It gives me great pleasure to welcome fellow Canadian author Eden Baylee back to my blog. While her previous releases (Fall Into Winter, Spring Into Summer, and others) have been very erotic, Eden’s new release is a mystery. Enjoy an extended excerpt from STRANGER AT SUNSET!
The body plummeted two and a half stories into the sea. It bobbed between crests before foamy waves swept in and yanked it under the surface. The tide rushed out dragging its new possession deep into the ocean’s dark belly. Swells curled and collapsed against the shore. The evening breeze whistled an eerie tune.
Despite how tightly his fingers gripped the large barrels, the binoculars trembled in the man’s hands. He now wished he had bought the more powerful Porro-prism model. This less expensive design darkened the image, especially against a pale orange sky reflecting the chopped glass of the water. While adjusting the diopter ring behind his right eyepiece, he bit down on his lower lip.
A silhouette met his lens, haloed by the glow of the setting sun. With his breath thickening the atmosphere, he pressed the eyepiece harder against his face to stop from shaking.
The woman stood naked with her hair pinned up, loose strands trailing down the nape of her slender neck. Her palms rested on the metal railing of the balcony. As she stared out at the churning sea, he zoomed in on her face, then moved his binoculars downward to her breasts, lingering there longer than he should have. Slowly, he lowered his gaze to her flat stomach. Firm thighs extended off the arc of round buttocks. A dancer’s body—willowy and muscular, but not too muscular, she was beauty and grace, and yet, what she just did …
A hint of dark pubic hair blurred past his lens. While he re-calibrated the magnification, she drifted out of focus. When he brought her back in view, her contemplative mood had changed. She moved a chair to the corner of the terrace. Gathering up a pile of bed sheets, she crossed the threshold into the room and scurried out of view.
He dared not avert his eyes. The light was fading fast, and night would soon fall upon the villa like a magician’s cape. With his elbows pressed to his sides, he loosened his grip on the binoculars and tried to flex his aching fingers.
She had to come back, right?
The doors leading to the patio were still wide open. Secluded in his dark corner of the island, he spied the room as if ogling a dollhouse with its front wall sheared off, scaled down to about the same size too.
The naked woman strolled back into his field of vision as a cramp sneaked up on him. A painful twitch stabbed his wrist, reminded him of old wounds. He dropped the binoculars secured by a strap around his neck to shake out both his hands. By the time he brought the lens to his face again, she had disappeared, no … wait, she popped up from behind the bed carrying two pillows. With an unhurried pace, she stepped out on the balcony and propped the cushions on the chair, even fluffed them before re-entering the suite. She closed the wooden French doors behind her.
The light in her room replaced the sun’s blush, a poor substitute given a set of floor-to-ceiling jalousies bracketed his view. He waited to see what she would do next. His breathing deafened his ears as if he were wheezing through a mask; adrenaline pumped in his veins. She moved in front of the window facing him. With hands on her hips, legs spread apart, she stood full frontal and stared straight at him. He shrank back and jostled her image.
Could she see him?
With his naked eye, he peeked in her direction. Nothing had changed. Motionless, she continued to stand in position. Unable to resist, he gathered his wits and raised the binoculars once again, adjusted the focus ring on her legs—those legs that seemed to go on forever.
Horizontal louvers interrupted his view of her body as he slanted the lens upward, advancing an inch at a time. He paused at her navel, swallowed hard, paused again when his lens reached her breasts.
Blood pumped in his ears as he moved up the curves of her collarbone to her long neck. When he met her eyes, he expelled a bellyful of relief. She wasn’t looking at him; she was looking through him. Her almond-shaped eyes trapped him in irrational fear of discovery.
Like a leech, he clung to her to draw out her secrets, imagined the pulse at her neck racing, wondered how it would feel to pull the pins from her hair, to touch her porcelain skin. Only a tiny squint betrayed her otherwise stoic expression.
As if she could read his mind, she turned away and broke the spell. When she faced him again, the mischief in her eyes had disappeared. She cranked the window handle, tilting the slats in unison against one another, narrowing his view with each turn of her wrist. He held his breath with one last image of her—a lowering of her chin before the light vanished from the room.
A shiver crawled up his spine despite the warm night. He lifted the strap of the binoculars from his neck and placed the heavy lens on a table beside him. The glowing numbers on his Luminox watch showed it was not yet half past six. The dusky sky would fade to purple and then to black within minutes. Without thinking, he lit up a cigarette, watched the smoke curl around itself as it rose into the air. A chorus of crickets joined an orchestra of noisy night critters. From some deep crevice of his mind, he recalled a myth about crickets, their nocturnal mating call a foreshadowing of death. He knew the details of the lore once but was in no mood to scrape his numbed memory for it now. The irony, however, was not lost on him.
As he listened to the sounds of the night, he took another puff and butted out. He needed to quit; smoking no longer calmed his nerves. From his back pocket, he pulled out a device and tapped one of several pre-programmed numbers.
With the cell phone pressed to his ear, he waited for an answer.
STRANGER AT SUNSET
by Eden Baylee
Vacation can be a killer.
Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show.
It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.
Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers?
Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate’s own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon worldwide
Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.
Stranger at Sunset is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.
An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!
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