Book 3 of the Bloodstone Series
The killer whispered-“A pretty damsel…worth a pretty risk.”
A veteran, Detective Rudyard Bloodstone has fought a brutal battle and witnessed war horrors that haunt his nightmares. Now one of those horrors has followed him home from Africa.
A vicious predator, the Cape cobra, can kill a man in thirty minutes. A suspect using the snake as a weapon in robberies is terrorizing London.
When the crimes escalate into murder, a victim’s daughter, Honoria Underhill, becomes the focus of the killer. After several attempts on her life, Scotland Yard threatens to take over the high profile case. With few leads to follow, Bloodstone and his partner must now fight department politics and catch the killer before Underhill becomes another murder victim.
“How much did you hear?” Ruddy asked.
“From the part where Will said you needed a feint. I heard about the decoy too and you have no one that suits.” Honoria smiled sweetly and leaned forward, arms on her knees.
Ruddy had a bad feeling he knew what she was about to say.
Will must’ve sensed it too. “Miss Underhill, I hope you’re not going to suggest something foolish.” He set the parlor chair next to hers.
“I’m going to suggest the obvious and the most expedient. Truth be told gentlemen, I miss going about my affairs like a normal person. The sooner this person is caught, the sooner I can return to my everyday life.”
“Hear me out, Will, please.”
Behind her back, he mouthed no to Ruddy, who tipped his head a fraction in acknowledgement.
“I am weary of being afraid. It has to end and if a decoy is the way to achieve that, then the only viable choice is me. He’s obsessed. Will and Curry can station themselves so they’re barely a stone’s throw from me.” After a long, exasperated sigh she said, “Detective Bloodstone, let’s finish this.”
She’d been sheltered all her life, she had no idea how dangerous being a decoy was. “I understand your frustration. We all do. That frustration is skewing your logic along with other factors. You’re in mourning for your father and the tragedy of his murder also affects your thinking. Emotional upheaval of an extreme nature often steals logic from us,” Ruddy explained. Her fingers drummed the arm of her chair as he did.
“Let me stop you right there, detective.” All the sweet, young heiress tone was stripped from her voice, replaced with the serious tone of a stern headmistress. “As I’ve tried to make Will understand, this is the least close family I know. I loved my father because he was my father and a good man in many ways. Love isn’t the same as like and I can say in all honestly, I did not like him. He wasn’t a warm, loving man and made no effort to be so. You may think me harsh, but I don’t miss him.” Then she firmly added, “My thinking and my logic are just fine.”
Archie’s cheeks and forehead flushed bright red with anger. “I don’t believe you. Ruddy and I were there right after the attack in the hospital. You were sobbing and an emotional wreck.”
“Who wouldn’t be, detective? My father, who I told you I did have affection for, was murdered in front of my eyes. I’m not made of stone. Not to mention I was also attacked.”
Will slid his hand under her upper arm and drew her back into a more relaxed position. As she’d defended her idea, she’d tilted to more closely challenge them all.
“Miss Underhill, has it escaped you that Curry and I were hired to protect you? Making yourself a decoy for a killer is the inverse of protection,” Will told her.
She waved off his objection with a dismissive flick of her hand. “Oh bosh.”
“Our boss is never, ever going to approve such a thing,” Archie stressed. “If we even approach him with such a plan, he’d say we’d gone mad.”
Honoria pulled her arm out of Will’s grasp. She went from man-to-man, glaring at each in turn. “Apparently, you all believe I need permission. Well gentlemen, I will remind you that I need no approval or permission to do what I want in my own home.
Every cell in Ruddy’s body longed to grab her by the arms and shake her until her eyes crossed. “I would remind you that this snake is one of the deadliest in the world. You won’t survive its bite. It doesn’t matter how close Will and Curry are to you if the killer is within the snake’s striking range.”
“I’ll pad my arms with extra clothing or wrap towels around them under my dress.”
The men just shook their heads. Fed up, Ruddy stood and said, “We’re spitting into the wind, Arch. Let’s go.” He stepped to within inches of where Honoria sat and bent down close to her face. “If you don’t care about your safety, then think how you’ll feel if this nonsensical idea gets Will or Curry killed. Brave you, dead them. Good afternoon, Miss Underhill.”
Thank you, Chris Karlsen and RABT Book Tours
About the author
I was raised in Chicago. My father, a history professor, and my mother, a voracious reader passed on a love of history and books along with a love of travel.
I am a retired police detective. After twenty-five years in law enforcement I decided to pursue my dream of writing. I write a historical-time travel romance series called Knights in Time and a historical suspense called The Bloodstone Series.
I am also working on a world war two series of novella romances. The first is Moonlight Serenade and currently available. The second is my work in progress at the moment and will be titled, The Ack-Ack Girl.
2 e-copies of A Venomous Love, 1 Amazon gift card for $20 to a random winner