Once again my illustrator, Wes Lowe, has hit it out of the ballpark. His cover art for my upcoming contemporary romance novel, The Stalker, captures the essence of the story perfectly.
The Stalker is the story of a woman harassed by a former coworker. Rachel considered Craig a mentor until she got a promotion he thought she didn’t deserved. The magazine they worked for as since gone out of business, but Craig continues to harass her, and the stakes are becoming deadly.
In the following excerpt, Rachel is getting acquainted with Shane, a former classmate, at their ten year class reunion.
A reading sample from The Stalker
They excused themselves from their table, and Shane led the way to a lounge on a lower mezzanine level. A man playing a guitar sat off to the side while a few hotel guests were seated around the tables. Shane led her to a long sofa and a waitress soon arrived.
“Would you like a glass of chardonnay?” he asked.
“Yes. It’s my favorite. Thanks.”
He turned to the waitress. “Make it two.”
Their server stepped away and Shane turned his attention back to Rachel. “So, now that we know all about what we did in college, what happened after that?”
“I ended up in Reno, Nevada,” said Rachel. “I accepted a position with a regional magazine called Sierra Life. It was a lifestyle publication with features on local history, architecture, home decorating ideas, places to visit, that sort of thing.”
“I see. So, what did you do there?”
“I worked in the art department. I did most of the ad layouts, and I helped the art director put each issue together. It was challenging but fun at the same time; sort of like putting a puzzle together.” She paused for a moment and a frown came over her face.
“What’s wrong? All of a sudden, you don’t look so happy.”
Rachel sighed. “While I was there, I had some unexpected challenges.”
“Really? Like what?”
“Well, I’ll spare you all the boring details. Let’s just say I had a coworker who turned out to be, well, rather difficult.”
“You mean you had a coworker from hell.”
“That, my friend, would be an understatement,” she said. “Hell wouldn’t have wanted him, because he would have taken the place over.”
“Wow. So who was he?”
“One of the staff writers. We never dated, or anything like that, but he got into the habit of joining me in the break room for coffee, and we’d talk. Nothing serious, just, you know, everyday chitchat. I guess you could say he was an office buddy, although I did look up to him. Then, later on, the art director left, so I applied for her position. By then I’d been with the magazine for about eighteen months, so I knew the formula, inside and out. I figured it would be a good career move. However, what I didn’t know at the time was that, Craig, my break-room friend, didn’t exactly agree.”
Rachel took a deep breath. “I didn’t want word getting out that I’d applied for the job, so I didn’t mention it to anyone, not even Craig. Therefore, I had no way of knowing his girlfriend’s niece had also applied for the job. Fast-forward a few weeks. They offered me the job, which I accepted. Then, the next thing I know, Craig is unleashing his wrath on me and he’s accusing me of sleeping with the boss.”
Shane’s expression turned serious. “Good grief. What is wrong with people these days? So what did you do then?”