Each of the novels in The Devil's Rules series is a standalone book that may be read in any order you wish.
They're bound together by the Devil's game, where the rules to win are to endure each of the seven deadly sins.
The terror was the theft of childhood innocence. It tore the center out of Woody and Vette, and changed their destiny. The terror was also the taking of seven-year-old Alice’s life in the cruelest way possible, leaving eight-year-old Betty alive to remember the nightmare of her friend’s kidnapping and death by a serial killer.
In The Urge, the families move on but their lives are forever entwined. They know monsters are no longer under the bed. The monsters live in the cars parked outside their house. They hide behind the doors in the bedroom. They wear white masks.
The serial pedophile continues undetected. One by one. Year after year. He’s right in front of them but somehow invisible. The serial killer still lives in prison, sending letters to Betty, the one that got away. Somebody has to confront them, and finally someone does.
He calls himself the Good Samaritan, but he’s a killer, too. Even though he kills the worst of the worst, the convicted sex offenders whose targets are children. The Good Samaritan thinks he’s doing the world a favor by removing them from the world forever. But it’s a conundrum. The damage has already been done.
Take a trip through the minds of the killers, the victims, and the pedophiles. All those twisted from childhood will twist together in the end. Read The Urge to find out how.
The soul of the psychological thriller, The Urge, is lust.
Read Chapter 1 - below.
Available September 2019
It’s 1978 in a Victorian mansion sixty miles west of Chicago. There’s a suicide note and two dead. Nothing is taken out except the bodies; like a coffin the mansion is sealed tight.
Finding her father and stepmother lying in their own blood, a girl who can see everything blocks her own psychic visions from that day using distance and time. Forced to return, she can't block it any more.
Eighteen years have passed since Clarissa, the daughter, and only heir to over 9,000 acres of emerald-green fields, returns to the mansion, but this time she allows her secret art of “seeing” to focus. Her mind’s eye watches her father being slaughtered and a woman’s face explode as it’s blown across the room by the hollow-point bullets. But was it her stepmother's face? Who was holding the gun?
Clarissa knows it wasn't murder-suicide. It was a cruel, well-planned homicide.
She's seized by their killer and forced to open her mind's eye to produce the one thing the envious creature wants; knowing that by giving in she'll be joining the dead.
Years of dormancy have made Clarissa’s visions blurry. Who can she trust, her childhood best friend, Garrett, who betrayed her and is now the family attorney, or his mother Halla, the only real mother Clarissa had ever known, or should she believe her first crush, Joseph who though honest and hard-working, remains a struggling loner.
After years of deceit, envy, and murder, the truth comes crashing in on them all.
The Grudge exposes envy.
Read Chapter 1 - below.
Available September 2020
Kickstands-up opens the world of the Gypsy Bandits, a law enforcement motorcycle club.
Only men can be members and they must be either Policemen, or Veterans of Foreign Wars. No exceptions.
These like-minded men ride together for charity and brotherhood. Their wives and girlfriends, many of whom ride holding onto their man, though some of the women ride their own bikes. All of these women are called The Wind Gypsies. The men of the Gypsy Bandits are intimidating, but it's the Wind Gypsies that are fueled on greed.
A war veteran returns home dragging his body bag of wrath that detonates his family who then become The Remains.
Wreck-ognition highlights pride in a family owned employee recognition company where siblings wreak havoc.
The final two novels in the series will each lay bare the cost of another deadly sin.
“…, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:6
Date of Birth: 03/17/1988 Sex: F Race: W Weight: 167 Height: 508
Night pressed its black shadow into the alley, opened its mouth, and exhaled. Walls became sticky and wet with air too thick to breathe. Air that needed to be sucked through a straw and swallowed. Bloated gnats infested a nearby dumpster overflowing with rotting garbage, but it was the woman’s stench that threatened to close his throat.
She reeked of cat urine - virtually jumped into a pool of it, touched bottom, and swam until her fingers got pruney. Holding his breath, he knelt down to get a closer look and smiled. Chalk-colored hair clung to her face like greasy clumps of pasta, and a worn-out rug of a coat hung from her bones. Her bedroom was a cardboard box, her bureau a shopping cart. Life was the thief that had picked her pockets bare, stole her youth, and left her invisible, unwanted, and never to be missed. She was no one’s mother, no one’s daughter. She was no one. That’s why he chose her. Decaying society had made her no better than a lab rat, but to him she was better. Shrouded in abject poverty and filth, she went unnoticed, and her anonymity made her priceless.
Mice, squirrels, and rabbits had been his test subjects. Most were trapped in parks, some from his back yard. Every so often an opossum, raccoon, or coyote ventured into his neighborhood. Consequently, he capitalized on his good fortune and the animal population decreased. But those studies had gone as far as they could. His research required that he prey upon big game now.
Duplicating zoologists’ methods of monitoring large animals by attaching an electronic tag collar was implausible. Humans aren’t easily tagged. He’d found her at the soup kitchen, where he’d purchased her medical history, age, and weight for the price of food, and tracked her to this place.
A week ago, she’d wolfed down the muffin he’d handed her in four gluttonous bites and was looking for more. Not today. Huddled into a corner of her box, all she wanted was water and a blanket.
He tucked the blanket around her, set two bottles of water near her, and began charting her symptoms: retinal hemorrhaging of the eyes, impaired vision, burning of the mouth and throat, nausea, vomiting, severe stomach pains, diarrhea, dizziness.
She wasn’t much older than him, and she wasn’t going to get any older. Judging from her rapid heartbeat, the convulsions would begin soon. Compiling her symptoms, he had deduced her internal organs were hemorrhaging, there was fluid buildup in her digestive tract and lungs, and her liver and kidneys were shutting down. She would die of kidney failure in approximately forty-eight hours.
All this from an innocuous, jelly-glazed oatmeal muffin. His last test subject’s symptoms progressed too rapidly. The thirty-eight-year-old man dropped like a rock. He’d adjusted the recipe -- fewer powdered seeds, a tad less toxic jelly -- and voila`. Perfection.
The muffin’s concealed ingredients attacked the body as a viral flu, but it was a poisonous glycoside that brought about death. The best part? It was undetectable.
This study was going well. Looking at his watch, he realized it was time to go. He hated to. The end was so gratifying. He’d be back to follow her demise, close out her chart, and conclude this experiment.
To stop the cycle of future victims, precise procedures had to be followed. There were more subjects on his growing list, so these results had to be exact.
He wasn’t the priest that saw one of these people and passed by on the other side of the road. He wasn’t a Levite, who did the same. He was the Good Samaritan who went to the infected person and made them right.
As he turned to leave, a fragile whisper slipped from the box.
“Thank you, sir. Thank you.”
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16
Saturday, July 8, 1978
I’m barefoot, strolling through their living room with the fireplace as big as my kitchen. I pass the mahogany‐paneled dining room, and stop in the rotunda with its three‐story spiral staircase.
I really didn’t need to take my shoes off. They’re busy. Listen to them moaning and writhing one floor up. Did they think I’d walk away – forget it? They’re so unconstrained. So careless. Blankets and sheets are probably kicked to the floor. Bed springs grinding, echoing through the halls. If they knew it was their last time, would they be doing it any differently, trying new positions, taking it slower or faster?
The stairwell consumes and amplifies every disgusting sound they make. I can’t help but listen. Hard-pounding staccato gasps grow louder, faster. They’re coming to the crescendo, luring me in.
I let my clothes slip from my body, and moist, warm heat slides onto my skin. July’s beating down on the main house, roasting it like a well‐done piece of meat, but my nipples are erect. Around me chandeliers sparkle, gilt mirrors shine, and the wood work gleams. Being naked in this gaudy, overdone mansion that screams “we’re rich and you’re not” excites me. Knowing they’re going to die today excites me, too.
Right and wrong?
Don’t feed me that crap. I know what’s right and what’s wrong. We were flat‐out poor when I was little. Back then I thought good silverware was plastic, and paper plates were reusable, but I learned quick enough. When you haven’t got much, you have to fight to get more. I was taught to appreciate people rather than things. They don’t see it that way. Everything was given to them wrapped in red foil and gold ribbons.
It’s not my fault they were born into a snotty rich class of bigots that taught them to manipulate and exploit people. They didn’t have to listen. No, these two are so high and mighty, they figure they can trash anybody and get away with it. Who’s gonna stop ‘em? As long as they’ve got pockets full of cash, it’s okay. But it’s not okay with me. I’m tired of being used like an old wash rag. Like I said, it’s not my fault. They deserve to die. And watch, no one will blame me when it’s over. No one.
My breath is coming quicker now, working me up, making me ready. Skin slides against skin as I walk to the center of their fancy dome‐covered rotunda. The sun is piercing the stained‐glass windows three flights above my head, I’m drawn to the banister’s base where a bronze sculpture of a wood nymph holds the stems of glass, tear drop flowers. Today, draped over the nymph’s flowers, I see her panties. If I step closer, I’ll smell her scent. I try to hold my breath.
“In a hurry Ross?” I whisper, but they don’t hear me. They’re too wrapped up in themselves to hear me.
Protected by surgical gloves, the tips of my fingers lift the pink, silk panties from the nymph and drop them into the garbage sack that holds her purse. Her khaki shorts and white sandals are on the floor, as usual, I have some straightening up to do. I toss the shorts and sandals into the sack, too.
Looking across the room, I see my clothes that I have neatly folded and stacked inside a plastic bag. Hers are strewn all about, a cluttered trail running up the stairs. A tee‐shirt. Her bra. Some jewelry. A watch. Earrings.
“Filthy pig,” I mumble. Looking up the stairs, I’m a touch louder. “Too damn lazy to pick up after yourself?” I’m growing braver.
All of her things go in the sack. As I turn on the staircase, I hear something drop to the floor below. There’s a faint tinkling sound, like loose change, but I can’t see anything.
“Oh, ah, Ross.” slips from their bedroom and almost ruptures my eardrums. Suddenly I want to drive stakes in their eyes and use a dull razor to play tick‐tack‐toe on their bodies. I won’t. Not yet.
I’m wearing only a shower cap and surgical gloves, and I move my clothes to the bathroom under the staircase and lay them next to the shower. The towel and washcloth are exactly where I’d left them.
“Almost. I’m almost ready.”
I arrange the gold pocket watch and note on the mantel, and go to the den to lift the .44 Magnum from its perch on the wall. The cylinder is loaded with six hollow‐point bullets. It’s so much easier to move without clothes. I’m at the back door. There’s no turning back once I slam it shut.
“On your mark. Get set. Go.”
Heavy wood smacks together. Like a thunder clap it crashes and ricochets up the three flights of stairs. Every window in the rotunda rattles and shivers with the resounding thud. It pushes me across the large, round room to the pocket watch perched on the mantel. I lightly touch the gold latch, and the ornately engraved cover snaps open to release the music. It’s as if a tiny harpsichord had been trapped inside the watch. Music fills the rotunda. Shall We Gather at the River is swirling notes around me, swaying my bare body, dancing me back to my hiding place under the huge staircase. Everything is in place, and soon they’ll be coming down to see me. All of me.
With the gun raised, I wait.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are.”