Wednesday Sampler: Wings of Mayhem by Sue Coletta


In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Wednesday’s Sampler features an excerpt from Wings of Mayhem, a suspense thriller by Sue Coletta, guaranteed to keep you on the razor sharp cutting edge of suspense.

As one reviewer said: The book is not for the faint of heart. A sadistic serial killer is after the main character Shawnee Daniels. She’s taken something important from him and he wants it back. He’s willing to use all his sinister skills to get it. Coletta is a master at building each scene to a crescendo then, with just a brief moment to catch your breath and slow your heart rate, she plunges you into the terror and suspense once again.

 The Story

Shawnee Daniels — cybercrimes specialist by day, cat burglar by night — ignites the hellfire fury of a serial killer when she unknowingly steals his trophy box.


Cat burglar Shawnee Daniels always believed her “fearlessness rules” mantra would keep her on top and out of jail. When she hacks a confiscated hard drive at the Revere P.D., she focuses on a white-collar criminal accused of embezzlement. To teach him a lesson and recoup the funds she breaks into his massive contemporary in Bear Clave Estates. Jack has even more secrets, deadly secrets, secrets worth killing over.


Shawnee thinks she made it out clean until a deadly package arrives at her door soon after. He’s found her. As a glowing eagle taunts her Skype screen, Jack tells her she stole his precious trophy box — and he wants it back!


When her “helpful” best friend convinces her to date charismatic Detective Levaughn Samuels, her two worlds threaten to implode. Ordinarily Shawnee keeps a firm line between her professions, but dating Levaughn might help her get this psycho off her tail.


In this lightning-fast-paced psychological thriller of secrets and lies, Shawnee juggles being stalked by a serial killer, dating the lead detective on the case, and tap dancing around her librarian best friend.

If she doesn’t find the trophy box, the killer’s coming for her. If she doesn’t expose her secrets and lies, more will die. And if she does, she could lose her freedom and everyone she holds dear.

The Sampler

Sue Coletta
Sue Coletta

The house was hauntingly quiet. Too quiet, for some reason.

Granted, ol’ Jackie boy was still in holding until arraignment. This was a different kind of quiet. A strange aura, with an ominous evil that rode the air. The creepy sensation screamed for me to turn back. You’d think that would’ve been my first clue.

This job had to turn out better than last week’s. After all the trouble of hacking a Knox box, a supposedly un-hackable box used in gated communities for emergency vehicles, I discovered my mark snorted everything he owned. A few trinkets were hardly worth my time. Not to mention the skill involved to pull off a heist of that nature. To walk away empty handed…in laymen’s terms, sucked.

Average folk had no idea what went into pulling a professional heist. Half the general public believed what they saw in the movies, and the other half didn’t care. In their eyes, we—and by “we” I mean the artistically inclined—were no better than a common thug. A remark I found truly offensive. A common thug couldn’t swing from trees like Tarzan of the Jungle, hang from third story windows by one hand, or scale rooftops like Mary friggin’ Poppins.

Prowling down the hall, I stepped on a squeaky floorboard—and froze. Normally the rush of almost getting caught rippled across my skin, but tonight was not the night to dance with danger. I was on a mission to make Jack Delsin regret ever stealing from hard-working folks.

The irony was not lost on me.

The steam furnace kicked on and wailed like an injured animal. Clangs and crashes from old pipes rattled the house. Floorboards shifted like they were alive and breathing.

My thunderous heartbeat slowed to a quick pitter-patter—just enough adrenaline to make it interesting. If experience told me anything, it was when to cut my losses and bolt. No one caught me yet. Well, okay, once, but it wasn’t something I put on my resume. The whole mess wasn’t my fault, anyway. If some goofy-looking dude with a neck the width of Rhode Island hadn’t thrown a hissy fit when his steroid-infested body didn’t…shall we say…cooperate in the bedroom, the soles of my boots would’ve hit the asphalt before the last fake moan from his wife.

The open floor plan in this place was the bee’s knees. I especially dug a massive chandelier that hung from the second level and reached into the first. Crystal teardrops dripped from long curved arms. Their twinkle captivated me. Ever since I could remember I’d always been attracted to shiny things. It’s no wonder I chose this profession. Chose wasn’t the correct word. This life was one I fell back into when I saw rich assholes stealing from innocent people.

I crept through a partially open doorway, into a feminine master bedroom. An ivory lace comforter topped with pillow rolls had tassels dangling off the end. On the outside walls stood an antique vanity, rocker, matching his and hers dressers, and an armoire.

In the dark, gold glinted in my light beam atop the narrow six-drawer dresser.

“Nice,” I murmured, stuffing a select few of the necklaces and rings into my backpack. In my trade, it wasn’t wise to steal all the jewelry. Everything in moderation. A clueless homeowner equaled no urgent calls to the cops.

Tan drapes pulled partly closed masked a glass wall overlooking the backyard. I peeked between the folds. The slivered moon cast a glow upon a massive oak tree, in the corner of the yard. Opal-white stones formed an oversized circle around the base. No flowers planted within and too wide and lopsided for the intention to be merely decorative.

Like the rest of the property, I wrote it off to bad taste. Garden gnomes, was there nothing uglier?

I checked in nightstand drawers, in the pockets of Dockers flung over an upholstered chair, between the mattress and box spring, inside the armoire, dressers, and under the bed. All in all, the bedroom held a treasure-trove of valuable items: a gold watch, cash, and a fourteen-karat-gold rope chain that was so my style.

I stashed the goods in my backpack and moseyed down the hall. Skin tingling, warmth radiated through my core. Nothing compared to wandering through an empty home, twirling round and round, arms floating beside me.

Lining the walls hung framed drawings in what looked like charcoal. Two upside-down stick figures, one in a dress, one without. A handprint, and two vertical rectangles with no bottom bars. Jackie boy was one strange dude.

A door on my left held a sign that read “Enter at your own risk.” Of course I turned the knob. The sign seemed more like an invitation than a warning.

At first, I hesitated. This was obviously a teenager’s bedroom, evident by posters on the wall and an old corded-phone decorated with nail polish. Hitting kids’ rooms was not something I did.

On further inspection, the newest poster was of David Lee Roth from Van Halen. Either this chick was living in the eighties, or Daddy never redecorated after she moved out.

Next to the phone sat a wooden puzzle box like the one I had at seven years old. I swiped it more out of sentiment than value. Made from pine, it wasn’t worth much. The box possessed an intricate pattern that drove most people bonkers.

My cell phone vibrated in my pocket, and I checked the caller ID. Shit. “Whassup, Nay?”

“Where are you?”

I skimmed the contemporary. “Home. Why?”

“You’re out catting again. Aren’t you?”

She knew I hated that word. “What? No.”

“Christopher drove by your house and your jeep wasn’t there. Don’t lie to me. You promised me you were done with that life.”


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