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Down to the Last Mark by Mel Taylor - Book Tour

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Down To The Last Mark
Mel Taylor

Genre: Thriller - suspense
Date of Publication: October 15th

ISBN: 978-0-692-15868-5


Number of pages:221

Word Count: 50,100

Cover Artist: Bespokebookcovers

Book Description:

Kinnie Mason harbors a craving, even though she knows it’ at the cost of her singing career, her music and maybe her life. She is thrust into the crosshairs of hitman. Private investigator Frank Tower is hired to protect her, yet her actions could put both of them in jeopardy.


Kinnie Mason
dangled one foot over the edge and smiled. She looked out at the water before
her, raised her arms and showed her palms to the moon. A whisper of a breeze
moved over the ocean, toward Mason, building in intensity, until the zephyr
became a gust. She smiled and swiped at her hair, pushing the strands away from
a sweaty brow. The quick movement almost sent her over. Mason was standing on
the penthouse balcony ledge on the twenty-fifth floor of the Stilton Bay Hotel.
“I can fly,” she
shouted. “I can fly and watch over my dominion. I am the powerful Kinnie
Mason!” She never looked down at the moving dots of people and cars twenty-five
floors below her. To her, the park across the street and the office buildings
below, all looked like a vast new world, made up of glass, trees, and lights.
Her world. She was pleased and held out her arms over the valley as if to grant
welcome to everyone below.
Kinnie Mason was
The ledge was
one foot wide, made of cement, and firm enough to stand on. Her legs were
spread apart, arms wide, allowing the wind to caress her every curve and
exposed nipples. “I can fly and breathe fire stronger than a dragon.” Her
nostrils flared, the pupils of her eyes were tiny. Kinnie’s arms waved in the
breeze, head lifted slightly upward. To Mason, the streets were her kingdom,
ripe with gifts of fruit-bearing trees and gold bricked pathways, all leading
the cobalt
ripples of the Atlantic Ocean.
Mason looked
down and again slowly dangled one foot over the edge. She was now standing on
just her left foot, figuring out how to master this task of flying. She yelled,
“All who have business before me, kneel and beg for my attention.”
A dark feathered
buzzard gave her a passive glance and glided past her. She stared at the bird
and paused, as if the flying creature was attempting to speak. The bird
disappeared on the night sky, yet she could still hear a command being directed
at her. Someone was trying to curry the favor of Queen Mason, trying to divert
her energy away from the goal of becoming airborne.
Who would dare
approach me unannounced?
Mason tried to
ignore the sound. Her full attention was on the kingdom below and soaring above
the hovels beneath her.
There, she heard
it again. “Go away,” she screamed. “Or you will face my wrath.” “Kinnie, please
come down.” Then, “you’ll hurt your voice.”
There was too
much to be accomplished and the words went by her without an acknowledgment.
She reasoned the future of the kingdom was at stake. Mason took a step to her
right and felt the wind on her bare breasts. The time to fly was now. Don’t
“Kinnie, don’t
move. Please come down.” The voice was much louder now and seemed closer.
“Who approaches
me?” Mason spoke over her shoulder, her eyes fixed on the horizon of the
charcoal sky and the flat surface of the water. “Who has the nerve to go near
the queen.”
“Kinnie, er,
your majesty, please let me approach. I have important news from the other side
of the valley.”

She thought
about the words and turned to meet the speaker. The voice sounded familiar. He
was wearing a blue business suit, white shirt, opened, with striped tie, now
pulled out of its knot. He used his hand to swipe a bald head. His hand shook and
he looked panicked.
“Kinnie, please
come down,” he said again. “Just as soon as I return from my flight.”
His jaw twisted
into a look of frustration and worry. She was standing there on one foot,
poised as if to jump at any second. He tried to make his voice sound confident.
“You can’t fly just yet. There are thousands of your citizens waiting for you.
Please, let me escort you. Your presence is required, your majesty.” He stepped
forward and extended a hand up to her.
She thought
about the request. “Thousands?” “Thousands.”
“Waiting for
“Thousands. They
are all waiting for you right now. Please, let me help you into the royal
robes.” Just a few more inches and he would be touching her fingertips. He
inched forward, his fingers out. He held his breath. She now had both feet down
on the ledge, reached down and made contact.
In one quick
motion, Barry Ruddup managed to pull Kinnie Mason down from the ledge. She
collapsed on him and immediately fell into a deep sleep. Ruddup slid his arms
under her and picked her up, carrying her back inside the hotel room. He held
her for a moment, cradled against him like a bird with a broken wing.
Once she was
secure on the couch, he went to the bedroom, snatched up a robe and placed the
garment on her. For the first time since he entered the room, he took in a deep
He went back and
closed the balcony door. Ruddup looked around for what he should do next. He
leaned in close, and made sure she was still breathing.
There was a
knock at the door. Ruddup went to answer, never taking his eyes off Kinnie. He
opened the door to Jackie Tower.
“C’mon in. She’s
really bad.”
Jackie’s eyes
were tiny beads under heavy rows of bent brow lines. “Where’d you find
“On the balcony,
trying to fly.” There was a flatness to his voice, as though he had tried and
failed on many other occasions to help her.Ruddup had a habit of making sure to
memorize all faces coming into his life. He studied Jackie, recording in his memory
the cut above her left eye, the slight puffiness under both eyes that Ruddup
assumed would never ever go away. There was a don’t-mess-with-me determination
in her gait, as though the world stopped being kind to her years ago and she
was forcing herself to show a modicum of kindness.
Jackie took her
thumbs and gently exposed the brown eyes of Kinnie Mason. “I’m not the doctor…”
“You’re the drug
rehab expert-” He cut her off.
“Yeah but, I
need a doctor to confirm but it sounds like she’s on PCP. And from the looks of
it, a whole bunch of other stuff. Opioids.”
“Well, do what
you can. She’s supposed to be on a stage performing in twenty minutes.”
She looked up at
him. “Cancel it.” “I can’t.”
“Cancel it.”

“Do you know
what the promoters will do to us?”
“Mister, the
only performance she’s going to be doing is in the bed, shaking this off.
Look at her!”
Ruddup stood
there, his eyes scanning the room, checking the time, jaw twitching, as if he
was figuring out the next move. “What’s the name of your place again?”
“The Never Too
Late,” Jackie sighed. “You’re not thinking about taking her there?” “I can’t
and won’t check her into a hospital. Too many freakin’ photographers. She’s
supposed to be
clean. Just got out of rehab.” “Not my rehab.”
“No, out west.”
He had the look of a man with a plan. “I’ll tell the reporters she’s gone out
of town. I’ll call for two cabs. I have a woman on staff who looks like Mason,
have her wear her clothes and get into a cab. Once they’re gone, we’ll
take her to your
“I don’t like
this idea. My clients are skittish already. If someone finds out, I’ll be
Ruddup reached
back, like he was going for his wallet. “They won’t find out. I really need
your help. Money is not an option. We’ll pay triple the normal.”
The wrinkles in
Jackie’s brow smashed into one solid worry line. Jackie said, “Under one
“Name it.”
“She goes the
second, and I mean the second anyone finds out and shows up with a camera.”
“Deal. I’ll get
everything started. And thanks.”
He looked down
at Kinnie Mason and pride filled his chest. “Five gold albums,” he started.
“Three platinum, seventeen weeks with one hit at the top of the charts, and
five years of sold out concerts. But she hasn’t performed in more than a year.
This was going to be her return concert. The only thing stopping her, is
Kinnie opened
her eyes for just a moment and reached out her right hand, directing it by
memory toward the drawer in the night stand. Her fingers pulled open the drawer
and pulled out a bottle of top class Vodka. Before she could work on opening
top, Jackie
pulled the bottle out of her hands.
The bottle was
eased down on the soft carpet. Jackie looked at Ruddup. “We’ve got a lot of
work to do.”

About the Author:

Mel Taylor uses the sun and bending palm trees of south Florida as a backdrop for his latest thriller. Taylor uses his experience to create characters and story that readers want to explore. An Emmy Award winner, Taylor takes you down the back streets, away from all the tourist spots to present you, the reader with his thrillers.

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