Holmes in America part 1 by Karen Vaughan



Nigel Holmes knew he was in deep. He had broken every rule on the case. He was supposed to maintain a professional detachment and not get involved with the witness in any way. That was his first mistake. He had taken one look at Nikki Harrison and he was a goner. His grey matter turned to mush and from then on his boys were doing the thinking. They shagged at every opportunity and he decided he was in love. After the case was solved, he and Nik were running off to elope at Gretna Green just over the Scottish border.


That never happened. Two days ago Nikki was found dead in her flat. Bludgeoned by a hammer and lying in her own blood. It was his fault. When he should have been protecting her from a vicious killer, he was banging her senseless.  He did his best to keep his cool at the scene, but directly after, he lost his lunch, cried like a baby and nearly poisoned himself with a bottle of Glen Fiddich.


Here he was the day after getting his stomach pumped, up on the carpet in front of his superior officers about to receive a new butt hole. Nigel was already blaming himself for not keeping that distance.  That wasn’t the end of the story.  A killer was free to kill again and his only witness and the love of his life was dead.


“Nigel Holmes, you have been accused of interfering with a witness in the case you are working on. What say you in your defense?”


“There really is no defense, sir.  I clearly overstepped the bounds with the witness and got involved with her romantically.  This led to some distractions and I wasn’t watching my back as closely as I should have been, or hers.  As a result, I wasn’t on guard the night she was murdered providing the killer with the opportunity to break in and murder her.  As a result, we have no witness and the killer is still running free.  This is all on me, sir, and I deeply regret my lack of professionalism.”


“Very well Holmes.  I’ve discussed this with the disciplinary team and since you have come forth and admitted your guilt.  We will not be firing you.  However, we decided to send you over to North America for a period of six months.  It is during this time that I hope you will learn from the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force how they solve crimes.  It’ll give you time to reflect on your misdeeds and come back home with a fresh perspective.  I highly recommend that you take this opportunity to learn from your past indiscretions.  Also while you’re there, you can brush up on your people skills.”


“What’s wrong with my people skills, Inspector?”


“They are sorely lacking Holmes.  Keep in mind that your superiors are not your best friends and going around and asking everybody on the force how it’s hanging just will not do.  Your ability to solve the crime is indeed first rate.  However, people simply don’t want to work with you because of your crass attitude and lack of respect for those higher up in the food chain.  When you come home.  I better not hear you once say the old broad in the castle or we will fire you.  Are we clear?”


“Quite sir.  When am I to leave?”


“You have four days to get your affairs in order over here.  Clean out your locker and your desk as somebody will be using them in your absence.  You’ll be reassigned a new one when you come home.”


“I have to find someone to sublet me flat!  That could take weeks!”


“You don’t have weeks, Holmes.  I suggest you get moving as soon as possible.  Time starts now.  The clock is ticking.”


Nigel left Inspector Clemons’ office.  He was clearly flummoxed over the whole affair.  He was being sent into the world like a brand-new baby never having stepped out of Manchester in his entire life.  He had to figure it could have been worse.  They could’ve just fired him.  He lived in shame over the whole mess he had gotten himself into.  Not only that, he sorely missed the woman he loved.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

TORONTO POLICE HEADQUARTERS disciplinary Board hearing.


Kristen Sherlock sat nervously awaiting her time to testify in her own defense.  The events of three weeks ago were still clear in her mind like it was yesterday.  Things were going sideways pretty quickly that day.  She was still flabbergasted that they believed she was the one dealing coke out of the back of her Crown Royal.  Someone had set her up.  She was sure of it.  She was going to find out who, if it with the last thing she did.  Her fate was in the hands of a panel of internal affairs officers, whose job it was to investigate crimes allegedly committed by police officers.  She knew that it was a necessary evil put in place to deal with dirty cops.  She was not dirty!  Her partner Chris Eversley could vouch for her good character and ability to solve crimes.


The door to the hearing room opened and she was summoned to go in.  “Here goes nothing.”  She said to her partner.  “I may not have a job to come back to when this is over.  Depending on how much they want to fry me.  Wish me luck.  I’m going to need it!”


“Stay positive Kristen.  The guys and I are behind you on this.”


“Thanks.  I’m going to need it!”


Kristen took her seat in front of the panel and swore that she was telling the absolute truth.


“Please state your name and tell us the events of the day in question.”


“My name is Sgt. Kristen Sherlock.  On May 18, 2015 I was working surveillance in an area near Parliament Street that our task force believed was being used as a center for trafficking in heavy narcotics.  I was alone in the vehicle watching the building in question.  My partner Detective Eversley was with the rest of the task force, about to enter the building to make an arrest.  I was approached by members of the squad, that I did not know and asked to step out of the car.  I did as I was told.  The man and the woman asked me to open my trunk so they could inspect it.  I asked what it was all about, but they said nothing and just repeated their instructions.  I asked for my union rep to be present, but they refused.  Thinking I had nothing to hide, I opened the trunk as instructed.”


The head of the panel spoke up.  “What was in the trunk Sgt. Sherlock?”

Kristen cleared her throat and continued.  “There was a large cash of bricks of cocaine, bags of ecstasy and crystal meth pills.  None of it had been there the night before, when I parked the car in the police lot.  I had no clue how it got there.”


“What happened next?”  One other panel members inquired.


“I was grabbed by the female officer and slammed against the car while she cuffed me.  I was read my rights and then escorted to their police car; then I was taken in to be processed downtown.”


“Thank you Sgt.  You may step down now.”


Prosecution calls Sgt. Eversley to the stand.  The bailiff led Kristen out of the room as she would not be allowed to hear to Detective Eversley’s testimony.


She was told to sit in the hallway where she had waited before.  Chris winked at her gave her the thumbs up, which said, “I got your back baby!”

I certainly hope you do, because no one else seemed to.  Somebody was trying to get rid of me.  The question was who and why.



Did you pick the genre or did it pick you?

Did you pick the genre or did it pick you?

I was just thinking of this. What kind of books do you read and does it reflect on the genres you write in? For example I cut my eye teeth or reading HARDY BOYS/NANCY DREW so it’s no surprise that I continued reading that and suspense thrillers. When it came to writing the mystery genre picked me.

I have been writing some form of mystery since 2005. I had a dream that screamed at me to write it down and thus DEAD ON ARRIVAL was born.

cover for doa 2008

And like a good potato chip you just can’t stop at one book. I didn’t either. I had no intention of writing a series at that point but yet another idea was brought to me by my muse. I had just performed my first stand-up comedy routine and I was bitten by that bug as well as writing.  Naturally I combined my two passions and voila I hatched DEAD COMIC STANDING.


Meanwhile I was getting requests for more Laura and Gerry stories.  OVER HER DEAD BODY came to pass and by that time I may as well keep the series going as ideas were coming at me from all directions.

Karens final choice 6d  2011

DAYTONA DEAD came next but I needed a break from the series even though I started writing DEAD MEN DON’T SWING.

Front cover of daytona dead     2013

dead_mean_dont_swing_2 (2)


Last year my NaNo entry was a mystery which had been bouncing around in my brain for months so I started 101 CROSS STREET a retro mystery which I hope to publish soon as well.

101 cross street cover

Now just because my main genre is mystery doesn’t mean that I am not going to dabble with romance or romantic suspense. You’re just going to have to keep reading to find out.


On the radio by Karen Vaughan



In May of 2013 I was guesting on my friends radio show for a special edition of DELLANIS TEA TIME.  The host Dellani Oakes and her lovely assistant Christina Giguere convinced me that I needed my own show.  My first response was “YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT?”

My husbands in the background shouting  “DO IT, DO IT!”

I was very unsure that I could do it so Dellani graciously invited me to co-host her shows in order to practice.  I decided to take on the venture and started to plan a 2014 debut.  My first guests were of course Dellani and Christina (a.k.a Rachel Reuben).  That was easy as I had been on air with them several times throughout the last two years as a guest.  Hosting on my own was a whole different kettle of fish.

What’s involved?

Rounding up guests every month is easy as a know quite a few authors on face book. I found a great way of guaranteeing that I had a show every month was to schedule a few shows ahead. I have already done 4 and a half shows with great success.

I will explain the  half a show.  Sometimes technical glitches happen. April 8th was one of those days that the radio station we used decided to be the menopausal bitch from hell. Everything that could have gone wrong did.  Not only that, when I went to set up the show i only scheduled it for fifteen minutes. I felt so bad for my guest that I invited the poor man back for the next month. Thankfully the internet radio site we used behaved in May.  You have to be ready for these things. Most radio hosts I know are great at improv. We have to be as well as our assistants if we are fortunate to have them.

Scheduling the show is the next step. I won’t give details as they are tremendously boring but after my snafu in April I am very careful to check the show length section.

Promote! Share, tweet, google and pinterest are a hosts best ways to get the show out there. I found my facebook groups are also great places to promote your show shamelessly and most people are happy to share.

Have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Sure the shows are supposed to be informative but they can be fun too. When you have people in that chat room asking questions things can get fun and out of hand. For example my guest yesterday was a guy who had written several books in a short span of time.  One of the people in the chat room decided to ask what might be considered a delicate question. Wanting to have some fun, I went and asked it anyway.  If you are so like your favorite character why are you still single and do you have a “Carly” in your life.  I think he blushed on the other end but he handled it well.  Things happen in the chat room that make me want to laugh out loud and we have made another host do so.

I love doing my show WRITERS ROUND TABLE. I got the idea from some of the shows I have done with Dellani and Christina where there have been only three of us talking.  We call these round table discussions and they are the most fun of all.



The lazy blogger

An apology from a lazy blogger


As writers we have many tasks to do and hats to wear. I feel as though I have dropped a ball in my constant juggling act to keep on top of blogging and shameless self-promotion.

infinite loop

As everyone knows by now I have been doing a radio show on Blogtalk radio every month.

WRITERS ROUND TABLE airs the second Tuesday of every month. My repertoire is growing and so thus does my list of responsibilities.

Do you as writers often drop the ball purposely just to give yourselves a mental break? So when something’s gotta give, what do you give up for the sake of your sanity?

Blogging was the thing that drew the short straw.

I love to blog. I knew I was missing something in my routine but I wasn’t sure quite what until a friend mentioned she was behind on her blogging yet being the only one doing it. Then it hit me! The blogs –I don’t think I have graced karenwritesmurder.com with anything noteworthy in a couple of months nor has my pen hit CEREAL AUTHORS or WRITEMINDS BLOG in a dogs age.

I have also dropped the ball on promoting others on social media.

So here it is: My apology to those I promised to promote and two sites I love to contribute. This is not a resolution to do better although I will endeavor to keep up with my fellow writers and promoters.

balls in the air

Also being on the radio means we schedule our shows and line up guests on our own—It’s definitely a DIY kind of thing and it’s an experience I love but I hate the techie glitches. Last month the station which shall remain nameless decided to have a menopausal hissy fit. My guest was a great sport and agreed that after fifteen minutes of crap we would call time of death and reschedule.

When I decided to be a writer I never realized it would involve blogging, promoting and chatting on internet radio but I don’t think I could ever give it up.


How does stress affect your writing?

It has been one hell of a bad trip these last few weeks. I know there are things I should be doing and books to be written but social media has thrown me for a loop.

First of all my tried and true acer laptop bit the dust. I bought a new levono  with windows 8. This was a chore to learn and I gave that one to my hubby to use as he was not as stressed as I was and wouldn’t kill the thing. I went back to using Hubs’ laptop but then a hacker nailed me on face book and I had to recreate a new account.  I was fit to be tied so the writing and editing came to a standstill til I could get it together and let the dust settle. Some people can function under duress and use that angst in their favor creatively. I am NOT one of those people.  I do have a story idea for the MYSTERY OF THE HACKED UP HACKER in mind but the bugger isn’t worth my time or energy.  Awhile back a nasty neighbor was causing stress but I managed to turn it around and find a nice way to make him croak fictionally speaking.  How do you handle stress as a writer?  Do you use it creatively or does it stymie you?  I have felt creatively blocked.before. My characters sensed my angst and ignored me.  I  think I am over it now but it is stressful.




What does one blog about when the first thought in my head is I HAVE NOTHING.  It’s frightening to think that a blabbermouth like me has squat. There is no Bottle of Red this week as I haven’t been working on that.  I haven’t been writing a lot as I have been doing a lot of promoting of fellow indie authors on FACE BOOK as well as some shameless self promotion. 

Okay so let’s talk about that. Writers don’t just write–GASP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shocking. Don’t fall off your chairs and yell SAY IT ISN’T SO!

In the new world of writing we have to divide our time between promotion of our own work and those of our fellow indies. It’s the sharing of mutual goodwill and backscratching that we all do.  People think we compete with each other. Such is not the case.  This is such a supportive community that we don’t mind taking the time to like each others FB pages or TWEET each others successes and follow each other.

There are those great souls will go out and build a directory that encompasses authors from all over the world so there will be a resource for readers to find authors that are not making stratospheric earnings for their craft.  Such angels should be named and pat on the back. Yes I am involved but the kudos need to go to Eileen Register and the tweet queen extraordinaire Joan P Lane who built and put THE INTERNATIONAL DIRECTORY OF PUBLISHED AUTHORS into existence.  It has taken much hairpulling and self flagration to get the baby on it’s feet. We have a fantastic product here and we are proud of it.    It is a labour of love for the three of us and has taken a great chunk of sacrificed writing time to get going but like proud parents Here it is.


I have also employed the services of a social media publicity specialist to heighten my profile on FACEBOOK, GOODREADS AMAZON and TWITTER.  The fun we have had developing adverts to get my books out there.

ImageFun with SNOOPY  This is just one example.

I have also had the chance to co-host DELLANIS TEA TIME AND WHAT’S WRITE FOR ME for the last few months to prepare for my own show this coming winter WRITERS ROUND TABLE is coming to you from RED RIVER RADIO on blogtalk radio starting January  2014. Myself and the wonderful Jon Magee will be chatting with independent authors and talking about writing in general.

NaNoWriMo is also coming up Nov 1-30. A thirty day frenzy to complete a 50,000 word novel without losing sleep or sanity.


That means I have to get my write on and try and sew up DEAD MEN DON’T SWING BY HALLOWTHANKXMAS and get it published and work on A BOTTLE OF RED eventually.









Chapter 10

Monday came way too soon after what had gone from the thing I dreaded most to the greatest weekend of my life. 

I was back doing the mundane stuff I did for Sid. I didn’t have time to ponder my future with Kevin as Sid was loaded for bear and issuing missives on face book. I was on the job and keeping up so he couldn’t accuse me of slacking.

There have been times over the last few years that I have wanted to tell the man where he could stuff his spreadsheets and that there was a special place in hell for accountants –right next door to the special place for lawyers.

Lunch came along and I turned off chat so he couldn’t harass me.

I grabbed my salad and a fresh cup of java. Yesterday after the reunion breakfast Kevin and I came back here.  We just had to look at each other and we knew what was coming next. This time we made it to the bedroom.  I lost count on how many times he brought me to the edge of ecstasy and left me begging for more. He teased my most sensitive regions with kisses and started the process over until even he needed release. Afterwards we lay spent and napped in each other’s arms.

We woke up at p.m. and grabbed some dinner and came back to bed rejuvenated and ready for more.

Kevin looked at me. “I guess after all this marathon of sex, we must be going steady?”

“Yeah kinda awkward just going back to being my computer geek isn’t it?”

“Yeah I may never look at your laptop the same way again after this weekend.”

I laughed at that but felt I needed to caution him on going too fast. Thankfully Kevin agreed that rushing things along just ‘cos we were horny was not wise and just to revel in what we had. 

“Did you ever regret not getting this far in high school?”

“Don’t take offense Kevin but the thought of sex back then scared the crap out me. I just wasn’t ready at the time for anyone. What about you?

“None taken I was just thrilled that my mathematically challenged friend would even look at me twice let alone let me kiss her. It fed a few horny boy fantasies but my first lady was my chess board.”

I haven’t played chess in years. I may have forgotten how.”

“I could re-educate you. We could make it interesting and come up with strip chess.”

“There’s an incentive!”

“Not tonight I have no plans of leaving this bed til six a.m.”

“Quite welcome to stay as I don’t think I am ready to let you leave.

We had made love again and it seemed like each time got better than the last.  I couldn’t say it was love but it was good enough to share my bed and I really did like him as a person.

My reverie was broken by a phone call. I thought would be Sid reminding me I had work to do or Mel who called daily. It was neither nor was it Kevin.

“It’s Tom”

Yes what can I do for you that won’t involve projectile food or vomiting?”

“I want to apologise. I was an absolute boor this weekend.”

“I’m not going to disagree but I accept.”

“Can we have coffee and talk? I promise I won’t insinuate myself in your life I just want us to be parents of two kids and impending grandparents who will have to co-exist and play nice.”

“I will try to do that and not regurgitate on your loafers again.”

“How about coffee after dinner?”

That sounded good as Kevin was teaching computer maintenance at one of the colleges after dinner and I had an evening of laundry to look forward to as I watched Castle on television.

“Great, no tricks or nasty comments about Kevin.”

“Good or the deal is off.”

I clicked off and went back to work. I didn’t trust him as true to form he always reverted to snippy backbiting when it came to my choice of dates. 

The rest of the afternoon went smoothly without Sid yanking my chain. I signed off at 4:30 and checked on Melanie. She still had months to go but was sewing up receiving blankets and onesies in purple yellow and green and trying to look for a suite for the baby’s room. I loved talking baby stuff with my daughter and we made a date to go shopping on the weekend as Scott had to work.

Kevin called and I told him of plans to talk to Tom. He wasn’t happy but there wasn’t much he could  say.

“I have my cell. Call if the bastard gets uppity again.”

“I will but I think he was genuinely contrite about the weekend.” I was taking my own car so I wasn’t dependant on Tom for a ride.

We clicked off and I got a load going as I made dinner for one.





Chapter 11

I met Tom at a nondescript diner as I didn’t want to chance a repeat performance at Mochas from the previous weekend. Too many people I knew went there on a regular basis and the gossip mill around here rotates as fast as twitter and face book put together.  It would confuse the issue greatly if people started seeing me show up with two different men; one being my ex and the other who might be construed as my main squeeze.  After years of over hearing second hand bad press about myself I prided myself on not feeding the gossip mongers more than I had too.  There were many new people in town that didn’t know of my not so stellar past but knew me as a writer in residence and business woman. I might have gotten over most of all that but why take chances.

I was dressed in my best let’s do laundry sweats and Tom was slumming in jeans and a sweat shirt.

“Hey he said. Thanks for meeting me. After this weekend I thought it was over for good.”

“It was over ages ago but yesterday was too soon after dealing with you Saturday .”

“Again sorry. There was no excuse to go off on you yesterday and I deserved the plate of eggs you delivered.”

Camille said she reamed your sorry ass for that and implying you would use me to make her jealous. I was still fuming when I saw her at the reunion on Saturday. Your name came up and I told her we were no longer together but you wanted a date with me to piss her off. I felt I needed allies at that time.”

“Understandable, I heard your speech and wanted to congratulate you on the reward but when you rebuffed my attempts to talk yesterday I saw red and went for the jugular. I should have never used a painful part of your life against you. It was work and my taking off that played a hand in the breakdown. Slapping you with that was just not right.”

No it wasn’t but let’s let it go for now Tom. I agree we need to be an the same page for the sake of  our kids and the new baby.”

“I agree whole heartedly –for the first time in my adult life I am going to act like one and not an unrealistic dreamer.”

“Yah How’s that working for you.”

“Well it does and it doesn’t It helps when I am looking for investors but I am not the best with money management and it ends up biting my ass.so I just have to find men I can trust to do my accounting.”

I handed him Sid’s card. “Call him he’s not a sheister.”

“How do you know?”

“He’s my boss and I don’t work for a man who would cheat in business and he’s been handling my accounts for years.”

“Great now I will call him.”

We changed the subject to Mel’s baby and what our plans were for buying her something. “I am taking her shopping on Saturday for a suite If we find something she and Scott like we can let you know. I can’t afford a lot so we would appreciate some help.”

Tom and I talked about mundane things and I updated him about my writing exploits and he wished me luck sincerely.

I made my excuses that I had a load of whites to do and an appointment with Richard Castle at ten.

Just as we were about to leave a face from the past showed up at the table.

“Well if it isn’t the two love birds of 1979; I heard a rumor from the weekend that you two split and she’s screwing Kevin now. Yet here you are trying to get Tommy in bed too. Maybe I should tell Kevin you’re stepping out.

Tom stepped in front of me. “Do yourself a huge favor Taylor and back the hell off. It’s a bit late in the game to still be pissed that I don’t like you and that I didn’t want to date you. “

“She” Taylor pointed at me. “never gave me a chance to prove how good we could have been. Instead I confided in her and she stabbed me in the back,”

“Get a grip Taylor –World War II is over and the rest of us have moved on with our lives. Yes Samantha and I are no long together. We have children together and are about to be grandparents that’s the extent of the relationship. Guess what else? I still wouldn’t date you because you are a gossiping vindictive bitch.”

Taylor’s bottom lip began to quiver.  “You are still a prick thirty some odd years later. You two deserve each other.”  She turned and ran out of the café.

“Wow you really gave it her.”

“Been wanting to take her oversized head off for years. I was just protecting the mother of my children from a ravenous she-wolf.”

“Ha you can back off Tom you’re not my alpha male anymore, but thanks for saying something I wanted to say for years. I have had the suspicion that she was the one behind Camille declaring me dead.”

“How so?”

One day when we were joking around in the library. Taylor must have over heard us. I think she told Camille I was flirting with you. Later that day Camille told me I was dead to her.”

“Ha we were just bundles of angst weren’t we?”

I tilted my head in the direction Taylor had gone. Some of us still are full of it.”

Tom grinned “We still talking about angst or something else?”

“That too” and I started to walk away

I got home to find Kevin in my driveway.

“Hey what’s up.”

“Just wanted to see if you were okay; the last two times you had a run in with Tom things didn’t go well.”

“I’m good this time –Taylor Hiltz got  the sharp edge of Toms tongue this time.”

“Wow really. I would have loved to have been the fly on the wall for that.”

“It was sad yet rather amusing really. It’s like the Japanese soldier that has no clue the war ended. Taylors still living in the 80s and won’t let anyone forget the crimes against her. She threatened to tell you Tom and I aren’t over yet. She’s still pissed that I gave Tom the heads up about her and ended up dating him. Tom told her to get a grip and that wouldn’t have happened so she told him he was still a sanctimonious prick and that we deserved each other.”

“Sounds like a fight worth watching.”

“Kevin!” I feigned shock at his cavalier attitude but I was glad someone finally took her down a peg and maybe she might find herself brought into the twenty first century.

“Now that I know you and Tom didn’t come to blows again. I will head out and let you attend to your fine washables and drool over Richard Castle.

“Ha you lusted over Callie on The Glades for three seasons.”

“Such a shame it got canned.” Kevin sighed and kissed me then headed home.

I went inside to drool and do laundry.

Chapter 12


The next day was no different from the day before; mundane office work and a chance to work on my romance novel while I ate lunch. I was so tempted to call Sid and tell him I was playing hooky so I could keep up the good writing. My characters were totally clicking and I was on a roll. However, I needed the pay from my day job to take care of my bills. I am not saying the writing isn’t paying but I can’t say I can live on royalties alone.

Moe called and set up the double date for her and Wayne, myself and Kevin. I told her about hashing  out an arrangement with Tom and that Taylor Hiltz had accosted Tom and I and that he had given it to her with both barrels.

“Oh and what she do?

“She blubbered on the way out the door; after a bit of name calling of course.”

“Well we can dish more about this on Friday night the monsters are coming back to class and I have to either play nice or kick ass depending on the level of cooperation.

I clicked off and shelved Loves Tender Embraces til after hours. A shame really as my characters were rolling in the deep maybe being in love was helping my love scenes. Wait did I just say the L word? Dayum was it possible I was in love with Kevin? I really liked and cared about him but I didn’t think it had gone any farther than lust and mutual caring.

Perhaps an afternoon of numbers will cure me of those thoughts. Maybe someday I would be able to really love again just was not ready to go there quite yet. That seemed to work as preparing the balance sheet for Jimmy’s Sheet music and Guitars was taking all my concentration. Somewhere in my years of working from home I had taken a bookkeeping course via correspondence school. I was able to upgrade that to computerized accounting as soon as I felt well enough to go past my own threshold. 

Whenever I think of how much the agoraphobia had robbed me of a full life I get mad all over again but as my therapist said it’s not something that goes away overnight. I had to muster up the courage to step outside and smell the flowers.  It was an emergency involving Jake and a broken arm that forced my hand. I wasn’t confident enough to drive yet but I managed to get a screaming 12 year old boy and his sister into a cab and deal with things. I was cursing Tom for not being there and making me do this alone. A boy with a broken arm needed dad to support him. What he had was a mom who had to step up to the plate when I wanted to be at home cowering under blankets. We got through it and that seemed to shake me to my senses and get a frigging grip. 

It was a freeing experience and probably got me on the path to wellness faster than if nature had taken its course. I’d still be in my closet sucking my thumb. 

If I hadn’t gotten well I would not have re-acquainted myself with the world or taken on my past at the reunion. I was able to still telecommute and make a living and start my writing career; yay me for having the courage to live again.

I still have the odd panic attack but I think I am on the upswing.

Friday night came along and the four of us went to dinner and a bar featuring a tribute band who did The guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive and Burton Cummings.  Not much to dance to but great music anyway.  We were sitting at the bar when I was approached by a guy who looked vaguely familiar. 

“Sammy is that you?”

“That’s my name, and you are…?

“Liam Walker…we dated for fifteen  minutes in ’85.”

It came to me. I gave him my heart and my virtue at the tender age of twenty –one and he slept with other women. He was a player of the first order and then years later told me I was boring in the sack. I thanked him for not giving me HIV or other STDs and told him where to get off.

“Tonight old Liam was looking like he graduated from the Keith Richards school of substance abuse.

Hi um Liam been awhile, You still with Nell? Nell was my successor and apparently made the grade in the boudoir .

“Nah she started wanting kids and I just wasn’t into it. Last I heard she had gone the way of artificial insemination and found a daddy after the fact.”

Liam was too much of a wild man to settle down. Shaking up and partying hard was his claim to fame and I suspected he was on the pathway to spontaneous self-destruction.

“You’re looking fine lady! Wanna hook up and see if we can re-ignite the passion.”

“I am going to have to pass on the offer buddy. My boyfriend I said would not appreciate me taking off and I am not going down that road with you again. As I recall it didn’t end well the first time.”

“Ah c’mon honey I can make it up to you.”

“I don’t want you to! Kevin and Wayne came over and saw what the issue was as Moe went in search of a bouncer before Liam could get nasty.

I was shaking but sound recovered and we stayed for the rest of the set before heading to Mochas where I regaled the group with tales of lust gone bad.

Kevin and I went to his place and I forgot all about my past for a few hours slept and did it some more.











Chapter 7

I am always amazed at the fashion sense people acquire over the years. Ok most people. Some of the guys wore their suits like they would rather be wearing the lumberjack shirts and construction boots.  Jim and Dave Thorn, brothers, looked good in their military dress uniforms. I wondered why they would wear them tonight of all nights.  Dave explained that Jim didn’t own a civilian suit and admitted that he, himself wanted to show off a bit as he was a commandant at a Canadian forces base in eastern Ontario,

Wow, I thought some people really Don’t change. Dave and his brother were always a tad gung-ho on the military thing in high school. So Dave was a Colonel and Jim was a captain who had Done a few tours in Kandahar and had mustered out when the Canadians withdrew.

Cyn, besides a bit of weight gain still managed to carry off sexy and it appeared that her husband was clearly smitten with the package.

I have to admit I turned a few heads myself. Gone was the shy awkward girl in polyester hand me downs. Kevin’s eyes pretty much popped, when he picked me up. 

“Holy guacamole, you look fabulous.”

“So do you geek boy.”  He did look sexy in dove grey slacks and black dress shirt and a black tie.  Gone was the nerd look of too short pants and plaid shirts with pocket protectors.

“This look goes much further with the ladies. My former wardrobe went by the wayside in my first year of college. I got picked on badly walking around the campus like that.”

“What happened?”

“A kind sexy angel named Tara gave me an extreme make over.  When she was Done with me I had women asking me out.  They’d even fake wanting to be tutored, to get near me.”

“Hey , I liked you for you. The fact that you saved my ass in Math was an added bonus.”

Kev laughed.  “Now I is a sexy geek, Apparently that’s in right now.”

“So how is the little shop of computer parts doing?”  Kevin was the go-to guy for people who habitually screwed up their computers. I rediscovered him and his services when my laptop had a hissy fit and I had a deadline to meet with Sid and my editor.  Within an hour he had that baby purring like a kitten and my files backed up on an external hard drive.  We have been friends ever since, even though the three months of dating hadn’t worked back then.  To quote the band Blue Rodeo, ‘It was Bad Timing’, that’s all.

I looked at him now and was harbouring  fantasies that I hoped didn’t show. My lips still bore the memory of the smouldering kiss he laid on me last night and I hoped there would be more to come. 

Moe and Wayne looked fantastic. Moe wore a two piece suit with a sexy camisole and bling, tastefully worn. She still wore boots, jeans and leather jackets but she could look classy when the occasion called for it. Wayne was a quiet man and had a calming effect on his somewhat boisterously kick-ass wife. Rumour had it she had saved him from a mugging in a convenience store when she took down his would be assailants. Most guys might feel emasculated but Wayne was in love.  She suggested self-defence if he was going to run an all-night store. He heeded that advice and asked her out. The rest is history.

Word had gotten out that I was a published author and several women asked me to sign paperbacks they just happened to have with them. 

As I was signing, I heard a familiar voice behind me.

“Hi, Sam.”  I turned to see Camille Albertson, the woman I gave permission to date Tommy after our first break up.  She asked him out and summarily dumped me as  a friend and proceeded to pretend I was dead for a year.  Then she dumped Tommy and we were cautiously friendly for the next two years but never close like we had been in grade ten.  Here she was looking conservative and classy like she did in high school.

“Wow, so that’s one of the books. My daughter Angela read that and she swooned over the Navy SEAL hero for months.  I read it as well. He was a treat! You write well. Congrats on your success Sam!”

Camille honestly looked sincere. Except for that one year where she was an uber –bitch she never doubted I could drag myself out of my sad life as many people called it and make something of myself.

“So I see you’re here with Kevin. Where’s Tommy? Didn’t you two hitch up and get married?”

“We did but we also got divorced.  One of those irreconcilable differences.  We did have two wonderful children though and I am about to be a first-time grandma.”

“Wow, that’s great Sam!”

“It amazes me too. I made it out of the gutter after all.  Not with its trials but I’m still standing.”

“Fantastic. So are you and Kevin dating?”

I knew she was fishing but decided it was okay. I had nothing to hide.  “No we are good friends. We kind of bonded over a screwed up computer and got reacquainted . I was going through something heavy at the time and was nowhere near ready to share the insanity with someone else at that point. He is a sweetheart though and has come a long way from nerd-dom.”

“I’ll say! I am not even going to ask if it’s okay to ask him out. We both know how well that worked the last time.”

“Oh so you’re not married?”

“No seems hubby numero uno wanted a punching bag instead of a wife. After a year of  abuse I got my act together and left. My brother Brian beat the tar out of him.”

“That was risky, he could have been arrested.”

“Ha that’s the one beautiful thing out of it all. Lamad was not allowed to press charges against Brian. He was a landed immigrant and afraid of deportation. We got a restraining order against him and his family.”

“Why his family?”

“They wanted to have me stoned for disobedience and desertion against their sweet little son.  My ass, he was a freakin’ monster. They were so entrenched in their ways , it never occurred to them that way of life doesn’t wash around here.”

“I’m really sorry you had to go through that Camille.”           

“Thanks, and again I am really sorry I was a bitch to you that year. Thinking back, he really wasn’t worth losing a friend over.”

“Hey, water under the bridge kiddo.  I think Tommy has more issues over that than we do. He wanted me to come with him, just to show you up.”

“Mature? Not so much.”

“Is he even here?”

“Not sure he’s going to be, after I ripped him a new butt hole this morning. It was a fine performance. I took him down a few notches and gave him a real tune up in front of twenty onlookers at Mochas.”

“Ha I hope you took a bow!”

“I did. It was glorious payback for years of hurt and disappointment. Let’s go get some wine and sit with Moe, Wayne and Kev shall we. Cyn has something special planned and I am dying to know what it is.”

Together we hit the bar up for some drinks and joined the group. As soon as we sat down Cyn got up and announced some awards and took us on a video trip down memory lane.

Samantha Seal? Are you in the audience? “

I didn’t know what to do. It was reminiscent out of the scene from Carrie where she is crowned Queen and then all hell broke loose.  I stood and went to the podium beside Cynthia.

“Many of you never realized that our very own Sammy was a diamond in the rough.  She rose from the ashes and found happiness.  Samantha is a published author of romance and mysteries that are to die for. So for this I am happy to give her the YOU’VE COME ALONG WAY BABY award.”  The whole room stood and applauded.  I didn’t dare look up to see if indeed there was a bucket of pigs’ blood.  If there had been. someone was getting written off in a book.

I stepped up to the podium.  “Thanks. This is a huge surprise.  I started writing when I was working out of the house for someone else. It was to keep me from going stark raving mad.  I found that I liked the worlds and situations I created, as it gave me control at a time when I had none. I have a small confession to make. I nearly didn’t come to this reunion. My high school years were not kind. I was smart, yes and did well. Luckily I got a scholarship as that was the only way someone from the projects could dig their way out. I made it. I also got married had a family and got a divorce. In the midst of all that, my mental health suffered some, and I  became horribly agoraphobic. I had to stay home and work but it wasn’t enough for me. The writing helped to bring me out of myself. I would never think of erasing that chapter of my life as it has brought much joy.  In addition to that I am going to be a first time grandparent in four months. Here’s to a new experience and may you all find happiness in your own way.” The crowd stood and clapped again and I felt euphoric for the first time since Melanie was born.

Several others won awards too, including Kevin as the SEXIEST GEEK AWARD. I could have sworn the guy had blushed the shade of Cynthia’s dress.  For the rest of the evening we danced and I got to talk to a lot of people who had basically ignored me back in the day. This was much better.








Chapter 8

I was still riding on a high on the way home and wine had nothing to do with it.  I was drunk on personal success and the feeling that I fit in somewhere. Over the years I hadn’t let it dwell on my thoughts too much but it was a mini victory to have survived something that could have been much worse.

On the way out I thanked Cyn and confessed that I wanted to look out for the bucket of blood as in the movie and she laughed.

“No way honey. You deserve the kudos for coming up through the ashes like that.

I am just so happy that it turned out so well.

Looks like your ex did a no show.

“No he was there  when you made the speech but didn’t want to chance me ripping into him again.

“I saw you talking to Camille I am sure he saw that too.” 

“If he did fine, but he must know now that we are both so over him it’s not funny.”

So here I was with a glow on in a car with the world’s sexiest geek secretly hoping he’d plant a kiss so hot my insides would melt.

I hadn’t been romantic with a man since Tom and I broke up.  I couldn’t leave the house  let alone date. I did chat with a few men but when they had wanted to meet me I just wasn’t up to the task. And they lost interest quickly. Moe suspected most of them were looking for an easy lay. The woman is cynical but I  love her dearly. Perhaps she was right and I had dodged a bullet. 

When my computer broke down I had to get out to get it fixed. Kevin could have made a house call but Moe forced me to get over myself and with that and therapy I found it was easier than I thought. Here I was expecting the same geeky guy from high school but in his place was a confident professional with smoldering brown eyes and washboard abs.—or so I hoped.  He knew his way around a computer and solved the problem but in turn caused another one. I found after seeing him socially a few time I was smitten anew.

This weekend so far had solidified those feelings at least for me.  I hoped based on the hot kiss the night before that maybe he felt the same. It could have been the wine talking but I was anxious to see how things would progress.

We walked to my door and I asked if he wanted coffee or a night cap. He agreed and I let us in. 

We walked into the living room to find candle light and wine along with a note from Melanie!


“Wow do I ever feel set up.” I was frankly embarrassed that Mel would just assume I would sleep with Kev so soon. Then I looked at Kevin and realized it could happen tonight.  We both seemed to know we wanted it and moved toward each other.

It was a gravitational pull that I ended up in his arms. Kevin was nuzzling my neck and leaving soft kisses as he caressed my back. I felt prickly heat up and down my spine like shock waves and we were both swaying to non-existent music.

He reached for my zipper but I didn’t stop him ‘til I realized I was spanxed up to the armpits.

“Don’t worry hon. I think it would be fun and a tad kinky to peel the spanx off ya.”

So I just let him go for it as we sank into the deep pile rug.

After what seemed like eons as Kevin took a long time relieving me of my clothes and him of his we lay stretched out in front of the fire place. We explored each other slowly and

Kev brought me to the edge several times with nips and kisses in all the right places and I was practically begging him to enter me as we shared our release.

“That was so hot, Geez maybe it’s been so long but I can’t remember making love feeling that good.”

“Give me half an hour and I’ll show you an encore that will make you forget how good that was.”

“Geez Kev love yourself much?”

He chuckled and admitted how bad that came out and countered with ”what I meant was I want make each time better than the last for you.”

Much better I thought and I reached over to kiss him. We made love several times and finally got to sleep around four a.m.

I was up at ten and showered when Mel came in. Kev was showering while I was making coffee. We were meeting at a local buffet for a farewell brunch. I had had time to think whether the fairy tale fling would end after the reunion weekend was over but didn’t want to really speculate. My thoughts were interrupted when my daughter spoke up.

“Well by the looks of the living room I guess it’s safe to assume the after party was a success.”

“Yeah about that.” I stood there with hands on hips giving off the lecture stance. “You kind of put us in an awkward situation. What if we had had no intention of taking it to that level of play.”

“Don’t kid yourself mom anyone in a hundred mile radius could sense the tension between you and Kevin, not to mention the pheromones you were putting out. The rest was elementary as to when you were going to give into it.”

“Still to set me up. How did you know he was even into me?”

“I had a good guess so I pushed fate a little. By the look on your face and the aura about you I’d say I was right.”

She had me there. “Don’t ask for details; it’s just not happening.”

“Ewww Mom! I don’t want to know; The ball’s in your court, and well Kevin’s too.”

Kevin came downstairs dressed as he had been the night before minus the jacket and tie. We were stopping at his place on the way to the restaurant so he could change.

Mel looked anxious for a minute and Kevin grabbed a coffee then retreated to the living room.

“There’s another reason I came. It’s about dad. He wants to see me and be around when the baby is born, I just want to see if you are okay with that.”

“He’s your dad and your feelings have nothing to do with how I feel.”

“He told me about your fight yesterday and actually admitted he was wrong about suggesting you needed a date. You apparently made it clear you could stand on your own two feet.”

“I bet he didn’t admit that he was using that as an excuse to hide behind me to get to Camille.”

“Men need to feel macho mom; for him to admit that would mean he still had feelings for her. She broke him at a time he was most vulnerable and his ego is still stinging thirty years later.”

My daughter had just gone all psychology on her dad and I couldn’t be prouder. Perhaps the kid had more insight than I ever hoped to where Tom was concerned.

“I did tell him though, that he was out of line and deserved the ass-kicking.”



Chapter 9


I hadn’t said much to Tom the night before. I was on a high from the reunion being a personal success for me and the fact that the last words we had shared were not pleasant ones.

The air in the restaurant was thick with tension. Tom sat at one end of the banquet and we sat at the other with Moe, Wayne and Camille joined us wanting to catch up with us. We reminisced over cafeteria food fights and remembered how everyone mourned the deaths of Terry Fox and John Lennon.  I did my best to steer away from contentious issues that were all a part of the political high school subculture. We talked instead about who cheated on who and who was getting caught skipping and how many times Mike Briggs got suspended for selling drugs out behind the auto shops. 

It wasn’t until I got up to get seconds and Tom followed me.

“I see by the glow on your cheeks that you might have gotten lucky last night. My question is how good is geek boy in the sack.”

I ignored the taunt but knew if he kept up the line of questioning I was going to have to waste my Eggs Benedict over his head—so not worth it. I kept reminding myself I was an adult immune to base instincts. 

“Tom. I know you want to be a part of our grandchild’s life and you are quite entitled to be. Know this, just don’t think you can use this to worm your way back into our lives. You wanna see Mel and Scott’s baby, fine, go through her not me.”

“Hmmm you seem to be assuming a lot dear Samantha. After your melodramatic diatribe, I got a clear indication you have no interest in mending fences and are quite bitter all these years later. Perhaps more therapy and anger management might be in order.” 

He had said that loud enough for the people at surrounding tables to hear him.

He turned around to speak at that point to add. “What my ex forgot to mention last was that she was this close to spending time in a strait jacket.”

That’s when yours truly lost it and smushed my plate of Eggs benedict into what I suspected was very expensive.

Kevin and Moe came up and got me away from him before I did more damage and Moe ushered me outside. 

“I was fine before he outted me. It’s like he wanted to goad me into an immature act as revenge for yesterday’s diatribe.”

“you forgot melodramatic honey.”

“Right. Forgot that. I guess I deserved that I mean I did open myself up for a new reason for people to hate me. I just never thought it would be Tom ”

“What he said was totally uncalled for and if Don had ever done that to me. Wayne and I would have kicked his ass.”

“Can I borrow Wayne?”

Moe chuckled.  “He was ready to volunteer.”

“That was so embarrassing. I can’t believe I let him push my buttons.”

“That’s the thing about exes, they seem to know what ones to push and they are usually hot.”

We headed back in and I handed Tom a twenty dollar bill and suggested he buy a new shirt. I got a plate and refilled it with every decadent thing on the buffet. Yes I was gonna be sick later but I needed to hide behind the food.

“Moe knew I was upset as that’s when I binged most in high school. It was usually done at her house when I needed to escape the fighting around the project. Multiple family squabbles including the one at my unit really set my nerves on end and food was an escape. Of course we never had any as dad usually spent the grocery budget on liquor and beer.

I was scarfing down my food and the table was surprisingly silent. Tom took that moment to stand up.  “Room, and Sam in particular I want to apologise as I was way out of line, I should never have brought up things that aren’t my business and something from your past that was so painful. You were brave in disclosing your struggles with mental health issues last night and I was wrong to use it against you.”  Tom rose and left the restaurant and I was speechless.

I turned to Kev and Wayne. “Did either of you have anything to do with that?

“No why?” Kevin was curious.

“Tom Ludlow never apologizes for anything.”

“Always a first time.”

“Miracles do happen.”

At the end Cyn stood up and thanked everyone for coming and asked if anyone wanted to stay in touch. Camille came up to me at that point.  “I told Tom to apologise to the room. In fact I practically tore him a new one. For that and suggesting he use his ex to make an ex-girlfriend jealous. I guess he was either really sincere or he was trying to impress me.  I told him it wasn’t going to get him any brownie points from anyone unless he grew a pair.”

“Thanks Camille. You didn’t need to get involved. It’s my fight. He is now trying to use our daughter’s pregnancy to get back in my life.  He’s afraid that if he is just honest and asks to try again that I would reject him. I would of course. I am so done with that man. However I am not going to stand in his way to get close to his kids. They are grown up enough to deal with him on their own. I was just letting him know I was not getting involved when he got snarly.”

“He seems to still have control issues thirty years later, but my ex makes Tom look like an angel.” We hugged and promised to stay in touch and then I left with Kevin.”

Moe said it when we got to our cars. “Well that was  er-um interesting.”

“Yah a little too interesting at times. However we can’t say the reunion was dull.”

Moe looked at Kevin and I and suggested a dinner date later in the week when the dust settled.

Kevin and I nodded and Moe said she’d call and arrange it and then we went our separate ways.

I was looking at Kevin and then the kiss happened ever as hot as it had been the night before.