I wanted to let all my readers know the next Rebecca Watson crime thriller, Girl in the Leaves, is in the final stages of publishing. I don’t have an exact publication date set as of now, but the projected date is April 27, 2023. This is a Thursday, which is a bit unusual for a release date, but this date holds some significance for me. My grandson was born on this date last year. I plan on doing a cover reveal in a few weeks.
Once I have wrapped up the edits and Girl in the Leaves goes live, I’ll get started on the next Rebecca Watson book, Cold. For those of you who are wondering why I selected this as the title, well, it’s because the first book in the series titled, Stone Cold brings our protagonist face-to-face with her mother, who was suspected of murdering Rebecca’s father when she was 9-years old. Cold will be a continuation of the story. I hope you are as excited as I am about my upcoming projects. And to show my excitement, included is the first chapter from Girl in the Leaves, below.
“How are you feeling today, Rebecca?”
My eyes burned from lack of sleep. “Peachy-keen, Doc.”
“Nice try. Now tell me the truth.”
Dr. Ashley Riley had always been direct—a quality I both liked and disliked about her. She sat across from me and placed a recording device on the table that separated the two of us. Doctor Riley was a lean, bright-eyed woman in her mid-fifties. Her long, chestnut hair had been pulled into a ponytail. Soft sitar music played in the background. A large flat screen television displayed a fireplace, its flames moving in harmony with the melody.
My hands trembled. I thought about sipping the iced coffee but decided against it. No need to spill it all over me. I wore a ring with a ruby birthstone where my wedding band used to be. I twisted the ring around my finger to ease the tension. “I’ve been having dreams. Nightmares would be more accurate.”
“What kind of nightmares?”
“My mother getting away with murder.”
Dr. Riley nodded and scribbled several notes. Not sure why since the session was being recorded. She set the pen down and studied me for a moment. “The trial date been scheduled?”
“No. And that’s disconcerting.”
“How long has she been awaiting trial in Boston?”
“Eighteen months and counting.”
Doctor Riley pursed her lips. She never responded too quickly. I wondered if this was a skill taught by her professors at school or honed over time. “In the grand scheme of things, eighteen months for a high-profile case is not uncommon. As a homicide detective, you know this. So tell me what’s really eating at you.”
I stood. My legs went all rubbery and almost gave out. When they didn’t, I walked over to the aquarium. My favorite was the Oscar, who seemed to rule the tank. Bubbles rose from the bottom like hot air balloons. I leaned over the top of the tank. The saltwater tickled my nose and stirred a memory. As a child, my father bought me a fishbowl. He helped pick out a Beta. But after my father’s murder, I could never bring myself to own another tank.
During our sessions over the years, the variety and colors of fish provided comfort almost to the point of being therapeutic. But watching their movements also gave me time to avoid the inevitable. Doctor Riley had to know this was a stalling tactic, but she’d always remained patient. Another attribute of hers I admired and liked.
I stepped back and regarded the Oscar. The fish moved with natural grace through the water. Everything else around him didn’t matter. I envied him.
“The case against my mother hinges on a confession by one of the detectives involved in my father’s homicide.” Tears formed. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.
“As I recall, the Boston Globe mentioned a retired detective by the name of Chris Jenkins had cancer. Is he the one who confessed?
I glanced back. “Yes.”
“Then why are you so worried?”
“The bastard passed away two weeks ago.”
She stared at me for what felt like a lifetime. “You’re convinced the courts will toss Jenkins’s confession? And your mother will go free?”
Go free. Those two words sliced through me. Hurt, like acid burning a hole in my belly. And the only way to ease the pain was through revenge. I didn’t want to just make my mother suffer, I wanted her to die a terrible, painful death. Part of me wanted to be the one to kill her. Another part only wanted to bear witness. Neither would happen.
“Will you have to testify?”
“The DA said he won’t need me as a witness. But I’m flying up to Boston anyway.”
“Are you seeking closure?”
I took a deep breath, a vain attempt to calm my nerves. “First, closure is a myth. Doesn’t exist. Except in fairytales and sometimes not even then. Secondly, the truth does not set you free. This too is a lie. Too many bad people have escaped justice because a defense lawyer blurred the truth just enough for the jury to believe them and allow their client to continue their wrath on more victims.” I was rambling on but didn’t care. “And you want to hear the bitch of it all? I tell the victims’ families to believe in a lie. One I can’t choke down, yet I expect them to swallow without question.”
“Do you really believe that? Or are you too scared to put your faith in the system? Either way, it doesn’t change the fact—the fact you have to come to terms with yourself.”
“You lost me, Doc.”
“Let’s say your mother is found not guilty or the jury finds her guilty of a lesser charge. The reality is, you found your father’s killer, which speaks volumes, even after all these years.”
“But what if it’s not enough?”
“I can’t answer that for you. What I can say is you’re not the only person who’s had to confront their past. But you must find a way to deal with this. Otherwise, you run the risk of putting up barriers, which impedes any further progress. And to do so would only prove your mother is still controlling you.”
She looked at me for affirmation, but she wasn’t going to get any. Not today. The possibility of my mother escaping justice sickened me. The woman needed to be held accountable for her actions. Too bad Massachusetts abolished capital punishment. Her execution wouldn’t bring my father back, but knowing the wicked bitch was dead might take away some of the hurt.
If you want to be notified when Girl in the Leaves goes live, or when I have a new book out, sign up for my newsletter. And if you think you missed some of my books, click on the link, which lists all of my published titles.