HARMFUL INTENT, the Perfect Kindle Christmas Gift ~ read an engaging chapter

Harmful Intent, Framed

The world always seems more vibrant to me at Christmas. It’s also a time when I love to curly up with a good novel and a cup of hot tea. For those of you who are like me, crime fiction lovers, let me suggest you try a deadly funny contemporary detective story, HARMFUL INTENT.

It’s humorcide…as mentioned before, deadly funny. Take a look-see at the first chapter. Now on sale through the New Year for 99 cents on your Kindle.

Chapter One

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY
May, Day One, Morning
Veronica Ingels, Private Detective

I unstrapped the banker’s special Colt .22 from my ankle, then leaned against the bureau in the one bedroom condo I shared with my husband, Mark.

 
Massaging my temples did nothing for my whopper-headache. Infidelity surveillance. So many of the bodies-in-the-buff I’d snapped shots of were much less impressive than might be imagined. Awful way to make a living, but couldn’t see myself doing anything else. Catching the guilty party in the act had almost become a mission.

 
This past week, the job that had me living out of a suitcase in a nondescript motel on Long Island had been particularly icky. The sleazoid owner of a repo agency cheated on his wife, my client. He, thought himself to be super macho, with this sandy buzz-cut and a six pack pushing through his black silk-tee. He took one look at the blond bombshell who thought she shouldn’t have to make payments on her Caddy, and… ahem… they’d made an arrangement.

 
Due to their total disregard for modesty and all caution, the job ended several days ahead of schedule. I dropped the incriminating photos off with my boss at the detective agency. Thankfully, I didn’t have to sit across a desk from the wife and show the evidence to her. Well, it’s what she’d paid for.

 
Earlier in the morning, on my way home from the stakeout, the Southern State Parkway had made like a parking lot. I maneuvered through stagnant, rush-hour traffic on my way home, trying to erase the images of those two lowlifes in all their glory. Sliding an Adele CD into the drive and turning the volume up had helped somewhat.

 
Silence met me as I opened the door to our condo. Mark’s Sports Illustrated magazine lay perfectly aligned with the corners of our rectangular, glass coffee table. Right where Mr. Fastidious had set it before he left for his speaking engagement.

 
I left the suitcase in the entry way, tossed my keys on top of the magazine, and it slid off the table with the keys and onto the floor. I left them, as Mark wouldn’t return for another two days. That was par for the course in a marriage with a motivational speaker.

 
I usually begged off on out-of-town assignments, but with Mark away, I had taken the surveillance on Long Island. So why was my scowl mocking me in the mirror above the bureau? “Okay, he’s always on the road… so just suck it up.”

 
After disregarding package directions and downing four Extra Strength Excedrin, I picked up the gold-framed wedding photo of Mark and me. There we were, on a glorious spring day, locked in an embrace. Smiling, we gazed into each other’s eyes on the granite steps in front of the arched, red doors of my mother’s church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. My blond hair was in a French twist adorned with baby’s breath, not the high ponytail I threw it into for work. And, my dream dress… a Battenberg lace sheath with a sweetheart neckline and a flutter train… had transformed me into something elegant.

 
I did a quick two-step with the photo clutched to my heart. One year later and it felt as if we were still on our honeymoon. If only Mark didn’t travel so much.

 
I pulled the Glock pistol from my conceal and carry shoulder bag and took the clip out, opened our closet, knelt and retrieved the gun lock-box from the far corner. Time to put the weapons away and morph into my wifey role. I’d make a trip to the supermarket and pick up a couple of steaks to have on hand when Mark came home. Then a stop at Henry Schwartz Tobacconist for Mark’s favorite, a couple of Arturo Fuente Anejo cigars.

 
I was about to unlock the box when I spied one of Mark’s shirts crumpled in the opposite back corner. It must have fallen off the hanger ’cause Mr. Neat would never have dumped it there.

 
I snagged it off the floor with the tip of my Glock, gave the garment a good shake, and was about to return it to a hanger when I spotted deep-red lipstick on the collar. My hand trembled. I wore soft pinks or muted pinkish-browns, if I bothered with lip-color at all.

 
“No.” Deep in the reptilian part of my jaded private investigator’s brain, I knew the signs. I walked stiff-legged toward my bedside lamp and switched it on.

 
“Can’t be.” I examined the shirt. Definitely lipstick and there was a heavy musky scent as well. Not at all like my signature ocean-breeze cologne. I sniffed again, willing it to smell like my light scent. No such luck!

 
I dropped the Italian, custom tailored shirt on the floor and backed away as if it were a viper about to strike. After taking several calming deep breaths, I reloaded the Glock and shoved it back into my purse. With two swift steps, I swept the Colt off the bureau and secured it in my ankle holster. I don’t always carry concealed, but in this instance, the weapons made me feel secure.

 
Rushing for the door, I snatched my keys off the floor, kicked the magazine across the room as if I were a quarterback, then struggled to keep my balance. I stumbled over the silver, hard-sided weekender I’d lived out of during the infidelity surveillance, and tumbled to the floor, skinning the heels of my hands on the hardwood. In the process, my cell phone slid across the highly polished flooring. I crawled after it.

 
It needed a charge, but the call to my boss went through. I kept the details of my sad story to a minimum, and he gave me a week off.

 
After squelching the urge to scream, I grabbed the weekender, rushed out the door and took the elevator down. My hands shook as I pulled my topaz-metallic Chevy Cruze Eco out of the building’s underground parking garage. Mark had said the car matched the blue of my eyes. A tear ran down my cheek. I had to get away from here… needed time to think.

 
I headed for the airport.

 
Parking at JFK had been a nightmare. Security queues were extremely long and TSA agents testy. Flights were delayed due to a storm front moving toward the east from the Midwest.

 
I stood at the American Airlines ticket counter. “Yes, that’s right. Veronica Ingels. The return… um… make it one week from today.”

 
“Certainly.” The young woman dressed in navy with a red and white scarf around her neck smiled and in short order handed me my tickets and boarding pass.

 
“Excuse me.” I zigzagged through throngs of weary passengers on my way to the women’s room. A busty woman in black leggings and a zebra print tunic hurtled past me on her way out of the lavatory. I sidestepped her, entered a stall, and sat. I fished around inside my hard-sided weekender for the two portable gun cases still in there from the surveillance job. I made sure my weapons were unloaded, and locked them in the cases, then shoved them into my luggage and closed it. I hurried to the counter to declare the weapons and sign the necessary paperwork before boarding. TSA would take a hard look at my weekender and it would be stowed in the hold. Wouldn’t have to worry when I landed since I was licensed to carry in Texas.

 
Just last week, my best friend from college had said over the phone, “Come on down, honey, any time. I’ve got the sweetest guest room overlookin’ the pool.” An offer she’d made many times.

 
Of course, as per usual, workaholic me begged off, citing a crushing load of cases at the agency. However, if there ever was a time to take her up on her offer, this was it.

 
By this time my cell phone had died, and I’d left my charger in my car in long-term parking. I found a store on the concourse selling chargers, but the lines at the register were so long I had to abandon that plan and run to board my plane.

 
The pilot battled turbulence, advising us to keep our seat belts fastened, as we flew through western storm clouds. I pulled out my pressed-powder compact and using its mirror applied fresh lipstick, light pink. What I saw appalled me… a pasty white pallor, dark circles under my eyes. Not surprising, as I was all but ready to reach for a barf bag.
After changing planes in D.C. and Dallas, hoping they didn’t lose the stowed-bag with my weapons, I arrived at my destination. Abilene.

 
“Good evenin’, ma’am.” The clerk at the rental car counter smiled, drawing his Texas twang out as if we had all the time in the world. That type of easy-going attitude had New Yorkers virtually twitching when they went out of town.
I tried to mold my lips into a smile. Hadn’t eaten anything in hours, except peanuts, although the flights had been so rough I probably couldn’t have kept anything down. Focused? I hardly knew the time zone, couldn’t put two coherent thoughts together, and wound up with what had to be the ugliest car on the lot, a lime green Smart Coupe.
I threw my weekender into the pint-sized trunk and in twenty minutes arrived at Cassidy’s Bridal Couture. The heavy glass door silently opened, and I stood in a gossamer world of white. For the first time since leaving Brooklyn, I felt safe.

 
Rushing toward the back, I made my way through an ocean of gowns, mostly bridal. Some mother-of-the-bride, bridesmaids, and prom.

 
As I approached the bridal veil display, I tripped over my own feet, disbelieving my eyes.

 
Mark held my college BFF, Cassidy Renault, in his arms, his body pressed up against hers with insistence, kissing her. Or, was he performing a tonsillectomy? When they came up for air, he had a deep-red lipstick smudge at the corner of his lips.

 
I ducked behind a rack of sale dresses, gasping for breath.

 
“This won’t do, darlin’.” Cassidy reached over, her talons matching the smudge on his lips and snatched a tissue from a faux gold dispenser on the ornate highly polished Louis XIV desk. She purred as she wiped his face.

 
I hurled myself in their direction. No doubt, my body went into near spasms and conveyed all the emotional turmoil coursing through me. Fear, anger, even self-loathing gnawed at me.

 
“Ronnie, what on earth are you doing here?” Mark took a backward step and his voice registered shock, but not even a hint of contrition.

 
“Me! I think the better question is why did I find you here, Mark, with my so-called best friend?”

 
Cassidy stepped closer to my husband and held onto his arm. “Now, honey, I’m real sorry you had to find out this way, truly I am. But since you have, you’ve got to face facts.”

 
I had heard stories about ultra-feminine southern belles who were made of steel. Here stood the woman I’d shared secrets with in college showing not a scintilla of embarrassment. I waved a finger in that witch’s face. “Don’t you call me honey.”

 
She pursed her painted lips, looking like a red grouper. “Ronnie, nobody wants to hurt you. You’re lovely as the girl next door, but Mark has moved on.”

 
It was a good thing my weapons were locked in that stupid little car, because in that moment I wanted to shoot them both through the heart with a single bullet. Truth be told, my aim is that good.

 
Mark wrapped a protective arm around Cassidy’s shoulder. “Ronnie, I was going to talk to you when I got home from this trip.”

 
That explained why his shirt with the lipstick stain had been left on the closet floor. He had no reason to hide anymore. Maybe he wanted me to find it. “Oh, I see and just what kind of motivational speaking have you been doing all this time?” My voice dripped sarcasm.

 
He took a step forward. “It’s something you’re just going to have to deal with, I’m afraid. I’m asking for a divorce.”
I pivoted, tripped over my feet again, and this time knocked over the veil display. Took something with yards of tulle halfway through the store before I shook it off. Tears streaming down my face, I raced blindly out the door, probably looking like a mad woman.

 

Courtesy of FreeImage by moniquef12

Courtesy of FreeImage by moniquef12


The Mystery of an Upstate NY Thanksgiving

I spent Thanksgiving with my brother Michael and his wife Laura. As I drove north from Brooklyn with my sweet little dog Sophie, we were encountering increasingly stormy weather. I was driving into a snowy nor’easter.

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When Michael, Laura, and I arrived at my brother’s in laws, it was a frozen winter wonderland. This is a photo of Laura’s daughter’s front yard.

 

 

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The power was out due to the storm, so they had to go down the road to folks who had power and borrow their generator to cook the turkey. By the time we got there the power had been restored, thankfully.

 

 

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My brother Michael and little Sophie and what I was nearly sure had to be the Hound of the Baskervilles. Would you believe, this dog is still a puppy?

 

 

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Moi with the pup. This dog is licking-liscious. He loves giving kisses.

 

 

 

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Brother and sister-in-law Laura with Kagan the ChiChi and my little Sophie. And there’s the big pup sticking his nose in. He had to be absolutely everywhere.

 

 

 

 

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This is the village Michael and I grew up in.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1368IMG_1369This is the village “walking path.” It might not be visible, but to the extreme left in the second photo is a bench. When we were kids there was no bench. About a mile back this lane leads to a creek where we used to swim. The lane was much more rugged then and on either side of the trees were cow pastures.

IMG_1370Don’t know why, but it seems wherever I go with my trusty camera, I attract a police presence. The village cop wanted to see who was walking around back there so bright and early the morning after Thanksgiving. He saw me taking pictures and gave me a wave.


Thanksgiving 99cents sale: HARMFUL INTENT

Harmful Intent, FramedThanksgiving is a warm and cozy holiday. It’s truly a wonderful American holiday, such a great time for family and friends get together.

It’s also a fantastic time to curl up with a cup of steaming tea, coffee, or hot cocoa and start in reading a murder mystery. I don’t know why, but to me, autumn seems to lend itself to reading crime fiction. I can see myself sitting by a roaring fire or listening to the wind blow outside as I turn pages.

So, I’m going to make it easy for readers to enjoy my newest murder mystery release, HARMFUL INTENT. I’m reducing the price to 99 cents for Thanksgiving.

HARMFUL INTENT

Sweet, askance romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully. Tons of humor. Really, it’s a scream!

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

Raves for HARMFUL INTENT:

Who’d a thunk it? Nike Chillemi’s New York gusto in Texas. HARMFUL INTENT is a mystery/suspense delight, mixing Nike’s New York flavor, the quirkiness of the South, a mystery to die for, and laugh aloud humor. I couldn’t put it down. ~ Fay Lamb, author of STALKING WILLOW and BETTER THAN REVENGE.

Nike Chillemi delivers another gritty ‘who dun it’ in her signature no nonsense style, with just the right amount of humor to lighten it up on occasion while keeping it real. Tracy Krauss – award winning and bestselling author of numerous novels including WIND OVER MARSHDALE

Echoing the best pulp fiction of generations past, Chillemi’s new contemporary series will please readers of romantic suspense. Harmful Intent introduces a modern day big-city female PI armed to the teeth and ready to draw when faced with danger in Texas. The best of both worlds happen when east coast meets southern charm in the hunt for cold-blooded killers. –Lisa Lickel, author of The Buried Treasure series

 


The Way We Treat Our Veterans Is Criminal ~ Honoring Them Today

Courtesy of FreeImages by Ana183

Courtesy of FreeImages by Ana183

 

We’re all familiar with the Veterans Administration scandals. It’s outrageous, and is indeed criminal. The culture in Washington, D.C. must be changed with regard of U.S. veterans, and changed quick.

But today is Veteran’s Day and I want to remember and honor America’s military veterans. I want to thank them for their service. They are a breed apart: courageous, self-sacrificing.

I’ve always had a heart for America’s veterans. Maybe that’s why the hero in my debut novel, BURNING HEARTS, was a decorated, World War II returning veteran with a degree of shell-shock. Today, we’d call that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Today’s veterans who return with PTSD and other disabling issues must receive the medical treatment they deserve. Medical attention for veterans is not an entitlement. It’s part of the compensation they were promised when they signed up. Veterans who are able to work, should be at the top of the lists for government jobs. These are not difficult things to accomplish. There simply must be the will in Washington to do so.


Christians and Sex Talk ~ It’s Really Not Murder, Trust Me

 

 

Couple on Beach

Courtesy of FreeImages by Bethtt

There’s no problem with waiting until marriage for sexual intimacy. The Bible says so and believing Christians should do so.

There is a problem with waiting until marriage to have “sex talk.” I didn’t say dirty talk. I said sex talk. A lot of young Christians go on their honeymoon and to their wedding bed not knowing what on earth to do. I don’t think many Christians would be surprised to hear it’s not unusual for more than a few married Christians to wonder if their marriage is missing something sexually. [I learned this listening to the Joni Show.] With no previous experience, they have no yardstick to measure, but they have doubts about what’s going on in their bedroom.

Can I suggest to couples, if you’re not adult enough to talk about your sexual expectations, you might not be adult enough for marriage?

Unless couples are cloistered, in this age of over-the-top television and movies, even without any carnal knowledge, couples getting ready for marriage have some idea of what goes on in the married bedroom. So, why not talk about it? Frankly, even before over-exposed media, most couples understood the fundamentals. Anyone who grew up on a farm certainly knew.

What is physically sexually appealing about your partner? Talk about it. What is not sexually appealing? Oh, maybe that’s when a woman doesn’t shave her legs. You’d be surprised to find out how many married women don’t shave their legs unless they know they’re going to be seen out in a dress or skirt. Yes, only if they’re going out. That means hubby is seeing their hairy legs and that might be a huge turn off to him. What about if the husband decides to grow a beard and the wife finds it scratchy when the kissing starts? These are things that should be talked about when the serious discussions about marriage start. Not a good idea to wait until the night before the wedding.

Do you expect your partner to be toned and/or buff and to keep that up? If so, say so during dating. Don’t wait until the first child arrives to tell your wife you expect her to be in better shape. You might get a dirty diaper thrown at you. It’s incorrect to think Christians don’t have these expectations. It might be the wife telling her husband to get rid of his “love handles.” Listen, can we talk? If flab is a turn off to you, discuss it before the engagement. Oh, so you’re thinking that as a Christian you should be above letting a little thing like physical appearance turn you off. News flash, it is physical appearance that is the turn on. Oh, and sense of humor, that lilt in your partner’s laugh, and other ethereal things.

Do you have a fantasy you’ve never shared? She wants to feel like a princess with a rose on her pillow and gallant love talk. She thinks he’ll feel that’s weird or sissified and won’t want to do it. Tell him about it and maybe he’ll think it’s great. He has this little fantasy he’s afraid to share because he thinks she’ll think he’s a reprobate. Tell her. First of all, it’s the real you and she should know. Secondly, she might not think it’s off the chart. Or she may say it gonna take a little tweaking (that’s tweaking, not twerking), but she’ll try it.

Widowed and divorced Christians do have sexual experience and real sexual preferences. It’s really important to talk about this when the relationship begins to move toward seriousness.

What about letting your partner undress you? How about bathing or showering together in a romantic/sexual way? Do you crave eating strawberries with whipped cream in bed? Why not talk about feisty-sex. How feisty is feisty? When does it get scary, too rough? Can it be kinda-rough and still be romantic? Does this include getting bossy? Just because he’s the Christian head of the woman doesn’t mean the husband can be sexually bossy! He’s to love his wife as Christ loved the church…and that includes in the bedroom. Especially In the bedroom.


A Night of Local Talent in Brooklyn Slayed Me

Joe Ardigo

Joe Ardigo

Marie, a really terrific BFF, called me and asked if I wanted to hear a friend of hers sing at Knapp Street Pizza (pronounced “napp” ~ the “k” is silent). She said, “He’s really good.”

That’s all I needed to hear because the food at Knapp Street Pizza is really good. For many years it’s been the premier spot for pizza in Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn…and the way Brooklynites feel about their pizza is well known.

Knapp Street Pizza and Restaurnat

Knapp Street Pizza and Restaurnat

 

But that’s not the kicker. They expanded. Took over the store next door and added a restaurant. What’s not to love?

There were six of us around our table, all friends, or friends of friends of Joe’s and we all went for the eggplant parm dinner. Everyone agree it was delish.

 

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As Marie promised, Joe Ardigo was really good. He sang pop, blues, standards, R&B, soul, and rock. The room went crazy for Joe’s rendition of Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.”

Our table stayed to the very end of the last set. You can tell our little group was…ahem, shall we say…seasoned citizens. Well, whatever, but you might’ve been able to tell that because we chose to join Joe and sang a rousing rendition of “Mustang Sally” ~ complete with hand clapping and swaying from side-to-side.

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NYPD Has Little Protection From Ebola

Hospital Gear much like what has been given to NYPD officers. ~ Courtesy of Free Images, by adamci

Hospital Gear similar to what has been given to NYPD officers. ~ Courtesy of Free Images, by adamci

According to local news sources, the NYPD and Port Authority cops have been given little to no protective gear for dealing with Ebola victims should there be one. Those same news sources claim FDNY medics have been given the task of picking up “high fever” victims. Dispatchers are not allowed to use the word “Ebola.”

What worries me as a resident of Gotham is that we seem to be behind the 8-ball on this one. I do not have the greatest confidence in the current city leadership in the best of times, and this is not the best of times. The current leadership has been plagued (you should pardon the expression) with a series of blunders and mishaps. This penchant for not being quite on top of things is worrying me, to say the least.

At New York City’s airports, police officers are getting “high risk kits” which sell for about $5.00 when ordered in bulk. These kits come in a small pouch, much like the ones rain ponchos are sold in. They contain a paper gown lined with some sort of claimed protective polyurethane coating. Paper gowns to protect from Ebola? Apparently they’re serious. They claim these gowns are “impervious.” Really? That’s what NYC is giving it’s first responders? Insanity!!!

The FDNY has the paper gowns as well but is ordering quality, three layer body suits for its EMS workers…who as mentioned earlier, have been assigned to pick up the city’s “high fever” victims. All high fever victims picked up by FDNY medics will be taken to Bellevue Hospital, the city’s premier public hospital, which has 20 isolation rooms. Bellevue’s morgue has the distinction of being the city’s first morgue. It’s also thought by many to be the creepiest of morgues. It’s been written about in many a crime fiction novel. Sorry, couldn’t help mentioning that.

Given all this (and getting back to the main point). the man from Nigeria who had diarrhea and was vomiting who came to JFK airport (NYC) has died. Apparently it has very quickly been determined it was not Ebola. I hope this is not another mistake, another instance of coming from behind.