Detective Ryan Cross of the Archer City Police Department had a great life. He had a wonderful wife, three amazing children, and a job he loved. His life is turned upside down when his wife is killed in a wolf attack while they are camping, and he still has no idea how to deal with her not being there. While he is still trying to adapt to being a single father and find a balance between work and his children, he is handed a serial murder case that will change all of their lives forever in ways they could never imagine.
This case will push Ryan and his team of detectives to their limits. When he is plummeted into a hidden world, he gets caught between the letter of the law and his new found loyalties and has to decide what is more important.
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Read an Excerpt
The Cross Chronicles Book I
By Kevin Fowers
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Kevin Fowers
All rights reserved.
SHE WAS SITTING in her office working on some paperwork when she heard the 'You've got mail' alert. She put the paper work down and pulled up the email. Just like always, the email was encrypted. She typed in a few keystrokes and she had access to the email.
Here is your first assignment, I need you to eliminate the enclosed target. Remember Angel, you are on the Lord's errand and you will have your place in Paradise for your diligence.
Name: Kassidi Warner
Occupation: Senior Lab Technician at Securities Tech Lab Inc.
Location: Mountain View Hotel; Room 313
Continue purifying the masses!
He always signed off the with the closing that he'd used for years. She smiled and shut her laptop, it was time for the office to close for the night anyway. She swung one leg over the seat of her hog and kick started the engine. It purred to life and she headed for home to get ready for the night's activities. She loved to ride her motorcycle and have the wind blow through her long black hair; oh the freedom she felt.
As soon as night fell she showered and put on her Avenging Angel outfit which consisted of knee high black stiletto boots and a black oriental embroidered tunic that hung to her upper thighs and the front plunged in a V-neck to just below her breast. She tied her hair up in a tight bun and headed out to do the Lord's work. She parked her Harley Heritage Soft Tail motorcycle in a parking lot a few buildings away from the Mountain View Hotel and walked back to the hotel. As soon as she walked in she noticed every guy that was in the lobby turned their heads towards her and checked her out from head to toe which is what she wanted. A small smile stole across her face as she was used to the male attention her appearance garnered. She ignored them all and headed towards the hotel bar. She sat down and ordered herself a rum and coke and started to look around at the crowd that had gathered there on a Tuesday night.
A couple of minutes later she saw her target in a corner booth having an intimate conversation with her date. She watched them discretely for the next few moments trying to decide the best course of action. Angel decided to move to an empty seat at the bar that was right next to the table that her target was sitting at. She made sure that the gentleman friend that was with her target was checking her out as she sat down on the stool and sipped her rum and coke. She made it a point to glance over at her target and the guy that's with her every few minutes; and she even bought them both another drink. When they found out that it was Angel who bought them their drinks, they invited her to sit with them. After flirting with him for another few minutes, and finding out that his name was Robbie Fergusson, Angel started flirting with Kassidi as well.
After flirting with both of them Angel decided to take things up a notch. She stood up, looked at Kassidi, the woman who would soon feel the wrath of her justice, and gave her an 'I want you' smile and Kassidi motioned for her to have a seat next to her. So Angel went over and sat next to Kassidi, placing her arm around her shoulders and whispered in her ear. She convinced her that they should move this party up to their room for some more drinking and fun. At this point Angel knew she had them right where she wanted them and it was only a matter of time before the target was eliminated. Before she met them at their room she stepped back to bar and bought a bottle of rum and a bottle of coke, knowing that the darkness of the drink would definitely hide the powder if it didn't quite dissolve all the way. She paid the bar tender, grabbed both bottles and headed up to the third floor. When she got to room three-thirteen, she stood in front of the door chuckled softly to herself and then knocked.
Robbie answered the door with his shirt already unbuttoned and said, "Hello there you sexy thing, come on in we've been waiting for you." The music in the background was low and seductive.
"Well I had to get the good stuff ." She held up the bottles of rum and coke.
Angel walked in and showed Kassidi what she had brought on her way to gather the glasses and ice from the small table in their room. She strategically started pouring all three drinks with her back to them. Then she glanced over her shoulder to make sure that they were distracted by each other. She emptied a vial of white powder into both of their drinks. She stirred it in quietly and then turned to hand each of them a glass. Angel had both of them sit down.
The couple sat on the bed with their drinks and while they drank them, she began to move her body sensuously to music. Kassidi mentioned she was feeling light headed and Angel knew that the drink was doing what it was supposed to do. She wrapped her arms around the woman's shoulders and helped her lay down.
"It looks like you have had a little too much rum and coke, my dear, just lay here and relax."
"But I wanted to have some fun." Kassidi says in a slightly slurred voice.
Angel strokes her hair, "Don't worry. There will be plenty of fun to be had."
Robbie leaned over and said, "I'm not feeling so well."
"I'm sorry, lover." She said with a smirk
She touched his shoulder then took a step back and placed a roundhouse kick to his jaw, knocking him out. His limp body fell back against the headboard with a thud. She looked down at him and smiled
"We can't have you interfering now, can we?"
She looked over at Kassidi as she pulled the black gloves out of her evening bag. She slid them on and reached down, pulling her twelve inch dagger from its sheath inside her right boot.
"Now Kassidi, you have the privilege of being the first victim in a long line of victims, as I single handedly kill all of the Moon Changers and end this abomination."
With that she climbed on to the bed, stripped Kassidi of all her clothes and straddled her naked body. Angel looked down at her victim with disdain and plunged the dagger into Kassidi's chest, burying the entire blade. Angel then raised her head and hands in praise to her God as blood flowed out of the wound. She patiently carved the words "Moon Changers must die" into the woman's chest. The blade that it was carved with had silver in the blade so like the one before the wound turned red as it blistered. She stabbed the dagger back into the hole in Kassidi's chest. Her hands slid through Kassidi's blood. She used it to write on the bathroom mirror, "This isn't the end!" She pulled off the bloody gloves, and washed them and the glasses in the sink. When they were safely stored back in her boot she yanked the drawers out of the nightstand and dumped their bags out onto the floor, throwing clothes everywhere, smashing the rum bottle and glasses to throw off the police. She paused at the door to admire her handiwork and then said to herself. "One final thing"
She pulled the dagger from Kassidi's body and saw that the message carved into her chest had cauterized at the edges. She wiped her bloody dagger on Kassidi's shirt and then slid it back into its sheath. A quick glance in the bathroom mirror confirmed that she still looked flawless, but her message had started to drip down the glass. She walked calmly back to her motorcycle, hopped on, and headed home.CHAPTER 2
3 AM AND I was woken by my cell phone at full volume belting out the words to "American Woman" by Lenny Kravitz. I sat bolt upright, grimacing with the all too familiar pain in right shoulder and neck. I gently touched at the area trying to wake up. I grabbed my cell phone off the end table and touched the answer button.
"This is Detective Cross."
"Hey partner we're needed down town ... Ryan, there has been another one."
"Are you sure Frankie?"
"Yeah, the M.O is the same as the other two."
"Alright give me the address and I'll meet you there."
I grabbed a quick shower, toweled off and brushed my teeth. My beard, which only covered my chin, could fend for itself. I dressed and clipped my detective badge to my belt. I checked my Sig Sauer Nitron 1911, chambered a round, and clicked off the safety before sliding it into its holster. I stopped in front of the mirror in the hall. I haven't ever been a tall man; I stand only 5'8" and I weighed a solid 200 pounds but what I lacked in height I made sure I made up for with strength, grit, and determination. I took a quick look at myself and wondered for a moment if I should grow my hair out to cover the scar on my head. It can be seen clearly since I usually sport the bald look. I shook the thought out of my head and ran out the door. My black Jeep Wrangler burned down the highway towards the scene of yet another murder in a string of horrific murders, all in the downtown area.
The responding officers already had the crime scene taped off when I arrived at the Sunset Inn. I got out of my Jeep and approached the crime scene. I saw my partner Frankie Storm talking to one of the crime scene techs. For about the hundredth time I admired her ability to carry off the short black hair that is barely long enough to cover her ears. She had bright green eyes, pale ivory skin, and a smile that when you saw it you just couldn't help but smile back. Frankie is a couple inches shorter and about half my weight, but Frankie is no push over; she has just as much grit as her partner does.
I went under the crime scene tape and walked over to find out what exactly happened here.
"Hey Frankie, what do you got?"
"Looks to be the same M.O as the other ones. Killed one, the other is left alive. The victims are a Mr. Jasper O'Connor, age twenty-seven and a Mrs. Jackie Rosenguard age thirty. Both married, just not to each other."
"We assume they were here for romantic reasons; the responding officer tried talking to Mrs. Rosenguard but she couldn't remember anything about that night. She said the last thing she remembered was meeting Mr O'Connor at the hotel bar. Hopefully the evidence we collect will shed some light on what happened and why."
"Let's see the body and the rest of the crime scene."
"Alright let's get to work, partner."
Frankie and I walked into the hotel room where the murder had taken place. The body was found in the same position and the same location as the victim at the other crime scene that my partner and I had investigated. I could smell the same perfume that I'd smelled at the first crime scene. The man had been stripped of all clothing and the phrase "Moon Changers Shall die" carved into the victim's chest. The weapon was still unaccounted for just like in the other case. The rest of the hotel room had been ransacked, I did notice that there was water, broken glass, and a few rose petals on the floor next to the table. On the mirror in the bathroom, written in the victim's blood the message "This isn't the end!"
"Frankie look at this." I pointed at the glass and the rose petals
"Looks like the victims were here for romantic reasons."
"I think so too. Have the Crime Scene Investigators dusted for prints yet?"
She pointed at two plain clothes officers. "They're just getting started now, Ryan, but I doubt they'll find any. After all there weren't any at the other scene."
"Let's hope they find some here. What about witnesses?"
"Well the gentleman at the front desk told the responding officers that the maid who was servicing the rooms on this floor saw a woman with black hair that was pulled up in a tight bun, knee high black stiletto boots, and a black oriental embroidered tunic that hung to her upper thighs and the front plunged in a V-neck to just below her breast leaving as she entered the room next door. When she came in here to clean she found the bodies. She thought that both of them were dead but then the woman moaned. The maid hurried the woman out of the room, and notified the front desk.
When the manager was notified he called us."
"The question I have is why no one heard any screaming or any scuffle at all? I don't know about you Frankie, but I would be making a lot of noise if someone was carving up my chest."
"If the puncture wound was inflicted first, he wouldn't have been able to scream. Rosenguard was either drugged or an accomplice. I don't think she was in on it, but it does seem likely that the message was done postmortem, or at least after the fatal wound."
"We'll have to find out when the autopsy comes back. What about security cameras?"
"There's one on every floor but she made sure she wasn't seen and if she appeared on a camera, her face was never shown."
"That means she knew exactly where the cameras are, and that means she's been here before. Alright Frankie I think we should go talk to Mr. O'Connor's wife and we will send Detectives Edgewater and Metzger will go talk to Mrs. Warner husband who was killed in the second murder. We'll meet them back at the office and see if we can't come up with a connection between these victims and the victims in the three previous murders."
"Hopefully she can tell us a little more about her late husband and shed some light on this case."
"I was thinking the same thing, Frankie."
We were about to leave when I happen to notice a small impression in the carpet. I pointed it out to the Crime Scene Investigators and then Frankie and I went to pay a visit to Jasper O'Connor's residence. The O'Connors lived in a gated community where the houses were quite large and clearly very expensive. Their house was a large three-story, dark red, brick house with a dark gray stucco accent and a three car garage.
I parked on the street and we walked up the driveway and rang the doorbell. When the woman answered the door, I could tell she'd been crying.
"Mrs. O'Connor I am Detective Cross and this is Detective Storm and we're here to ask you some questions about your husband."
"What happened? Where's my husband?"
"I sorry to have to tell you this Mrs. O'Connor, but your husband was killed early this morning."
"No ... It can't be. He can't be dead ... I just talked to him last night."
"Could we come in and talk Mrs. O'Connor?"
"Yes ... Of course ... Come in please"
She led us into her living room where the décor was more modern than classic but looked nice and homey to say the least.
"Please detectives, take a seat and call me Jessica"
"Thank you ma'am. How long were you and Jasper married, Mrs. O'Connor?"
"We have been married,-uh were married for four years now."
"And what kind of work was your husband in?"
"Well he has been a Security Directory for the past two years."
"Where did he work?"
"His job had him working in Avalon City for the last couple of months but I don't remember the name of the place."
"Was he currently working on anything that might cause someone to want to take his life?"
"I'm not sure, I don't think so, but my husband tried to keep me out of whatever case he happened to be working on at the time."
"That was probably a good idea on his part. Did he have an office at home?"
"Yes he does."
"May we take a look in there? There could be something there that could give us an idea of why he was killed."
"I guess it will be okay if you take a look, it's down the hall, second door on the right."
Frankie and I went down the hall to Jasper's office. The office was very neat and organized but you could tell he spent some time in here; there were candid shots of the kids hung around the room. Frankie started pulling open desk drawers and I turned to the book shelves and filing cabinets.
"Ryan I think I found something." Frankie said.
"What did you find?"
"There's a false bottom to this drawer."
"Let's see what secrets it contains."
Frankie pulled out a pocket knife and whips it open and pried up the false bottom. There was a single file folder. Inside the folder there was a picture of a beautiful young woman, along with a photo of a fenced compound that had a lot of buildings in it. I pulled out the photo of the young woman and showed it to Mrs. O'Connor.
"Mrs. O'Connor, Do you know who this young woman is?"
"Let me see the picture."
I handed the picture to her. She spent a couple of minutes staring at it then with a tear slowly rolling down her cheek she handed it back to Frankie, and whispered softly to no one specific.
"I should have known. How come I didn't know?"
Frankie asked "How come you didn't know what Mrs. O'Connor?"
Her red eyes met mine. "The girl in the picture, Detective Storm, I don't know what her name is, or who she is. I do however know who she was to my husband."
"Who is she to your husband?" I asked.
Excerpted from Rising Moon by Kevin Fowers. Copyright © 2016 Kevin Fowers. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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