Transgressor Excerpt – June 2, 2017

Aboard the Adelaide II

Mack raised his glass once more. “Here’s to smooth seas, good friends and dead enemies,” he toasted.

“Here, here,” we echoed.

As Alejandro gathered the cups and Crown and led Glen off the bridge, Mack put a hand on my shoulder to get my attention. I turned to see genuine concern in his eyes.

“Russ, one more thing you need to consider.” I nodded. “Since I received that anonymous email, you can be certain the others remaining on board did, too. They may not respond the same way I did.”

“Yeah,” I said with a sigh. “But I don’t plan to confide anything to the others, and I’d prefer you didn’t, either. Help me keep an eye on them?” He nodded. “You know them better than I do, since you’ve worked with them before. I trust your judgment.”

Transgressor Book Blurb

The text message read:

Call me in two minutes, Warren,

or you’ll be dead in three. –M

Six months after successfully out-maneuvering the Malefactor, Private Investigator Ren Gifford is sucked back into M’s vortex of evil manipulation. Despite the Malefactor’s promise to leave Ren and company alone, he ultimately refuses to accept defeat. As a result, Ren and Terry, along with Russ, Alex and Glen, find themselves in another battle of wits to survive.

M coerces former accomplices, including Warren Millpond, to assist in his quest to destroy Ren. With vast wealth and resources at his command, M believes he is invincible. Ren, however, is not without resources of his own. New friendships spring from old, and Ren finds support in powerful new allies. The battle for survival has begun.


Revenge is a dish best served cold–

but who will be the victor to set the table?

Transgressor Excerpt – May 24, 2017

Aboard the Adelaide II
En Route to Hawai’i

JT and Kat appeared content to let sleeping dogs lie, as it were. Mack was another story. His mood darkened and his demeanor toward me turned hyper-professional since the boarding incident, and he spent most his time alone on the bridge. I’ve known Mack a long time and I trust him. I decided it was time to give him the background that precipitated these events.

“Mack, Mack. Russ,” I said over the radio.

“Go ahead, Captain.”

“When will we reach New Caledonia?”

“Less than a day at present speed, sir.”

Damn. I didn’t want to wait that long before talking with him. I decided to break my own rule.

Picking up the nearest intercom phone, I dialed our cabin. Glen answered.

“Captain’s cabin.”

“Put Alejandro on, please.”

After a moment of shuffling, Alejandro said, “Hey, what’s up?”

“I need you to go by the bar and grab a bottle of Crown and four cups; chasers if you want. Meet me on the bridge, and bring Glen.”

“Uh, are you sure that’s a good idea?” Alejandro wondered aloud.

“We need to bring Mack in on what’s happening to us, and I don’t want to wait until we get to Noumea,” I explained, then replaced the handset and headed toward the bridge. I was only a moment ahead of Alejandro and Glen.

Mack sat hunched over the computer console and looked surprised when we entered.

“Hey, Captain,” he started, then saw the whiskey in Alejandro’s hand. “Huh,” he grunted. “I take it we’re about to have the conversation.” I nodded. “It’s about time, Russ. I was worried,” but he sounded more relieved than worried.

Transgressor Excerpt – May 15, 2017


When I awoke in the early evening, Ren was practically attached to me, so tight was his spoon. Spoonin’ leads to forkin’ flew randomly through my mind and I couldn’t suppress a chuckle.

I didn’t want to wake him, but I needed to pee, so I attempted to slip out from under the blankets.

“Finally awake, eh?” he said with a huge yawn.

“Yeah. I’ll be right back,” I said as I padded to the bathroom. Before I could finish, he’d followed me into the bathroom and started the shower.

“Come on, let’s get cleaned up and then get something to eat. I’m starving,” he demanded.

Fifteen minutes later, clean and refreshed, we made our entrance in the aft bar. Everyone was there, except Mack, who was no doubt at his usual station on the bridge.

“Sooo,” Russ filled the silence. “I guess you two have had a good romp.” His smile was genuine, even though he was teasing.


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.”

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.