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Monday, July 21, 2014

Sacrificial Muse by Maegan Beaumont




Title: Sacrificial Muse
Author:
Maegan Beaumont
Release Date:
July 8th 2014

Publisher: Midnight Ink
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Sabrina opened the red envelope and saw one word...

 Mox. Soon.

After learning the identity of the serial killer behind her 83 horrific days of rape and torture, Sabrina Vaughn has suffered more physical and emotional wounds than she can handle. Despite reeling with pain both old and new, Sabrina is given a second chance as a San Francisco homicide detective. But as reporters dog her every step and hordes of mail pour into her office -- from supporters and nutjobs alike--Sabrina falls deeper into a pit of humiliation and anxiety. When nine red roses repeatedly show up on her desk, followed by an ominous red envelope addressed to Calliope, Sabrina realizes that a new killer is targeting her. She is his chosen muse, and the Fates require sacrifice.



Croft smiled and came forward. She skirted around the hood of the car, throwing the uniforms and crowd a curt wave, “Thanks for the help, guys.”
            “You sure—”
            “I’m sure. You two have better things to do than schlep my mess around,” she said, softening her refusal with a quick smile. Waiting for a break in traffic, she opened her door to see Croft leaning over the driver’s seat, his blood-stained hand hovering over the envelope that waited there.
            “Don’t touch it.” She kept her voice low but his head snapped up and he moved back in his seat. The uniforms weren’t going to leave until she did, and neither was the impromptu film crew gathered on the sidewalk. Shit, even Little was still standing at The Sentinel’s window, waiting to see what she’d do next.
She looked down at the red square resting on her seat and weighed her options. The envelope that showed up at the station had been handled and shuffled from counter to bag to box by multiple people before it reached her. Even if there had been prints or trace evidence on it, she’d had little to no hope of gathering any of it. This one was different. It was in her car. The only person who’d touched it so far was responsible for leaving it there. She needed to bag it, but there was no way she could preserve the evidence without doing so in full view of everyone watching her.
            She dug a glove out of her back pocket and pulled it on. “Get a paper bag out of my glove box,” she said to Croft. He didn’t hesitate, didn’t ask—just opened the compartment in front of him and pulled out a bag. She snapped it open and dropped the envelope inside it before folding the top of the bag over. Sliding behind the wheel, she twisted around and placed the bag on the backseat before she started the car and pulled into traffic.
            “That envelope. Does it have anything to do with what you asked your roommate last night about the word mox?” Croft finally said.
            She shot him a look. “Why would you think that?”
            He didn’t answer. “It does, doesn’t it?”
            Sabrina pulled into the first parking lot she found and slammed on the brakes before throwing the car into park. “Did you put it in my car?”
            “No.” Croft looked her in the eye when he said it. He was either telling the truth or he was a fabulous liar—God knew she’d been fooled before.
            “But you’ve been following me all morning.” It wasn’t a question and Croft was smart enough to know he’d been caught.
            He shrugged. “Just like any other day, right?”
            “So, if you didn’t leave it, you saw who did.”
            His eyes narrowed before he took a quick look at the bag behind him. “No, I didn’t. I figured out where you were going before you got there so I parked and made a few phone calls before I followed on foot. By the time I got there, you were already at your car.”
            Truth or fabulous liar—she still couldn’t tell, but it didn’t matter. “Fine. You don’t know anything useful? Get out of my car.”
Croft settled deeper into his seat. “Maybe you just aren’t asking the right questions.”
Mox… it’s Latin. It means soon. For some reason, Croft had drawn an immediate connection between that word and the envelope left on her seat.
“The word—name—written on the front of that envelope. Is it Latin?” she said, every word sticking in her throat. Asking Croft for help was a painful thing.
            “No, but you’re right, it’s a name. What do you know about Greek mythology?” he said, the corners of his mouth hugged tightly against the words as if he didn’t want to let them go.
“Zeus. Thunderbolts. Mount Olympus…” she said, trailing off impatiently. He just sat there, looking at her. “Look, Croft. Playing with me—not a good idea for anyone. For you, even less.”
He fixed her with a defiant glare. “I want to know what really happened that day in the woods.”
She’d known it was coming, but hearing him say it made her want to break his nose all over again. They stared at each other for a few seconds. “Forget it,” she said, reaching across his lap and opened his car door.
He shut the door. “You just beat me up. Me—the reporter who took your very private and very painful story national—in front of a newspaper office, not to mention several outraged citizens with camera phones.”
“What does it matter? You don’t even write for The Sentinel anymore.” Her voice sounded whiny and complaintive. It made her nauseous.
He ignored her. “Answers, Sabrina. Not just one. I want as many as I ask for, and I want the honest truth to every question I ask,” he said, his eyes burrowing into hers.
She sat back, glaring at him. “Or you’ll write a story about how I attacked you, unprovoked in the middle of the street. That I’m unhinged and should be locked up, is that it?” After what’d happened to Sanford—found dead in his truck, face caved in with a baseball bat—and the connection she had to his death, it would be as easy as breathing to convince the public that she was an unbalanced threat to society.
“That’s exactly it. I may not write for The Sentinel anymore but I’ve got plenty of freelance contacts.” His tone was hard. “A story about you finally losing your shit would be an easy sell.”
She’d be lucky if they let her write parking tickets after Croft was through with her—and he’d do it, even if he didn’t want to. She’d just had her career in homicide yanked out from under her. That was more loss than she could stomach for one day.
“Okay.”
Croft’s mouth flopped open but he recovered quickly. “Yes? You’ll talk to me. Just like that?”
“You just successfully blackmailed me, Croft. Try not to sound so surprised.” She didn’t look at him, instead staring through the windshield, her hands wrapped around the steering wheel. He was quiet for a few moments. Sabrina wanted to believe that his guilt was getting to him but she knew better. Croft had been waiting months for an opportunity like this. Exclusive interviews from her far outweighed any regret he might feel over how he got her to cooperate. She finally looked at him. “The envelope—”
“Calliope is the name of one of the nine daughters Zeus fathered with the Titaness, Mnemosyne. They were given to a nymph, Eufime and Zeus’ son, Apollo, to be raised,” Croft said. “They grew to be known as the Nine Muses. Calliope was the superior muse. Protector of justice. Said to be the lover of both Apollo and his brother Ares, god of war. Conflicting stories had her bearing both of them sons.”
She reached back and plucked the evidence bag off the backseat, putting on a fresh pair of gloves before opening it. Removing the envelope, Sabrina paused for a moment.
Wait. Take it back to the station. Have it processed properly.
She pulled the wax seal from the paper, slipping the card from its sheath before flipping it open. Inside, in the same beautiful lettering, was another message:
In mortem, et est soror tua.
Sabrina turned the card in Croft’s direction. “What does it say?”
He glanced down at the card, his mouth going flat for a second before it turned downward. He looked at her. “My Latin is way rusty. I can’t be sure that—”
“Tell me,” she almost shouted, her voice bouncing off the windows.
He sighed, his hands still wrapped around the shirt she’d given him. “In mortem, et est soror tua... as best I can tell… it means, in death, she is your sister.

From Sacrificial Muse by Maegan Beaumont. © 2014 by Maegan Beaumont. Used by permission from Midnight Ink Books, www.midnightinkbooks.com.
~~~~~

REVIEW FROM SHARON

After all Sabrina had gone through, she was finally home.  Now all she has to contend with is the press constantly stalking her and her boss, who feels she shouldn't be on the force anymore.  Things should be going back to normal, but aren't.  She has a bullet wound in her leg and a voice in her head (Wade).  

One of the reporters, has started stalking her and writing about her at every turn.  Which brings out the people calling her hero and the crazies that send her confessions.  So when she starts getting flowers she doesn't think anything of it, even gives them to the other officers to take home.  Her boss is making her jump through hoops, trying to find a way to fire her, including sending her for drug testing, and then sending her back to SWAT. 

The first clue something isn't right is a phone call she receives at the station, asking her if her favorite color is red (the color of the roses she keeps receiving), that the caller isn't happy she gives them away and then that there is 9 of you...but not for long.  Then while going through her "fan" mail, she finds a red envelope with the name Calliope, with the word "Mox" and the eternity symbol.  Mox is Latin for soon.  


Another crazy is after her, and has started killing innocent females, cutting their hearts out and stuffing them with rose petals.  She keeps getting letters from him, that are written in blood, DNA tests show its a mixture of 9 peoples blood one being Sabrina's.  And this killer is always 1 step ahead of her, and is steering her to where he wants her, even to the one witness who could ID him, right before she dies.  

But this time, Sabrina isn't doing it on her own, she learned her lesson.  Her partner, a few fellow officers and Ben (the son of the guy Michael works for).  But when Val ends up missing, Sabrina will do whatever it takes to get her friend back, including going in alone....AGAIN!!

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Published May 8th 2013 by Midnight Ink
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Past horrors bleed into a present day nightmare

Fifteen years ago, a psychotic killer abducted seventeen year old Melissa Walker. For 83 days she was raped and tortured before being left for dead in a deserted church yard... But she was still alive.

Melissa begins a new life as homicide inspector, Sabrina Vaughn. With a new face and a new name, it's her job to hunt down murderers and it's a job she does very well.

When Michael O'Shea, a childhood acquaintance with a suspicious past, suddenly finds her, he brings to life the nightmare Sabrina has long since buried.

Believing that his sister was recently murdered by the same monster who attacked Sabrina, Michael is dead set on getting his revenge--using Sabrina as bait.




Maegan Beaumont is the author of CARVED IN DARKNESS, the first book in the Sabrina Vaughn thriller series (Available through Midnight Ink, spring 2013). A native Phoenician, Maegan’s stories are meant to make you wonder what the guy standing in front of you in the Starbucks line has locked in his basement, and feel a strong desire to sleep with the light on.
When she isn’t busy fulfilling her duties as Domestic Goddess for her high school sweetheart turned husband, Joe, and their four children, she is locked in her office with her computer, her coffee pot and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, and one true love, Jade.

REVIEW BY SHARON

This is a fast paced thriller, once you start its hard to put down.  For 83 days, Melissa is held captive in a hell that no one could survive.  On the 83rd day her captor makes a mistake, this time he stabs her to hard and deep.  Thinking she is dead, he deposits her body on a bench in a churchyard.

15 years later, Sabrina/Melissa is living in San Francisco.  She has become a police officer, but not just any, she is part of the SWAT team and also homicide detective.  She lives with her brother and sister that are twins, and her best friend Val.  

Still suffering from the PTSD from the brutal 83 days she lived, she is afraid of the dark and always aware of her surroundings.   So while out jogging, she realizes someone is following her.  When she sees who it is, she knows someone from her past has found her.  Calling the only person from where she use to live that knows shes still alive, her grandmother, who has sent someone to watch over her.

Michael O'Shea, was a punk kid, put into a foster home, where he ran away many times or was in some type of trouble growing up.  Once his foster parents died, he dropped his step sister off at their aunts and took off.  He joined the Army and became Special Forces, then became a gun for hire.  When he found out his sister was brutally murdered he came back to the town he grew up in, where Sabrina's grandmother took him under her wing, but also confessed that the murder of his sister was exactly the way Sabrina had been treated.   Someone in their little town was kidnapping and killing girls on October 1st, Sabrina's birthday.

Michael is in California for one reason...to bring Sabrina back, one way or another to lure the killer out and get his revenge.  When he first confronts her, he explains there have been many murders, all the victims resemble Sabrina, and victimized like she was.  He asks her to go back but she refuses, until girls start showing up dead in San Francisco, with notes carved into them for her.  But what really gets her is now hes making threats against her little sister.  So Michael and Sabrina team up and go back home to get the killer before he can strike again.

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