Title: DATING DEATH
Author: Randy Rawls
Publisher: White Bird Publications
Purchase at Amazon
About the Book:
Dating Death, the latest mystery by acclaimed novelist Randy Rawls, features South Florida PI Beth Bowman. She’s tough, tenacious, brash, and bold, but Beth Bowman knows that when the Coral Lakes Police Chief calls, she’d better listen. So when Chief Elston invites Beth for a meeting at the Coral Lakes police headquarters, Beth agrees to hear him out. Seems Elston has a rather unseemly request…
To Beth’s surprise, the topic du jour is South Florida politician Roger Adamson. Adamson may be loved by his constituents, but he’s for sale to the highest bidder, a fact not lost on the local police. Elston wants Adamson not just for normal bribes and influence peddling, but for access to the crime lord who supports Adamson's extravagant lifestyle. Adamson agrees to cooperate— at his own pace, on his terms—if Elston agrees to keep him safe. And that’s where Beth comes in. After all, someone will have to protect Adamson during public appearances, and who better than Beth Bowman?
Beth agrees, even though accepting the assignment means temporarily upending her life, including her burgeoning romance with Dr. David Rasmussen. Unbeknownst to Beth, this dirty job with a dirty politician could take a shockingly nasty turn…
Adamson’s a sleazy, arrogant jerk, and protecting him is certainly no walk in the park. But this job is leading Beth down a dark, dangerous, and downright deadly path. Quickly and viciously swept up into a vortex of kidnapping, multiple homicides and violence, Beth Bowman is on the edge of losing everything—including her life. Backing down isn’t Beth’s style, but this time Beth may have met her match…
Swiftly paced, shocking, and full of twists of turns, Dating Death is a sizzling, action-packed tale. Brimming with edge-of-your-seat suspense and a pulse-racer of a plot, Dating Death is hotter than a South Florida summer. Randy Rawls, who has earned a well-deserved place among the fine writers who call the Sunshine State home, delivers a solid, irresistible and entertaining tale in Dating Death.
About the Author:
Randy Rawls grew up in North Carolina, then spent a career in the Army before retiring to Florida. After retirement, he returned to work with the Department of Defense as a civilian. Somewhere along the way, he fell in love with writing—a natural progression as he has always been an avid reader. Randy Rawls lives in Delray Beach, Florida.
By Randy Rawls
Beth Bowman, P.I. pulled into a visitor’s parking space and killed the engine on her nondescript Toyota Camry. She sighed and leaned back in the seat staring at the building. Not her first choice for a place to be at ten in the morning, but she felt obligated to be there. The invitation from Chief Elston to meet with him at the Coral Lakes police headquarters could have been declined, but she needed to keep a good relationship with him and his people—or stated differently, she didn’t need to make it any worse.
She stepped out of the car and felt the heat and humidity slam into her—South Florida was living up to its reputation. She knew to enjoy it while she could. Since it was the rainy season, the afternoon and evening could be filled with thunderstorms, lowering the temperature but raising the humidity.
Beth entered through the front door and saw Officer Gantry manning the desk. “Hi. The Chief called me in for a meeting. Can I go back?”
“Yep, he told me to keep an eye out for you. The meeting is in his office. You know the way, don’t you?”
Beth walked past and headed down the hallway. At the Chief’s office, she stopped and blew out a long breath before tapping on the door.
The door swung open. “Come in, Beth. We’ve been waiting for you.” Chief Elston stood and ushered Beth to a chair at the end of his desk.
She looked around. No one there except the Chief and a man she didn’t recognize. He seemed familiar, though. VIP came to mind, but she couldn’t be sure of it. Whatever, he looked like he either had a severe case of heartburn or would prefer to be about anywhere else.
Before she could sort through her memory bank, Chief Elston performed as host. “I’m sure you know Roger Adamson, one of our city councilmen. Mr. Adamson, this is Beth Bowman, the lady I told you about.”
“I gathered that when you called her Beth. Now that introductions are behind us, I’m not sure why you’re wasting my time. Like I said before, how the hell do you expect a five foot, hundred-pound piece of fluff to keep me alive?”
Chief Elston smiled, but it appeared strained. “What I expect is for you to keep an open mind. As I told you, I know what I’m doing. You’re judging the package, not what’s in it.”
“Humph. Do I have to remind you it’s my life that’s in play, not yours? From what I see, she definitely won’t do. You’re going to have to—”
“Just a damn minute—”
“Hold it,” Beth said. “I didn’t come here so you can talk over me like a head of cabbage. Somebody better tell me what’s going on, or I’m out the door.” She scowled at Adamson. “Getting a bikini wax is more enjoyable than listening to this jerk.” She hesitated. “Also, I’m five feet, five inches tall and weigh one hundred twenty-five pounds. I can run a half-marathon, am an expert in self-defense, and trained in the use of firearms. And, just so there’s no misunderstanding, I don’t need shit from you—whatever you are.”
“Not only that,” Chief Elston said, “she can shoot the wings off a gnat, drop a six-six linebacker, and turn a hungry pack of wolverines into a passel of docile pussycats. There are folks in this town who learned the hard way not to get on her bad side. A couple of them are on my force. She kicks like a mule. Now, either you settle down and listen, or I call the Assistant State Attorney and tell her no deal. Make your choice.”
Beth looked from Elston to Adamson and back. City Councilman versus Assistant State Attorney? Good story potential. She leaned back in her chair, willing to listen.
Adamson puffed up like a blowfish, then deflated. “Alright. You’re holding the high cards. I’ll listen, but if this is the best you have, I might be better off in a white-collar lockup. In fact, right now, I’m tempted to change my mind.”
Too much. Beth stood. “I’ve heard enough. If you boys decide to get serious, give me a call. I didn’t come down here to watch two sumo wrestlers circle one another.” She started toward the door.
“Beth, please stay,” Elston said. “I’m sorry. This is not the way I intended the meeting to go. Let me start from the top.”
She stopped. “Okay, but for the record, and you can write it in permanent ink, if this character cracks on me once more, I may kick his flabby butt.”
“If he cracks on you once more, he’s on the short path to a solitary jail cell. That, I promise.”
Beth studied Adamson, her mind pulling pieces together. Roger Adamson, Coral Lakes Councilman. She’d seen an article in the Coral Lakes Post about an official under investigation for accepting bribes. No name, of course, a confidential source. Could Mr. Adamson be the person of interest? If so, where did she fit into the picture?
“Okay, Chief.” She looked at her watch. “I have a manicure in one hour—thirty minutes from here. That gives you twenty-five minutes to convince me I didn’t rush breakfast for no good reason. Let’s go.”
Chief Elston took a deep breath and laced his fingers on his desk. “Mr. Adamson is a dirty politician. By that, I mean he admitted—after we nailed him red-handed—that he takes bribes. Many of them are the standard South Florida stuff—land developers, folks wanting zone changes, unions, etc. You know, the routine leeches that make politics profitable here. However, we believe he also is the beneficiary of some really nasty people, folks who have no qualms about feeding witnesses to the fishes. Those are the people I’m interested in.”
Beth studied Adamson. “I can’t say I’m surprised. He looks the type—greasy, slicked back hair, scruffy beard, Hollywood looks. Where do I fit in? I’m not about to get involved in any kind of undercover stuff.”