Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Read an Excerpt from Roses After Midnight by Linda Wisdom



When the “Prince Charming” rapist struck again, Detective Celeste Bradshaw went undercover to smoke out the criminal who believed he was romancing his victims and always left a red rose. But this by-the-book cop never thought she would fall for her ‘boss’...devilishly good looking café owner Luc Dante. Yet as she closed in on her suspect, the danger drove her right into Luc’s protective arms.

Reformed rebel Luc couldn’t believe he could fall for a cop when they were always his enemy. Celeste got under his skin like no one else, and soon their attraction exploded into a passion neither could deny. But her commitment to her job drove Luc away just when he was faced with a deception that would set his entire world upside down. A betrayal that could cost him the woman he loves. Could he overcome his dark fears in time to save Celeste from becoming Prince Charming’s latest victim?



Nancy couldn't stop smiling. For once, Gary had actually listened to her!

Earlier that evening, she'd come home, once again furious with her boyfriend for caring more about spending time at The End Zone sports bar watching football instead of spending time with her. Even after she'd warned him at lunch the other day that she was sick and tired of his wanting to be with his friends more than he wanted to be with her. How could he tell her she was important to him, then go off with his idiot friends who only cared about getting blind drunk?

She'd come back to their apartment with her mind firmly made up. As far as she was concerned, the man was out of second chances.

She wasn't sure what later woke her out of her light sleep. She'd been about to scream when a hand gently covered her mouth.

"Let me show you how I really feel about you," a man had whispered against her ear.

Then he had backed up his words with deeds. And such wonderful deeds they were.

To keep with the mystery, he'd covered her eyes with a silk scarf, insisted on the lights remaining off, kept his voice at a whisper and, afterwards, had drawn her a bath and even washed her hair before carrying her back to bed. Afterwards, he'd left as silently as he arrived. She couldn't understand why he insisted on the mystery, but she wasn't about to complain as long as Gary was finally concentrating on her!

Now she lay there feeling sated and exhilarated from the incredible night her boyfriend  had given her.

Her smile widened when she heard the door open and close.

Gary's back, she thought to herself as she sat up and switched on the lamp by the bed. She even thought about returning the favor.

Bumps against a wall heralded Gary's arrival before he finally lurched his way into the bedroom. The yeasty smell of beer surrounded him.

His face was slack and eyes glassy from too much alcohol.

"I'm sorry, baby, I'll make it up to you, I promise," he slurred. Unable to hold his balance, he fell onto the bed in a drunken heap and promptly passed out.


"Do you care to tell me what Luc Dante has to do with Prince Charming, Bradshaw?"

The growled demand was enough to make anyone quaver with fear. Chief of Detectives Sam Adams was an imposing man. A former marine with a bite to match his bark, he was known to take no prisoners and suffer no idiots. And that was if he was in a good mood.

Oddly, Detective Celeste Bradshaw never felt any fear of the man. But she still did her best to never cross him.

Right now, she was working on perhaps two hours sleep, five cups of coffee that had turned to acid in her stomach and a cinnamon muffin consumed hours ago. In other words, her nerves were humming.

"Lieutenant, Parker and I have come up with a common thread we've recently discovered in the Prince Charming case."

The man considered her with a decided lack of expression. She didn't think she'd ever seen him smile. Rumor in the station was that if the man smiled, you knew you were in deep trouble.

"So you're saying Luc Dante is that thread?" he asked. "You do realize you're talking about the man whose restaurant held a private dinner for the mayor and the city council last night during the time the last rape occurred?"

Celeste lowered her voice. "Yes, sir, I do. But one thing the victims had in common was the fact they had all recently dined at Dante's Cafe."

"A lot of people eat there. Hell, I do," he pointed out. "Are you saying you think Dante is Prince Charming?" he said between clenched teeth, glowering at her.

She kept her courage before her like a shield as she faced him. "No, sir, we don't think he's the rapist. But we do feel there could be a connection between the restaurant and the rapes."

Sam still regarded her with a stem gaze. "And Parker agrees with all this?"

"I agree with Bradshaw," Dylan Parker said, walking up to them. "When last night's victim recounted her schedule for the past few days, she mentioned she and her boyfriend having lunch at Dante's Cafe a couple days ago. We called Mr. Dante this morning and asked him if he'd come by the station."

"When you don't consider a man a suspect, you don't have him come to the station for any kind of questioning." The lieutenant did not look happy.

"There's more involved than just that," Celeste replied. "We're hoping he'll be willing to help us."

The lieutenant cocked his head as he listened to her plan. He finally nodded. "If you screw up, it will all be on your head." With that, he walked off.

Dylan shook his head. "Well, that was heartwarming," he muttered. "Nothing like getting that warm and fuzzy feeling from your boss." He glanced at his partner. "Ready to play cop?" He gestured to the closed door to their right.

She nodded as she picked up her notes. "Let's do it."

Celeste opened the door and stopped short. Ohmigod!


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