We’re in Day Two of the Hydra Publications blog hop, and today I’m hosting Lyndi Alexander, author of Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me. Lyndi was kind enough to let me peek behind her curtain and discover one of the inspirations that kept her going as she wrote this story:
The Music Behind the Story
Twisted every way
What answer can I give?
Am I to risk my life
To win a chance to live….
(lyrics from Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber)
I often listen to music when I write, and one of the main pieces of music I listened to in the days when I wrote Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. I’d just discovered the wonderful words and sweeping melodies a few years before, and it seemed apropos for a ‘damsel in distress’ kind of story.
Although, just like Christine in the musical, Sara Woods is stronger than she believes herself to be. She, like Christine, makes the choice to put herself out there to save others even though she may not survive. And like Christine, she finds her own sacrifice may have been wasted.
Sara comes to Ralston, Ohio, after a betrayal and divorce that have nearly broken her spirit. Working as a newspaper reporter, she investigates a string of young women’s deaths that seem, at first, to be totally unrelated. Her work unearths some long-time small town secrets that open the door to danger for Sara and several of her friends. She is in a unique position to stop what’s been happening, if she’s willing. And if she chooses her allies wisely. Unfortunately, not everything –or everyone—is what it seems.
What does become clear when evil conspires against everything she’s trying to protect, is that she had better be prepared to save herself, because she surely cannot count on anyone else.
More about Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me:
Running away isn’t necessarily the answer.
In her mad rush to escape a failed marriage, Sara Woods takes the first job available and lands in the middle of a mystery. Her first assignment as a news reporter for the Ralston Courier is the investigation of a string of deaths, all young women, all her age.
She becomes a patient at the Goldstone Clinic, a local mecca of healing, to deal with chronic pain from her past. But all is not as it seems at the Goldstone, its doctors and nurses are all the picture of perfect beauty and health. Patients at the clinic first seem to get better, then they deteriorate. Sara enlists the help of Dr. Rick Paulsen, who teaches her how to access her internal power, skills she never knew she had, revealing secrets from her past. Police officer Brendon Zale also takes an interest in Sara, but he acts like a stalker, watching her every move, and he won’t leave her alone.
As she digs deeper into the story, and more young women die without explanation, she tries to choose allies wisely, but not till the last confrontation does she discover the identity of her true enemy.
By then, it’s too late.
Rick sat in the heavy tall-backed brown leather chair behind the desk. He studied me, and I studied him. Finally I asked, “How long have you worked here in the emergency room?”
“Nearly five years,” he answered, an underlying amusement making me wonder how deeply he was reading my attraction to him. “Yes, I find emergency medicine extremely satisfying. Yes, I enjoy the adrenaline rush of trauma cases, but it’s hard not to take patient deaths personally. No, I wouldn’t prefer another specialty. Yes, there’s an increase in strange things during full moons.”
I stopped writing about halfway through his speech, realizing he had anticipated my next questions. “You must have done one of these interviews before.”
“Three, maybe. Or five. Since TV has inspired people to find out all about emergency room hotties and our raunchy sex lives in the drug and linen closets? Yes, definitely the flavor of the week.”
In spite of my determination to be professionally distant, I laughed at his self-deprecating humor. Good for him. “I hadn’t even gotten to that yet.”
“I can wait if you like.” He picked up a pen and fidgeted with it. “I’m sure your angle is different than the last fellow who was here. He was more interested in blood and guts.”
There it was. My opening handed to me on a plate. “Actually, I have a blood and guts kind of question for you.” I leaned forward even more and looked him in the eye, calling it brown, green, hazel or any color but blue. “About Lily Kimball.”
He pulled back, his smile fading. “What about her?”
I could see questions in his eyes. Was I here to accuse him? To crucify him in some way? I spoke up quickly to get past his fears. “I was at the scene this morning. I’ve been trying all day to find out something about her, anything, any reason why she would have been out there in the cold.”
His fingers tightened on the pen he was holding until they were red. “Tell me what you saw.”
“She was so thin,” I said. “Pale, except for damage from the frostbite. She wasn’t wearing any winter clothing, just a jersey and jeans. She didn’t look like she’d been hurt, stabbed, bruised in any way. Just…limp.”
Rick hadn’t moved while I spoke. His gaze had become more intent, like a microscope focusing in on a specimen for examination. “Which way was she walking?”
I closed my eyes a moment, orienting myself to the road. “She was on the west side of Route 24. If I had to guess I’d say she was heading for the Declan Highway.”
He paused, silent, contemplating.
“Was she your patient?”
My pen hovered over the pad as his stricken silence continued. I wished I could read him as easily as he seemed to read me. I’d shared more, perhaps, than I should, but all that information would be public record on file at the police department. Whether they chose to do more with it than shelve it away depended on outside information. Like whether Rick Paulsen had contributed in any way to Lily’s solitary winter death march.