Thursday, August 20, 2009

Excerpt from Chapter One: Bolt Action by Victoria Roder

With a Ruger Blackhawk .357 under her pillow, a Browning A-Bolt Stainless Stalker rifle in her broom closet, and a Saturday Night Special in her road-hog cookie jar, Detective Leslie Bolt’s sarcastic attitude and inability to trust, alienates her from most people. Forced to work a serial murder case with her ex-lover, she begins a budding romance with the department’s new medical examiner, but which man will she choose?
“The State Quarter Killer” is selecting victims that appear to have nothing in common except for the State Quarter placed under their lifeless bodies. When her sister goes missing the question rises, will Detective Bolt capture the serial killer before her sister is the next victim?


A slamming noise vibrated between the duplexes. Sprinting to the kitchen with

my Ruger leading the way, I pressed my face against the kitchen window and cupped my

hands around my eyes to peer into the driveway. I surveyed the driveway I shared with

my neighbor Mark, but I couldn’t detect his car. If he’s gone, where is the noise coming

from? I thought of one place I hadn’t checked. With dread and trepidation, the reality

of entering the moldy, reeking storage area made my stomach contents feel like curdled

cottage cheese. With my desire to find the source of the noises superseding my fear of

dark, damp spaces, I tucked the Ruger in the waistband of my drawstring sleep pants.

Out of my collection of guns I have stashed around my apartment I choose my

Browning A-Bolt Stainless Stalker rifle from behind the mop in the broom closet. I

headed in the direction of the enclosed storage area. Flipping on the porch light in hopes

of frightening an intruder I exited my front door, and as I reached the bottom of the

wooden steps I could detect an outline of a person in front of the shadowed storage area


Cocking the rifle I warned, “Stop, I have a gun.”

“Calm down, Bolt. It’s just me.” Lance Kestler ran his hand through his thick

black hair as he stepped from the shadows into the glow of the porch light.

“Oh for crying out loud. What the hell are you doing here?” I released the

trigger, “Did you just come out of my storage area?”

“No, I got out of my car and walked toward your door.” Kestler placed his hands

on his trim waist line. “How come you never wear your hair down during the day?”

“I heard a door close.”

Kestler shrugged his broad shoulders covered by a black Fieora suit and wobbled

on his feet. “Must’a heard my car door.”

Headlights from a passing car shined toward me and I slid the rifle behind my

back. “Whatever. It’s like midnight, what the hell do you want?”

“Well, I remember you don’t sleep much at night so I assumed you’d still be up.

Or maybe you just didn’t sleep at night because I kept you up, or should I say you

kept me up.” Kestler took a stumbling step forward.

I blew out a breath in frustration. How did I ever get involved with this guy in the

first place? “Get off it, Kestler. You’ve been drinking. What do you want?”

“Aren’t you gonna invite me in?” He winked in his typical cocky manner. “It’s

been a long time since I’ve felt your firm body under mine.”

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and shake my head back and forth. “Are you

kidding me?”

“Look, I just want to apologize for how things have been going between us

lately.” Lance stumbled and dragged his hand across the side of the duplex to stabilize


“Apologize?” I could feel the rifle dig into my hand as I tightened my grip on it.

“You can’t even talk in complete sentences. How come you only show up and want to

talk when you’re drunk?”

Kestler advanced two steps toward me. “What’s wrong with you? I’m trying

to rekindle a civil relationship between us, and you show up acting like Annie Oakley

the gunslinger.”

“You don’t do apologies, or favors without an ulterior motive.” I pointed the rifle

towards him. “What the hell do you want? Why don’t you just go home?”

“What? You’re gonna shoot me? ” Lance threw up his hands, pretending to

surrender, and laughed.

His humor was lost on me. I wanted Kestler off my property and wanted him to

know I meant business. “You’ve been drinking, and you’re trespassing. I believed you

were an intruder and I had to defend myself.” I shrugged my shoulders. “Sounds

convincing. I might be able to get someone to buy that.”

“You’d miss.”

My finger itched to pull the trigger. “Don’t you remember my target scores

where always better than yours.”

Lance winked at me. “That’s cause I was distracted by your cute ass.”
I rolled my eyes. “You are an ass.”

“I’m done with trying to be nice to you.”

“When did you start?”

“Screw you.” He turned to stomp back toward his car.

I lowered the rifle and called out, “Kestler, you’ve been drinking. Should I call

you a cab? Do you need a cab?”

I heard him open his car door. As I walked backward up the three steps to the

front door, it didn’t take detective skills to realize he didn’t have the ability nor the

courtesy to answer me. I watched him drive off and prayed he wouldn’t hit someone on

his way home. Retreating inside my apartment, I locked and dead bolted the front door.

Feeling secure, I returned the rifle to its spot behind the mop in my closet. Feelings of

infuriation with Lance Kestler made my hands jitter as if I had guzzled three pots of


My gray and white cat, Baby, appeared from her hiding place and jumped on

the kitchen table and rubbed noses with me. “Why do I let him get to me like that,

Baby?” I patted her on the head. “Momma loves you.”

Retreating to my bedroom with Baby in my arms, I released her and retrieved my

Blackhawk from the back of my sleep pants and placed it under the pillow and crawled

under the covers. I want to be prepared in case Kestler decides to return to my apartment.

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