Adam Reed, smiled as he checked the amount of his royalty payment for
the month. His new, murder mystery was already in the top ten
best-selling books on Amazon. He closed his laptop as his partner
placed a steaming cup of hot coffee on his desk.
“Reed, Layne, in my office, now,” Captain Ames yelled from his
“We got a slice and dice in Westover Hills. Here’s the address.”
Ames didn’t waste time with pleasantries.
“Good Morning to you, too, Captain,” Colten Layne, grinned at his
“Did you hear me say Westover Hills, Layne,” Ames grimaced. “A
quick resolution on this will allow me to keep all the Richie Riches in
this town happy and my ass intact. Move it.”
“Male or female?” Reed asked.
“Woman. May be Laura Trent. Thirty-nine. Very wealthy.” Ames
“Your ride or mine,” Adam asked as they strode from the office.
“I’ll drive,” Colt said. “That way you can take notes, just in
case you find anything book worthy in this case.”
“Probably a domestic dispute,” Adam wrinkled his brow. “In my ten
years on the force, we have had only one homicide call to Westover Hills
and it was a domestic.”
“The captain will be happy if we close this one before the press grabs
it,” Colt nodded.
“Laura Trent,” Adam dug into his memory, “isn’t she married to
Jeb Trent. They support that orphanage in Ecuador.
“Yeah,” Colt agreed. “She was Miss Texas several years ago, first
runner-up to Miss America. Her last name was London. Old family money
on both her parent’s sides. Her ancestors came over on the Mayflower
or something like that.”
The Trent estate sat on five perfectly manicured aces. Heavy wrought
iron gates stood open to allow the authorities to come and go.
Adam examined the crime scene as Colt took information from the first
officer to arrive at the home.
The dead woman was Laura Trent, the wife of second-generation oil
magnate Jeb Trent. According to the housekeeper, who had found the body,
Jeb Trent was in Argentina on an oil deal.
Laura Trent’s body had been propped up in bed to look like she was
reading a book. She was dressed in a blue, silk gown. Her hair and
makeup were perfect, as if she were expecting a visitor. The only thing
out of place in the bedroom was the inordinate amount of blood that
stained the downy comforter. Her throat had been sliced from ear to
ear. There was a deep stab wound in her abdomen,
A red rose was tucked behind the woman’s ear. A single word had been
written on her forehead with a heavy, red marker, “Cheater.”
There was no sign of struggle. From the large amount of blood, Adam
could tell she had been on the bed when her throat was slashed. No
murder weapon was found in the house.
Adam knew he would have to wait for the medical examiner’s report to
find out if she had been molested.
Colt joined him. “I never get used to seeing a beautiful woman
murdered,” he said quietly. “What a waste.”
“Anyone see anything,” Adam asked.
“Nothing,” Colt said. “Once one enters the gates, the estate is
surrounded by an eight-foot fence with high hedges on both sides of it.
“Whoever was here knew the gate code. It was accessed at nine last
night. The house alarm system was disarmed at the same time. The gate
opened automatically at two this morning, allowing a car to leave. I am
betting the TOD was between nine last night and two this morning.”
“Let’s turn CSI loose on this room.” Adam closed his notebook.
“Hopefully they can lift some prints, hair or semen. A nice DNA match
would be great.” He knew he was dreaming. That would be too easy.
“I demand to see my daughter,” an authoritative voice rose above the
din of onlookers and police officers in front of the house.
Adam braced himself for the first encounter with the family. He always
hated to tell a family member their loved one was dead. It was even
harder when the victim had been as viciously murdered as Laura Trent
Vivian London was a beautiful, older version of her daughter. She wore
old money well. Apprehension was already clouding her green eyes.
“Please,” she spoke to Adam almost as if she knew the answer to her
question. “May I speak to my daughter?”
Adam took her elbow and led her to a room away from the entryway. He
didn’t want her to see Laura’s body being wheeled to the coroner’s
“Mrs. London is there someone I can call to be with you,” he asked
“Why would I want…” the words died on her lips as she realized
Adam was about to confirm what she already suspected.
“Laura is dead,” Adam ducked his head and repeated the words that
always sounded so hollow, “I am so sorry for your loss.”
“No! No!” Vivian London’s knees buckled. Adam caught her and
supported her weight until he could get her to the sofa. Tears ran down
her face, leaving tracks on her makeup. “How?”
Now for the even harder part, Adam thought. “She was murdered, Mrs.
London. It happened sometime last night”
“Who would want to kill Laura,” Vivian whimpered.
“I don’t know, but we will find out,” Adam said.
A broad smile broke across Adam’s face as his wife met him at the door
with an ardent kiss and a glass of wine.
“According to the news, you have had the day from hell, Sergeant
Reed,” she frowned as she helped him slip out of his jacket.
“It suddenly just got better,” he smiled as he pulled her into his
arms for another soul-soothing kiss. The buzzing of the oven pulled
them from their enjoyment of each other.
He released her and picked up both their glasses to follow her to the
kitchen. “Something smells wonderful,” he said.
“Your favorite,” she smiled, “Beef Wellington. Sit at the bar so
we can visit while I put the finishing touches on dinner.”
He watched her as she gracefully moved about the kitchen. She was his
world. They had been married four years and he still couldn’t believe
she had agreed to marry him.
Dr. Lana Reed was gorgeous by anyone’s standards. Tall and slim, with
thick, black hair that danced around her shoulders, framing the most
beautiful face he had ever seen. Her dark brown eyes always sparkled
when she saw him. He loved her so much it hurt.
She smiled at him almost shyly as she gazed into his eyes. “You have
to eat first,” she murmured against his lips. “Then mama will make
it all better.”
They lay on the sofa, curled into each other. Dinner had been
wonderful. What followed later had been pure magic. She always left
“I knew Laura Trent,” she said softly, as she traced circles on his
chest. “We worked together on the fund drive for the library. I
can’t believe anyone would kill her. She was extremely nice. Very
down to earth.”
“We have ruled out the husband,” Adam told her. “He is in
Argentina. They are trying to get in touch with him. He is in some
god-forsaken area where there is no cell phone service. I hope he
doesn’t see it on a newscast before he is notified.”
“They seemed very much in love,” Lana said. “He was crazy about
her. He was always dropping by to see to her. Much the same way you
drop by to see me.”
“I feel for the poor guy,” Adam said. “If he loved her as much as
I love you, he will be living in hell for the rest of his life.”
“The ME’s doing the autopsy on Laura Trent at nine,” Colt said.
“Want to join me?”
“Not really,” Adam frowned, “but I know I have to.”
“I heard Doc Mercer broke up with her boyfriend,” Colt waggled his
eyebrows. “I may take a shot at her. What do you think of her?”
“She’s way out of your league,” Adam teased.
“Oh! Look who is talking,” Colt laughed. “The man who married one
of the top criminal psychiatrist in the county. She is so out of your
league, bro. I still don’t know what she sees in you.”
Colt was teasing, of course. He knew exactly what Lana saw in his
partner. At six-three, a hundred and eighty pounds, Adam was lean and
muscular. The hour a day he spent in the gym honed his already perfect
abs. With his thick, wavy blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, he was a
man that drove women crazy. His damn dimples were just icing on the
He grinned, showing them to Colt.
“Why don’t we double date,” Adam suggested. “Lana and Mercer
are good friends. Mercer might even agree to go out with you just to
spend time with my wife.”
“That is why I keep you for a partner,” Colt laughed. “You keep
“Not an easy task,” Adam joked.
Both detectives dodged a rookie as he ran out the double doors of the
morgue. They knew he was headed for the men’s room to throw up.
“Hey, Doc,” Colt grinned at Mercer, “We thought we’d come cut up
Mercer’s assistant snorted, trying not to laugh at Colt’s morgue
humor. The doctor rolled her eyes.
Risa Mercer was one of those Swedish beauties with fathomless blue eyes
and full, red lips. Although she was always very cool and professional,
Adam suspected she was just as fiery and passionate as his wife was. He
hoped Colt would find someone like Lana.
Mercer smiled briefly at the two detectives she and her staff referred
to as Pretty and Prettier. She led them to the steel table that was now
the resting place for Laura Trent.
“Obvious cause of death is the deep slice across the throat.” Mercer
started in the no-nonsense voice she used to explain autopsies. “Deep
stab wound to the abdomen.”
The ME pulled the sheet down Laura’s body as she showed them the
damage the perp had done. “What you may not have seen is that he cut
off her nipples and she was pregnant.”
Adam glanced at Colt, as an excuse to look away from the dead woman’s
“The little inscription on her forehead is red permanent-marker
ink.” Mercer continued. “She had consensual intercourse with a male
about two hours before she died. There was no semen.”
“How do you know it was a male,” Colt interrupted her dialogue.
“Could have been another woman.”
“Depth of penetration,” Mercer glared at him, “Lack of abrasions
on soft tissue. There are several differences between a male penis and a
dildo. Even you should understand, hard and smooth, Detective Layne.
There was also male pubic hair present. Unfortunately, nothing from
which we could extract DNA.”
Colt shrugged, “You’re the forensic pathologist, Doc. I was just
asking for my own information. It is good to know these things.”
“Because you do so many autopsies,” Mercer huffed.
Adam gave his partner a “shut up” look and asked a question. “Can
you give us a time of death?”
“Between eleven and twelve-thirty,” Risa answered. “Based on the
progression of digestion, I would say she had a glass of wine, sex, more
wine with cheese, and then death. My guess is they had sex, imbibed and
fell asleep. The killer slashed her throat while she was sleeping. She
never saw it coming.”
“I am certain you are DNA testing the baby,” Adam nodded in answer
to his own question.
“Yes, I will have those results this afternoon.”
“Do me a favor, please,” Adam frowned, “don’t release the DNA
info on the fetus until I get a DNA sample from Jeb Trent. I want to
make certain he is the father, before we release that information.”
Excerpted from "The Cheating Wives Club: Women are dying to join!" by D. J. Jouett. Copyright © 2016 by D. J. Jouett. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.