Corkscrew Killer – New York State Troopers Book 9 by Jen Talty

The Corkscrew Killer
New York State Troopers Book 9
USA Today Bestselling Author
Jen Talty


All Kendal Rose wants is to put the past where it belongs and have started fresh with the rest of the Wine Wednesday group. However, when her friends are murdered, one by one, and Kendal is the best suspect, that becomes impossible.

New York State Trooper, Ryder Vaughn has one shot to get his career back on the right track. At first glance, the Corkscrew case appears to be open and shut. Only, Ryder smells a setup and he can’t let another innocent person go to jail.

Will Ryder and Kendal be able to solve the corkscrew murders before Ryder is forced to slap on the handcuffs and send the woman he’s falling in love with to prison? Or will Kendal end up in a body bag?

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Sometimes the past is painful and when you finally feel you can let it go, it just comes back to haunt you.

After reaching out to her group of friends they agree to get together to really put everything behind them. Kendal is the first to arrive and orders the same thing they had every Wednesday night when they were students here. It’s murder that interrupts that reunion, the murder of the woman they were waiting for. It’s Kendal who can identify her, she recognizes the cowboy boots Sylvie Leticia was wearing when Kendal dropped her at the hotel.

To top it all off, when she returns inside to get her purse along side the detective in charge, there’s an corkscrew in it. Something she doesn’t carry with her, even the wine they ordered had a screw top not a cork.

Just to make things more interesting, the detective in charge is one Ryder Vaughn, is Kendal’s boss’s ex-husband. Now just to be clear, Kendal is a criminal defense lawyer, but she is surprised when Sarah Moffit her boss comes to defend her. The thing is she really didn’t do it and there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to her.

Ryder doesn’t think Kendal is guilty, but she is definitely being set up, unfortunately for him, it seems he is also being targeted to fall.

This is a favorite scene.

The kitchen light clicked off, and Ryder headed for his car. He stopped in the middle of the street and wasn’t sure if he was amused or mortified. “Guess I’m busted.”

Leave. Run. Do anything but engage with the person of interest.

Ryder stuffed his hands in his pockets and made his way back to Kendal’s house. “What gave me away?” Curiosity was going to get him fired.

“I saw the bushes move and your silver pendant caught the light from my neighbor’s house.”

“So, why call me out?”

“I thought you might be hungry?” Kendal asked, holding up a sandwich in one hand and her glass of wine in the other.

“Actually, I am, and I love mustard.” He put on his most charming smile. “Thanks.”

“What would Jared say if I called him and said you were peeking into my windows?”

“He knows I’m here,” Ryder admitted. “Thanks to my ex-wife, your boss, I’m on a very short leash.” He snagged the sandwich and took a huge bite. “Oh, my God, that’s good.” He took her hand and tugged her to the front stoop. “Let’s sit and talk like civilized people.”

“Are you generally uncivilized?”

He took another bite, enjoying the spicy mustard flavor as he plopped himself down on her front stoop. “I can honestly say I’m almost always a gentleman.”

“Really? I think Sarah would beg to differ.”

He laughed. “I can only imagine what she might have said about me.”

“Why are you here?” She took a sip of her wine.

“You’re a person of interest in an alleged murder. I’m doing my due diligence.” He stuffed the rest of the sandwich in his mouth and chewed slowly while he held up his finger. “Why are you feeding me?”

“Because I want information, so consider it a bribe.”

“What do you want to know?” he asked.

“Do you have any other suspects? What other angles are you checking into?”

“I can’t tell you any of that.”

She tapped her pretty little toes on the pavement.

“You’re barefoot,” he said.

“I don’t like shoes. Arrest me.” Her glare tore into his body like a rocket screaming toward the sky. “I take it you have questions for me?”

“I noticed Seth gave you a ride home. Are the two of you heating things up?”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but no. Not even close. Tonight was the first time I’ve seen him in years.”

“How many years?” He’d keep asking questions until she told him to leave.

“Maybe six or seven.”

“Has he tried reaching out to you? Text messages? Emails?”

She shook her head. “I hadn’t planned on seeing him at all this weekend. I don’t think any of the other girls had planned on it either.”

“Why not? You were all very close at one time. I mean, he was your boyfriend at one time as well as Sylvie’s. Why leave him out?”

“Because he’s not part of the Wine Wednesday gang, and the history he brings to the group would make things awkward. Any other questions?”

“I’m surprised you’re still talking with me.” He rubbed his hands over his jeans and stood, tired of looking up at the dark-haired beauty with killer legs that went on forever. “I’m sure my ex-wife has filled your head with a lot of negative things about me.”

“I make my own judgments about people, but since we’re discussing this, I get the impression you think I’m guilty.”

He waved his finger in the air. “Nope. That is where you are wrong. Despite that I believe the murder weapon was found in your purse, my gut says you’re far from guilty.”

Kendal’s eyes grew wide.


“Honestly, I don’t believe you, especially since I found you poking around my house.”

He smiled. “I followed your friends to the hotel and then came here because I’m concerned for your safety.” He didn’t have a good handle on the case. The details hadn’t come together, allowing him to formulate the basis of his investigation, but every bone in his body screamed that Kendal was being set up.

“You’re not concerned for my friends?” she asked with scathing glare.

“We have someone driving by the hotel.”

Kendal laughed. “The only reason you’re here is to find a way to make sure I’m viewed as the killer.”

“Wow. Sarah must really be telling some tall tales.” He raked a hand through his hair, giving his scalp a good scratch.

Kendal blinked, her long lashes floating in the air like a butterfly. “I think it’s best you leave.”

“Thanks for the sandwich,” he said. “Maybe when this is all over, we can have a drink to go with it.”

“Are you seriously asking me out?”

“I know, crazy, but I’m that confident you’re not guilty.”

“And I’m confident you’re full of shit.”

“Because my ex-wife said so? You know, she used to talk about you when we were married. Never anything good, but that’s because she’s jealous of you, and now that I’ve met you, I totally understand why. You’re everything she’s not.”
Jen Talty. The Corkscrew Killer (Kindle Locations 516-560).

Things go sideways pretty quickly as her one of her other friends is killed and the other goes missing.

A romance that begins in spite of the fact it shouldn’t and the investigation that leads to Kendal and Ryan hiding out to do the research needed to figure all this out.

I love this series and I am way behind in it. I’ll have to work on catching up to this book soon.

5 Contented Purrs for Jen!

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Jen Talty

Welcome to my World! I’m a USA Today Bestseller of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance.

I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.

I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.

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