Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Crime & Passion ~ Decorated police office accused of murder!

The cover art for Crime & Passion is here! I was able to use the models on the cover that I wanted from the very beginning. The man in this picture makes the most perfect Donovan Andrews there could be! What do you think? Good, right?

Cover by LFD Designs for Authors
A decorated police officer, more intent on justice than following the letter of the law, lands in trouble when a gorgeous schoolteacher finds a dead body on the beach. 

Playboy Donovan Andrews knows how to have a good time--ask any woman in town. But when it comes to men abusing their wives or children, Donovan takes it upon himself to make them regret it. 

Madeline Scott visited her fiancé the night before their wedding—only to find him sleeping with another woman. All Madeline wants is a quiet place to heal, far away from cheating, womanizing men. Everything changes when she stumbles upon the body and witnesses someone fleeing the scene. 

The victim is a wife beater Donovan had a recent altercation with, and Donovan quickly becomes the prime suspect. He turns to Madeline, hoping she can help clear his name. However, the passion between them may prove more dangerous than the elusive killer.

I'm pretty excited about it! In celebration of my getting closer to publication, I thought I would share the next scene with you. If you missed the first chapter when I posted it before, you can read it here - 

Want to read the next two scenes? Enjoy!

Chapter Two
(c) Chantel Rhondeau 2012

“So that’s when I saw the man in the dark-colored suit running away,” Madeline said. 

“Can you describe him?”

Madeline thought about the figure. She had just walked over the top of a rise when she saw the person on the beach, but had been too far away to see him clearly. In fact, she wasn’t even certain the runner was a man.

She shook her head. “I didn’t realize anything horrible happened until I found the...victim.” She tugged on the leash to encourage Brutus to keep walking instead of inspecting the same bush for the hundredth time. “I’m plenty busy with this beast.”

“I can imagine.”

Glancing over at Donovan, another thought occurred to her. “You know, it might not have been a jogging suit I saw, considering the person obviously wasn’t down there for a run.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the color the person wore was like your outfit.”

Donovan sucked in a breath, and Madeline risked another look.

He ran his hand over his face. “You think it’s a cop?”

“No, I didn’t mean...that’s not to say...” Great. She offended him. Certainly, the other cops would love hearing she half-accused one of them of being responsible for the crime. Madeline exhaled heavily. “Look, it could have been anybody wearing anything. That’s all I meant. The color was similar to your uniform and there was something shiny the sun hit when the person turned my direction for a few moments. It could have been metal, like a badge.”

Donovan stopped walking and made a notation in the notebook he carried.

Happy to take advantage of the break, Brutus trotted over to mark a signpost. Thankfully, they were only three houses away from his owner, and Madeline could drop him off and head home. She felt in desperate need of a hot bath and some chamomile tea.

She dragged Brutus away from the post and hurried to his owner’s door. Donovan stayed on the sidewalk, watching her. That at least kept her from having to answer questions about why she had a police escort, though Mrs. Stanfield might have wondered about the jacket saying ‘Police’ in big, yellow letters. Perhaps she didn’t notice.

After Brutus was safely inside the house, Madeline returned to Donovan. “I really don’t have anything else to offer, sir. Is it okay if I head home now?”

He nodded. “That’s probably for the best. Where’s your car? I’ll walk you to it.”

“That’s nice of you, but my apartment is three blocks away, over on Holly Street. I’ll be fine.”

“Holly Street? Overlooking the ocean?” At her nod, Donovan quirked his eyebrow. “Kind of a nice neighborhood for a dog walker...or a substitute teacher.”

Madeline looked down at the sidewalk, refusing to answer the unspoken question. He didn’t need to know she’d pulled out her entire life savings to chase her dream of living next to the ocean. Northern California seemed like the perfect escape once she realized she wouldn’t be marrying Cameron.

She had just enough saved up to finance the apartment for one year. After that, she’d have to rethink her life plan and make a decision that wasn’t so impulsive. Still, falling asleep to the sound of the ocean, watching the waves crash into the shore beneath her picture window while she ate breakfast, talking walks on the beach–spending all her money was worth that.

“I’d better walk you home,” Donovan said, and she looked back up. “There’s a killer out here somewhere. I don’t think you should walk alone.”

Her stomach twisted uncomfortably. “I’d appreciate the escort.”
“So this Scott girl probably saw the killer but can’t give an accurate description?” Chief Kenneth Stone boomed from behind his desk. “That’s not a lot of help to us unless she remembers more.”

Donovan sighed and clasped his hands behind his back. “Sir, she saw someone in a blue suit running away, but she was on the hilly part of the beach at the time and didn’t even realize there was a body or that a crime had been committed. She was too far away to be useful.”

“She’s new in town. Do you know anything about her background?”

“No.” Donovan shrugged. “Why? You think she overpowered Frank and then stuck around to report her crime?”

“Doubtful,” Stone admitted. “Then again, a coldly calculating killer might in hopes we wouldn’t look at her for the crime. We’ve never had something like this happen here before. New residents are automatically suspicious in my mind.”

Eric laughed from his place on the tiny office’s only guest chair. “Miss Scott’s quite a willowy thing. Tall, but I doubt she could’ve taken down a tough guy like Frank Johnson.”

“Never underestimate a woman, rookie.” Chief Stone ran a hand through his silver-streaked hair and shook his head. “Check into her more to make sure, but she’s probably a dead end. Did she tell you anything useful?”

Donovan hesitated. “She did say one thing that was interesting.” And sure to land Donovan in trouble as soon as Stephanie Johnson complained.

Stone raised an eyebrow. “Out with it, Andrews.”

He knew he’d have to tell them. It would look worse if he didn’t. “She thought maybe, and she’s not very sure about this, but it’s possible the jogging suit could be a police uniform or some other type of suit entirely. If that was the killer she saw, obviously he wasn’t down there for an evening jog.”

“Hmmm...” Stone leaned back in his chair and put his arms behind his head. “And you two were the only officers near the scene at the time. What does that say?”

“We were eating dinner, sir,” Eric squeaked.

Donovan launched a quelling glare at his partner, praying the dumb rookie wouldn’t say anything else. “Like I said, Chief, Madeline wasn’t too sure about anything.”

Stone sat straight up in his chair. “Madeline?”

“Miss Scott,” Donovan amended, shaking his head at his own carelessness. He already sat in a precarious position with Chief Stone, and it wouldn’t do to act interested in another woman.

Donovan dated Stone’s daughter for a few weeks before growing tired of her possessiveness and clingy nature. Stone foolishly thought Donovan would commit to her and had been pissed when Suzie tearfully informed him Donovan had other plans. Donovan couldn’t help it if he wasn’t the marrying type.

More accurately, he couldn’t help it if most women bored him to tears. He’d dated Suzie as long as he had out of respect for the Chief. She still came around the station house nearly every day, making mooneyes in Donovan’s direction. It was enough to drive him mad.

Then again, he’d cycled through the available talent in this small town. Heavy tourist traffic wouldn’t start for another few months. Madeline Scott just might provide a much-needed break in the monotony of his current dating life. She seemed smart and definitely had a sarcastic sense of humor, even when faced with a body. They could have fun together for a while.

The Chief stood from his chair and walked toward the office door. “See that you keep things on professional footing with Miss Scott, Andrews. I don’t want any problems with my witness.”

Donovan nodded as Stone opened the door, and Eric hurried past them out into the main room.

“A quick question, sir.” Donovan’s heart beat fast, but at Stone’s nod he dove on. “Who’s questioning Stephanie Johnson?”

“It’s already been handled.”

“And did she mention a reason someone might have done this?”

Stone shrugged. “She’s only interested in getting her children back. She didn’t even blink when they informed her Frank was murdered. Maybe she’ll talk to us more once she’s met with Social Services.”

Well, wasn’t that funny? Here Donovan worried about Stephanie accusing him of killing her husband, but perhaps she did it herself. “Are we looking at her for this?”

“Yeah.” Stone wiped a large hand across his wrinkled face. “She seems a more likely candidate than Miss Scott. So far, she’s the only person I’ve found who has motive. Get back to work and round me up more suspects. I don’t want those kids yanked out of her house a second time if there’s a chance someone else did this.”

Donovan nodded and walked to his desk. He flopped into the chair, fear clutching his chest. So far, at least, no one knew about him punching Frank.

Eric glanced up from the papers in front of him. “You okay?”

Closing his eyes and leaning back, Donovan didn’t respond. If word got out Stephanie was a suspect and it looked like she wouldn’t get her children back, there was no way she’d keep quiet about the threats he made yesterday.

He had to find more suspects before that happened.

This will be published late March 2013, and I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Have a fantastic rest of your week! 


  1. The font used for the title is gorgeous. Do you know the name?

    The colors are really nice too. =)

    1. I'm so sorry, but I have no clue what the font is. You might contact the designer at LFD Designs for Authors and maybe find out that way. All I know is, she does beautiful work! Thanks for the comment!

  2. Striking cover Chantel. It looks really good. Best of luck with the launch.

    1. Thanks, Travis! I'm really pleased with it. I'm just very excited about this entire book in general!


I love hearing your comments! If you enjoy what you read, have a question, or just want to tell me off ;-), please say it all here!

I did have to restrict anonymous users because there was way too much spam. Sorry about that! If you can't post here and need to reach me, check out my "About" page and contact me through one of those methods. Have a great day!