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e-book cover for Kiss Me DeadKiss Me Dead - first book in the erotic Jen Madden murder mystery series.

What does a female detective do when she discovers her own body is the murder weapon?
Foxy, sexy, super-sharp. Jen Madden is a blast!

Reformed optimist and rampantly bisexual advertising copywriter, Jen Madden, discovers that the people who sleep with her, drop dead. To find out why, she becomes the reluctant detective. And this lures her into one of the steamiest BDSM lesbian relationships you'll ever read.

This ingenious mystery novel will baffle you to the end.

If you like your chick lit crime dark, raunchy, erotic, Jen's for you. (75,000 words)

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Read the start of Kiss Me Dead here: (Sections deleted to protect the innocent.)


The first thing we hear is a scream. High pitched but male.
    What the ****?
    We're sinking?
    The boat's on fire?
    I *** ****** ***** and we dash, ******* ********** ******, into the stateroom. There's a single red globe and it makes the space look like a broom cupboard in hell.
    Maxine and Danny are perched bolt upright like meerkats on the bunk.  ***** ****** **** **** *****  All her interesting bits are quivering with fright.
    The screams come from the client, Michael, who's writhing on the floor and seems to be trying to tear the flesh from his chest. Then, face contorted with pain, he arches, goes rigid and slumps.
    'Michael?' Viv gasps and rushes to her husband, face blank with shock. As she waves her hand in front of his eyes the rock on her finger glints.
    I check the guy's pulse. He has the heartbeat of a sex doll. If this were a horror flick you'd cue the ant to walk across his eye.  
    'He's dead?' Maxine squeaks.
    'You're not wrong.'
    She covers her gaping mouth with her hand.
    Then a yell comes from Danny, 'Jesus Christ!'
    Next, he's hugging his gut, face distorted and grunting. He doubles up and pitches off the bunk.
    Maxine gives a petrified howl.
    Danny's yelling with pain, eyes like piss holes in the snow. His hands clench like claws and one leg jerks like he's wired for ECT.
    Then the jerking stops.
    He's just a shape on the coir matting.
    I don't get it. He's checked out, too?
    Dead people in cop shows have the meaningless stares of puppets. But this pair looks as if they've been eaten alive from inside.
    Five mother-naked people, two dead, and we're miles from anywhere. We boggle at each other. It's as preposterous as Tosca Act Three.
   I feel Danny's wrist. Zilch. I shove him like a child pushes a faulty windup toy - not because I'm irreverent but because it's so hard to take this in. I've been his willing dish mop for years. I'm half his harem *********. The other half, the grieving widow doux, is still keening like an Arctic wolf.
    I gawk at the others. 'What did this? Did they eat something we didn't?' My voice sounds as if I'm in a tunnel. I'm numb and thank God for that.
    'We all had the same,' Viv clings to the bunk as if she might fall.
    There's no point asking Maxine what happened. She won't be making sense for some time.
    I look at Viv, 'Better ring 000. Where are we? Do you know?'
    'Off Hungry Beach.' Her eyes are dull.
    'So we wait for the water police?'
    'No. Because they'd take us to Ettalong.'
    Stuff that, I think. The place is half way to Gosford. I can do without a midnight tour of the Central Coast.
    She says, 'We'd be better to get back to the wharf.'
    'So you can drive this thing?'
    She nods.
    The two of us struggle into our clothes. My shoes seem to have shrunk a size. I tell the blubbering mess that's Maxine not to touch anything but she doesn't seem to hear.
    Two stiffs and mourner in the buff? A nudist's funeral! Naked we come. Naked we go. Die young and have a good-looking corpse.
    Viv calls out. 'Jen? Need your help.'
    I drag up to the cockpit.
    She's in the seat behind the wheel. 'You go up front. I'll start the engine and go slow ahead. When the anchor cable's hanging straight down you press the red button. It starts the winch.'
    So much for romance. Suddenly she's the skipper and I'm demoted from object of desire to deckhand. A whiff of money or self-interest and sensuality gets the big A.
    I edge around the wheelhouse, clinging to the safety-rail. Dark water laps at the hull like the tentacles of doom. A spotlight on top of the deckhouse suddenly floods the pointy end. The exhausts gurgle, the boat shudders and drifts ahead. When the anchor line falls behind the prow, I press the tit and a motor whines.
    As the dripping rope comes up so does my dinner in a technicolour yawn, arcing to the blackness below.
    I taste bile, wipe my mouth and hit the button again. Finally, the anchor clears the water. I wave back and she switches to idle.
    Then she's beside me, guiding the anchor into the hawse-pipe. 'You all right?'
    'Do I look it?'
    She's ashen herself but helps me up. 'Come on. Back inside.'
    I stand near her in the wheelhouse as she pushes the dual throttles forward. The bow lifts and everything vibrates. She points to the illuminated compass card. 'Hold that bearing. I'll ring the police. Watch out for lights. There could be other boats about.' She goes down to the saloon.
    I perch on the chair behind the wheel, the compass blurring in front of me. The planing hull jolts as it bashes into each crest, outside the sloping windscreen - blackness. For all I know we're heading for rocks.
    The two of them carking it together? It makes no sense.
    She returns flicking shut her mobile and takes the wheel.
    I shout above the racket. 'What did they say?'
    'They'll meet us at the marina.' She's still functioning on remote.
    'Do you feel all right?'
    'I mean, sick? Like throwing up?'
    'Not poisoned if that's what you mean.'
    I go below to check on Maxine. I have to step over the bodies because she's curled up on the bunk.
    I pull her hands away from her face. Her makeup's streaked like an Indian brave. 'You better get some gear on. You're going to be talking to the fuzz.'
    She doesn't seem to hear and recoils like a spring.
    I stagger back up to the stern deck to let the night air clear my brain and stare at the wash as it streams behind like a shroud.
    Two guys **** Maxine, then die?
     Does that mean she's lethal?
    I don't buy it. She's a stroppy bitch but no assassin.
    No, there's something I'm not seeing here. Something I know I've missed - some small detail that makes sense of what's gone down. Was it something that Danny or Maxine said this morning? I hit the repeat button in my memory and start to replay the day...

    It's 10.30 AM and I'm sitting in the agency trying to write the frigging Glamglo commercial when Danny rocks in and perches on my desk as if he designed it. 'So we'll pick you up at eight?'
    'And this shindig's on their yacht?'
    'Not a yacht, a fifty foot gin bin with two staterooms. You can wear high heels and knickers are optional.' He's an agency suit, so he'll turn on anything to keep the account - special boxes to sporting events, parties with paid sluts and Ice...
    'Is this classified as client contact?' I bat my lost doe eyes. 'Then I want more perks. You heard it here.'
    'Lighten up.' He flashes infuriating dimples and decamps, leaving the hint of budget-busting aftershave.
    I don't like it. Just because I **** him and his squeeze doesn't make me cool about a five-some. I feel used and grab the blower, wanting to sound off to Maxine.
    She says, 'Hi, hon. Set for tonight?'
    'Dunno. Rather just be with you.'
    'Sweetie. You will be.'
    I can smell her warm skin now, ***** **** ******** ********** ****** **** 'So why are we doing this? Just to keep the PetPrad account?' PetPrad is the pet food giant - turns orphaned joeys into mince to feed Pekinese. 'And how do we know we won't end up the object of their infections?'
    'The client ***************.'
    ******* ************ ************ ****** ************ ****** ********** **********
    I've met the pair at agency dinners. They're South African and loaded. The MD of the agency trots me out as window dressing. It's exploitation. There are two types in agencies, the creatives and the suits. And I'm a creative, not some bloody client-contact drone.
    She senses I'm pissed off. 'Anyway they take care of themselves. They're clean. We've never had health issues.'
    'So how come I'm the sacrificial lamb?'
    'They're your biggest account. It's a war zone, love.'
    'Like do we have to ***** *****?'
    'One way or the other!'
    'Wasn't in the job description.'
    'Very droll. Now they'll smoke or be on Meth. But they won't mind you getting smashed on Bolly.'
    She knows I'm ticked off by drearies in the agony-of-ecstasy rave scene and can't stand tribute acts that think it's cool to be ill. I was born hyper anyway - need a CNS depressant - so drink the world pretty. Call it ethics if you like.
    Then she tells me what she'll wear: the fake brown silk number with the V-neck that shows off her olive skin and sensual body. She says, 'See you tonight. And we'll... share dessert, okay?
    I hang up, ***** ********** *****.  
    Where the hell was I?
    I squint back at the laptop - at my vomit-making thirty-second spot for shampoo. I need a cute slogan and I'm bleeding from the brain.
    Then Jack Norton, the agency MD shoves his head through the door. 'Hi, Foxy. Good luck for tonight.' He winks obscenely and goes.

    That was the kickoff. No glaring revelations there. But I know I'm not seeing something and it won't leave me alone.
    I cling to the railing of the boat, face into the wind. We've rounded West Head. The breeze is stronger. I can see the lights of Palm Beach.
    So is the clue in something that happened after we shipped on this plastic fantastic?
    It nags at me.
    I think back to the start of the cruise...

    The gin-palace chafes its fenders at the Newport marina. Super-high fly bridge. An egomaniac's wet dream. We cruise, exhausts burbling, past the forest of rocking masts, past the floating white elephants that never leave their moorings.
    It's almost dark and the running lights are on. Pittwater at night. Romantic. But I'm cold in this off the shoulder tube.
    Danny's in the wheelhouse, snowing the client. Maxine's in the saloon organizing food. I'm near the stern in the shelter of the wheelhouse with Viv, the client's wife. She's got the designer dress, the oh-so casual bling, but seems uncomfortable in it, like someone in uniform.
    'Chilly wind.' She opens a locker and pulls out two sou'westers. 'Here, put this on.'
    As she half-vanishes beneath one jacket, she says, 'Musto. They're good.'
    All seriously wealthy types are slaves to brands. She's a greyhound of a woman, small and thin with a narrow face, and nervous. As she helps me with my zip, I ***** ******* ****  *****  ******.
    She moves the zipper up in little jerks as if dressing a favourite child.   **** **** ****. 'Can I tell you a secret?'
    I nod.
    'I've ***** ****** ******** *******.'
    Maxine bawls up the companionway. 'Viv, I can't find the bleeding can-opener.'
    'Coming.' She dashes off like she's seen the fake bunny, leaving me alone under gem-bright stars.
    There's not much swell and West Head's a vague silhouette. Creaming out astern is the phosphorescent wake. I feel warm, content, expectant.
    It's going to be a wonderful night.
    ***** ******* ******* ******* ******* ***** So I head for the head. It has a floor-length mirror on the door. I have a pee, then check out how I look.
    Amazing really. Despite a brain like a sewer and a heart of molten lead, a beautiful innocent stares back at me. Sure, I work at it a bit, if you count lifting weights and jogging - tight is might - but the rest is genetics: big liquid eyes, adorable nose, small trim frame with great lift and separation, child-aborting hips and a pert Asian cutie's arse that's consumer-friendly to the palm. And if I open my mouth and stare up, I'm a pre-Raphaelite Madonna. Nature imitating art!
    It's quite a facade for an emotionally flatlined cynic - a rig that can charm birds from the trees and melt strong men into mozzarella. And it has the same effect on women, which helps when you're bi. There's nothing more effective than looking like a fallen angel. You can slide out of practically anything. It's better than a diplomatic passport.
    I apply more lippy and head back to the action.
    We round West Head and anchor off what looks like a small beach but hard to see in the dark. It's peaceful. You can smell eucalyptus, hear the water lapping against the bow and feel the slow jerk as the cable takes up.
    Our hosts don't put on music. And I don't read them as spaced out on ye old artificial chemical bond. We eat the curried remains of dead animals, slurp Cabernet like siphons and the chat gets wackier by the minute.
    Maxine, across the cabin table, has *** ***** ******* but she's pretending to be fascinated by the skipper who's blathering about the pet-food game.
    'And you never make mistakes?' Maxi asks him.
    'I did once when I thought I'd made one. But I hadn't.'
    'You're not serious.'
    'I am. I never lie. We'll actually that's not quite true.'
    Danny, who's sitting beside me, pumps out another one-liner. 'Reminds me of the guy who thought he was decisive but now he's not so sure.'
     The client walks his fingers up Maxine's arm until they *** ***** **** ******. 'Oops!' he says. 'Anarchic hand.' Then he does a production number, fighting to drag the wayward mitt back by the wrist.
    Maxine cackles, right into it. I don't know what's got into her. She's been strange these last weeks, as if there's something she's not telling me.
    ***** ****** ************* ****** ****** ********* ******** ****** ******* ***** ******
    The evening deteriorates nicely. Soon the greyhound wife is staring at me, lips apart. Her delicate frame in that high-necked, backless dress makes her look like the Royal Doulton goose girl. I'm ******* ***** ******** **********    Maxine's ******** ****** ******, an indication that it's time. Michael takes the cue, lurches up and pulls her arm. 'Did I ever show you the rope locker? It's just forward of the main stateroom.'
    'Sounds fascinating.' She gets up and sways against him.
    'I'd like to see that.' Danny gets up, too.
    'Into bondage?' the client grins.
    'I wear a watch.'
    The course of the evening is set. It's kicking off as an ambidextrous threesome.
    The stateroom door closes on them leaving me with the wife.
    Our hands meet across the table.
    All's right with the world.
    The second cabin's cosy. I can't quite remember how we get there. ************ ********** ******************* ******************** ************ ************ ********** ***** ** *** *********** ******** ********* ******* ********* ****** ****************** **** **** ** *** 
    Then we hear the first scream.
     Here endeth the replay of the day. There's a clue in there somewhere. I'm sure of it. But I'm stuffed if I can spot it.
    And there's no time to analyze it now. The wharf looming up ahead is like a crash site - red and blue flashing lights dancing across the chequered strip on the side of a squad car.
    The shit's about to hit the fan.

About the author:

Peta FoxAdvertising writer Peta Fox has made a name for herself with her wry and jaded whodunits featuring the foxy Jen Madden, a bi-sexual Aussie sleuth. The totally pissed-off Jen has a satirical take on life and specializes in sex crimes. We list the first three murder mysteries in this edgy, unusual and deftly written series.