All The Pretty Girls

Now Available!

All The Pretty Girls

A Rachel Emery Novel, Book 3

Book Description:

There’s a serial killer on the loose around Florida State University, or at least that’s what everyone believes. Young women go missing for several days and then are found dead a few miles from where they were abducted. The local police and an FBI task force are working to find the culprit but with no success. Meanwhile, all the women around Tallahassee are afraid they may be next.


When Amber Johnston, Rachel’s daughter’s roommate and best friend, is discovered missing on the first day of spring break, Rachel becomes involved. Unfortunately, her boyfriend, FBI Agent Avery Turley, is in Idaho as part of a task force searching for a different serial killer. So, Rachel turns to Lieutenant Jack Meyers of the Panama Beach City Police Department for help. Together they search for Amber, leading them on the trail for the culprit killing all the pretty girls.

Cover Design by Deborah Bradseth Cover Design

Release Date: March 14, 2023

Genre: Murder Mystery/Women Sleuths

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Read the First Chapter of All the Pretty Girls:

Chapter One



Rachel Emery listened to the evening news as she prepared dinner. It was a beautiful March evening, and she and her boyfriend, Avery Turley, had just spent a lovely day hiking near a local lake. But as she prepared the steak for the grill, Rachel shook her head in disgust over the news. Another murder victim had been found.

“Melanie Lopez, age twenty-one, a junior at Florida State University, has been found in a field near her apartment building nine days after she’d been reported missing,” the reporter on TV stated. “That same field had been searched three days ago, leaving authorities to believe her body was placed there over the last seventy-two hours. We’ll have more information as the investigation continues.”

“What’s wrong?” Avery asked as he walked inside the kitchen from the patio. “Don’t the steaks look good?”

Rachel’s shoulder-length brown hair swayed gently as she shook her head again. “They found the body of another young woman,” she told him. “She was twenty-one and a junior at FSU. They found her in a field near the apartment she shared with another college student.” Rachel sighed. “So many young women being taken and killed, and they haven’t a clue who’s doing it.”

Avery walked over and wrapped his arms around her. “It’s frustrating. Those poor girls. The state police and FBI are working on it, but there aren’t any hard clues. They disappear and then show up again, dead.”

Rachel frowned.

“I know you’re worried about Jules,” Avery said. “But she lives in a gated apartment building, and she’s smart. I’m sure she and her roommate will be fine.”

Rachel nodded, but she didn’t completely believe it. The other young women had just been going about their daily lives when they’d been abducted. Even smart girls who were careful could become victims.

“I wish you weren’t leaving for so long,” Rachel said. “But I know you have to go. And it’s an honor being invited to lead the investigation. But I’d feel safer if you were closer.” Avery worked for the FBI on homicides and cold cases. He’d been invited to take over a task force in Idaho that was investigating a prolific serial killer.

“The case is an interesting one,” he said as he pulled plates and bowls down from the cupboard. “It took a long time to figure out they had a serial killer in their midst.”

Rachel’s brows rose. “You mean more interesting than my case was?” she teased. They had met two years before while Rachel was trying to figure out why she’d been considered dead in her hometown since she was a child. Avery had been trying to solve the case of multiple rapes and murders from decades before. Together, they’d solved both cases and had grown close.

He grinned. “No case will ever be as interesting as that one.”

She smiled at him. He looked just as handsome as he had when they’d met. His brown wavy hair fell perfectly into place, and his brown eyes were warm and inviting. Meeting him after having been alone for years after her husband’s death was the best thing that had happened to Rachel.

Avery took the steaks outside, and Rachel finished the pasta salad and set the plates on the counter where they’d eat. Even though Avery lived and worked in Baltimore, Maryland, he tried to come to Rachel’s Tallahassee home often. She’d lived in this home since before her husband died in a terrible car accident and raised her daughter Jules there. Now, Jules was a junior at Florida State University.

Avery came back inside. “Isn’t spring break next week?” he asked. “Maybe you could talk Jules into coming to the house for the week.”

“I’ve already tried that,” Rachel said. “She’s not leaving town for break but wants to be around her friends and enjoy it. Amber is heading to her parents’ house in Atlanta for the week. So, it will be just Jules in the apartment.”

“I’m sure she’ll be fine,” he said. “If this person is a serial killer, he might lie low until the next semester starts.”

Rachel rolled her eyes. “Oh, that makes me feel better.”

Avery laughed. “Just relax and enjoy our last night together. I might be in Idaho for three or four months. I’ll miss you.”

She walked over and hugged Avery. “I’ll miss you, too.”

They ate a delicious dinner and then watched a movie on Netflix. Afterward, they snuggled in bed, enjoying their last night together.

Sunday morning, they were both up early, and Rachel drove Avery to the airport to catch his plane.

“I’ll call you when I get there,” Avery said, giving Rachel one last hug. “And don’t worry about Jules. She’ll be fine.”

“I can’t promise I won’t worry,” she said, smiling. “But you work hard and find that serial killer in Idaho. Everyone there will sleep easier then.”

He kissed her and then went through security and disappeared on the other side.

Sighing, Rachel walked out to the parking lot. She was happy they’d had a chance to spend the weekend together before he’d left. But now, she had to get back to reality.

On her way home, she stopped at the memory care center where her Aunt Julie—it was still hard to think of her as her mother—lived. Two years before, Rachel had discovered Julie was her birth mother while investigating the mystery of her supposed death. Julie was the sister of the woman who’d raised Rachel, and even though Rachel had lived with Julie and her uncle since the age of eight, she’d never known they were her real parents. Now, even with that knowledge, and even though she loved Julie dearly, it still felt strange to call her mom.

Rachel waved to the receptionist as she walked inside the main building, then turned left and walked down the long hallway to Julie’s room. It was always heartbreaking visiting Julie now that she no longer remembered who Rachel was. She’d been showing signs of dementia for a few years before Rachel had to find her a place that could take care of her. And now, Julie was fading faster than Rachel had thought possible. Taking a breath to brace herself, Rachel reached for the handle of Julie’s door and opened it.

“Aunt Julie,” she said softly as she entered the room. Julie wasn’t sitting on the sofa watching television as she used to do, so Rachel stepped into her small bedroom. “Aunt Julie?” The shades had been pulled halfway down to block the bright sunshine from coming into the room. Julie was lying in bed under the covers, her eyes open, staring at the ceiling. She’d become so thin; Rachel was startled at how small she looked under the blanket.

“Are you awake?” Rachel asked, walking up to the side of the bed. There was no movement, not even a blink, to show that she acknowledged Rachel’s presence.

Rachel’s heart dropped. She’d known Julie was fading, but she’d hoped her aunt would have been better today. Pulling a chair over to the bed, Rachel sat. She reached through the side rails on the bed to hold Julie’s hand. It felt cool to the touch.

“It’s me, Rachel,” she told her aunt. “I wanted to see how you’re doing. Avery, the man I’ve been seeing for two years, just flew out to work on a case in Idaho. He’s in the FBI, remember?”

Rachel shook her head at herself. Of course, Julie wouldn’t remember. But she knew talking to her as if all was normal was good for her aunt.

“I’m doing fine, and my book cover design business is booming. I can’t believe how busy I’ve been. And Jules is in her third year of college. Can you believe that? It’s like just yesterday, she was a little girl. The time really does fly by.”

Aunt Julie blinked at Jules’ name, but she didn’t move. Her eyes continued to stare at the ceiling.

“Well, I just wanted to see how you were doing and let you know that we’re all fine. I miss you, Julie. And Jules does too. We love you.” Rachel nearly choked up at the last words because it hurt so much to see Julie this way. She did truly love her aunt, but she wasn’t here anymore. She was fading away.

Rachel heard the outer door open softly and then saw Shirley poke her head in.

“How’s Miss Julie doing?” Shirley asked in her soft southern accent. She’d been Julie’s main caretaker over the past two years, and Rachel had grown close to her.

“No response,” Rachel said sadly.

Shirley nodded, and her brown curls bobbed as she did. “We can talk when you’re done visiting,” she told Rachel.

Rachel stood and moved the chair back. Then she patted her aunt’s hand. “I’ll be back to see you soon,” she told Julie. “Jules and I love you.” Brushing away tears, Rachel left the room and joined Shirley on the sofa.

“I’m sorry, dear,” Shirley said. “Your aunt hasn’t been doing well. We take her out on little walks in the wheelchair and try to get her to eat. But she doesn’t respond. I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time.”

Rachel nodded as she wiped her tears with a tissue. “I understand, but it’s still hard watching her fail so quickly. Just last year, she could still remember my name. Now, nothing.”

“I know it’s hard. This disease is terrible. But we are doing our best to ensure she doesn’t suffer,” Shirley said.

“Thank you,” Rachel said. “I’ll come by as often as possible. And will you call me immediately if she has a turn for the worst?”

“Of course I will,” Shirley said. Both women stood and hugged. “It has been my honor to care for your aunt. She is very special to me.”

“I couldn’t have placed her in more loving and capable hands,” Rachel said.

“Thank you, dear,” Shirley said. “I’ll be in touch.”

Rachel drove away from the care center with a heavy heart. She wished there was more she could do for her aunt. As soon as she returned home, she’d call Jules and let her know how Julie was doing. Rachel knew Jules would want to visit her soon.

It was almost noon by the time Rachel returned home and pulled into her garage. She walked into the kitchen through the connecting door and placed her purse on the counter. Pulling out her phone, she remembered she’d shut it off last night and had forgotten to turn it back on.

The moment the phone came to life, it rang. Jules was calling.

“Hi, honey,” Rachel said. “I was just going to call you.”

“Mom?” Jules sounded anguished.

That one word sent chills up Rachel’s back. “What is it? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I’ve been trying to call you. Mom, Amber never made it to her parents’ house last night. They called me this morning and said she hadn’t come home. She left at noon yesterday. It’s only a four-hour drive.” Jules sounded even more desperate as she spoke. “Mom. Amber is missing.”