Midweek Tease: From a Work in Progress

mwtease15Good morning and welcome to spring. Thanks to Angelica Dawson who makes this weekly blog hop possible. It may still be on the cold side here in Eastern Ontario, but the sun is shining and that’s a wonderful thing. These past weeks, I’ve been up to my eyeballs editing manuscripts and this morning I thought I would share something with you from my current work in progress. As most of you know by now, I tend to specialize in romance suspense and my new manuscript is no exception.

Here is the tentative blurb:

Hidden Assets

“Sometimes, love just isn’t enough,” Nancy said, reaching for her divorce papers.

Four years ago, a car accident robbed Nancy Frost of her child and her mother, taking what was left of her marriage with it in the process. If she could have any wish in life, it would be to erase the last six pain-filled years, but wishes are for fairytales. Suddenly unemployed, the forensic accountant agrees to help a friend look for hidden assets in a divorce case, not expecting to be caught in a terrorist attack.

US Marshal Neil Copeland lives only for the job now that his marriage is over. On a new case involving a dirty investment banker rolling over on a drug cartel kingpin, the last thing Neil expects is to hear Nancy is one of the victims of a mass shooting in downtown Baltimore. As the police investigate the massacre, evidence suggest the attack was a ploy to hide a hit, and the man he’s protecting might’ve been the intended target. When a professional assassin tries to kill Nancy a second time, it’s clear the two cases are connected.

To complicate matters, when Nancy awakes from her coma, she has retrograde amnesia and is six years out of sync. Not only doesn’t she remember what happened to her, she doesn’t recall her marriage to Neil. Hoping the amnesia is temporary, Neil faces two tasks: protect his wife from the unknown person who wants her and his “package” dead, and bringing her up to date, dredging up all the sorrow that tore them apart in the first place, hoping something jars her memory.

As he races against time to find a safe place for her, can he save her from an unknown assassin and rekindle the love they shared?

And here is this morning’s tease from the opening chapter.

She’d just slipped on her suit jacket when one of the firm’s security men shoved his way into her glorified broom closet, pulled the plug on her computer, undid the wires attached to it, and tucked it under his arm.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she cried, reaching for her laptop.

“Come with me.”

The stone-faced man, probably a gestapo extra in some WWII movie, grabbed her by the arm and marched her down the hallway, her feet barely dusting the floor given the difference in height. Heads turned as other staff members watched the gorilla manhandle her to the CEO’s office, no doubt wondering what dastardly crime she’d committed.

She’d only been in Harold Olsen’s office the day she’d been hired. If intimidation was part of his job description, then Olsen had it down pat. He sat behind a large antique desk, his fingers steepled under his chin, his ebony head reminding her of a shiny new bowling ball. His thousand dollar suit fit like a glove, the pristine white shirt emphasizing his dark complexion. A pasty-faced Clive Connors, dressed in a sharkskin suit that befitted the eel and her immediate supervisor, sat in a chair in front of the desk. He didn’t bother standing, nor did he look at her. The security guard handed him her hard drive. She felt like a child dragged before the principal for throwing spit balls.

“Have it searched and then wiped clean,” Mr. Olsen said.

“Seriously? What do you expect to find on my computer? State secrets?” she asked, unable to hide her surprise.

“Yes, sir,” Clive answered, continuing to ignore her presence.

Clive had hit on her when she’d first started working here, but still in mourning, she’d fended off his requests. Last year, she’d finally agreed to go out to dinner with him, and the evening had been an unmitigated disaster. The man might be on his way to partnership, but he was a jerk on too many levels to count. He’d made working here difficult even since, but OJM paid well and she’d kept out of his way. Seeing him here didn’t bode well.

“Ms. Frost, can you explain why you opened a restricted file?” He spoke evenly, but his flashing eyes and pursed lips suggested barely controlled anger.

She exhaled audibly. “This is about that? I was on the phone and made a typo. I got out of the account as soon as I realized it. It was just an accident.”

She knew the people here were territorial, but this was ridiculous. They were acting like she’d committed a crime. That file was open ten minutes at most. Fine, tear a strip off her, but relax. No harm, no foul.

“There’s no such thing as accidents.” Mr. Olsen said. “Your services are no longer required.”

Stunned, she looked from one man to the other. “What? You’re firing me? For this?”

Clive wouldn’t meet her gaze.

“You misunderstand. We aren’t firing you,” Mr. Olsen answered, the jumping muscle in his jaw testifying to his annoyance. “We’ve decided to downsize. We have to reduce our workforce and the easiest way to do that is to reorganize our assets to be as efficient as possible. In view of that, your current position is redundant.”

“But, Mr. Olsen, that makes absolutely no sense,” she said, frustration and confusion giving her voice an edge. “I’m a tax accountant. Even if every client this firm has goes belly-up, there are still tax forms to complete. I’m exactly the kind of employee you need. My record is exemplary.”

“The decision’s been made,” he answered tersely, not even trying to hide his irritation. “Believe it or not, this firm functioned quite nicely before you arrived and will do so again after you’ve gone.”

“Clive, for Pete’s sake, say something. I’m good at my job, and you know it,” she begged, the desperation in her voice shaming her.

He shrugged and stared at her for the first time. “Sorry, Nancy, but it’s out of my hands.”

But he didn’t look sorry. The son of a bitch looked smug.

“In view of this decision and keeping in mind your work for the firm, a generous severance package is waiting for you in HR. Tomkins here will accompany you back to your office so that you can collect your personal items, and then he’ll escort you off the premises,” Olsen said, his face an impassive mask.

“You’re firing me right now? Without any notice? You can’t do that,” she whispered, so shocked she could barely speak.

This couldn’t be happening. Her heart thundered in her ears as the reality of the situation sunk in. How would she pay her bills? She’d refused alimony from Neil. Sure she had a few personal tax clients and could always do more forensic accounting work for Meredith and some of the other lawyers, but those jobs were hit or miss. Three years of her life down the drain just like that. She wasn’t the low man on the totem pole, so why cut her, why let her go?

“I can assure you we can, and we have. Don’t make this any harder than it needs to be. I’m sure with your abilities you’ll find work elsewhere.”

“Will I at least be getting a letter of recommendation?” She’d need one to find another job.

“By all means. Mrs. Willis has it ready for you. You can pick it up with your check. Good day, Ms. Frost.”

“I’m sorry, Nancy,” Clive said, opening the door for her, his thin lips drawn up in a smug smile.

“You bastard!” She spat the words at him. “Just because I wouldn’t sleep with you is no reason to feed me to the dogs. I could sue you for sexual harassment.”

“Don’t flatter yourself.” He looked down his nose at her as if she were some kind of bug. “And as far as suing me,” he said, chuckling, his sapphire gaze boring into her. “It’s your word against mine.”

Shaken by the icy animosity in his gaze, she swallowed her retort. “Who will take care of my clients?” she asked, grasping at straws. This couldn’t be happening. “I should talk to them bring them up to date.”

“I’ll look after them, and believe it or not, I can do the job as well as you can.” He dismissed her, entering his office without a backward glance.

“This way,” the goon reached for her arm again, and she yanked it away.

“Touch me again, and you’ll regret it,” she hissed. “I know where my office is.”

Mustering all the dignity she could, Nancy led the way back to the small space she’d called her own. In her absence someone had emptied her desk and packed up her photographs and other memorabilia. The partially filled box sat in the center of her blotter.

“If you’ll put your arms out at your side, I’ll search you.”

Gritting her teeth, her cheeks burned.

“Oh no, you won’t. I warned you what will happen if you put your paws on me again. There are no pockets in this skirt or jacket, and I’m not about to let you cop a feel,” she ground out, her chest heaving in her fury.

If you would like to read some of my books already published, check out my website.


Now, please take the time to check out the other teasres this week.

#MidWeekTease March 22, 2017


9 thoughts on “Midweek Tease: From a Work in Progress

  1. Oh man, I’d be just as livid. I’d also email all my clients and tell them what’s what. Great tease, Susanne.

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