Authors: R. Barri Flowers
Tags: #crime, #suspense, #murder, #mystery, #short stories, #thrillers, #anthologies, #mystery short stories, #mystery suspense, #literature fiction short stories, #legal short stories
By R. Barri Flowers
Copyright 2011 by R. Barri Flowers at
Smashwords. All rights reserved.
Cover Image Copyright 2011 by
Used under license from
EDGE OF SUSPENSE: Thrilling Tales of Mystery
& Murder is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and
incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are
used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
business establishments, or persons, living or dead, is entirely
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
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ALSO BY R. BARRI FLOWERS
State's Evidence (A Beverly Mendoza Legal
Persuasive Evidence (A Jordan La Fontaine
Justice Served (A Barkley and Parker
Murder in Maui (A Leila Kahana Mystery)
Dark Streets of Whitechapel (A Jack the
Dead in the Rose City (A Dean Drake
Killer in The Woods (A Psychological
Ghost Girl in Shadow Bay (A Young Adult
Haunted House Mystery)
Danger in Time (A Young Adult Time Travel
The Sex Slave Murders: The True Story of
Serial Killers Gerald & Charlene Gallego
Serial Killer Couples: Bonded by Sexual
Depravity, Abduction, & Murder
Mass Murder in the Sky: The Bombing of Flight
629 (historical short)
PRAISE FOR R. BARRI FLOWERS
"Gripping, tightly woven tale you won't want
to put down. Author neatly contrasts natural beauty of tropical
paradise with ugliness of murder and aftermath. " — John Lutz,
Edgar winner and bestselling author of Mister X on MURDER IN
"A police procedural of the highest order,
mixing equal parts Sue Grafton and Jeffrey Deaver with a sprinkling
of Patricia Cornwell." — Jon Land, bestselling author of Strong
Justice on MURDER IN MAUI
"Flowers once again has written a
page-turner legal thriller that begins with a bang and rapidly
moves along to its final page. He has filled the novel with
believable characters and situations." — Midwest Book Review on
"A model of crime fiction... Flowers may be
a new voice in modern mystery writing, but he is already one of its
best voices." — Statesman Journal on JUSTICE SERVED
"An excellent look at the jurisprudence
system...will appeal to fans of John Grisham and Linda Fairstein."
— Harriet Klausner on PERSUASIVE EVIDENCE
"An interesting blend of
classic film noir and rough, modern cinema... Quick action and
tight dialogue make it a jolting thriller, but it's also got the
psychological tightness of a good mystery puzzle." — Robert A.
Sloan, author of
Raven Dance on DEAD IN THE
* * *
Did he dare touch her? Or would she recoil
as she often did lately, treating him like the devil incarnate
instead of like a husband who loved and wanted her more than he'd
ever wanted anyone.
He hated that some bastard had raped her six
months ago and that he couldn't prevent it from happening. He
certainly did not blame her for being in the wrong place at the
worst possible time. Nor would he turn his back on their marriage
and normal relations between a husband and wife. The asshole who
did it would not forever deprive them of a healthy sex life like
they'd had before the violation.
Yet the rapist had managed to do just that.
They hadn't been intimate since the night of the attack. Whenever
he tried to initiate something, his attempts were rejected.
But maybe tonight would be different. Maybe,
just maybe, she would let him be with her the way a husband
Dean contemplated the notion as he lay
beside the woman he'd fallen in love with and married ten years
ago. The marriage had been everything he could have asked for, and
then some. Until the vicious attack had left his wife a shell of
her former self. Rarely did he see her smile. Or have a good laugh
at one of his bad jokes. Or want to go out by herself. Or watch
anything on TV that was violent or over the top sexually.
Karyn used to be the picture of beauty,
grace, style, and fitness, but these things no longer seemed to
matter to her. It was as if she had turned her back on everything
she once held dear. Including him.
He too had been forever changed. He didn't
trust men anymore, fearful that a rapist might be hiding beneath
their friendly façades and harmless half grins.
He just wanted to protect his wife from
further harm. And have her want him the way he wanted her.
Dean sucked in a deep breath. Karyn lay in a
fetal position with her back to him, as though he was the enemy.
She was covered in a full-length nightgown, as had been the case
every night since the attack. He reached out and rested his fingers
on her soft neck. He braced himself, expecting her to jump.
There was no reaction, which emboldened him
to see how far he could get.
He ran his fingers down to her shoulder,
enjoying the touch of her warm skin. He became aroused when he
fondled her breast through the nightgown. She stirred a bit and he
wondered if tonight might be the night they would become man and
Barely able to control himself, he gently
put his hand between her legs.
Karyn immediately grabbed his hand,
tightening her fingers around his like a vise.
"Don't," she said.
"I need you," he said softly.
"I'm not ready yet."
"But it's been six months," he
been six months
since it happened!"
"How much longer do I have to wait till you
let me make love to you?" Dean asked as his arousal diminished,
along with his self-worth.
Karyn released his hand and started to cry.
"I don't know if I'll ever be ready," she said quietly. "I'm
Dean kissed the top of her head and held her
close. "Don't be," he said. "It's not your fault."
He cried with her, knowing their
relationship had pretty much come to a standstill. As long as the
bastard who raped Karyn was still out there, nothing would ever
That thought occupied Dean's mind until he
* * *
The next morning Dean made breakfast, trying
his best to appear unaffected by last night. When Karyn came down,
the food and coffee were already on the table. She looked at him
blankly, but said nothing.
He looked back at her and was also
speechless. Her once long hair, which had been cut very short, was
disheveled. She had put on an old sweatshirt and baggy jeans, as if
to hide her femininity even from him.
She sat in her normal spot and he sat across
from her. They both sipped coffee and moved the food around their
plates, but ate little. The silence between them remained thick as
the maple syrup on their waffles, as though afraid of what might be
It was Karyn who spoke first. "About last
Dean shrugged, not wanting to put undue
pressure on her. "Let's just forget it."
"Let's not," she said.
"I shouldn't have asked you to do something
you obviously aren't ready for yet."
"I want to," she said.
He cocked a brow. "You do?"
"Of course. You're my husband." She put her
fork down. "And I love you."
"You don't have to do—"
"It's not you," she broke in. "It's never
been about you. It's
. He's like a shadow that's always
with me; haunting my dreams, making me feel like his victim
whenever I'm awake."
Dean cursed the rotten bastard who had done
this to her. "You have to fight this, Karyn. Otherwise he wins and
She sneered. "Yeah, that's what my shrink
keeps saying. But you know what? It's not that easy."
"I'm not sure you do," Karyn said. "The man
who raped me won—at least it feels like it. As long as he's free,
I'll never feel human...or like a woman."
"Don't worry, honey. They will get him
sooner or later. I promise."
He suspected his words had fallen on deaf
ears. And why shouldn't they? As a crime writer for the Melrose
Hills Journal, he had seen very little progress with the police
investigation into his wife's brutal assault. The rapist, who'd
wielded a knife during the attack, wore a ski mask, was over six
feet tall, solid in build, and had a raspy voice. He matched the
description of the man wanted in a number of other local rapes over
the last three years.
They had his DNA. His M.O. Even a
description of the car he drove. Yet the rapist still had not been
caught, and it frustrated the hell out of Dean.
The newspaper had rules about covering a
crime that was too close to home. Then there was the reality that
new crimes were always surfacing, bumping old crimes off the front
page and out of the minds of the police and public.
But Dean refused to let this case die. He
was working his ass off to try to find his wife's rapist.
And maybe save their marriage at the same
* * *
"Someone has to know something," Dean
muttered to fellow reporter, Phil Livingston. Phil was behind the
wheel as they made their way from one end of town to the other.
"Yeah, but they're not talking. And that
means there's no one to point a finger at."
"I can point fingers at a lot of people,"
Dean said. "For one, they should have had better security at
Karyn's office building. Damn them for allowing someone to come in
off the street into the parking garage and force himself on
"It could've happened anywhere," Phil
"Yeah, well it happened there and someone's
going to pay!" A vein bulged near Dean's temple.
"What are you saying?" Phil asked.
"You heard me." Dean had no intention of
backing off the statement, though not quite sure what he meant by
Phil turned from the wheel. "Hey, don't do
anything stupid, man. Let the system work."
"The system doesn't seem to give a damn
about my wife and what she went through."
"You know that isn't true," Phil said.
"Everyone from the newspaper staff to the police department feels
for you and Karyn. Give it some time and we'll find a way to bring
the rapist to justice."