Masson held Tara in his arms as they lay together. Her nude body felt warm and soft as he gently caressed her skin. He couldn’t understand what was happening to him. He had never been in love before and he had just met Tara.
Was this really love at first sight or a fatal attraction? They had talked all night and had made love all day. Their lovemaking was completely different from any he’d ever experienced before. He’d had sex plenty of times, but this time there seem to be something pulling him into passionate love making not just sex. He found himself wanting to satisfy her completely; something he’d never cared about before.
Gently he kissed her cheeks, forehead, and then found her mouth. He kissed her long and passionately as he caressed her. He had to figure a way to keep her because he knew this woman could be his last chance to find happiness. But how could he solve the case and keep Tara?
He had a job to do, but he just couldn’t get Tara out of his thoughts. Could this be his soul mate? Did she feel the same way he did? He needed to find a way to get his mind back on the case. The parents of this woman were depending on him. They had waited ten years to find their daughter.
4 stars ~ Reviewed by Roy T. James for Readers' Favorite
Murder With No Passion by Laura Burke begins with Eric Masson of the New York police, who is toying with the idea of turning into a private investigator. He is offered a cold case by an FBI agent. The case is of a woman, eighteen-year-old Louise German, who went missing twenty years back. The investigation takes Eric first to Orlando, followed by many other places to meet family and friends of the missing girl. While on one of his initial trips, he comes across a pretty blonde, Tara, who instantly is attracted to Eric, with him reciprocating in return. The investigations proceed with a lot of intrigue and passion, leading to a climax.
Murder With No Passion by Laura Burke is a tale glibly told. It has all the essentials of a good mystery as well as certain character elements added to make the sensuality of the book stand out. However, as Laura has succeeded in linking all the characters of this novel closely with one another and with the theme, the added elements mix well with the plot. Many of the events and scenes of this book have the potential to be hairraising, like the way Eric gets admitted to hospital. Tara's involvement in this case and the talent she displays for careful observations and help to the police team is worth the mention. This is a fast paced story, the mystery and suspense continuing right to the end.
4 stars ~ Reviewed By Dr. Oliva Dsouza for Readers’ Favorite
Murder With No Passion by Laura Burke is a thrilling mystery about a missing girl. Louise German has been missing for over eight years and her parents have tried all possible means to find her. Agent Eric Masson decides to take up this cold case as his first case when he decides to leave the New York Police force after nearly twenty-five years to branch out as a private investigator. He follows up all the available leads that make him travel to different places and help him put together all the evidence. The plot gets murkier as attempts are made to kill Agent Masson and anyone who is trying to unravel the truth about Louise. Did she actually disappear or is there a more sinister twist to her tale?
The author has done a good job when it comes to creating interest in the plot. Agent Masson comes across as a humane investigator who is smart and witty. The plot does end up creating sympathy for Louise's story as the truth and facts are exposed. Domestic abuse and the twists that it can take for the victim are clearly depicted in the story. All the other supporting characters are well etched out and help take the story forward. Masson's dedication to get to the bottom of the story behind Louise's disappearance, even after the trail has run cold, is heartwarming. It is interesting to note that Masson wraps up the case by just connecting the obvious dots rather than using any great investigative techniques. Overall, the book is a good read.
First Chapter Excerpt
Eric Masson had been on the New York Police force for nearly twenty- five years. He was only forty-five years old and had always wanted to be a cop. After his last case he decided to finally take a vacation and clear his mind. He had always been a workaholic and nobody could change him.
He had the good fortune of meeting one of the top men with the FBI and offered him a chance to work on a case in California. He had a taste of being able to go where no policeman could, and there weren’t any restrictions when it came to following up on a lead or busting a few heads to get answers. It wasn’t like being a cop; you have to watch every step you take and pray you don’t violate any ones rights or they want to sue!
Agent Wright with the FBI offered him another case to work when he was ready. It happened to be a cold case from eleven years ago. He had to give his resignation to the New York Police force but since he had so much time built up with sick pay and vacation time he really didn’t have to return to work unless he really wanted to. He had figured he had nearly seven months leave coming to him.
He pulled the folder from his briefcase to start looking at the case. It involved a woman from Florida. She had been only eighteen when she suddenly disappeared. Looking at the photograph of the young girl, his heart went out to the family for they never heard from her again.
The photo showed a petite young blonde. She was about five feet tall and looked like she weighed around ninety-five to one hundred pounds. Her figure was very appealing to young boys around her age, and it was obvious she had been very popular. Even her skin seemed to be flawless. What could have been her motive or had she been abducted?
Louise German would be thirty-eight in a couple of months, and he wondered to himself what would she look like today. Would she be slim or would she have gained a lot of weight? The questions kept coming in his mind. Every time he tried to shut down the questions and think of something else, her picture would flash in his mind.
He wanted to know about her. What were her likes, her dislikes, what had she wanted to be when she grew up? What was her childhood like, had she had a steady boyfriend in high school? Did she even finish high school? There were so many unanswered questions. Agent Wright from the FBI had given his name to the parents and told them even though the FBI had placed this case in the cold case files didn’t mean they had given up.
Eric Masson had made an appointment with the parents to meet with them to get some of the answers to his questions. He made an airline reservation to fly to Orlando, Florida to meet them, and he would be flying out in the morning. He would arrive around noon. Packing his suitcase for the trip he found himself wondering whether he should take a suit or maybe shorts and tee-shirt. He wanted to look professional but didn’t want to come off stuffy.
Flying from New York would only take three hours. Masson felt strange about being on his own, but then again he was very pleased with himself for taking the big step to move into the private sector of law. He liked being free from the rat race. It wasn’t as hard to make the change as he had thought it would be.
He could make up his own hours, work when he felt like it, and take the day off if he wanted also. Working on the police force for over twenty years he very rarely had a day off or even a vacation. Every time he thought he’d take some time off, someone would get shot, hung, or stabbed. He liked keeping busy and, until now, it was his complete life. Now he found out there was another complete world out there.
His impression of private detectives was low. They were always looking for information from the police and never wanted to share the information they found with the police. They were also cheap, sneaky, and rude with a dash of arrogance thrown in, or this is what he had thought. Now that he had jumped the fence he was getting a look at the other side of the coin so to speak and now understood more about private detectives and the way they work. He had found a whole new respect for them.
Taking a notebook from his briefcase he made several notes and wrote some questions he wanted to ask Mr. and Mrs. German. As he wrote each question, more and more popped up. The plane landed before he knew it. It seemed as if it had just taken off.
Walking off the plane he thought about what the parents would be like. Would they be receptive to his questions and answer them truthfully? Had they built a fantasy world around their daughter and only remembered those things about her so the story they told him wouldn’t be tainted?
He knew many times the parents of missing children always think their child could never be at fault or do anything wrong. Agent Wright had sent him a copy of all the notes about the case which had occurred nearly ten or eleven years ago. Louise German would now be thirty-eight years of age if she were still alive.
Walking out of the terminal the heat hit him in the face like a ton of bricks. He casually said out loud, “Welcome to Florida, boy!”
He had never been to Orlando and, this being his first trip to Florida, he couldn’t think of a better place to land. Maybe he’d get a chance to take a couple of days to go to Disney while there, he thought.
Masson walked across to the car rental window to pick up his car and a map. He had an address, and knew he would have a GPS in the vehicle, but he still like to see on a map exactly where he was going. He was old school, and the modern technology of today he still had a hard time with.
There it was. He walked around his rental to make sure it to be in perfect condition. The car was a pretty light blue Chevy Malibu with light gray interior. He slid into the car and took his hand and felt the passenger seat and then the dash. “Boy this is a nice car,” he remarked as he turned over the engine and listened to it purr.
Putting the car into gear he pulled out of the lot and made adjustments to the mirrors and fastened his seatbelt. He put the coordinates into the GPS and began his quest. Pulling onto the highway he felt like he was home in New York. The traffic being the same as home, very congested and bumper to bumper, everyone in a hurry to go one place or the other.
After forty minutes in traffic he finally found his destination, and pulled in front of the address where Mr. and Mrs. German lived. He sat looking at the address on the house and took in the well-manicured lawn and all the flowers lining the sidewalk. Around the property in the front was a small white fence, which looked like it had just been painted. The small framed house had a nice size front porch and two rocking chairs side by side with a small table between them.
He looked down at his watch and saw it was nearly four o’clock. Stepping out of the car he made his way to the front door. He hadn’t seen a car in the driveway but thought it might be in the garage located in the back of the house. Stepping onto the front porch he walked up to the door and found the door bell. Pushing it twice he could hear the chime from the other side of the door.
A white-haired gentleman answered the door. Masson took in his appearance. He could he see he was a little hunched over from the years and appeared to be maybe in his seventies. Not too tall, Masson figured, maybe five feet eight or nine.
With a smile on his face, he said, “Hello, may I help you?”
“Hello, my name is Eric Masson. I’m here to speak to you and your wife about your daughter.”
“Oh, yes, please come in. We’ve been expecting you. Agent Wright phoned us a couple of days ago and said he might be sending you out to talk to us. Mother, come into the living room, Detective Masson is here.”
“My, my, it didn’t take you long to get here. Agent Wright just telephoned us a couple of days ago. He said maybe you could help us find our daughter? She’s been missing for nearly eleven years.” Mrs. German began to get teary- eyed.
“Well, I’m not sure I’ll be able to help, but I have looked over the case and have a few questions for you.” He really didn’t want to get their hopes up.
“Look, Mr. Masson, we know there is a possibility she’s dead. We realize that. We just want to know one way or the other.” Mr. German spoke softly.
“Well, if you feel like answering some questions, I guess we can get started. I can’t promise you anything, but I will give you a definite answer to what I think. Is that fair?” Masson wasn’t known to sugarcoat anything.
“That’s all we ask. We have been waiting for nearly eleven years, and the FBI and the Police have written this case off a long time ago. Agent Wright is the only one who has kept in touch with us and has tried to work on the case from time to time, but we know he’s a very busy man. That’s why when he called the other day saying he was sending a man down here to talk to us. We just couldn’t believe our prayers were answered.”
“Well I don’t know if the news is going to be good or bad. Like I said, I can’t promise you anything.”
“Look Agent Wright told us you are a private investigator and what your fees are. We have money to pay you so no matter how long it takes, if you can give us an answer or not, we’ll pay you. We just want to be able to find her or be able to put her to rest, understand?” Mr. German put out his hand to shake Masson’s.
Masson took his hand firmly in his and shook it.
“Mr. Masson would you like to have a cup of coffee?” Mrs. German started walking toward the kitchen.
“Sure, that would be nice, please.”
“Why don’t we move into the dining room so you can ask us your questions?”
Mr. German and Masson walked into the dining room and sat down at the table facing each other. They waited on Mrs. German to join them with the coffee. In the middle of the table was a large bowl of fruit with oranges, bananas, and grapes. They looked real, but Masson looked more closely and saw they were plastic. He had to snicker a little. Mr. German looked at him with a strange look and then realized what he was snickering about.
“I still think they’re real sometimes.”
“Sorry, but I’ve seen plastic fruit before but none that looked so real. I thought about asking if I could take one of the oranges with me when I leave. They look just that real!”
“Here she is, boy that coffee smells really good, hon.,” Mr. German commented as he helped her with the tray.
“I’ve gone over the file Agent Wright gave me and included the reports from the local police department. So what I’d like for you to tell me is if you can start from the beginning. I know it’s been eleven years, but if you can remember as much as you can, I would appreciate it.”
“Well, sir, I think we can remember everything up to this day. It’s like it just happened—one day she was here and gone the next.” Mrs. German became teary-eyed.
“It’s okay, Momma, let me start.”
“Okay, I rather you did, Poppa.”
“The report was filed in Naples, Florida, but you live in Orlando?”
“Yes, we lived in Naples for nearly twenty years. We just recently moved to Orlando about five years ago. The cost of living in Naples and the congestion down there became too much for us.”
“This is a much quieter neighborhood and people around our age. We never gave up on finding our daughter and we keep in touch with the people we knew in Naples just in case she came home or tried to contact us, they would let her know where we are.”
“From what I understand from Agent Wright she was eighteen when she disappeared?”
“Yes, that’s right. We did hear from her a couple of years later.”
“Did you tell the police or the FBI?”
“No, we didn’t. We didn’t hear from her exactly, we heard from her friend who lived in Fort Myers. Her friend, Diana, heard from her, and she told her parents who called us and told us she had contacted Diana.” Mrs. German had composed herself and was able to speak.
“This Diana, does she still live in Fort Myers?”
“No, we don’t believe so. She married some guy and moved out of the state according to her parents. They moved back to Indiana. They were originally from Indiana and had moved to Illinois where we lived, and this is where Diana and Louise became best of friends. When Louise found out they were going to move to Florida Diana and Louise were ecstatic about it. It was like they were joined at the hip once they moved to Fort Myers.”
“How old would you say they were when Diana and her parents moved?”
“Oh, the girls were about twelve, right Momma?” Mr. German remarked.
“Yes, around twelve or thirteen. Louise would take the bus to her house in Fort Myers, and sometimes Diana would take the bus to our house.”
“You said she kept in contact with Diana. When was the last time she contacted her?”
“Diana came to see us when she was nineteen and said she had heard from Louise, and she was somewhere in North Carolina. We tried to get her to tell us exactly where in North Carolina, but she said she told her to tell us she was fine and would be in touch soon. Diana said she couldn’t tell us where for she had promised she wouldn’t. Diana said she sounded fine, and we shouldn’t worry.”
“Did Diana say what she was doing in North Carolina?”
“No, but Diana gave us five hundred dollars that Louise sent her to give to us. She had a real good job and would send more later.” Mr. German wiped his eyes.
“We tried to keep in touch with Diana, but a year or two passed and there wasn’t any other word from Louise, and Diana hadn’t received any more money from her either.”
“So the last place Louise was known to be was North Carolina?”
“We found out later she had moved to New York—New York City, I believe, and had a small apartment there. We went to New York, but by the time we got there she had moved and there wasn’t any trace of her. It was like she had just disappeared into a puff of smoke, again.” Mr. German looked over at Mrs. German and took her hand.
“Do you have a picture of her, something from when she was sixteen, and maybe a picture of Diana also?”
“Oh, yes, we have a great picture.” Mrs. German stood to find the photograph.
Coming back into the room she held a photograph in a silver frame. The two girls were arm and arm smiling like two girls who had won the lottery.
“May I take this? I’ll make sure you get it back.”
“Oh, please, take it; I just hope this will help.” Mrs. German touched the top of the frame with love.