Wednesday Sampler: A Reason to Kill by Donna Cummins
April 6, 2016
In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Wednesday’s Sampler features an excerpt from A Reason to Kill, a mystery and suspense thriller by Donna Cummins.
As one reviewer said: Some of the most poetic and descriptive language that [the reader] is ever likely to find in modern literature ….Cummins has an almost Wordsworthian love of nature, an exceptionally keen eye for the delights nature has to offer, and an ability to present what she sees in imaginative and innovative ways. Most of all, she has a hugely extensive vocabulary that allows her to capture the very depths of what she sees and present it to her readers in writing that is rich in imagery, bursting with colour and laced with vivid detail.
“His fist shot out of nowhere before she even saw it coming—the crack of bone meeting bone, the sweet, cloying taste of blood like hazy impressions from a half-remembered dream. A well-planned blow slammed viciously into her stomach, and Laura doubled over as agonizing pain ripped through her body, dropping her to the floor. The wind was knocked out of her. She couldn’t breathe. Long strands of hair, now matted with blood, fell across her face as she crawled across the carpet, struggling to escape. A vicious kick caught her in the belly, and she screamed in agony. She tried to roll away, to pull her knees up, protect her baby; but the pain consumed her and waves of blackness like a rolling tide threatened to sweep her away.”
Frank Kinkaid is every woman’s “dream-come-true”—handsome, powerful, sophisticated, and very, very rich. A dream-come-true, that is, until he becomes her worst nightmare. For under this charismatic facade lies a man obsessed by the need to control, a man who regards women as objects to possess, to exploit, and to use to his own advantage, a man driven by heartless cruelty.
For the magnetic Kinkaid, armed with shrewdness and charm, money and women seem easy to come by. But will one of these women, drawn in by fate, ultimately prove to be his demise?
One storm-filled day in late April, the exquisitely stunning Laura O’Malley quite literally runs into Frank Kinkaid. Kinkaid has always loved beautiful women, comparing them to a fine thoroughbred or a rare piece of art. He immediately aspires to make Laura his own. She, on the other hand, is taken by both Kinkaid’s charm and good looks and is soon caught up by this handsome and charismatic stranger who charms and beguiles her. Little does she realize the consequences that lie ahead.
Annie Ross is a young and naïve girl struggling to make it through her last year of college after a failed romance that has left her torn and broken. Coming from simple and provincial roots and a strict religious upbringing, she seems utterly unaware of her striking appeal and sexual allure to a man like Frank Kinkaid. Her loneliness and naiveté combine to make her an easy and vulnerable target for Kinkaid who sweeps her into a world she has only read about. Her life will change in a way she could never have imagined.
Samantha Jessup grew up the hard way and learned early on that you had to fight for your place in the world. Ambitious and driven, Samantha has developed into a tough-minded, uncompromising businesswoman. Although strong-willed and highly successful, even she is no match for the cunning Frank Kinkaid and the destruction he brings into her life.
But on a dark and turbulent summer night, in the wake of a violent storm brought in on a hot westerly wind, Frank Kinkaid will finally pay for his sins, will finally meet his destiny. The question is, “Who will become his executioner?”
This is the story of three women whose lives will be forever changed by the impact of one man. It is also a story of retribution, revenge, and justice—a romantic thriller you won’t soon forget and one that will keep you up long after midnight….
In her bed that night, the clock on her sister’s nightstand marked the steady, inevitable passing of time. Hours had gone by, but sleep wouldn’t come. Mercifully, the darkness covered Samantha’s shame like a benevolent cloak. She pulled the thin sheet closer around her neck, the motion in juxtaposition to the oppressive heat of the room. Her eyes were dry now; the silent sobs had dwindled away. The pain and humiliation stayed on.
Pa hadn’t taken her part.
When Sal had finished with her, she’d run desperately, frantically, back through the woods, tripping, stumbling, falling, and picking herself up again. She’d slammed through the kitchen door, heart pounding in her chest, and thrown herself in Pa’s lap. He’d looked at her in confusion, his mind clouded again with too much alcohol, and pulled her into the light of the kitchen. Even in his stupor, her hysterical sobbing and tear-streaked face didn’t escape his grasp of her condition.
“What the hell’s wrong with you, girl?” he demanded, his face screwed up in perplexity.
Samantha could hardly get the words out and stumbled over them.
“Calm yourself, now, before ya’ git yer brothers all stirred up.” He glanced back toward the living room where raucous laughter emitted from the RCA.
“Sal…” she managed. “Sal hurt me, Pa!” she cried.
“You’re talkin’ nonsense now. Sal wouldn’t hurt nobody.”
“He did! He did, Pa! Down by the creek! Just now!” The sobs had turned to gasping, erratic sniffles, her breath catching in her throat.
He seemed at a loss for words and just stared at her for a time. He could see the blouse torn at the neckline, the dirt-stained cheeks, the welt already forming at the side of her face.
Pa leaned away from her, his lips a thin line, a look of understanding finally dawning on him. He thought of the allotment check and the busybody case worker that stopped by now and then. He drew in a lungful of air and let it out again.
“You need to keep to yourself more and start watchin’ what yer wearin’. Can’t expect a man not to notice certain things, ‘specially when they’re flaunted right in front of him. Yer growin’ up now, and there’s certain lessons ya’ gotta learn; and I guess this here is one of ‘em. Now go git yerself cleaned up. And I don’t want to hear nothin’ more about this, ya’ hear?”
He turned away, then as an afterthought murmured half to himself, “I’ll have a talk with Sal.”