Thanks for checking out the blog tour for Kill Game, the first book in the Seven of Spades series!
In poker, a “kill game” is a fixed-limit game in which the stakes are suddenly doubled when a player triggers certain conditions. As our heroes Levi and Dominic hunt for the vigilante serial killer Seven of Spades, the stakes have never been higher.
Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo.
Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops—especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades’s horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away.
The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them.
This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor.
They’d been at it for a while when the phone on Levi’s desk rang. He picked up the receiver without looking away from his computer. “Detective Abrams.”
“Hello, Detective,” said an eerie electronic voice. “I heard that you’re looking for me.”
Levi went still. “Who is this?”
“You know who I am. You’ve been studying my work.”
He shot to his feet, snapping his fingers to get the attention of the people nearest him and pressing the speakerphone button. “Is this the man who killed Phillip Dreyer?” he asked, and everyone else in the room fell silent. Martine got to her feet as well, her eyes wide.
There was a pause on the other end of the line. “You want me to confirm or deny my gender. You’re smart, Detective. But I’m smarter. Yes, I killed Phillip Dreyer. Matthew Goodwin. Billy Campbell.”
Holy fuck. Levi took a steadying breath. “Can you prove that?”
“I left you my card. It was trickier than I’d anticipated, gluing Goodwin’s hand to it and the bottle.”
Levi rubbed one hand down his face as he strove to remain calm. Martine hurried away from her desk, speaking to nearby officers in a frantic whisper. All over the bullpen, people were murmuring into phones, fingers flying over keyboards—alerting superiors and tracing the call, as was protocol.
“Why are you calling me?”
“I want to make a deal.”
“What kind of deal?”
“I want the details of my executions released to the press,” said the voice. “Not everything, if you’d like to hold certain things back. But I want the people of Las Vegas to know about me.”
Levi stared at the phone in disbelief. Across the room, Martine waved a hand at him and then lifted a legal pad with the word BURNER scrawled across it in giant capital letters. Unsurprising, but discouraging—it meant the name and billing address associated with the cell phone, if any, would be nonsense.
“I know you must have at least some knowledge of police procedure,” he said. “So you must know we don’t negotiate with criminals.”
The killer chuckled, which came out as a bizarre grating noise through whatever voice changer they were using. “Of course you do. It happens every day when you let child abusers and drug dealers plea down for lighter sentences and less serious charges.”
“That’s a necessary component of the justice system. And I haven’t heard what you would be offering in return.”
Martine waved to him again and showed him another message: ON THE STRIP. Levi suppressed a sigh. They could track cell phones to within about three hundred feet of the signal, but there were thousands of people moving up and down the Strip right now, both on foot and in cars. Without knowing who they were looking for, the location wasn’t helpful. They couldn’t stop everyone on the Strip who was on a cell phone.
“If you release the details to the press,” the voice said, “I give you my word that I won’t kill anyone for the next five days.”
Levi worked his mouth open and shut a few times before he remembered how to form words. “Why would you promise that?”
“I told you. I want people to know about my mission.” There was no emotional inflection in the electronic voice, which only made the passionate statements creepier. “I want the people of this city to know I’m on their side, and the animals to know I’m coming for them.”
He considered the word choices the killer had made over the course of the conversation. “You referred to your murders as executions. Do you consider them just?”
“No. You don’t have the right to decide who lives or dies, no matter what kind of people they may be.”
“I disagree. The human species has a responsibility to purge its diseased. Like cutting off moldy bread before it ruins the entire loaf.”
Levi felt cold all the way down to his bones; looking around the room, he could see his own revulsion reflected on the faces of his colleagues. He couldn’t think of a single thing to say in response.
“I would never harm a good person,” the killer went on. “All I want is to make this city safer, same as you.”
“You think that the public will empathize, don’t you?” Levi said. “You don’t just want attention. You want support.”
This time, there was an even longer pause than the one before. The killer obviously wasn’t worried about being found, even though there had to be patrol cops and black-and-whites combing the Strip for them by now.
“I thought I might get that from you, Detective Abrams.”
“Why would you possibly think that?”
“Because you know what it’s like. You killed that man who threatened to murder a child.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Levi saw Martine take three quick steps toward him and then stop, her face clouded with worry. He gripped the edge of his desk with one hand for balance, hyper-conscious of every person in the room staring at him. “I didn’t want to do that. I had no choice.”
“Neither do I.”
“That’s not the same—”
“Did you enjoy it?”
Blood roared in Levi’s ears. He slumped sideways against his desk, unable to force any words out of his dry throat.
“I think you did, Detective Abrams,” the killer said, their voice a shade quieter. “I think that in the moment you shot that man, you felt nothing but satisfaction.”
Levi still couldn’t speak. He could barely draw breath.
“You have twenty-four hours to contact the press. I’ve already chosen my next target. They can die tomorrow night, or they can have a few more days to spend with their loved ones. It’s up to you.”The click of the call disconnecting was as loud as a gunshot in the horrified hush that had fallen over the room.
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About the series:
Las Vegas has never seen a serial killer like the Seven of Spades.
The self-styled vigilante is on a mission to cut down the wicked and treacherous, and Sin City has no shortage of targets for their bloody wrath. What happens in Vegas . . . ends with the Seven of Spades’s calling card on a grisly corpse.
Standing against the killer are Levi Abrams, a dedicated homicide detective locked in a constant struggle to restrain his own dark side, and bounty hunter Dominic Russo, a charming rogue with a heavy secret weighing on his shoulders.
The hunt for the Seven of Spades sends Levi and Dominic on a collision course, igniting a passionate relationship forged in conflict and sealed with blood. Together they’re stronger than the sum of their parts, but a wily, elusive serial killer isn’t the only threat that will strain their bond to the breaking point.
Ante up, because the Seven of Spades is all in. Are you?
Meet the author:
Cordelia Kingsbridge has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, but quickly discovered that direct practice in the field was not for her. Having written novels as a hobby throughout graduate school, she decided to turn her focus to writing as a full-time career. Now she explores her fascination with human behavior, motivation, and psychopathology through fiction. Her weaknesses include opposites-attract pairings and snarky banter.
Away from her desk, Cordelia is a fitness fanatic, and can be found strength training, cycling, and practicing Krav Maga. She lives in South Florida but spends most of her time indoors with the air conditioning on full blast!
Connect with Cordelia:
To celebrate the release of Kill Game, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 28, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Promotional post. Materials provided by the publisher.