Malicious Secrets
A Sam Parker Mystery

Malicious Secrets, the second book in the Sam Parker mystery series based in Temecula, California is an exciting ride!

Malicious Secrets: A Sam Parker Mystery

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Samantha Parker is back with a new job as a private investigator and new cases to solve. Frank, her boss, has finally assigned her a big case. One that will surely help her to prove herself. All she has to do is discover what could have happened to a college girl that has been missing for seven months, and find out if she’s dead or alive. And with an increasing body count, it won’t be easy.

As a new PI without much more than her gut instincts to go on, Sam enlists the help of a detective in the police department to assist her in finding out what could have happened to the girl. He’s got the experience, and she knows in order to get the job done, she’s going to have to stay close to him and learn what she can. It doesn’t hurt that Detective Jake Reilly is oh so sexy either!

As the second book in Maria Pease’s Sam Parker Mystery series, this fast paced detective mystery finds Samantha Parker in some compromising situations as she works her caseload. Financial scams, cheating spouses, missing persons and deviant behaviors are just the tip of the iceberg, but with her sense of humor intact and her lucky undies to give her confidence, she’s ready for whatever comes her way.


Malicious Secrets includes eye-opening adventures involving financial trickery, cheating spouses and even the vampire culture. It’s exciting to learn more about Sam Parker’s “keen ability to visualize things and events” via Maria Pease’s second installment in her mystery series that takes place right here in the Temecula Valley. You won’t want to put it down!

                                                      - Jan Roberts, Temecula, CA

Maria Pease hits a home run with her second in the Sam Parker Mystery series.

Samantha Parker is a young determined women, trying to make it as a private investigator. Sam has what it takes; she is smart, energetic and curious with the raw gut feelings that that will make a great PI. Get ready to go to some pretty dark places with Sam as she gets herself into situations that are both thrilling and dangerous.

Sam knows what she wants, except when it comes to men. Her love life isn’t quite as clear as her profession. Malicious Secrets is a page turner that you won’t want to put down, so clear your calendar for another exciting adventure with Sam Parker, PI.

- Lisa Beach, Business Owner/Educator


Malicious Secrets, the second in the Sam Parker Mystery Series, is smart, sexy, funny, and exciting.  It’s a page turner that will keep you guessing and anxious to see what’s next and you’ll be extremely entertained throughout.  Couldn’t put it down!!  It’s a real winner, a must read.

                                                                                                                         Andrea Tomes

Malicious Secrets is a page turner from start to finish that I promise will keep you vastly entertained. I found Samantha Parker’s character to be both engaging and charming. I am eager to read more about her in the near future and discover where the next novel may lead. The Malicious series is addicting and gratifying. Maria Pease is a hilarious author who delivers an outstanding murder mystery which is based in her home town of Temecula, California. Her writing style is filled with tons of suspense, wittiness and adventure. I guarantee you that this is a must read and Maria Pease will be one of your preferred authors too!

- Christine Lowry Teskoski;

Educator; Temecula, California.

If you thought Temecula, California was all about wine and cowboys…you’d be wrong. Strap in for the newest page turner from Maria Pease. PI Sam Parker is a little bit like the girl next door and a little like Stephanie Plum… in a PG kinda way. She’s a wiseass, she’s stubborn, and she’s reckless. Lucky for her womanizing boss, Frank and the people of Southern California, she’s also a very good PI.

While questioning the parents of a missing Temecula college girl, Sam senses that they’re holding something back, that there’s more to the story. And is there ever! The investigation takes some very interesting twists and turns as the story unfolds, revealing secrets, lies, friendships, cults, cover-ups, suicide, jealousy, alternative lifestyles, denial and murder. Did I leave anything out? Be prepared to stay up past your bedtime. Some questions can’t wait until morning for answers. I guarantee you will never think of this sleepy California town, or your own, the same way ever again!

 - Deborah Brischler, Business Owner

Read Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Heading out of my office, I found myself having to do something I dreaded, you know, a chore that causes that feeling in the pit of your stomach like you don’t know whether you’re going to blow your cookies all over the place or be able to control it. Well, that’s how I was feeling right now. I was on my way to perform a task that I really hated doing, but unfortunately, this was my responsibility and I had to do it in order to get the job done. It was square one, and there was no getting around that.

Her story is one you may have heard before. She’s a nice, clean cut college girl. She’s pretty and smart, has lots of friends, and as far as anyone knows, she isn’t in any kind of trouble. But then she disappears…just like that.

Why should I care? It’s my job. I’m not a seasoned cop and as a matter of fact, I haven’t even been an investigator very long, but now it was my case and I was expected to find out what happened to her. It wasn’t going to be easy, I knew that. So I read and re-read her file again and again, trying to come up with a clue, an idea, no matter how slight, about what could have happened to her. Everything I have read so far tells me she’s dead…except the feeling in my gut. That’s telling me a whole different story.

She’s been missing for seven months, yet the police haven’t been able to give her parents any answers and they could no longer stand not knowing what happened to their little girl. That’s what they said. But she wasn’t a little girl. She was a grown woman and could do as she please. They also told me that it wasn’t like her to just go off. They were a close family and had been through so much. She would never leave, not without saying something and even then . . . no, she just wouldn’t do it. That is what they told me.

My name is Samantha Parker and I am a PI trainee. Having been on the job for four months now, I have spent much of my time trying to prove myself worthy. You see, I fell into this profession by accident, but I love it and would really like to be good at it. This, by the way, is no easy task.

The question I had to ask myself was, did I have faith in humanity? Since taking on this job I had spent a lot of time pondering that question. That about explains how I have to look at each new case that is assigned to me. Otherwise, I don’t think I could even get out of bed to try. Now, I was once again, asking myself if I had faith.

Driving down Rancho California Road, way overdressed, in my opinion, in a navy blue skirt, white top and navy high heels, my mind was on the task at hand. Simply put, I had been assigned to assist in an investigation concerning a young woman missing for seven months. A job that becomes increasingly difficult as time passes by, and seven months for a case like this is... well, it can be very challenging.

As I passed the Callaway and Miramonte wineries on my left and approached South Coast winery I knew I had a bit farther to go to get to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins, parents of Becky Hawkins, age twenty-one, allegedly missing but most likely deceased.

I had butterflies in my stomach and my mouth was dry. I had to talk to these people and bring them back to a painful time in their life, and ask them to remember all the details. I hate this part of the job because I always find myself feeling responsible for having to make them relive their pain. But if I could help to solve the case, well, it makes it all worth it in the end.

Turning right on Anza, I found myself on a small country road, surrounded by orange trees. The aroma was delicious, and for a moment, I lost the anxious feeling building up inside of me. But when I turned down the rocky dirt driveway, the anxiety returned ten fold and I didn’t think I could do it, although I knew I had to.

The house was a one story, mid-sized ranch style home with fruit trees and an avocado grove. A small grey barn surrounded with an aged whitewash fence sat to the right side of the tattered lawn area where two frumpy old horses stood under the one tree that provided some shade.

Thankful that I had prepared a list of questions, and determined to remain calm, I rang the doorbell only to have it answered by a man who caught me off guard by presenting a more youthful appearance than I had anticipated.

“You must be Miss Parker,” he said, extending his hand. “I’m Andrew Hawkins. Please come in. My wife is out back. Let me call her.”

Waiting, I took inventory of the place and found that the exterior, for which dumpy was the only word that came to mind, didn’t do it justice since the living room into which he had lead me was warm and cozy with its neutral tones and colorful flowers.

“Miss Parker, thank you for coming.” Marissa Hawkins said, as she elegantly approached me, holding out her hand to greet me.

“Please call me Sam,” I said, and then, taking a deep breath, “I know this is difficult for you and I am sorry.”

“Look, Miss Parker . . . Sam,” Marissa interrupted me as we all sat down. “We need to know where Becky is and are prepared to do what we have to do in order to find her, so let’s get started.”

“When is the last time you saw Becky?” I asked Marissa.

“It was on December 17,” she told me, her face expressionless. “Becky decided to come up to do some shopping and spend the night here in order to get in some quality study time. She had finals coming up and found it difficult to study at her apartment.”

“Did you go shopping with her?”

“Yes, we went to the Promenade Mall for a few hours and then came home and had dinner. Then she went into her room to study and that was the last time I saw her.”

“What time was that?”

“I went to bed after the eleven o’clock news and stopped in to say goodnight. It was about eleven thirty.”

“So, she was in her room?”

“Yes, she was still studying. She said that she had a lot of information to cover and that she’d be up for a while longer.”

I looked to Andrew. “Were you watching the news with your wife?”

“No, I wasn’t feeling well and went to bed right after dinner.”

“Is that the last time you saw your daughter?”

“Yes,” he said quietly, putting his head in his hands.

My heart sunk as I looked through my notes trying to get back on track.

“Did Becky see any friends while she was here?”

“No. I don’t believe so.” Marissa said, looking to Andrew for confirmation.

“Did she receive any phone calls or make any?”

“I don’t think so,” she said and Andrew agreed.

“You’re sure?” I asked, my gaze moving between them.

“I’m sorry Miss Parker. I just don’t know for sure. I don’t remember seeing her on the phone.” Marissa said, and now her voice was shaking.

“Does she have a cell phone?”

“Yes, but I didn’t see her using it.”

“Did you stay together while you were at the mall?” I asked. “Because I’m wondering if she might have run into a friend. Maybe she made plans for the evening. You’re sure you were with her the whole time?”

Marissa put her hands to her temples and rubbed them gently in a circular motion. “We weren’t together the whole time,” she said as she looked at me. “She wanted to go to the Gap and I wasn’t up for it. I was tired and the music is so loud. I went to Macy’s to look for a gift for her and we met at the food court a half hour later.”

“Did you see her speaking with anyone?” I asked, hopeful. “Or did she mention having run into someone?”

“No. But if she had I’m sure she would have told me. We’re very close. She shares everything with me.”

I thought about that statement and although I know Marissa believed every word of it, I did not. It doesn’t matter how close you are with your mom, no kid shares everything. We all have secrets. I took more notes and started again.

“She was attending San Diego State University?” I inquired, my tone serious.

“Yes, she was in her senior year.” Marissa replied. “Marketing.”

“And she lived in an apartment complex?”

“Yes, close to campus. Villa Casa.”

“My records also indicate that she had a roommate, is that accurate?”

“Yes. Becky and Allison had shared the apartment for about . . . two years.”

“Have they had any difficulties or disagreements that you know of?”

“No, they were inseparable, like sisters. Best friends since they were kids.”

Andrew Hawkins had been listening patiently until suddenly, he rose and addressed me directly.

“Miss Parker,” he said. “This seems a little silly to me, you do have all of this information in that file, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Then why do you need to ask us about information you already have?”

“Mr. Hawkins, I like to start fresh, and not rely on information gathered by someone other than myself. It helps me to understand the situation leading up to the disappearance better, and my hope is that starting over might also help you to remember details you did not offer when you were interviewed before. Sometimes a little distance can assist you in recalling things more clearly.”

He stared at me with sadness in his eyes. He looked, well . . . defeated, and I couldn’t have that.

“Look, I want to find out where your daughter is,” I went on, “but in order for me to do my job I need your cooperation.”

He glanced at his wife, and then retook his place on the couch. I resumed asking questions about Becky, her lifestyle, friends, classmates, boyfriends, coworkers and anyone else she may know, and of course, I also had to ask if they knew of anyone that may want to harm her.

“No, absolutely not,” Andrew professed. “Becky is a lovely girl; there isn’t anyone that would want to hurt her.”

I knew they were tired of answering my questions because I was surely tired of asking them. Before I was escorted to my car, I requested and was given several photos of Becky and some friends, her high school yearbook, and a list of all the people she knew and where I might find them. Well, at least the ones they knew about.

As I drove back down the dirt drive and back onto Anza Road, I couldn’t help but think about how normal her life was. She was a popular college girl, attractive, outgoing, smart and looking forward to a bright future in the advertising industry after graduation. A normal girl, a normal life. But she was gone, and no one knew where.


If you'd like to read more, chapters 1 - 5 are available to read FREE!

You Can Read Chapter 1 - 5 Here!

About The Author

Maria Pease is a writer originally from Long Island, N.Y. She lives in Temecula, California with her husband, Scott, and her children, Steven and Ali.

Malicious Secrets is the second book in the Samantha Parker Mystery Series.

You can visit Maria's Author website to get in touch with her and for additional information.

Visit Maria's Amazon Author Page


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