"It all started 18 years ago..."
Reviewed by Sharon Salituro
Posted March 1, 2017
Suspense | Inspirational Mystery
Stephanie was an airline stewardess who got
involved in a smuggling ring and now wants nothing more
than to get out of it. She plans to go to
the police and report everything, but she is murdered
before this could happen. Jimmy, who has always been in
love with Stephanie, is convicted of her murder, but
he recalls nothing of that night.
Eighteen years later, Andi is still haunted by her
sister death. She gets a phone call from Lacey, one of her
sister's old roommates. Lacey tells Andi
that she has some information on her sister's death.
Lacey can prove that Jimmy didn't kill her sister. Andi
never meets up with Lacey, and now Lacey is found dead.
Will is assigned to the case. He has never been convinced
that his cousin Jimmy
killed Stephanie. Now, new evidence has come to light. This
always been a sore subject between him and Brad, the
of Andi and Stephanie. While Will wants to check
everything out, Brad is really upset that Will would want
to open this up again after eighteen years. Andi on the
other hand is ready to check everything out.
Can justice be had for Jimmy?
Patricia Bradley writes a great mystery novel. I did
get a little confused by some of the characters in this
book. There are several side stories that all fall
together at the end of the book. I also liked that
Bradley did add a little romance in this book, not a
lot, she just touched on the heat between Andi and Will.
Bradley also shows how sometimes people jump to untrue
conclusions. I loved the way that the
characters all fall into place in JUSTICE DELAYED. What
really was between
all of them? I would love to see another book that shows
what happens to Andi and Will. Did they get together and
It's been eighteen years since TV crime reporter Andi
Hollister's sister was murdered. The confessed killer is
behind bars, and the execution date is looming. But when
letter surfaces stating that the condemned killer didn't
actually do it, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis
Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the
bottom of it. After all, this case is personal: the
who confessed to the crime is Will's cousin. They have
than a week to find the real killer before the wrong
is executed. But much can be accomplished in that
week--including uncovering police corruption, running for
your life, and falling in love.
With the perfect mixture of intrigue and nail-biting
suspense, award-winning author Patricia Bradley invites
readers to crack the case--if they can--alongside the
Memphis has to offer.
ExcerptNEW YEAR’S EVE
Paris, France. She should be ecstatic to be here on the
cusp of a new year. Stephanie Hollister pushed aside the
hotel’s heavy brocade curtains and looked out over the
city. The setting sun provided a beautiful backdrop for
the Eiffel Tower. She didn’t have to ask how her ex-
boyfriend afforded such a room.
Stephanie turned from the window, and her mouth dried as
she stared at the diamonds on the crimson duvet. Briefly,
she closed her eyes, but the image of the stones
remained, and she opened her eyes again.
“Beautiful, aren’t they? Not a one under three carats.”
JD’s voice was as slick as snake oil.
Stephanie clenched her jaw. She had promised herself
after the last shipment that there wouldn’t be another.
She drew her gaze away from the bed.
“I told you last time was it.” She hated the fluttering
in her voice. She hated, too, the way her heart pounded
just from being this close to him. Get a grip. He used
“It’ll be ten thousand cash, like before.”
Ten thousand dollars could not buy peace of mind or wash
away the shame of breaking the law. “I only came here to
tell you to leave me alone. If you don’t, I’ll . . . turn
you in to the authorities.”
“That would not be a wise thing to do.” He ran his thumb
down her cheek.
The suggestion in his eyes sent shivers through her body.
He only wants what you’ll do for him. She scooped the
diamonds into the velvet pouch beside them and slapped
the bag into his hands. “Get Jillian to do it—what’s a
few more diamonds for her to smuggle? And don’t ever ask
me to smuggle diamonds for you again. I’m not doing it.”
He grabbed her wrist. “Don’t get any bright ideas about
going to the authorities. I’d hate for anything to happen
to that pretty little sister of yours.”
“You touch my sister and I’ll kill you.”
He laughed softly, the menace in his face vanishing as he
released her arm. “You know I wouldn’t hurt her. So,
when’s your flight leave?”
His personality changed like a chameleon. She wanted to
step away and escape the seductive scent of his
aftershave, but his gaze kept her feet from moving. “Two
hours. You’re not on it?”
“No. I’m not going back until the weekend. So I have a
couple of days to see the sights of Gay Paree.” He
fingered the top button of her blouse, sliding it open.
“Too bad you can’t hang around.”
“Yeah, too bad.” Stephanie jerked away from him and
turned again toward the view of the Eiffel Tower. Not in
a million years. She fastened her button, then gathered
her purse and jacket. She would not come under his spell
“See you in the States.” His voice held a promise.
Not if she saw him first. She shut the door firmly behind
On board the 747, Stephanie’s fingers shook as she
adjusted a passenger’s carry-on and closed the overhead
bin. As hard as saying no had been, she’d done it. Then
why didn’t she feel . . . free?
Because he’d crooked his little finger, and she’d gone
running to him. Had she really believed JD wanted to see
her? It was never about her, always about him. He didn’t
take the risk. No, he had his network of flight
attendants to do the dirty work for him.
Stephanie shivered. That first, and only, time she’d been
standing in line to go through customs, she realized if
they caught her smuggling the diamonds into the States,
she would face jail time. The thought scared her so much
that she almost fainted. She’d seen JD for who he really
was that day, and she didn’t like what she’d become
because of him.
But that hadn’t been the only reason she refused to
smuggle again. She hadn’t known a lot about conflict
diamonds because she chose not to, but one day while she
was flipping through the TV channels, she stopped on a
story about the diamond mines in Sierra Leone.
When she saw the emaciated children mining for the rough
stones, the horror of what she’d done hit her. It was
because of people like her who looked the other way that
children were forced into slave labor, working twelve
hours a day or more to pan for the stones. And it didn’t
end there. The documentary went on to show thirteen-year-
old boys bent over a table for hours, squinting through
an eyeglass as they cut and polished the gems. She
couldn’t be a part of that again.
“You want to give me a hand here?” Her co-attendant stood
on tiptoes, pushing against a bulging duffel bag.
“Sure, Lacey.” She frowned at the weight of the bag,
wondering how the passenger got the bag up there in the
“Thanks.” Lacey Wilson dusted her hands. “Did you see
Stephanie jerked her head around. She’d told no one she
was meeting him and shot her friend a warning frown, then
ignored Lacey until they’d secured the cabin.
Once they were in the air and in the relative privacy of
the galley, Lacey asked the question again.
“What are you talking about?” Stephanie said.
Lacey shrugged. “I saw the note with the Hôtel Plaza
Athénée on it. I figured you were meeting him, since we
don’t know anyone else who could afford to stay there.
You’re smuggling again, aren’t you? Does Jillian know you
went to see JD?”
“No.” The disapproval in Lacey’s voice about her seeing
JD again sent a dart straight to Stephanie’s heart. How
had she let herself get taken in by JD’s charm, knowing
that her best friend Jillian was in love with him? Shame
filled her again.
A call light flashed, and Stephanie said, “I’ll take care
“I don’t believe you.” Lacey grabbed her arm. “He’s not
worth it, Steph. Don’t do it. He’ll discard you like
yesterday’s news when he gets tired of you. Look how he
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Stephanie shook
her hand off.
She turned, and several passengers in first class averted
their gaze. Heat crawled up her neck. Hopefully, they’d
only heard the tail end of the conversation. She lifted
her chin and flipped a switch in her brain. Everything
except her duties faded for the next ten hours as they
winged toward Memphis International Airport.
Once they were off the plane, Stephanie hurried to the
“Can I catch a ride?” Lacey asked.
She was tempted to say no, but that was silly. If Lacey
wanted to get on her case, she could do it at her
parents’ old house they shared with three other women. A
house her parents would be returning to as soon as they
found a buyer for her mom’s dream home. “Sure.”
Lacey got in the car, and Stephanie drove her small Miata
toward I-240. In the passenger seat, Lacey sighed.
“When do we have to be out of the house?” she asked. “I
know Jillian has found an apartment near Memphis State so
she can finish her degree in her off hours, but I just
wondered how much time we had.”
“By the end of the month.” Maybe she should have taken
the diamonds. Ten thousand dollars would go a long way to
help her parents until her dad could get another job, and
then maybe they wouldn’t have to move.
No. It was wrong, and besides, her dad wouldn’t take
money from her without knowing where it came from. To
escape her thoughts, Stephanie turned on the radio and
cranked up the volume. Strains of “Where Have All the
Cowboys Gone?” filled the car.
Lacey switched the music off and faced her. “When do you
deliver the diamonds?”
Stephanie had hoped that Lacey would decide to drop that
subject. “It’s not really any of your business, but I’m
“I don’t believe you.”
“Well, I can’t help that.” Stephanie was too tired to
argue with her.
“Look, I know you want to help your parents, but you were
out of this business. God knows I wish I were. JD would
give you money if he cared about you.”
“I don’t want anything from him.” It would do no good to
argue with Lacey about whether she was smuggling diamonds
or not. When her friend got something into her head,
there was no changing it. “And please, never mention
anything about JD and me around Jillian. It would crush
her to know what happened.”
“Don’t worry. I don’t want her hurt, either,” Lacey said.
“But you should have thought about that before you got
involved with him.”
“They weren’t seeing each other when I dated him, and I
thought their relationship was over.” It had almost
killed her when JD and Jillian got back together, but her
pain wasn’t Jillian’s fault. Stephanie slowed to exit the
interstate. No, she owned that mistake. And Lacey was
right. She and Jillian not only worked together but also
lived in the same house. Stephanie should have known it
would get sticky.
Her friend shook her head. “I’ve never seen what you two
see in him. Jillian says it’s because he’s exciting and
she’s never bored, but how about you?”
“No one else ever made me feel the way he did,” she said.
That was hardly an explanation, but she didn’t know how
else to explain her attraction to JD. It wasn’t so much
his good looks, which he had plenty of, but the way he
carried himself, the confidence he exuded. He was the
kind of man mothers warned their daughters to stay clear
of. Her friends didn’t understand why she seemed to be
drawn to men with bad-boy attitudes.
She understood. These men, who could have anyone they
wanted, chose her. And she believed she would be the one
who would reform them.
Except it hadn’t worked. Especially not with JD.
Stephanie doubted anyone could tame him. He’d caught her
in a vulnerable moment and then used that mistake to
continue a relationship in secret once he and Jillian
She turned into the drive and pulled to the back of the
house to her pottery studio. “Be careful you don’t make
the same mistake with Adam Matthews.”
“Adam is not like JD.”
Stephanie snorted. “He’s a man, isn’t he?” She opened her
Lacey put her hand on Stephanie’s arm. “Wait. I’m your
friend, and I hate to see you get back in this mess. You
stopped once, don’t get involved again. If I had your
courage, I would stop too. So would Jillian.”
She sighed. “I don’t know how to be any clearer. I. Am.
Not. Smuggling. Diamonds.”
Lacey’s eyes narrowed. “If that’s true, then you better
watch your back. JD can be very vindictive.” She bit her
bottom lip. “And I don’t think you should talk to the
cops. They might not believe you once they know you
smuggled a package of diamonds through customs.”
“It’s the only reason I’ve kept quiet. My dad would be so
disappointed in me if he ever found out. But I’m not
doing it again.”
“Good.” Lacey opened the passenger door. “I’m going
upstairs to take a nap.”
“And I have work to do in the pottery shop,” Stephanie
said as she climbed out of the small car. Although as
tired as she was, resting a bit tempted her, but she’d
been commissioned to make a horse sculpture, and it
At the shop door, Stephanie rummaged for the brass
skeleton key in her purse, and it slipped from her hands.
She tried to catch it but only succeeded in turning the
purse upside down. With a huff, she knelt to gather the
scattered items. Her fingers hovered over a soft velvet
Where had that come from? It wasn’t hers. Gingerly, she
picked it up and peered inside at three dirty-looking
pieces of glass. Stephanie closed her eyes and tamped
down the nausea that rolled up from her stomach.
How had JD gotten the uncut diamonds in her purse? The
window. When she’d gazed out the window at the Eiffel
Tower. She ground her molars until pain shot to her ears.
What if customs had gone through her purse?
She once more bent down and retrieved the key to the
studio. Inside the darkened room, she sat at her
The police. Yes. That’s what she’d do. She’d go to them
and explain everything, and she would take the journal
where she’d documented every step of the smuggling
process. But first she’d have to get it from her bedroom.
She glanced toward the fireplace, where she’d hidden
sheets torn from the middle of the journal. No, that was
her ace in the hole. She rose to go get the journal, then
sat back down.
JD had said he had friends in high places. He would deny
everything and point out she was the one with the
diamonds. What if they didn’t believe her?
She buried her face in her hands. She needed time to
think. Wait. JD wouldn’t be home for a day or two. If she
could just get some sleep, she could think more clearly.
But she needed to hide the diamonds. She lifted her head,
and the first thing she saw was the wrapped sculpture.
Stephanie dumped the three diamonds on her worktable and
then unwrapped the half-finished horse sculpture. With
deft hands, she pressed two of the diamonds between the
wires supporting the belly and slid the third one between
the withers, then smoothed clay over them. When she
finished, she examined her work.
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