While working on Eager Observer, the third book in my LGBT suspense trilogy (Deviant Behaviors), I accidentally included a writing prompt, so I figured I could excerpt it here for your reading pleasure.
Please keep in mind this piece is unedited, so there might be a typo or a crudely-formed sentence here and there.
The prompt came from Inspiration Monday:
Excerpt from Eager Observer:
She clicked on the username and was led to a user avatar page with very little information. Her tagline, “back into the water,” wasn’t helpful. There were links to social media sites, but each of them led to either a dead or completely private page. Even her actual avatar was a pop rendering of the default head-and-shoulders blank user image in red and green.
She stared at the screen a long moment before clicking over to Google and searching. When she got to the domain name lookup site, she typed in the defunct URL Undine had listed on her avatar page.
The domain information came back in the name of Undine Lamotte. It had an address, phone number, and email listed. Harry went to another site and typed in the address, but the results started a little bubble of heartburn in her chest. Unless Milllie’s source was a boat captain, it was unlikely that she lived in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.
The phone number came back as a burner – something Busy had taught her about when they were still together. The user downloaded the app onto their phone and were provided with unlimited disposable phone numbers to use to protect their privacy. Harry thought it was weird at the time, but now that she had seen it used again, she wondered how often people actually gave out their real phone number anymore.
It made her head hurt.
The email address looked like gibberish, something a service might make up to help protect you from spam, which was something else she had learned from Busy. In an age where nearly every website wanted your email address, Busy rarely registered with her own. Harry figured the email address wouldn’t lead anywhere, but she knew it was worth a shot.
She opened her email client and copied Undine’s listed address into the To: box. She set the subject line to, “About your friend, Millie Hamlin,” and stared at the email body.
An overwhelming sense that she needed to talk to Busy again came over her. She knew she shouldn’t contact her again; the fact that she had answered at all, had spoken to Harry as something more than a nuisance, was proof that she could be softened again. Being pushy wouldn’t help.
Harry dragged her eyes back to the screen and started typing.
My name is Detective Harrison Thresher. I came across your information while I was researching a missing person named Millie Hamlin. I was hoping you might help shed some light on where Millie is, so that I can bring news of her safety to her mother.
Please feel free to contact me in any way you see fit.
Her signature with email address, phone number, and work mailing address was attached. With a little luck, Undine would at least respond. She might know where Millie was, but Harry guessed she didn’t, since Millie hadn’t mentioned Undine since her so-called disappearance. Harry still wasn’t convinced that the young blogger hadn’t simply dropped off to brew publicity for her site, but she knew better than to treat the case like a joke. Better safe than sorry.
With the email sent, Harry tried to go back to reading the Eager Observer blog, but she couldn’t keep her mind off Busy. She knew it wasn’t a healthy craving, this need to see her face, hear her voice, touch her soft, freckled skin… If she didn’t get it in check, it would cloud her mind and interfere with her work. But that had never stopped her from following a trail of thought before.
She reached over, picked up the phone, and was two digits into dialing Busy’s three-digit extension when she stopped, then placed the phone back on the cradle. Self-control wasn’t her most practiced trait, but she could summon it when the need arose, and she found it was more important to keep Busy happy than it was to hear her voice. For now.
Half an hour later, she was nine months deep into the missing woman’s blog when her phone rang. She picked it up without looking at who was calling.
“Hey, Harry, you’re not going to believe this.”
She already didn’t. Busy’s voice was a balm on her exposed nerves. She cleared her throat.
“Someone has already accessed the document you put in the case file. Do you want to know who over the phone, or should I print it out?”
Harry wasn’t surprised, but she was a little let down. If someone in the department was accessing her files and spilling information on the Initial Killer case to a blogger, it would knock more than just one person down a peg. They would all take the hit if anyone on the outside found out about the leak.