Book Blast & Giveaway! Dawn Girl by Leslie Wolfe

Dawn Girl
by Leslie Wolfe
Publication date: August 30th 2016
Category: Adult
Genre: Thriller

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A GRIPPING SERIAL KILLER THRILLER

Her blue eyes wide open, glossed over. A few specks of sand clung to her long, dark lashes. Her beautiful face, immobile, covered in sparkling flecks of sand. Her lips slightly parted as if to let a last breath escape.

Who is the beautiful girl found at dawn, on a deserted stretch of golden sand beach? What is her secret?

FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett searches for answers relentlessly. With each step, each new finding, she uncovers unsettling facts leading to a single possible conclusion: Dawn Girl is not the only victim. Her killer has killed before.

Hiding a terrible secret of her own, Special Agent Tess Winnett faces her inmost fears, in a heart-stopping race to catch a killer who’s getting ready to end yet another life. Will she find the killer in time? Will she be able to stop him? At what cost?

The rules of the game have changed.
So has the textbook definition of a serial killer.

Special Agent Tess Winnett is the bold, direct, and short-fused heroine of Dawn Girl. Putting her life on the line, she doesn’t pull any punches, searching only for the truth, and for the man who takes lives on her watch. Intelligent, resourceful, and uncompromising, Tess will take readers on a memorable, white-knuckled journey in this suspenseful, gripping serial killer thriller.

Fans of David Baldacci and James Patterson will enjoy Leslie Wolfe.

~Special Preview~

Chapter One
Ready

She made an effort to open her eyes, compelling her heavy eyelids to obey. She swallowed hard, her throat raw and dry, as she urged the wave of nausea to subside. Dizzy and confused, she struggled to gain awareness. Where was she? She felt numb and shaky, unable to move, as if awakening from a deep sleep or a coma. She tried to move her arms, but couldn’t. Something kept her immobilized, but didn’t hurt her. Or maybe she couldn’t feel the pain, not anymore.
Her eyes started to adjust to the darkness, enough to distinguish the man moving quietly in the room. His silhouette flooded her foggy brain with a wave of memories. She gasped, feeling her throat constrict and burning tears rolling down her swollen cheeks.
Her increased awareness sent waves of adrenaline through her body, and she tried desperately to free herself from her restraints. With each useless effort, she panted harder, gasping for air, forcing it into her lungs. Fear put a strong chokehold on her throat and was gaining ground, as she rattled her restraints helplessly, growing weaker with every second. She felt a wave of darkness engulf her, this time the darkness coming from within her weary brain. She fought against that darkness, and battled her own betraying body.
The noises she made got the man’s attention.
“I see you’re awake. Excellent,” the man said, without turning.
She watched him place a syringe on a small, metallic tray. Its handle clinked, followed by another sound, this time the raspy, telling sound of a file cutting through the neck of a glass vial. Then a pop when the man opened the vial. He grabbed the syringe and loaded the liquid from the vial, then carefully removed any air, pushing the piston until several droplets of fluid came out.
Dizziness overtook her, and she closed her eyes for a second.
“Shit,” the man mumbled, then opened a drawer and went through it in a hurry.
She felt the needle poke deeply in her thigh, like it was happening to another person. She felt it, but distantly. She perceived a subdued burning sensation where he pushed the fluid into her muscle, then that went away when he pulled the needle out. She closed her weary eyes again, listless against her restraints.
The man cracked open ammonia salts under her nose, and she bounced back into reality at the speed of a lightning strike, aware, alert, and angry. For a second she fought to free herself, but froze when her eyes focused on the man in front of her.
He held a scalpel, close to her face. In itself, the small, shiny, silver object was capable of bringing formidable healing, as well as immense pain. The difference stood in the hand wielding it. She knew no healing was coming her way; only pain.
“No, no, please…” she pleaded, tears falling freely from her puffy eyes, burning as they rolled down her cheeks. “Please, no. I… I’ll do anything.”
“I am ready,” the man said. He seemed calm, composed, and dispassionate. “Are you ready?”
“No, no, please…” she whimpered.
“Yeah,” he said softly, almost whispering, inches away from her face. “Please say no to me. I love that.”
She fell quiet, scared out of her mind. This time was different. He was different.

Chapter Two
Dawn

“What if we get caught?” the girl whispered, trailing behind the boy.
They walked briskly on the small residential street engulfed in darkness, keeping to the middle of the road. There were no sidewalks. High-end homes lined up both sides, most likely equipped with sensor floodlights they didn’t want to trip.
She tugged at his hand, but he didn’t stop. “You never care about these things, Carl, but I do. If we get caught, I’ll be grounded, like, forever!”
The boy kept going, his hand firmly clasping hers.
“Carl!” she raised the pitch in her whisper, letting her anxiety show more.
He stopped and turned, facing her. He frowned a little, seeing her anguish, but then smiled and caressed a loose strand of hair rebelling from under her sweatshirt’s hood.
“There’s no one, Kris. No one’s going to see us. See? No lights are on, nothing. Everyone’s asleep. Zee-zee-zee. It’s five in the morning.”
“I know,” she sighed, “but—”
He kissed her pouted lips gently, a little boyish hesitation and awkwardness in his move.
“We’ll be okay, I promise,” he said, then grabbed her hand again. “We’re almost there, come on. You’ll love it.”
A few more steps and the small street ended into the paved parking lot of what was going to be a future development of sorts, maybe a shopping center. From there, they had to cross Highway 1. They crouched down near the road, waiting for the light traffic to be completely clear. They couldn’t afford to be seen, not even from a distance. At the right moment, they crossed the highway, hand in hand, and cut across the field toward the beach. Crossing Ocean Drive was next, then cutting through a few yards of shrubbery and trees to get to the sandy beach.
“Jeez, Carl,” Kris protested, stopping in her tracks at the tree line. “Who knows what creatures live here? There could be snakes. Lizards. Gah…”
“There could be, but there aren’t,” Carl replied, seemingly sure of himself. “Trust me.”
She held her breath and lowered her head, then clasped Carl’s hand tightly. He turned on the flashlight on his phone and led the way without hesitation. A few seconds later, they reached the beach, and Kris let out a tense, long breath.
The light of the waning gibbous Moon reflected against the calm ocean waves, sending flickers of light everywhere and covering the beach in silver shadows. They were completely alone. The only creatures keeping them company were pale crabs that took bellicose stances when Kris and Carl stomped the sand around them, giggling.
“See? Told you,” Carl said, “no one’s going to see us out here. We can do whatever we want,” he said playfully.
Kris squealed and ran toward the lifeguard tower. In daylight, the tower showed its bright yellow and orange, a splash of joyful colors on the tourist-abundant stretch of sand. At night, the structure appeared gloomy, resembling a menacing creature on tall, insect-like legs.
“It looks like one of those aliens from War of the Worlds,” Kris said, then promptly started running, waving her arms up in the air, pretending she was flying.
Carl chased Kris, laughing and squealing with her, running in circles around the tower, and weaving footstep patterns between the solid wood posts.
“Phew,” Carl said, stopping his chase and taking some distance. “Stinks of piss. Let’s get out of here.”
“Eww…” Kris replied, following him. “Why do men do that?”
“What? Pee?”
“Everybody pees, genius,” Kris replied, still panting from the run. “Peeing where it stinks and bothers people, that’s what I meant. Women pee in the bushes. Men should pee in the water if they don’t like the bushes.”
“Really? That’s gross.”
“Where do you think fish pee? At least the waves would wash away the pee and it wouldn’t stink, to mess up our sunrise.”
“Fish pee?” Carl pushed back, incredulous.
“They don’t?”
They walked holding hands, putting a few more yards of distance between them and the tower. Then Carl suddenly dropped to the ground, dragging Kris with him. She squealed again, and laughed.
“Let’s sit here,” he said. “The show’s on. Let’s see if we get a good one.”
The sky was starting to light up toward the east. They watched silently, hand in hand, as the dark shades of blue and gray gradually turned ablaze, mixing in dark reds and orange hues. The horizon line was clear, a sharp edge marking where ocean met sky.
“It’s going to be great,” Carl said. “No clouds, no haze.” He kissed her lips quickly, and then turned his attention back to the celestial lightshow.
“You’re a strange boy, Carl.”
“Yeah? Why?”
“Other boys would have asked me to sneak out in the middle of the night to make out. With you, it’s a sunrise, period. Should I worry?”
Carl smiled widely, then tickled Kris until she begged for mercy between gasps of air and bouts of uncontrollable laughter.
“Stop! Stop it already. I can’t breathe!”
“I might want to get on with that make out, you know,” Carl laughed.
“Nah, it’s getting light. Someone could see us,” Kris pushed back, unconvinced. “Someone could come by.”
Carl shrugged and turned his attention to the sunrise. He grabbed her hand and held it gently, playing with her fingers.
Almost half the sky had caught fire, challenging the moonlight, and obliterating most of its reflected light against the blissful, serene, ocean waves.
Carl checked the time on his phone.
“A few more minutes until it comes out,” he announced, sounding serious, as if predicting a rare and significant event. He took a few pictures of the sky, then suddenly snapped one of Kris.
“Ah… no,” she reacted, “give that to me right this second, Carl.” She grabbed the phone from his hand and looked at the picture he’d taken. The image showed a young girl with messy, golden brown hair, partially covering a scrunched, tense face with deep ridges on her brow. The snapshot revealed Kris biting her index fingernail, totally absorbed by the process, slobbering her sleeve cuff while at it.
“God-awful,” she reacted, then pressed the option to delete.
“No!” Carl said, pulling the phone from her hands. “I like it!”
“There’s nothing to like. There,” she said, relaxing a little, and arranging her hair briefly with her long, thin fingers. “I’ll pose for you.” She smiled.
Carl took a few pictures. She looked gorgeous, against the backdrop of fiery skies, pink sand, and turquoise water. He took image after image, as she got into it and made faces, danced, and swirled in front of him, laughing.
The sun’s first piercing ray shot out of the sea, just as Kris shrieked, a blood-curdling scream that got Carl to spring to his feet and run to her.
Speechless, Kris pointed a trembling hand at the lifeguard tower. Underneath the tower, between the wooden posts supporting the elevated structure, was the naked body of a young woman. She appeared to be kneeling, as if praying to the rising sun. Her hands were clasped together in front of her in the universal, unmistakable gesture of silent pleading.
Holding their breaths, they approached carefully, curious and yet afraid of what they stood to discover. The growing light of the new morning revealed more details with each step they took. Her back, covered in bruises and small cuts, stained in smudged, dried blood. Her blue eyes wide open, glossed over. A few specks of sand clung to her long, dark lashes. Her beautiful face, immobile, covered in sparkling flecks of sand. Her lips slightly parted, as if to let a last breath escape. Long, blonde hair, wet from sea spray, almost managed to disguise the deep cut in her neck.
No blood dripped from the wound; her heart had stopped beating for some time. Yet she held upright, unyielding in her praying posture, her knees stuck firmly in the sand covered in their footprints, and her eyes fixated on the beautiful sunrise they came to enjoy.

~Book Trailer~

~About the Author~

Bestselling author Leslie Wolfe is passionate about writing fiction, despite spending a significant number of years climbing the corporate ladder. Leaving the coveted world of boardrooms for the blissful peace of the Florida-based “Wolves’ den,” Leslie answers one true calling: writing.

Leslie’s novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. Fascinated by technology and psychology, Leslie brings extensive background and research in these fields that empower and add texture to a signature, multi-dimensional, engaging writing style.

Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.

A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at http://wolfenovels.com/titles.

Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.

Become an insider: gain early access to previews of Leslie’s new novels.

Leslie’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

~Giveaway~

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Follower of Jesus, loving wife, homeschooling mom, blogger, author, gamer, and a lover of the culinary arts. Toni lives in Michigan with her husband and four children. If she's not writing or curled up with a book, you'll most likely find her playing with her kids, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies.