7:00 a.m. – Awakens to find orange juice three days past expiration date and favorite cereal only fills half the bowl. Showers, dresses in jeans and a sweatshirt, picks up something at the local Quik Trip after filling Dodge.

8:00 a.m. – Arrives at her private investigator’s office to find secretary, Darren, already behind desk with that day’s assignments ready. He already has completed most of the background checks and just needs Mallory to sign off on paperwork. Mallory spends the rest of the morning investigating her usual array of oddball cases including:

  • Investigating the claim from an elderly lady that UFOs were flying by her house. Fifteen minutes later, Mallory determines there were really flying saucers…from the neighbor practicing his Frisbee throwing for an upcoming tournament. Apparently, he needed a little more practice.
  • Hiding in a casket at a local funeral home to discover who was vandalizing the chapel. Investigation to be delayed until another time when a mourner got lost and entered the incorrect viewing room and was given the shock of her life when Mallory sat up.

Noon – Mallory grabs a quick lunch and is off to follow a suspected cheater. She discovers him getting personal ‘aerobics’ lessons from a local fitness instructor in the back room of the woman’s club, including an interesting use of a set of resistance tubes.

1 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Interviews witnesses for the law firm that regularly hires her. The case concerns multiple suits stemming from a bar fight that resembled an Old West brawl two weeks previous. Apparently the fight started, then escalated, when one woman ‘accidentally’ pulled off the wig of a rival. Taking a break from the crazy interviews, she stops into a convenience store for a bottle of Dr Pepper and is next to a guy when he pulls out a gun to rob the place. Without hesitation, she round kicks him in the back of the head and disables him for the police. She still has to pay for her soda.

4 p.m. – Says goodbye to Darren and heads to pick up supper and then to her martial arts club for afternoon and evening classes.

9 p.m. – Personal workout on her own taekwondo form.

10 p.m. – Back home for a quick call to her boyfriend, Lawrence, who lives in the Quad Cities, then off to bed.

Not all days are like this for our heroine Mallory Petersen, Fourth Degree Black Belt and private investigator. Every now and then a serious case comes along like the kidnapping of an eight year old girl (as detailed in Mallory’s first adventure, Beta) and the murder of her boyfriend (the one before Lawrence, as detailed in Alpha). Then she’s all business. In Alpha, she contends with dirty cops, a drug kingpin, gang members, and a narcotics distribution ring.

Meet the author
Stephen L. Brayton owns and operates Brayton’s Black Belt Academy in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is a Fifth Degree Black Belt and certified instructor in The American Taekwondo Association. He began writing as a child; his first short story concerned a true incident about his reactions to discipline. During high school, he wrote for the school newspaper and was a photographer for the yearbook. For a Mass Media class, he wrote and edited a video project. In college, he began a personal journal for a writing class; said journal is ongoing. He was also a reporter for the college newspaper. During his early twenties, while working for a Kewanee, Illinois radio station, he wrote a fantasy based story and a trilogy for a comic book. He has written numerous short stories both horror and mystery.

His website is: and he has two blogs at: and

Check out Alpha and Beta at

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