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Publication Date – November 25th 2013
Title – Bird Of Prey
Series – Sémya Slotin Mystery #1
Author – Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba
Genre – Mystery Romance
Publisher – Ever After Edition
Cover Artist – Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba
This was supposed to be an easy case…
Sémya Slotin had spent the last three years living in London with her best friend Polliannah Koch staying away from solving cases. After Hawaii, she was taking a break from puzzles, cases and mysteries that could potentially get her killed. Instead, she had been doing her second and third favorite things, drinking and selling expensive vintage wines and having earthshattering sex with the mysterious, sexy, beautiful but ever so secretive Josh Heinz. Life in London was good….until her funds ran out. Too much wine drinking, not enough wine selling!
When fashion designer and adoptive mother, Annika Slotin, summoned her back to Paris to hire her for what Sémya considered being the easiest case of her amateur sleuth career, all she could think of and seeing was money signs and a well-deserved Cuban holiday once it was solved.
What Sémya didn’t see was her stumbling on the fresh corpse of supermodel Johanna Cartier. She didn’t think that male model turned fashion designer Julian Marais-Caldwin, who also happened to be Sémya’s ex, would be suspected of brutally murdering her. Johanna was his girlfriend, his muse and he loved her. Sémya didn’t see the dead bodies piling up or the conspiracy theories.
Sémya was a little rusty. But then again, it was supposed to be an easy case and she was going to solve it. One vintage wine at a time… Sémya Slotin was officially back in business!
(from the ARC version - subject to change with final edits)
Camera left…camera right…camera left…camera right… Sémya had been staring at her board for the past three hours. Maybe she should take a break and go work at the store today. Or maybe she should give up all together and book their Cuban holiday. London was so cold right now they should just go soak up some sun.
She shifted her attention to her phone. She was still waiting on Gary Finch’s aliases from Sergey. She had been reading Emma’s emails over and over again. Nothing about another flat popped out. What she found instead was the number of the moving company she was going to use for her move but–
“Wait a minute!” She finished her glass of 2005 Wolf Blass Black Label Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon. “Where is that file?”
Emma had a file called expenses on her laptop. Maybe just maybe, some of these expenses were taxi fares to this mysterious place. Johanna couldn’t always be two steps ahead of them. The woman had been dead for more than two weeks! She should also check Oyster card records for tube stations or buses. Expenses…she would need to speak to Eileen and Julian. But first let’s see what she could find on her own.
Emma’s passwords were always the same or just a variation. The name Peter was always coming up. Then again Sémya had access to her email account she could always reset it if she couldn’t find it.
“p-e-t-e-r-t-f-l-1,” she mumbled and typed. The access had been granted. Yeah! Emma lived in the small flat near Hammersmith station. She printed out her journey history of the last three months. Hammersmith to Oxford Circus kept showing up which made sense. It was her regular journey to work. East Putney Station was also showing every three weeks and not on the weekend which could mean that it was an errand she was running for Johanna. Sémya highlighted it. The last trip was…the day she died. “What’s in Putney Emma?”
She checked if there were any other suspicious travels. A bus route came up a few times. She was either going to Chiswick or to Chalk Farm.
“So…which one is it?” Josh whispered in her ear and made her shriek. “Sorry, I thought you heard me,” he said sliding on the sofa next to her, only wearing a towel. He picked up the bottle of wine off the floor. “Already?”
“It’s two o’clock in the afternoon…in Paris,” she told him. She had one glass with her sandwich. “Is that the kind of shit I have to expect now that you’re my boyfriend?”
“Nagging you about your drinking? That’s not new,” he shrugged. He smoothed his damped hair back. He smelled like aftershave and peppermint. Josh seductively nibbled her shoulder, “Good afternoon,” he groaned and took her in his arms.
“We promised Polli, no more hanky panky on her sofa.” She gently pushed him away. “Go put some pants on!”
He reluctantly got up and entered her bedroom, “Where is she anyway?” He came back out with a tank top and flannel pants on.
“With the mysterious John, she didn’t come home last night so I’m guessing he is back,” Sémya told him. As soon as this case was resolved she would have a serious conversation with Polliannah about John Smith. She might even create a small board…
“So what do we have here?” Josh said with a coffee in his hand. He looked at her board and whistled. “And I thought your board in Honolulu was crazy!”
“Oh…did you now?” she giggled. “There are two murders on that board.” She got up and added the information from Emma journey’s history.
“Do I have a board?” he asked her.
“No!” she shouted back without turning around. I made a board for everyone…so yes Josh Heinz you do have a board…
“You didn’t answer my question,” he said tilting his head toward the board. “Which is it?”
“I’m not sure.” She pointed at the map. “Emma lived in Hammersmith, it’s a four lines station but still the only time she took the bus was for the same trip.”
“I haven’t taken the bus in London in years but the way I see it I would only use it if it would take me as much time or less time than the tube,” he said and yawned.
“Good point… for commoners like me, we use the bus for twenty minutes or less trip.” She circled the twenty minutes travel zone around Emma’s flat. “Okay…” she mumbled walking back. “So…I’m thinking that she was going east.”
“Do you have her bank statements?” he asked.
“Yes, and before you say anything…it may not be very legal–”
“There’s a charge on the seventeenth for Bramwell Eatery, isn’t that in Notting Hill?” he asked her.
“Yes...let me check the journey history.” She jumped up, “Yes, she used that route on that day!” She sat back next to him and grabbed her laptop. “I need to check the expense file…I copied her hard drive,” she explained.
“Yeah…that’s not illegal at all,” he joked.
“She wasn’t dead then…at least we didn’t know she was!” She opened the March spreadsheet. “Can you check the March statement for the same expense?”
He wrestled through all her papers. “Got it! And I even had the Oyster journey.”
“The twenty-second?” she asked, looking at the expense for Dinners.
“Yeah, it could just be Emma’s favourite restaurant,” he said.
“No baby, it’s not.” She got up and went back to her board. “Charges are too high for it to be hers, it’s for Johanna.” She put her hand on the Emma side of the board, “Emma was a hard core vegetarian. She would have never gone to this place for herself.” She pointed at the map, “The bus records indicate less than thirty minutes between both trips…they don’t deliver,” she said with a wicked smile on.
“She called her assistant to pick up and deliver her food order.” He looked disgusted.
“Bigger picture, baby…her second flat is in Notting Hill and walking distance from Bramwell Eatery,” she shrieked. Where was a chilled glass of wine to celebrate when you needed one? “I need to do the same thing with East Putney?” she said and joyfully straddled Josh.
“Did you just call me baby?” he asked, caressing her flat stomach. He kissed her neck and brought her face closer. “Now I deserve a reward…”
“I tell you what, if you help me crack that case, I’ll take you to Cuba with Polli,” she mumbled. He was weakening her defences and she needed to stay focused. “Better yet, you’ll take us. You seem to have strange deep pockets,” she giggled.
He got up still holding her by her thighs. “Deal!”
“Heinz, put me down. I have calls to make,” she moaned. They were heading to her bedroom. “I’m very busy…big case.”
“I have a big case for you right here,” he grunted and laid her on the bed.
“Seriously? I have to tell Ally about Notting Hill. She could contact the restaurant and maybe trace the number used to place the order…It could be Gary Finch’s,” she said trying to justify herself.
Josh was just nodding back; he was very busy removing her knickers. “Do what you’ve got to do and I’ll do the same,” he whispered so close against her ear it made her whole body shivered and moaned. “Baby…”
“You devil man, you,” Sémya moaned back.
Sémya Slotin Mystery Soundtrack Vol.1
Meet The Author
"I was born in Quebec City, Canada from Gabonese parents but grew up in Paris and Libreville the Gabonese capital until the age of 18. Are you yawning yet? I am...
French is my first language and my next novel Bird Of Prey will be released in both languages...wish me luck!
I moved back to Canada in 1999 after high school in Libreville to study Cinematography and Digital movie production in Laval University in Quebec then The International Academy of Design and Technology in Toronto. After graduating in 2003, I decided to sell my soul to the corporate world and worked in the Benefit Outsourcing Industry for seven in Toronto before reconnecting with her first passion writing.
I finally went back to school to study creative writing at Georges Brown College in 2010 and 2011. I started to write The Coulda Woulda Shoulda Series as an assignment and finished Book One in late 2011 before moving to London.
And the rest as they say is history... Almost two years later, I'm in London and wrote three novels. One has already been released This Could Have Been Our Song! A coulda woulda shoulda ballad... (Book one) the other two will be released by March 2014."
(Aug 5th – Sept 5th)
2 - $5 Amazon Giftcard
5 – Arc eBook (mobi) of Bird of Prey
(Ready Late September)