Monday, February 11, 2019


Title: Chasing Symmetry
Author: Tempeste Blake
Genre: Romantic Mystery
Series: Riley’s Peak
Publish date: May 25, 2016
Publisher: Pocket Acorn Press
Pick it up on AMAZON!

About the Book:


When art professor Bianca James tries to save a dying woman, the grudge-holding chief of police is all too quick to catapult her to the top of the suspect list. As if that isn’t enough, her ex-boyfriend’s younger brother, Finn Tierny, is assigned to the case, and she’s faced with a trilogy of dilemmas: go head to head with the chief, stop a cold-blooded killer on her own, or trust another Tierny.

Finn’s return to Riley’s Peak is bittersweet. He’s flooded with memories, both good and bad, as he battles doubts about being a cop, a cantankerous father, a jealous brother, and a drug dealer with a rap-sheet longer than the list of addicts he’s been supplying.

Threats escalate, the suspect list grows, and it becomes clear—the murderer’s resolve to kill Bianca is almost as strong as Finn’s desire to keep her alive.

Chasing Symmetry 
Chapter One

Someone had been trying for the perfect shade of red—a blend of crimson and cadmium speckled the floor in a careless array.

Bianca envisioned one of her students rushing into the supply room, oblivious to the paint dripping from a hastily sealed container. Understandable that cleaning up wasn’t a first priority. A college student’s life is led by a higher power—hormones.

She moved into the storage room to fish through a bin of rags, squinting in the dim light. All she wanted was a little more light, not a studio renovation. It was an ongoing battle with Chet, the custodian. He’d flicked her a requisition form, his standard rebuttal, and she’d filled it out, twice. If he didn’t change the burned-out bulb tomorrow, there was always Miller’s Hardware.

Back to the mess at hand, she squatted, rag suspended. But upon closer examination, this wasn’t paint. The odor was cloying. Familiar. She followed a trail snaking from under the supply cart, nudged the cart aside, and gasped. 

A woman sat slumped against a stack of canvasses, head lolled back, legs extended like a large doll, arms reaching out in an unsettling symmetry. 

Lifeless eyes frozen in horror. 

Bianca’s gaze slid over the woman’s gray uniform, the splattered blood. Terror built, a scream that wouldn’t come. She scrambled to her feet, lost her footing, and toppled against the shelves. A basket of yarn slammed down, and she clawed through the unraveling skeins, tangling them in her hair. 

Her voice returned in the form of a low keening. 

She had one foot out the door, but a sound, a muted gurgle, drew her back. Moving closer, she placed shaky fingers along the woman’s neck. A pulse—thready, but there. Or was that her own pulse vibrating through her fingertips? Bianca held her breath, checked again. Her heart climbed up her throat and lodged there as she positioned the body for CPR. Please, oh please, help me remember how.

She tilted the woman’s head back and saw the source of all that blood, her right temple. Pressure. Apply pressure. She clamped the rag over the wound, pinched the nostrils to start mouth to mouth, stopped. Hadn’t they changed the rules? What were they now? Compression only? Placing her palms on the woman’s chest, she pushed. Twenty? Thirty? With each compression, her voice cracked in a whispered demand, “Breathe. Breathe. Breathe!” 

In an instant of suspended time, Bianca realized the futility of her efforts, but she couldn’t pull herself away. Again, her fingers reached for the neck. Nothing. Damn it. Nothing!

Her cell. She bolted to her feet, slapped her pockets. Where . . . ? A tendril of ice seized her spine. Something rooted her in place as a thunderclap of self-preservation boomed. 

Whoever did this has a gun. 

A new crop of chills surfaced. Go! The thought propelled her forward, but she had a sense of being dragged backward. 

She spun around. Her cell was on her desk. Across the room, yet miles away. Bianca willed her legs to comply, to move in tandem with her thoughts, but a noise froze her in place. A door opening? Closing? She raced for her phone and dove under the desk. 

“911. What’s your emergency?”

“I need help.” Bianca’s voice was reedy, high-pitched.

“I can’t hear you, hon. You need to speak up.”

Calm down. Steady. She struggled to match the operator’s tone. “I need help.”
“Is this an emergency?”


“Okay, honey. Tell me where you are.”

“Room 108, the Weaver Fine Arts Building at Brookefield College.” Tears welled, spilled down her cheeks. “A woman’s been . . . she’s dead.”

The last word loomed above her in three dimensions, heavy and defined, the way she instructed students to sketch tree trunks and bowls of fruit.

“You’re sure she’s not breathing?”


“Are you alone?”

“I . . . I don’t know.” Bianca opened a drawer, grabbed scissors, and curled back underneath the desk.

“I’m going to stay with you, okay? I won’t hang up until the police get there.” 

Bianca’s eyes fell to her hands, now covered in blood. She scrubbed them over her pants in desperate swipes. A roil of nausea festered through her as she huddled deeper, tried to escape into herself. Her skin crawled. If only she could shed these clothes. And shoes. She toed them off and dropped them into the waste basket with a thud. 

Please visit Tempeste Blake on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to learn about the FEBRUARY GIVEAWAY.

When Nancy Smith and Cat Trizzino met in an online writers’ group, their individual styles blended to a shared vision. Though they live in different states, Nancy in Michigan, Cat in Maryland, their passion for well-crafted stories makes the physical distance irrelevant. 

Tempeste Blake is the result of their combined voices, an author who writes grab-the-tissue-box, heart-in-your-throat romantic suspense and loves to throw her characters into the deep end to see if they sink or swim.

To participate in this program, visit HERE! We'd love to have you! 
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