Thursday 26 January 2023

Excerpt of Every Missing Girl by Leanne Kale

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the EVERY MISSING GIRL by Leanne Kale Sparks Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About The Book:

Title: EVERY MISSING GIRL (A Kendall Beck Thriller #2)

Author: Leanne Kale Sparks

Pub. Date: February 7, 2023

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 272

Find it: Goodreads


Sparks takes her gift for nail-biting drama to a new level with a cold case of a missing girl suddenly gone red-hot. This “enthralling page-turner” (Lisa Regan) is perfect for fans of Melinda Leigh and Lisa Gardner.

The stunning landscape of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are among our greatest natural treasures. But there are deadly secrets lurking in the craggy heights, and FBI Special Agent Kendall Beck and Denver Homicide Detective Adam Taylor team up to investigate a kidnapping. When Taylor’s niece, Frankie, suddenly vanishes at a local hockey rink, it’s clear that there’s a predator on the loose—and now, the case has turned personal.
One discovery after another leads Beck and Taylor closer to the truth, as they close in on the devastating truth about the fates of the missing girls—and the many who came before them. Will they be able to find Frankie before it’s too late? In this thrilling story,  Leanne Kale Sparks weaves the threads of this harrowing drama and builds the intensity to a fever pitch.



 c h a p t e r



FBI Special Agent Kendall Black knew she’d been to one too many crime scenes when in the midst of the bloodiest  she’d walked into lately—this one in a convenience store—she  wondered who had the tedious job of washing off all the blood  smeared on the cellophane of a five-pack of Donettes. Or did they  throw all the blood-splattered items away because, well, they were  covered in blood? Maybe they put them on a clearance rack. But  did they then have to disclose they were part of a murder? 

Probably the best thing would be to send the tainted snacks back  to the station with the patrol cops currently swarming the small  store—what looked to be half the force in Denver. None of them  cared if the bag of Cheetos had some spatter on the front. Free food.  No law enforcement officer would pass up gratis chips and donuts. 

Mmm . . . donuts . . . What she wouldn’t give for a jelly right  about now. 

“Can I help you?” a cop asked, sidestepping around her as she  stood in the middle of the doorway. 

“Yeah.” She flashed her badge. “Can you point me to who’s in  charge of the investigation?” 

The cop peered around the store and pointed to a man at the  end of the checkout counter. “There he is, dark suit, talking to  the balding old guy.”

Kendall didn’t need to see the lead investigator’s face to know  it was Adam Taylor. The two had met and worked together on  a case, one near and dear to Kendall’s heart—the murder of her  best friend. During the investigation, Kendall and Adam had  grown close, and she counted him among her tight-knit posse of  confidants. 

“Thanks.” She signed the crime scene log and strode toward  Adam and one of his sidekicks, Saul Chapman. 

“Don’t think for one fucking second that catching this case  means you won’t be helping me move,” she said by way of greeting as she sidled up next to Adam. 

“Oh, goody, they sent you.” He gave her a sideways glance.  “I’ve been looking forward to your wit and charm all morning.  What took you so long? Decide on a bubble bath before coming  in?” 

“Full-body massage with a hot Swede.” 

“How was it?” 

“Hard.” She tipped her head toward the body splayed on the  floor in the middle of a large pool of blood. “What’s the story  here?” 

“Dead guy,” Saul said, pointing out the obvious. 

Kendall wrinkled her nose. “I don’t do dead guys. I do kids.” “Got one of those too.” 

“Dead?” Kendall hated starting any day with a dead body,  but a dead kid made it ten times more revolting. 

“No,” Adam said. “But potentially a missing one.” “Elaborate.” 

“Bad Guy”—he pointed to the splayed body—“was trying  to rob the store. Apparently had the child with him. There was  another customer at the back of the store by the coolers, mind ing his own business. He hears a ruckus at the front of the store.  Bad Guy is demanding money from the cashier, who grabs for a  gun under the counter and aims it at Bad Guy. Things go side ways, Bad Guy gets a shot off, cashier goes down. Bad Guy kicks  cashier’s gun out of the way and puts another round in cashier’s  head.” 

“Meanwhile”—Saul picks up the story—“the kid is scream ing, so the minding-his-own-business guy becomes a Good  Samaritan, picks up the cashier’s gun while Bad Guy is trying 


to empty the till. Bad Guy sees Good Sam, lifts his gun to shoot  him, but Good Sam shoots Bad Guy first. Decent shot—looks  like it was center mass. But Good Sam is apparently so freaked  out by killing someone, he runs out of the store with the little  girl in tow.” 

“Cops found them down the alley. Some neighbor called  about a guy with a little girl hiding behind his garage,” Adam  said. 

“Hiding from what?” 

“Not clear on that,” Adam said. “I don’t do lost kids. I do  dead guys.” 


Kendall mulled over the information Adam had given her as she  walked across the parking lot of the convenience store to where  police were talking to the Good Sam. The sun was breaking  through the cloud cover, beams of light bouncing off windows  and illuminating the city. This would be considered a rough part  of town. Boarded-up warehouses covered in graffiti and store 

fronts that hadn’t been painted since they were first constructed  competed with the fast-food conglomerates that always seem to  thrive in any community regardless of the socioeconomics. 

The Good Sam, who looked to be mid-forties, possibly skirting fifty, slouched against the back end of the police cruiser, one  hand grooming his closely trimmed gray beard. He wore jeans, a  light-gray button-up shirt, and tan canvas shoes. Seemed to be a  normal guy, which always set off Kendall’s warning bells. Most  “normal” people she met in her line of work tended to be the lowest forms of life. Shit dipped in gold. Shiny on the outside, just  don’t scratch the surface. 

As she approached the car, the officer stepped forward. She  flashed her badge; he nodded and stepped out of her way. “Hi.” She stuck her hand out for the man, who was now  standing upright in front of her, an eyebrow raised. “I’m FBI  Special Agent Kendall Beck. I was wondering if I could ask you  a few questions?” 

“FBI?” The man asked as he scanned her badge, then met  her gaze while shaking her hand. “I already told the police everything about the shooting.”

“I understand, Mr. . . . ?” 

“Craig,” the man said. “Melvin.” 

“Melvin. I know it’s hard to keep repeating a story that’s sure  to give you nightmares, but I’m more interested in the girl who  was in the store with you.” 

“She wasn’t in the store with me,” he said, placing emphasis on  the word, most likely to ensure Kendall understood there was a difference. “She was with that scum of the earth who shot the cashier.” “I was told she was found with you.” 

“Yes, that’s true,” he said, drawing out the words. “But I just  happened to be in the store. And she was in the store. But she  came with the other guy. That’s all. I don’t know who she is.” 

Kendall smiled, hoping to put the man at ease. She didn’t  want the man on the defensive when it appeared he was trying to  help the girl. She had learned a long time ago to start soft. Bring  out the barbed-wire-covered bat only as a not-so-gentle means of  persuasion when necessary. “Perhaps you should start from the  beginning.” 

Melvin pulled his hand down his face and stroked his beard  while letting out a long sigh. “I stopped by to get a Mountain  Dew and a breakfast burrito—my usual breakfast. I was standing at the back cooler when the guy came in with the little girl.  He looked sort of sketchy—” 

“What do you mean by that?” 

The man scratched along his jaw, his eyes squinting just  slightly, and Kendall figured this was a subconscious act. “Well,  he wasn’t the kind of guy you expected to have a little girl with  him. His clothes were dirty, his hair was long, and he looked a  bit scraggly. Probably could’ve stood to shower, you know what  I mean?” 

Kendall nodded. She’d met many a sketchy dude in her line  of work. 

Craig returned the nod and continued. “And the little girl  looked scared. So I kind of hung back and just watched them.  Then the guy tells the cashier to give him all the money from the  register. Next thing I know, both of those idiots had guns, and  then the shooting started.” 

“So, just so I understand, both of them were shooting and  you decided to get the girl?”

Craig looked up and away, as if trying to recall the scene in  his mind. “I don’t remember if they both were shooting—I think  the guy shot the cashier first and she dropped her gun.” “And is that when you decided to pick it up?” 

“Yeah—I don’t know what I was thinking—the little girl  was screaming and I was afraid the guy was going to shoot her.  So I just . . . acted on instincts, I guess.” He shrugged and looked  down at his feet as he rocked from one to the other. 

Kendall gave him a moment. It was never easy to kill people.  Even law enforcement agents had a tough time dealing with taking a life. This guy might have only ever shot a gun at a range,  taking out a paper man on a target. Not even close to the same  experience. Paper men didn’t bleed. And they didn’t cry out  in agony. It was a whole different ballgame when the shooting  involved live flesh and blood. “What happened after you shot  the man?” 

Craig looked at Kendall, then swallowed, staring over her  shoulder at the front of the store. “I just took off. I knew I had  to get the girl out of there—she had already seen too much.” He  ran his hand over his beard again, and Kendall decided it was a  nervous tic he probably didn’t realize he was doing most of the  time. “Truth be told, I was a little shaken up as well. I’ve never  seen anyone die. And there was just . . . so much blood.” 

There was a great deal of truth to the statement. She had  been to many violent crime scenes during her career with the  FBI, and it was still unnerving to actually see how much blood  the human body contained. “So why were you hiding when the  police started canvassing the area?” 

He inhaled through his nose and rocked back on his heels.  “Honestly, I think I was in shock or something. I truly thought  they were trying to hurt us.” He shook his head, seemingly some what disgusted at the memory. “I know it sounds silly, but I was  just really freaked out.” 

“It doesn’t sound silly at all,” Kendall reassured him. “Even  the most seasoned veteran on the force gets shaken up in a gun fight. You did just fine.” She glanced back at the store. “You said  it’s your routine to come here every morning, is that right?” 

“Not exactly,” he said. “I am not usually in this part of town.  I live in Arvada and go to the store there.”

“Where is that store? Do you know the cross streets?” “Yeah, it’s off Kipling and Ridge.” 

Kendall made a note. “So why were you on this side of town  this morning?” 

“I had a meeting with a client, but he didn’t show up. So I  decided to go into the store and grab breakfast before heading  back to my office.” 

“What do you do for a living?” 

“I’m a small business owner. Sort of a courier. I do all the  running around for businesses who still deal in documents and  stuff. Mostly lawyers, but today I was supposed to pick up some  paperwork for a general contractor.” 

Kendall hadn’t really considered there were still businesses  out there that didn’t do everything electronically. Didn’t seem  as if there would be enough work to make a living out of it. But  then again, if he was one of only a few who did that type of work,  he might be highly sought after by businesses who needed that  service. 

“And you’re certain you don’t know either of the people in  the store?” 

The man shook his head and dropped his gaze. “No. Like I  said, I’m not usually on this side of town.” 

“And you don’t know the little girl—at least you didn’t before  this morning?” 

“Don’t know anything about her,” he said quickly and firmly,  looking Kendall in the eye. 

“Okay, thank you,” Kendall said, fishing a business card out  of her pocket and handing it to him. “If you think of anything  else, please give me a call.” 

“Am I free to go now?” There was a slight edge of irritation  to his voice. Weird, but perhaps the day’s events were starting to  catch up with him. There were many instances where a person  went through stages—killing a man was one of them. Craig was  probably going through the stage where he was getting pissed at  everyone associated with this event, especially the person he shot.  But it was difficult to get angry at a dead guy, so he was going to  turn it on the next available living human. 

Kendall was not up for being in his line of fire. It was too  early in the day.

“Best to check with the officer,” she said, and turned away.  She wasn’t going to get into a pissing match with Melvin Craig,  and she had no idea whether Adam still needed to talk to him.  Let the uniform deal with Craig and his attitude. It was good for  young pups to learn how to overcome adversity. 

As Kendall walked back to the c-store to find Adam, she hit  the speed dial for her partner, Jake, and listened to her phone  ring until he answered. Loud chatter and children’s squeals  nearly covered his “Hello.” 

“Where the hell are you?” she asked. 

“I had to drop the kid at day care.” 

“They let you in with a gun?” 

“They’re not happy about it. I get lots of dirty looks.” “That’s not necessarily because you have a gun.” 

“Did you call for a reason beyond damaging my fragile male  ego?” 

“Yeah, I’m at a crime scene. Looks like we found a possible  missing girl.” 

“Alive?” His voice was tentative. It sucked having to start the  day finding a dead kid. 

“Yes, but I haven’t had a chance to question her. Apparently,  she’s not talking. Adam had her taken to the PD, so I’m heading  over to see if I can at least get a name and inform her parents.” “What do you need from me?” 

“I’m going to send you some info on the guy she was with. It  appears he’s the reason we’re not investigating her murder. I need  you to do some background on the guy, see if the info he gave  me checks out.” 

She heard the sound of a car door closing and a vehicle engine  starting. “Heading to the office now.”

About Leanne Kale Sparks:

After a short career in law, Leanne Kale Sparks is returning to her first love—writing about murder, mayhem, and crime. Currently, she is an author with Crooked Lane Books and is working on a new series featuring an FBI agent hunting down her best friend’s murderer. The backdrop is the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the playground of her youth, and the place that will always be home. She currently resides in Texas with her husband and German Shepherd, Zoe.

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Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of EVERY MISSING GIRL, US Only.

Ends February 21st, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:



Review/IG Post


Mythical Books

Excerpt/IG Post



IG Review


A Dream Within A Dream




IG Review


#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Excerpt/IG Post


Two Points of Interest



Writer of Wrongs




IG Review/TikTok Post


Books and Zebras

IG Review

Week Two:



IG Review



IG Review


Book Reviews by Alison

IG Review



Review/IG Post



IG Review



Review/IG Post



TikTok Review/IG Post


the book near me

Review/IG Post

Week Three:


Review Thick And Thin

Review/IG Post



IG Review



IG Review


Brandi Danielle Davis

IG Review/TikTok Post



IG Review


pick a good book




Review/IG Post



IG Review


Rajiv's Reviews

Review/IG Post



IG Review/TikTok Post



IG Review

Week Four:



IG Review/Facebook Post


Quirky Night Owl




Review/IG Post



IG Review



IG Review



IG Post


Emily Ashlyn

IG Review/Facebook Post

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