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Authors: Yolonda Tonette Sanders

Shadow of Death

BOOK: Shadow of Death
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This book is dedicated to Sanders, Tre, and Tia who are daily reminders of God's love. I am so blessed to have each of you in my life.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This is it. The third book in the Protective Detective series. Whether or not there will be a fourth adventure for Troy Evans is a question that has yet to be answered. I'm taking it one day at a time as God leads and opens doors. As one who enjoys movies and books in the mystery/suspense genre, it has been an amazing journey to write such. I am grateful to have the opportunity to glorify God even through my works of fiction. It's an honor that I don't take for granted. He's also blessed me to have the love and support of many, some who've had an impact on my completion of this story.

David Sanders, it's because of your unconditional love and support that I have been able to spread my wings. “Thank you” doesn't seem like enough. I love you, dude!

Tre, I miss you so much that sometimes my heart aches. I'm so proud of the young man you have grown up to be. I look forward to the amazing things that God has in store for you. The Navy can take you all around the world, but it can never take you anywhere that my love can't reach.

Tia, you are so beautiful. (No, I'm not saying that because you're in denial about looking like me! Lol.) I admire your dedication to excel academically and outside of the classroom. I am proud of you, baby girl! I enjoy our special moments together.

Dad, I don't think a girl ever outgrows the need for her father. I am no exception. Even at my age, you play a vital role in my life and in my children's lives. I appreciate all that you do to support my writing and for us, in general.

Mom, you are the best telephone salesman ever! Forget email and social media, you work what you know to keep others informed about my projects. Thank you for doing what you can to help spread the word.

Janice, also known as “Mama J” in my heart, thank you for not only being a great mother-in-law, but also a good friend. It's a blessing not to have any monster-in-law stories to share. I thank you for the many ways in which you support me.

Teresa, I've said it before and I'll continue to say it, you are irreplaceable. Besides David, there has not been anyone who has consistently been in the trenches with me through all the ups and downs of Yo Productions as you have been. Thank you for believing in me and all that I do, and for working to help Yo Pro reach its full potential.

Jenn, there are very few people I would declare as lifelong friends simply because I know that seasons and circumstances change. I think it goes without saying that you, my dear, are a lifer. I love you and I appreciate your support. With all that you have going on, you still make time to read my books. You were there in the beginning when the idea to write my first novel came to fruition. I have no doubt that you'll continue to stand by my side. Your support means much more than I can express in words.

I'm happy to have found a new friend in Dana Hall, also known as my rap partner, “Devastating D.” ;-) Dana, I love how genuine you are. You have such a pure kindness that is not easily found in many. It was an honor to share my public rap debut with you. (Ben and Sanders can hate all they want, but they know we blew up the spot! Lol) Thank you for the “widow before ex-wife” line used in
Shadow of Death.
It's way less morbid than what I'd always said! I also want to thank you for your excitement about my books, in general. It has been a blessing to me.

Jeff Lucas, thank you for going above and beyond duty to help me work out a few kinks in this story. I would say more, but I don't want to give anything away. ;-)

Aaron Dagres, what's up, buddy? I bet you thought I'd forget to acknowledge you when I used the story you told me about Anthony's potty mishap at school.
That was hilarious! Thank you for sharing and for allowing me to tweak for creative purposes and share publicly.

Angela, thank you for being a faithful prayer partner. I enjoy our weekly sessions. They and you are an encouragement. Thank you for sharing in the ups and downs of this season in my life and allowing me to be transparent.

Sara, whenever we speak, it's always a pleasure. I appreciate the way you labor on my behalf. It is a great honor to have you as an agent. Thank you for the times when you've allowed me to vent (and freak out). You are a wonderful listener and you have such a calming effect. I'm grateful to have you in my corner.

Stephen, though we haven't actually spoken in years, I'm kept up-to-date about you through Sara. Congratulations on the newest addition to your family. Whenever I think of you, I smile because I know that you are rooting for all things to work in my favor. Thank you!

Working with Simon and Schuster/Strebor Books has honestly been one of the
best
publishing experiences that I've ever had. I was nervous when I signed on with
In Times of Trouble.
My writing style is so different from many of the other books published under this line that I didn't know what to expect. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for allowing me to be
me
and for respecting my voice during this entire journey. It has been wonderful to work with you all. Thank you for giving me a platform to share my stories.

Mitzi, I will never forget the day I met my “super fan.” Little did you know, I was having a spiritually and emotionally rough day. God used you in a mighty way to remind me that my work is not in vain. Thank you so much for your support.

Pastor Howard, your trust in me is beyond belief. I really don't know what else to say. Your support and encouragement means a great deal. Thank you for walking with me on this journey of faith as I explore new ventures.

It would be remiss of me not to thank my biological family members, in-laws, and my church family at Family Fellowship Church of Christ in Gahanna for your consistent support. I love y'all so very much.

A special shout-out goes to Afonda Johnson, leader of the Butterfly Book Club, and Daniela of Ruby Readers Book Club for throwing book launch parties for me. I'm astonished that you would do something like that for me. What a blessing it is to have the support of you ladies and the other members of your clubs.

Robbie Banks, Lynnette Grace, Alisa Graves, Angela Gude, Valerie Hayes, Janice Hilliard, Shelby Kretz, and Charmel Mack, y'all were there for the very first weekend writing event held by Yo Productions and witnessed my efforts to wrap up this story. All of y'all served as my accountability partners and I thank you. Part of my drive to finish was knowing that I would have to report my progress to you. I didn't want to disappoint or discourage anyone.

To the Columbus Literacy Council, the Ohioana Book Festival committee and other festival planning members around the country, bookstores, libraries, clubs, readers, churches, Facebook friends, Twitter followers,
Yo Notes
members, friends, and acquaintances, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all that you do to support and tell others about my work!

If I have neglected to mention anyone specifically, please forgive me. I would never intentionally overlook you. Please charge it to my head and not my heart.

Much love and many blessings,

Yolonda

Website and Social Media Info:

www.yoproductions.net

www.facebook.com/yoproductions

www.twitter.com/ytsanders

Prologue

“T
hat was her, huh?” Robert asked Troy one evening when they were sitting in Robert's basement watching the basketball playoffs while their other halves were upstairs. The women were having their Wise Wives meeting, a group that Robert's wife, Lisa, had started some time ago. Natalie, Troy's wife, had been a somewhat regular attendee for the past couple of years. The meetings were held monthly on the third or fourth Friday evenings. Whenever possible, Troy made sure he was able to watch the kids. Most times he stayed home, but occasionally they all accompanied Natalie to the meeting and hung out with Robert and his little one, Chandler. Having a feeling that he knew where this conversation was headed, Troy wished he would have chosen to stay home tonight.

Troy deleted the text message that had immediately followed the call he'd ignored moments ago. He hadn't said a word to Robert about this situation, in general, for quite a while, and he certainly didn't tell Robert about the phone call and text. But, somehow he knew.
How?

“Your whole demeanor changed,” Robert responded to the question that Troy swore he hadn't spoken out loud. “I've been around you long enough to know that, due to your line of work, you generally don't ignore phone calls. I also know that you would never ignore a call from a friend or family member without good reason, and chillin' down here with me doesn't qualify. You need to tell Natalie before this thing gets any worse. Keeping secrets from your spouse isn't good.”

Troy found himself getting irritated by Robert, or RJ as he'd suggested Troy call him many times. That's what all his friends called him. Subconsciously, Troy wondered if he insisted on calling him Robert to maintain a little distance between them. Robert was cool, but their wives were friends. They were acquaintances and acquaintances minded their own business. Troy had shared something with Robert during a moment of frustration and weakness, but it didn't give the man the right to interject his opinions into Troy's personal life.

“Chill, man, I got this under control.” Troy tried to sound convincing. There were times when he did feel like he was handling things. Sometimes he wouldn't hear from her for months. Other times, she was relentless in her pursuit to get in touch with him. Somehow she knew things about his family, personal things that made him uncomfortable. Their only mutual contact was Troy's best friend, Elvin, who, after learning about the havoc she'd been wreaking in Troy's life, had removed her from his social network world. If Troy consistently ignored her long enough, she'd have to eventually leave him alone for good…
hopefully.

“For the sake of your family, I pray that you do have things under control.”

The word “family” pricked Troy's heart like a needle. He glanced at his children. His family meant everything to him. The twins, who'd turned one last month in March, had been a little fussy the last hour or so. Not surprising since it was way past their bedtime. Nate, Troy and Natalie's oldest, would be five in June, and was busy entertaining himself and the others by singing and dancing. Troy shook his head in amusement. That boy always found a way to be the center of attention. Nate had amped his silliness up a few notches from normal, which indicated that he, too, was tired.

BOOK: Shadow of Death
3.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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