“Blackmail” by A.L. Simpson #NewRelease

Blackmail Banner.png



Avery was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Is she doomed to suffer for the rest of her life at the hands of an unscrupulous club owner?

Destitute, in debt and on the brink of giving up, it’s the death of a friend who brings her hope.

Can Gabe help her turn her life around or, will she insist on solving a murder which could place her in grave danger?

Plot used is from a Lacey Roberts book which has been unpublished.

Buy Links

Amazon Universal Link





Present Day

Avery’s shoulders slumped as she trudged up the front steps of the small, run-down apartment block. She clutched a small shopping bag and her purse in one hand, a wad of unopened envelopes in the other.

Her apartment was on the ground floor, to the right of the filthy glass entrance doors. There were only six apartments in the building and four were empty. This is the sleazy side of town. Nobody would voluntarily live there but she had no choice. The rent was cheap and it didn’t seem to matter whether she paid on time or not. The block had been built in the fifties and had been badly maintained, bricks crumbled from the façade every time it rained. The interiors were as filthy as the entrance, damp oozed from the ceilings. Peeled and chipped paint decorated the walls, the carpet was threadbare and curtains non-existent. The rancid odor of decay permeated the building.

She dumped the bag onto the ground and rummaged in her purse for the key to the door. “Come on. I’m not in the fucking mood for this.”

Avery had been searching for work for almost a week but, no-one in this town, or the next town over, would even grant her an interview.

Vince, the sleazy bastard, had alerted her boss to her pictures plastered all over the internet. Her disgusted boss hadn’t hesitated to spread the word amongst his colleagues. Her career as a Personal Assistant was finished. She would never be able to get a job in her field now.

She was behind in the rent and, if her guess was accurate, the wad of envelopes clutched in her hand were bills she had no way of paying.

Finally, her fingers wrapped around the single key and she withdrew it, inserted it into the door and let herself in.  She flipped the switch on the wall. Nothing. Her power had been disconnected.

“Shit, shit, shit,” she shouted while moving to the tiny kitchen table. Apart from her bed, it was the only remaining furniture she had.

She couldn’t really blame the power company. The check she’d written for the deposit had bounced and they had been asking her to pay the overdue account since she’d moved in four weeks ago.

After slamming the shopping bag, envelopes and her purse down on the table, she dropped into a chair. The envelopes now appeared to taunt her.

Avery lowered her head into her hands and indulged in self-pity by crying.  How much lower would she be forced to sink? Not low enough to be forced back to the club. She would rather live on the streets and starve.

She blotted out the pain of her hellish lifestyle by closing her eyes and letting her mind drift to happier times when life was beautiful – with her mom and dad.


About the Author


I have always loved to write and have a vivid and overactive imagination.
In my spare time, when I’m not writing, I love to walk, read and shop.
I believe no mountain is too hard to climb, no river is too wide to span and no journey is too difficult to complete. I follow my dreams and I urge and encourage others to do the same.
With a positive attitude, the impossible can become possible.


Promo Proudly Hosted by


“In The Best Interest of the Child” by Felicia Denise #Excerpt #ComingSoon

ITBIOTC Full Cover

*Unedited and subject to revisions

When Olivia exited the elevator heading for her fifth floor office, she didn’t realize she was smiling. Karen from word processing was the first to notice.

“Wow, someone’s in a good mood!” Puzzled, Olivia shook her head and continued on. Peter, who specialized in adoptions, was standing in the door of his office.

“Hey now! Did you get laid last night?”

“Sheffield! Do you mind? Have you had lunch? Was it in a shot glass?” He laughed maniacally as she rounded the corner and nearly collided with Randie, her paralegal. Olivia quickly reached out to catch the files slipping from Randie’s arms.

“I’m so sorry, Randie! Sheffield was giving me a bad time and I…I… well, I walked right into you. Are you okay?” She shuffled the file folders together and handed them to Randie. She accepted the files while giving Olivia a scrutinizing look.

“Did you do something different with your hair? You look different today.” Olivia squeezed her eyes shut, shaking her head.

“Did I walk into an alternate universe? Why is everyone acting so strange and what’s so different about me?”

“It’s not a bad ‘different’, Olivia. It looks good on you.” Sighing, she let it go.

“Thank you, Randie…I think.”

Margo Schultz was simultaneously on the phone and Internet when Olivia passed her desk. She held up a finger to get Olivia’s attention and thrust a handful of files and messages in her direction. Olivia chuckled, knowing she had a full afternoon ahead of her. Entering her office, she quickened her step to her desk where she unceremoniously dumped the stack of paperwork and documents. Closing the west facing blinds to block out of the glare of the afternoon sun, Olivia turned up the air conditioning then plopped into her custom-made office chair. She loved that chair. With an extra high back, extra wide seat, cushioned armrests, and built-in massagers from the lumbar all the way to the neck, she didn’t mind the long hours she sometimes had to spend in it.

Kicking off her shoes under her desk, a glance at her desk clock startled her. 1:15? Had she really spent half the day with her newest client? Thinking back over the morning, Olivia pulled out the notes she’d made at the hospital, then grabbed a fresh legal pad and made notes in three columns – ‘Known’, ‘Unknown’, and ‘???’. Getting Rena an appointment for a psyche eval was a priority. Olivia wasn’t sure if it was consciously or subconsciously, but Rena Averest was holding in an incredible amount of emotions. Pain, loss, fear, and even anger were probably waging war inside her, and not knowing how to deal with them all at the same time, she held them all in. Olivia had seen it too many times. She had lived it too many times.

*** Flashback***
Livvie stared at the wall, willing her tears not to fall. “Oh, sweetie. Please don’t be angry. It will only make you feel worse. Everyone was only thinking of what was best for you”, the nurse cooed. She reached out to touch Livvie’s arm, but stopped short and pulled her hand back. The child met her gaze with defiant glare.

“You wait days to tell me my daddy’s dead, and now days later, you tell me they already had his funeral.”

“Honey, you were so weak, and your social worker said it was best for everyone not to tell you at the time, and just let you get better.”

“What social worker?”

“Your social worker, Mrs. Jenkins.” Livvie’s eyes widened.

“That tall woman with the ugly hair and mean face is my social worker?”

“Livvie! That’s not nice!”

“I only remember seeing her once, and she never looked at me…not one time. I don’t want her to be my social worker!” The nurse sighed heavily.

“Certain decisions have to be made for you right now, Livvie, and since you’re not an adult, the state has to step in and help out.”

“What about my mom?” The nurse looked away and smoothed the bed covers. “She’s still in a coma, isn’t she? And you were not going to tell me.”

Straightening her back and standing to her full height, the nurse’s voice took a firmer tone.

“You have no idea what your body…and your mind have been through, Livvie. As a child, you’re not able to understand how serious this all is.” Livvie pushed herself into a sitting position, wincing from the pain.

“My daddy’s dead, my mom’s in a coma and I have no one. People who don’t even know me get to tell me what to do.” She continued before the nurse could speak. “We don’t have any more family. We only had each other. So strangers buried my daddy, and no one told me. I’m ten and a half, not stupid.” She reached for the child, but Livvie pulled away, wincing again.

“I didn’t even get to say goodbye. My daddy’s gone…and I didn’t get to say goodbye.”

“Livvie, I’m so sorry-…” Ignoring the pain, Livvie turned on her side with her back to the nurse, and spoke barely above a whisper.

“Go away. Just go…away.” Livvie exhaled when she heard the door open, then close. The tears she had fought so hard to hold on to, now wouldn’t come at all. She wanted to scream and cry. She wanted her daddy to run into the room and save her. Instead she felt as if the lump in her throat would choke her.

Livvie massaged her forehead slowly and closed her eyes. “Why did you leave me, daddy? I’m so scared, daddy. I need you.” Livvie felt her legs and back begin to throb and knew someone would come to give her medicine soon to stop the pain. The medicine would make her sleep and she wouldn’t have to talk. That thought made her smile slightly and remember another time when she couldn’t talk. She’d had her tonsils removed two years ago, and despite being able to eat all the ice cream she wanted, she still cried because of the pain. Her daddy sat close to her on the bed and rubbed her back.

“It’s okay to cry, Livvie-Lou, everyone cries. But I’m going to need you to work towards being strong for your dad. Too much crying is not good for your throat and I know you don’t want to go back the hospital. And you know how your mom feels about hospitals.” Livvie opened her eyes suddenly.

No. She had no idea how her mother felt about hospitals.
***End Flashback***

“So are you going to tell me what’s going on?” Olivia jumped at the sound of Margo’s voice.


“I’m used to you zoning out and getting lost in your thoughts. I learned long ago that was standard Olivia Chandler. But when you do it right after walking through the office positively glowing, I have to ask why?” Olivia pulled a face and tossed her pen onto the desk.

“What. The. Hell? Why is everyone acting so weird today? Saying I must be in a good mood, I must have gotten laid, I did something different with my hair!” She sat back in the chair and closed her eyes. “You people act like I’m Oscar the Grouch.”

“Oh, you’re a sweetheart and you know it. Your usual demeanor is just a tad more…reserved.” Margo guffawed. She made herself comfortable in one of the overstuffed office chairs across from Olivia.

“You just called me boring, didn’t you?”

“Did you get laid?” Olivia rolled her eyes at her assistant.

“Really? That’s all you got from my rant?” Margo shrugged.

“It was you who taught me to prioritize the details.” They smirked at each other, then laughed. Margo stretched her arms upwards, then laced her hands behind her head. “Sooooo…the details?”

“Margo! No! Did we not talk earlier? I was with our new client. Remember her? An eleven-year-old girl?” Margo acted as though she was pondering an answer.

“Um, that’s true. But, I called you ‘several’ times before you called-…”

“Stop it, Schultz!” Margo tried to suppress her grin.

“Alright. What’s up with our latest little darling?”

“It’s not good, but it could be worse. Eleven-year-old Rena Averest and her parents were involved in that horrible accident on Morrissey Highway back in June. Her mom was killed, and her dad was gravely injured. He broke just about every bone on the left side of his body, had severe internal injuries, suffered brain trauma, and was in a coma for quite some time only recently coming out of it.”

“Damn! And Rena?”

A concussion and several broken bones, including an ankle and hip. Poor thing had a total hip replacement.”

“Oh no!”

“Yeah. And you know as young as she is, there’s the chance of having to have the replacement replaced somewhere done the road. Just depends on how active her life is.”

“And emotionally? Mentally?”

“I am concerned with both. She only mentioned her mom twice and both times were about her death. There’s no “I miss my mommy”, or “Mommy always did this or that”. The only time she mentioned her dad was when we first met, and she thought I was there to tell her he had died. She’s blocking a lot or holding it in. She’s also in a considerable amount of pain, which is definitely distracting.” Margo reached and snagged the legal pad and a pen off the desk.

“Okay, boss lady – what are we doing?”

“Lawrence Metzgar for a psyche eval and Daniel Kilgore for a complete physical, ASAP.” Margo frowned.

“A physical? I can’t remember you ever having one done for an accident victim.”

“I never have. Rena is tall for her age, and appears to have lost quite a bit of weight. Not unusual for what she’s been through, but I’d feel better covering all the bases. She has physical and occupational therapy daily at St. Mary’s. I need copies of her COT and her ELOT.” She pushed several forms across her desk. Margo picked them up and flipped them all over.

“They’re blank.”

“Yep. Ever see that before?”

“Nope. What gives?” Olivia folded her arms and leaned on the desk.

“It doesn’t feel right. I’ve seen Family History forms with one name, first names only, not applicable and deceased. I’ve even seen “alive but we’re not on speaking terms”, but totally blank? That’s intentional. Rena and I were having a reasonably good meeting until I asked her about extended family. She shut down on me. Her mom has a brother back east, but he’s too ill to care for Rena, and she wouldn’t likely get upset at the mention of that. Get Louis on that for us, please, along with complete background checks for Duncan and Irene Averest. I also need Rena’s old medical records from her pediatrician. Daniel is going to need something to compare his findings to. Judge Dennison will sign subpoenas for anything we need.” Olivia stood and began to pace.

“Uh oh. That’s your thinking stance.” Olivia grinned, but did not stop pacing.

“My initial meeting with the Bellamys, Rena’s caregiver family, went well. I didn’t pick up on any signs of deception, they’re genuinely concerned about her, and Rena interacts well with them. It’s obvious there was a well-established family friendship prior to the accident. The Bellamys are also Rena’s godparents, so they must have been pretty close to her parents. They have a nice, well-kept home, and both seem very genuine.” She continued to pace.


“They’re not blood relatives, and to my knowledge, there was nothing in writing prior to the accident appointing them guardians.”

“Can the father make that appointment now?” Olivia threw her arms then let them fall to her sides.

“That’s something else I don’t know. I need to meet with him and his doctor to find out his medical and mental state. If he’s not judged competent, we’ll have a fight on our hand with DCS. This could take time, and as you and I both know, DCS could swoop in at any time and take custody of Rena. Once they get her into their system, it will almost take a military coup to get her out.” A mischievous grin slowly spread across Margo’s face.

“You have a plan.”

“Of course I do, but the clock is working against us.” Margo scooted to the edge of her seat.

“What’s the play?” Olivia returned to her chair.

“I still have to complete the Bellamy formal interview, but I don’t see any immediate problems…except their familial responsibilities can, and have changed. Marissa’s mom goes to dialysis three times a week, and while an aunt heals from a small stroke, Marissa is her transportation, not to mention helping them also with their household needs. Rena feels like she’s an added burden to the family. Once I see the Averest insurance and financials, I’m going to see Judge Dennison. He gave this case to me for more than a couple reasons, not the least being he doesn’t want to see this child go into the foster care system. I plan to ask His Honor to let me hire some part time help.”

“Woman, are you nuts? They’re not blood relatives, AND they have to hire help to care for her? DCS will be out for blood!” Olivia leaned back in the chair and crossed her legs.

“How private money is spent is none of DCS’ concern. But just when did I say I was hiring someone to help with Rena? I plan to hire someone to help with her mother and aunt, and while Marissa does not seem like the type of woman to want or need a housekeeper, having someone for a few hours a week to dust, vacuum, and maybe do a load or two of laundry would take a bit of the workload off her. She has more time for Rena, Rena benefits.”

Margo leaned back in her chair. “That’s why it has to be paid for with Averest money and not the county’s. Boss Lady, I’m so glad you use your powers for good!” Olivia laughed easily, but turned serious.

“This child has been through hell. She’s had no time to properly mourn her mother or see and spend time with her father. Her body was battered and bruised and she’s far too young to know the kind of pain she deals with. The very last thing she needs is to have to adjust to a foster family who may or may not care about her and treat with her kindness or compassion. And let’s not forget about the nightmare referred to as DCS. The state made their budget cuts and is passing financial burdens on to counties. It’s only a matter of time before Hennepin County loses more employees, and social workers are always near the top of the cuts list. Keep in mind, these are my plans and this is what I think is best. But I’m not an attorney ad litum, so what I may think is best takes a back seat to what Rena wants.”

“Do you truly believe she wants to go into foster care?”

“No way. But until I’m certain where her head is emotionally and mentally, I won’t try to second guess her. She might feel it’s the thing to do to free the Bellamys from having to take care of her. I’m walking a very narrow path with this one. Did you hear back about the updated docket schedule?”

“Oh yeah. You’re off the hook until Tuesday.”

“Then let’s get to work and make some magic!” Margo stood and headed for the door. She stopped and slowly turned back to her boss.



“Don’t think for one second that we’re not having a discussion about what had you glowing earlier, got it?” Olivia smirked, but silently said a prayer for having someone like Margo in her corner.

“I hear you loud and clear, Miss Marple!”

“The only reason we’re not having that discussion now is,” she took a couple of steps closer, “because this little girl needs us to move our asses and give her our best. And… you have another call you should make first.” Olivia gave her a curious look.

“Just who am I calling?” Her assistant took a deep breath.

“Willis Benson.” Olivia’s face fell.

Why is nothing ever easy?

“Savage” by Kat Austen #BlogTour



AP new - buy the book.jpg

Amazon US   Amazon UK

Amazon CA  Amazon AU







AP new - synopsis.jpg


He’s been alone for years. Marooned on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, he long ago let go of the pleasantries and mannerisms of civilization. He’s become a savage, driven by instinct and impulse—more animal than man.

Then she washes up on his island, and everything changes. Her survival becomes more important that his. Her needs more essential than his own. Her pleasure more imperative than his.

This woman becomes his whole life. Not because she’s the first woman he’s seen in years, but because she’s the one he’s spent his whole life waiting for.

But will she feel the same? Will she be able to bring the man back from the savage? Or will she bring even more of the savage out of the man?

Either way, this tropical island’s about to get even hotter.




“Make love to me,” I whispered, slowly wrapping one finger at a time around his erection straining through his loincloth. It was the first time he’d let me touch him like this, and feeling his arousal in my palm spurred my own into uncharted territory until I was consumed by my need.
His head fell back when I stroked him. “Right now, after everything”—he spoke as though each word were a chore to utter, his forehead creasing deeper with every slide of my hand—“I couldn’t make love to you the way a woman like you deserves.”
Instead of disappointing me, the prospect of the alternative made my need grow. “Why not?”
His arms fell back, his hands curling into the sand like he was trying to get a good grip as my touch became stronger. “I’ve been alone for years . . .” He thrust his hips when I circled his head with my pinkie. “I’ve been fantasizing about you for weeks . . . I couldn’t make love to you the way you mean.”
I needed to feel him, flesh to flesh—I needed to feel his steel sliding against the soft flesh of my palm. Working the ties of his loincloth free as quickly as I could, I let it fall to the sand, exposing his body.
“Then what would you do to me?” My teeth sank into my lip as my eyes dropped to his manhood. Everything about him was large and male. Every part of him made me feel sick with want. “What have you been fantasizing about?”
Unable to stare without touching any longer, I moved my hand back to his straining cock, drawing a moan from both of us.
“I’ve lived as a savage for years. I’ve lived an existence more animal than human. That’s the way I want to take you.” His eyes clamped closed as I stroked him. “I want to throw you onto all fours, shove between your legs, and fuck you until you can’t walk. I want to come inside you until I can’t come anymore and every last seed in my body is swimming in yours. I want to mate with you. I want to breed you. I want to mount you and make you scream my name while I take your body again, and again”—something dark flashed in his eyes when they opened, his cock throbbing in my hand—“and again.”
I wasn’t sure when I’d stopped breathing, but I had. I was so wet from his words and feeling his cock in my hand that it was running down my legs. “Then what are you waiting for?”  
Glancing at the ground behind me, he lifted his chin. “I’m waiting for you to get on all fours and show me you want the same.”
My nipples hardened at the rumble in his voice. Letting go of his cock, my hands slipped under the shoulders of the coat, slowly letting it fall down my arms. When Grant’s gaze dropped from my face, his throat bobbed as he roamed my chest. As his eyes dropped down my stomach, landing on my pussy, the corners of his eyes creased. I looked down with him, unable to miss the glistening wetness coating my body down there. The ache to feel him moving inside me became too much to bear. Turning around, I slowly lowered onto my hands, digging my knees into the cool sand.
Behind me, Grant’s breaths were ragged as I heard him stir from his position. He didn’t touch me as he moved up behind me, making me feel like I was choking on my heartbeat. “Make sure this is what you want.”
“Why?” I panted, tipping my hips up higher, needing him to sheath himself inside me before I passed out.
“Because once I have you, I’m going to want you again right after. And again right after that.” His palms drilled into the meat of my backside, kneading me roughly. “You give me your body now, you’ll give it to me again. Whenever I ask you to. Whenever I feel my cock stir, it will be your body that sates it.” One of his hands skimmed down my ass, pausing outside of my opening. He grunted when he felt fresh wetness spill from me. “I’ve been patient for a long time. Let me mate with you like the animal I’ve become, and I’ll never be patient again. Are you sure you’re ready for that? Are you sure you know the magnitude of my need?”




AP new -about the author.jpg


Kat Austen is the secret pen name of a New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author. Kat writes short and steamy reads that leave hearts (and other parts) satisfied.


Facebook  Twitter  GoodReads






A Cricket Gave Me Writer’s Block!

Mr Cricket
Not an actual cricket, but an artist’s (ME!) representation. I couldn’t snap a photo because I left my cell on the desk, next to the wall…where the cricket was.

2:40 AM, sitting here writing, minding my OWN business and what “appears” next to me on the wall? A cricket the size of Phoenix! Why are bugs so big in Arizona? Had it been your standard little Michigan-size cricket – no problem! Several pairs of shoes happen to be under my desk. (Don’t judge me.)

But no such luck. This cricket was large enough to register for kindergarten. It heard me gasp, and turned its head to give me a look of disdain.

Oh, really Mr. Cricket? Fine!

Time to wake the mister, who looked at me and jumped out of bed. I may or may not have been mildly hysterical.

Mister: What? What’s wrong, Fle??
Me: *Pointing* In there!!!
Mister: WHAT?
Me: *Still pointing* ON THE WALL!!!

He walks into the room…right up to wall.

Mister: Oh. It’s a cricket. *Looks at ME* How did he get in here?
Me: I don’t know, Dennis…he caught an Uber over for coffee? KILL IT!

Now, you would think after nearly thirty-three years of marriage, I’d know better and kill bugs on my own, but apparently I never learn. Because true to form, Mr. Humanitarian goes ALL THE WAY TO THE KITCHEN to get a bowl and lid. (Because the cricket will jump. *Eye roll*)

He returns, passing me in the hallway…because that’s where I was safe…and proceeds with his plan of ‘catch and release’, and, OF COURSE, the cricket jumps away! I can see it from my strategic vantage point of twenty-five feet away. And, of course, Mr. Cricket jumps BEHIND the desk.

Me: Oh, great! Why didn’t you just smash it?
Mister: Calm down! You could have smashed it too and I’d still be asleep.
Me: Nope.

He’s peering behind the desk like he’s sightseeing. Ugh!

Me: Now you have to kill it!

Without waiting for the snarky comment I know is coming, this time, I go to the kitchen…for the mega-sized bottle of Home Defense, and take it to him. (I was helpful despite my trauma.)

The mister proceeds to spray AROUND the desk like he’s building a force field. Not a bad idea for spiders, but it’s a cricket. They jump. I witnessed it.

Me: Why are you spraying there? Spray BEHIND the desk!
Mister: Do you wanna do it?
Me: Nope.

After soaking the cricket (and the carpet) with enough spray for Michael Phelps to swim through and win yet another gold medal, the mister pronounces the cricket dead.

My spidey-senses may not be as sharp for crickets, but I didn’t feel the calm that comes with bug-death. (However, I was feeling the dizziness that comes from inhaling excessive bug spray fumes.) I walked over to the desk and moved the bulletin board, and there it was! Mr. Cricket trying to schlep away from the scene! Despite the fact the mister was standing right next to me, I felt the need to scream out, “THERE IT IS!!!” Giving me a side-eye glance, the mister started to use the spray, but stopped and instead grabbed one of my black sandals – the cute ones with the crystals across the bridge – and smashed the cricket.

Grabbing the bottle of bug spray, the mister is heading for the door, actually leaving me with a smashed cricket on the floor, and bug slime on my cute black sandals with the crystals across the bridge. I grab a tissue and hold it out to him, and after tossing me ANOTHER side-eye glance (that’s two – I’m keeping count) he picks up the evil, but dead cricket.

But then…THEN…he tries to toss the tissue holding the dead cricket carcass into MY trashcan!!! Dude! Seriously? Did you just meet me? So not happening! With a huff of disgust, he goes to the kitchen to dispose of that…thing. I hear him putting things away while I do a quick reconnaissance to make sure there wasn’t a weekly cricket meeting or cricket family reunion happening, and other vermin are lurking about.

Calmly, (finally) I sit down again and realize I have no clue what I’m supposed to be writing about. There was a scene…a confrontation…many, many words were said…someone was really angry. Geeze, just like that, Mr. Cricket has wiped the scene I was eager to write from my mind. Now I must browse Pinterest and drink large amounts of coffee until the scene plays out in my mind again. Damn cricket!

The mister passes by on his way back to bed, I throw out a cheerful, “Thank you! Good night!” He mumbles something unintelligible under his breath.

Me: Remember, the vow’s said ‘for better or worse’, and there’s nothing worse than bugs!

Mister: Yes, there is. A wife with an irrational fear of bugs!

Irrational? REALLY? The vegetable in today’s dinner just got switched from the corn he loves…to the broccoli he loathes.

How’s that for irrational?