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“Hi, Father.” Lisa Vito smiled as she approached the two men. Her hair was pulled back, and she was dressed for serious training in cutoff shorts, kicks, and a crop top that revealed her taut shoulders.

“Good afternoon, Lisa,” he replied. “Nice to see a young lady with an interest in pugilism.”

“I think there must be some kind of mistake,” Vinny said. “This here is boxing lessons, not choir practice.”

She razzed him. “Trust me, I’ve heard you sing. With all due respect, if I wanted singing lessons I wouldn’t be coming to you anyways.”

Vinny scoffed. “You heard me sing?”

“Yeah. That’s right. I did. In that three-rounder against Dempsey. I heard you singing bloody murder.”

“That’s ‘screaming bloody murder,’” the priest advised.

“Tuh-may-to, tuh-mah-to.” She folded her arms and locked eyes with Vinny, taunting him playfully. “The big palooka here has a higher vocal range than Mariah Carey. I swear I heard him hit six octaves a few times.”

As in the ring, Vinny absorbed the jabs and attentively studied his opponent. “If I ain’t prying, why exactly are you interested in boxing lessons?”

“It’s self-defense, ain’t it?”
“Yeah. Why? Is someone picking on you?” “That’s right. Yeah. A couple of guys.”

“Ain’t you got a boyfriend to stand up for you?”
“I ain’t hiding behind nobody. I fight my own battles.” “These two hoodlums,” Father John began, “are they boys from my parish?”
“Well yes and no.”
“They live in your parish but…”
“But what? Because I’d be happy to sit these two hooligans

down and remind them of their manners.”
She was quiet for a moment before giving up the names. “It’s

my brothers, okay? Dino and Terry. They’re always on my case and ragging on me. I’m tired of taking crap from them. I figured a few pointers from Rocky Balboa over here would get them off my back.”

Vinny was neither shy nor lonely and was experienced with women, but for some inexplicable reason found himself taken with the feisty young dynamo. Beneath the soft skin and pretty eyes beat a heart like his, the heart of a lion.

Father John smiled. “Lisa, I like your gumption, but are you sure this is the best way to handle things? Giving your brothers a pair of black eyes may not be the most diplomatic way to settle the score.”

“Yeah. I want to be able to stand on my own two feet. I’m pretty sure a couple of quick pops to the nose will shut them up once and for all. Now is Rope-a-Dope here gonna give me a boxing lesson or what?”

Father John opened his mouth, but Vinny cut him off before he could speak. “It’s all right, Father. I don’t mind showing Lisa a thing or two…I mean being there aren’t any men brave enough to show up today.”

“Are you sure about this, Vinny? I don’t want anyone getting hurt.”

“Don’t worry, Father,” Lisa said with a grin. “I’ll go easy on him.”



Win an Audible.com Copy of Don’t Close Your Eyes

Don’t Close Your Eyes

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Stephanie Chalice is a cop’s cop. She’s bold, smart, independent and beautiful–a powerhouse working in NYPD’s homicide unit. She’s seen a lot in her years on the force, but she’s never come across anything like the case she’s up against now. A murdering psychopath is stalking Manhattan, on the prowl for a very special type of woman. Part of his twisted game is intentionally leaving clues for the police, clues designed not only to taunt, but to do something much worse. Will Chalice be able to discover his real purpose before another woman dies?

BookWire Review

LAWRENCE KELTER, Leisure Books, New York, NY, $6.99 US, paperback,
ISBN: 0-8439-5554-6

“Don’t Close Your Eyes” begins with a whimper and a bang–two seemingly unrelated deaths. The first is a teenage girl whose asthma suffocates her while sleeping. The second is a man shot on the tram that connects Roosevelt Island to Manhattan. Lying next to the man is the real puzzle: a woman who might appear to have died of natural causes if not
for the handwritten note stuffed in her mouth that simply reads “Look back.”

Murder mystery thrillers are often driven by tough, fast-talking, streetwise detectives with a sad story about their past and a penchant for nabbing perps. The cop on the case in “Don’t Close Your Eyes” is
all these things and more. Meet Stephanie Chalice. She’s a smart, beautiful, 28-year-old NYPD homicide detective whose acerbic repartee is like an arsenal of nuclear missiles–it convinces her male colleagues that she means business.

Behind all the bluster, though, is a young woman with fierce passions who shows the same tremendous dedication to her ill mother as she does her job. Chalice is an excellent detective, but it comes at a cost. She suffers recurring nightmares, and obsesses that the diabetes that killed her father and weakens her mother will one day come for her.

When a second woman is found dead with a rag in her mouth and another cryptic note nearby, Chalice realizes a serial killer stalks Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Her detective work combines intelligence,
persistence, a skilled partner, and well-connected friends. Secret allies also work on her behalf to thwart dangers that lie just beyond her periphery. As she follows a trail of clues and corpses to the
murderer, she also pursues her own demons, uncovering startling truths about who she really is.

“Don’t Close Your Eyes” is entertaining and engrossing. Detective Chalice is a strong character, the killer is devilishly intriguing, and the well-paced plot will keep your eyes wide open.
BookWire Review