Title: VINDICATION (A Kindle Vella Novel)
Author: Peggy Jaeger
Genre: Crime/drama; murder mystery, FBI profiler, Serial killer
Someone is murdering teenage girls in Washington, DC. The FBI's special division, the SPCD - the Sexual Predators of Children - has been working the case for the past 6 months.
When a Senator's daughter goes missing, the team, led by Tucker Petrie, has to call on retired profiler - and his past partner - Kella O'Brian. Reluctantly, she rejoins the team and they search for a link to the girls who have been abducted, then killed.
Ten years ago.
“How does it feel to know you’re dying, Agent O’Brien?”
The soft, dulcet sound of his oddly feminine voice sent a river of ice-cold sweat down her spine. The knife slash he’d slit across her neck pumped blood, like a fountain bubbling over, drenching her neck and chest. Her father’s dead body sprawled across from her, the officer assigned to protect them slouched against the wall where he’d been struck down after answering the demanding knock at the door.
The only movement in the room was the killer’s as he wiped her blood from his hands with a single paper towel.
“Do you feel a calm, almost spiritual joy welling up inside you?” He squatted in front of her, shaved head cocked to one side as he regarded her through eyes devoid of compassion and filled with psychotic glee. “Can you feel death approaching? See any white lights? Is your mind even working with any rational thought right now?”
He rolled the gore-filled towel into a tight ball, stuffed it into his mouth, and swallowed it in one quaff, his Adam’s apple bobbing with the effort.
“Mustn’t leave any evidence behind.” The maniacal grin she’d grown to despise slithered across his face.
Her gun lay, inert, just beyond reach where it dropped when he’d surprised, then ambushed, them. She tried to crawl her fingers to it, but the shear force of movement was exhausting. Sweat pumped from her forehead, drowning her eyes, clouding her vision.
Watching her efforts, a bemused expression furrowed his brow and twitched at his lips.
“Don’t bother,” he told her. “Even if you had the strength to pull the trigger, you’d miss. About now your reflexes have all frozen due to shock. Your breathing is shallow and quick, your pulse rate thready, barely palpable. All your blood is pumping out of your neck, none of it getting to your organs. You’ll die in another minute or so. I know how this works, Agent O’Brien.”
His mouth broke into a full-toothed smile now. “I’ve made death my life’s study. What a rush to see the actual life leave a body and know I’m responsible for it. It’s a feeling that has no equal.”
The feral grin broadened. “Power. Ultimate and absolute power over life and death. And I have it.”
Her weakened palm pushed against the butt of the gun while he spoke. She tried to slide a finger into the trigger hole.
“Who are you kidding?” he asked.
Blinking, she tried to clear the moisture from her vision and focus in on the gun.
“You really think you’re going to die a hero, don’t you? That I’d let you shoot me? Go ahead, then.” He rose and stared down at her, hands on his skeletal hips, sophomorical defiance in his stance.
“Go ahead,” he repeated with a careless shrug. “Try to shoot me. You won’t be able to. You’re too weak to lift your gun much less fire it. You’ll wind up shooting the ceiling, if anything. Guaranteed you won’t hit me.” He folded his arms across his chest and smirked. “I’ve got nothing else to do but watch you die, so just try and shoot me.”
She flicked her parched tongue over lips that tasted of metal. She grew fueled by the flavor.
The word was almost inaudible as it croaked from her. With every ounce of life left, she stretched forward and, in one fluid motion, managed to grab the gun, raise it, point, and pull the trigger.
A shocked expression exploded on his face. Eyes bulging from their sockets, mouth paralyzed into a silent moue of amazement, the bullet shattered into his brow, dead center, freezing his astonishment in place. A millisecond later his body fell straight backward, dead.
The gun bounced from her grasp as her hand banged back to the floor.
“I never miss,” she whispered. A volcanic coughing spasm spewed blood out of her nose and mouth. Glancing over at her father, a solitary tear escaped from her eye and drizzled down her temple while a screech of sirens blared in the distance.
Unable to keep her eyes open any longer, the world in front of her went black.
Amazon Kindle Vella: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09B2P9XL4
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Do you like stories with strong, smart female leads? Do you enjoy reading about serial killers and the people who hunt them for a living? Do you love a good whodunit? VINDICATION has all those things. I’ve been obsessed with serial killers for years – what makes them tick, why do they do what they do? But I’ve been equally fixated on the people who hunt them for a living. VINDICATION is a story with 2 plots – the first, the killing of young girls in Washington DC and the team who tries to bring the killer to justice. And the second is about how the past is never fully resolved – it always comes back to haunt you. If you like stories that make you think, this one’s for you!
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Runs August 9 – August 18, 2022.
Winner will be drawn on August 19, 2022.
Peggy Jaeger writes contemporary romances and rom coms about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all aspects of life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness, and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"
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Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0