When we last met, I had just been appointed interim dean of the school of journalism at Mountain West University. After a few a harrowing months, my faculty asked me to run for the position of permanent dean. I was astounded. Several of them had done nothing but give me a dreadful time.
My interviews with the search committee have gone well, so far. A few bumps but no catastrophes. I really want this job. As it turns out, I absolutely love management even though I once thought I never would want to lead a faculty group, especially a group of argumentative academic journalists. But since my red hair prompted them to give me the nickname of The Red Queen, I seem to enjoy the idea of governing and the prospect of giving the occasional order and making decisions.
On the other hand, leadership can be a heavy burden. For example, every time a student gets into deep trouble, I get a call. And today I found out about a student who is missing and her roommate is sure she’s in terrible danger.
Worse yet, I’m set to go to a meeting of a committee that quarrels for hours about the sexual assault policy for the university. If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you know that every university in the country is worrying about how to handle sexual assault complaints. Well, my committee is composed of ardent feminists and a few male troglodytes who still don’t get it when we try to explain why giving a girl drugs or getting her drunk and leading her into your bedroom does not count as consensual. These guys still think sexual assault is about sex. We think it’s about violence.
Fortunately, my love life has improved. Joe Morgan, police detective and superb lover, and I are still an item and see each other most days of the week, He’s tall, beautifully built and he cooks. Lasagna, pot roast, chili, Filet of Sole Meuniere. The man is a magician in my kitchen. A perfect match for a hard working woman. Oh, and he has incredible green eyes. I mean dark green, like emeralds.
Tonight he is making wild salmon freshly arrived from San Francisco. I am a lucky woman. We share a life with a glorious Golden Retriever named Charlie and are privileged to ski, hike and live in northern Nevada where we enjoy the best four season climate in America.
So when I balance off the demands of my job and the joys of my life, I feel fortunate.
Except for the one problem that threatens my good fortune. I am a fanatic about campus crime. That’s why I joined the committee on sexual assault and that’s why I pursue any crime committed against my faculty members or my students. This drives my handsome detective crazy. I take stupid risks to discover evidence. Last year I was nearly strangled by the deranged professor who had killed our dean because I stupidly let myself be alone with him in a deserted place. And, even though I have taken a course in self-defense since then, Joe damn near loses his mind every time I insist on joining the hunt for a dangerous campus criminal.
You’d think I’d learn after such brutal experiences, but it seems I don’t. Because now I will begin to search for my missing student and, if I knew what my readers know about the guy who took her, I would be scared to death.
The Rise of the Red Queen is the second book in a trilogy, published by Henery Press, that focuses on Bourne’s interest in the causes and consequences of campus violence. The first book in the series is The Red Queen’s Run.
About the author
Bourne Morris began writing when she was ten and her teacher suggested she write a play. She learned to love writing almost as much as reading. She wrote poetry and literary criticism at Bennington College, and after that, worked in the fiction department of McCall’s Magazine and then found a job as a copywriter in an advertising agency. She worked happily at Ogilvy&Mather, New York during the “Mad Men “ era. David Ogilvy and his colleagues treated her wonderfully, promoted her several times and then sent her west to become head of their agency in Los Angeles. She had a splendid run in advertising.
In 1983, Bourne joined the University of Nevada Reno as a full professor in Journalism where she taught until 2009. She learned about campus politics when she served as chair of the faculty senate. She retired to write fiction in 2009 after a wonderful teaching career. Now she lives in a beautiful part of northern Nevada with a generous and supportive husband who puts up with her obsession with murder, betrayal, kidnapping, sexual assault and all kinds of criminal behavior. Visit her at bournemorris.com.