Can you tell us a little bit about your book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
The latest book is The Lie, the second novel in the Celia Kelly Series. The Pact was the first novel in the series.
The second book was just a continuation of the latest mysterious challenge that Celia and her team face. The underlining mystery as she encounters conspiracy and murder is whether or not her husband is still alive.
One day over fifteen years ago, I had a story developing in my head and I sat down and began to write. I love it! It is not hard, though it challenges me. I find it teaches me something new about myself every day.
Agatha Christie, James Patterson, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Alfred Hitchcock, to name a few.
I usually catch up on emails, etc. in the morning and then write in the afternoon. I also write late into the evening if I am on a roll.
Don’t give up! What you don’t know, learn…what you do know, share with others. Learn the business, because it is one. Your book may be your baby, but it’s also a product so learn to treat it like one. Mostly good luck looks an awful lot like hard work!
A new President. A new team. A scandalous lie.
In the latest of the Celia Kelly series, the Naval Commander finds herself caught up in political intrigue as the next mystery has her questioning everything.
The President’s inexplicable past brings deception and danger into the White House. Death hits close to home as Celia directs a mission that collapses with the loss of a SEAL. After returning home Kelly discovers the new President may have had something to do with the mission’s failure. As secrets begin to unravel, they run over everyone in their path. The price will be high as Kelly and her team finally uncover the truth. And just when you think that it’s over... it’s not!
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A man will fight harder for his interests than his rights.
She felt her feet pounding the pavement as she picked up the pace. Heavy steps behind her were closing in. Without looking back, Celia Kelly pressed on. Hearing breathless gasps, she wasn’t sure if they were his or her own. Celia dug deep inside, pushing herself into longer, quicker strides. In her peripheral vision she could see him now. He was close. Faster . . . she had to go faster . . .
The last park bench along the West side of Potomac Park was in view. Celia gave it all she had and so did he. Celia won, barely, by less than seven inches. The race was over.
“I won,” Celia was breathless, smiling.
Commander Frank Scott said, shaking his head, “One of these days, Kelly . . .”
“In your dreams!” Celia laughed.
Every Wednesday, for the last three years, Commander Celia Kelly and Commander Frank Scott raced one mile at the crack of dawn. Scott had won each race the first year. Celia gained on him, winning now and again. Determined, Celia continued to condition until she was able to beat him every Wednesday morning for the last ten months.
“I guess we’d better get to work,” Scott said, looking at his watch. It was zero-six hundred hours.
“Next Wednesday?” Celia asked.
“I’ll be here!” Scott assured her.
“See you in an hour,” Celia called out as they separated.
The sun was just beginning to come up over the Eastern horizon, cuing Washington D.C.’s early morning rush hour traffic. Celia Kelly’s life was routine. She believed in rules, schedules and maintaining precision. Discipline to her was like science. It was something she had been taught since she was small, first at home, then at Church, and later at the Academy. She liked the order it gave to her life.
Celia slowed the jog to a quick paced walk as her house came into view. In front of her house, a dark blue sedan was parked the wrong way, facing oncoming traffic. The right blinker flashed. The blue sedan pulled into the left lane, crossing to the right, going on its way. Celia crossed the street to her house. A smoldering cigar was on the top step of the porch. She glanced down the street but the blue sedan was gone.
Celia positioned the key in the lock, but the weight of her hand pushed the door open. She was certain it had been locked! Celia entered cautiously, her pulse quickening. Expecting anything, she searched cautiously. Calling the police was not an option. She was an Intelligence Officer…check it out before checking in… Nothing seemed to be missing and no one was waiting for her. It wasn’t until she walked into the kitchen that she noticed something out of place. The juice glass Celia had used that morning was on the floor instead of on the table where she had left it.
The last room she checked was the bedroom. Except for a photo album on the floor, everything was in order. Her briefcase was locked. Celia’s GLOCK 17 pistol was still in her top drawer and her .32 cal. Beretta backup was still under her mattress. After putting the photo album away, Celia glanced at the clock. She needed to be at the Pentagon in thirty-five minutes . . . she was running late!
Skipping a shower, Celia quickly got into uniform. French braiding her dark brown hair, she took a moment to examine her 5'7" frame. Good enough, she decided as she put on her cover. Looking closely at the cigar, Celia thought about fingerprints. Cutting off the burning end, she put the cigar in a clear sandwich bag to take with her.
As she walked out the door, the phone rang. She let the machine get it . . . then decided to answer it after all, the tape recording the conversation.
“Kelly,” Celia said quickly, glancing at her watch.
“This is Frank. I don’t have much time. I’ve been working on something that . . . hold on . . .” Commander Frank Scott said anxiously. Suddenly there was silence.
“Frank?” Celia wondered what was going on. He had been fine this morning.
“Frank, are you there?”
Finally he spoke, softening his tone. “Celia, if I don’t come into work by noon today go into my office and get all my files. I have a safe behind the Defense Manuals on the bookcase. My combination is 23-right 6-left 76-right…I have to go.”
“What’s going on? Do you need me to come over? I can be there in ten minutes,” Celia told him.
“No!” He said abruptly. “I’ll tell you about it later.” He hung up.
“Frank?” The only reply she received was a dial tone. Celia hung up wondering what it was all about. He said he’d tell her later . . . Celia threw the answering machine tape in her briefcase so she would have the combination later and went into her garage.
Celia unlocked her ’57 Studebaker. It was her prized possession! In mint condition, the car had been a wedding gift from her late husband, Tom. He had bought it from the original owner and had it restored and painted black with gray leather interior. The only thing it missed was a radio. She had been keeping an eye out for a radio from 1957 to have installed.
As Celia pulled out of her garage, en route to the Pentagon, she was more concerned about the phone call from Frank Scott than she was about the blue sedan, smoldering cigar, or someone going through her house.
Gwen Sherwood had been Commander Celia Kelly’s secretary for over three years. They worked under the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Lloyd, for the last two of those years. A civilian contractor, Gwen was somewhat capricious, smart, and never boring. Her thick blonde hair fell just past her shoulders and was always pulled back in a ponytail at the nape of her neck.
Gwen’s day had started out in high gear. Within five minutes of walking into the office, she had been handed a file from Admiral Lloyd’s office and received a phone call from the CIA. If that wasn’t enough, Commander Kelly was late for the first time in the last three years she had worked for her!
When a free moment finally presented itself, Gwen went to the coffee pot sitting on top of the corner table to get a first cup of morning coffee. Celia walked into the office.
“Good morning, Commander,” Gwen said brightly as she stirred cream in her coffee.
“Good morning, Gwen. Hard at work I see,” Celia smiled.
“I try,” Gwen told her. She looked at her watch. “You’re late. Was there a lot of traffic this morning?”
“I had an unexpected visitor,” Celia shrugged.
“Family in town?” Gwen pried further.
“Not exactly . . . What’s on the agenda for today?” Celia changed the subject. A little too quickly, Gwen thought, but decided to let it go, for now.
“The Admiral’s secretary handed me this as I came through the door this morning.” Gwen handed Celia the file.
“What is it?” Celia asked.
Gwen shrugged. “I don’t know, but you have a meeting with the Admiral at fifteen hundred hours this afternoon. There is one other thing . . . quite odd.”
“A CIA agent called this morning,” Gwen frowned.
“What did he want?”
“He didn’t leave a message. The odd part was his voice . . . it was gravelly. I almost thought it was some sort of prank.”
“Did he say what his name was?” Celia wondered.
“William Dixon,” Gwen told her. “I’ll ask around about him at break if you’d like. The next best thing to a spy is a group of secretaries on coffee break I always say.”
“And I thought that was gossip,” Celia smiled. “Did he leave a number?”
“If it’s important, I’m sure we’ll be hearing from him again.” In the back of Celia’s mind she had to wonder if it had something to do with her visitor. That aside, the file in her hand indicated she had plenty to think about for now.
“Oh, I stopped by the lab before I came to the office. If they call, put them through,” Celia said off handedly.
“Whatever you say,” Gwen said raising an eyebrow.
The day continued on a strange path. Celia was about to close her office door when she paused, “Gwen, would you see if Frank Scott is in yet?”
Celia closed the door and hung her cap on the brass coat rack in the corner. If Frank wasn’t there she would get his files at noon. Setting the Admiral’s file on her desk she sank down into her chair. On the wall across from her desk hung a picture of her late husband Tom Kelly and his RIO Sam Cooper, standing arm in arm in front of their F-14 TOM CAT. Tom had been a solid muscular 5'11" with sandy hair and hazel eyes. Sam was 6' and a bean pole with fiery red hair. As a pilot, Tom had always been cool and precise. As a man, Tom had a real inner strength that Celia could always depend on and now she missed.
Gwen’s voice over the speaker phone interrupted her thoughts, “Commander, the lab on line one.”
“Thanks, Gwen,” Celia said and pressed line one. “Kelly.”
“The prints belong to someone from a restricted government department. We couldn’t continue without the proper clearance,” the lab tech told her.
“CIA?” Celia asked.
“That’s my first guess,” the tech replied.
“Thanks, sit on it for now,” Celia told him.
“You got it.”
Celia sighed. Police involvement was out of the question if the CIA was behind her morning. She decided to move onto the file Admiral Lloyd wanted her to look at.
Opening the file, Celia began reading, ‘July 31, a shipment of AK-47’s,M-16’s, and IM92A’s (stingers), was on its way to Tel Aviv, Israel. Upon going through the check point on the border of Syria and Israel, the shipment was intercepted. A group of eight men dressed from head to toe in black, jumped the border guards at zero-one hundred hours, and took the shipment at zero-two hundred hours before it reached the border.
One guard traveling with the shipment escaped, hiding in the back of the truck and jumping out when the shipment reached its destination in the desert. He ran off. He reported seeing a blonde haired American remove his mask. Two days after reporting this to the authorities, the guard was found dead, his throat cut.
Rumors of an American blonde man also exist in a clinic just outside the Syrian Desert. The blonde American picked up a Lebanese boy he uses as a gopher. A short-haul Dash 8 transport plane was shot down by a stinger over Syria killing nine people, all Rangers, sent to locate the blonde man.’
Interesting, Celia thought, the group sells weapons for five years and now they decide to use them? This wasn’t the first time Celia had heard of this group. She was sure this was the same case Frank had been working on. Frank referred to the group as the Pact. So now for the bigger question . . . what was it doing on her desk?
Celia thought about Admiral Lloyd at that point. Why would he give her this file? She shook her head, feeling uneasy. Did this have something to do with Frank’s unusual call this morning? Did Frank ask the Admiral to give this to her?
Celia opened the window for some air. Her window had a full view of the Pentagon’s parking lot. As she turned to her desk, a blue streak caught her peripheral vision. Celia looked out just in time to see a blue sedan pulling out of the parking lot.
It was noon straight up. Celia was still hoping to hear from Frank. She drummed her finger tips on her desk.
“Has Commander Scott called yet?” Celia asked Gwen over the intercom.
“No, he hasn’t. His secretary said he never showed up. She sounded a little worried,” Gwen told her.
“Thanks, Gwen. I need to do one more thing and then we’ll go to lunch,” Celia replied.
“I’ll be ready,” Gwen assured her.
Gwen walked down the hall to Frank Scott’s office. His secretary was just leaving for lunch.
“Hello, Lacy,” Celia smiled.
“Hello, Commander,” Lacy returned the smile. “I’m sorry, but Commander Scott is still not here.”
“No problem. He called me early this morning at home and asked me to get something for him if he couldn’t make it in today. Do you mind?” Celia asked.
“I am so relieved someone has heard from him today! What do you need?” Lacy asked.
“He asked me to take care of it personally. You go on to lunch and I’ll lock up behind me.”
“Sure...I’ll see you later,” Lacy waved good bye and walked to the elevator.
Celia waited until Lacy was gone before going into Frank’s office. She went inside and locked the door. Going over to the book shelf, Celia spied the set of Defense Manuals. Using a napkin from the corner coffee cart, she removed the manuals until the safe was exposed. Still using the napkin, she tried the combination Scott had given her earlier. It opened easily. There was a note on top: Celia, if you are reading this, I am in trouble or dead. They will be coming for the files—take all of them. What I am asking of you is both crucial and dangerous. I have put off asking you, my friend, for I have feared that your fate would be as Tom’s had been. They will be after you now! Stop them! Be careful and trust no one! Frank.’
She wasn’t sure what bothered her more, the word dead or the reference to Tom. Quickly, she gathered everything and closed the safe, still being careful not to leave fingerprints. Returning the Defense Manuals, Celia left the office.
Celia put everything into her brief case. She tried to call Frank’s house once more before they left for lunch, but there was no answer. Now Celia was officially worried.
PETE’s was a small sandwich shop that had become a favorite place for Celia and Gwen. As Celia and Gwen sat at the usual table, Pete approached them with open arms. He had a pencil in one hand and a ticket book in the other.
“What will it be, ladies?” Pete’s voice boomed. He gave them a big smile.
“What is your special today?” Gwen asked him.
Pete’s face fell. Celia quickly glanced back down to her menu.
“I’m not falling for that!” Pete crossed his arms and slowly shook his head.
Celia smiled to herself.
“For what?” Gwen asked, innocently.
“Every day you come in here and ask what the special is and not once in three years have you ever ordered a special. You clearly do this only to annoy me and I am not falling for it!” Pete stood his ground.
“I think it’s only fair to point out that I am a paying customer,” Gwen reminded him.
Pete took in a deep breath. “Today’s special is a hot turkey sandwich on white or wheat, served with mashed potatoes and gravy, piping hot peas with a sesame seed roll. We also have a club sandwich, with roast beef, turkey and ham,” Pete finished and looked at Gwen in anticipation.
“I’ll have the club sandwich, Pete,” Celia put in quickly.
Pete wrote it down, one eye still on Gwen.
“Now on that turkey sandwich, is the gravy on the sandwich or just the potatoes?” Gwen asked.
“Both,” Pete said.
“I’ll have a cup of coffee and . . . a cheeseburger,” Gwen decided.
Pete wrote it down and walked away shaking his head, “I knew it!” He muttered under his breath.
“Now why is the cheeseburger never on special?” Gwen asked Celia.
“I don’t think I’ll touch that one,” Celia smiled.
“That’s the trouble with the world today, nobody wants to get involved,” Gwen smiled back.
Pete served them in silence, his cheerful disposition cooled. After he went to tend his other customers, Gwen decided to dig for information.
“So what really happened this morning?”
“Excuse me?” Celia was taken off guard.
“I’ve worked for you long enough to know when something is up. Plus, you’ve never been late for work before. So, what’s up?” Gwen asked again.
“I think someone broke into my house this morning when I went running,” Celia said casually.
“And?” Gwen was wide eyed.
“And nothing. I didn’t find anything missing, just a couple of things out of place,” Celia took a sip of her iced tea.
“No one goes through the trouble to break into a place without a reason,” Gwen frowned. “Somebody must have wanted something!”
“Like what?” Celia knew Gwen was right, but she refused to panic. “I have nothing of real value, except my car.”
“What about you?”
“They waited until I was gone,” Celia pointed out.
“As for your car, nobody wants that car but you!” Gwen said. “There is only one other person I’ve ever seen driving a Studebaker and that was Fozzy in The Muppet Movie.”
“Very funny,” Celia smiled. “Fozzy was a puppet.”
“Exactly! I rest my case…and Fozzy is a Muppet…” Gwen then added, seriously, “Maybe you should stay with me.”
“No, thank you. I’ll find out more if I stay put,” Celia told her.
“But they might come back,” Gwen reasoned.
“Then I’ll know who it is,” Celia said. She was careful not to mention Frank or the files, though it was all she could think about.
“For someone with an IQ of 155, you’d think you’d have enough sense to know that could be dangerous!” Gwen shook her head.
“I did see a blue sedan pulling away from my house when I returned from my run,” Celia mentioned.
“Get a license?” Gwen asked quickly.
“No, I didn’t . . . ,” Celia glanced out of the window of Pete’s and she couldn’t believe her eyes. The blue sedan! And this time it wasn’t driving away!
Before Gwen knew what was happening, Celia was on her feet and headed out the door.
“Where are you going?” Gwen ran after her.
Outside PETE’s now, Celia stood directly behind the sedan. She saw a bald man sitting in the front smoking. This time, Celia looked at the license plate. The man finally noticed her in his rear view mirror. He tossed the cigar he was smoking out of the window. He started up the sedan and quickly peeled out of his parking space, barely avoiding an oncoming car. Gwen was standing next to her now. The blue sedan rounded the corner with a squeal.
“I think that might have been my visitor,” Celia said, looking at the cigar. Stamping it out, she picked it up. It was the same brand as the one she found on her doorstep that morning.
“Is this a new habit I should know about?” Gwen quipped as Celia walked back into PETE’S.
“About this visitor,” Gwen said, still following her. “Isn’t a visitor someone you invite over for coffee or dinner?”
“Sometimes a visitor is a surprise guest. Someone you don’t expect,” Celia countered. “Pete, could you give me a doggy bag?”
“Sure,” Pete handed her a bag. He watched as Celia put the cigar inside and wrote a license number on the outside of the bag.
“Don’t ask,” Gwen advised him. He shrugged and went back into the kitchen. “Doesn’t it bother you that in less than an hour he knows that we’ll know who he is?” Gwen was getting nervous.
“We need to get back,” Celia said walking out the front door.
Gwen got their purses and paid the check. Taking the rest of her cheeseburger in hand, she took a bite as she attempted to catch up to Celia.
“See you tomorrow, Pete,” Gwen called out as she left PETE’s.
The blue sedan moved quickly through traffic for about seven blocks and came to a stop in a side alley. He sighed, his heart still pounding. She had walked right up to the car and got the license! He had put himself in a bad position and let it happen. He knew better than that! He was now sure that she had noticed him earlier that day, long before PETE’s. Beads of sweat formed on his bald head.
CN Bring gravitated toward military intrigue and suspense coming from a military family and a mother who read nothing but mysteries. Many of her family members served in the Army and Navy and some are still serving today. Bring has an Associates Degree in Criminal Investigation as well as hand gun training.
The Celia Kelly Series has four books and counting: The Pact, The Lie, The Truth and The Disappearance. CN has also begun a children’s mystery series call The Jack Sleuth Series, beginning with Jack Sleuth and The House Across The Street. Bring's extensive research and life experience lend an authentic feel to her Celia Kelly Series (Military/Mystery/Thriller), as well as the Jack Sleuth Series (Crime/Mystery) for youth. Bring is also a member of the Christian Motorcyclist Association, Military Writers Society of America, Toastmasters International and Women's National Book Association.