Category Archives: kidnapping

The Stolen Girl is available on Amazon!

The Stolen Girl (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) #12

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On a sunny winter afternoon in West Hollywood, California, a seven-year-old girl gets into a car with a stranger.

Two hours later a single mother receives a call telling her not to go to the police.

On the other side of the country, Miranda and Parker are sparring in the gym—until a colleague tells them her sister’s daughter is missing and begs them to help.

A kidnapping? A missing little girl?

Of course, they have to help. With thoughts of the desperate search for her own daughter, Miranda boards the next plane to LA, along with Parker and the team.

But when they arrive in tinsel town, the clues are sparse. Locating the little girl seems hopeless, and soon they find themselves at the kidnapper’s mercy.

But is this just a kidnapping?

Or is it something much worse?

You’ll want to read this next installment in the Miranda and Parker Mystery series, because it will keep you guessing.

Get it now!

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Chapter One

Imogen Wesson didn’t always like the teacher at her elementary school in West Hollywood, but today she thought she was just great.
Ms. Bishop told the class they would be going into second grade soon, and it was never too early to think about the future. Their assignment was to write about what they wanted to be when they grew up.
Imogen knew what she was going to write about. And as the bell rang and she pulled on her backpack and headed out the door, her mind raced with ideas.
She wanted to be either an astronaut or a zookeeper. Or a rock star.
A zookeeper, she decided following the rest of the kids out to the waiting buses. She loved animals.
She’d been begging her mother for a puppy. In fact, she’d asked for one that morning before school. But Mommy said they couldn’t have one in their apartment. And they were both too busy to take care of a puppy. She’d gotten mad at Mommy and said she didn’t care about her. She said she bet her Daddy would let her have a puppy.
She hadn’t mean that.
She was sorry she’d said that to Mommy. When she got home, she’d tell her so. And maybe if she made good grades, maybe Mommy would let her have a puppy for her birthday.
Though that was a long way away.
No, not a zookeeper, she thought. She wanted to be a veterinarian.
Thinking about what it would be like to play with puppies and kittens every day, Imogen lingered along the blue fence. As she peered through the gate, something caught her eye.
A squirrel was sitting on the lawn in front of the school chewing on a nut he held in his little paws. He was looking straight at her. She glanced back at her bus. Most of the other kids were climbing aboard, but she still had a little time.
Trying to be quiet, Imogen opened the gate and took a few steps toward the animal.
“Hello, there,” she said, grinning.
The squirrel froze, dropped its nut, and scampered away across the grass and up a nearby tree.
“Oh, you didn’t have to run away,” Imogen pouted, wondering if she really could be a veterinarian.
Then her gaze drifted to the street.
A man stood behind one of the skinny trees growing in the sidewalk. Imogen had always thought it was funny to plant trees in the cement.
The man was tall and dressed in black leather. He had tattoos on his arms, like her daddy. Was it her daddy? She hadn’t seen him in so long, she wasn’t sure.
He was staring at her and smiling. He seemed friendly in a scary sort of way. And familiar.
Slowly she inched toward him.
He bent down and his smile grew bigger. “Hello there, Imogen.”
She sucked in a breath. The man knew her name. “Daddy?” she said softly, her heart starting to beat faster.
“I’m a friend of your Daddy’s. He’d like to see you.”
“He would?”
The man nodded. “He sent me to get you and take you to him.”
“He did?” She’d dreamed about her father coming to get her.
“C’mon. My car’s right over there.” He held out a hand to her.
It was big and rough. Don’t go with strangers, Mommy always told her. But this man wasn’t a stranger. He was Daddy’s friend.
She put her hand in his and let him lead her to the car. It was an old car. The side was dented. As she climbed inside, she saw the seat was torn. The man closed the door, then came around the other side and got in beside her.
He snapped a seatbelt around her. “Don’t want anything to happen to you,” he chuckled, then he started the car and drove away.
She watched the apartment building across the street fade away as they rolled down the street. This was the same direction the bus took every day. She recognized the bushes and the houses.
Was this man taking her to Mommy’s shop? Was Daddy with Mommy? Were they getting back together?
But then they were on the big street with the tall palm trees, and she was sure the bus would have turned by now. They passed a place with a big orange machine. A crane. They were building something here. Green pipes held up a ceiling with no walls.
She turned around and peered out the back window. She didn’t see the bus anywhere.
They were on a wide highway now, with grassy places and lots of trees. She didn’t recognize it.
They drove and drove.
“My Daddy must live very far away,” she said at last.
“It’s only a little longer.”
“Maybe he’ll take me for ice cream when we get there.”
“Maybe.” But there was a scary sound in the man’s voice now.
Mommy never let her have ice cream after school. She made her eat a sandwich. If she finished all her dinner later, then she might get ice cream, but she usually didn’t.
The man made so many turns, Imogen didn’t know where she was. They were on a big street she didn’t recognize at all, with lots of auto repair places. “Trans—mis—sion,” she read on one sign.
Then the man turned down a side street, drove a few blocks, and slowed.
They were at a light green two-story house with dark red trim and a short driveway. It looked funny. It didn’t have a front door. Imogen wondered how they would get in. Then the man turned into the drive, pressed a button, and the garage door opened. He drove into a tidy garage and pressed the button again to close the door behind them.
It was dark in here, and Imogen was frightened. “Where’s my Daddy?”
“Inside. I’ll take you to him.”
She didn’t believe the man, but it was too late to change her mind now.
She got out of the car and followed the man up a short step and into a kitchen. It was small and the edges of the countertops were chipped. On the other side of the refrigerator there was a door. It smelled bad in here. Like someone had forgotten to take out the garbage.
She moved away from the man and hurried into a nearby living room. The furniture looked old and worn here, but there was nobody here.
“Where’s my Daddy?”
“He’s at work. He’ll be home soon.”
“I think you should take me back home now.”
“Sorry. Can’t do that.”
“What if I run away?”
“You’re not going anywhere.”
“Yes, I am. I’m going right out that door.” She pointed toward the kitchen.
Though she had no idea what she’d do outside. Would someone help her? Mommy made her memorize her address, but right now, she couldn’t think of it.
She moved toward the kitchen again. The man blocked her.
“I said, you’re not going anywhere.” He sounded mean now.
“Yes, I am.” She tried to go past him.
Before she could get around him, he bent down and picked her up in his arms. She beat against him with her fists, but it didn’t do any good.
He carried her down a hall to a small room. She kicked and screamed, trying to get away from him, but he was too strong.
He stuffed her under one arm and opened the door to the room. It was a dirty place with a mattress on the floor and a wrinkled blanket on top of it. It smelled bad in here, too. He wasn’t going to make her lay down on that. She wouldn’t.
But instead he carried her to the corner and opened another door. A closet.
Was he going to put her in there? No! She screamed again. Then she did the only thing she could think of. She bit his arm.
“Ow. You little bitch, you.”
But he let go of her and she dropped to the floor.
She ran.
She almost got to the hall. Almost got away. Then he lunged for her. His big hand clamped around her arm hard, making her cry out.
“Leave me alone!”
“Shut up.” He picked her up and carried her to the closet.
He slung open the door, tossed her inside and shut the door in her face.
She could hear him locking it from the outside. She banged on the door. “Let me out of here.”
“Shut up, I said.”
“My Mommy will call the police. They’ll put you in jail.”
“No, she won’t. Not if she knows what’s good for her.”
And then she heard the man walk away.
She sat down on the floor. It was dusty and smelly like the rest of the place. She began to cry. Why hadn’t she listened to what Mommy told her? Why had she got into the car with that bad man?
Where was her Daddy? Gone. He had been gone for a long time. He was never coming back.
“I’m sorry, Mommy,” she blubbered into her hands. “I’ll never be angry with you again.”
All she wanted was to go home, but she had no idea how to do that. She didn’t know what to do.
Except cry.

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Mind Bender (A Miranda and Parker Mystery) #10 – Now Available!

It’s finally here! The tenth Miranda and Parker Mystery is now available.

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Book #10 in the gripping mystery-thriller series from bestselling author Linsey Lanier

A shooting. A bank robbery. A car chase. A kidnapping. And that was just PI Miranda Steele’s morning.

After a relaxing vacation in the North Georgia Mountains with her sexy husband and boss, Miranda Steele gets mixed up in a bank robbery that leads to a desperate hunt for a missing woman. Never in her life would she have guessed it would be that woman, but she can’t give up now. The woman’s life may be in danger, as well as the trust of Miranda’s new team at the Parker Investigative Agency.

On a twisted trail of violence, kidnapping, and mind control, Miranda is forced to face a frightening question: Can someone brainwash you to do something that’s not in your nature? Like rob a bank and kill everyone in your way?

Miranda and Parker are about to find out.

Mind Bender is the tenth book in the Miranda and Parker Mystery series, a continuation of the popular Miranda Steele, private investigator, stories from bestselling author Linsey Lanier (the Miranda’s Rights Mystery series). Buy this exciting, fast-paced thriller for a story readers say they can’t put down.

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Chapter One

She was so excited, her skin tingled.

She could feel her own heartbeat as she listened to the murmur of Friday business being conducted around her.

As she waited in the roped-off line, she bounced on her toes and gazed up at the tall glass façade of the front wall and entrance to the downtown Buckhead bank. Ten minutes ago she’d marched through those doors, her first paycheck tucked in her pocketbook under her arm.

Well, it wasn’t her very first paycheck.

She’d worked all kinds of jobs back in Austin. She’d waitressed in dives, cleaned houses, even tried a little panhandling. But she’d gone to school and taken acting lessons for the past eight year, and all that effort had finally paid off.

She was in a real movie being filmed in Atlanta.

She was about to deposit her first check from the production company.

Okay, she wasn’t a star yet. She was only an extra, and the part was only supposed to last a few days. But the second assistant director seemed to be taking a liking to her. He’d asked her to stay on another week, and she thought he might give her a line in one of the upcoming scenes. Who knew where that could lead? She was on her way. She could feel it. The sky was the limit. Someday, she would be a star. She always knew she would be.

She couldn’t stop smiling.

Bouncing on her heels with excitement, she glanced around at the other customers waiting in line and the busy bank clerks behind the counter. The place was crowded and felt close. She could smell the colognes and body washes of the customers near her. One large man in a suit grumbled impatiently. She should have expected the bank would be busy on a Friday just before noon. Everyone was here to cash their own paychecks and go out for a good time.

She wasn’t in a hurry.

She was done for the day and didn’t have plans for tonight. She’d be heading home after this stop. So why was she suddenly feeling so anxious? Maybe because Drew had promised he might stop by later.

She’d only known him a week, but she really liked him. She’d met him back in Austin and he’d asked her out. When she told him she was trying to get into the movies, he said he had some connections and might be able to get her something in Atlanta if she was willing to start at the bottom.

At first she’d thought it was a come on line. But there was something about Drew that made her trust him. But leave home and go all the way to Atlanta with him? It might have been risky, but she’d decided to do it. And it had worked out. Drew hadn’t been lying. Here she was, cashing her first paycheck.

She felt a hand on her shoulder. As if he’d materialized from her own thoughts, Drew appeared at her side, wearing that heart-stopping smile of his.

“Hey, honeybun.”

“Hey,” she breathed in answer.

He was so handsome. Tall and broad-shouldered, dressed in jeans and his leather motor-cycle jacket, his thick black hair tousled as if he’d just been on a ride. His face was to-die-for. He was part Asian and his dark exotic eyes always made her knees feel like jelly.

“Cashing your check?”

“Making my first deposit.”

“We need to go out and celebrate tonight. My treat.”

She bounced on her toes again. Could this day get any more perfect?

Drew touched her shoulder again and she caught a whiff of that sexy aftershave he always wore.

It smelled like honeysuckle and cinnamon—and something else she couldn’t quite identify.

The man behind her stepped a little too close. Feeling suddenly claustrophobic, she glanced around at the crowd. She was uncomfortable, antsy. She started to perspire. The A/C was on, but her skin felt like it was on fire. There were too many people in here.

She heard a voice calling to her.

“Ma’am?”

Looking up, she saw the clerk standing behind the counter. A fuzzy red haze surrounded her.

The clerk beckoned her forward. “Can I help you ma’am?

Awkwardly she stepped toward the window.

“What can I do for you?”

The clerk was wearing a ridiculous smile. She reminded her of Emmy Holt, a girl in high school who’d always made fun of her.

Suddenly, she hated that clerk. Who did she think she was, anyway?

“Would you like to make a deposit?” The woman prompted.

“Deposit?” She put a hand to her forehead and tried to think.

She couldn’t remember what she was here for. She opened her pocketbook and stared down at its contents. There was a check, but she didn’t remember putting it there. She saw lipstick, tissues, a cell phone—and tucked neatly beside the phone was a small handgun with a pink handle.

How did that get in there?

“Ma’am?” The clerk said again.

The red haze grew dark. Blue and purple clouds began to form around the edges of her vision. She felt dizzy, sick.

“Ma’am? Are you all right?”

And all she wanted was to make that clerk shut up. She reached into her purse, pulled out the gun, and fired at the woman.

The clerk crumbled to the floor as a collective scream rose from the crowd of customers.

She spun around flailing the gun at the sea of terrified faces. Suddenly, she knew exactly what to do.

“All of you,” she growled. “On the floor or you’ll be next.”

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