Masson Murder Mystery
Book 4

Dating sites were supposed to be safe and reliable, or so they thought…

Detective Masson and his partner Tara have teamed up to find out the truth about the disappearance of four career driven men. All four men went missing after they had taken a chance on finding their true love on a popular dating site.

Using the same popular dating site, Detective Masson looks for clues as to who might be targeting lonely and vulnerable men. As he slowly begins to put the pieces together, his world becomes a nightmare when the love of his life, his partner Tara, is attacked and left in a coma.

Masson partners up with Agent Wright from the FBI and together they set out to uncover the truth about the missing men, and hunt down the person that attacked his beloved Tara. Can Masson and Agent Wright find out who is behind the attack on Tara and the disappearance of the four men in time or will they strike again?


5 stars ~ Reviewed by Tiffany Davis for Readers' Favorite
Frozen in Time by Laura Burke finds Detective Masson and his partner Tara in a relationship, but neither is sure about the future of their situation. Tara has joined Detective Masson in his private detective business and is interested in obtaining her permit to carry a gun. The team decides to accept a cold case from an FBI agent to help find four men that have gone missing after utilizing a dating website, and that's when the story really takes off. Detective Masson and Tara head to Indiana to start their investigation for the truth. Little did they know when accepting the case that it would leave Tara in a coma after their hotel room was burglarized. Tara being in the hospital seems to have made Detective Masson even hungrier for the truth about the missing men from the online dating website.

Frozen in Time is a novel that grabs your attention from the very beginning of the storyline. Even though this is fiction, it easy for readers to identify with the initial plot of the story. Laura Burke does a good job of laying the foundation for the plot. The story takes many twists and turns, from the love shared between Detective Masson and Tara to the suspense of the four men gone missing after using the online dating website. This is an absolutely good read because it's easy to understand. An easy read, well written and the plot is excellent!

5 stars ~ Readers’ Favorite Reviewer
I really liked the characters and the situation itself was excellent. I think the plot was creative because it deals with online dating, which is more modern than a lot of similar novels will go, and I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks!

First Chapter Excerpt
Detective Masson went back to Chicago with Tara. He knew he still had some healing to do. He wanted to spend time with her. They hadn’t had much time alone while in Florida. His stitches had been removed in his shoulder, and it felt pretty good. The burns he sustained had healed very quickly. He was jubilant. There weren’t going to be any real scars.

Tara and Masson had been working hard to get her place in Chicago cleaned and painted since the break-in a month before. It would be good to have some time off and help Tara since it had been a month since they left Jacksonville, Florida. She knew the building would sell fast if she could get it clean and presentable. Tara had several offers on the place when she was refurbishing the building.

Eric Masson was very handy with his hands and tools. He didn’t mind working alongside Tara. He enjoyed helping her. They had accomplished a lot in a very short amount of time.

“Eric Masson, Agent Wright sent a package by Fedex yesterday. I’m sorry, I forgot all about it.”

“That’s all right; it’s probably the paperwork. You know that case he was talking to us about before we left Jacksonville? Where did you put it?”

“Over there, on top of the refrigerator. I figured I’d put it up there so I wouldn’t forget about it.”

Masson looked up and began to laugh. “So you wouldn’t forget, huh?”

“Well, the thought was there!”

“It’s okay; it was a good idea. We’re in and out of the refrigerator at least fifty times a day. It’s funny because I usually look up there every time I open the frig, and I didn’t see it.” Masson walked over to the table with the envelope in his hand.

“You’re not going to open it now, are you?”

“No, I thought I’d wait until we get cleaned up and then we can look it over together. We also have to get your CC license, under me being your superior, so you’re legal.”

“My CC license? What is that?”

“A CC license is what a private detective, when they first start, gets when they are working with a private license detective, like me. You will be in training with me. Unless you’ve been a formal police officer. Or if you had some training in law enforcement.”

“Oh, so I won’t be able to carry a gun until when?”

“Hey, no gun until you have a C license and that takes two years.”

“Oh, you don’t trust me?” She had a frown on her face.

“No, it isn’t that. I do trust you. You have to do things the right way and follow the rules.” Masson took her in his arms and kissed her forehead.

“I believe I could get a carry permit, just as a private citizen, right?”

“Yes, you would have to take a course and pass it. Then fill out the paperwork, send it in, and they would send you a wallet size permit to carry in your purse. But, I have to ask, what is it about you carrying a weapon all of a sudden? Is someone bothering you that you haven’t told me about?”

“No, it’s just that I remember when Agent Wright said you had been shot. I couldn’t stop shaking from being so scared, afraid I wouldn’t get to Florida in time.”

“Get to Florida in time? What are you talking about?”

“Well, Agent Wright said you were shot and in surgery. He didn’t tell me how bad you were, just that you were hurt and in surgery.”

“So, what does that have to do with you wanting to carry a gun?”

“If I need to protect myself or you I would have a gun, well, I’d be prepared, right?”

“Look, it isn’t just carrying a gun. Being able to pull it out and pulling the trigger, well, it’s a lot harder than you think. I’ll make a deal with you.”

“Okay, what kind of deal?”

“I’ll buy you a gun and teach you to shoot. Then, we’ll sign you up for a class. Once you have the class behind you and we practice, not a little but a lot, we’ll see how you do. If I feel you’re responsible enough then I’ll let you carry. Is that fair enough?”

“Perfectly, and you’ll see I’m a fast learner. When can we go to get my gun? There is a gun store about ten blocks from here. They even have a gun range. So, will you show me how to shoot it? Let’s go now. We can clean up when we get back.”

“No, we’re going to clean up now, have some dinner, and then go through the package Agent Wright sent. We can go tomorrow to look at guns, okay?” Masson looked at her square in the eyes and could see the disappointment.

“All right, I guess you’re right. The store isn’t going anywhere. And we will have all day tomorrow. Finally, we'll be finished with this mess. The realtor is coming by tomorrow afternoon at three. She said she might have a buyer.”

"Have you given any thought to where you're going to live?"

"No, but I'm sure we'll find a place here in the city. We’ve been so busy getting this place cleaned up and ready to put on the market, I forgot about a place to live. What are we going to do?”

“I suppose we should get a paper and see what’s out there. Maybe we could just rent for a while till we know what we’re going to do, how about that?”

“Masson, you always have the answers, don’t you.”

“We don’t know exactly where we’re going to be at any given time with Agent Wright sending you from one place to the next. If I’m going to be your sidekick, I really don’t think we need a permanent address, do we?” Tara looked up at Masson to see what his reaction to her statement.

“I guess you’re right. My apartment in New York, well I'm still paying rent on it. I’ve not been there for over six months now. So, yes, I guess we don’t really need a permanent address. But, don’t you want to have one particular address you can call home and have your belongings at?”
“Eric, look around here. He took everything I owned and destroyed it. I have only a few things left. What I do have, I can put in storage until I decide what I’m doing. Meanwhile, we have a job which will probably have us going from one state to another. So we can stay at one of those Stay Inns that has a little kitchenette and all. How does that sound to you?”

“You know, Tara, I like the way you think. Let’s get cleaned up and go get something to eat, what do you say?”

“You have a deal.”

“You know, Tara, I really want to thank you for standing by me when I was hurt. Also, the fact you played my nurse when I got burnt. Not many women would have stuck it out.”
“Look, I’m not like a lot of women out there. I think we have something good, and I really want to see where it goes.”

Masson pulled her over to him and sat her down on his lap. He began kissing her gently, and she returned his passionate kisses. They both forgot about going to dinner. Masson picked her up in his arms and carried her over to a mattress on the floor. The arousal he felt just from her touch drove him wild.

Masson began undressing her, slowly, and her breathing became deep and she began to moan. He could tell her longing would peak. She would become overwhelmed. He began undressing but Tara started tearing at his clothes to get them off quicker. Both were overcome with desire and their passion so heighten, there was no turning back.

Their lovemaking so complete, they reached climax together. Holding each other, they lay quietly upon the mattress both out of breath. Tara looked at Eric and then began to laugh. He also started laughing. They were both so comfortable with each other; it was like they had known and had been with each other forever.

“Tara, we need to shower, get dressed, and get dinner.”

“Oh, gee, do we have to move?” Tara groaned.

“Yes, we have to eat, and besides that we have to go over the report Agent Wright sent to us.”

“Okay, I guess you’re right.”

“Come on, we’ll shower together.”

“I love that idea. Let’s go.”

After their shower they dressed and decided both weren’t that hungry, so they went to a small diner just down the block from her building. It seemed to be the best place to grab a quick bite to eat. Masson had the envelope on his mind and couldn’t wait to open it. He wanted to see exactly what Agent Wright had sent them.

Agent Wright had been the soul instrument in getting him into the private sector, and he really admired Agent Wright for trusting in him. They worked well together. He was curious as to why Agent Wright hadn’t tried to recruit him for the FBI to become an agent. Maybe it was because he was helping him finally clean up cold cases that would have never been solved otherwise. There weren’t enough man hours or men to go over each case and address them. This way Agent Wright won, and so did Masson.

“Eric, I’ve been thinking, about what we were talking about earlier, and I think we should look around here in Chicago for a condo. It would be a place we could come back to after a case, and even if we had a case here in Chicago we’d be right here. What do you think?”

“Tara, I know you are excited about being a private detective, but you might not want to be one after you work with me on a couple of cases. As you know from the Jacksonville case, it isn’t as easy as most people think.”

“Eric, anything with you has to be interesting and exciting. I enjoyed every minute of working with you and Agent Wright. I know there is a lot to learn, but I’m a very fast learner.”

“We’ll see how you do. Are you ready to go back? We really need to get back. Agent Wright, he’ll be looking for a phone call this evening.”

“Let’s go. Oh, wait a minute, you said we’d go to the gun store, can we still go by?”

“Why don’t we wait until tomorrow. We’ll have more time and while we’re there, I can give you a couple of lessons on shooting.”

“Okay, that sounds good. Besides, like you said, Agent Wright will be waiting for a phone call from us.”

Once they returned to Tara’s building, they walked up the stairs to her apartment. Masson picked up the envelope to open it. The first page from Agent Wright was a brief letter to the two of them.

‘Hello, you two.

Hope you both are doing well and still getting along. One of my agents said he ran into you two at a hardware store picking out paint. Is the clean up coming along all right? From what I understand the building wasn’t hurt structurally, but the inside completely demolished.

Let’s get down to business, enough of the niceties.

You’ll see the following case is a cold case; it is five years old. We did an investigation which didn’t lead anywhere as you will see.

Talk to you later, waiting for your phone call. Oh, they have agreed to your usual fees and willing to give you a bonus if you can close this case within one month.

Agent Wright’

They pulled the other papers out of the envelope, and Masson started to read over them. As he finished a page he would hand it to Tara so she could read it also.

It appeared a gentleman in his fifties from Gary, Indiana had lost his wife four years earlier. She had cancer and died leaving him alone. They had two daughters, and they had talked him into looking for a companion since he seemed to be so lonely. In four years he had never dated once, nor did he go out with his friends. He would just sit at home, watching television, or sitting outside in the backyard doing nothing.

His daughters kept hounding him so he finally took a couple of women out from his hometown. It appeared he had a good time each time, or the face he put on for them made it look like he had a good time. He only went out the one time with each of them. His daughters said he told them he felt uncomfortable, and it really wasn’t for him.

They knew he needed someone, so they talked to him about going online. This way he could try to find a companion on the dating sites without taking anyone out. There wasn’t any mention of what sites he’d signed up on. We know he had joined three or four, and there wasn’t any mention if he had met someone out of town. The police had gone through his computer and noted they didn’t find anything. They had turned the computer over to the FBI, but that didn’t help either for most of the emails had been deleted, and the computer appeared to have been scrubbed.

“Agent Wright suggested we go to Gary, Indiana since it was right next door to Chicago and talk to his daughters. He wanted to see what they have to say about their father. There’s a statement in here from both of them so we can go off that when we meet them. Agent Wright said they have been calling him every month wanting to know if he had any news about their father.”

“Well, I guess we’re going to Indiana. I’ll call Agent Wright and make sure the addresses he sent for the daughters are still the same. Tomorrow, we’ll call both of them and let them know we’re coming to Gary to talk to them.”

“When do you think we’d go?”

“We should be done here in a couple more days, and you have to talk to the realtor. So we should be able to leave next week, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday, what do you think?”

“Sure, in fact I can call her tonight. What do you want to do about an apartment here in the city?”

“Well, why not here in Chicago? I like the idea of having a home base. What if you decide you don’t want me around any longer?” Masson was fishing.

Tara looked at Masson as if he had two heads. She came around the table and sat on his lap. “Listen, you know that could go the other way also. You might decide you don’t want me around any longer.”

“Okay, that’s fair. So let’s just play it by ear for now. We’ll move in together and see where it leads. Right now, I couldn’t imagine being without you by my side. In fact, you find a place to rent, and I’ll go on the lease with you.”

“I was thinking of buying a place, not leasing. It just makes more sense to buy. The values are going up every day, and it would be a sound investment.”

“Oh, I see you have given this more thought than you let on.”

“Yes, I guess I have. I’m just thinking about the resale if I, or we, want to move somewhere else. The investment would be worth it.”

“Okay, I still have the apartment in New York. I think I’ll keep it for now, this way we’ll have a place there if we need it. I’m going to have to go see the Captain and put in for my retirement if I’m going to keep doing the private detective thing. I really like being my own boss, and actually haven’t given much thought about going back to the department.”

“Then it’s settled. I’ll call my realtor and ask her to find us an apartment here in the city and to go ahead and call her clients about buying this place. Now, you have to call Agent Wright.”

“Yes, I’ll call him right now and let him know we’re going to head out there.”

“Good, I’m going to get us a glass of wine.”

Masson picked up the telephone and dialed Agent Wright’s phone number. It only rang twice when he picked up.

“Agent Wright,” he never said hello, just his name when he would answer.

“Hello, Masson here. We just finished looking at the file, and I have a couple of questions for you.”

“Fire away.”

“The addresses for his daughters, are they still the same as in this file?”

“Yes, as far as I know. The telephone numbers are the same. I just spoke to them last week, and they did confirm the phone numbers were the same. I didn’t ask for their addresses.”

“Well, we’re going to head over there probably on Tuesday or Wednesday. We’re finishing up here, and in the next couple of days we should be finished. It has been a real chore getting this place ready for market. He really did a number on it. Tara may have a buyer so it had to be presentable.”

“What are your plans, with Tara that is?”

“Well, I’m going to get her a CC license, and she wants to learn so that will be the first step. We’ll see how she does. We’re going to move in together and hopefully that will go well also.”

“Congratulations, I wish you two the best. Tara is a very smart woman, and she did very well down in Florida so she should learn fast. Do you want me to push the paperwork through for you?”

“Yes, that would be great. I’ll Fedex the paperwork to you tomorrow. She also wants to buy a gun. She’d have to take the course so she can carry, and I told her I’d teach her how to shoot. I’d like to see how she does before we give her a license to carry.”

“Gotcha, when you’re ready I’ll do the paperwork for you. I’ve told the daughters about you and that you’d probably be calling them to set up an appointment. They said they would look forward to your call if you decided to take this case. So, I’ll call them in the morning and tell them you’ll be coming to see them next week. They know you are a private detective and you work with me.”

“They understand they are on the hook for the fees?”

“Yes, they don’t have any problem paying you. They just want to know what happened to their father.”


“While I'm thinking about it, how did it go with Mr. and Mrs. German’s in Orlando?”

“They were very happy they could finally get closure. Tara gave Mrs. German the cross we found, and she remembered it. Said she had given it to her daughter when she left home. All in all, they were pleased to finally be able to bury their daughter. It had been ten years; that's a long time for someone to wait. Ten years since their last contact with her. If Louise’s best friend hadn’t kept them updated, it would have been nearly twenty years since she went missing.”

“I received a card from them thanking us for taking the time to finally find her.”

“They were really friendly people. How are your burns and your leg?”

“The leg is fine, still in a cast, and the burns are still being dressed but healing pretty well.”

“That’s great, I’m glad you’re doing well. Maybe you’ll get to join us for this case, too. I’ll tell Tara you’re ready for round two.”

“No, this one, you’re on your own. I’m still attached to the desk until the cast comes off and that won’t be for another month, they tell me. Listen I have to go, so tell Tara I send my love and to take care of you. I’ll talk to you next week after you talk to the daughters.”

“Sounds good to me, we’ll be in touch.” Masson hung up the phone and started looking for Tara.

Tara had changed into her nightgown and had a black and white movie on the television. Masson walked over to the refrigerator, took the bottle of wine from it, and joined her on the bed. Tara smiled up at him as he filled her glass and his. Then he pulled her close and put his arm around her.

“Agent Wright sends his love.”

“I hope you told him I miss him?”

“I did, and he said you’d better take good care of me.”

“Take good care of you? You need to take care of me! While you were on the phone I called the realtor, and she said she’d get with her clients tomorrow. She’ll call me tomorrow night. She also said she had a couple of apartments in the city she could show us right away. So, I thought maybe we could look at them tomorrow afternoon.”

“Let’s see if we can get finished tomorrow and then see the apartments. That is if we get done, okay?”

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