The Protector: Meet the Characters of Magnolia Bluff

Review: Is the killer someone he knows? Magnolia Bluff is a small town where everyone knows everyone. Will he be able to prevent another death?.

Her name is Shadia Jafari.

She’s known as the Persian Queen.

Good looks.

High-end wardrobe.

Aristocratic demeanor.

She’s also Department Head of Psychology at Burnet College.

She takes care of her students.

She takes care of her instructors.

She will fight for her school.

In The Shine from a Girl in the Lake, book 7 of the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles, she works extra hard to protect a professor who, she knows, has a mysterious past.

He’s running from something.

He’s trying to escape.

He must be.

Otherwise, why would a fine instructor and clinician from up north wind up in a little liberal arts college in the Texas Hill Country?

How did he even find it?

Richard Schwindt

Shadia was also warm, funny, and one of the most cited scholars in the US. Past fifty, the former refugee remained one of the most beautiful women I had ever met.

“Don’t let Princess out, Michael.”

Everyone knew not to let her cat out. The friendly tabby spent its days in the office, or a small patch of garden fenced off behind her office, if it needed somewhere to dig or crap.

The college had rules about students and allergens, but Shadia somehow managed to evade them. “How was your class today?”

“Good. I tried to put the fear of God into them over binge drinking.”

“Won’t work.” She made a dismissive gesture with her hand. “The little monsters love to drink.” She said it much the same way she would have described one of her cat’s more peculiar habits. “Michael, I have an awkward question for you.”

“Go ahead.”

“Do you see young women patients after college hours?”

“I try to avoid it, but yes, sometimes. Why do you ask?”

“Valerie told me you were seeing a young undergraduate tonight at seven.”

I paused, and took in a quick breath. “Only because Valerie scheduled her in.”

“I see.”

“I’ve asked her not to schedule young women late. But she keeps doing it. And she told you this?”

“Michael, the College is fortunate to have a clinician of your ability on faculty. The students love you, and I love being able to brag about having more than pure researchers on faculty. I do not wish to lose you. But the appearance of propriety is critical. If you find yourself inadvertently exposed to a hysterical nymphomaniac, all of us will look bad.”

This statement wasn’t as narcissistic as it sounded. Shadia really did care about the faculty and the students. But I was well aware that the person to lose the most blood in such a fracas would be me. She had more to say:

“Michael, I shall intervene on your behalf. I am well aware that Valerie has pretensions beyond her station in life, but this cannot stand. She will respect my authority. I’ll ask that after tonight she no longer schedule comely youth after six.”

“Thank you, Shadia. I have to scoot now; my five o’clock is about to arrive. You will be pleased to know he is a big ugly trucker who’s here because he beat up his boss.”

“Yes, Michael, I am pleased. If you make a pass at him, it will be an even fight.”

“I promise not to.”

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