Killer Spring is a romantic mystery set in the future. While Killer Spring is the second in a four-book series, it reads as a stand alone novel. Both Killer Winter, the first book in the series, and Killer Spring can be found on Amazon. I am sharing the entire first chapter with you, and hope you enjoy reading it.
Leah Samuels was sitting with her back to her desk staring at the lake behind her office building. The trees in the copse beyond the lake were just beginning to sprout new leaves the color of a fine green mist. She never tired of looking at the view in all its many and varied transformations. Her former world had been white at best, dirty gray on bad days, and downright depressing on the in-between days, the result of perpetual winter. Flowers, trees, and grass had ceased to exist on New America, but flourished here. Not for the first time, she wondered if she would flourish here, too. When she’d moved here, she firmly believed the flowers, trees, and colors of Xing could and would heal her psyche and save her life. And she’d been right.
When the door to her office slammed open behind her, she was out of her chair and reaching for her weapon as she turned toward the intruder before she remembered she no longer wore the leather holster holding her police-issued weapon and she was no longer a police officer. Now, she was the fifty-two percent owner of Black Orchid Investigations. It was just as well she had no weapon, otherwise she would have shot one of the richest men on Xing. She was sure the fallout from that would mean the end of her not-yet-a-year-old business.
“I’m sorry, Leah, he just barged through the office,” Stacy, her assistant, said.
“That’s okay, Stacy. I’m sure Mr. Bensington didn’t mean to scare you and the others. Please send Cots in.”
“Mr. Bensington, welcome to Black Orchid Investigations. How can I help you?” Leah asked the man whose face she recognized from the daily vidnews programs.
Cots entered the office and stood with his arms folded across his chest near the door. He was an imposing figure and seemed to take up much of the space in any room he entered. He stood six feet seven inches tall, without an ounce of fat on his lean frame. He was the firm’s techno guru, knew about 97,000 ways to kill someone, and owned twenty-four percent of Black Orchid Investigations.
“I don’t want to waste time on pleasantries. I want to hire you.”
“Why don’t you sit down, then, and tell me how we can help you,” Leah said, choosing to ignore the man’s rudeness—for now.
Bensington sat heavily on a chair as if he were carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was disheveled, his white shirt looked like he’d slept in it for a week, his blue tie was askew and had a grease stain on it, and his hair looked like he’d hadn’t washed it in many days. Leah knew from the vidnews his daughter had been killed a few weeks earlier, and the local cops were having a hard time finding the killer or killers, according to the media.
“I want you to investigate the murder of my youngest daughter, Sarah.”
“I thought the police were handling the investigation. Have they closed the case?”
“All but. The detective in charge of the investigation has been handling other cases over the last week or so.”
“Most detectives generally handle more than one case at a time.”
“I told the Chief I wanted this specific detective to handle my daughter’s case and I didn’t want him handling anything but my daughter’s murder. Now I find out he’s been assigned at least three additional cases.”
“Mr. Bensington, what exactly do you expect me to do for you?”
“I expect you to find my daughter’s killers. Sooner rather than later.”
“The person most likely to do that for you is the detective in charge of the case.”
“If that’s true, then why hasn’t he done it?”
“The possibilities of why he’s not closed the case yet are legion,” Leah said.
“I don’t care what his excuses are, I want him to find the damned killers.”
“You asked for him to be assigned to the case for a reason…what was that reason?”
“I’d been told he’s the best detective on the force. Now I find out he’s an idiot.”
“What’s his name?”
“What does that matter?”
Leah wasn’t about to explain why she wanted to know the detective’s name, so she sat waiting for Bensington to answer her question.
Bensington clearly wasn’t used to others questioning his authority, so it seemed he wasn’t about to answer Leah’s question. Leah waited patiently. She briefly glanced at Cots standing at the door behind Bensington, who grinned at her. Obviously, Cots’s money was on Leah winning the contest.
“His name is Andrew Becker,” Bensington finally said, ending the stalemate.
Leah was familiar with the name, but hadn’t yet met the man. She, too, had been told he was the best the Victoria Police Department had.
“Thank you. So you have the best detective assigned to your daughter’s case and yet here you sit in my office.”
“I told you. Becker’s an idiot. He’s no closer to solving the case than when he was handed it weeks ago. Everyone knows these kinds of cases go cold fast. I don’t want that happening to my daughter’s case.”
What Bensington said was true, unfortunately. However, Leah wasn’t sure she wanted to take on a case still being investigated by the police department’s top detective.
Bensington saw her hesitation. “Look,” he said. “I’ll pay you whatever you want.”
“It’s not a matter of money, Mr. Bensington,” Leah said.
The man sitting across the desk from her could make or break Black Orchid Investigations. If they were unable to solve his daughter’s murder, Leah was sure he’d guarantee they’d never get away from surveilling wayward husbands and wives. Without having the details of the murder scene, possible witnesses, and suspects, they’d be trying to solve a murder with one hand tied behind their backs. However, she was intrigued by the case and had been following the media’s reporting on it.
“Listen, I’ve done my research and I know you moved here two years ago from New America where you were the most decorated detective on the police force there. You had a very successful career with the police department. And you almost single-handedly cleaned up the most corrupt police department in the galaxy. If you could do that, I’m confident you can find my daughter’s killers.”
Leah glanced at Cots. He raised an eyebrow and smiled at her. They both knew Leah had been in the midst of solving a case involving a mass murderer, and incidental to that was a serial bomber, a mobster, and some seemingly corrupt police officials and officers.
“I’m prepared to transfer 750,000 Xing credits into your business account today if you’ll take this on for me. I’ll transfer another two million credits when you find the killers.”
Again, Leah looked at Cots. This time both his eyebrows were nearly touching his hairline. He gave her a nod she took to mean he thought they should take the case.
“How old was your daughter, Mr. Bensington?”
“She was only twenty. She was beautiful and brilliant. She was going to be an astrophysicist,” Bensington said, tears obscuring his voice, making him difficult to hear. “Please find the monsters who killed my little girl.”
“Mr. Bensington, I will take your case, but with conditions.”
“What are they?”
“The first is that you stop trying to solve the case yourself. You could compromise our ability to find the killers by meddling. I want you, and your people, to back away as of now.”
“But I could be helpful. I need to be involved.”
Leah didn’t say anything. She sat and watched Bensington, suspecting he was arguing with himself about his need to be involved and thus in control, and his desire to have the case solved. She sensed those two things were at war with one another.
“Okay,” he said with a sigh. “What else?”
“I want you to send me all the information you have on the case, including police reports, photographs, and autopsy reports. Everything. And I want it by the end of today.”
“Cots will give you our standard contract to sign, and the pertinent information for transferring the money into our account.”
“Very well,” Bensington said as he stood up.
Cots crossed the office to offer his hand to Bensington, who took one look at him and turned to Leah. “But he’s—”
“My business partner.” Leah interrupted him before he could point out the obvious—Cots was an alien. “If we solve this case, he will have been instrumental in our having done so. If you have a problem with him, I suggest you find someone else to hire.”
“There’s no one else I can turn to.”
“Then I suggest you go with Cots, sign the contract, and get the funds transferred.”
Leah stood up and held out her hand to Bensington. He took it, and said, “Thank you.”
Leah had mixed emotions about what she’d just agreed to do. She took a deep breath and left her office to get a cup of tea from their break room. She stopped at Stacy’s desk. “Tell Cots and Peony I want to see them as soon as they’re available. Also tell the staff to join us in the conference room in an hour.”
As she continued down the hallway to the tea kettle, she had a familiar feeling in her gut. They’d caught what was sure to be an all-consuming investigation until they found the killers of Sarah Bensington. And it excited the hell out of her to be on a serious case once again.
Killer Spring can be purchased on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Killer-Spring-Kay-Bigelow-ebook/dp/B07G85PCN8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542567462&sr=8-1&keywords=killer+spring%2C+bigelow