The Men with the Golden Cuffs(3)

By: Lexi Blake


She shook her head. “No. I don’t know. What I mean is I have no idea who this guy is. I’m divorced, but I can’t imagine Doyle would do this to me. He’s an asshole, but he’s really upfront about it.”

Adam wasn’t convinced. When a woman was being systematically stalked, the proper place to start was with an ex. “Your divorce was acrimonious?”

The little huff that came out of her mouth told Adam all he needed to know. “My divorce was started by my ex-husband. He blindsided me. I thought we were happy. We’ve been divorced for almost three years. He’s not interested in me physically. Believe me, he made that plain. And this guy seems very interested, if you know what I mean.”

But Adam didn’t buy that her ex was completely uninterested. If he was male and had working parts and the right bent, he would be interested. Adam let it go for now. “Fine. Tell me what happened.”

“It started really simply. I have a Facebook fan page. Uhm, it’s nothing special, just a place where I talk to fans and post excerpts. But a couple of months ago I got a friend request from someone named Joshua Lake. I thought it was kind of cool because he’s one of my most popular characters. I thought it was cute. It was fine at first. And then it got weird.”

“What do you mean by weird?”

Her face flushed. There was no doubt in Adam’s mind that this woman truly believed she was in danger. “He started to send me private messages. I’ll be honest. At first I thought it was a woman. Most men don’t read romance novels.”

“I would assume you don’t have a lot of male fans. Do you often have men who try to friend you?” The internet was full of predators. Social networks often made ripe picking grounds.

“Usually they’re in the business. I know a lot of cover models, agents, editors. It’s people like that. I knew the minute I got the request that this was a fan. He knew too much about my work. This is a person who has read all my books.”

Adam was definitely interested. “You said it got weird? What were his private messages like?”

“At first I thought he was just role-playing.”

Jake pulled out his phone. He pushed off the desk. “Yes, I’d like to talk to Lieutenant Brighton. Please let him know it’s Jake Dean.”

Serena shook her head. “Oh, the officer assigned to my case was named Chitwood.”

Adam waved her off as Jake stepped away, talking quietly on the phone. “I’m sure they assigned someone very junior to your case. We know Lieutenant Brighton from our Army days. He’s sort of our liaison when we have cases involving the local police. I’m sure Jake would just like to get his hands on the source material. I take it the police have transcripts of all the conversations?”

“Yes. Apparently the network kept the conversations on file even after I unfriended him. I blocked him as well.”

Adam could guess what happened next. “And he simply changed his name and came back.”

“Yes. And he was angry. He laid low for a few weeks and then told me that I wouldn’t be able to get rid of him. He called me arrogant for even thinking that I could brush him aside. I blocked him again. That was when he showed up on my personal page.”

Adam frowned. This man seemed very determined. Usually the trollers gave up after the first rejection and went on to find easier prey. “How well known are you?”

“As Amber Rose? I have a following. I make my living this way. I sell tens of thousands of downloads every quarter. But I could be in a room with two hundred people and the likelihood of someone knowing me is very small. Even a successful author isn’t very famous. I’ve never hit the Times. I probably won’t, but I have some crazy fan girls. I didn’t get really worried until he sent a friend request to me as Serena Brooks.”

Adam didn’t like the sound of that. “How closely do you guard your name?”

Her hands threaded together in her lap, a sure sign that she was very nervous about the whole situation. “I’ve tried to keep it out of everything. Obviously my publisher, my agent and editor know my real name, but no one else does.”

“Not even your friends?” If this woman didn’t have a few deeply close friends, he would shoot himself. He would bet a lot on the fact that she developed intimate relationships. Perhaps not with many people, but there would be a few who would know all of her secrets.