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  • Writer's pictureAyden K. Morgen

Poison Pen by Val Tobin: Excerpt

It's Friday! Which means another excerpt for you guys. This one is from Poison Pen, a romantic suspense novel by Val Tobin!

… Daphne spotted the police cars while halfway down the long, tree-lined driveway. The sun cast dappled shadows over the asphalt, the trees arching overhead reminiscent of a green tunnel. Ahead, on the roundabout by the huge fountain in the courtyard, sat two police cars, two unmarked cruisers, and an ambulance.

The blood froze in Daphne’s veins, and her heart thudded against her chest. “Oh, God. Leon?”

For a selfish moment, she hoped Giselle Northrop, the housekeeper, needed the ambulance rather than her brother. Then guilt overwhelmed her, and she shoved the thought aside.

Daphne left the car in the driveway, almost forgetting to put it in park before jumping out, and rushed to the entrance.

The glass door of the porch and the ornate front doors stood propped open. A police officer positioned outside held up a hand before she reached the porch.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he said, “but you can’t enter.”

“I live here. What happened? Where’s Leon?” When he hesitated, she added, “My brother.”

The cop, who looked younger than Daphne’s thirty-four years, asked her to wait a moment and used a walkie-talkie to call into the house. “Detective Turner, the sister’s here.”

“What happened to Leon? Why is a detective here?”

“I’m sorry.” His expression showed true sorrow. “Detective Turner will explain everything.”

A tall man in a business suit appeared, and the officer introduced Detective Jacob Turner to Daphne. Barely registering the man’s outthrust hand and grim expression, Daphne tried to push past him.

“I need to see my brother. Who’s the ambulance for? Why do you need an ambulance?”


Jacob gripped her upper arms and held her still, assessing the woman standing before him. He recognized her brother’s square jaw, but the doe-brown eyes and flowing black hair were all hers. The eyes held fear and worry.

“I’ll explain, but first, please verify: you’re Daphne Russel?” He eased the grip on her arms and then released them.

“Yes, yes. Let me in.”

“I need to see identification.” His voice was firm but kind.

Daphne dug into her purse and fished out her wallet. When she located her driver’s license, she thrust it at his face.

“Mrs. Russel, I’m sorry. Leon died this morning. The death looked suspicious, so the homicide unit was called in.”

The tech guys had reviewed video footage from the security cameras. The recordings showed a blonde woman on a bicycle approaching the house. For now, Jacob kept that to himself.

“Homicide?” The fear in her eyes turned to shock. “Who’d hurt Leon? You’re mistaken. Please, let me in.”

“When they’ve finished collecting evidence from the scene, you may enter.”

“The scene?” Daphne’s brows drew together, and she frowned, broadcasting confusion, puzzlement, more shock.

“The kitchen.” Jacob hated this part of the job. Informing someone of a loved one’s murder always affected him. For the sake of the victim’s family, he must present a strong yet compassionate demeanor. Their lives would alter after he finished speaking to them. How he handled them influenced how they coped afterwards.

“Did he choke?” More denial.

Jacob shook his head. “Nothing’s certain until they do the autopsy.”

“Where’s Giselle?” Daphne’s voice broke and tears trickled from her eyes. She swiped them away.

“Home. She found your brother’s body and called nine-one-one. I questioned and released her.” Gently, Jacob pried the wallet from her hands and dropped it back in her purse.

“Why didn’t you come and tell me at the restaurant?” Her tone was accusatory.

He stifled a retort and gentled his voice. “We were getting to that. First, we needed to secure the scene and interview the housekeeper.”

“Let me see him. I need to verify it’s him. What if she made a mistake? It might be someone else.”

“Mrs. Northrop reported she’s worked as a housekeeper for Leon for four years. She’s certain it’s him. I’m sorry.” He took her by the arm. When he tried to steer her towards the driveway, she balked.

“Let me go to him.” She gasped between sobs.

“I’m sorry, but the house is a crime scene. You can’t enter. If you want to see him, you can call the coroner tomorrow and request a viewing.” Jacob kept a light grip on her arm and spoke soothingly. “I must interview you, Mrs. Russel. Come with me. One step at a time, all right?”

Daphne struggled at first and tried to break free but when their gazes locked, she quieted. Her shoulders slumped.

“Okay,” she whispered….

Writing can be murder.

Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn't that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.—Marilyn Monroe

Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy. Never underestimate that.—Oliver Stone.

The Killer

Success has eluded aspiring author Conrad Barnes, and he blames Leon Patterson, his close friend and greatest rival, for all his woes. He has the perfect solution: rid the world of the egotistical bastard—and he knows the perfect person to frame for the crime.

The Victim

Leon Patterson has it all: fame, fortune, adoration from fans, and respect not only in his small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake but also around the world. He’s a pillar of the community and a leader in the writing group he organizes. He’s generous with his time, helpful to his friends and fellow authors. Life, for Leon, is perfect until Conrad arrives at the door one fateful morning.

The Three Authors

Robin refuses to leave the house, Daphne has OCD, and Beth falls asleep at the most inopportune moments. When the evidence in Leon’s murder points to Beth, the three decide there’s only one thing they can do: catch the real killer. All three find themselves caught in a cat-and-mouse game where anything can happen and no one is safe. Can they overcome their fears and phobias before Conrad claims another victim?

The Detective

Detective Jacob Turner is a modern-day Columbo in search of a clever killer. Logic tells him that to catch the murderer he must follow the evidence, but instinct tells him something doesn’t add up. Then, the case becomes personal and the hunt is on ...

A "howcatchem" rather than a "whodunit," Poison Pen is a stand-alone novel and part of the About Three Authors series, which includes Whoever Said Love Was Easy? by Patti Roberts and Stolen Hearts & Muddy Pawprints by Georgina Ramsey.

Amazon US:

Val studied general arts at the University of Waterloo, then went to DeVry Toronto to get a diploma in Computer Information Systems. She worked in the computer industry as a software and Web developer for over ten years, during which time she started to get serious about energy work and the paranormal and occult.

In October 2004, Val became a certified Reiki Master/Teacher. She acquired ATP® certification in March 2008, in Kona, Hawaii from Doreen Virtue, PhD.

Val started work on a bachelor of science in parapsychic science from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in March 2007 and received her degree in September 2010. She obtained her master’s degree in parapsychology at AIHT in April 2016.

At the end of October 2008, Val returned to Kona, Hawaii to complete the Advanced ATP® training and in April 2010 to take the Spiritual Writing workshop and the Mediumship Certification class. Val wrote freelance for online magazine Suite101 and was Topic Editor for Paganism/Wicca and Webmaster Resources at Suite.

A published author, she contributed a story to Doreen Virtue’s Hay House book Angel Words. Her novels are available on Smashwords, Amazon, and from other retailers in both e-book and paperback.

Check out Val’s blog

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View Val’s profile page on ALLi

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