Diane Moore is featured in:
-verge magazine blog: (3.14.16) - Runaway Retirees -European sabbatical
-verge magazine blog: (4.10.16) Good Manners Are Universal
-American Christian Fiction Writers (2.3.16)
-Sleuths and Suspects
Please also visit my salon website at: www.beautywithdiane.com
Reviews of my unpublished and published writing listed below.
***New: Here is the review of "Love Thy Neighbor" from an esteemed Writer & Blogger. (2/3/2016)
REVIEW OF LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
Love thy Neighbor is the story about a newspaper reported named Deirdre Morgan who is the prime suspect in the murder of her neighbor, who was found stabbed to death. Along the way, Deidre encounters Detective Stuart Beaumont, who is on a quest to unravel the details of the murder. As the case progresses, so do romantic feelings between Deirdre and Stuart.
Note: check out the "New Books" section for exclusive excerpts from upcoming fiction and non-fiction works.
New excerpt from Love Thy Neighbor - copyright 2010 #492908271:CHAPTER ONE
His eyes remained open, but the rest of his body had shut down. Blood pulsed then trickled down the front of his throat, crawling into the cavity just short of his collarbone, where it formed a shallow reservoir.
She watched and was intrigued at how the color of his blood strongly resembled the deep color of the 2000 Barolo, a bold Northern Italian wine, they drank together the night before.
She followed the narrow streams of fluid as they began to crawl down toward his chest. She thought they looked like slender fingers reaching for his chest hairs, grasping for survival. The vibrant color of Jimmy Lee Hayden’s blood dulled as he sank into lifelessness.
The knife in his throat assured his silence . . . forever.
“You’ll never tell my secrets,” she spoke to him and then turned to walk away, dropping a gold necklace on her retreat.
She grasped the doorknob. Her hands were covered with three layers of latex gloves. Insurance in case one or two ripped. The gloves were fragile. Like life.
She locked the door from the inside and closed it slowly behind her. Now, back to my work.
Detective Stuart Beaumont arrived at the San Antonio Police Department’s downtown headquarters at 6 AM. He liked arriving at his office here before the 7:15 AM shift change for two reasons. First, it was quiet for about 30 minutes, which allowed him to gather his thoughts. Second, he could catch-up with officers as they arrived back in from the 3rd shift. That way, he knew what cases might still be lingering from the night before. Stuart sipped Ginseng tea while he read through the most recent files.
"Shooting, shooting, knife, knife, shooting, knife, domestic . . . what's this?" He pulled out the report from the neatly stacked pile on his desk and began reading more intently. "A knife in the throat, through the Adam's Apple. Sounds like the return of Bruce Lee."
His eyes rested on the name, “Jimmy Lee Hayden.” As he continued reading, the facts shifted into place and his blood chilled.
“Darn.” He pushed the intercom button.
The voice on the other end of the intercom said, "Detective Roberts."
"Hey, Mike," Stuart said. "Come in here. I believe we've got a 'hot' one."
"What's up, D.G.?" Stuart smiled at the shortened version of his nickname. In his early days on the force, the squad began calling him Darn Good Luck, for surviving many near-to-death incidents that happened in the line of police duty.
"Look here Mike. This murder at 10 Kensington Circle, where the ritzy people move to get away from all of the crime.“
Detective Mike Roberts nodded.
“We got this gal ¬- Morgan's her last name - an investeegative reporter for the San Antonio Daily Sun --" he mispronounced deliberately as he held up the files. "She lives next door to the victim. I don’t want to see her sensationalizing this case in the news. We’ll end up spending more time answering media calls and holding press conferences than investigating the murder.” Stuart slammed down the papers.
"I think she'll stay away from this one, D.G.,” Mike looked around the room and noticed the bottles of water lined up neatly on Stuart’s file cabinet located on the side wall. He motioned towards them, grabbed one and then held another up as if offering it to Stuart.
"Why's that?" Stuart shook his head and held his hand in front of him, signaling that he didn’t want the water.
"Take a sip of that golden tea and read on." Mike smiled and made himself comfortable in the classroom-style wooden chair.
Stuart continued reading. He stopped and looked up at Mike. "We‘re considering her as a person of interest? Give me the skinny.”
“We’re questioning her this morning.” Mike reached for the koosh ball on Stuart’s desk and tossed it up and down, back and forth to each hand.
“As a possible eyewitness only, right?” Stuart snatched the ball mid-air from Mike. “I don’t want any police harassment cases printed in tomorrow’s paper.” Stuart tossed the koosh ball up in the air the rubbery strands soft against his palm. “These darn reporters. You mark my words, Mike, we’ll bring her in for questioning and the next thing you know, she’ll be asking all the questions – interviewing our officers . . . I think I’d better handle this one myself.”
Stuart picked up the file folder again, shuffled through some papers and focused on the D.O.B. “28 yrs. old – too young to be messing with this kind of case.” He tossed the koosh ball into the trash can opposite the wall from his desk. “That’s also pretty young to have a house in that area of town, don’t you think?”
“It’s a nice area. Maybe she does well. I learned that she moved down here from the Midwest.” Mike retrieved the koosh ball from the trash can. “Maybe she struck it rich up there, and then decided to come to God’s country - Texas.” Mike smiled and then cleared his throat. “Seriously D.G., I know you have this love-hate relationship with news types.” Mike said as he tossed the koosh ball towards the trash can.
“They‘re all just trying to win the next Pulitzer.” Stuart watched as the blue and red ball strands stuck on the trash can’s rim. “They don’t think about how they might jeopardize our investigation.“ Stuart shook his head and pushed back in his chair and strode towards the trash can. “Or, they just don‘t think.“ He stood, loosened the koosh ball from the trash can rim, squeezed it and carried it back to his desk.
Mike shifted in his chair. “Like I said, two officers are headed there this morning. We’ll get Ms. Morgan’s statement as a possible eyewitness and we’ll go from there.” Mike set down the water and was wringing his hands as he looked toward the door.
“Okay. Let me know their ETA. I’ll drop by her house just after they arrive.”
Mike stood to leave.
“Hey,” Stuart looked at the koosh ball and then toward the trash can. “Between you and me, Mike, I’m not going to have another dead journalist on my conscience.” With little effort, Stuart gracefully shot the koosh ball into the trash can.
#### END OF SCENE####
“Deirdre Morgan?” the middle-aged policeman addressed the stylishly dressed young woman. The officer leaned casually against the corner pillar of her front porch.
Deirdre stood in the open doorway of her two-story colonial brick home. She squinted to block the morning sun’s glare, allowing her to focus on the middle-aged officer and notice a younger officer who stood beside him.
“What has my neighbor dragged me into now?” Deirdre resented the intrusion.
The older officer stepped forward. “Do you mind if we come in and ask you a few questions?”
Deirdre opened the door wider and gestured for the officers to enter. “Come on in. I’ve got a few minutes.” She turned and led them toward the kitchen.
“Not working today?” the older officer asked as Deirdre motioned for the officers to sit at the mahogany, sleek-lined, kitchen table.
As one of the city newspaper’s top investigative reporters, Deirdre often worked closely with law enforcement officials. But, this didn’t seem like a social visit, and she didn’t have time to compare notes on local events.
“Actually, I’m taking care of some legal business. At 9:30 this morning, I’m meeting with lawyers downtown,” she responded. “You remember, the decapitation of my neighbor Letty’s award-winning roses.”
“Oh yes, that,” he smiled. The officer, who had patrolled this neighborhood for years, had taken the initial property-damage report.
The older officer curtly tapped his foot on the Oriental rug that covered Deirdre’s hardwood floors. He seemed nervous. He cleared his throat and leaned forward in his chair.
“We’re not going to take much of your time, Ms. Morgan.” He emphasized the Ms. “We’re here on another investigation regarding your neighbor at 10 Kensington Circle.” The older officer shifted in his chair, stopped suddenly to glance at his partner, and then looked directly at Deirdre and asked: “Did you notice anything or anyone strange in the neighborhood last night or very early this morning?”
Deirdre stretched her slender fingers through her dusty blond hair, pushing back the bangs. She locked her gaze on the older officer.
“If this is about someone parked in front of my neighbor’s house again, I’d rather you not waste my time,” Deirdre said. “You and I and the homeowner association’s lawyers know that the street is public domain. Anyone can park on it.” Deirdre leaned forward in her chair, clasped her hands and rested them on the table, ready to put this issue to rest.
“Well, Ms. Morgan.” The younger officer interrupted this time. “It’s not about anything like that.”
“We wouldn’t waste your time with something petty like that,” the older officer addressed her with all the warmth of a loving grandfather. “You see Ms. Morgan, your next-door neighbor, Jimmy Lee Hayden, was found dead in his home, sometime between 10 PM and 2 AM. We believe it was a homicide. So, we’re questioning all of the neighbors to find out if they saw or heard anything suspicious.”
“I can’t believe it,” Deirdre dropped back into her chair. “I just can’t believe it. Who? How?” She looked from one officer to the other, searching their faces for any non-verbal clues.
“We thought you might help us. We knew that you and your neighbor had some well,” he cleared his throat, “incidents in the past and that there was some animosity between you and Mr. Hayden …”
Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the door. It startled Deirdre. She jumped to her feet, headed toward the door and opened it.
A well-dressed, handsome man stood in Deirdre’s doorway. His wavy black hair was so dark that with the reflection of the sunlight beaming in from her doorway, it looked as if it were highlighted with a midnight blue tint. As she scanned his well-cut, over six-foot frame, her eyes were drawn to the left side of his neatly pressed suit. It was slightly drawn back, exposing a badge marked “DETECTIVE.”
“Deirdre Morgan,” his voice was strong matching his muscular physique. “I’m Head Homicide Detective Stuart Beaumont,” he handed her his business card. “May I come in? I see that some of my officers are here, and I need a moment with them.”
His eyes reminded her of a vat of dark chocolate, sweet enough to tempt one to jump in, but dangerous and deceptive. “Yes, of course,” she motioned for him to enter.
With the door still open, Deirdre stepped onto her front porch. Usually a homicide scene would draw much more attention. In her line of work, she had often followed tips from police scanners; high tailed it directly to a crime scene, arriving alongside or shortly after several other media trucks. But her sleepy suburban street was eerily quiet considering a homicide had been discovered a few hours ago.
Even the usual barking from her neighbor’s dog Princeton was absent. Strange.
###END OF SCENE###
Stuart headed toward the two officers, hoping that Deirdre hadn’t noticed his slight pause when her near-emerald green eyes met his. He walked passed her, breathing in the sophisticated scent of her perfume and noticing how her sunlight-kissed, soft, dusty blond hair glistened.
“Good morning Detective Beaumont?” the older officer stood up. Stuart motioned for the officer to remain seated. Stuart kept his voice low as he shared some notes and a brief conversation with the officer.
As he closed his notebook, Stuart noticed a photo hanging on the wall behind the table. The photo displayed Deirdre Morgan posing with 9th Degree Black Belt, Grand Master Kim Wok Chiu. A well-known Grand Master in Tae Kwon Do, Chiu had schools – or “Do Jangs” as referred to on the TKD circuit – throughout the nation, but he called San Antonio home.
In the photo, Deirdre beamed as she smiled – her petite frame nearly enveloped in her Tae Kwon Do uniform, which the Koreans referred to as a “Do Bak.” She was wearing a Black Belt with one yellow stripe, Stuart noted. He would jot that down later. He didn’t want to seem obvious right now – too much at stake.
Deirdre stood inside the open doorway. “Is there any more information about my neighbor’s death?” Deirdre asked Stuart.
Stuart turned toward the door. “No, Ms. Morgan. Just what these officers told you. That’s all we know.” Stuart noticed the disappointment in her eyes.
She paused then perked up. “Has the time of death been determine -- --“
“Ms. Morgan.” Stuart cut her off. “I apologize for the brisk introduction earlier. I know that you are a seasoned investigative reporter, so I hope that for now this is all off the record.”
“As long as I can have an exclusive,” Deirdre said.
Reporters. Always seeking the headlines. Wanting to be the first to break the news. “I’m sure we can work something out. To answer your question though, it’s too early to say exact time of death. As you know, tests have to be done, an autopsy, dusting (for fingerprints). Our forensics team is on top of it.” He paused. “I am curious though, and I wonder if I could ask you a question.”
“Sure.” Deirdre crossed her arms in front of her.
“How would you describe your neighbor Jimmy Lee Hayden?”
Deirdre looked past Stuart and the officers. She glanced in the direction of her neighbor‘s house and she took a deep breath. She wrinkled her brow and let out a sigh. She slowly raised her head and looked directly at Stuart. The corner of her lips slightly upturned as if she were suppressing a smile. When she spoke, there was a lingering pause between the words. “Dead. White. Male.”
The two police officers muffled their chuckles. Stuart shot them a warning glance. Cute. She does have a way with words.
“Let me rephrase my question. How would you describe him when he was alive?”
Deirdre relaxed her arms and glanced at her feet. Stuart noticed that Deirdre’s hair fell just above her shoulders. Before Deirdre answered his second question, she loosely clasped her hands in front of her torso. Stuart admired her slender fingers and manicured, red-polished nails. She moistened her perfectly defined lips when she began to speak.
“I’d rather not respond to that until I have more time to think. If you’ve gone over the police reports from the past, you know that Jimmy Lee Hayden and I had what I would call ‘drama.’ I really need time to reflect on all of that before I can give you a thoughtful and honest answer,” Deirdre said.
END OF CHAPTER TWO
TO BE CONTINUED...