Michael Haskins

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Scoundrel by Jochem Vandersteen

My friend, and fellow mystery writer, Jochem Vandersteen has just put his novelette "Scoundrel" on Amazon for $1.50. It's a continuation of his long-running Noah Milano series. Below is the cover and the first chapter. It would be a good addition to your eLibrary and, if you are already a fan, a good addition to your Noah Milano collection.
Know you'll like it!

A Noah Milano Novelette

Copyright 2012 Jochem Vandersteen
Edited by Sean Dexter
Cover by Big Kiss Productions


Marisa Fawkes was a good-looking young woman in her thirties. I almost wolf-whistled when she walked into my office. A cascade of brown curls framed a face with smooth skin, clear blue eyes, full lips and nice teeth. She was also very pregnant. Good-looking women always got me into trouble, so I should’ve known better and shouldn’t have taken her case.
She took a seat in the client chair in front of my desk. I sat down, too. She told me a story as old as time and one that I'd heard too many times before. She'd met a handsome young man in a club called Peaches on the Strip. She'd taken him to her home and they'd had sex. A few months later she found out she was pregnant. She hadn’t seen this young man since that passionate night, however.
“So you didn’t exchange phone numbers?” I said.
“He didn’t seem interested in that,” she said. She blushed.
“And you want me to track him down?”
“Why?” It was a question I always asked.
“I think he should contribute to the upbringing of my child.”
“Financially, you mean?”
“At least, yes.”
“You're a big girl. You knew the risks."
“That bastard told me he'd had a vasectomy and we didn’t have to worry about me getting pregnant.”
“I hope you at least got away from this without contracting any diseases.”
She scowled. “What’s that supposed to mean? Are you passing judgment on me?”
I held up my hands. “No, no. I’m in no position to do that, believe me.”
“All right. Listen, I know what I did was really stupid. I was horny and drunk. That’s a lousy combination.”
“Amen,” I said.
“I just feel this bastard should pay for his lies.”
I nodded. “I guess I can sympathize with that. You’re keeping the baby?”
“Of course I am. That guy might have turned out to be a bastard, but this is my child, and I’ve been in love with him since I felt his first kick.” She rubbed her belly.
“Good to hear. It’s a boy?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Are you married? Living with someone?” I said.
“No, I didn’t cheat on anyone when I had sex with that bastard. I know it'll be tough raising this kid on my own. The least he can do is give me some monetary support.”
Life was expensive. I knew all about that since I’d severed all ties to my rich, mobster dad. I could barely pay my own bills, and I didn’t have a kid to provide for. “Seems logical.”
“About that... What's your fee? I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay very much right now. I’ve got a lot of stuff to buy for my baby.”
“Did you already name the kid?”
“Huh? No... I haven’t decided on a name yet.”
“Any ideas yet?”
“Not really, no.”
“I’ll make you a deal, then. If I manage to track down the father you name the kid after me. If I don’t track him down, it’s on the house.”
She seemed to be unsure whether I was kidding her. “Really?”
“Dead serious.”
She thought about that for a while, biting her lip as she did so. “Noah Fawkes. Sounds pretty good, I guess.”
“Nice to hear,” I said. “Would you like something to drink?”
“Water would be nice,” she said.
I got a bottle of Evian out of the fridge and handed it to her. I filled up my Kermit mug with coffee and sat down behind my desk again.
“So, we’ve got a deal. Now, tell me more about this bastard. Do you know his name?”
She took a sip of water. “He told me his name was Reynard Roberts. I didn’t find him on Facebook or Myspace, though. In fact, googling him turned up nothing.”
“These search engines might cost me my job someday,” I said. “Luckily, there still are two or three people in the world without an internet ID. And of course there are people who don’t give out their real name. Can you describe what he looks like?”
“He’s about thirty I guess. Sandy hair, shaggy cut. Muscled. About five-ten. Green eyes. He’s got a tattoo of a spider on his left forearm.”
“Any scars?”
“In fact, he has a little scar next to his left eye.”
“Okay, that’s something to work with, I guess. Did he tell you what he does for a living?”
“Not exactly. Just that he was involved with the entertainment industry.”
Just like about eighty percent of all the people in LA.
“He came on to you in the club?”
“Yeah, quite aggressively really. He offered me a drink and got to the point pretty quickly.” Tears started to well up in her eyes. “How could I fall for a sleazebag like that? I feel like a whore when I think about what I did. I really don’t usually do stuff like that, you know. It’s just... That morning I’d gotten fired from my job, I used to be a secretary at an accounting firm, and I just wanted to let off some steam. He offered me that opportunity and some comfort. He just knew what to say, how to act...”
“A professional ladies man,” I said.
“Yeah, I guess you could call him that.”
I offered her a tissue. She dried her eyes and took a drink of water. I patted her hand.
“Don’t feel bad about what happened. Sounds like you didn’t stand a chance,” I said. “I’ll track this guy down, don’t worry.”

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