Murder Takes a Dare, Mayhem Takes a Dare, and Arson Takes a Dare were among the first books I wrote. This month, I updated the covers with the help of the talented designer, Christina Keats. I rolled around with the covers, as happy as a cat with catnip. What do you think of them?
The Takes a Dare Series
Murder Takes a Dare
“I’ve gotten myself in too deep—” Jonah’s last words are an epitaph to a life spent on the wrong side of the law.
Marisa Adair is shocked when her former friend Jonah surfaces from her chaotic past of drinking and partying, only to be murdered. She must solve the crime before the killer destroys her new life.
To find the murderer, Marisa partners with unusual collaborators. Dithering Russell is focused on ferreting out secrets, including her colorful past. Childhood friend Alex is a chief financial officer, and the chief pain in her… neck. Esther is the daughter of a former agent in the FBI’s controversial “Dickless Tracy” program for women. She learned to disable an opponent in hand-to-hand combat around the same time she learned to spell and throw the quintessential tea party.
Marisa’s strangest ally is Laithe. The part-Abyssinian cat with a big personality and even larger attitude has his special part to play in the life-or-death investigation.
Marisa must revisit her dark past of childhood deprivation and adult struggles with addiction. The clues point to the shadowy underbelly of a notorious club, the setting for the glittering fool’s gold of her old double life. As Marisa and her friends track the killer, can they solve the mystery before the murderer strikes again?
Mayhem Takes a Dare
Fantasy and reality clash when the members of an online group meet in person. Behind the glitter of the profiles, true identities are entwined with deadly secrets.
“You can’t tell him.” Sarah’s pretty face hardens, the dimples fading like a whimsical daydream. Her fingers claw Marisa’s arm.
Marisa is furious. “I won’t let you get away with it. You’re trying to trick my friend into a relationship.” Marisa’s gaze rakes the bulky sweatshirt and boxy jeans camouflaging the lush figure. “You’re a stripper with a volatile boyfriend. You’re not a high school teacher looking for love.”
Later, Sarah is stabbed to death during her exotic routine. Marisa and her devastated friend are among the suspects.
Marisa’s feline friend leaps into the fray. Laithe is the part-Abyssinian cat who uses his wedge-shaped head and nose for trouble to force his furry way into Marisa’s investigations.
In the past, Marisa lived a reckless double life. She was a conservative administrator by day. After hours, she partied the nights away in a notorious club. Now, she finds herself back in shadowy, forbidden places as she and her friends track down a killer. The twisted trail to the murderer leads to explosive, decades-old secrets, including a vigilante-style killing.
Marisa and her friends follow the clues to a twisted killer. Can she solve the mystery before her online account is deleted… permanently?
Arson Takes a Dare
An obscenely rich lottery winner tricks Marisa Adair into joining forces with a famous Florida private detective to investigate her daughter’s twenty-year-old murder. During a serial arsonist’s reign of terror, Mayla died in a fiery inferno. The newly wealthy mother wants to dedicate her considerable resources to finding her daughter’s killer and bringing him to justice.
Marisa is busy with problems of her own. After her troubled brother’s death, Marisa discovers he was stalked online. The stalker is the vicious bully who had made their childhood a living hell. She decides to track down the bully, confront her, and hold her accountable for her crimes.
Alisa was a beautiful girl. She was also the ringleader of a group of bullies. Now, as an adult, she seeks out the weakest of the herd to torment through the anonymity of her computer. Alisa also holds the key to dark secrets, with the chilling tendrils reaching from her childhood to the present.
After Alisa’s brutal murder, Marisa is the number one suspect. When Marisa is arrested, her friends rush to help her. Alex, sure he will be driven mad by Marisa, is determined to clear her. Marisa’s friend and former teacher Althea is combat ready after decades of teaching elementary schoolchildren. Marisa’s support group, as ruthless as they are supportive, will go to great lengths to help their fellow member. Tara, Marisa’s best friend and in need of her own twelve-step program for her shoe addiction, will demand hard choices of her boyfriend, the lawman who put Marisa behind bars.
Marisa’s cat joins the investigation. Laithe, the part-Abyssinian cat whose sense of fun and mischief lands him—and Marisa—squarely into danger, has to use all of his feline skills to save her from life behind bars.
Marisa once lived a chaotic life of drinking and partying. Hitting bottom left her existence in shambles. Like a phoenix, Marisa rose from the ashes. Now she’s a savvy and respected human resources director. In jail for a murder she didn’t commit, Marisa faces losing her hard-won new identity…and possibly her life.
Laithe as Himself
Within the pages of the Takes a Dare series, you’ll meet Laithe. His character is based on the real cat. The real-life Laithe was a purebred Abyssinian. According to Wikipedia, the word Abyssinian refers to Ethiopia, but most of the stories about the origins of Abyssinian cats refer to Egypt. Using genetics, researchers think the breed started near the coast of the Indian Ocean. Over time, the breed was further developed in Great Britain.
When Laithe’s owner married a woman with a cat allergy, I took Laithe into my home and heart. With his long, pointed ears, elongated legs, orange brindle fur, mysterious green eyes, and huge personality, Laithe soon settled into the household.
Although he was not a kitten, Laithe was very playful, curious, and adventurous. Using the wedge shape of his head, he could open most cabinet doors. With his strong legs and athletic body, he could make dizzying leaps and bounds, such as from the floor to the top of the refrigerator.
Laithe was also very strong willed. He wanted to be in charge of the household, including maintaining his favorite place to sit in the living room. He reminded me of Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory) and and his favorite spot. When it came to food, Laithe would only eat Meow Mix dry cat food. Once when the store was out of Meow Mix, I tried to feed him another type of food. He went on a hunger strike, and refused to eat until he was presented with Meow Mix. When we adopted a young cat from the local animal shelter, Laithe proceeded to teach her the household routine. He was the lord high ruler, and she was his obedient little minion.
With his warm and affectionate heart, Laithe loved to be held and petted. He liked to stretch his body and put his paws on my shoulders. He’d rub his head on my face, purring like mad.
After a grave illness, Laithe passed away. We all love him and still miss him. In the Takes a Dare books, Laithe lives a fun and adventurous life with Marisa Adair, who loves him to distraction–as did I.