Tuesday teaser: Fatal Designs

An excerpt from the new romantic suspense novel

By Lucy Appadoo

Fatal Designs cover

Sex and cigarettes hung heavily in the dark room. On the bedside table, the syringe he had put there over an hour ago lay against a burnt spoon. A scalpel nestled in a thick red smear of blood on the dusty dressing table. In the corner, the TV droned out stories of unsolved true crimes.

The woman on the bed moaned, bloodshot eyes unseeing as her body twitched, regaining some control over her limbs. The drawn blinds kept the room just dark enough to accentuate her hollowed out features and made every time she opened her mouth look like a scream. When her head lolled to the side, he curled a lip in disgust. 

The man pulled down his pants and pushed them and several pieces of dirty underwear out of his way with his foot. Running a finger along the angry red marks on his bare chest, he relished the sting her claws left. She had put up a fight. Even drugged, the bitch cried when he forced her down to cut her, but the more she screamed, the more excited he became. Kicking and screaming, as he preferred, he dragged her with him into dark, delicious fantasies which were a far-cry from her prim and proper life.

Picking up the syringe, he stuck it into the vial and withdrew the plunger slowly. Approaching her, she slowly roused from her weak state, and when her terror-filled eyes met his, he smiled. Then he was on her. Jabbing her arm with the needle and injecting her again with Ketamine. Underneath him, her heart beat rapidly. Yanking the needle out and casting it aside, he pressed a firm hand across her mouth and nose. She writhed like a snake, but he was strong. Through his thighs he felt her heart slow, and he lifted a few fingers to give her air again. Finally, her dilated eyes relaxed and her limbs stilled. 

Slapping her gaunt cheeks and making her blink, he said, “We are going to enjoy more of each other.” 

It had been a rush, fulfilling his every dream with her and pushing her past her limits. He had pushed her into the dark side, eons away from the world she knew. That stopped now. She was not going back to her life.

The woman started wheezing and convulsing. No, not now. It was too damn soon.


Sitting at her desk, Joy Warrier undid the top button of her bright-orange linen shirt with its rolled-up sleeves and fanned herself. Her bangles clinked as she flicked through fabric samples and jotted down notes for the home she was designing. On one corner of her desk an office phone blinked and the in-tray stacked with current design jobs threatened to topple.

On her crowded cobalt steel-framed desk was a computer and drawing tablet, currently pushed to the side to make room for her samples, piles of sketch pads, cups of pencils and highlighters, and a lone bonsai tree. The tree butted up against a small building model teetering between the edge of her desk and the neighbouring stack of cardboard file and sample boxes. The long white shelf behind her held manilla folders filled with projects past and present, and more potted bonsai trees.

Photographs of the city landscape and staff portraits lined the cavity brick wall on one side of the office, and the other side consisted of large windows with views of Melbourne’s city skyline.

The grey padded chairs in front of her were empty and she stared at them as she recalled a discussion with her client earlier that day. Resting a hand underneath her chin, she glanced across the room at the other steel-framed cobalt desk in the room. It was Kathleen’s desk, now vacant. Filing cabinets and stacks of folders stood beside it too, but all of them remained untouched. Where was Kathleen? Joy missed her colleague and friend. Kathleen could be anywhere out there. Maybe she had run away and started a new life with a whirlwind romance, or maybe she just needed a break.

Fatal Designs

Fatal Designs cover

Joy Warrier, a talented 25-year-old interior designer, experiences a harrowing ordeal when her colleague mysteriously vanishes only to be discovered dead. As Joy grapples with the shocking loss, fate intertwines her path with that of a handsome architect, Edward Astbury. Sparks fly as they clash, and an undeniable attraction simmers beneath the surface.

Joy’s world takes a terrifying turn when a series of chilling murders occur close to home. To her horror, the victims’ lifeless bodies are dumped in places she has visited, leaving her to question if it’s mere coincidence or something far more sinister. 

With suspicion gnawing, Edward’s brother, Ray, displays an unsettling interest in her and becomes a prime suspect. When she rejects his advances, she delves deeper into the mystery, only to discover that appearances can be deceiving, and her loved ones may be in danger. Will anyone survive the deadly secrets that lie within the shadows?

Lucy Appadoo delivers a blend of romance, suspense, action, and twists. If you like adrenaline-pumping stories with strong women overcoming adversity and finding love, you’ll enjoy Fatal Designs, the thrilling fifth book in the Friends In Crisis Series.

About the author

author Lucy Appadoo

Lucy Appadoo is a prolific reader and author of the Friends In Crisis Series. After a childhood spent reading and imagining escapist worlds, Lucy has put her imagination into stories. Her work as a rehabilitation counsellor, and former work as a counsellor in private practice, have led to an interest in writing inspirational stories about authentic, driven women who manage adversity with strength and heart. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense/thrillers with significant life themes and contemporary romance.

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