New book preview: The Wife Line – A Van and LeBrun thriller

Chapter 1: A simple assignment

Provence, France, May 2010

MacCallum had promised this would be a simple assignment.

“Just follow this logistics guy and find out whether he’s misusing his employer’s — our client’s — resources. They think he’s smuggling. Find out what.”

It had sounded reasonable, even easy. But now, with the sweet scent of lavender filling her nostrils, the deep darkness of Provence pressing in from all sides, it did not seem all that simple. There was another aroma beside, or maybe underneath the scent of flowers. Musky, deep, dark. It was making her edgy, excited — horny?

Morgan Connelly looked down at her dog, Ozzie. He looked back up with an expression that seemed to say “If you can’t identify scents this easy, I can’t help you.” 

Ozzie was as big and solid as an Australian sheepdog, and with similar markings, but without thbe long fur. His ears, instead of flopping over like the standard breed, stood up straight and triangular like a German Shepherd. His tail, however, curled upward with luxurious long fur like an immense duster.

A thin whine escaped his mouth and his bushy tail went from brushing Sydney’s leg to shaking the fronds beside him.

Morgan and Ozzie both looked up when they heard a rustle in the branches above. Morgan thought she could see something moving along the vines above her, but the dark made it impossible to be certain. Ozzie whined again, his tail accelerating to beat a tattoo against Morgan’s leg.

Morgan raised her gun, sliding the safety off with a click. Her mouth felt dry. Her pulse throbbed in her neck. Sweat loosened her grip on her weapon. That scent again, under the floral odor. Why was she thinking about sex at a time like this?

Ozzie growled so softly that only Morgan, standing in the shadows right beside him, could hear it. Above, the shadows no longer moved.

Probably just a squirrel, or whatever animal moves around the trees at night get in southern France. If it was a threat, Blue would have warned me, not wagged his tail.

She crouched down and crept closer to the country mansion beyond the trees. The subject was inside, obviously to meet someone — but who? And why?

“Stay here, boy,” she told Ozzie. She put the safety back on and tucked the weapon firmly into its holster, then reached up and jumped. She pulled herself into the tree and climbed high enough to look over the old stone wall in front of her.

A shadow rustled ahead, seeming to recede through the branches toward the country mansion behind the stone wall.

The mansion seemed to Morgan the epitome of France: originally constructed of light grey stone probably hundreds of years ago, it had new, modern windows that showed polished wood floors, bright lamps and modern furniture inside. The light spilling out the windows added to that from modern fixtures that lit up the manicured gardens inside the wall.

Photo copyright by Scott Bury

While she couldn’t see them from her vantage point in the tree, Morgan was certain there was also state-of-the-art security and surveillance technology that kept a better eye on the grounds than she had.

The front door had a brightly polished brass handle and kick-plate, and a brass banister ran down the stone steps to a curved driveway. Two cars sat on the gravel, a black Peugeot and a bright red Lamborghini that somehow screamed “Russian mob” to Morgan.

Okay, so Willem is meeting with someone from the Russian mob. Maybe. Or maybe it’s just a movie star.

But why? And why sneak here to do it?

The Wife Line was originally published in 2015 on Amazon. It will be available for purchase before the end of 2018. Come back to Written Words over the next month to find some great promos and giveaways.


  1. Sounds interesting Scott. For a moment there I thought Sydney might be blind when she couldn’t see the dog’s eyes, and then I realized it was just dark! Glad I read the rest!

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