Kentucky Woman
Madison's Avenue
Dead Air
Business to Kill For


     Business is war. And Luke Tanner is about to be its latest casualty. He's overheard men conspiring to gain control of a $1 billion piece of business by using a unique strategy - the murder of the two CEO's who control it.

     The conspirators discover that Luke has overheard them and try to kill him. But he gets away. To silence him, they kidnap his girlfriend, pediatrician Dr. Jenna Johannson.

     When the kidnappers try to kill them, Luke and Jenna manage to escape, only to discover that the $1 billion business - a massive worldwide automotive advertising account - is his. Luke also discovers that it's too late to save the lives of his CEO and client - because at that very moment, the two men are in the Yucatan Peninsula, unreachable by phone and about to walk into the assassins' trap.

An excerpt from Business to Kill For:

     Luke Tanner sat in a hushed alcove of Detroit's cavernous Renaissance Center, staring at shimmering silver coins in a nearby fountain, unable to look away, even though he should have been writing a television commercial with a cool forty million dollars riding
on it.
     Sipping lukewarm coffee, he forced his attention up to the multi-floored atrium. It reminded him of a concrete canyon. Balconies hunched over balconies, people leaning over them, peering down, watching people. He liked watching people watch people.
     Tanner had slipped away from his office upstairs, where he was creative director of Connor Dow Advertising. He often tried to escape in the afternoon to work in his creative cranny, a quiet refuge that, he noticed, was quickly becoming less quiet.
     Men, unseen and mumbling, scraped chairs up to a table on the other side of the alcove abutment that blocked his view of them.
     He considered leaving, but decided to stay and finish the commercial for a prospective client with an amazing new glue. He wanted to create a commercial as exciting as the product, but so far his ideas packed all the excitement of a wet sock. And he didn't have much time. His producer wanted a concept for the commercial in thirty minutes.
     The men were whispering now. Terrific, he thought, knowing he was hooked. He leaned closer to hear.
     "Let's get this over with," said a deep, impatient voice. "Is everything arranged?"
     "Yes, everythin'," said a man with a thick Spanish accent. "What about these Siamese Twins guys? They still hunt in same place?"
     "Yes," the first man said. An American accent.
     "Their accident is arranged?"
     "It must look like an accident."
     "It will."
     "Tell me about it," the American said.
     "Cuatro Narices."
     "'Four Noses' we call them. Six-foot black serpientes. Snakes. Killers. Jungle full of them. The Twins will walk into a nest. We help a little."
     "And if the snakes don't kill them?"
     "Amigo," the man said, chuckling, "when this many cuatro narices bite you, you die."
     "This Sunday," the American said.

     Luke Tanner grinned. This had to be Berger and the bozos from the office, faking accents. They almost had him. He started to shout, "What time Sunday?" then something told him not to.
     Spanish voice cleared his throat. "You never tol' us how come you wan' these two men, these Twins, killed so bad."
     "Business decision," the American said.
     "What kind of business?"
     "When they die, their advertising business will switch from their present agency to another one."
     "This business--it's worth a lot?"
     "Many millions?"
     "Many millions."
     "Maybe we should get bigger fee, eh?"
     Another man grunted, "Sí
     "Look--Goddammit!" the American said. "It's four hundred thousand! For you two and your colleague. That's it!"
     "Easy, amigo, just kidding," Spanish accent said. "But when do we get our fee?"
     "Half was deposited in the Banque Bruxelles Lambert account in Brussels this morning. The rest, as agreed, will be deposited when you handle the Twins."
     Tanner broke out in a cold sweat. Jesus--this is real. These men were finalizing plans for a hit, talking about a fee sent to the Banque Bruxelles Lambert and cuatro narices, things his agency pals wouldn't know about.

     Luke saw Herb, the ancient waiter, working tables nearby, start to walk toward him, coming to warm up his coffee. Luke tried to wave him off, but as usual the old man's eyes were drilled to the floor. Herb's fog-horn voice would boom over the alcove wall and let the men know Luke had overheard them.
     Luke looked down, pretending to concentrate on the script, praying Herb would go away. But Herb's feet clomped closer and stopped.
     "Care for something?"
     Luke looked up, then realized Herb was on the other side of the abutment.
     "No," the American said. "My friends and I are leaving."
     Luke exhaled like a slow leak. He heard chairs scraping, the men walking away. If they turned right, they'd see him, know he knew. He pretended to write, white-knuckling his pen. The footsteps faded left, the way they'd come, along the balcony. Luke had to see them. He stood, peered around the abutment and saw two short, dark-skinned men wearing blue-black windbreakers and walking with a tall, blond, bearded man in a grey suit. They vanished into an elevator heading up.
     Luke sat back down and stared at the floor. Incredible. He'd just overheard men plan the murder of two businessmen connected to an advertising account, two men called the Siamese Twins. He couldn't recall anyone in the business referred to as Siamese Twins. Which meant he had to phone his pal, Hank Redstone, a lieutenant with the Detroit Police. Hank's people would somehow have to identify the two men in an industry which employed hundreds of thousands--and warn them before Sunday.
     Today was Wednesday.
     And the police had nothing to go on. No personal names. No company names. No clues. Unless, Luke wondered, the men left something on their table. A cup with fingerprints. A matchbook. A crumpled note...

* * *

     Two levels above him, the three men stepped off the elevator and walked along the balcony, circling behind the alcove tables below.
     Mason Bennett was pleased. Despite the Mexican's absurd request for a larger fee, things were progressing exactly as planned. And they would. Bennett wasn't about to fail on this assignment. He had a reputation to maintain. He delivered. The Siamese Twins would suffer a most unfortunate snakebite accident and die in the jungle, which would make him a wealthy man. And he had a secret plan to make this assignment--his most lucrative ever--even more lucrative.
     He glanced at his watch. Time to update Klug.
     Suddenly, something caught his eye on the lower level.
     Quickly, he jerked the two Mexicans, Carlos and Paco, over to the balcony and pointed down at a tall, chestnut-haired man getting up from a table next to theirs. He's been sitting there, Bennett realized. The man walked around the wall, carefully inspected their table and the surrounding area, then hurried toward the elevators.
     Mason Bennett squeezed a waste-bin lid, turning the plastic white.
     "Think he hear us?" asked Carlos, the taller Mexican.
     "Fuck yes, he heard us," Bennett whispered. "He checked our table for clues, then rushed to the elevators."
     Bennett watched the man waiting for the elevator. The guy looked anxious, worried. He had heard. Bennett turned to the Mexicans. "Wait in your car. I'll phone you there."
     "Why you wan' us to wait?" Carlos asked.
     "You may have another assignment."