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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Killing Time - Elle Chardou

Killing Time – Elle Chardou

 BLURB: A Murder Mystery… Aurélie Segler-DeMarche is a smart, independent woman who works as a journalist for a top rated news network, engaged to a wealthy blue-blood and living a life most women would dream of when she learns her sister, catalogue and runway model Trésor DeMarche, has died under mysterious circumstances. The police are quick to rule the death a suicide but she knows there is more to the story than meets the eye. Wrapped in a Love Affair… Trésor's lover, Rory Krieger, is dangerous for all the right reasons: he's wealthy, successful, drop-dead gorgeous and owns some of the most exclusive BDSM clubs in the country. Aurélie is shocked to find out her sister was part of this sub-culture but she soon realizes in order to solve a mystery, she will to have to infiltrate a closed community where reality is an altered state of mind. Of Bondage, Domination, Sadism and Masochism… Aurélie quickly finds out not only is she no match for the multifaceted and intelligent Rory, his life with Trésor was a lot more complicated than imagined. An indecent proposal leads to more than a night of passion, and raises more questions than answers. What happens when there is nowhere to go but deeper before the truth is revealed?

 
Chapter One

 I HATED THESE PARTIES BUT in my line of work, they were not only a requirement but a necessity if one wanted to stay relevant and up to date on what was going on in the industry. Unfortunately, Ray Charles wasn't blind enough to see what was and wasn't happening to print media and journalism. We were on our knees in the death throws and nothing could save us. If video had killed the radio star then internet had killed the star reporter, full fucking stop. It was another charity event, hosted by my cable news network, CNW and I despised almost everyone in the room. We didn't really give a shit about providing clean water to Africans in some country no one could find on the map. Everyone in that room was hobnobbing because it had come down the pike they were going to lay off five reporters and no one wanted to be one of them. I loved my job but I couldn't do it sufficiently at Cable News World. It considered itself "fair" and "honest" but seemed to be chasing Fox News' coattails and that was never a good thing. Fact checking had gone out of the window and if another news network reported it, it was good enough to end up on CNW, even if it turned out to be a rumor or better yet, untrue. That wasn't why I had majored in Journalism and managed to get a double Masters degree in the subject at both Sciences Po, a grandes écoles—or the French equivalent of an Ivy League university—in Paris and Columbia University in New York City. It wasn't the reason why I was one of the most respected and upcoming investigative news reporters after Soledad O'Brien. I always fact checked and I loved stories that took me into dangerous situations a la Christiane Amanpour. Of course, I was considered the success of the family while my poor sister, Trésor, definitely caught hell for being a catalogue and runway model. My parents never gave a shit when she graduated from the Newport News catalogue to the much more prestigious Victoria's Secret—to them it was all the same. She was an intelligent young woman who was wasting her life as a clothes horse. They'd cared even less when she told us about how she had been asked to appear at Paris Fashion Week by the Jean Paul Gaultier. It should have been impressive. My mother was American but my father was French and we'd been raised primarily in France though we'd grown up speaking both French and English therefore we both lacked the "sexy" French accent. They could care less. Jean Paul Gaultier, Target—didn't matter as she was still wasting the opportunity to get a real job instead of acting like a skinny airhead gracing the catwalks or showing off her gorgeous body on the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. If I was the exotic one with my dark wavy hair, olive skin and green-gray eyes, Trésor was every waking man's fantasy. Tall and lithe, she had the most beautiful skin the color of ripe peaches with just enough cream, pale green eyes and chestnut hair she could blonde out or darken and she was still beautiful. I tried not to think about her much because it wouldn't grace me with a phone call from her and I saw more of her on the cover of and in various magazines than I did in person. Grayson Compston, my fiancé, sat beside me and smiled as I met his gaze. "Jesus, Aurélie, you have got to snap out of it. Every time I bring you to one of these, your eyes glaze over. It's not that bad, is it?" He was sweet and good looking if not a bit arrogant. 6'1", one hundred and ninety pounds with the body of Adonis and the face of a catalogue model, he was perfect. Honey blond hair, clear ice blue eyes which could hold so much warmth but most of the time remained either neutral or cold. Grayson was also the son of Eldridge Compston, owner of CNW and a host of popular magazines sold at newsstands across the country and world. One of the only WASP families in the media market, they belonged to all the right country clubs, knew every ex-President and were hard core Republicans though their family was more of the fiscally conservative type who wanted low taxes and didn't give a shit about ideology. I'd had some very fun debates with Grayson's father and found the man charming if not abrasive. I patted his hand as he was one who did not care for public acts of affection. "I'm sorry, dear. I was just thinking about my…sister." Grayson's blue eyes changed from annoyed to his idea of sympathy. His eyebrows drew together and his mouth whitened as he pressed his lips together. "Sweetheart, I'm so sorry. I didn't want to say anything because I knew you would bring it up…when the timing was right of course." I raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow. "What are you talking about?" He attempted a genuine look of sympathy now and all that did was manage to piss me off. "You mean you don't know?" "Know what, Gray?" I inquired in a slightly cool tone. "It's on CNW now. Beautiful supermodel found in the home of BDSM club owner, Rory Krieger. He's relatively low profile and no one knows much about him but apparently he owns one of the most exclusive clubs here in New York." My heart thudded in my chest and I tried to control my breathing. "So, what? Are we talking like a Fifty Shades type of thing? What is he? The Christian Grey of the BDSM community?" Grayson's annoyance returned with a vengeance. "You and I both know those books weren't a fair representation of the BDSM community. Look, I didn't want to tell you but Jay and Kaysa are into that kind of thing." Jason was Gray's older brother and Kaysa was his beautiful, icy Swedish-German wife. "What do you mean when you say they are into that kind of thing?" "Listen, Kaysa was an extreme submissive and in a relationship with someone else when he fell in love with her. They have this strange slave-master relationship where they act all vanilla and in love in public but in private, it gets really bizarre. She sits at his fucking feet when they have dinner, bare-assed—as in not a stitch on and all their servants know and act like nothing is going on. You know that gold ropy choker-chain she wears? That isn't decoration—it's a fucking dog collar around her neck and when they go to Club X-Tasy, he adds a leash and makes her walk around the club naked attached to said leash. So, no, we aren't talking about a Fifty fucking Shades thing and I would think you would have more class than to make jokes about your own sister's fucking death!" The champagne flute in my hand slipped and dropped to the floor where it shattered. I suddenly heard the rush of blood to my ears and the beating of my own heart. I stood and looked around but too many people were staring at me and they tossed me strange looks as if I had lost it. They all knew and yet I didn't? Did my parents' know about the death of their youngest daughter? Grayson said it was all over the news. I tried to keep it together but I felt like a rubber band stretched too tightly and any moment I would snap and have a real nervous breakdown along with an anxiety attack for good measure. Oh yeah, I was going to lose it any moment. My feet seemed to carry me outside and I stood outside the awning of Tavern on the Green. I'd promised Grayson I would quit but I had never been happier to have an emergency Camel Crush in my handbag. I lit up and took and deep inhale before exhaling and allowing the nicotine to flow through my veins. I wanted to taste something but I couldn't detect the flavor of the cigarette or smell the carcinogenic smoke. My whole body felt numb. It had to be a mistake. My sister couldn't be dead and why the hell was her death on CNW before we, the family, had been notified? I immediately pulled out my cell phone and voice dialed my parents' home. They lived in France and there was a six hour time difference. I was waking them up at the ungodly hour of two in the morning. Never-the-less, my mother answered the phone, "Aurélie? What's wrong?" "How did you know it was me?" My voice sounded thick with saliva and unshed tears. "Well, you're the only one we know with a two-one-two number who actually calls us. Trésor has so many different mobiles, the numbers never seem to be the same. One moment, she is calling from Germany, the next Los Angeles, and the next time from somewhere in Paris. We don't know what she has involved herself in but it's likely to get her killed," my mother explained with a failed parent's resignation. They thought they were the reason why she behaved in the manner she did. Or had as she was dead and would never be able to tell us anything about her lifestyle. The tears came and tumbled down my cheeks as I tried to close my eyes and stop the heaviness in my chest. My head pounded with the aid of one too many Cosmopolitans and a nicotine rush. I was officially starting to fall apart. "Maman, Trésor is dead." "What did you just say?" "Ma sœur est morte. Your youngest daughter is dead!" I exclaimed though my voice hardly raised an octave. "Mon Dieu. Oh, Aurélie, say it isn't so. Do they know what happened?" "I don't know anything right now. I just wanted to talk to you because they are broadcasting her death all over CNW and we weren't informed yet. Grayson told me at one of these charity events no less. He said they found her in the house of Rory Krieger. I don't know who that is…" I trailed off as I felt a pair of hands touch my shoulders and give a slight squeeze. I looked down at the cigarette in my hand and threw it to the pavement. "Rory Krieger? As in Johann and Lorelei's son?" "Who? I don't remember them." "They own a plentiful share in one of the most successful German automobile companies in the world. Heinrich's great-great grandfather founded KWB Automobile Group but they use the initials KAG." "Oh, that Krieger family." I felt like a fool and my face burned with embarrassment. "Do you and Papa know them?" "A bit. They frequent the same social circles we do. They are decent people despite the dubious Nazi past in both their families. Anyway, their son, he owns a string of nightclubs for people who are into bondage. You know, the usual type: sadists, masochists, slaves, masters, subs and doms. I'm surprised you haven't done an investigative story on him yet." Okay, this was a bit surreal. One minute my mother and I were discussing my sister's death and the next, we were talking about my career? I didn't like where this was going one bit. "I haven't yet but I will now. Listen, I'm going to get Gray to drop me off at the police precinct that is investigating Trésor's murder. I'll try to track down the detectives and get some info. As soon as I know more, I will call you tomorrow at a decent hour, okay?" "All right, sweetheart. And Aurélie?" "Yes, Maman?" "It wasn't your fault. I know we always thought you two should be closer as you were sisters but you are in no way responsible for what your sister decided to do. Am I making myself clear?" I nodded though I knew she couldn't see me through the phone. "Yes, I understand that but perhaps if my career wasn't the only thing I seemed to care about, she would have been comfortable talking to me about what was going on in her life. How do you live a life like that? Model by day and kink by night? I may not know anything about Rory Krieger but when I am through, he'll wish he'd never been born." "Je t'aime. Be safe and do me a favor: don't take on the Krieger family. It will only destroy you in the end. Just…let it go. What ever happened, I'm sure there were no signs of foul play and everything, including Trésor's death, is entirely her fault." I was a lot of things but I wouldn't allow my sister's reputation to be sullied by our own mother. Before I could retort, there was a click and I stared at my Android phone. My mother had ended the call.






          BIO: Elle Chardou is the alter-ego of Danielle Blanchard. As Ms. Chardou, she has written Darkness Rising, The Dawn of Darkness, Darkness Awakened, The Cloak of Darkness and The Theft of Darkness in The Supernaturals, a paranormal erotic romance series. She has also written Lara & the City of Angels in the Superstar Marriages series and Love Voodoo: Book I from the DeGeneration series. She is currently working on Cling to Darkness in The Supernaturals series, Killing Desire in The Ties That Bind Trilogy, and Troubled Hart: A Novella in the The Hart Family Saga. Elle Chardou is a world traveler and author of several different series. Ms. Chardou is the author of The Ties That Bind Trilogy, The Hart Family Saga, The Vamp Saga, The Supernaturals, Beginnings: Book I (The Plague) series. She is currently working on Killing Desire, Atonement, Jenna & the City of Light, and several novellas for her paranormal series. Ms. Chardou has lived abroad in Stockholm (Sweden), Manchester (England), Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.   ONLINE LINKS:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/dblanchbenz007
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/Author.Danielle.Blanchard.Benson Goodreads:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4883227.Danielle_Blanchard_Benson
     
Ten Things About Danielle
1. Your genre(s)?
My genre will always be romance or some form thereof though I have been known to do contemporary, erotic (not erotica as there is a difference), paranormal, dystopian and even -- grasp! -- horror. I am an artist so I don't limit myself and as a reader you don't have to buy everything I write. I assume most of y'all will cherry-pick anyway.
2. How many books have you completed?
I love serials and series so I have completed one long damn serial, The Beautiful People (which consisted of eight novellas), Death Wish and Better Off Dead in The Vamp Saga (and a novella, Death Lair), Beginnings inThe Plague series, Love Voodoo in the DeGeneration series, The Catalyst in my other serial, The Pop Stars, and Forever 27, a novelette in The 27 Club series.
3. How many books are you working on now?
*Breathe* Okay, I am almost finished writing Queen of the Undead in The Vamp Saga (72k and counting),Hart Attack, the first novel in The Hart Family Saga (another paranormal series), Apocalypse 2012 in The Plague series, The Making of a Star in The Pop Stars serial and Love Game in the DeGeneration series. Plus, I am co-writing a novel with a writer friend of mine, a horror-thriller, Ties That Unbind. I'm tired just thinking about my year...
4. Are you a linear or chunk writer?
I try to work on one project at a time so it makes it easier for me to maintain consistency. That list above, that is the order of the books with the exception of the one I am co-writing. I write that one when I get it back from my co-author, write my part and then send it to him via email and Drop Box.
5. The POV (= Point of View) you're most partial to?
I'm not. I love first person though it can definitely have its limitations. I usually stick with third person though. The HUGE exception to this rule is The Vamp Saga. The first novel is written in first person but the rest are a mix of first and third person. There are some people out there this irks but what can I say? I love Manon and I *can't* write her in third but I also love some of the other characters and thought they should get a word in too. Hence the bastard project it has become involving both POVs.
6. The themes that keep cropping up in your books?
Female empowerment, strength, change and staying true to one's self. None of these are ever easy but nothing in life worth fighting for ever is so there you have it.
7. How many days a week do you write?
Everyday. There is no such thing as writer's block for me. I began Apocalypse 2012 but my Vamp Saga muse didn't want to let go so I began the third novel. Due to my schedule, I write at least 2k each day and can finish a first draft in anywhere between four and six weeks.
8. What time of day do you get your best writing done?
The evening. I have two children under the age of ten so when they are sleeping or are about to go down, I find myself most creative. Plus, I can have a glass of wine while I write... yes, I sometimes write toasted but I do all my revisions dead sober and I have an editor just to make sure she catches all the mistakes I don't. Plus, I have some great writers who act as beta readers and guinea pigs for those other pesky mistakes neither of us catch. I will upload and re-do a book that isn't perfect countless times. I do it all the time as it is a bit easier with the e-books than print but there is no such thing as "done" for me if mistakes are found.
9. What kind of music do you listen to when you write?
I'm a child of Generation X and I listen to everything but when I write paranormal/horror, I need some hard rocking music. My favorites: Deftones (Diamond Eyes and Best Of albums are classics), Marilyn Manson (Mechanical Animals, and Eat Me, Drink Me are two of my faves but I have every album ever made), Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein...I also listen to a lot of French hip-hop (Sinik, Diam's, MC Solaar) and French music in general (too many artists to count!). And I love some good pop music so Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Britney Spears, and Madonna are never far away...neither is Mylene Farmer for the matter, my favorite French pop star.
10. What the hell is up with your love affair with France?
Yeah, la Belle France gets mentioned a lot in a myriad of my novels. Better Off Dead and Queen of the Undead take place there as does most of Beginnings and Apocalypse 2012 will be a revisit (yet again). TheDeGeneration series takes place almost entirely in France. My other love affair is French influenced even if it is in the States. Hart Attack takes place in New Orleans.
I just love France, French culture, the language and desperately can't wait until I can live there for a couple of years and write. I have lots of French friends and am partial to the Ile-de-France area of the country (though it is often cold, rainy and overcast). Plus, who wouldn't want their children to be bi-lingual? And did I mention the wine and the cheese and the food? Everything is better with a French accent! ;-)

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