Lauren walked back and forth across the stage giving her presentation. The Aztec printed skirt she wore swished against her legs. She focused on her PowerPoint presentation.

“Ladies and gentleman, the important thing to remember when you are trying to understand the mind of a criminal is to consider the historical information available to you. Current behavior is demonstrative of past behavior. Also, beware of malingering. Criminals are notorious for faking illness. I could sight countless examples of offenders that have tried this, but I think Kenneth Bianci is a prime example. You know him as the one of the Hillside Stranglers. He pretended to have Multiple Personality Disorder for the purposes of escaping punishment for his crimes.”

“Dr. Harris,” a voice from the back of the auditorium echoed throughout the room. She looked away from the screen and saw Nick standing in the back.

“Agent Bennette, as you can see, I’m in the middle of a lecture.”

“We need to leave,” he said gruffly.

“What?” Her temper flared and heat filled her veins.

“What is today Doc?” he asked.

“Agent Bennette, please…”

“Think.” He crossed his arms. “What is today?”

She paused realizing the date; August eighteenth.

Suddenly, the significance hit her. “Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize, but I need to cut this short. I am so sorry. You can pick up the power point handout on the back table. If you have questions, my email address is included,” she said as she began throwing her belongings together. “Classes begin in about three weeks and I teach a class which details this subject matter. Thank you for coming.”

Nick walked to the front of the auditorium where Lauren continued putting her things away. He stood in a pair of dark boot cut jeans, hiking boots, and a white polo shirt.

“I wish you would have been a little more polite as opposed to just barging in,” she said sternly.

“I’m just following orders. I was told to retrieve you A-S-A-P. We’re going to Coopers Rock State Forest. That’s quite a drive.”

0ihv2wth“Another girl?”

“Local detective said she’s in a plastic box and when he saw your link and read over the VICAP data, he called me.”

“By the way, Bennette, don’t call me ‘Doc.’” He ignored her. “When was she found?” Lauren asked.

“This morning at about seven; detective said the vic’s brother received a text message with the GPS coordinates. Crime scene is still fresh. They specifically requested that you come and because you’re a consultant being paid with federal dollars and you’re an expert of some kind, I am required to bring you.”

Without another word, she threw her laptop case over her shoulder and grabbed her other belongings. Almost sprinting to the back of the room, Nick kept up without effort.

“Where are you going?” he asked curiously.

“To my office. I need to change clothes and grab an overnight bag.”



Abstract background“Dr. Gregory, how good to see you,” the man said.

“Hello Jack. I have a reservation for two,” Matt answered politely.

“Right this way, sir.”

Robin took more from the short greeting than just common courtesy. Obviously, it wasn’t the first time Matt had been at the restaurant. She followed the tall man up a set of winding stairs. Behind her, Matt followed. At the top of the stairs a large room opened up with windows of glass on three sides. A chandelier hung in the middle of the room with a ballroom open for dancing. Candlelit tables peppered the room. The elegance overwhelmed her.

“My goodness.” she whispered,

She felt Matt’s hand on the small of her back.

“My brother, my sister-in-law, and I bring my mother here for every birthday. It’s her favorite restaurant.”

Robin nodded, relieved by his words. Fear and uncertainty always lurked in the dark recesses of her mind as she constantly questioned her worth. For so long she had looked for and needed someone like Matt to whisper positive words in her ear; to offer encouragement. She felt weak sometimes because of her need for Matt’s emotional support, but she also appreciated him. She realized he could possibly be the other half she searched for. The thought frightened her to her very core.

The gentleman seated them at a table overlooking the river. Quiet chatter throughout the room sounded like sweet music in Robin’s ears. Some patrons twirled on the dance floor.

Champagne arrived at the table first. Matt reached across the table to take Robin’s hands into his.

“I’m so proud of you,” he said with a brilliant smile, his eyes filled with light.

Her cheeks warmed. “Thanks.”

He reached up and gently touched her cheek.

“Do you know how beautiful you are when you blush? And you do it all of the time. I figured after a couple of months, the newness would wear off.”

“I’m blushing? I’m sorry,” she said as she dropped her head.

couple-dancing-0510-lg“Don’t be. It’s so becoming.” With his finger, he tilted her chin up. “You are worth complimenting, Robin. I know you have trouble believing that. And I understand why. You have so much to be proud of.”

After the exquisite meal, Robin looked around at the others in the large dining room. She admired the brave souls on the ballroom floor as they danced effortlessly. The orchestra music soothed her. She felt as if she were in an old film like the ones she had watched with her mother. All of this felt like a dream.

She continued watching the couples swirl about and only wished she could be so graceful. She had tried so many times to learn ballroom dancing, but she had always failed miserably.

“Dance with me,” Matt said as he patted his lips with the linen napkin.

Shock covered her face as she frowned. Shaking her head, she answered, “Oh, no, Matt, I can’t. You know I can’t.”

“It’s in the leading,” he said leaning over to her. “That’s my job, so as long as I don’t mess up, you should be fine.”

“Really, Matt, this is a bad idea.”

“Let’s live dangerously,” as his eyebrows raised and his eyes opened wider.

“Me dancing; that is dangerous.”

Her head dropped and when she looked up he stood beside her with his hand outstretched.

“M’Lady, will you do me the distinguished honor of dancing with me?”

She stood and took his hand.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s your feet.”


Enjoy this snippet from THE FINE LINE:

“I won’t. We’ll go down together.”

After putting the wet towels and dirty clothes in the hamper, Robin took Olivia’s hand and led her down the stairs into the dining room.

“Why don’t you wait here and I’ll get a snack for you? Think that might help?” she asked thoughtfully.

“Yes,” Olivia replied.Abstract background

While Olivia ate her snack, Robin walked to the basement to grab sleeping bags from storage. Matt sat on the futon with the phone to his ear. She tried hard to figure out who he was talking to, but couldn’t. So, she abandoned the investigation and walked back upstairs.

With the sleeping bags scattered on the floor, Olivia snuggled into hers and proceeded to watch a movie. She calmed and drifted into a dreamless sleep.

Feet up and the laptop resting on her legs, Robin worked diligently approving assessments and trying hard to stay focused on work. Nevertheless, as hard as she tried, she found herself, once again, enveloped in concern about the happenings with the house.

Finally, she heard the sound of footsteps coming up from the basement. As he entered the living room and sat down, Matt didn’t say a word.

“Who were you talking to?” she asked.

“Your dad and my brother,” he answered.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because I really want to understand what’s happening. You don’t realize how hard this is for me, Robin.”

“I know it’s hard for you.”

“I didn’t tell my brother much. I really just wanted to hear his voice. Your dad, on the other hand, talked to me about some things to try to help me out. He agrees that we’re dealing with something… different in the house.”

Robin looked down at Olivia. She slept soundly.

“Daddy thinks it’s demonic, doesn’t he?”

Teaser Tuesday

11039514_10153108166348959_639178523_o (2)Olivia felt comfortable enough with Lauren to explain about her past. She spoke of her abuse growing up, how wonderful her parents were, her siblings, the darkness she lived through, and her near death experience.

“Besides my friend Sarah,” Olivia said, “the instant connect with you gives me confidence that there are still people out there that can accept me.”

“Daniel accepts you.”

“He is a good partner and a good friend.”

“Does he know what you can do?”

“No. I can’t tell him. It’s too soon, and he’ll probably ask for me to be transferred to the psych unit at OSU,” she said with a smile.

“You’d be surprised at what a man can accept when he cares about you. Nick surprised me.”

“But you were in love.”

“We weren’t always. I hated him when I first met him. He was annoying and brash and pompous. He didn’t like me very much either, but we connected when we let those walls fall. You still have them built up quite high.”

“They keep me safe, I guess. And they keep Amelia safe.”
“Someday, you’ll have to lower those walls, you know. Take it from someone who knows firsthand.”

“I’m not sure I know how to.”

“You will when the right person comes along. You have to be brave enough to let someone behind that wall. Then you have to be braver still to let them take each brick in the wall down, seeing exactly who you are.”

Her eyes filled with tears. “I don’t know if I can ever do that, Lauren.”

“I believe you can and you will. I think you’ll do great things and I think you’ll find someone to share in those things with you.”

Teaser Tuesday #IARTG

Haunted CastleNick’s condescension offended her. “So you’re another know-it-all agent, I see. Just so you know it’s because of agents like you that I want nothing to do with the FBI on a full time basis. You couldn’t pay me enough. A flock of arrogant asses,” she said sharply. “Agent Bennette,” she continued, “I don’t use conjecture. My job is to take factual information and formulate possibilities. It’s a rare method, but I use statistical profiling to compile information about the offender. Many of my predecessors used intuition-based profiling and I suppose in reality, much of profiling uses intuition, but I prefer a more scientifically proven method.”

“Hey listen, Doc, don’t get mad,” he protested as he stood looking down at her. She stood instinctively to even the playing field. “And we’re not all asses,” he continued, pointing at her. “As far as your ‘methods,’ I just think crimes are solved by good old fashioned police work, not this mumbo jumbo you behavioralists come up with.”

“I really don’t have time to debate this with you,” she finished, “so if you don’t mind, I have a profile to present.”

Lauren walked out of the room and into the area where the web cam waited. Detective Mullins and six other officers sat in an adjacent conference room. Nick followed her in and sat beside the detective.

Lisa and Chris walked in from an outside door. Lauren watched as Lisa saw the empty seat beside Nick and then sat down. She leaned over to Nick conspicuously. Trying hard not to listen, Lauren continued setting up, but she couldn’t help overhearing.

“So, how have you been, Nick?” Lisa asked in a low and salutary voice.

“Good. Trying to get used to this job I guess,” he answered indifferently, “and trying to figure out how to work with you people.”

Brennan-Booth-bones-4657576-1280-960“Oh, don’t be so bitter, Nick. I’m sure the pay raise has been enough compensation for working with ‘us people.’”

He glared over at her, but then softened. “What can you tell me about Dr. Harris? She seems sort of uptight.”

“Lauren is very professional. She is extremely well respected. She knows her stuff, Nick. She is always very prepared. Nothing takes her by surprise. She knows what she’s doing. She’s brilliant, too, but she does have some difficulty socially, which is ironic, since she’s a psychologist. Her entire field of study is human behavior, but yet a social situation sometimes makes her uneasy. She’s come a long way though. You should have seen her when she started. She struggled, but like she does with everything, she made it her mission to master her insecurities and she’s worked hard on the way people perceive her.”

“So she used to be even worse than she is now?”


11039514_10153108166348959_639178523_o (2)SNIPPET FROM THROUGH GLASS DARKLY

“Olivia,” Lauren said as she put down her half-eaten slice of pizza. “Listen to what you’re saying. Who do you want? What do you want?”

“I don’t know–” she answered, tears brimming in her eyes.

Lauren continued. “My grandmother and aunt always told me that I would know who I was meant to be with when I found the person that I couldn’t live without; that I couldn’t breathe without. My mom died before she got the chance to talk to me about those things, but I could always tell by the way my parents acted with each other, that they drew breath from one another. They could have never lived without the other one, which is why, I think, in the grand scheme of things, they were taken together. The way in which they were taken still haunts me, but all in all, I believe it was part of the bigger plan. It’s taken me years to come to that conclusion, and it hasn’t been an easy one to reach. I encourage you to think about that though: which of the two men, Henry or Daniel, would you be able to live without. Which one helps you breathe?”

Sarah and Sue both nodded in agreement.

“This isn’t something you have to decide right now,” Sue reassured. “I just know Danny, and he will wait for a while, but he’s like any other man. The waiting will get old. It might hurt him to walk away from you, but he will. In fact, I think he’ll probably take the job in Dayton if things don’t progress.”

Eyes wide, Olivia looked at Sue. Lauren’s head dropped also. “What job in Dayton?” she asked.

Sue’s mouth dropped open. “Oh, God, he didn’t tell you.”

“Daniel hasn’t talked about this with Olivia. He didn’t plan to,” Lauren said.

“What job in Dayton?” Olivia shouted.

A sigh from Lauren gave away her guilt. “Nick offered him a position at the FBI field office in Dayton. He would be working in Major Crimes. Nick has begged him to come for years now, but he won’t. This time he made it very clear to both me and to Nick he had no intention in leaving you. You are the reason he stays with FCSO.”

REVISEDdfba7fd697005665eafad180f638d5a2“I can’t believe he didn’t say anything. It would be so much more money for him, not to mention the benefits.”

“He loves you,” Sue said.

“I love him, too,” Olivia answered, “but I don’t know if I love him enough.”

“Who do you keep secrets from?” Sarah asked bluntly. When Olivia stared at her blankly, she continued. “Who knows about the other? Who knows all there is to know about you?”

“Danny knows all of my secrets. He knows about Henry. He knows everything. Henry knows about my life, too, but I’ve kept it from him about Danny.”

“Don’t you think that means something? You trust Danny with absolutely everything.”

Olivia looked down at the pizza on her plate, now cold. Then she looked up, confusion still in her eyes.

“Keep what I told you in mind,” Lauren reiterated. “Who are you unable to breathe without?”