Bad girl Brett Higgins is used to waking up next to beautiful women she hardly knows. Problem is, this one’s dead.

Tough, sexy, and dangerous, former underworld figure Brett Higgins knows the dark side of desire. But thanks to the love of ex-policewoman Allie Sullivan, all that has changed. Once of great interest to the Vice Squad, Brett’s adult entertainment business is now completely legit. And her only personal vice is a penchant for steamy cyber-sex. But if keeping her hands on the keyboard keeps them off other women, that’s better than cheating, right?

Unfortunately, Brett’s interludes on the Internet leave her vulnerable to someone from her shadowy past. Now the target of a terrifying conspiracy, Brett has no choice but to run. The pursuing police think she’s trying to get away with murder. If her enemies find her first, she’ll be lucky to get away alive.


© 2004

ISBN-10: 1931513740
ISBN-13: 978-1931513746


Sample Chapters What the Critics Say Behind the Book

Buy the Book

Sample Chapters

Six Months Ago

“Baby, it’ll take me a bit longer to get home, but don’t worry,” Brett said into her cell phone once she got into her car. The snow was coming down so hard and fast she didn’t want to risk shorting out either her phone or herself in the blizzard.

“Yes it’ll take you a bit longer to get home, and I won’t worry because you’re staying in Lansing tonight,” Allie said.

“What do you mean?”

“I’ve been watching the Weather Channel and there’s no way you’re making it through tonight. I’ve booked you a room.”

“You actually trust me alone in a hotel all night by myself?”

Allie laughed. “Not really, but I’d still rather have you alive than dead.”

Brett drove through the blizzard and finally checked into the hotel. She was mighty glad Allie had the foresight to book the room because the place was packed. Apparently a lot of folks were snowed in that night. Although the Lansing airport didn’t have a lot of traffic, it still had enough to fill up Lansing’s hotels, especially on top of everyone snowed in because driving was suicidal in this weather. Even to native Michiganders.

The only seat Brett could find in the restaurant was at the bar. At least she could get a bite to eat there.

She casually scoped the bar, half-heartedly wondering if she could score in such a heterosexual haven. It wasn’t that she really wanted to pick someone up, she just felt as if she should at least think about it. She was considered a stud in many circles, and she had to live up to her rep, if nothing else.

She liked it when women found her desirable. It made her forget, at least for a moment, all the degradations her family put her through when she was growing up.

She cut that thought off at its throat. She’d grab a bite to eat, then go up to her room and enjoy having the remote all to herself tonight. She might even get some nasty porno that Allie wouldn’t even consider watching. Not that after all her years in the adult entertainment industry it did much for her either. But doing something Allie wouldn’t approve of made her feel like her old self—the self that had two women loving her when all she heard growing up was that she was shit, and nobody would ever love or want her.

Sitting at a bar and checking out the scenery made her feel more like the old Brett. There were a few women who were obviously working girls, but Brett never paid for it. Plus that would prove nothing. On the other hand, a few yards away two women sat with a man. One man, two women. Brett liked those odds.

• • • • •

“I don’t understand why I have to do everything,” one woman loudly whispered across the table to the other. “I thought we agreed that we need to . . . find someone to take a fall for what needs to happen.”

“Yes, we did. But it takes time to work out something like that. It’s not that easy. It has to be foolproof, you know.”

“Yeah, I know. That’s why I sent a couple of fools on the mission.” She looked up at the bar and saw a woman sitting with her back to it, checking out the room. The woman’s gaze stayed on their table for longer then warranted. The tall, dark butch obviously saw something she liked. The woman smiled. “And again I’m gonna save the show, make things happen, and tell you what to do.”

“Hey!” her two companions said simultaneously.

“Whatever. Okay, here’s what you’re gonna do,” she said to the other woman. “You see that tall butch at the bar?”

“It’s all guys at the bar.”

“Oh, God. There’s one woman. She’s in a black suit with a black shirt and a dark red and black tie. She’s the best dressed person at the bar.” To the other woman’s blank stare she continued, “Jesus, use the bar mirror if you must. She’s the only one up there without a pot belly.”

“That’s a woman?”

“Yes. What I need you to do is go up there and flirt with her.”

“But I’m not into women. Are you sure that’s a woman?”

“Yes, I’m sure, and it doesn’t matter. You’re not going to spend the night with her or anything. What you need to do is flirt with her—remember, until I told you, you thought she was a cute guy.”

“But now I know—”

“Doesn’t matter. Flirt with her, get her business card. We need her e-mail address, so make sure you get that. It should be on her card, but double-check that. Make sure it’s there. And see if she’s on some sort of Instant Messaging software. Really check that out. I’d like to be able to use that.”

“What do I do if she asks me up to her room?”

“Tell her you’re with friends—who are a couple, and you’re just crashing on our second bed during the snow storm.”

“Okay.” The woman began to stand.

“Hold on.”

“What now?”

“Undo another button on your blouse.”


“Just do it. And can you tighten your bra at all so you have a bit more cleavage?”

“I don’t know—”

“Okay, so we get up like two good friends using the restroom together.”


“Oh, God. How did I ever end up with you two?”

“Listen,” the man said, “we’re the keys to making this all work, so you’d better not keep talkin’ like that.”

“Whatever. We’re going to the bathroom together so I can help fix you up so she’ll be sure to be interested.”

“I’m confused,” the man said.

“What’s new?”

“Why are we doing all this?” he asked.

She leaned over the table to him. “Because I’ve seen the future—and a sweet future it is—and this woman is going to make it happen.” She nodded to her female companion. “I know what that woman wants, and you’re close, but a bit more cleavage and a longer slit up your skirt will cinch the deal.”

“You can tell all this just by looking at her?”

“No. I know her. And I know just how we’ll set her up.”

The man looked toward the bar. “I didn’t know you swung that way.”

“I don’t! She’s just . . . an old employer, okay? Her name’s Brett Higgins.”

“What did you do for her?” the man asked with a leer.

“It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is what she’ll be doing for us.”

“Jesus, she must’ve really pissed you off. What’d she do? Kick you out without giving you breakfast or coffee first?”

“It doesn’t matter. Let’s go.”

• • • • •

The future, and past, rushed before her eyes. She remembered working her way through college as a dancer at the Paradise Theatre. About ten years ago she’d been trying to pay for her own schooling by working there. Brett never blinked at her, instead paying five times the going rate for a lap dance with one dancer. One particular dancer. And it was always she that Brett threw the money at—never once considering how maybe others could use that money as well.

It pissed her off.

Storm had nothing on her. She didn’t know how far she’d go for all the money and extra bookings Storm got, but she’d probably do whatever Brett wanted. After all, it’d be better than having fat, ugly, balding men pawing her for a lot less.

And Storm never even really knew all that Brett was offering. She was sure that Brett wanted her to stop dancing, but Storm’s pride got in the way.

Sure, Storm was trying to get through college, but so was she. She had as much right to Brett’s extra tipping as anybody else. But Brett only had eyes for Storm.

She wondered what happened with Storm.

In the bathroom, she slit her friend’s skirt higher and adjusted her bra, breasts, and blouse, and thought about Brett.

“You sure you’re not a lesbo?”

“Yes. But I know what’ll get her attention.” She knew Brett. She’d occasionally wondered what happened to her, but seeing her here, now, she was sure—Brett was still at the Paradise. She’d get her email address, and maybe her IM name, and work from that. And some online research. Brett wasn’t heavy into study and research.

• • • • •

She was perfect for the frame. And it did help that Gwen really was a lesbian.

This was going to be a cakewalk. Brett already had a criminal record, and she was known for sleeping around. What she had in mind would be perfectly believable. The best defense Brett could come up with would be to dump the body in a river or lake. Lord knew there were enough large bodies of water in Michigan in which to hide a corpse.

All she needed to do was establish enough contact between Gwen and Brett to make it a believable murder. She’d have to find out more about the Brett in the present to create that detail, but she was sure she could do it.

After all, Brett was Brett, and there was no chance she’d changed enough to make that impossible.

Of course, during her months of baiting and tricking and researching Brett, there was nothing more pleasing than when she figured out that Brett had a history with even the Lansing Police.

Cakewalk. All the way.

Chapter One
Day One

She had assured everyone that Brett would follow along with everything—she was like a trained chimp. All the months of hard work had come down to today—the day she would prove she knew Brett just as well as she said she did.

She crossed her fingers and really hoped she was right because she was their only way to cover themselves.

I like women who are women. I like a nice girl dressed naughty. I like high heels and short skirts.

Brett liked flirting with women, and making them want her. She liked being wanted. She liked being needed. She knew she should be happy with Allie—after all, she was beautiful, smart, and sexy as all hell.

I like a butch who knows what she needs. Who takes control. Who is willing to own me.

But Brett also enjoyed the conquest. She was hoping to get that out of her system through her online exploits. Unfortunately, seducing a woman online was nothing compared with feeling a woman’s heated breath on her neck when she pulled her in close to dance with her. When she felt the woman’s skin against her own as the woman gave up everything to be with her.

Brett was a predator, and she knew it. She liked the challenge of drawing in someone new. She knew part of it was that these women wanting her was self-affirmation.

But she was trying to keep all that under control. She was still amazed that you could have real conversations, just like in real life, except typed, online. Almost as amazed by that as by what people were willing to say, and do, online—all through the incredible technology of Instant Messaging (IMing, as she had learned it was called).

She hoped she could get the rocks off her flirtatious spirit by doing the online thing. She hoped cybersex would curb her desire to possess other women in more intimate, personal ways.

I like handcuffs. Restraints. I’d like to tie you up, spread-eagle, so I could do whatever I’d like to you.

She owed Allie her total and complete devotion. But she couldn’t help noticing the way a dress would cling to a woman, sweeping between her legs and showing off her curves better than a bikini.

She was still a bit afraid of computers. But she had known she needed one for her various enterprises, and now she could not even imagine doing things the old ways. She couldn’t cope with the idea of keeping hard-copy ledgers, journals, and records any more.

Brett, you know you can always do whatever you’d like to me. But I’m at work right now. I have to behave.

And she also knew how much the entire Internet thing helped her with her research.

She had done some reading, and subscribed to some magazines, to try to learn this dread machine better—and how to use it more efficiently. She had realized early on that if she screwed something up, she could always buy a new computer, and she kept multiple backups of any really important files.

What do you want me to do to you?

And what took her online were the articles she had been reading in her magazines and the realization that she could explore her ideas much more easily online. Currently, she was looking up ways of expanding the business. She knew a lot of people were online. She also knew that there were a million and one porn sites on the Web, and there had to be a reason for all that, right?

Anything you want. Everything you’d like.

She had started by looking for information on how to expand her legal enterprises. She was wondering about creating porn herself; after all, that was always a lucrative industry. She was exploring options of putting out her own magazines, or maybe videos. But then she realized the potential of the Web, and saw that she could start a Web site. Charge people for looking at the pictures. And maybe have live interaction with the girls. She could do the phone sex thing online, or maybe film live girls stripping and put that on the Web. The opportunities were endless.

Gwen, close your door.

But she was teaching herself everything. And she was learning mostly like she usually did—by exploring. She had learned women that way. And guns. And many other things, in fact.

I can’t. Please, Brett, I’m at work. Don’t do this to me here!

She remembered the first time Rick DeSilva took her to a firing range and put a gun in her hand. She had taken the tiny Beretta, pointed at the target, and shot. She knew how these things worked, so it took very little for her to learn it. To get it down.

Rick had eventually reached into his shoulder holster, pulled out his .357, and put it into her hand.

I want to fuck you. Now.

“Use both hands. This is a big gun and you’ll feel it,” he said.

“I can handle it,” she said, wrapping her hands around the hefty weapon. Her hands felt like they had finally found home. She looked at the target and imagined it was her father. She squeezed the trigger and felt the power of the big weapon. She nailed the target in the heart. Then she looked at Rick. “Why are we doing this?”

Please, Brett, I’m at work. Even thinking of your hands on me here is a problem . . .

He wrapped her hands around the gun. “I’m giving you a promotion. You’ll need this. That is, if you’re up to it.”

Close your door. Close your door and sit at your desk. No one will know anything.

She whipped away from him and faced the target, holding the gun in one hand. Before Rick could stop her, she pulled the trigger, blowing away the target’s brains, while keeping her arm steady. “I’m up for anything.”


Imagine me under your desk, pulling down your stockings . . .

Since then, while researching, she had been distracted by the acquisition of new knowledge in this cyber world—specifically with meeting and playing with new women online. She slowly realized she could use this new tool to relieve her predatory instincts.

. . . exposing your most intimate parts to me . . .

She had even gone so far as to masquerade as a boy and seduce straight women. She had done the cybersex bit, and enjoyed the power she had over women. She had even gotten blow jobs online, which always cracked her up. Occasionally she’d come out to a straight woman as being a woman. Usually she didn’t. When she did, the woman was usually rather pissed.

I like it when you’re wet for me. When you’re ready for me. You are, aren’t you?

It was fun.

Oh, God, yes.

It fed her dark side.

I’m fingering you, feeling how wet you are. I know you like getting off at work, you like the idea that I’m taking you at work . . . possessing you there.

There was one woman, though, Gwen, who had a bit more of Brett’s attention. Gwen was some sort of a computer whiz. Brett knew she could e-mail her with any computer problems she had and get them solved. Beyond that, Gwen was . . . Gwen was incredible. She was everything Brett ever fantasized, just like Allie was. And she even spelled correctly, and could write.

You’re wet enough for me to finger first, stroking your softness, and then slowly enter you with first one finger, then another, and another . . .

Gwen was the perfect woman. Especially since Brett didn’t have to deal with her on a day-to-day basis.

I slide my entire fist up into you.
You like that, don’t you baby?

Cybersex was a really nice way to help fight off the urges. After all, it wasn’t really cheating.

“Hey there,” Allie said, walking up behind Brett. Startled, Brett barely had time to hide the IM screen. “Almost done?” Allie asked, wrapping her arms around Brett’s neck.

“Yeah. Just about finished. You need to use the machine to look for jobs?” Allie was looking for a new job while taking classes at a local college. Unfortunately for Brett, one of the classes she was taking was Women’s Studies, which again made Allie believe that everything Brett did for work was wrong and bad. Brett did what she knew, and if she didn’t do it, others would. There has always been pornography and prostitution, and there always will be.

“Yeah, looking for things to fill my time with.”

Brett flicked off the monitor, knowing that the IM would hop to the top when Gwen replied. She turned and faced Allie, pulling her onto her lap and wrapping her arms around the drop-dead gorgeous blonde. “I can fill your time.”

“Oh, you think you can, huh?” She straddled Brett’s legs, opening herself up for her butch. Her arms snaked around Brett’s muscular shoulders as their lips came together. No matter how bad Allie thought Brett was, she still wanted her and liked what she did to her.

Brett might not be politically correct, but she knew how to get her woman off. She knew what Allie liked; and what Allie liked, wanted and needed wasn’t always PC either. After all, PC was no fun. Brett pulled Allie in tighter. She had been getting hot talking with Gwen online, and now that was taken from her. Allie would do just fine in her stead.

Allie moaned against her lips. “Brett, you’re working.”

“And your point is?” Brett ran her hands over Allie’s curves, enjoying the swell of her breasts against the palms of her hands.

“Shouldn’t you be working?”

“You know what they say: All work and no play makes Brett not too productive.” Brett enjoyed the firm length of Allie’s thighs fitted inside tight denim. She pushed her thumbs into the seams of Allie’s jeans, right against the crotch. Allie moaned at her touch, as she pushed her thumbs in hard, playing with Allie.

Then she pushed Allie’s thighs open even further.

“That’s not what they say.” Allie groaned when Brett’s hands snuck up inside her shirt, pushed her bra up, and squeezed her hardened nipples.

Brett ripped Allie’s shirt and bra up and off. “All work and no play leaves Brett and Allie really horny?” She licked Allie’s collarbone, nibbling lightly at her neck. She felt the smooth skin of Allie’s torso and wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her in tight.

Allie lightly ran her tongue over Brett’s ear, sending shivers speeding through Brett. Brett explored one of Allie’s breasts, gently caressing the silky softness before finding the hardened nub of her nipple and feathering light touches over it.

Then she took it between her thumb and forefinger and twisted it tightly, squeezing hard. Allie was pushing herself into Brett, as if trying to ride her waist. Brett brought up her other hand to fondle Allie’s other breast, again lightly teasingly at first, then grabbing the nipple and squeezing it as hard as the other.

“Oh, God, Brett,” Allie said, taking one of Brett’s hands and putting it on her zipper.

Brett slid the zipper down, then reached in to finger Allie’s underwear, running her fingers inside the elastic. She dropped her hand down inside Allie’s jeans to cup her over her thong.

Allie pushed herself up against Brett, shoving Brett back in her chair, stretching herself out on top of her. She was pushing herself into Brett, against her fingers, rubbing herself against Brett.

Brett brought her fingers out of Allie’s jeans, shoving both her hands down the back of them to cup Allie’s ass. Her mouth was connected to Allie’s, their tongues dueling, tangoing.

Brett suddenly stood up, holding Allie with one arm around her waist while the other shoved her jeans and underwear down.

They loved each other, were in love, but tonight wasn’t about love, it was about sex and fucking and all those hot animal things.

Brett lowered Allie to the floor and stripped off the rest of her clothes. She lay on top of her, grinding her hip into Allie’s hot cunt, riding her, as she sucked at her neck, marking her. Allie arched up against her, wrapping her legs around Brett, pulling her in tighter. Her hands were under Brett’s shirt, clawing at Brett’s back.

Brett moved down Allie’s body, licking and nibbling her way over creamy, flawless skin. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a couple of lube samples, ripping them open. She ran her fingers over Allie’s wet heat, causing her to wriggle across the floor in need.

She coated her fingers with the slick stuff and entered Allie, one finger at a time, fucking her, slowly, until she had her entire fist buried inside of her. Then she slammed her fist into Allie, then pulled it out. In and out she went, enjoying the heat and sight of Allie, enjoying the feeling of Allie clenching around her fist inside, bearing down harder and harder on her hand.

She lay on her stomach between Allie’s legs, her fist still embedded deep within her, pushing herself down the hardwood floor, even though she had to bend her legs at the knee to fit her length on the floor around the furniture. Then she brought her tongue down on her girl.

She moved her fist around inside while she feasted on Allie’s tender flesh, licking and sucking and fucking her woman. Allie’s moans became screams as she yelled out Brett’s name . . . as she tightened her legs around Brett’s shoulders, pulling Brett into her, forcing her deeper and tighter.

“Brett! Brett! Fuck me!”

• • • • •

Gwen Cartwright rubbed her tired eyes and looked at her watch. How did it get so late? She leaned back in her chair, staring at her monitor. She was so close, she could almost feel it. They were almost done—but every time she could see victory within her grasp, they found more problems, and they were only just about to enter the beta testing stage of program development!

Good thing she always built in extra time to any software development plan. She had learned early on that it was necessary.

She stood and stretched, looking out her window-with-a-view. Sure, she had the view, but she never had time to notice it. Maybe once this project was out the door, she could enjoy her hard-earned window office. As well as other things that had come into her life lately.

She smiled, still fueled by the latest praise from her bosses at this past week’s meeting. Throughout the past year she had continually amazed them at what this single application could do. They had had no idea how far this one program could go, how much was possible.

And they had been even more excited when they realized she could bring it in not only on time and on budget—but also with some of the functionality put into add-on modules that people would have to pay even more for!

She turned to look back at her monitor. She hated leaving when she was so close to debugging this current glitch. She knew she was close; she could practically taste it. The solution was like a tickling in her brain—teasing her, if only she could think her way through it.

Usually standing and taking a breather could clear her mind, make her see the problem and solve it. Not tonight, though. That little bit of magic wouldn’t work. Her brain was just too tired.

Sleep was in order. Definitely. But first she had to check her email. She hadn’t checked it since first thing this morning. After all, The Powers That Be might’ve suddenly decided the program should also be able to walk the cat and vacuum the goldfish. Stuff she’d rather worry about tonight, while she lost sleep, than be hit with in the morning when it was too late to develop a fitting argument against it all.

There was an e-mail from her boss with the simple subject line, “Oh Shit!” Gwen mentally picked up a fire extinguisher and looked at the message, figuring that regardless of how sleepy she was, she’d be able to fix this in a few minutes and avoid much needless freaking out. She glanced at the few words in the message and went to the Web link in it—a link to a recent article in a trade publication.

“Oh, shit,” she said, reading the article. She rarely had time to read either the newspapers or the trade publications, but now she read this article, then ran over to her pile of unread publications and began searching through them, all thoughts of sleep and praise gone.

An hour later, after glancing through the trades, she went to her filing cabinet and frantically flipped through the files, but she couldn’t find the ones she was looking for. She took a deep breath and started at the top of the cabinet and worked her way back through it, more slowly. Then she went through her in and out boxes and everything else on her desk.

The files were missing. She went out to her assistant’s desk and did a quick search. She didn’t feel right searching her stuff, but she needed those files.

She went into her office, closed the door, and dialed her assistant’s number. When there was no answer, she left a simple message and hung up.

This simply couldn’t be possible.

• • • • •

Allie suddenly sat up in bed, coming from a deep sleep. She had to go to the bathroom. She crawled from Brett’s reassuring arms and got out of bed. Because of the bit of moonlight coming through the blinds, she didn’t need to turn on the light. She had read somewhere that turning on lights would further awaken someone. Both herself and Brett, possibly.

Allie always knew that Brett was intelligent, courageous, and, beneath her black hat, good, but recently she was again questioning what Brett did for a living. Back when Allie was seventeen, Brett was a walk on the wild side, and Allie was just happy Brett didn’t go near things like child pornography and prostitution.

Now Allie looked at her sleeping lover, in her forest green silk boxers and white T-shirt, wrapped around a pillow, and thought about how simple, serene, and innocent she looked. How wrong that image was—or perhaps how right it was. Brett tried to do the right thing, but still she went on managing the theatre and bookstores, and was even looking into further ways of making even more money from . . . well . . . pornography.

Allie knew many women danced for easy money, for drugs, for an escape . . . but still, Brett was enabling their behavior. But if she didn’t, someone else would. And at least Brett tried to help those who wanted her help. Like Storm. Like Victoria.

Brett had raised herself above a crappy upbringing. But was what she was doing now really that good?

Allie knew Brett would blame all her new thoughts on the Women’s Studies course she was taking, but Allie knew these questions had been brewing inside her head for a while. She went to the kitchen to heat up some milk to help her sleep, but decided that a Scotch would be easier.

Some of Brett’s bad habits were making their mark on her.

Chapter Two
Day Two

Brett was sitting at her desk, feeling the thrumming of the music coming up through the floor from the theatre underneath where the noon show was in progress. She was feeling good and hot and cocky. She was feeling like Brett Higgins ought to feel.

She was ready to take on all the projects she had ideas for and just see how they’d end up. Get them up and running, and then keep the ones that were truly profitable. Of course, it wasn’t great business judgment, but right now, it was sounding like a darned fine idea. At least it was better than the projected profit/expense analyses she was doing for each of the individual enterprises under consideration.

Her computer beeped at her, indicating she had an IM to distract her from her spreadsheet again. Chatting online with various women got her hot and made her feel like her old self again—her un- housebroken self, that is. Which probably wasn’t a really good idea, all things considered.

Brett, dear God, I hope you’re online!

Brett saw the screen name FemmeChick423 and smiled.

Yes, dear Gwen, I am.

She had been hoping Gwen would pop on at some point. She mostly ignored IMs from other girls, preferring to focus on work, but she always answered Gwen.

I hope you can help me. I’m in trouble.

Brett immediately sat bolt upright in her chair. Somehow, through the words they had exchanged online without ever meeting face-to-face, Brett had developed an attachment to this pretty, yet unknown woman.

How can I help?

She couldn’t imagine anything happening to the dear, sweet femme she had spent so many hours chatting with.

I don’t know. It might not be anything, but I’m scared.

Brett stared at the words. She didn’t like the thought of Gwen being scared. It wasn’t right, and it wasn’t something Brett would allow.

Tell me. I know about a lot of things one should be scared of.

During their hours of cyber chat, they had shared thoughts, feelings, and all the stuff Brett could never tell anyone in real life. Somehow it was just easier online, without having the person be in your life, without having the person be able to judge you. It was easy with Gwen.

And telling these things to Gwen made it easier for Brett to slowly open up to Allie about some of the things, although after telling Gwen, Brett sometimes no longer felt the need to tell Allie. Which wasn’t a good thing. It was like using the false courage of alcohol to numb sensations.

But for now, Brett waited for Gwen’s reply.

Have to go now.

One thing Brett liked about Gwen was that she didn’t use all the annoying euphemisms so many did online. No U for you, nor R for are. She actually IMed in complete, correctly spelled sentences.

But she sometimes also pulled away suddenly—and without explanation.

Brett leaned back in her chair, staring at the screen. She saw that Gwen had signed off. She wondered what was up. Gwen had never before sounded so . . . intense . . . had never before had such a problem.

She wondered what was going on.

She clicked over to review the last few e-mails Gwen had sent her. There was no indication of any brewing evil. She glanced over all the e-mails Gwen had sent her, looking for a few in particular.

She found the first she was searching for. She opened the attachment and waited in eager anticipation as her computer brought forth the first picture Brett had ever seen of Gwen.

Gwen had described herself, and what she had detailed sounded luscious, but Brett hadn’t been ready to believe. Given her brief online experience, she became more convinced when the first picture Gwen sent was of herself fully clothed.

Brett now looked at that picture on her computer screen.

Gwen was simply looking up at the photographer, as if the picture had been a surprise. She appeared to be having fun. She was sitting at a table, a Kahlúa and cream or something similar in a glass in front of her; her soft, slender fingers lightly touching the glass. Condensation had formed on the side of it.

Gwen wore a red dress with spaghetti straps. Brett loved such thin straps when they were so obviously holding up a girl’s dress. Not only did she find shoulders and collarbones incredibly sexy, but the idea of so little between her and seeing all of the woman was just a tease. It was like a slit up a skirt—a slit could show devilish hints of flesh while so much of the rest was covered. A slit could make a glimpse of firm leg seem forbidden. Like Brett was doing something illegal, which made it an especially tasty treat.

Thin straps had the same effect. Knowing that sliding these tiny pieces of fabric off of shoulders could uncover a girl just really did it for Brett. So little between her and paradise.

Gwen’s dress in the picture also showed cleavage. Brett couldn’t understand how so little could get her so hot. Cleavage was shown for a reason—to make the observer hot. The glimpse of cleavage was an extremely intimate act that Brett not only saw but felt as a heat washing over her.

Although Brett knew Gwen hadn’t had all that in mind when the picture was taken, she knew Gwen had sent her this particular photo for a reason.

The next picture was one Gwen had taken of herself, with a timer she insisted, when Brett had repeatedly asked her for more pictures. Brett had asked because she wanted to see more of Gwen’s life, but Gwen had taken this request somewhat differently than Brett’s intention.

In the picture, Gwen posed naked, though she’d covered all her private parts by sitting on the couch with her legs up next to her and her arms crossed over her chest.

Brett got heated up over the first picture, and this one had her studying the curves of Gwen’s body and imagining what was hidden. She also imagined what it would be like to stroke that soft flesh with her fingertips . . .

She wanted to feel that woman beneath her.

Brett reminded herself that Gwen’s hair looked bleached blonde. She wasn’t a true blonde.

Brett had a fatal attraction for femme blonde Scorpios, and Gwen was all of the above, even if she had to fake part of it.

But in the final picture, the picture Brett didn’t get until they had been chatting and e-mailing for more than two months, the photo Gwen had insisted had been taken for Brett and Brett only, Gwen was again seated on her couch, but this time she had parted her thighs slightly, proving Brett’s assumption that she wasn’t a true blonde, and she didn’t cross her arms over her chest.

That she looked a bit awkward in the photo made her all the more endearing and believable to Brett.

Brett looked at this picture and her eyes wandered over the full, pouty mouth; down the smooth, soft shoulders that begged for her lips. She knew the smallish but pert breasts would be soft in her hands, and she just wanted to feel every part of this woman and kiss her way across the silky skin until she was on her knees between Gwen’s legs, running her hands over Gwen’s beautiful body, feeling its softness, and always being able to look up into Gwen’s green eyes as Gwen’s breathing deepened and became ragged.

She wanted to make Gwen love her.

At that thought, Brett stood up and ran her hand back through her short, black hair. She paced her office like a caged animal. She felt like a caged animal.

She shouldn’t feel like that. She loved Allie and really did want to spend the rest of her life with her. Oh, God. It had been so long since she had thought that. It sent a shiver up her spine. She was scared. She had only ever loved, and been loved by, four people in her life—Allie, Frankie, Storm, and Rick, and two of those people were now dead. Probably because of her.

She was afraid of getting Allie killed. She was afraid of hurting Allie, but she knew she would, eventually. She was a bad guy, and she’d screw up this love like she had the others.

And being loved for more than just a night scared the living bejesus out of her.

She poured herself a Scotch and looked at the computer screen, at the three images of Gwen. She studied them and realized that . . .

. . . well, no . . .

. . . but it was . . .

It was almost as if Gwen could read her mind. Over the past few months/years/decades, Brett had realized that naked women didn’t do it for her. Or at least, not just any naked woman.

It used to be that the sight of so much nude female flesh would take her breath away, but then, when she had spent so much time in the pornography industry, after so much time around naked women, she realized it took a bit more to get her engine running. She could now look at a naked woman inches from her and not flinch.

It was either feelings and emotions or teasing and imagination that got her motor running these days. She suddenly realized how slightly teasing clothing—like cleavage, bare shoulders, and slits in skirts—could get her going more than a full-nude assault could.

She closed the nude pictures and stared only at the one of Gwen looking up at the photographer, then sat down to write an e-mail.


Let me know what’s going on. If you’re in trouble, let me know. After all, I’m only 1.5 hours away from you.


When she hit Send, she realized just how close in proximity they were. How easy it would be to check up on Gwen. After all, Brett had already told Allie she’d have to go back up to Lansing, the state’s capital, to get the business licenses for any new endeavors she might take up. She’d had to go up there a few times lately in order to research various aspects of her possible new business ventures.

But then she realized how little she knew of this girl. This woman. She hit the Home button on her Web browser, and then plugged in +”Gwen Cartwright” and put her mouse over the Search button.

While the browser searched, she went back to her spreadsheet.

Over the next several hours she kept looking and refining her search results. She found out a bit about Gwen, and it all fit with what Gwen had told her. Gwen had been telling the truth. She was who she said she was, lived where she said she lived . . . that is, if it wasn’t someone else pretending to be Gwen. But everything in the trade journals confirmed what she had said.

• • • • •

Gwen ran her hands back through her hair. She would rip it out if she could. But she’d be sorry for it because she was rather fond of her long blonde locks.

The bugs were driving her nuts, as was the idea that a competitor was so close to them—without her knowing!

She just needed some time away to work all this out. It had started crashing down around her ears last night, but she had been too exhausted to really pay attention.

Now she just needed time and space to work it all out.

She went to her car, figuring she needed to get out, but couldn’t spend much time away. She just needed the light of day to dispel all her fears. So a drive-thru would do. Besides, she did need to eat.

But as soon as she walked out to the parking lot, she felt as if someone was watching her. She dismissed the feeling, simply putting it off as paranoia. She was working on a project, one that no one else could know about, one that was so secret she had to hide it from everyone else.

There was a great deal at stake here, the least of which was her 401(k).

She told herself no one knew, and no one was spying on her. But she kept looking in her rearview mirror, and a car was following her.

Whoever it was might be going wherever she was going. Not surprising. It was lunch hour after all.

She checked her mirrors and quickly traveled across two lanes of traffic to pull into a fast-food restaurant. The car pulled into the lot just beyond and the driver didn’t get out. It was as if he was waiting for her. Watching her.

Gwen pulled out of the drive-thru lane to haul ass out of the parking lot.

Her tail picked her up.

No way could this be coincidence.

Gwen knew she needed a public place. She headed for Okemos. There was a nice, indoor mall there. Gwen needed an indoor mall with lots of witnesses. In a suburb. Things were noticed more quickly and easily in the suburbs. Trouble was dealt with out there.

The car followed her.

She cruised around the lot, trying to find a parking space as close to the entrance as possible. She wanted to be able to immediately run into the security of a lot of people. She slammed into a spot, shut off her engine and fled toward the mall, locking her car and stuffing the keys into her purse en route.

“Almost there,” she murmured to herself under her breath. Then she felt a hand on her arm.

She screamed.

“June?” the man said. “Oh my God, June Cunningham! It’s been years!”

Breathing heavily, she pulled away from him. “I’m sorry, you have me confused with someone else.”

• • • • •

I don’t know who else I can turn to. I know I’ve told you that I want to meet you, but this isn’t merely a ploy. I need help, and you’re the only friend I can think of who might be able to help. And God knows I need help.

I think somebody’s trying to kill me.
And no, I don’t know who; and no, I don’t know why.
Please say you’ll meet me.




Brett quickly typed her response:

When and where?

And then she waited. She continued filling in her paperwork, developing the schedule for the dancers for the next month and calling them up to ensure they didn’t have a scheduling conflict.

She then called Allie. Thankful she got the machine, she left a message saying she would have to run up to Lansing. If not today, then within the next few days. She’d try to do it all in one night this time.

The last time she’d gone to Lansing, she’d had to stay overnight at some hotel because she had been snowed in. The day had seemed fine and clear earlier, but it was Michigan, so the weather could change quicker than a femme could change her mind.

She hoped she could help Gwen without having to spend the night. She knew she couldn’t be trusted around the woman for long.

It was when she was calling her suppliers to place orders for all the bookstores and the theatre that her computer chimed, indicating she had new mail. She was on the phone with Geri at a new lesbian sex-toy distributor (only lesbians would ever combine toys with music!) when it went off. She flipped over to her e-mail and said to Geri, “I’m sorry, Ger, gotta go. I’ll call you back if I need anything else.”

“I’m serious, Brett, you oughta lay in a good supply of these strap-on dildos. Nobody else offers one with a butt plug, and I know they’re gonna be a hit! Imagine being able to do your girl in both places at once.”

“I’ll keep that in mind, Ger. At the very least, I might get one just for me.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet, Brett. I know you’d like this one.”

I’m tied up here at work until at least 6. Can you do 8 at the Hilton in downtown Lansing? I need to see you as soon as possible, but I don’t want to keep you waiting because I know somebody will want to keep me late after that last meeting.

Brett, I am so grateful for you even considering this.

If you can help me, I will do just about anything for you.


Brett looked at her Day Runner, then typed back:

Done. Wear red so I’ll recognize you. Though I know I’d recognize you in Pooh sleepers (complete with footies).

Brett knew all the horror stories about meeting people from online, but she figured she was the one they should be afraid of. After all, she’d be packing her .357. She could take care of herself.

Chapter Three

Brett picked up the phone to leave Allie another message. Unfortunately, this time Allie picked up.

“Hey, hon, turns out I do have to go to Lansing tonight,” Brett said, looking over the to-do list she kept on a legal pad by her computer. She was looking for any reason to explain her trip to Lansing.

“I hope you’re not planning on getting snowed in up there again.” Brett glanced out at the clear sky. “I don’t think there’s any chance of that, babe.” About the only months you could guarantee it wouldn’t snow in Michigan were June, July, and August. But today looked safe.

“What’s so important that you’ve suddenly got to take care of anyway? Wouldn’t it make more sense to head up first thing in the morning so you can just do everything in one day?”

“It’s only an hour, hour-and-a-half drive—”

“Hour-and-a-half if you drive the speed limit.”

“Since when do I do that?”

“So what do you need to do anyway?”

Brett sighed. “Harry from New York is in town. He got in earlier, and his dinner appointment canceled on him, so I’ve got a chance to pick his brain.” She hoped Allie would buy this lie.

“Like he’s going to help you become a competitor.”

“Give him a few drinks and he’ll give me the keys to his warehouse and a truck to haul the stuff.”

Allie laughed because she knew how true it was. Harry ran his father’s business, producing adult magazines and videos. “I don’t see how he stays in business the way he is.”

“It’s only with us that he has more than one or two. It’s our golden touch, babe. Either that or your long legs.” Harry had been really hitting on Allie the last time they got together.

“So shouldn’t I go with you?”

“Oh, do you want to?” Brett was counting on Allie’s reawakened feminist consciousness to stop her. And the fact that she had always hated getting ogled by males.

Allie paused. “Not really.”

Brett knew Allie wanted to know for sure whether Harry was involved with the Mafia in New York, but also didn’t like how the jerk acted. She kept telling Brett not to worry because she could take care of herself, but Brett knew she’d really like to see Brett twist the bastard’s dick in a vise. So she switched the subject so Allie wouldn’t change her mind. “Geri’s got some new toys she wants to show me, so I figured I’d meet with her first, then maybe stop by the capital to look into a few more licensing questions I have, and—”

“Why don’t you just get a lawyer to look into all of that for you? Wouldn’t it save you a lot of time and trouble?”

“Yeah, but I don’t trust lawyers. They’re evil. When it gets down to it, I’ll get one. I just want to know what I’m talking about so I’m not just relying on some uptight little lump of slime. Too many people rely too heavily on lawyers. I prefer knowing about things myself, and just use them for the fancy language.” She never signed a contract, or any dotted line for that matter, without reading everything first.

“Okay. So go. You would anyway. In fact, you were probably hoping just to get the machine and leave me another message, weren’t you?”

“Um, yeah, well . . .”

“Just don’t drink and drive.”

“You know me, babe. Good little law-abiding citizen here.”


Brett grinned. “Yeah, now.” When she and Allie first met, Brett didn’t stick strictly to the right side of the law, and even these days she didn’t all the time either. The difference now was that when she broke the law, it was for a reason Allie could understand—like stopping bad people from doing bad things. After all, Brett was good at dealing with trouble. She handled things—that was part of who she was.


“Yes, dear?”

“Are you cheating on me?”

Brett laughed. “No, I’m not. I haven’t slept with another woman since we got back together.” She hoped a little white lie like that wouldn’t count too much against her in the overall balance of things.

“Are you sure?”

“Positive. You’re the one I love.”

Brett hated herself when they hung up. She wanted to call Allie back and tell her the truth—that a friend was in trouble and she had to help her. But she knew she couldn’t answer all the questions Allie would have about who Gwen was, and why Brett needed to help her.

Although she kept justifying to herself that cyber wasn’t cheating, she knew she didn’t really believe that, and she couldn’t bring Allie even further into the seedier aspects of her life.

She knew she had to help Gwen, and that she loved Allie and didn’t want to lose her again, but she couldn’t help but remember her feelings and thoughts when she cybered with Gwen. She wanted to know what Gwen was really like, and just what her skin tasted and felt like. She hoped she could control the second part of her urges, and just have Gwen as a friend. Besides, Gwen was a successful corporate type—someone that Allie supposedly aspired to be, living a nice, normal life—something that Allie wanted.

Brett used to want the same thing, but now she knew that was never meant to be for her. She sat back and remembered one of her IMs with Gwen . . .

I love necks, collarbones . . . I love off-the-shoulder dresses that show off those things . . .

I love wearing those things. I don’t often, but with you . . .

Would you wear them?


Would it be just for me?

There was a pause, and then Gwen typed:

Yes and no. It would be for both of us. I wear suits to work. But I’d like to feel like a woman again, and I’d like to feel like a woman for you.

I’d make you my woman.

I know you would.

You want to be controlled and taken, don’t you?

Yes, Brett, yes . . .

I see you across a crowded room, and slowly undress you with my eyes . . .

Yes . . . I see you.

I walk toward you, my eyes glued to yours. Looking right at you.


In this crowded room I come to you. I pull you into my arms . . . pulling you into me . . . bringing our lips together . . .

I am yours.

I kiss you. I pull you into my arms, pulling our bodies together as one. My leg is between yours, I am pushing you against a wall, grinding into you . . .

Brett . . . I want you.

I reach up under your dress, slipping my fingers into your panties . . . and I feel how wet you are.

Oh, God, Brett. I want you inside me . . .

I slide my fingers into you. Becoming one with you. Are you naked yet?

No . . .

Take off your clothes. All of them.

Brett, I can’t. I mean . . .

There’s no one there, is there?

No. I’m alone.

Then strip. I want you naked, now. Take off your clothes, and tell me what you see. Look in a mirror.


I’m naked.

Read this, then do it. I want you to go to a mirror and open yourself up. Imagine that I’m there with you. That you are doing it for me.

Brett shook her head, pulling herself out of the reverie. From all she knew, she had helped Gwen to many a climax, giving her every fantasy she never even acknowledged or knew she desired.

And it all made Brett feel like such a fucking stud.

And she liked the feeling.

• • • • •

“So, she’s on her way up here?” the man said, sitting back in his chair and toying briefly with the dark hair on the sides of his head. She hated his pretentious haircut. He had done it just to look like some TV star—short and spiked on top, short on the sides. She bet he used a gallon of hair gel every day.

She looked at her watch. “I’m not sure if she’s en route yet, but if she isn’t, she will be soon,” she replied as she ran a hand through her long, blonde locks.

“I can’t believe she’s fallen for everything just like you said she would,” the brunette woman said, taking a sip of her coffee.

“I told you I knew her,” the blonde said. “We just have to make sure everything goes according to plan tonight. Are you two ready?”

“Like a hooker picking up a trick in a Jag,” the man replied.

The blonde stared across the table at him. “I don’t appreciate such remarks.”

“Hey, I was just trying to be colorful.”

“We’ll be ready on our end,” the brunette said, her hand going up to her eyebrow. The blonde had noticed that this woman often unconsciously fingered the small, almost unnoticeable scar that crossed her impeccably plucked eyebrow right in the center. She also knew her ex-boyfriend had given her that scar when they were dating. She wasn’t sure, but she guessed the incident involved an argument and a beer bottle.

“Will you be on yours?” the man asked.

“I’ve been ready for this for months. You don’t know what a pain in the ass this has all been. I’ll just be glad when it’s all over.” The blonde smirked, shaking her head over some of what she had done to get to this point. She never would have believed how much fun it had actually been. It was amusing to lead on the prey.

“It’ll be over soon, and we’ll all be a lot richer,” the man said. “Just don’t screw it up tonight. We so cannot afford to screw anything up now.”

The blonde sat back in her chair. Each time the three of them got together, they met at a different cheap diner. They didn’t want anyone to remember seeing them together at any point. Or all going to a particular house. “She’s so stupid, playing right into my hand like this. It’s so fucking unbelievable.”

“Hey, I don’t like the way you’re talking—it’s like you can’t believe it. And that means you’re not sure tonight’ll go like you figure, either.”

“It’ll be fine. She’s done everything to script so far, and she won’t change now. Remember, I knew right from the get-go exactly what she’d do at every stage. It just disgusts me that she has. But now that we’re here, it’s unquestionable that she’ll continue merrily along.”

• • • • •

After the blonde left, the man and the brunette met again at a rather sordid bar. “Are you sure we can trust her?” the woman asked.

“What do you think?”

“It worries me that she’s even questioning . . . anything.”

“Right now, nothing can be blamed on us. We’re still free and clear. What should we do?”

“It’s scary.”

“But we’re in this for the big payoff, which is still to come. We want the money, we gotta hang in there, and see this thing through.”

“But can we trust her? Not only trust her, but trust everything she thinks is gonna happen?”

“What I think is this: We watch our own backs. If something starts to go wrong, we make sure she takes the fall. All this shit is just to make sure her own ass is covered. I don’t give a crap about that. But right now, she’s the one who holds all the cards, so we gotta go with it and play along with her little game.”

The woman again fingered the scar in her eyebrow that the man across the table had given her. “I have to admit, it’s all gone exactly like she said it would. I just don’t like that she was so . . . so amazed tonight about it all. It makes me uneasy.”

“Remember, right now we’re just covering her ass. We’re playing along for the money, but we gotta do just what she’s doing—cover our own asses. If anything goes wrong, she’s the one who’s gotta pay.”

The woman grinned at him, wanting to reach across the table and take his hands. She restrained herself. “But we’ll take our share of the money.”

“Oh yeah. That’s what we’re in this for, anyway. Just follow my lead and listen to what I say.”

Chapter Four

She stepped out of the shower, running her hands through her wet hair, drawing it back from her face. She picked up the hair dryer and put it on the lowest setting, carefully drying her hair around her comb, wanting to coax subtle curls into just the right places.

When she was done, she critically assessed the results in the mirror before carefully spritzing a light perfume in a few key areas, including on her neck and wrists. Then she pulled silk stockings up her legs and attached them to a garter before putting on the dress she had bought for this occasion, letting it drape gently over her body. She’d not bothered with underwear.

After all, she didn’t want any panty lines. She smirked at her own funny, knowing the real reasons she was going without underwear.

The red silk fell over her curves like a second skin. It felt nice, good, sexy. She slid her hand from the neckline, which exposed just a teasing hint of cleavage, down over her ribs and to her hip. She liked the way it felt, and was sure others would as well. But there was just one other person she wanted it to feel good to.

She carefully applied light makeup, making sure to use mascara to draw more attention to her already long lashes. When she was finished, she looked in the mirror to assess the results and was pleased.

Her shoes were next. She knew she needed a thin, long heel to draw special attention to her legs. She finally decided on four-inch black heels to play into her black stockings.

The dress’s spaghetti straps drew attention to her shoulders and cleavage and yet gave an air of vulnerability, and although the skirt went down nearly to her knees, it had a slit up to her hip, and she wanted to draw attention to that. She thought the stockings and heels did that.

But she needed the finishing touches. She carefully selected a light gold cross and a bracelet. When she brought her arms back to fasten the necklace around her neck, she sniffed the perfume she had applied on her wrists and then the body wash she used. She was suddenly glad she so carefully selected her scents.

She assessed herself in the mirror, pulling her hair back over one shoulder, and liked the way she looked. She was sexy, she was hot, and she could have her pick tonight.

And she knew just whom she wanted.

As a final thought, she added a gold anklet to her left ankle, and then picked up her purse and went to her rendezvous, almost wishing she could have as much fun as she wanted tonight.

Clothed woman in a bookstore. She's showing off fo the camera.

Exposé was one of my nicer dancers. I took this pic of her in the LGBT bookstore I managed. I thought this pic fit this book because Expo and another dancer came over to the bookstore once to visit me there. I was chatting with them a bit, trying to sell them something (anything. I just wanted to help the sales figures for the night.)

They finally realized I had no idea who they were, so they told me who they were.

My reply, which came out rather loudly, as one sometimes speaks when one is utterly surprised, was, "I didn't recognize you with your clothes on!"

Almost every single customer in the store—at the very least, every single male customer in the store—all but fell on the floor laughing.

What the Critics Say

From Sacred Ground: News and Reviews on Lesbian Writing

No one heats up a plot like a butch bad girl. And while only the bravest femmes will admit it, it’s almost impossible to resist those sneering lips, those dashing good looks and that rough and ready-for-action butch strut. Problem is, there just aren’t enough of these lusty creatures in our literature. But thankfully, there are a few lesbian writers willing to sacrifice a little political correctness to create butch bad girl characters that keep readers in hormonal high gear . . .

. . . Hands down, nobody does butch-with-a-bad-attitude better than Therese Szymanski. I’m surprised that Brett Higgins, the tough-talking femme-magnet heroine of her last five mysteries doesn’t have her own fan club. There’s no other way to put it; Brett is hot…and it’s tough to not be swayed by her tall, dark brooding good looks and the sense of sexual conquest and confidence that she wears like a good suit. And her good intentions to be faithful to her gorgeous girlfriend, police officer Allie — no matter how many women throw themselves at her — are truly admirable. Unsuccessful, but admirable just the same. Admittedly, Szymanski’s books are not for the fiercely politically correct or even the squeamish. In When Evil Changes Face, Brett and Allie go underground at a high school to break up a date rape ring. And in the soon to be published (March 30) When Good Girls Go Bad, Allie goes under cover as an exotic dancer to help Brett find a serial killer who is targeting strippers. But it’s this kind of gritty situation that makes Brett’s character shine.

It’s obvious that author Szymanski understands fantasy. She knows what makes for good escapist fiction and has a gift for giving Brett larger than life qualities without totally removing her from reality. Despite her womanizing and criminal connections, Brett has honesty, physical charisma and a tough-talking sense of justice that are tremendously appealing. As well as an emotional depth that one doesn’t usually find in the kinds of characters that populate most serial mysteries. And as a wonderful bonus, Szymanski’s novels are frequently punctuated with exceptionally well-crafted, tremendously erotic, truly lusty love scenes — as well as some subtle, but sensitively revealed insights on the dynamics of butch and femme identity. Both When Evil Changes Face and When Good Girls Go Bad, along with Szymanski’s three earlier mysteries published by Naiad, are dramatic, sexually charged and socially relevant, rare qualities in escapist mystery fiction. Readers looking for a real action-packed mystery will appreciate both the courage and vivid imagination to takes pull off such a compelling and controversial character as Brett Higgins.

Behind the Book

This is my second favourite Brett book, only behind When Evil Changes Face.

One thing I really enjoy about this book is that Naiad would’ve likely strung me up by my toenails if I’d tried to give them a book this long, but Linda Hill at Bella was totally cool about it. That’s always a nice thing.

Anyway… This is, IMHO, my most tightly plotted book. After the problems with Girls, I decided to do a really thorough and complete outline of this one before I started writing. I think my outline alone was at least 60 pages long. (Someone on Amazon uses me as an example of great plotting, and that’s with Evil. But, as I said, this is my most tightly plotted book.)

This is also the first book that I had problems with reviews. I’ve gotten great and bad reviews on books, but this is the first time that I got upset with a so-called reviewer, but this reviewer leapt to the assumption that Brett is TG/TS and she is not. Brett is a butch woman, and she knows it and… she’s not proud of it, it’s just who she is. She doesn’t want to change that. It’s her identity.

That was the same reviewer who claimed I got confused with the book and all sorts of other odd things. As I said, I plotted this completely and thoroughly before I started writing.

(Years ago, I got a number of writers who regularly got upset with reviews to realize that almost any publicity is good publicity. In fact, with one of those writers, Marianne K. Martin, I one time said, “I win.” That was after a reviewer said something really, really, ludicrously bad about one of my books (I still know the reviewer’s line by heart: “When Some Body Disappears is an act of reader abuse so severe someone should contact Amnesty International.” I read that, called Marianne and said, “I win.”)

For this book, I made up a list of characters who could be involved in the action and then carefully chose who would be involved.

I know my characters and what they might do. I constantly think about their motivations and actions. I regularly think, “What would this person do?” Because it doesn’t matter how I might act to a given situation, the important thing is how that character would.

Someone told me, a few years after this book was published, that the idea behind this book really has been done quite a bit—but she also said that, in her opinion, I did it convincingly and with Brett’s own unique twist.

That’s all I can ask for. Well, and for a lot of people to buy the book, tell everyone else it's incredible, so they buy it, too, and I become rich and famous.

So quick, get on it, 'cause I'm turning blue here!

Oh, and btw, the reason for the years between books 4, 5 and 6 is simple: Bella really wasn’t putting out many books after its first year. Girls was ready for its originally contracted date of like 2001, but Bella kept it back. Between that, and the fact that they weren’t putting out my first anthology, I wasn’t in too much of a writing mood.

Buy the Book

And you can buy the book from your local independent/feminist/LGBT or rockin' lesbian bookstore, or any really cool store that might sell books like mine.

Oh, and of course, you can buy it/find out about its availability and such from my terrific publisher, Bella Books.

Bella Logo that links to Bella's Web site.

My books are also available on a veritable plethora of online booksellers, including

libertas uk logo and link

all the Amazons in the world:

Amazon Logo with LInks

U.S. Canada United Kingdom Germany

France Japan China

And a whole lot of other places.

Make sure to check out all of the heartpounding
Brett Higgins Motor City Thrillers!
When the Dancing Stops When the Dead Speak When Some Body Disappears When Evil Changes Face
When Good Girls Go Bad When the Corpse Lies When First We Practice Front cover of When It's All Relative