The two main characters, Jack Connor (the central protagonist of the first story) and Jeremy Stone (the series lead), of The Reckless Engineer celebrate Christmas the year before, and a storm is brewing that would explode less than ten months later.
Jeremy clutched his steering wheel in a low rage mixed with pain that had not lessened after all these months. He had pulled over outside Maggie’s house, having driven all the way to Southampton from London to surprise her, a wrapped present of diamond studded anklets forlorn on the seat next to him. Maggie had gorgeous feet with long French manicured toes and he had longed to see the anklets around them. That, however, was Gregory’s SUV in her driveway. Jeremy had been sure that Maggie and he were back together for good when she had driven over to his flat in London Kensington and stayed three nights with him just last week. The sex had been so intimate, powerful and he had poured his heart out to her about his worries about his new company. Radio Silicon’s had finished its first engineering contract a month ago and, try as he might, Jeremy had not been able to land another one in this recession. He needed her now. How could she be with him and then sleep with Gregory only a few days later as if she and he had never happened?
He couldn’t go home to Mother. He had told his parents that he was spending Christmas with Maggie. They loved Maggie and were so proud of her, and he had never told them that she had broken up and moved out.
He thought for a moment and pressed the fast-dial button on his mobile. ‘Hey, Harry. I’m coming over for Christmas after all. You still have a place open around your dinner table?’
Thank god for Harry, his best friend––as far as Jeremy was concerned, almost his brother. Growing up on the same street together, Jeremy had defended Harry from the playground bullies through their school years and Harry had bailed him out of all the trouble he got into during their university days together at Stanford. With another glance at Maggie’s house, which sent a pang of pain from this throat through his heart down to his gut, Jeremy put his car back into gear. The Fortnum & Mason hamper and the bottle of champagne in his back seat would go to Christmas dinner with him at Harry’s place.
* * *
The Family was gathered in the Sitting Room of the McAllen mansion in Aberdeen. After a hearty Christmas dinner they were now enjoying an assortment of deserts in the Sitting Room. It was eerie how much this room reflected the Sitting Room in his own house in Guildford, Jack thought; but then Caitlin and Douglas McAllen had directed the designs and the build of that part of their house and Caitlin had wanted her own little bit of Scotland right in the heart of Hampshire.
The men were in tartan kilts, a variation derived from the tartan of the MacAlister clan the family descended from. Douglas McAllen always insisted on it. Jack felt ridiculous in the skirt, but he would dare not show anything but enthusiasm to anyone in “The Family” even though he always privately complained about it to Caitlin. That morning he had had to follow the McAllen men and join a long procession of hundreds of Scottish clans for a slow march around Aberdeen to the wail of bagpipes after which they had been served steaming bowls of soup and bread at the church-hall. He had felt something primal and exhilarating about all that male tribal energy in the hall after the march and the buttered bread soaked in the soup had tasted so good.
Gillian was helping little one-year-old Kristie unwarp the presents around the brightly lit Christmas tree while the toddler’s proud parents, Ronnie and Elise, and grandma Leanna looked on, laughing and applauding. McAllen briefly stopped the discussion with Jack on the electromagnetic telemetry tool for detecting oil and gas reservoirs that was on Jack’s planning table at the McAllen Blackgold offices down south to look on at his granddaughters with a proud benevolent smile. The McAllen women were all in tartan skirts but for Caitlin who had had a pair of trousers made out of her family tartan. Caitlin always liked to wear the trousers.
A splash, splash of water drew Jack’s attention to the pool outside the large French patio doors. As usual Peter had tagged along up to Scotland with everybody and, as usual, he was swimming his evening laps outside in the heated swimming pool. As he had promised Marianne, Jack would fly down to Portsmouth with Peter tomorrow morning, leaving the rest of his family behind, and have Boxing Day dinner with his own kids, Peter and Mark, and his mother at Marianne’s.
A text vibrated the Blackberry in Jack’s hand. There wasn’t even a pocket to keep his phone on this bloody costume. Jesus, it was Michelle with one of those “sextexts” as she called them. It had been six months since he had got involved with Michelle and now he wanted out. He had broken up with her just before Christmas. A thought of fear ran through him like a chill. She had thrown a tantrum and threatened to tell Caitlin all about the affair and here she was invading this respectable family scene with a brash, explicit message that had a hint of a threat. He had better stop by her house before driving over to Marianne’s and pacify her. Jack knew what pacifying her meant––wild, clothes tearing, sweat pouring, neck biting, and loud groaning sex. Jack took in a deep breath, puffed out his cheeks, and blew out the air as if he were blowing into a bowl of hot butternut squash soup with bits of bacon in it.
The Reckless Engineer Blurb
Can you forgive betrayal?
The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out to those in the lives of the lovers, who will NOT take it lying down.
Jack Connor lives an idyllic life by the Portsmouth seaside married to Caitlin McAllen, a stunning billionaire heiress, and working at his two jobs as the Head of Radar Engineering of Marine Electronics and as the Director of Engineering of McAllen BlackGold, his powerful father-in-law’s extreme engineering company in oil & gas. He loves his two sons from his first marriage and is amicably divorced from his beautiful first wife, Marianne Connor. Their delicately balanced lives are shattered when the alluring Michelle Williams, with whom Jack is having a secret affair, is found dead and Jack is arrested on suspicion for the murder.
Jeremy Stone brings in a top London defence attorney, Harry Stavers, to handle his best friend’s defence.
Who is the bald man with the tattoo of a skull seen entering the victim’s house? Who is the “KC” that Caitlin makes secret calls to from a disposable mobile? Has the powerful Douglas McAllen already killed his daughter’s first partner, and is he capable of killing again? Is Caitlin’s brother’s power struggle with Jack for the control of McAllen Industries so intense that he is prepared to kill and frame him? Is the divorce from his first wife as amicable on her part as they believe it to be? Are his sons prepared to kill for their vast inheritance? Who are the ghosts from Caitlin’s past haunting the marriage? What is the involvement of Jack’s manager at Marine Electronics?
While Jack is charged and his murder trial proceeds in the Crown Court under barrister Harry Stavers’ expert care, Jeremy runs a race against time to find the real killer and save his friend’s life, if he is in fact innocent, in a tense tale of love, friendship, power, and ambition.
CONTEST: Jac is giving away $25 Amazon gift cards to two (2) randomly drawn people who comment or post questions on this blog post during his blog tour. Click HERE to submit your name and email address for 2 extra entries if you share this blog post on Facebook. Winners will be selected at the end of the tour on January 30.
Meet the author
Jac Wright is a poet published in literary magazines, a published author, and an electronics engineer educated at Stanford, University College London, and Cambridge who lives and works in England. Jac studied English literature from the early age of three, developing an intense love for poetry, drama, and writing in Trinity College Speech & Drama classes taken afternoons and Saturdays for fourteen years, and in subsequent creative writing classes taken during the university years. A published poet, Jac’s first passion was for literary fiction and poetry writing as well as for the dramatic arts. You will find these influences in the poetic imagery and prose, the dramatic scene setting, and the deep character creation.
These passions – for poetry, drama, literary fiction, and electronic engineering – have all been lovingly combined to create the first book in the literary suspense series, The Reckless Engineer. There are millions of professionals in high tech corporate environments who work in thousands of cities in the US, the UK, and the world such as engineers, technicians, technical managers, investment bankers, and corporate lawyers. High drama, power struggles, and human interest stories play out in the arena every day. Yet there are hardly any books that tell their stories; there are not many books that they can identify with. Jac feels compelled to tell their stories in The Reckless Engineer series.
Jac also writes the literary short fiction series, Summerset Tales, in which he explores characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances in the semi-fictional region of contemporary England called Summerset, partly the region that Thomas Hardy called Wessex. Some of the tales have an added element of suspense similar to Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. The collection is published as individual tales in the tradition of Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and Thomas Hardy’s Wessex Tales. The first tale, The Closet, accompanies the author’s first full-length literary suspense title, The Reckless Engineer.
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