“Monica! Over here!” came the ingratiatingly mousey voice of Carla St. Marie, the bubbly blonde rejection counselor. She had poked her head out of the conference room I was already heading toward. She stepped out fully and gingerly closed to door behind her. Her business casual attire annoyed me the same way all business casual annoys me—namely, you can’t have mutually exclusive descriptors trying to duke it out over a terrible polo and slacks.
“You know you can turn on the lights here, right?” I asked, hoping that she would pick up on my irritation. She didn’t. “Thank you so much for coming in,” she said, her tone falling from bubbly to merely buoyant.
“It’s been a slow couple of months. It wasn’t a big deal,” I said with a practiced amount of aloofness. I don’t think I had been into the office in at least two weeks, come to think of it. She twitched toward large windows behind her, sneaking a glance into the conference room. It wasn’t unusual; I’ve noticed that the third grades tend to be a skittish lot. “What’s the deal?”
She turned back to me and swallowed. “I like your hair,” she said, trying to change the subject. Buoyancy was lost. She was hardly even peppy anymore—it was getting weird.
She inhaled deeply and jiggled in place as she let out the air. The staccato puffs of air would have been hilarious if my patience wasn’t quickly evaporating. “Escalation.”
I made what I hoped was a concerned face, but one which probably erred more toward annoyed. “How bad?”
“Well…” she stepped aside and gestured into the conference room. I took the cue and peered inside.
A grey-business-suited man sat at the table with his right profile to me, peering at the walls nervously. He was generically handsome, clean shaven, and dark haired. I was about to question what exactly Carla was getting at when he turned to look at the other wall, revealing a nasty welt below his eye. And then he brought his hand up to scratch at his hair, and I could see it was covered in gauze with a dark stain in the middle.
About the Book
Author: Jonathan Charles Bruce (http://www.jonathancharlesbruce.com)
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing (http://booktrope.com)
Price: $13.95 (paperback)
Breaking up can be one of the hardest things a person can do, something that the dedicated team at Washed Hands, Inc. thoroughly understands. Whether one’s soon-to-be-ex is manipulative, violent, or anything else that makes a clean break difficult, the company’s rejection counselors ensure that the split is established and maintained in no uncertain terms. And in the toughest cases, no one’s better at this than Monica Deimos.
Brought in on what appeared to be a relatively straight-forward domestic nightmare, Monica
realizes all-too-late that she has been set up to take the fall for the murder of a wealthy socialite.
As the police close in, Monica needs to discover who she can trust, who wants her out of the way, and why she was framed.
She’s no fool, though. The best case scenario ends in a jail cell… the worst in a body bag.
Jonathan Bruce began writing what amounted to terrible Star Trek: The Next Generation fan fiction when he was four. Although the original manuscripts are lost (or perhaps destroyed), we can rest assured that his prose has improved significantly since then. After high school, he began writing and directing plays which gradually improved depending on whom you ask. He discovered his love of a good fight scene after writing a Dracula knock-off which took a 19th century classic and made it less about Victorian yearning and 300% more about stabbing things in the jugular.
And yes, this means he wrote vampire fiction before Stephanie Meyer made it cool to sparkle in the sun.
He has a Master’s Degree in History, thanks largely to his thesis focusing on MUSIC, a Milwaukee-based school desegregation campaign during the 1960′s. He also enjoys discussing/making fun of pop culture of the 20th century and reading books of a non-historical nature. In his off moments, you can catch him writing for fun or making inane movies about nothing in particular. He also occasionally provides work for Twenty Four Pages a Second, a pretty keen website you should totally check out.