Finished Off

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Texas has been good to Kate Stevens. The Lone Star state has become her new home, complete with a prosperous career as a crochet author and designer. Surrounded by dear friends and with her daughter, Vanessa, a stone’s throw away at Regency College, Kate’s life couldn’t be better.

That is until a single word on a crackling cellphone call turns Kate’s world upside down.

Vanessa, away on a college-sponsored archeological dig in the sweltering summer heat, goes missing along with three other students. Kate holds on to a single thread of hope, even as more and more evidence at the dig site indicates foul play. 

But when one of the participants ends up in a local morgue, her hope truly begins to fade.

Kate travels to Elijahville, Texas, with Fort Worth detective Peter Matthews. They follow a quickly evaporating trail of clues that leads to the same horrifying conclusion: Something unimaginable has happened to the college students.

Kate and Peter are joined by Vivi Lawrence, Kate’s best friend, and Texas Ranger Sam Tennyson. They first must overcome a bumbling, if not complicit, local police chief whose main objective seems to be putting up more barriers in the investigation.

Kate finds danger and mayhem at every turn. Will she be able to solve the mystery and bring Vanessa home? Or will this parent’s worst nightmare end as Vanessa and her friends are finished off?

The Characters

Single mother. Accomplished crochet designer. Murder suspect!

At 42 years old, Kate would have never expected to be described as any of these. But sometimes life has a funny way of taking you down the path least expected. The one thing that has remained constant in Kate's life is her amazing ability to turn imagined crochet designs into beautiful creations that others can enjoy.

It's Kate's God-given talent that landed her an amazing book deal featuring her crochet designs ... but will it end up being one huge mistake?

Known as the neighborhood serial killer -- of plants, that is -- Vivi is full of energy and excitement, and is always happy to share one of her mom's delicious home-cooked meals with Kate. While she may be a few years younger than Kate and not quite as skilled at crocheting, Vivi proves to be a tried-and-true friend who is happy to lend a hand in getting to the bottom of Kate's latest dilemma.

One of Fort Worth's finest detectives, Peter's handsome dark blue eyes can sparkle with mischief at times. The epitome of a Western lawman with his tall frame and wide shoulders, Peter is a welcome face as Kate works to clear her name in her book publisher's sudden death. For his part, Peter is captivated by Kate's smile and wants to be more than just a friend.

The owner of Once Upon a Yarn, a needlecraft shop in Fort Worth, Paige is full of life and wisdom. She likes to stock her shop with a mix of traditional and trendy needle arts that are as beautiful as her colorful personality. Delighted to welcome Kate into her cozy crafters' boutique, Paige at times finds herself stepping away from the counter to help Kate with her latest mystery.

A longtime friend of Paige Bryant and her husband, Adam provides Kate with practical advice to guide her career and helps fill the void left by Kate's father who died during her childhood. Adam has known his share of grief as well. Widowed two years ago, Adam learned crochet from his late wife, Julia, during her final illness. The craft provides constant comfort for him.

The old adage says, "like mother, like daughter," and Vanessa has definitely inherited Kate's keen eye for crochet design. But right now Vanessa prefers to wear her mother's designs than create her own. She's more focused on enjoying and exploring life as a freshman at Regency College in Fort Worth with an occasional stopover to see how Mom is settling into her new home in Sage Hills.

With a pleasant smile and laugh lines around his eyes, Roger is Kate's good-natured contact at Creative Inspirations Publishing. Their popular new magazine, Hook and Needle Artistry, featured Kate on the cover with an exclusive story inside the first issue. Now, Kate has a regular column in this well-liked craft magazine.