Sabrina opened the red envelope and saw one word…
After learning the identity of the serial killer behind her 83 horrific days of rape and torture, Sabrina Vaughn has suffered more physical and emotional wounds than she can handle. Despite reeling with pain both old and new, Sabrina is given a second chance as a San Francisco homicide detective. But as reporters dog her every step and hordes of mail pour into her office — from supporters and nutjobs alike–Sabrina falls deeper into a pit of humiliation and anxiety. When nine red roses repeatedly show up on her desk, followed by an ominous red envelope
addressed to Calliope, Sabrina realizes that a new killer is targeting her. She is his chosen muse, and the Fates require sacrifice.
I have to be very careful in writing this review because book one is full of suspense and shocking events and the beginning of book two gives away those spoilers. As I write this I am trying to find a perfect balance because a huge part of this book is Sabrina recovering and accepting the truth of her torment from book one. So I will focus this review on events that the synopsis talks about to prevent ruining book one for you but please know that there is so much more to Sacrificial Muse than what I am able to write about in this review. So we begin this book with her recovering not only physically but more importantly emotionally and mentally from all that she lost and the truth
Detective Sabrina Vaughn has once again survived being kidnapped tortured and abused by the same man who did it to her years ago. Once he was able to find her, he was determined to break her once again. She not only survived she was able to put an end to his reign of terror, or so she thought. She also lost Michael from the first book because being together would put each other at risk.
Going back to work as a detective she struggles to keep the mask on showing the world she is good and this didn’t damage her. Her addiction to protecting her pride went up another level causing her to refuse to ask for help from
anyone. All of a sudden she started receiving nine roses and as time goes by the count drops by one rose but the body count starts rising. Since she had to accept that Michael was gone she is in a slow process of accepting that she needs to turn to another man and others that she can’t stand. Her pride is shattered because she must ask for help, but her passion for her job helps her accept the fact she can’t do it all alone. She is also having to deal with the press, people on the force want her gone, her family and friends know she needs mental health help to process all she has gone through and she is now facing the fact those she loves is being threaten. With all of this going on, plus still trying to recover from her own ordeal, trust is a huge thread in this book.
While this one wasn’t as graphic in violence and abuse, it kept the edge of your seat intensity going. I think my only stumbling block in this book was how fast she was thrown back into the path of a crazy killer after recovering from the events of the first book. The author showed us the mental torment she was going through, the nightmares that still haunt her and the fact the monster still lives inside of her abusing her mind once again, it felt too soon. I would have suggested that she start this book with a few more months between the events and explain what she has gone through during her recovery process more. I just continued to think while reading, it started out that she was still very emotionally weak, how is she holding up under this new investigation and everything that is thrown at her. It distracted me from the story a bit.
The writing style was consistent with the first book, which is important because we have all seen those first book hits and then the following suffer but the author kept the consistency of characters and style in book two. I still felt my heart race, my mind mangled and my anxiety building towards the end of this book but I was also left with a few questions as to what is next. I guess in other words I didn’t feel the closure that I had expected. I would definitely recommend these two books to anyone who loves mystery, suspenseful books and consider the twisted and dark touches a huge bonus. Make sure you get your copies of Carved in Darkness and Sacrificial Muse.
Croft smiled and came forward. She skirted around the hood of the car, throwing the uniforms and crowd a curt wave, “Thanks for the help, guys.”
“I’m sure. You two have better things to do than schlep my mess around,” she said, softening her refusal with a quick smile. Waiting for a break in traffic, she opened her door to see Croft leaning over the driver’s seat, his blood-stained hand hovering over the envelope that waited there.
“Don’t touch it.” She kept her voice low but his head snapped up and he moved back in his seat. The uniforms weren’t going to leave until she did, and neither was the impromptu film crew gathered on the sidewalk. Shit, even Little was still standing at The Sentinel’s window, waiting to see what she’d do next.
She looked down at the red square resting on her seat and weighed her options. The envelope that showed up
at the station had been handled and shuffled from counter to bag to box by multiple people before it reached her. Even if there had been prints or trace evidence on it, she’d had little to no hope of gathering any of it. This one was different. It was in her car. The only person who’d touched it so far was responsible for leaving it there. She needed to bag it, but there was no way she could preserve the evidence without doing so in full view of everyone watching her.
She dug a glove out of her back pocket and pulled it on. “Get a paper bag out of my glove box,” she said to Croft. He didn’t hesitate, didn’t ask—just opened the compartment in front of him and pulled out a bag. She snapped it open and dropped the envelope inside it before folding the top of the bag over. Sliding behind the wheel, she twisted around and placed the bag on the backseat before she started the car and pulled into traffic.
“That envelope. Does it have anything to do with what you asked your roommate last night about the word mox?” Croft finally said.
She shot him a look. “Why would you think that?”
He didn’t answer. “It does, doesn’t it?”
Sabrina pulled into the first parking lot she found and slammed on the brakes before throwing the car into park. “Did you put it in my car?”
“No.” Croft looked her in the eye when he said it. He was either telling the truth or he was a fabulous liar—God knew she’d been fooled before.
“But you’ve been following me all morning.” It wasn’t a question and Croft was smart enough to know he’d been caught.
He shrugged. “Just like any other day, right?”
“So, if you didn’t leave it, you saw who did.”
His eyes narrowed before he took a quick look at the bag behind him. “No, I didn’t. I figured out where you were going before you got there so I parked and made a few phone calls before I followed on foot. By the time I got there, you were already at your car.”
Truth or fabulous liar—she still couldn’t tell, but it didn’t matter. “Fine. You don’t know anything useful? Get out of my car.”
Croft settled deeper into his seat. “Maybe you just aren’t asking the right questions.”
Mox… it’s Latin. It means soon. For some reason, Croft had drawn an immediate connection between that word and the envelope left on her seat.
“The word—name—written on the front of that envelope. Is it Latin?” she said, every word sticking in her throat. Asking Croft for help was a painful thing.
“No, but you’re right, it’s a name. What do you know about Greek mythology?” he said, the corners of his mouth hugged tightly against the words as if he didn’t want to let them go.
“Zeus. Thunderbolts. Mount Olympus…” she said, trailing off impatiently. He just sat there, looking at her. “Look, Croft. Playing with me—not a good idea for anyone. For you, even less.”
He fixed her with a defiant glare. “I want to know what really happened that day in the woods.”
She’d known it was coming, but hearing him say it made her want to break his nose all over again. They stared at each other for a few seconds. “Forget it,” she said, reaching across his lap and opened his car door.
He shut the door. “You just beat me up. Me—the reporter who took your very private and very painful story national—in front of a newspaper office, not to mention several outraged citizens with camera phones.”
“What does it matter? You don’t even write for The Sentinel anymore.” Her voice sounded whiny and complaintive. It made her nauseous.
He ignored her. “Answers, Sabrina. Not just one. I want as many as I ask for, and I want the honest truth to every question I ask,” he said, his eyes burrowing into hers.
She sat back, glaring at him. “Or you’ll write a story about how I attacked you, unprovoked in the middle of the street. That I’m unhinged and should be locked up, is that it?” After what’d happened to Sanford—found dead in his truck, face caved in with a baseball bat—and the connection she had to his death, it would be as easy as breathing to convince the public that she was an unbalanced threat to society.
“That’s exactly it. I may not write for The Sentinel anymore but I’ve got plenty of freelance contacts.” His tone was hard. “A story about you finally losing your shit would be an easy sell.”
She’d be lucky if they let her write parking tickets after Croft was through with her—and he’d do it, even if he didn’t want to. She’d just had her career in homicide yanked out from under her. That was more loss than she could stomach for one day.
Croft’s mouth flopped open but he recovered quickly. “Yes? You’ll talk to me. Just like that?”
“You just successfully blackmailed me, Croft. Try not to sound so surprised.” She didn’t look at him, instead staring through the windshield, her hands wrapped around the steering wheel. He was quiet for a few moments. Sabrina wanted to believe that his guilt was getting to him but she knew better. Croft had been waiting months for an opportunity like this. Exclusive interviews from her far outweighed any regret he might feel over how he got her to cooperate. She finally looked at him. “The envelope—”
“Calliope is the name of one of the nine daughters Zeus fathered with the Titaness, Mnemosyne. They were given to a nymph, Eufime and Zeus’ son, Apollo, to be raised,” Croft said. “They grew to be known as the Nine Muses. Calliope was the superior muse. Protector of justice. Said to be the lover of both Apollo and his brother Ares, god of war. Conflicting stories had her bearing both of them sons.”
She reached back and plucked the evidence bag off the backseat, putting on a fresh pair of gloves before
opening it. Removing the envelope, Sabrina paused for a moment.
Wait. Take it back to the station. Have it processed properly.
She pulled the wax seal from the paper, slipping the card from its sheath before flipping it open. Inside, in the same beautiful lettering, was another message:
In mortem, et est soror tua.
Sabrina turned the card in Croft’s direction. “What does it say?”
He glanced down at the card, his mouth going flat for a second before it turned downward. He looked at her.
“My Latin is way rusty. I can’t be sure that—”
“Tell me,” she almost shouted, her voice bouncing off the windows.He sighed, his hands still wrapped around the shirt
she’d given him. “In mortem, et est soror tua…
as best I can tell… it means, in death, she is your sister.
From Sacrificial Muse by Maegan Beaumont. © 2014 by Maegan Beaumont. Used by permission from Midnight Ink Books, www.midnightinkbooks.com
May 8th 2013
by Midnight Ink
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Past horrors bleed into a present day nightmare
Fifteen years ago, a psychotic killer abducted seventeen year old Melissa Walker. For 83 days she was raped and tortured before being left for dead in a deserted church yard… But she was still alive.
Melissa begins a new life as homicide inspector, Sabrina Vaughn. With a new face and a new name, it’s her job to hunt down murderers and it’s a job she does very well.
When Michael O’Shea, a childhood acquaintance with a suspicious past, suddenly finds her, he brings to life the nightmare Sabrina has long since buried.
Believing that his sister was recently murdered by the same monster who attacked Sabrina, Michael is dead set on getting his revenge–using Sabrina as bait.
Maegan Beaumont is the author of CARVED IN DARKNESS, the first book in the Sabrina Vaughn thriller series (Available through Midnight Ink, spring 2013). A native Phoenician, Maegan’s stories are meant to make you wonder what the guy standing in front of you in the Starbucks line has locked in his basement, and feel a strong desire to sleep with the light on.
When she isn’t busy fulfilling her duties as Domestic Goddess for her high school sweetheart turned husband, Joe, and their four children, she is locked in her office with her computer, her coffee pot and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, and one true love, Jade.