Transgressor Excerpt – May 9, 2017

Aboard the Adelaide II

I was alone on the bridge. It was eerily quiet. The Adelaide was maintaining position on a parallel with Brisbane, which was hard to explain to passengers and crew. I saw flashing lights off the port side and raised my binoculars to get a better look. A very large and fast naval ship was headed our way, flood lights full on, pointing right at us. I glanced at the time; oh-four-hundred.

I picked up the intercom phone and dialed Ren’s room. He answered on the first ring.

“You need to get to the bridge, now. Bring Aaron with you,” I said quickly and hung up.

The cruiser slowed as it approached, and someone broadcast a loud announcement from a megaphone aimed at us.

“This is the Royal Australian Navy. Heave to and prepare to be boarded. Any attempt to flee will be met with appropriate force.”

As it pulled up alongside, it dwarfed the yacht in size. I hit the switch to turn on all exterior flood lights.

“JT, JT, Russ.”

“Go ahead, Cap.”

“We’re being boarded. Get up here and help tie the lines.”

“Aye, Cap, on the way.”

Mack, Ren and Aaron rushed onto the bridge at that moment.

“What the fu…” Mack started. I put a hand on his shoulder.

“Maintain position, Mack. I’m going down to greet them. Aaron, I assume this is of your doing. You and Ren had better come with me,” I instructed.

I ushered Ren and Aaron out the door ahead of me and guided them down to the deck. JT had secured the lines. Two Australian marines stood by the railing of the naval cruiser holding assault rifles at parade rest.

Just then, a team of six men in unidentifiable military-style black clothing boarded and walked toward us.

“Aaron Jeffries?” the lead man called, in an American accent.

“Here,” Aaron responded, with a lazy salute.

“I’m supposed to say ‘Jerry sent me,’ whoever that is. I take it you need assistance with a bug infestation.”

“Yes, sir, that’s a fact. This is Captain Garrett,” Aaron introduced. He removed his black stocking cap when I extended my hand, which was accepted. Quite a bit shorter than me, buzzed head and commanding eyes, he nodded when he shook my hand.

“Sorry, sirs, I’m not at liberty to reveal my identify. Just call me Silvio—don’t ask.”

“No worries,” Aaron said. “We certainly appreciate your help.”

Transgressor Excerpt – April 13, 2017

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“Good morning, hon. Are you rested?” I asked, hugging him from behind and planted a kiss on his cheekbone. “How long have you been up?”

“A couple of hours. I don’t know. Didn’t check the time,” he said distractedly. “Russ had a bit of a crisis and sent a text to alert me.”

“What happened? Is the Adelaide II okay?” I asked, concerned.

“No, nothing like that. But get this. Glen got up in the middle of the night and highjacked a lifeboat from the Adelaide, loaded it with food, water, whiskey and Dunkin, and decided to sail off to Dunedin.”

“That’s crazy. Did they find him? Is he okay?”

“Yeah, they found him, and he’s okay; just a little dehydrated from drinking more whiskey than water. He’s probably worse off from the tongue lashing Russ gave him than from the actual experience. Russ figures the Malefactor’s reappearance is what triggered this,” Ren explained.

Transgressor Excerpt – March 28, 2017


Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


The moment we left the hotel Ren fell into another thoughtful silence. As we pulled out of the back entrance to the hotel and traveled east along 59th Street toward May Avenue I asked, “So, do you want the details about the house sale now or after we get home?”

Ren stifled a yawn. “So, you got the house listed? That’s good.”

“More than that, handsome. I sold it.”

“What? When?” he asked, incredulously.

“About four hours after signing the realtor contract with Brandi, today.” I then gave him a short version of my meeting with NanC, leaving out the part about her supposed clairvoyant abilities.

“Not long before you got home, NanC left and I called Brandi to prepare the sale contract. NanC is staying right here,” I said, nodding toward the Crowne Plaza Hotel as we passed the May Avenue entrance.

“Ren, she made a full price offer, in cash. I really think I should stay here and work with Brandi to finalize the sale while you go to Sydney. I don’t see how I can be of any help there, anyway.”

“It’d be a comfort to have you close to me, for one thing. I worry about you being here by yourself. And I know the guys would love to see you.”

“But shouldn’t someone be here in case Warren shows up?”

“Huh. I hadn’t thought of that. Okay, let me talk to Aaron in the morning and see if he can arrange some protection for you. If nothing else, I’d like you to stay at a hotel—a different hotel every night—while I’m gone,” Ren insisted.

“That’s a little overkill, don’t you think?”

“Terry, in the space of three hours while we were at Aaron’s hotel, Bill Murray swept our house and found six bugs. For all I know, this car may have them, too. No, I don’t think it’s overkill.”

“Then there’s NanC to consider,” I added.

“What do you mean?”

“She’ll be staying at the hotel until the sale is finished; who knows when that will be. I think she’ll be okay, though. She’s a little, ah, eccentric, but has a way of knowing things.” Ren gave me a quizzical look. “I’ll explain later, hon.”

When we turned down our street, my eyes automatically scanned the cars parked along the curb for as far as I could see, but there were no suspicious vehicles. I knew Ren was doing the same thing.

“I just worry, though, that with M’s penchant for harming people we come in contact with, I wouldn’t want her to become his latest victim. I can’t wait for you to meet her; she’s quite the surprise,” I added, with a smile in my voice.

Once inside, I found the front door key by the kitchen sink, as Aaron said I would, and put it back in the realtor lockbox. Ren locked all the doors, pulled the shades and we went upstairs to the bedroom.

“I just sent a text message to Aaron,” Ren said, pulling off his clothes, “Telling him you’re staying here while we go to Sydney, just in case Warren shows up. Guess what?” I shrugged I don’t know.

“Warren’s in Hawaii; Waikiki to be exact. After giving Aaron all the info tonight, he ran a search on Warren’s cell phone and found it in Hawaii. Aaron’s arranging to have him tailed. At least we know where he is and will know if he leaves. Aaron thinks it’s a good idea for you to stay here, though. And he’s arranging a protection detail; he says you’ll never notice them.” I was about to open my mouth to protest, but Ren continued while I followed his example and undressed.

“These guys are good, Terry. Not only did he pinpoint Warren’s phone—which Warren shut off immediately after I tried to call him this evening—but found another cell phone in very close proximity. It’s a burner phone, but they can track it and tap it anyway.”

“How do they know it’s his?”

“Whose would it be? I’m sure he’s under M’s thumb again, and that’s how they’re communicating,” Ren conjectured.

“Suddenly, I’m starting to feel a lot better about all this,” I said.

“Same here,” Ren agreed.

“Are you as tired as I am?” I asked, walking toward the bathroom. He smiled.

“Not too tired for that.”


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Transgressor, Ren Gifford Mysteries, Book 2

Have I explained the title? I can’t remember.

In the first book, the Malefactor was basically a twisted voyeur, hiding in the shadows, pulling strings from a safe distance. His bottomless wallet funded the basest of human desires, fueling the sickness in the evil minds of his victims.

As you know, he was impressed with Ren’s successful unraveling of a convoluted and far-reaching “project” that had been in progress for years. So impressed, he allowed Ren and company to live; the first time he’d ever done so.


Because M isn’t done with Ren. Instead of lurking in the background and watching Ren work, for the first time M decides to become actively involved.

Ren has pushed M out of his comfort zone and M decides the only way to fix it is to up the game; to transgress beyond the limits of involvement he’d lived behind for so long. To transgress beyond his own malformed ideas of moral behavior and decency.

Although he is excited to engage Ren again, M also resents Ren for many things.

For out-maneuvering his talented team of professional criminals, causing many of their deaths or capture.

For altering the final outcome he’d intended.

For the death of Ray Hanson, his surrogate for many years.

And finally, he resents Ren most for making him step out of the darkness and become—the Transgressor.


Reader Reviews

I am often surprised at the reviews I get for Malefactor on I appreciate everyone who takes the time to write a review, whether it be positive or critical. Feedback is the only way I know what needs to be improved as I continue writing.

The critical reviews of Malefactor mostly deal with the one scene of animal cruelty. Yes, there is only one scene, but it is definitely gruesome.

Possible Spoiler Alert – Skip this paragraph
Near the beginning of the book, one of the main characters is shocked into remembering an incident from his childhood, but it is not described in great detail. A short time later, his one and only pet, whom he loves dearly, is found by a neighbor in the woods that surrounds their properties. In this instance, the discovery was described in moderate detail, but in no way did it include graphic detail of the cruelty as it was being performed. Nor was it presented in a positive, approving way. It was a description of what the neighbor found, what he did for the poor animal and the devastating impact the discovery had on the main character.

This book is not about animal cruelty, and the scenes depicted pale in comparison to what happens to people. Isn’t it curious that no one has criticized how the people were treated? Only the animals.

As one reviewer on Amazon wrote: “I feel the person that gave it the one star because she was put off by the animal cruelty was quick to judge. There are a couple gruesome scenes, but that is just to set up the chase and to let the reader know what the hero is up against. Don’t be put off by those scenes.”

I appreciate those comments, because that was exactly my intention—to let the reader know what the protagonist is up against; someone cruel and ruthless with absolutely no conscience or fear of reprisal.

Even my younger sister commented to me, after reading an early draft of the book, “How did you come up with this? I can’t believe this came out of my brother’s head!”

Well, it’s fiction. I made it up. That’s what writers do.

As my close friend and mentor, Connie Suttle, told me from the beginning, “Don’t get wrapped up in the reviews. You can’t please everyone.” Too true! But I am thick-skinned and the critical reviews do not bother me. I feel I can learn and improve from them as well as I can the positive reviews.

On another note, I am about three or four chapters into writing the sequel, Transgressor. I hope to have it available in the spring of 2017.