The White Carnation
The last person disgraced reporter Faye Lewis wants back in her life is Detective Rob Halliday, the man she blames for ruining her career and breaking her heart. But when she finds an old friend murdered, he’s the one she calls.
For the past year, Rob and his team have been hunting the Harvester, a serial killer who ritualistically murders new mothers and vanishes with their infants. What Rob doesn’t need is another case, especially one involving his ex-fiancée.
Then Faye is assaulted, and Rob realizes the cases are connected. She may hold the answers he needs to find the elusive killer. But the more they investigate, the more complex the situation becomes. Can they set the past aside and work together, or will the Harvester and his followers reap another prize?
Meet Faye Lewis:
Creating three dimensional characters the reader will identify with is a challenge faced by most authors, including myself. For Faye to be “real” to the reader, she had to be “real” to me. I wanted my readers to love her, identify with her, and care about her and her struggles the same way I did.
Faye Lewis, the heroine in The White Carnation, Book One of The Harvester Series, is named after my best friend, and in writing the story, I tried to give Faye Lewis those qualities I admire most in my friend. With apologies to the real Faye, I’ve tortured my heroine, but she’s a fighter, and believe me, she gets her happily ever after in the end.
So what kind of person is Faye Lewis?
Dedicated: Faye’s an aspiring journalist who’ll do whatever it takes to get the story. She’ll work long hours, and make whatever personal sacrifices are necessary on the way to her ultimate goals—a Pulitzer Prize and the number one spot on the crime beat at Boston’s most prestigious newspaper.
Caring: She has a soft spot for underdogs, and befriends those who are marginalized by others. She also jumps to help those who ask for her help. She accepts people at face value, but if you get on her bad side, forget it. She can and does hold a grudge.
Knowledgeable: Faye’s intelligent and well-read, and has done a lot of research on a number of different topics in her quest for the truth in reporting her story, and her search for the story that will win her that Pulitzer Prize.
Perceptive: She has the ability to look at a number of seemingly disconnected points and pulling them together so that they make sense. She’s invaluable to Rob as they try to solve the Harvester case.
But, in order to be well-rounded, Faye also has her faults.
Stubborn: When Faye thinks she’s right, nothing can make her change her mind.
Distrustful: Due to her father’s behavior, Faye expects to be let down by people. She doesn’t trust anyone, not even the man she purported to love.
Quick-tempered: Irish to the roots of her chestnut hair, she loses her temper quickly, jumps to conclusions and says things she regrets almost as soon as she’s said them.
When the story starts, Faye has two fears: clowns and electrical storms.
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The White Carnation
“Am I okay?” she shouted. “You can stand there and ask me that with my friend’s mother dead in the other room?” She punctuated her words with a shove. “No, I am not okay. I am most definitely not okay.” Fresh tears ran down her cheeks, and Rob instinctively reached for her to offer what comfort he could. She held herself stiffly for a few seconds before relaxing into his shoulder.
“I didn’t mean it that way,” he said, feeling like a fool. Holding her like this felt awkward and yet familiar. “I’m sorry for your loss.” His hand rubbed small circles on her back as he’d done many times before. “Home invasions don’t always make sense. There’s no sign of forced entry, so she must have let him in.”
Faye pushed away, her anger palpable.
“Seriously? Home invasion, my ass. Look around, Sherlock. Home invasions usually involve some kind of theft. Do you see anything worth stealing? The television is twenty years old, and it’s still here. The silverware is scattered all over, and she’s still wearing her rings. There’s money on the table. She had nothing worth taking. Nothing they wanted. Nothing worth dying for.”
Faye’s crying increased, fueled by her frustrated rage, making it almost impossible for him to understand her words. He tried to pull her back into his arms, but she refused to let him hold her. Admitting defeat, he put his arm across her shoulders and led her out of the room.
“Come on. Let’s get you out of here. There’s nothing more you can do. Amos and Logan need to get the body ready for transfer, and the lab guys are on their way up.”
He hurried her out of the apartment and down the stairs, remembering her phobia of that particular elevator. They walked out to the street where the crowds were beginning to form. It was early evening in Beacon Hill on a Friday night. Many of her residents wouldn’t make it home for hours yet.
“Tom, get a ride back with the black and white,” he yelled at his partner, who was questioning the concierge. That guy would probably be looking for a new job come Monday. The rest of the condo owners wouldn’t be impressed with a home invasion and a death on his watch. Rob opened the sedan’s passenger door and helped her in. Faye automatically buckled her seat belt, as the tears spilled down her cheeks.
Rob walked around the vehicle and got in behind the wheel.
“Where are you taking me?” From her tone, he could tell she didn’t really care. She knew he’d have questions, and she was probably grateful he’d chosen to ask them elsewhere. But she’d never admit it. Her color wasn’t good, and she shivered. He turned on the heater even though the temperature outside was in the mid-sixties. Despite what the officer on the door had said, for a crime reporter, she’d never had much of a stomach, and seeing Lucy that way would have been a shock.
“Home. I should probably take you to the ER, but knowing how much you hate hospitals, there isn’t any point in making things worse for you. You can answer my questions in the comfort of your own living room, sitting on that god-awful buttercream leather sofa you love so much. By the way, you haven’t moved, have you?”
He recognized bitterness in her chuckle.
“No, my career may be in flames, my finances worse, but my real estate is sound. The couch is gone.”
He cocked an eyebrow at her words but didn’t comment. Things must be bad if she’d parted with that damn custom-made couch. “Where’d you park the Camaro?”
“It’s gone, too. My Ford’s a half block down.”
“I won’t miss the couch, but that Camaro was your baby. Why get rid of it?”
“It didn’t match my shoes,” she spat out bitterly.
“Don’t chew my head off. You called me, remember?”
Faye nodded, gave him the license plate number, and he radioed it in, making arrangements to have her vehicle towed to the police station for collection tomorrow.