Deadly Sins

deadly-sins_book-cover-4-page-001-1  Deadly Sins: Spark Before Dying Series, Book 1

Some things are worth killing for!

Alexandria „Xandy“ Caras was charged with murder–a mass murder.
The charges were dropped; the case dismissed.
Or was it?
A serial killer with a „Moses Complex“ is out for blood–Xandy’s blood–and the blood of those who have sinned against the Ten Commandments. The bodies are piling up, and he’s getting closer to his number one target: Xandy. Only her death will make it all stop, silencing the deranged killer who thirsts for far more than just revenge.

I love a book that keeps me turning pages and holds me all the way to the very last page.  To top it off I love a book that surprises me at the end.  [This] was an engaging read that was not only interesting, but had great characters, great dialogue and a fantastic quick paced, well plotted story.  A hit overall…cannot wait to see where this author takes us next.  4 stars.“ — Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews

Read the excerpt

Prologue

One Year Ago

Gray clouds hovered over Richmond, Virginia. A cold wind blew, chilling Alexandria “Xandy” Caras to the core. Bundled in her tan wool overcoat, she hastened from the police station to the historical mansion that housed The Law Offices of Hines, Gilbert & Woodstein.

Bypassing the office gaiety, she hurried onward, ignoring the office abuzz with its usual noises.

Dark shadows hung under her eyes, and remembering the mocking smirk of the officer at the police station did nothing to calm her.

The gun lay heavy in her purse; even heavier than the responsibility she carried on her shoulders.

Anxious, she dashed to Thornton’s office.

Her Thornton.

Finding it empty, she slipped into his large wardrobe.

Tears streamed down her face. Tears for what could have been and what never would be.

Gripping the gun between her palms, she waited.

April 18

Her ankles ached.

The courtroom was filled to capacity. Xandy sat next to her attorney, Tom Doaks, at the defendant’s table. Her once ruddy complexion was now pale. She stared straight ahead; her dowdy black hair masked her features. Wrinkled clothes draped her small frame and the too-often worn shackles chafed against her skin. Shivers of angst slid down her spine from the hostile glares boring into her back. She’d spent the last year in a cell, as continuance after continuance shoved the court date to another month.

“All rise,” announced the uniformed bailiff.

Xandy sprang up with as much energy she could muster. Her heart galloped.

“Oyez, oyez,” continued the bailiff, “the Circuit Court is now in session. The Honorable Judge David Nathaniel Henderson Scott, III, presiding. All those with suits to prosecute and claims come forth and you shall be heard. God save this Commonwealth and this Honorable Court. You may be seated.”

“Madam Clerk, if you’ll read the indictment,” Judge Scott said. He turned toward the older woman to his left, seated behind an array of folders.

Xandy remained standing behind the defense table. She stared ahead at the clerk, bracing herself. Drawing in a ragged breath, she trembled. Sweat ran down her back, pooling at the base of her board-straight spine. She clenched her hands together.

“The grand jury charges the accused, Alexandria Caras, did murder by willful, deliberate and premeditated killing of Thornton Aaron Gage. Virginia Code Section 18.2-32. How do you plead?” asked the clerk.

“Not guilty,” Xandy muttered.

“You’re going to have to speak up, Ms. Caras,” said Judge Scott. His southern cadence echoed throughout the courtroom. “Can you repeat yourself?”

With strength she did not feel, she raised her chin and said, “Not guilty!”

The gathered crowd erupted at that news. Judge Scott’s gavel slammed repeatedly against the dark wood until the buzzing ceased.

“Now listen, folks,” the judge bellowed. “I don’t know how they do things in other courtrooms, but here in my small kingdom, when I speak, you are to be quiet. Should you disregard my rules, I’m sure the jail has enough space to house you all.”

“Your Honor, we would waive the reading of the additional firearm charge in order to expedite this matter,” Tom said.

“This is in reference to the one count of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony?” Judge Scott asked.

“Yes, your Honor.”

“How do you then plead to this charge, Ms. Caras?

“Not guilty,” Xandy said.

“Your honor if I may approach the bench for a side bar?” asked Gary Allen, the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney. He walked forward, fresh-faced and astute, in his gray tailored suit.

“It’s going to be okay, Xandy,” said Tom. But his words brought her little comfort. He stepped from behind the table and stood next to the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney.

The taste of bile rising from her queasy stomach increased as she heard their hushed tones and watched the judge’s glances. Xandy tapped her foot. She tried to be still, but looking at the judge, who held her fate, garbed in his black robe, she felt the air being sucked out of her lungs.

Just as quick as the conference began, the discussion ended and the attorneys returned to their tables.

“Mr. Allen, I understand that you have a motion to present in reference to this matter,” the judge said.

“Yes, your Honor. We move to nolle pros the charges against Ms. Caras at this time,” Allen said.

Xandy gasped. The misery of the last 373 days came crashing out in tears on the well-worn carpet. She heaved and sobbed in relief. Today she could walk away free.

“Do you have any objections, Mr. Doaks?” asked Judge Scott.

“Not at all, sir,” Tom said. His mouth cracked into a grin.

“Then, Ms. Caras, I would say you are free to go,” Judge Scott said. Turning to the clerk, he then asked, “What’s next on the docket?”

Tom turned to Xandy. “It is not a complete dismissal. It came down to the last minute to pound this deal out.  Unless new and compelling evidence comes up against you, they are not going to bring the charges back up.”

As Tom spoke those words, Xandy felt the world spinning on its axis. For though she was free, nothing would be the same. There would be no more ‘I love yous’ uttered from Thornton’s lips. All of her hopes and dreams had been dashed by gunshots. Her freedom was tainted by the horrendous crime that would forever hang over her head.

Suddenly an incensed shout erupted from the back of the courtroom, followed by a booming male voice. “You’ll pay for this!”

“I warned you all,” shouted Judge Scott over the uproar, scanning the courtroom. “Who said that?”

Xandy’s body continued to shake; her stomach churned. Her legs gave way. She collapsed back in her seat and stared stupefied at her hands.

The hands capable of murder.