Ericka Scott writes a wide range of genres, and excels at suspense/mystery. Tidings of Fear has a romantic thread, too (with a theme I love--second chances). She weaves a suspenseful story, leaving the reader guessing the outcome to the last minute--and not just whether the lead characters will have a romantic ending, but whether they'll survive the ordeal.
A bit of info:
A psychic, a skeptic, and a serial killer...
Psychic Lia Morgan sees portents all around her. Although estranged from her family, she joins the search for her missing sister. A simple case gets complicated fast when she discovers her sister's plethora of secrets includes a son.
Professor Jared Trimble's world has no room for paranormal mumbo-jumbo. When asked to consult on a case involving a series of crossword puzzles, he's conflicted. Is he a suspect, or an investigator?
While Lia uses her physic gift and follows signs a, Jared uses his wits and experience. When the two collide, passions flare and the final clue brings them both into the bull's-eye of a serial killer's target.
Jared put his hand on Lia’s shoulder. Its warmth seemed the only heat in the room.
The officer put his pen down and looked at her with narrowed eyes and a grim expression. She shivered.
“No, I’m sorry we haven’t had a chance to call you. Do you know where Sylvie’s partner Margaret is?”
Confused, Lia shook her head. “I tried to call her earlier.”
“Please call her again.”
“Sure.” Lia pulled her phone out and punched in Margaret’s phone number.
“Put it on speaker, please.” The officer snapped.
The call went straight to voice mail.
“Then it’s not only our calls she’s avoiding,” he murmured.
“We don’t understand.” Jared said. “Has there been a new lead?”
The officer’s expression darkened, and Lia felt her eyes well up with tears. Oh God, Sylvie was dead.
“Then, why--” Lia began.
“We have reason to believe your sister voluntarily disappeared with her son to avoid appearing in court.”
“She didn’t tell you?”
Lia pursed her lips. “I already told one of your officers that I haven’t had contact with my sister for seven years. Honestly, I didn’t even know she’d had a baby.”
“Well, seems the father of the child is suing for custody.”
“Custody?” Lia felt stupid echoing back the officer’s words, but she didn’t know what else to say. She’d assumed that the baby had been the result of in vitro fertilization, or whatever method of conception most gay couples used.
“Yes, she and Deion were to appear in order to obtain a DNA sample to prove Mr. Kyle Creswell’s paternity.”
Lia’s mind went numb.
“We suspect your sister disappeared voluntarily to avoid that event. It’s doubly suspicious that her partner is also missing.”
Lia swallowed, hard.
“You think this is a staged disappearance. A hoax?” Jared stated.
“Yes, we do.”
“Oh my,” was all Lia could say. Could Sylvie have simply run away, leaving everything--her house, car, business and valuables--behind? It didn’t seem like something her sister would do, but did she really know Sylvie anymore?
“We can no longer dedicate men and resources to investigating the disappearance. Unless new information comes in, we really have no choice but to close the case.”
“I see,” Lia said, her voice sounding small and unsure to her own ears.
“But what if she didn’t disappear voluntarily?” Jared asked.
The officer’s gaze softened a bit. “I’m sorry. I know this must be difficult for you, especially since you traveled all this way.”
Lia started to stand, but Jared’s hand held her down. He didn’t seem ready to admit defeat. “If we turn up something that indicates she didn’t disappear of her own accord--”
“Then, by all means, give us a call. But honestly, I don’t think that evidence exists.”
At that moment, the lights in the station flickered and went out.
The officer cursed. “Stay here, and I’ll go see if one of those damned reporters plugged too many cameras in out front and blew a fuse.”
Then, just as suddenly as they went out, the lights came back on. Lia’s eyes were drawn to the alarm clock sitting on the officer’s credenza. The time flashed on and off. The clock displayed all eights.
Lia shivered. She didn’t have an ounce of evidence to support her belief that Sylvie hadn’t disappeared voluntarily, she simply knew. If the police weren’t going to be out looking for her, that meant she had to find Sylvie.
As if reading her mind, Jared bent over, and murmured softly, “Don’t worry, we’ll find her.”
She wished she could be so sure.
Tidings of Fear is on sale at Lyrical Press all this week, for $3.15