Tag Archives: police procedural

AgainstAllOddsCoverArt72dpiThe third book in my trilogy, Against All Odds, is now available at many online venues. The first two books are Blood Bound and Above Suspicion. I’ve had a blast writing these three suspenseful books set in New Orleans.


Sienna Wright has it all: an exciting career, a handsome husband who is an ADA, and two beautiful step-children… until a vicious murderer takes all away and sends her tumbling into a terrifying black abyss.

Detective Nate Lincoln’s job is his life, and he jumps at the chance to reclaim his gun and badge once the department reinstates him after a long suspension. His first order of business is to solve the murders of Jeff Wright and his two children, a case that fell through the cracks.

Still shell-shocked after nearly a year, Sienna at first refuses to help Nate. Then someone tries to kill her, and in order to survive, she is forced to break free of her quagmire of depression and trust the man she once loved. Nate isn’t sure he can solve the case, and yet he has to try. He would do anything for Sienna, even if she refuses to admit she still loves him.


“What else did the major say? We caught a case?”

“Yeah, a cold one. The murdered ADA — Jeff Wright. Remember that one?” Nate settled back in his seat and filled Jack in on the blood-soaked crime scene at the Wright’s upscale home as he negotiated the light Sunday traffic. “Our unit apparently hit a brick wall while I was gone, so Solomon handed it off to Cold Case — a colossal mistake, if there ever was one, because those guys sat around with their thumb up their asses, apparently. LeBlanc said Wright’s wife’s been calling headquarters at least twice a week for the past month, raisin’ hell about it.”

“Wait a minute.” Jack scowled. “I know Sienna. Didn’t you two date before she married Jeff?”

“Yeah, I was still seeing her when she met the bastard.” Nate gritted his teeth at the painful memory. He didn’t like to think about that depressing time in his life. He used to drink and party way too much. “She dated both of us for a while and picked him. Said she wanted someone steadier. Swore I was a bad influence.”

“Whoa.” Jack lifted his eyebrows. “That was cruel, man.”

“What can I say? She was right. And it was for the best, ’cause she loved Jeff.” Nate shook his head. “He made her happy. Two kids — a ready-made family — and a big, fancy house. He gave her a comfortable life. More than I could’ve ever given her. I didn’t have a pot to piss in, much less any kids.”

“Still, her choosing him must’ve gutted you.”

“Yeah, but not as much as losing Jeff and those kids did her. LeBlanc said she had a breakdown after the funeral and moved to Birmingham to live with her aunt. She’s still in Alabama, but right now she’s on the warpath with the DA and has threatened to sue the city ’cause we didn’t close the damned case. So the Major Crimes Section Commander turned it back over to us. He wants us to solve it yesterday.”

“You’d better talk to Solomon, find out why he tossed it to Cold Case.”

“Believe me, I will. I want to know why he gave up on it and has since refused to return Sienna’s phone calls.”

“Not a smart move. Give him my regards,” Jack said with a wry smile as he swung the sedan into the parking garage adjacent to the station.

Nate growled in response, but didn’t voice his true feelings about the case or Sienna. She’d broken his heart when she’d blown him off in favor of Wright, but he didn’t want Jack to know. All he needed was the facts. Sienna, a beautiful, headstrong woman, had been a popular reporter for the Times Picayune, yet she’d crumbled the night Jeff and kids had died. So much so, her doctor had hospitalized her after the funeral and kept her there until he’d found a family member willing to take care of her. Two days later, Sienna left Louisiana for Birmingham, Alabama. Nate had no idea how she was doing now but figured he ought to pay her a visit, even though it was the last thing he wanted to do.

“Save me from old girlfriends,” he muttered as he banged out of the car. He hated confrontations with women, thanks to his dealings with his own mother and the crappy way he’d ended his relationship with Sienna. Showing up drunk at her wedding had been the icing on the cake.

The pain of that day still gnawed at his soul.

Jack rounded the hood and clapped him on the back. “Talk to LeBlanc. He’s new, but he can probably unearth a lead or two for you. Something to help break the ice with Sienna.”

“Doesn’t sound like it.” Nate entered the squad room, lowered himself wearily into his chair, and tried to call the Cold Case detective, Alfred Lutz.

No luck. Lutz was out sick and didn’t answer either of his personal phones, home or cell.

Buy links:

Desert Breeze — http://bit.ly/1dw5NYc
Amazon — http://amzn.to/1gD0ZRa
BN — http://bit.ly/1gqZhRY

Hope you’ll check it out!


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New book out at Desert Breeze Publishing!

New book out at Desert Breeze Publishing!

DBP: http://bit.ly/1dyCwub
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1dyCL8u
BN: http://bit.ly/17B1FC5

Click the photo to read an excerpt.

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September 2, 2013 · 9:44 am

New book out today!

My full length romantic thriller, BLOOD BOUND, is out today at Desert Breeze Publishing. This is the first book in a trilogy set in The Big Easy. I had a blast writing these books, and I’m just a little bit in love with Sam, the hero of this one. You can read more about this book below and on the DBP website and Amazon. It’s also up at B & N and other online outlets. And be sure to check out my app up at iTunes and in the Android market.



Fueled by grief after his fiancée is brutally murdered, Detective Sam Walker focuses on finding her killer — a calculating predator who binds books with human skin.  Dani Barrington, the newest member of NOPD’s Victim and Witness Assistance Unit and a survivor of another frightening attack, helps him discover the terrifying link between the monster’s known victims.  Despite his anguish, Sam is struck by Dani’s strength and determination, especially when her inquisitive  nature makes her the killer’s next target.  He must find a way to protect her or risk losing the one woman who can bring his dead heart back to life.


Kristen was gone.

She wasn’t at work. She wasn’t at home. She hadn’t gone out to run an errand. She had simply… vanished.

New Orleans Detective Sam Walker stood in the center of his fiancée’s cluttered bedroom and struggled to piece together the timeline of her disappearance. Last night they were supposed to meet for dinner, but he’d caught a case. They’d talked on the phone around eleven, and he’d asked her to meet him for lunch today.

He hadn’t spoken to her since.

She was supposed to arrive at the Victim and Witness Assistance Unit for work at nine a.m., but never made it. One of her co-workers had called him about ten o’clock. He’d tried Kristen again, but she hadn’t answered.

So he’d come here and found her car in the driveway.

Yet she sure as hell wasn’t here.

Her bed was meticulously made, the way she left it every morning, dumping him out if he’d stayed over. A damp towel lay beside the bathroom sink. Soulful jazz drifted from the iPod dock on her nightstand. What terrified him most, though, was the spot of blood marring the door frame and the lone pink sandal lying in the living room floor beside her purse, keys, and cell phone.

His heart lurched. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. Simply could not absorb that she was missing. They’d been engaged for five months and three days, with only a month to go until the wedding. They should be mulling over the guest list, squabbling about where to go for their honeymoon, and deciding where they wanted to live.

Instead, Sam stared at an empty bed.

“There’s no sign of forced entry, so she either let the guy in or he jumped her when she went after the paper this morning.” Major Sabbatini’s voice seemedto come from far away. “I’m thinking she fought him off and ran, and he caught her here in the bedroom.”

“She would have clawed him.” Hell, she would’ve drawn blood with those nails. Sam should know. He had the marks on his back to prove it. Moisture blurred his vision as he eyed the smudge on the door jamb. “She… she just had her nails done a couple of days ago. They’re like talons.”

“We’ll check the blood for DNA. You know that. What were her plans for today?”

“Um… just work, far as I know. She and I were supposed to have lunch.” Sam shook his head. “Then tonight, she was going to a wedding shower. I just–“

“When was the last time you spoke with her?”

“Late — last night.”



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Coming in August!

Next month, Emily’s Nightmare will hit all of Desert Breeze Publishing’s online venues. Get your Kindles and Nooks ready! In this book, Detective Emily Rawson doesn’t want children; she’s too focused on her career to give a family the time required. That is, untill she falls in love with fellow detective John Cutter, forgets to take precautions, and winds up pregnant. She fights the idea tooth and nail before finally deciding that having a baby is exactly what she wants — as long as the child is Cutter’s. Then tragedy strikes. Will it bring them together or tear them apart?


Fear pummeled Emily. She gripped the Glock and ducked into the enclosed stairwell. The faint odors of oil and gasoline rode the stale air. Time stood still. A bead of moisture rolled down her cheek. She wiped it away and peeked out the door.

Her assailant fired.

White-hot pain speared Emily’s shoulder. She screamed, the sound echoing as she lost her footing and tumbled backward down the cold concrete steps. She landed hard on her back, sticky, ruby red blood coating her thighs. Her head pounded. Fear took her breath.

Inky darkness spilled over her like rising water.

Emily bolted up in bed, cold sweat streaming down her back. The same awful dream. So painful and so very real. Every night for the past six months. Ever since John Cutter, her former partner, best friend, and lover, had ridiculed her choices and turned his back on her.

That wasn’t the worst of it, however. Their breakup had come first.

I want a houseful of kids, he’d said. A big family.

His hopeful words had gouged a hole in Emily’s heart, because she didn’t want kids — despite the incident tonight with the rescued baby. Her own childhood had been a living hell, thanks to her father’s bitterness and her great-uncle’s roaming hands, and even though her mother had tried, Emily didn’t want to follow in her footsteps. The very idea scared her to death. Better to just forget having a family and focus on catching criminals. She was a damned good cop and well-deserving of her spot in her division.

During their last fight before she’d left the burglary division, Cutter had mocked her for making the change and had even bashed poor Mike Jamison, the high school history teacher she had dated for a time the year before while she and Cutter were on the outs. His animosity had made absolutely no sense — and neither did this recurring dream.

“What’s wrong with me?” Emily murmured, shuddering at the thought that she might not ever get a handle on her nightmares.


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New release!

I’m excited to announce that BLOOD RITE, my new single title romantic thriller, is now available at Whiskey Creek Press in both print and e-book formats. It will soon be up at Amazon and Fictionwise, as well. This book is my favorite of all the books I’ve written. Hope you’ll check it out!


Women in New Orleans are dying. Women New Orleans Police Detective Nick Marconi has dated. To make matters worse, they have all been found with vials of his murdered sister’s blood in their throats. Nick is walking a tightrope between depression and rage. His superiors are worried about his mental health, so they send him to see psychiatrist Gracie Simmons.

Gracie is walking a tightrope of her own. She became a psychiatrist because she wants to help people, and in  addition to private practice, she also treats police and parolees. The extra work gives her flashbacks about her father, however, a bad cop arrest when she was just fifteen. Then a former flame harasses her, and her best friend turns up dead. Desperate for a distraction, she makes Nick her special project. Only… he doesn’t want to be saved.


“Did you feel loved when you were growing up?”


“Did you get along with your family?”

“I guess you could say that.”

“What about your parents?”

“They were average. They yelled a lot, fought a lot. Dad liked to cuss.”

“Did they ever hit you?”

“I don’t want to talk about that.”

“Why not?”

“Stop trying to pick my brain!”

* * * *

The crime scene was awash in blood, its warm, coppery scent mixing with the fresh odor of rain that had fallen during the night.

New Orleans Police Department Detective Nick Marconi pulled on a pair of latex gloves and popped a square of mint gum into his mouth. Weary resignation set in as he sidestepped the overturned trash receptacle serving the far corner of the tiny park. Crime scene techs swarmed the scene, taking pictures and eyeing the rain-dimpled sand for any evidence, no matter how small, the murderer may have left behind.

Even with the icy tang of gum cleansing his palate, the stench of death made Nick’s stomach buck. He cursed himself for not getting the jar of menthol salve out of the sedan.

“Mornin’, Marconi. Got a grisly one for you.” Orleans Parish Medical Examiner, Pal Stewart, bobbed his thick gray head in greeting. “She’s cut from ear to ear and exsanguinated.”

“Well, hell. That explains all the blood.” Nick looked at Pal, who raised his eyebrows.

Then he steeled himself and looked down at the nude corpse. The woman lay on her side facing away from him, her pale hips cocked at an odd angle. Blood had crusted in her spiky blond hair, and a bright silver hoop earring stood out in stark contrast to her purplish right earlobe. The sand beneath her was stained a dull red, made pale by the rain.

“It’s a lot, but not enough.”

“What do you mean?” Nick frowned. “The ground’s saturated with it.”

Pal walked around the body. “He drained her blood here—” He turned and acknowledged a row of metal swing sets behind them. “And took it with him.”


You can check out all my books on my website, and I hope you’ll also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Coming in June from Desert Breeze Publishing:  KELLER COUNTY COPS BOOK 4: DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL


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Another fab review!

A friend of mine sent me a link to a new review for CHOSEN TARGET, my May book from Desert Breeze Publishing, that’s up at Classic Romance Revival, and it’s a dandy:

“Atkins pens a heart-pounding suspense with Chosen Target… The story is crisp and will have the reader on the edge of their seat, especially with what the terrorists have planned for the Mardi Gras parade… Chosen Target is a pulse-pounding page turner.” — 5 wings, Stephanie, Classic Romance Revival

You can read the entire review here. I’m so excited. I love it when people like my books, and this series is very special to me.

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New review for Prime Suspect

My publisher just notified me that a new 5-wing review for the second e-book in my N.O. Detective series, PRIME SUSPECT, is up at Classic Romance Revival. This book was released in February 2010 from Desert Breeze Publishing. I’m so excited! I loved writing this series.

“Atkins crafts a pulse-pounding suspense with Book Two in the New Orleans Detectives Series, Prime Suspect. (Her) writing is crisp and sharp, engaging the reader from the first page. The plot is complex, but easy to maneuver in Atkins capable hands. Prime Suspect will take the reader on a nail-biting suspense thrill ride.” — Stephanie, CRR

You can read the full review here on the Classic Romance Revival website.

The N.O. Detective series:

CHERISHED WITNESS available now here.
PRIME SUSPECT is available here.
BELOVED CAPTIVE — September 2010 (info here.)

And look for my upcoming Keller County Cops series:

SHIELD OF VALOR — September 2011
QUEST FOR JUSTICE — January 2012 (tentative)
Book 4 — June 2012 (tentative)

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