Alpha by Stephen L. Brayton – Promo Post

Alpha by Stephen L. Brayton – Promo Post

AD – Today on the blog we welcome author Stephen L. Brayton, with his Promotional Post for his new book ‘Alpha: A Mallory Petersen Mystery Book One‘, which will be released on 25th July 2023. Check out the book and read the extract below.

Alpha by Stephen L. Brayton

A Mallory Petersen Mystery Book One

Author – Stephen L. Brayton
Publisher – Tuxtails Publishing
Pages – 339
Release Date – 25th July 2023
ISBN 13 – 978-1957211138
Format – ebook, paperback


How well do we ever know anyone? Even someone we might be falling in love with…

On a rainy October morning, Mallory Petersen, private detective and martial artist, discovers the corpse of her boyfriend, Bobby Furillo, in front of her office in Des Moines, Iowa.

Bucking police authority and continually attacked by unknown adversaries, Mallory discovers Bobby’s devastating secrets. Each new revelation puts Mallory in deeper peril from powerful and dangerous people, but she won’t stop until she learns the truth.

What Reviewers’ are Saying

An entertaining read – 5 Stars

The characters were strong and believable – 4 Stars

The ending caught me totally by surprise – 5 Stars

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Extract – Chapter 1


“Tell me a story about one of your toughest cases.”

I glance behind me at the man who spoke, and he offers an anticipatory smile. My eyes need a moment to adjust from the firelight to the face the flames illuminate. Between shifting shadows, I admire his strong chin, kissable mouth, and the reflection of the fire in his deep chocolate brown eyes. One errant sandy lock dangles sexily over his forehead.

I’ve been nestling in his arms on the couch, our legs covered by a blanket. The wind howls around the corners of the house. A week before Christmas, Iowa’s bipolar weather has decided to shift toward the polar side. Snow began three days ago, light and feathery at first, but you couldn’t miss the ecstasy upon the television meteorologists’ faces as they cheerfully predicted how much worse it would get. My capital city became a bull’s eye for a slow-moving arctic front slogging through the state. Five to seven inches depending on where one lived, with a possibility (oh, how the forecasters wrung their hands with glee and their eyes glistened in delight) of up to ten or twelve inches in select areas.

The dreams of a white Christmas looked to be a reality.

Lawrence Cameron, Quad Cities cop extraordinaire, fabu-lishious hunk of a man, and my boyfriend, had braved the ice and snow-choked interstate to spend a weekend with me. Since next Saturday is the holiday and we will be with our respective families, we thought we’d spend a little time together before the holiday rush. Granted, driving around the metro probably isn’t on the agenda, but cuddling indoors is just fine, especially with as fine a specimen as Lawrence.

We met a few weeks ago when, in my role as a private investigator, I worked a case where I traveled around Des Moines, down to south central Iowa, and finally to the Quad Cities. Lawrence played chauffeur for a day as we searched for a kidnapped little girl and in the end I helped shut down a child pornography ring.

I’d been attracted to Lawrence at first sight and what sane woman wouldn’t be? He possessed cool, calming inner and outer strength and reciprocated the attraction.

As much as I would love to drag him to my bed and ravish him for hours, I have been cautious and hesitant in our relationship. The miles between us are a big factor. We squeeze in a day here and there, a dinner date in Iowa City, roughly halfway between our hometowns, and a slew of conversations via email and Skype.

He has his Special Case Squad buddies, his parents, and his siblings. I have my private investigator’s cases and my martial arts school. Building a relationship with everything going on…well, I’m just happy Lawrence is courteous, respectful, and caring enough not to push for the role of Alpha Male.

Physical distance isn’t the only reason I hold back. Yes, I’m comfortable in his arms in front of a crackling fire on a dark and cold December night, but a wall still exists, blocking me from allowing my heart to go deeper. He’s just pressed against that wall.

Throughout the evening, we’ve been quietly discussing some of Lawrence’s adventures as a metro police detective. Having met his co-workers and partners in the Special Case Squad, I understand better how they tackle cases, as well as the empathy felt when the seriousness of the crime is at the forefront.

Now, he has lobbed the ball into my court. I could try to change the subject and regale him with taekwondo tournaments or the list of more than my fair share of goofy clients. What pops to the forefront, however, is the other reason for my hesitancy in our relationship.

My mood, once content, turns somber. My body, warm and comfortable, tenses ever so slightly. Lawrence notices the change. “Mallory Petersen, what tale of derring-do are you keeping from me?” he purrs into my ear.

I smile at his attempt at levity.

“Come on, out with it,” he urges.

“I…don’t know,” I stall. “It’s a long story.”

He inhales audibly and turns his wrist toward me, showing a nonexistent watch. “We have all night. Unless you’d rather go outside and build a snowman.”

“No, thanks.” I pause a moment more, then snuggle a little deeper into his body. “Okay, you asked for it.”

I close my eyes, collect my thoughts, then tell him about Bobby Furillo.



Murder takes but a single bullet.

I later learned a .45 caliber ended the life of Bobby Furillo, but I could have provided a reasonable guess upon seeing his body.

I stood on the sidewalk under a dirty white protective awning as the October sky dumped enough rain on which even Noah would have commented. I did not envy the score of officers, forensics experts, and paramedics moving in haste, trying to protect both the corpse and the crime scene from the elements.

Dressed in jeans and a sweater under a Sam Spade trench coat and hat, I shivered, horrified, but I couldn’t stop staring as it all unfolded before me.

Bobby’s body lay crumpled upon the wet asphalt in the parking lot next to my office building. Blood from the massive exit hole in his back disappeared in thin colored streams. Red-tinged water-saturated and darkened his jeans, a leather jacket, and a striped button-down shirt. The expression on the once handsome face showed a combination of surprise and shock, blended to form an image too tragic for anyone to want to remember, but one I’d never forget.

Rain battered the half dozen roses thrown aside at the moment of death, detaching petals at random, sending them swirling into the gutter and on down the street to disappear in a soon-to-be-overflowing sewer entrance.

Bobby had stopped by my office to take me to lunch, and he wanted to bring me flowers. Instead, when I drove into the parking lot, I discovered he’d brought me death and heartache.

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Author Info

Stephen L. Brayton

Stephen L. Brayton is a Sixth Degree Black Belt in the American Taekwondo Association and a Marketing Associate for a software company.

He began writing as a child; his first short story concerned a true incident about his reactions to discipline. During high school, he wrote for the school newspaper and was a photographer for the yearbook. For a Mass Media class, he wrote and edited a video project.

In college, he began a personal journal for a writing class; said journal is ongoing. He was also a reporter for the college newspaper.

During his early twenties, while working for a Kewanee, Illinois radio station, he wrote a fantasy-based story and a trilogy for a comic book.

Alpha, the first of his Mallory Petersen action mystery series will be released in July ‘23.

He is the editor and contributing author of The Peace Tree Mystery, a story set in the Knoxville, Iowa/Lake Red Rock area.

He has also been published in numerous anthologies of fiction, poems in Lyrical Iowa 2018-2022, and an article in the Nov/Dec ‘23 issue of Plant Engineering.

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