When Dawn Never Comes

When Dawn Never Comes

by Kim Carter
When Dawn Never Comes

When Dawn Never Comes

by Kim Carter

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Overview

Jordan Maxwell, a twenty-seven-year-old freelance journalist, ventures to New York City to make a name for herself.

With both of her parents dead, she struggles to get by living in one of the worst neighborhoods in the city. In a twist of fate, Jordan finds herself the sole heir to her great-uncle's estate in Solomon Cove, Maine. Packing her bags, she heads to Maine where she soon realizes that her rags-to-riches journey entails much more than she bargained for.

Crime is unheard of in the small fishing village of Solomon Cove, a town where everyone knows everyone. It was the last place anyone expected crime, especially murder. However, the tides turn for this quaint town when the body of a young girl comes crashing in with the waves. As the victims continue to mount, Jordan starts to believe the murders are connected to her and the family she never knew. Digging deeper into the past, Jordan must protect herself before she becomes the serial killer's next target.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781947140073
Publisher: Raven South Publishing
Publication date: 01/03/2018
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The waves crashed incessantly against the rocks. The roar was strong, as it was on most evenings, sounding more like a thunderstorm than the tide coming in. Her thin, blonde hair floated lightly on top of the waves, then lay matted on the wet sand. She had been a beautiful girl although that was not visible now. Her eyes were open in a hollow stare, her mouth distorted in a silent scream, mirroring the last moments of fear that had raced through her mind. She bobbed up and down in the water until the sea decided it was time to retreat and finally allow her broken body time to rest. To lie still.

It was two days later when an old man found her there, naked and bloated from the sun. Thankfully, the rugged jetties had kept her body near the beach, and Jake Sims watched as the coroner's office struggled to pull her free.

"Thank you, Mr. Sims. Sorry, you had to walk up on this. Any idea who she could be?" Sheriff Murphy asked.

"No, Elias, I don't. Pretty young lady though. Can't imagine anyone wanting to do such a thing. Any idea how she could have died?"

"There are several blows to the head, but they could be from the rocks. Looks like she was strangled, best I can tell."

"Can't imagine this happening in Solomon Cove," Jake said solemnly.

"Me either. Want a lift home? I'm heading your way."

"I'd appreciate that, Sheriff. I think I've walked enough for today."

The two rode in silence, but not an uncomfortable one. They had known each other far too long for that. It was just unimaginable ... a young woman, murdered in this quiet fishing village on the coast of Maine. The sheriff rarely even wrote a speeding ticket, and if he did, most of those were to the tourists passing through, not to the locals. The gravel crunched loudly under the cruiser's tires as Sheriff Murphy pulled into Jake Sims's driveway.

"Want to come in for a drink?" Jake asked.

"I need to get back and start on this paperwork. The mayor will be demanding answers long before I can produce them," Elias answered.

"C'mon, Sheriff. One stiff drink never hurt anybody. Besides, I believe we are both due one today."

Nodding in agreement, the sheriff followed him inside. Elias Murphy was surprised to see how neat Jake kept his small cabin. He often wondered why Jake had never married. He was an interesting man, and as far as Elias could tell, he wasn't a bad-looking one either. Jake broke his train of thought to hand him a small snifter filled with cheap bourbon.

"To better days than this one," Jake said, holding up his glass.

"To better days than this," the Sheriff replied, tapping his glass lightly with Jake's raised one.

In one quick swoop, the two men finished off their shots and walked back onto the front porch.

* * *

Just as the Sheriff had expected, the mayor was sitting restlessly in his office. He never took time for formalities. This time wouldn't be an exception.

"What have you got on the girl? Was it a drowning or homicide?" Mayor Thomas Blake demanded.

"Good Morning, Mayor," Sheriff Murphy said with little attempt to hide his disdain. "The coroner just retrieved the body. We didn't find any identification on the scene. I'm heading to the morgue now if you would like to ride along."

"I think I'll do that," the mayor countered. Thomas Blake was a distant man, even to those who knew him best. His long, lean body resembled a professional athlete and although he was beginning to bald––at forty-five––he was a handsome man. Along with running the only law firm in town, he had been the mayor in Solomon Cove for over ten years. After the accidental death of his wife and son, he had become obsessed with his work, and many times the town felt the wrath of his dedication.

The two men rode the four blocks to the medical examiner's office with little to say to one another. The county morgue was small, rarely holding more than two bodies at any given time. The dead were usually retired residents or an occasional car crash victim. A possible murder was big news for Solomon Cove.

"Good morning, Alexandria," Sheriff Murphy said in his best attempt to sound professional.

"Good morning, Sheriff," she answered in the sweet southern accent she had spent years trying to cover up. It was obvious the two had something for each other, and everyone in town wanted to ask them why they even attempted to disguise it.

"Where is Doctor Chambers, Alex?" Mayor Blake questioned brusquely.

"He's in the back. He told me to bring you two back as soon as you arrived."

She stood up, pressing her skirt down neatly with both hands. She was tall and thin, with striking blue eyes and dark hair. There was a kindness about her that made everyone in town love her, and Sheriff Elias Murphy was among her admirers.

Alex walked to the second examining room, tapped on the door, and left them. The mayor entered without hesitation, then stopped in his tracks. It was hard to look at the young body lying on the cold metal table. She looked like she should be frolicking on a beach somewhere with her girlfriends, or walking across the green grass of a large college campus. Instead, she laid here, her small, delicate hands and feet bagged for evidence.

"It never gets easier seeing young people like this," Doctor Chambers said quietly. "It just isn't the way God intended it." He reached for a small Styrofoam cup of water and took two swallows.

"Have you determined the cause of death?" the sheriff asked.

"More than likely strangulation. Wasn't an easy death. She was raped and beaten before she died. Can't imagine what this world is coming to." Doctor Chambers pulled the thin crisp sheet back, revealing large purple bruises covering most of her body. "The rocks weren't too kind to her either," he said.

"Could you find any evidence?" Mayor Blake asked, sounding dry, and getting tactlessly to the point.

"A couple of fibers under her fingernails and a dark pubic hair. The cold water was the only element that was good to her. Called 'Adipocere', it is," he said calmly trying to turn the situation into a medical lesson rather than the brutal murder that lay before them. "The fatty tissue under the skin begins to saponify."

"Damn it. I give." The mayor rolled his eyes and asked, "What the hell does saponify mean?"

"Kind of turns the body into soap, can preserve it for months, sometimes years. The water temp kept her from the normal changes that come with decomposition."

"Thanks for the gory details, Doc," Thomas answered, turning from the body.

"Do you think you guys could help me bag her up and get her into the cooler?" Doc asked calmly.

The two men stood silent and motionless.

"I'll take that as a 'yes'. I'm getting to be an old man these days." He handed them each a pair of rubber gloves, which they put on as slowly as they could in a meager attempt to delay the inevitable. The plastic body bag was heavy and dark with a sharp, shiny zipper. They placed her young body in it as tenderly as they could. The three men stood for a moment, their eyes transfixed on her contorted face. Elias felt a sudden urge to scream at her, to plead with her to wake up before the zipper made its way up to her once beautiful face. Instead, he looked away, listening to the cruel sounds of the zipper as it closed her off from view. Thomas shivered openly and rubbed his hands briskly along his arms. "Let's get out of here," he said, relieved to walk out of the refrigerated tomb.

"Any idea who she is?" Elias asked, his eyes moist.

"I had Alex fax her prints over to state police, but she doesn't look like someone that'll have a police record. She was nude, and there weren't any personal belongings anywhere on the shoreline."

"Call us when you hear anything, Doctor Chambers," Mayor Blake ordered.

"I'll be in touch," Elias said.

CHAPTER 2

Jordan laid in bed listening to the sounds of New York. The constant clamor of tourists and businessmen, and the screeching of tires from the traffic. She was amazed at how she no longer consciously heard the cries of the sirens.

It had taken her two years to sleep through the night, but she now found New York was in her blood. It was going to be hard to leave, but even harder to stay. Her freelance articles just weren't bringing in enough money to cover expenses, and she refused to move to an apartment in a worse neighborhood than she was already in.

She studied the copy of the will again, only keener this time.

James Maxwell does hereby bequeath all material belongings to his great-niece, Jordan Tae Maxwell. The stated shall include the estate located at:

815 Alden Drive Solomon Cove, Maine 04538; All furniture and possessions therein, and $950,000.00.

She had met him once. So long ago, that it strained her memory to recall it. He had been sixty, and Jordan only five years old. Even then, he was a tired old man, barely able to stand alone without the aid of his walker. She remembered his gnarled hands, reflecting the burden of years of arthritis. He had frightened her, and even as she looked back on it as an adult, she could understand why.

His mansion had been dark and dusty and smelled of mildew. Large framed portraits of solemn faces hung along the walls, while quiet butlers and maids served coffee and tea, their faces reflecting fear and uncertainty.

Jordan had sensed her parents felt uncomfortable too as their visits were always brief and noncommittal. She wished they were still alive to talk to about this whole situation. How did she inherit the estate, why did she inherit it? Jordan had been told that James Maxwell's only son had spent years in an asylum, and she wondered what had become of him. She made a mental note to question the attorney about it the following morning.

The ring of the phone startled her from her thoughts.

"Still in the bed, sleepyhead?"

Jordan smiled as she thought of Eric. He had probably been in the office for a couple of hours by now. She could picture him with a pen behind his ear and one in his hand as he peered over the mountain of paperwork piled high on his desk.

"What's the story of the day?" Jordan asked inquisitively. She always enjoyed hearing about his work as a journalist for The New York Times. Eric covered a great deal of the local homicides. Sometimes his stories were so gruesome Jordan found herself dreaming about them, others were so mysterious she would ponder over their motives for weeks. Still, others were just senseless acts of random violence. Regardless of the situation, Eric would put his heart into not only reporting them but in solving them as well. The NYPD valued his opinion, which got him closer to most stories than other journalists.

"A drive-by shooting in Bedford Stuyvesant. Perp missed his target, killing a four-year-old girl. Cute thing, lots of pigtails. Sometimes I think I have to be sick to enjoy this job. What have you got planned for today?"

"I really need to get up and start organizing this packing mission. Are you coming over tonight to help? I'll order Chinese. I only have a few more chances to eat L'ings."

"I wouldn't want to deprive you of more takeout from L'ings. He's going to have to shut the place down when you move. I think you're his only business." With that, Eric laughed and she thought of his smile. He was gorgeous, and she loved everything about him. She was trying hard to put leaving him out of her mind.

"Oh, that's real funny, smart-ass. Try to be here before 8:00 if you can." With that, she hung up the phone, no good-bye, no I love you. Sometimes that is what it took for him to realize she was serious. Otherwise, she would be calling him at the office around 9:30 threatening him to put down a story.

She rolled back over in bed, covering with an overstuffed pillow.

"I've got to get up and get at it," she said out loud to herself. It was something her mother used to say when she would try to sleep late as a teenager. Jordan lifted the pillow, glimpsing around the small, crowded room. Heavy boxes in need of assembling lay everywhere, while stacks of dishes sat in the middle of the floor, waiting to be wrapped in newspaper.

The studio apartment had never been large enough. The heavy antique bed took up far too much room, but it came with childhood memories, and she couldn't bear to part with it. Jordan closed her eyes and remembered all the nights her parents had read her to sleep. Her father had been much more animated than her mother and their laughter could be heard all over the house while her mother read softly and intently. Jordan would always lie against her breast and fall asleep. Good memories. She had lots of those. She only needed to close her eyes to relive them over and over again.

Other than the bed, the apartment didn't look very homey. The small kitchenette had been adequate, but only because she rarely cooked meals there. It had sufficed for preparing her famous boxed macaroni and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. There hadn't been room for a kitchen table, but that had been fine since she didn't have one anyway. There was, however, a dingy gray sofa, which she had inherited from her college roommate, and a scarred coffee table that held both her computer monitor and printer. Home Sweet Home, she thought.

Rummaging around in the debris, Jordan could not imagine what she would possibly miss about this place.

Maybe it's just that it has been home for the past three years, she thought, then realized quickly it had never actually been home.

Be honest with yourself, she sighed. It's not New York you'll miss, it's Eric.

They had met at Berkley where they were both journalism students. It had been an instant attraction, but they had not instantly liked one another. They competed against each other's work, and it wasn't until they ran into each other in New York that they realized there was a great deal they could learn from one another. The rest had been history.

It was Eric who had been there for her when her parents had been killed in the house fire and Eric who had encouraged her writing. Even when she hadn't felt like pushing herself to do it anymore, he had been her determination. Eric couldn't understand why Jordan wanted to leave, all but pleading with her not to do it, but she had made up her mind. She needed the change, her career needed the change, and she was convinced a change of scenery would do her work some good. Perhaps most of all, Jordan wanted desperately to be near family. Even though she had not known her great-uncle well, at least this was a house that had belonged in her family. A house her parents had visited if only a handful times. The plans were to leave in a week, but the movers would be picking up her things in two days. After that, she would spend the remaining few days at Eric's place.

At twenty-seven Jordan was a real eye-catching beauty. She was tall, with a willowy body that seemed to dance across the floor as she walked. Sauntering toward the bathroom, she slowly undressed, looking at naked body in the mirror. Critiquing her figure, she examined her long lean legs up to her trim torso and large, firm breasts. Her forearms and biceps were easy clues she spent a great deal of time in the gym.

She took the rubber band out of her hair, letting her golden locks flow around her shoulders. She had taken after her Mother, fair skin, and light blonde hair. Her eyes were green, sometimes even looking hazel. More than once she had longed for her father's dark skin and hair, but he had always told her she was more fortunate to resemble her Mother.

Opening the shower curtain, Jordan stepped into the steamy water. Closing her eyes, she put her head under the faucet letting the hot mist cover her face. She lathered her hair and body then stood under the water until it ran cold. That was one of the pleasures of living alone, she always told herself, never having to save hot water for someone else.

After taking an hour just to dress in jeans and a T-shirt, she pulled her hair back into a ponytail and finally began the task of boxing up her belongings. Before she knew it, the day passed her by. The clock, about the only thing, left hanging on the wall, displayed 7:30. Jordan grabbed the phone without even thinking and dialed L'ings.

"Hello, Johnny. This is Jordan. I'll have an order of beef and broccoli and Moo Goo Gai Pan and throw in four egg rolls with that, please."

"It'll be ready in twenty minutes," Johnny said. He had worked takeout for the L'ings since Jordan had been in New York. She often wondered what his story was. Tall and lanky, he looked to be the age of a college student but had never shared anything with her about how he spent his off time. She often spotted him riding his bike through the streets with Ling's deliveries strapped to the back. Yes, Jordan would miss Johnny too.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "When Dawn Never Comes ..."
by .
Copyright © 2016 Kim Carter.
Excerpted by permission of Raven South Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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