Hummer was barreling towards them. Someone was leaning out the passenger window, aiming at them. Before the man could fire, Dmitry had swerved again. He fishtailed around a few more trees, and then they were headed straight at the bridge. The Hummer swerved around, following their path. Elaine dropped the pistol and grabbed hold of the dash, bracing herself for the impact. As the bridge rushed up at them, she could tell that the wooden side railings were not wide enough for the car to fit between. The Lada hit the structure dead on, the nose of the car perfectly centered between the railings. The little automobile bounced violently as they flew across the narrow walkway, a hair-raising snapping of metal as the sides of the vehicle scraped through. Dmitry’s remaining mirror and both door handles were ripped away. Then they were airborne for a half second...they sailed over a small depression on the other side of the bridge. The little car finally slammed back down to the ground, sliding sideways, out of control, Dmitry bellowing like a madman. As if moving in slow motion, it lost speed until the back end swung around, and finally, was stopped by another tree with a small, anticlimactic thump...
An interesting little tidbit that happens early in the book is that the man who ran the dance studio had died...and Elaine's desire for revenge was lost. Now that desire that she probably should have given up years ago had placed her directly in line for more than she could ever hope to handle!
And there was nobody to whom she could turn...
Whew! The further you go in this story, the complexity of Money/Power becomes unbelievable. Readers begin to think about how safe the "dollar" is--for various reasons. I was amazed at some of the information regarding product counterfeiting and how broadly these crimes apparently go! Yeah, it's fiction, but still, Wells sure taught me a lot too! I'll be looking to see what happens next. This is a "cliffhanger" thriller in the true sense of the word! Highly recommended!
American bestselling author of the Lust, Money & Murder series and over 20 other 'unputdownable' thriller and suspense books. I live in Europe and teach part-time in the Creative Writing Diploma Program at the University of Oxford.