Tuesday, July 15, 2014

RELEASE DAY: Stephy Smith "The Taunting"


Tossed back into the role of a homicide detective, high school counselor Belle Duncan feared for the life of the citizens of the small town of Sunnyspot, Texas. To save their lives she is forced to endure the emotional strain of the killer as he wanders the streets, bullying her at every chance. Stalking her with a vengeance that only she comes to know too well.

With the help of her sister, Rocki Streete, and her own sheer will to hunt down and put a stop to the black hearted killer, can Belle finally get her life back to normal.

Will she solve the murder? Or will she fall victim to… The Taunting?



Stephy Smith was born and raised in the Northwest Texas Panhandle. She owns and operates her own ranch. Stephy loves to write historical romance. Most of her inspiration comes from the weather, wildlife and imagination from country living. In her spare time, she loves to read, ride horses, watch rodeo’s and paint. Stephy is a  member of Panhandle Professional Writers, American Quarter Horse Association, and Foundation Quarter Horse Association.

Stephy has eleven books published through Astraea Press. She is an award-winning author of Shining Moon Rises.

Genres: Historical, historical sweet romance, contemporary sweet romance, mystery/suspense/thriller



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Chapter One

August 2007

"It's named wrong." Belle Duncan ran her fingers over the cold metal of her badge. She turned to leave but paused at the door when he spoke.

"What is?" The company shrink's bushy gray brows bunched over the narrow bridge of his pointed nose.

"Disorder. It should be demons. Post-Traumatic Stress Demons." She gave the doctor the best smile she could force from her lips.

"How do you figure?"

"I've had disorder in my life, but this…these demons haunt me every minute since Shane was killed." The doctor leaned back in his chair and motioned for her to sit back down.

The screech of the air conditioner recalled memories of the metal door that led to a cold, dark, musty room, and the faint cries of a child echoed in her mind. Wicked goose-bumps peppered across her skin under the cold blasts of air. But coolness wasn't the real cause of the shivers running down Belle's spine.

The angle of the third floor office window shades filtered in the thin, slanted rays of sunlight splattered across the desktop and waved mysteriously over the carpeted floor. Belle kept her eye on the broken shadows that seemed to writhe on the walls when a slight breeze moved the tree branches outside the window.

"Would you be willing to tell me about the demons?" The doctor ran his fingers through a shock of white hair as if he thought it had moved to uncover the bald spot on top of his head.

"I just feel like I'm trapped in my own mind. Tucked away in a bulletproof cage where pain, anger, and mass confusion are guards. I pound on the window, trying to get their attention, but they ignore me." Fake leather covered the chair, the police department logo stamped into the back of it. Her backside cooled as she sat on the edge.

"I see." The doctor stuck the end of his pen in his mouth.

"Have you ever been in that cage?" Belle studied the doctor's face. The blood raced through her veins. She scrunched her eyes shut. Hope stormed her mind. If he said 'yes', it would give her the strength she needed to listen to him.


"Then how in the world can you help me? You don't have a clue as to what is going on with me do you? I'm trying to swim in thick mud up to my neck. I never know what I want from one minute to the next. I'm ticked off at the world, even though I know it's not the world's fault Shane is dead. It's Andrew Konnors who is responsible, and me." Belle lurched from the chair and paced around the room. The paneled walls seemed to close in on her.

The dull thud of her footsteps across the wall-to-wall, flower-print carpet seemed muffled beneath her labored breathing. Her hair tickled her neck with each pass under the air conditioner vent.

"Why do you think you had anything to do with your husband's death? You know as well as any other officer the risk you both were taking when you put on the uniform. Belle, you and Shane saved that little girl. Try to think positive about that." The doctor's face creased with a series of lines and wrinkles.

"Saved her? How does she feel? Is she sharing the demons with me? Are hers worse than mine? Stronger, more agitating? Does she feel their grubby hands poking and prodding her mind as if she is a fattened pig headed to slaughter? I'm sure they are tormenting her worse than I can imagine. And you want me to take comfort in knowing she may or may not be getting help to fight these demons off just because we saved her?" The muscles in Belle's shoulders tightened spasmodically.

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