#BookBlast “Dead In The Water: A Provincetown Mystery (Sydney Riley Series Book 8)” by Jeannette de Beauvoir

April 27, 2021 Book Blast

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Book Details:

Family Can Be Murder

Sydney Riley’s stretch of planned relaxation between festivals is doomed from the start. Her parents, ensconced at the Race Point Inn, expect her to play tour guide. Wealthy adventurer Guy Husband has reappeared, seeking to regain her friend Mirela’s affections. And the body of a kidnapped businessman has been discovered under MacMillan Wharf!

Sydney is literally at sea (by far not her favorite place!) balancing these expectations with her supersized curiosity. Is the murder the work of a regional gang led by the infamous “Codfather” or the result of a feud within an influential Provincetown family? What’s Guy Husband’s connection, and why is it suddenly so important that her boyfriend Ali come for a visit—especially while her mother is in town?

Master of crime Jeannette de Beauvoir brings her unique blend of irony and intrigue to this humorous—and sometimes horrendous—convergence of family and fatality.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: HomePort Press

Publication Date: May 1st 2021

Number of Pages: 309

ISBN: 9781734053371

Series: Sydney Riley Series, Book #8 | Each is a stand alone Mystery

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt from Dead In The Water:

Chapter One

It was, I told myself, all my worst nightmares come true. All at once.

I may live at Land’s End, out at the tip of Cape Cod where the land curls into itself and for centuries foghorns warned of early death and disaster; I may have, yes, been out on boats on the Atlantic waters, laughably close to shore; but no, I’d never gotten used to any of it. I like floors that don’t move under my feet. I like knowing I could conceivably make it back to land on my own steam should something go wrong. (Well the last bit is a fantasy: without a wetsuit, the cold would get me before the fatigue did. But the point still stands.)

I was having this plethora of cheerful thoughts for two reasons. I had allowed myself to be persuaded to go on a whale watch. And the person standing beside me on the deck was my mother.

Like all stories that involve me and my mother, this one started with guilt. I’d had, safe to say, a rough year. I’d broken my arm (and been nearly killed) at an extremely memorable film festival here in Provincetown in the spring, and then during Women’s Week that October had met up with another murderer—seriously, it’s as if my friend Julie Agassi, the head of the town’s police detective squad, is right, and I go looking for these things.

I don’t, but people are starting to wonder.

Meanwhile, my mother was busily beating her you-never-call-you-never-write drum and I just couldn’t face seeing her for the holidays. My life was already complicated enough, and there’s no one like my mother for complicating things further. She’s in a class by herself. Other contenders have tried valiantly to keep up, before falling, one by one, by the wayside. Not even death or divorce can complicate my life the way my mother manages to. She perseveres.

On the other hand, circumstances had over the past year given her a run for her money. My boyfriend Ali—who after several years my mother continued to refer to as that man—and I had become sudden and accidental godparents to a little girl named Lily when our friend Mirela adopted her sister’s unwanted baby. And the godparents thing—which I’d always assumed to be a sort of ceremonial role one trotted out at Christmas and birthdays—had become very real when Mirela was arrested, incarcerated, and investigated as to her parenting suitability last October, and suddenly we were in loco parentis. I took the baby to Ali’s Boston apartment and we holed up there for over a month. Mirela had joined us for the last week of it and I can honestly say I’ve never been more relieved to see anyone in my life.

I was trying, but motherhood was clearly not my gig. Maybe there’s something to that DNA thing, after all.

What with one thing and another, it was this January before I was thinking straight. I’d gone back to my life in P’town and my work—I’m the wedding and events planner for the Race Point Inn, one of the town’s nicer establishments, though I do say it myself—and really believed I was finally feeling back to what passes for normal again when my mother began her barrage of guilt-laden demands. Had I forgotten I had parents? I could travel to Boston, but not to New Hampshire?

It hadn’t helped that, because there was absolutely nothing on the inn’s events calendar for February, Ali and I decided to be the tourists for once; we’d taken off for Italy. Okay, let’s see, the short dark days of February… and a choice between snowy New Hampshire and the charms of Venice. You tell me.

Which was why I’d run out of excuses by the time my mother started taking about being on her deathbed in March. (She wasn’t.) And that my father had forgotten what I looked like in April. (He hadn’t.)

I couldn’t afford any more time off—Glenn, the inn’s owner, had already been more than generous as it was—and there was only one thing to do. I had a quick shot of Jameson’s for courage and actually called my mother, risking giving her a heart attack (the last time I’d called was roughly two administrations ago), and invited her and my father to come to Provincetown.

Which was why I now found myself on the deck of the Dolphin IV, looking for whales and listening to my mother read from the guide book. “The largest living mammal is the blue whale,” she reported.

“I know,” I acknowledged.

“The humpback whale doesn’t actually chew its food,” she said. “It filters it through baleens.”

“I know,” I replied.

She glanced at me, suspicious. “How do you know all this?”

“Ma, I live in Provincetown.” It’s just possible one or two of the year-round residents—there aren’t that many of us, the number is under three thousand—don’t know about whales, but the possibility is pretty remote. Tourism is our only real industry. Tourists stop us in the street to ask us questions.

We know about whales.

She sniffed. “You don’t have to take an attitude about it, Sydney Riley,” she said. Oh, good: we were in full complete-name reprimand mode. “You know I don’t like it when you take an attitude with me.”

“I wasn’t taking an attitude. I was stating a fact.” I could feel the slow boil of adolescent-level resentment—and attitude, yes—building. I am in my late thirties, and I can still feel about fifteen when I’m having a conversation with my mother. Breathe, Riley, I counseled myself. Just breathe. Deeply. Don’t let her get to you.

She looked around her. “Are we going to see sharks?”

I sighed. Everyone these days wants to see sharks. For a long time, the dreaded story of Jaws was just that—a story, something to watch at the drive-in movie theatre in Wellfleet (yeah, we still have one of those) and shiver deliciously at the creepy music and scream when the shark tries to eat the boat. But conservation efforts over the past eight or ten years had caused a spectacular swelling of the seal population around the Cape—we’d already seen a herd of them sunning themselves on the beach today when we’d passed Long Point—and a few years later, the Great White sharks realized where their meals had all gone, and followed suit.

That changed things rather a lot. A tourist was attacked at a Truro beach and bled out. Signs were posted everywhere. Half-eaten seal corpses washed up. The famous annual Swim for Life, which once went clear across the harbor, changed its trajectory. And everybody downloaded the Great White Shark Conservancy’s shark-location app, Sharktivity.

The reality is both scary and not-scary. We’d all been surprised to learn sharks are quite comfortable in three or four feet of water, so merely splashing in the shallows was out. But in reality sharks attack humans only when they mistake them for seals, and usually only bite once, as our taste is apparently offensive to them. People who die from a shark attack bleed out; they’re not eaten alive.

“We might,” I said to my mother now. “There are a number of kinds of sharks here—”

The naturalist’s voice came over the loudspeaker, saving me. “Ah, so the captain tells me we’ve got a female and her calf just up ahead, at about two o’clock off the bow of the boat.”

“What does that mean, two o’clock?”

He had already told us. My mother had been asking what they put in the hot dogs in the galley at the time and hadn’t stopped to listen to him. “If the front of the boat is twelve o’clock, then two o’clock is just off—there!” I exclaimed, carried away despite myself. “There! Ma, see?”

“What?”

The whale surfaced gracefully, water running off her back, bright and sparkling in the sunlight, and just as gracefully went back under. A smaller back followed suit. The denizens of the deep, here to feed for the summer, willing to show off for the boatloads of visitors who populated the whale-watch fleet every year to catch a glimpse of another life, a mysterious life echoing with otherworldly calls and harkening back to times when the oceans were filled with giants.

Before we hunted them to the brink of extinction, that is.

“This is an individual we know,” the naturalist was saying. “Her name is Perseid. Unlike some other whales, humpbacks don’t travel in pods. Instead, they exist in loose and temporary groups that shift, with individuals moving from group to group, sometimes swimming on their own. These assemblages have been referred to as fluid fission/fusion groups. The only exception to this fluidity is the cow and calf pair. This calf was born eight months ago, and while right now you’re seeing her next to Perseid, she’s going to start straying farther and farther away as the summer progresses.”

Now that my mother was quieter—even she was silent in the face of something this big, this extraordinary—I recognized the naturalist’s voice. It was Kai Bennett, who worked at the Center for Coastal Studies in town; he was a regular at the Race Point Inn’s bar scene during the winter, when we ran a trivia game and he aced all the biology questions. “And we have another one that just went right under us… haven’t yet seen who this one is,” said Kai.

The newcomer spouted right off the port side of the boat and the light wind swept a spray of fine droplets over the passengers, who exclaimed and laughed.

“I wish they’d jump more out of the water,” my mother complained. “You have to look so fast. and they blend right in.”

My mother is going to bring a list of complaints with her to give to Saint Peter when she assaults the pearly gates of heaven. I swear she is.

Kai’s voice on the loudspeaker overran my mother’s. “Ocean conservation starts with connection. We believe that, as we build personal relationships with the ocean and its wildlife, we become more invested stewards of the marine environment. Whales, as individuals, have compelling stories to tell: where will this humpback migrate this winter to give birth? Did the whale with scars from a propeller incident survive another year? What happened to the entangled whale I saw in the news?”

“Look!” yelled a passenger. “I just saw a blow over there! Look! I know I did! I’m sure of it!”

Kai continued, “For science, unique identifiable markings on a whale’s flukes—that’s the tail, folks—and on the dorsal fin allow us to non-invasively track whale movements and stories over time. By focusing on whales, we bring attention to the marine ecosystem as a whole and the challenges we face as a global community.”

“He sounds like a nice young man,” my mother remarked. “He sounds American.”

Don’t take the bait, I told myself. Don’t take the bait.

I took the bait.

“Ali is American,” I said. “He was born in Boston.”

“But his parents weren’t,” she said, with something like relish. “I just wish you could find a nice—”

I cut her off. “Ali is a nice American man,” I said.

“But why would his parents even come to America?” my mother asked, for possibly the four-thousandth time. “Everyone should just stay home. Where they belong.”

Breathe, Riley. Just breathe. “I think they would have liked to stay home,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady. “There was just the minor inconvenience of a civil war. Makes it difficult to enjoy your morning coffee when there’s a bomb explosion next door. Seriously, Ma, don’t you hate it when that happens?”

“You’re taking a tone with me,” my mother said. “Don’t take a tone with me.”

Kai saved me yet again. “That’s a good question,” his voice said over the loudspeaker. “For those of you who didn’t hear, this gentleman just asked how we know these whales by name. Of course, these are just names we give to them—they have their own communication systems and ways of identifying themselves and each other! So as I said, these are whales that return to the marine sanctuary every summer. Many of them are females, who can be counted on to bring their new calves up to Stellwagen Bank because they can feast on nutritious sand lance—that’s a tiny fish humpbacks just love—and teach their offspring to hunt. Together with Allied Whale in Bar Harbor at the College of the Atlantic, the Center for Coastal Studies Humpback Whale Research Group runs a study of return rates of whales based on decades of sighting data. So, in other words, we get to see the same whales, year after year. The first one ever named was a female we called Salt.” He didn’t say what I knew: that Allied Whale and the Center for Coastal Studies didn’t always play well together. For one thing, they had totally different names for the same whales. I managed to keep that fact to myself.

“Your father will wish he came along,” my mother said.

My father, to the best of my knowledge, was sitting out by the pool at the Race Point Inn, reading a newspaper and drinking a Bloody Mary. My mother was the dogged tourist in the family: when we’d gone on family vacations together, she was the one who found all the museums and statues and sights-of-interest to visit. She practically memorized guide books. My father, bemused, went along with most of it, though his idea of vacation was more centered around doing as little as possible for as much time as possible. Retirement didn’t seem to have changed that in any significant way.

“You’re here until Sunday,” I pointed out. “You can take him out.”

She sniffed. “He doesn’t know anything about whales,” she said.

“Then that’s the point. He’ll learn.” Okay, come on, give me a little credit: I was really trying here.

“Maybe,” she said darkly. “What are those other boats out there?”

I looked. “Some of them are just private boats. And a lot of the fishing charters come out here,” I said. “And when there are whales spotted, they come and look, too. Gives the customers an extra thrill.” I knew from Kai and a couple of the other naturalists that the whale-watch people weren’t thrilled with the extra attention: the private boats in particular didn’t always maintain safe distances from the whales. Once a whale was spotted and one or two of the Dolphin Fleet stopped to look, anyone within sight followed their lead. It could get quite crowded on a summer day.

And dangerous. There had been collisions in the past—boats on boats and, once that I knew of, a boat hitting a whale. Some days it was enough to despair of the human race.

Kai was talking. “Well, folks, this is a real treat! The whale that just blew on our port side is Piano, who’s a Stellwagen regular easy to identify for some unfortunate reasons, because she has both vessel propeller strike and entanglement scars. This whale is a survivor, however, and has been a regular on Stellwagen for years!” Amazing, I thought cynically, she even gave us the time of day after all that.

“I didn’t see the scars,” said my mother.

We waited around for a little while and then felt the engines start up again and the deck vibrate. I didn’t like the feeling. I knew exactly how irrational my fear was, and knowing did nothing to alleviate it. I’d had some bad experiences out on the water in the past, and that vibration brought them all back. I’d tried getting over it by occasionally renting a small sailboat with my friend Thea, but—well, again, I always thought I’d be able to swim to shore from the sailboat if anything went wrong. Not out here.

And then there was the whole not-letting-my-mother-know side to things. If she did, she’d never let me hear the end of it.

At least when we were talking about whales we weren’t talking about her ongoing matrimonial hopes for me, the matrimonial successes of (it seemed) all her friends’ offspring, and the bitter disappointment she was feeling around my approaching middle age without a husband in tow. That seemed to be where all our conversations began… and ended. And I wasn’t approaching middle age. Forty is the new thirty, and all that sort of thing.

“The captain says we have another pair coming up, folks, off to the port side now… I’m just checking them out… it’s a whale called Milkweed and her new calf! Mom is traveling below the surface right now, but you can see the calf rolling around here…” There was a pause and a murmur and then his voice came back. “No, that’s not abnormal. The baby’s learning everything it needs to know about buoyancy and swimming, and you can be sure Mom’s always close by. We’re going to slowly head back toward Cape Cod now…” And, a moment later, “Looks like Milkweed and the baby are staying with us! Folks, as you’re seeing here, whales can be just as curious about us as we are about them! What Milkweed is doing now—see her, on the starboard side, at three o’clock—we call it spyhopping.”

“Why on earth would they be curious about us?” wondered my mother.

“That,” I said, looking at her and knowing she’d never get the sarcasm, “is a really good question.”

Just breathe, Riley. Just breathe.

***

Excerpt from Dead In The Water by Jeannette de Beauvoir. Copyright 2021 by Jeannette de Beauvoir. Reproduced with permission from Jeannette de Beauvoir. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Jeannette de Beauvoir

Jeannette de Beauvoir didn’t set out to murder anyone—some things are just meant to be!

Her mother introduced her to the Golden Age of mystery fiction when she was far too young to be reading it, and she’s kept following those authors and many like them ever since. She wrote historical and literary fiction and poetry for years before someone asked her what she read—and she realized mystery was where her heart was. Now working on the Sydney Riley Provincetown mystery series, she bumps off a resident or visitor to her hometown on a regular basis.

Catch Up With Our Author:
JeannettedeBeauvoir.com
HomePortPress.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @JeannettedeBeauvoir
Instagram: @jeannettedebeauvoir
Twitter: @JeannetteDeB
Facebook: @JeannettedeBeauvoir

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Tour Participants:

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeannette de Beauvoir. There will be two (2) winners who will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 27, 2021 and ends on May 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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#BookBlast “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” by E. James Harrison

February 9, 2021 Book Blast

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Synopsis:

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished by E. James Harrison

Five years ago, US Air Force pararescue jumper Garrett Shepherd saved a stranger’s life. Now that man, Edwin Sprague, is dead—and he’s left Garrett millions of dollars as thanks. But there’s a catch: Edwin has a task for Garrett to complete that will double his money—if he survives: Edwin wants revenge from beyond the grave, and he wants Garrett to get it for him.

Garrett agrees to give the bizarre challenge one week of his time, but he’s quickly pulled into a dangerous world of scandal, bribery, and secrets some would kill to keep hidden. He has attracted the attention of some very powerful people—people who have destroyed their enemies before and will not hesitate to do so again. With the help of a Navajo policeman and a beautiful lawyer, Garrett’s investigation leads him deep into the Navajo reservation—but uncovering the information he’s hunting for proves to be a deadly quest.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Published by: Covenant Communications
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781524413545
Series: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished is not a part of a series.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Edwin Sprague knew he was a dead man walking the instant he was sucker punched in his kidney and a blanket was thrown over his head.

The only question rumbling through his mind as his hands were zip-tied behind him and he was shoved into a vehicle was whether it would be a quick bullet to the head or painfully slow as they tortured him to talk. He was hoping for the bullet, but that hope evaporated when he felt a needle plunged deep into his right bicep. Within a moment, the semidarkness of the blanket turned to the complete black of unconsciousness.

When his consciousness returned, it came all jumbled and in bits and pieces, like someone channel surfing with a remote control. One second, there was a memory of him standing beside an abandoned Navajo hogan in Beclabito, Arizona, and the next, it was a vague image of two men dressed in desert camo. Then, as if someone had hit the rewind button, he was in the middle of a conversation with his wife or arguing with his son about a boat.

Water splashing on his face abruptly stopped the channel surfing and pulled him to the here and now. He was lying spread-eagled on his back on the ground with what felt like a thousand sharp rocks digging into him.

Above him, a gravelly voice said, “Wake up, old man.”

The water was splatting on his forehead and running into his eyes and trickling down the side of his face before dribbling into his ears. Edwin tried shifting his head sideways to get out of the water, but it wouldn’t move. Then he tried lifting his right hand to block the flow, but it stayed as still as if it were nailed to the ground. He tried moving his left hand and got the same result.

There was a slight chuckle, and the miniature waterfall stopped. After blinking several times and squinting against the sunlight, Edwin’s vision cleared enough for him to see a man standing above him holding a half empty water bottle. He watched as the man tipped the water bottle and a thin stream of water cascaded toward him, splashed onto his forehead, and again filled his eyes and ears. Frustrated and angry, he tried rolling onto his side, but he couldn’t move.

The man gave a quick nasally laugh and continued pouring the water.

“Come on, old man,” he taunted, “don’t just lay there; get up and make me stop. You’re supposed to be this tough old dude, but you don’t look so tough to me.” Then, pouring the water faster, he said, “You know, if you’d ask me to stop, I’d stop. How about it? You want me to stop?”

Edwin drew a breath to shout, but all that came out was a soft puff of air.

“What? I didn’t hear you. Did you say something?” the man sneered.

Then, bending over slightly but without slowing the flow of water, he said, “No, of course you didn’t say anything. You can’t. And you can’t move either, can you?” Grinding his boot heel into Edwin’s hand, he said, “How about that—does it hurt?”

Pain shot through Edwin’s hand, and he simultaneously tried moving his hand and screaming but could do neither.

“Yeah, of course it hurt.” He stopped the flow of water. “It’s the drug, old man. You can see and hear, and feel pain, but you can’t move any muscle in your body, which is too bad for you.”

Squatting down, the man grabbed Edwin’s hair and yanked his head back, then poured a few drops of water into his upturned nose. Every natural reflex told Edwin he was drowning, and his body instinctively reacted to stop the water from hitting his lungs. Edwin sneezed out a vaporized spray of snot and water directly into the man’s face.

The man reared back, wiped the watery liquid from his face, then doubled up his fist and slammed it into Edwin’s cheek.

“Stop it! You’ll kill him!” another voice shouted from somewhere above Edwin’s head.

“So what? He’s going to die anyway.”

“Yeah, but you can’t beat him to death or drown him. That’s not what they want done.”

“He blew snot on me!” the man shouted back angrily as he rose to his feet.

“I don’t care. We’re going to do exactly what we were hired to do.
Nothing more, nothing less.”

The man looked down at Edwin, drew back his foot, and kicked him in the ribs, causing Edwin’s lungs to huff out a muffled explosion of air.

Then, turning away, he asked, “Has the rest of the money been deposited into our account?”

“Not yet.”

“Somebody better hurry. I’m getting really tired of this forsaken desert. It’s as desolate and ugly as anyplace in Africa.” With that, he kicked sand onto Edwin’s face.

“Leave him alone, and come sit under this tree. We should get a call anytime now.”

Edwin followed the man’s retreating footsteps with his eyes, seething with anger but unable to lift a finger. He blinked his eyes several times to clear a particle of dirt, and for the first time since coming to, he concentrated on what little he could see.

Overhead, a few cotton puffs of clouds dotted the intense blue of the summer sky. To his right he could barely make out the outline of red sandstone cliffs. A stubby sagebrush and prickly pear cactus blocked his view to the left. Looking down, he couldn’t see anything, not even the tips of his boots. All of that was enough to tell him he was in the desert and that within a couple of hours he would be slowly roasting under the blistering rays of the sun and, if he was still alive, praying for someone to pour some water on his face. Closing his eyes, he forced his mind to concentrate on moving each finger on his right hand, then his left. When none moved, he tried wiggling his toes in his boots. Nothing.

Edwin guessed an hour had crawled by before he heard the distinct chirp of a satellite phone announcing an incoming call. Then there was a very soft, muffled conversation, too faint for him to understand, followed almost immediately by the sound of footsteps approaching. A few seconds later, a man was standing on either side.

The man who had been pouring water onto his face remained standing, holding a bottle of water in his hand. The second man squatted down, pulled his lips back in a tight smile, and said, “Mr. Sprague, it’s time for us to leave. My friend here doesn’t think we should tell you anything, but I’m a little more charitable than he is, so let me explain what is about to happen.

As you know, you’ve been drugged. Let me correct that. We’ve given you a combination of drugs since we abducted you yesterday—that’s right, yesterday. Until just a couple hours ago, you were completely unconscious.

You had to be so we could get you here without you knowing where ‘here’ is. Just as you started coming around, we injected you with a different drug, and I don’t need to explain what it’s doing to you.” Patting Edwin on the shoulder as if to console him, the man continued. “I suspect it’s a terrifying experience to be able to see and hear but not be able to move or even speak.

Don’t worry. Over the next six or eight hours, the drug’s effects will slowly wear off. You will gradually regain some of the use of your fingers, arms, feet, and legs. You’ll be nauseous, have the worst headache of your life, and generally feel worse than any day of your life, but you’ll be able to stumble around.”

Edwin tried cursing the man and silently screamed in frustration when nothing came out.

“Our client wants you to die naturally out here in the desert. You have no idea where you are, and there is no possibility you’ll find your way back to civilization before you die of thirst. You’ve already been without food and water for twenty-four hours, and in the heat of the day and cold of the desert night, I suspect someone of your age and condition will last only another day, maybe two at the most. And even if you knew where you were, you couldn’t walk for help; civilization is too far, and your muscles will be too cramped. You’re going to die out here, Mr. Sprague, and after you do, coyotes will feed on you for a while, then scatter your bones.”

The man rose to his feet, looked down at Edwin, and said, “Our client wants us to make certain you understand how ironic, yet fitting, it is that the desert you’ve been exploiting and destroying all these years will get its revenge by finally destroying you.”

Edwin shifted his gaze to the man who was holding the water bottle, who bent over and set the bottle on the ground. He picked up a fistful of red dirt with one hand and forced Edwin’s mouth open with the other.

“This is for blowing snot on me,” he said and poured the dirt into Edwin’s mouth.

Edwin reflexively blew the dirt out and began coughing and gagging.

Through spasms of coughs, he watched as the man rose to his feet, picked up the bottle, and began pouring the water out onto the ground beside Edwin’s head. When the bottle was empty, he shook the last few drops onto Edwin’s face. Then the two of them turned and disappeared from his sight.

***

Excerpt from No Good Deed Goes Unpunished by E. James Harrison.  Copyright 2021 by E. James Harrison. Reproduced with permission from Covenant Communications. All rights reserved.

 

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Author Bio:

E. James Harrison

Much to his dislike, E. James Harrison is not a New York Times bestselling author. However, he is the author of four other novels, one of which was nominated for a Whitney Award (which he didn’t receive) and all of which his wife, mom, and daughters think should be best-sellers. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, he learned to type in the seventh grade on an old Smith-Corona manual typewriter and has been pecking out words ever since. He somehow managed to graduate from college with degrees emphasizing public relations and creative writing and has spent most of his professional life writing articles about such gripping subjects as internet technology or has kept veterinarians spellbound with articles about the latest advances in goat, rabbit, and hamster medicine. When he isn’t putting words on paper for himself or others, he can be found boating with his family, slaving away on the family ranch, flying an airplane, or traveling to see new things and meet new people. He and his wife, Deborah, split their time between the deserts of southern Utah and the mountains of Idaho.

Catch Up With E. James Harrison:
www.EJamesHarrison.com
BookBub
Goodreads

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Tour Participants:

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Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for E. James Harrison. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and there will be 1 winner of one (1) physical copy of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished by E. James Harrison (US addresses ONLY). The giveaway begins on February 9, 2021 and runs through February 25, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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#BookBlast “On the Run” by Traci Hunter Abramson

October 27, 2020 Book Blast

Synopsis:

On the Run by Traci Hunter Abramson

As one of the top investigative journalists in the nation, Elle Jameson has a knack for uncovering the truth. So when a promising lead points to corruption on a German military base, Elle anticipates a straightforward assignment. But then she stumbles upon a deadly conspiracy beyond anything she’s faced before, and her scrutiny does not go unnoticed. She knows too much, and she can’t be allowed to live. With no idea where to turn for help, she does the only thing she can: she runs.

The guardians, an elite team of undercover agents, have one job: safeguard those under their protection. As a new guardian, Nolan has just received his first solo assignment to help a young woman who just survived an assassination attempt. Within minutes of making contact with the beautiful journalist, however, their location is discovered. Thus begins a game of cat and mouse spanning the globe as the two work to stay ahead of a determined assassin. Nolan fights to buy Elle time to complete her investigation, and what she discovers is a plot that threatens the very fabric of America. In a desperate race against evil, Nolan and Elle are the only ones who can prevent global catastrophe.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Covenant Communications
Publication Date: October 2020
Number of Pages: 296
ISBN: 9781524412487
Series:Guardian #4
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Elle weaved her way through the Saturday crowd at the street market, listening to the various conversations flowing around her. Since arriving in Germany three weeks ago, she had looked forward to exploring the local scenery and visiting the cities near her new assignment. If only today she had time to enjoy the environment . . . and the shops.

A brisk wind whipped through Elle’s long, blonde hair. A few autumn leaves drifted onto the sidewalk. She tugged her overcoat tighter around her, then stuffed her hands in her pockets to protect them against the chill, not bothering to put her gloves on.

She passed various customers, picking up on snippets of their conversations.

Two women discussed what kind of fish to buy for dinner, and an older couple looked over a variety of apples at the fruit stand. At the neighboring booth, a handful of tourists chatted in English as they debated whether some glassware would make it safely home to Canada.

Elle wished she could worry about such trivialities, but she doubted that would happen anytime soon.

Something was wrong with the latest reports on the new drone project. She was sure of it.

When her uncle had sent her undercover as an army lieutenant, she had expected to find some evidence of misappropriation of funds or missing supplies, but uncovering a possible unauthorized access to highly sensitive material lifted her investigative senses to a new level. This wasn’t a story to be written. If her suspicions were right, this was espionage.

For three weeks now, she had set aside her true identity of investigative journalist and had acted under her alias of Lieutenant Elaina Martin to send her suspicions up the chain of command. Unfortunately, no one wanted to listen to a lowly lieutenant in a sea of colonels, especially when that lieutenant was a bean counter. She really needed to talk to her uncle about promoting her the next time he sent her undercover as an officer. Of course, no one would believe she was a colonel at twenty-seven, so she supposed her age was going to handicap her for a while longer.

Her assignment to Germany was supposed to be her opportunity to take a break from high-profile cases for a while, a chance to rest and recover from nearly six months of undercover work in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, her first day on the job, she had stumbled across an anomaly that, despite weeks of research, she still couldn’t explain.

When she tried to discuss the problem with her commanding officer, she had been told the program supervisor had everything under control. Colonel Doyle’s assurances didn’t change the facts. Someone without clearance had accessed the developmental software for the new unmanned aircraft prototype, a prototype that could fly undetected by radar. She didn’t need to be an aeronautical engineer to know that the software in the wrong hands could be deadly.

With no one in her unit taking her concerns seriously, she had reached out to the only person she’d known outside her unit whom she could trust with classified information: her sister Abby.

If Abby couldn’t figure out what was going on, Elle didn’t know who could.

The woman had a knack for seeing what other people missed. Elle should know.

Had it not been for Abby, the theft of weapons at Edwards Air Force Base would have put Elle before a court martial instead of the corporal who had tried to frame her.

The incident had opened Elle’s eyes to what she really wanted to do with her life. Abby had spent her years since college protecting their country by keeping secrets, and Elle wanted to protect their freedoms by revealing the secrets that, when kept, could create their own kind of danger, so she’d been working as an investigative journalist ever since.

Elle reached the designated café and stepped inside. Most of the round tables were occupied, the seats positioned so the customers could look out the wide window and watch the world go by. Deeper inside the restaurant, Abby waited for her at a table in the far corner.

Elle weaved her way past several waiters until she reached her sister. When Abby stood, Elle gave her a hug. “Abby, thanks for meeting me.”

“You said it was important. From what you sent me, I think it is.”

Elle sat beside Abby, then reached into her oversized purse to retrieve a file folder. “I brought you documentation.”

Abby took the folder and opened it in front of her. “What am I looking at?”

“The download logs for the new drone software.”

“And?”

Elle scooted her chair closer and pointed at the area of concern. “According to command, this software is still in the final testing stage. The only people who should be accessing the files are the programmers.”

She tapped on a list of the approved personnel. “Kamile Frost, Dennis Cleveland, and Lance Finney are all listed over here.”

“Then who is this?” Abby asked, pointing to the three access codes used during the night shift.

“That’s what I want to know. Whoever it is only downloads the updates after everyone else is gone for the day.”

“Talk about suspicious.”

“I thought so too.”

A waiter approached with a carafe of water, slices of lemon floating inside.

He filled both of their glasses. “Have you had time to look over the menu?”

Elle opened hers, quickly narrowing the options to what she could eat without triggering her allergies to citrus, tomatoes, and pork. After they both gave their orders and the waiter left, Elle pulled a water bottle from her purse and took a sip.

“I see you still come prepared.”

“Yeah. It’s such a pain that so many restaurants serve their water with lemon.”

Elle didn’t know how Abby had escaped all the food allergies in the family, while Elle appeared to have received a double dose.

Abby sipped her water and tapped her finger on the file folder. “I assume you brought your concerns to the attention of your CO.”

“Colonel Doyle didn’t seem the least bit interested in my concerns.”

“Did he have an explanation?”

“No. He just said the program manager would have said something if there were a problem. Apparently, everyone up the chain of command agrees with Colonel Doyle because no one seems concerned that a top-secret program might have been jeopardized,” Elle said.

“And no one told you who else is accessing it?”

“No. I thought with your resources, you could figure it out.”

“That’s easy enough. When I get back to the office, I’ll look up the access code and see who it belongs to.” Abby lifted her glass and took another long swallow. “I can’t guarantee I can tell you the name.”

“I realize you can’t share classified information, but you would at least be able to tell if this person is cleared on the project.”

“I can do that,” Abby said. “I’m not sure I’ll find anything beyond what the project supervisor would have noticed.”

“Maybe not, but after what happened at Edwards, I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

“The theft of those weapons wasn’t your fault. Adams created such a good paper trail, no one could have been expected to know it wasn’t real.”

“The auditor did.”

“An auditor who has thirty years of experience and was specifically looking for potential thefts,” Abby countered. “Besides, if it was something you should have caught in your ordinary course of business, he wouldn’t have made a point of clearing you.”

“But I sensed something wasn’t right. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.”

“Which is why we’re sitting here now.”

Elle shrugged. “I’m sorry if I seem paranoid.”

“Not paranoid. Cautious,” Abby corrected. “There’s a difference.”

“Whatever you call it, I appreciate your help.” Elle took another sip from her water bottle.

Abby cleared her throat. “How have you liked being stationed here in Germany?”

“It’s been good. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to practice speaking German much since so many people here speak English, but the language has come back faster than I’d expected.”

“I figured it would. You were speaking like a native when we lived here as kids.” Abby cleared her throat again and tugged at her scarf.

“So were you. I never realized how much we learned while Dad was stationed in Stuttgart.”

Abby opened her mouth to respond but, instead, coughed several times.

She reached for her water glass and took a swallow.

Elle leaned forward in her seat. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Sorry, I have this tickle in my throat,” Abby said, promptly coughing again. “Must be the change in the weather. I got a cold last fall too.”

“I’ve been wondering how anyone survives the winters here.”

“You’re about to find out . . .” Abby’s words trailed off into another fit of coughs, then her face turned red, a panicked expression dominating her features.

“Abby!” Elle pushed out of her chair and circled to pat her sister on the back.

Even though Abby hadn’t eaten anything, her hands went to her throat as though she were choking.

The waiter was at their side in an instant and pulled Abby out of her chair to start the Heimlich maneuver.

“She hasn’t eaten anything. I think she’s having an allergic reaction.” Elle fumbled through her purse for her EpiPen. She flipped off the safety cap, pressed the tip to Abby’s thigh, and pushed the button to trigger the injection.

Almost immediately, Abby took a gasping breath.

“Here.” The waiter thrust a glass of water toward Abby. “Take a sip.”

“No.” Elle pushed the glass away and knelt beside Abby’s chair. “Are you okay?”

Abby opened her mouth to speak only to begin another coughing fit.

Elle turned to the waiter. “Something’s wrong. Call an ambulance.”

A waitress approached, her phone in hand. “I already called. The ambulance will be here any minute.”

The waiter picked up the carafe from the table and refilled Abby’s glass. As soon as there was a break in the coughing, he offered the glass of water again.

“Are you sure you don’t want to give her something to drink?”

“Not until we figure out what caused this.”

Again, Abby tried to take a deep breath, but this time, her body trembled before being taken over by a seizure.

“Help me move her onto the floor.” Elle gripped Abby under her arms while the waiter helped ease her onto the carpet. Elle moved the closest chairs out of the way and knelt beside Abby.

“I’ll check on the ambulance,” the waiter said.

Elle sensed rather than saw the waiter head for the door. Helpless to do anything but wait, Elle fought for calm. “Hang on, Abby. Help is on the way.”

The words were barely out of her mouth before two ambulance attendants rushed through the door. Elle stood to give them room to work.

“What happened?” the paramedic asked in German.

“I don’t know,” Elle said, automatically responding in his language. “She started coughing and acting like she couldn’t breathe. I injected her with my EpiPen, and she got better for a few seconds. Then it started again. She started her seizure about a minute ago.”

Both paramedics knelt beside Abby, evaluating her.

“Does she have any known allergies?”

“No, and she was fine when I got here,” Elle said. “When she couldn’t breathe, the EpiPen was the only thing I could think of.”

Abby’s face paled, and her body stilled.

“I’ve lost her pulse,” one paramedic said.

Elle stepped back and watched the paramedics begin CPR and start Abby on oxygen. Adrenaline still pumping through her, Elle lowered herself into her chair. Minutes stretched out, the paramedics continuing the CPR, trading places every few minutes. They spoke with someone on the phone, the voices blurring with the background noise of the crowd who had been cleared out of the restaurant.

Tears flowed freely down Elle’s cheeks. She stood with her arms tightly folded, unable to do anything but watch and pray. She didn’t know how much time had passed when one paramedic tapped the other on the shoulder and shook his head. The paramedic not working on Abby sat beside Elle to confirm that the unbelievable had become the inevitable.

The one performing CPR gave one more chest compression and leaned back on his heels. His eyes lifted to meet Elle’s. “I’m sorry.”

“No.” The word escaped in a whisper. It couldn’t be. Elle stared at her sister’s lifeless body, waiting for any sign that she had misunderstood. Her heartbeat echoed in her head as though beating inside a deep tunnel.

“I’m so sorry.” The second paramedic put his hand on Elle’s arm.

Grief crashed over her, new tears forming. Her sister was gone. She was really gone.

“Can I get you something to drink? Maybe a glass of water?”

Elle shook her head, and her gaze swept over the table. Her water glass wasn’t there. Why that detail mattered at such a time, Elle didn’t know. A quick scan of the table revealed her glass wasn’t the only thing missing. Abby’s glass, the water carafe, and the file outlining Elle’s suspicions were also missing.

Elle swiped at her tears. “What happened to the waiter who met you at the door?”

“No one met us when we arrived,” the paramedic said.

Suspicions cut through her grief and bloomed with a sense of panic. Her file was coded in a way that it wouldn’t jeopardize national security, but if the people behind the suspicious activity got ahold of it, they would know exactly where the evidence was that could identify them.

Elle swallowed hard and forced herself to push aside her emotions and look at Abby’s lifeless body. The only thing her sister had ingested since her arrival was the water their waiter had served them, water Elle herself would have drunk had it not contained lemon slices. She stood and took a step toward the door.

“I have to go.”

“But we need more information from you.”

“Her name is Abigail Bender, and I think she was poisoned.”

***

Excerpt from On the Run by Traci Hunter Abramson. Copyright 2020 by Traci Hunter Abramson. Reproduced with permission from Traci Hunter Abramson. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Traci Hunter Abramson

Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children’s teenage years. She has gone on to write more than twenty bestselling novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists and seven-time Whitney Award winner. When she’s not writing, Traci enjoys spending time with her husband and five children, preferably on a nice quiet beach somewhere. She also enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming.

Catch Up With Traci Hunter Abramson:
www.TraciAbramson.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

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Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Traci Hunter Abramson. There will be TWO winners. ONE winner will receive (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and ONE winner will receive one (1) physical copy of On the Run by Traci Hunter Abramson (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on October 27, 2020 and runs through November 5, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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#BookBlast “Festive Mayhem Limited Edition Collection”

If you’re looking for a good mystery with a little holiday twist, look no further. Today I’m participating in the FESTIVE MAYHEM Book Blast featuring 10 talented authors with stories of mystery, crime, and suspense with a holiday flair.

◊ Genre: Mystery Anthologies

◊ Publisher: Marla Bradeen (October 26,2020)

◊ eBooks

◊ File Size: 1232 KB

◊ Print Length: 159 Pages

◊ ASIN: BO8F3HLH67

Ten crime writers of color have teamed up to offer you the gift of escape this holiday season. From Christmas crime capers to Thanksgiving thrillers, historical hard-boiled to contemporary cozies, mystery fans of all genres will find something to love in this limited-time collection of exclusive, never-before-published seasonal short stories.

What you’ll find inside:

• “The New Year’s Hex” by Carolyn Marie Wilkins. Carrie McFarland finds her New Year’s plans derailed when a psychic vision pulls the 1920s African American amateur sleuth into someone’s evil scheme.

• “Pipe Dreams” by S.G. Wong. In this hard-boiled Crescent City short story, infatuation and passion drive Minnie Chen straight into danger as she tries to best the City’s most glamorous private detective in a reimagined 1930s-era Chinese Los Angeles.

• “A Christmas Tip” by Elizabeth Wilkerson. A surprise Christmas bonus becomes too tempting for Philadelphia nursing assistant Brianna Byers to resist—even if accepting requires some skillful skirting of the law.

• “The Stranger in the House” by Stella Oni. This London House Mystery prequel stars Elizabeth Ojo, a Nigerian housekeeper at a posh guest house, who finds her Christmas intersecting with that of a mysterious resident in trouble.

• “What Lies Inside” by Kia Dennis. A tormented university professor falls deeper and deeper into a destructive obsession in this harrowing tale of love and longing.

• “A Pub, Bed & Breakfast & A Dead Body” by Forest Issac Jones. A dark past becomes the deadly present when North Carolina police detective Ike Coates and his intrepid young partner are tasked with determining the cause of a suspicious death.

• “A Deadly First” by Delia C. Pitts. Thanksgiving takes a fatal turn when New York private eye SJ Rook finds himself thrust into his first murder case in this darkly atmospheric tale of noir.

• “The Holiday Murder Mélange” by Myra Jolivet. This Sarah Doucette Jean-Louis short story follows the Creole P.I. around the San Francisco Bay Area on her quest to figure out who killed a man outside of her office.

• “Those Holiday Blues” by Jennifer J. Chow. Jasmine, aka “Jazz,” can’t escape the tragic past when an old boyfriend asks to meet on the anniversary of his mother’s death.

• “Holiday Holdup” by Paige Sleuth. In this Cozy Cat Caper Mystery Short, Imogene Little gets tangled up in a Christmas Eve bank robbery orchestrated by none other than Santa Claus himself.

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EXCERPT

The New Year’s Hex

By Carolyn Marie Wilkins

PEOPLE IN ARONSVILLE, Indiana, say I’m a witch. White and colored alike tend to cross the street when they see me coming. Is it my fault I get visions and see colors around people? If I could turn it off and just be ordinary, I would. But it doesn’t work that way. Believe me, I have tried.

If it weren’t for Sister Marie, there’s no telling what would have happened to me. Her magic potions have the power to heal whatever ails you—whether it’s health, love or finances. She took me under her wing two years ago and taught me how to use my gift. If you need to know your future or speak to someone in the Spirit World, I can help.

But I draw the line at hexes. I learned a long time ago that what goes around, comes around. Any bad juju you send out will come back to haunt you sooner or later.

I only use my gift to help people. Still, the fact that I’m a Seer tends to rattle some folks.

Which is why I said “No” when Reverend Robinson invited me to the dinner the Negro Voters League was having at his church on New Year’s Day. The reverend is young, handsome and new in town. Although he’s a man of the cloth, he’s one of the few people in Aronsville who accepts me without judgment. As we sat at Sister Marie’s battered kitchen table drinking tea, his brown face shone with excitement.

“Dr. Morgan Hicks is going to be our guest speaker,” he said. “He’s the most famous Negro educator in the country after Booker T. Washington. You don’t want to miss it.”

While it did sound interesting, I still said “No.”

After the reverend left, Sister Marie wagged a bony, arthritic finger in my face and said, “You’re too young to be a stick-in-the-mud, Carrie McFarland. You’re barely eighteen years old. You should go. Live a little.”

“Look who’s talking,” I replied. “You never leave the neighborhood unless you’re delivering a batch of Female Health Tonic to some rich white woman on the other side of town. You know as well as I do there are a lot of people who’d love to see us run out of Aronsville, or even burned at the stake.”

Sister Marie’s weathered brown face crinkled into a toothless smile. “I may be an old woman, but I know that mankind is moving forward. It’s 1922, Carrie. We’ve got moving pictures now, and the telephone. The days for that kind of superstition are over.”

“Tell that to Herman Scott,” I said sourly. “The man has said publicly that I’m in league with the Devil.”

~~~

This anthology is only available for a short time, so grab it now before it’s gone. It would be criminal to miss it!

FESTIVE MAYHEM is available at the following sites:

AMAZON US   *   AMAZON UK   *   AMAZON CA   *

AMAZON AU * BARNES & NOBLE  *  GOODREADS   *   KOBO *

APPLE BOOKS * GOOGLE PLAY * SMASHWORDS

~~~

About the Authors

FESTIVE MAYHEM features a collection of never-before-published short stories authored by 10 mystery, crime, and suspense writers of color:

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Be sure to enter the giveaway below. If the widget doesn’t work, just click HERE to enter. You can read more about this fascinating book by visiting the other stops on the Book Blast.

Thanks for stopping by today. Don’t you just love a good mystery with a holiday theme?

Monday, Oct. 26 

Just Jemi – Review

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Feature

Nesie’s Place – Excerpt

Writer’s Gambit – Review & Feature

Tuesday, Oct. 27 

First of All – Review & Excerpt

CelticLady’s Reviews – Feature

Bookish Rantings – Excerpt

Wednesday, Oct. 28  

I Found This Great Book – Review & Excerpt

Book Reviews by Pat Garcia – Review

Thoughts in Progress – Excerpt

Author Deborah A. Bailey – Excerpt

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#BookBlast “Santa Barbara Suspense Series” by Catharine Riggs

Santa Barbara Suspense Series Banner

March 10, 2020 Book Blast

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What She Gave Away

Santa Barbara Suspense #1

What She Gave Away Revenge is anything but sweet in this twisty thriller about two women with very different lives locked in the same deadly game. Imagining the best way to destroy a person’s happiness is Crystal Love’s favorite game. Devious and unpolished, the plus-sized loan analyst couldn’t be more out of place in her new town of Santa Barbara, where the beautifully manicured women never age and the ocean views stretch farther than the million-dollar lawns. And yet her eye for the power dynamics at play in this tony community is dead accurate. Kathi Wright, on the other hand, has made it her life’s work to fit in with the plastic people who surround her. But when her husband—a wealthy bank president—dies suddenly, she’s left with nothing. Then the FBI shows up, asking questions she can’t answer and freezing assets she once took for granted. While Kathi struggles to outrun the mess caused by her husband’s mysterious death, Crystal seems focused on her game. But why? And who are her targets? Spanning two years and told in Crystal’s and Kathi’s alternating voices, this tautly plotted novel reveals the power of choice and the price of revenge.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Published by: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: September 4th 2018

Number of Pages: 348

ISBN: 1503901890 (ISBN13: 9781503901896)

Series: Santa Barbara Suspense #1

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

I’ve targeted the sperm donor. I blame him for the fat. Not the six-hundred-pound kind that shows up on TV. Or the curvy kind that’s trending in magazines. I’m talking about the basic kind that makes me invisible. Just fat enough that girls don’t hang with me and boys won’t take a second look. Just fat enough to get the glare when I climb onto an airplane or a crowded bus. I try to avoid mirrors, but they’ve seated me in an office with a mirror directly behind the desk. It has a weird curve to it, warped on the sides and in the middle. It makes me look fatter than I am. I mean, why is the office designed this way? Do they want their clients to feel insecure? Will it make them deposit more money? Help them to choose a bigger loan? I paste on a smile. That usually lifts my fat pads so my cheekbones show through. But smiling in this mirror only makes me look crazy. The door squeals open, and I stand. “Ms. Love?” “Yes?” “I’m George Taylor. The bank’s chief lending officer.” I hold out my hand to an aging hipster dressed in a tight black suit and pink satin tie. Dirty-blond hair, nicely textured. Blow-dryer and curling iron at work. That and a little gel. Stinky gel, the kind that wrinkles my nose. Should I tell him about the bit of salad stuck between his teeth? “Please take a seat.” He picks up my résumé and gets right to business. “You’ve had five years’ experience as a loan analyst?” “Six if you count a year of training.” He’s disappointed, I know. I have the qualifications but not the look. “Why move to Santa Barbara?” “I’m tired of the Bakersfield heat.” “You have family here?” “A few friends.” He glances at my belly with a question in his eyes. I know what he’s thinking. I carry a lot of weight in my gut. But he’s taken his HR classes. He knows the rules. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. I do my best to sound earnest. “I’m one of those rare people who grew up wanting to be a banker. I love working with numbers. They mean everything to me.” “So you’ve taken accounting?” “I was an accounting major at Bakersfield College. Got my AA degree six years ago and went right to work at the local bank. I’ve never looked back.” He nods, staring hard at my résumé. Time to nudge him in the right direction. “I’m not looking for a job. I’m looking for a career. I’m a hard worker. I’m focused. I’m single. No children. I’m the most efficient person I know. I believe Pacific Ocean Bank is the right fit for me. Only five branches and ten years in business, but you’re the top-performing bank in the region. Impressive.” He forces a smile. “Our president’s an industrious man.” “So I’ve heard.” George taps his pencil on the table. “We prefer four-year degrees.” “My accounting major and years of experience should more than make up for that.” “And we have a strict dress code . . .” “Which I will follow.” “No casual Fridays.” “I’ve never been a fan.” “The other analysts are men. Any problem with that?” “None at all.” Fish on the hook. Now reel him in slow. “Do you work well in high-pressure situations?” “I prefer them.” “Weekends?” “No problem.” “Team player?” “Absolutely.” “What about references?” He points to my résumé. “May we contact your most recent supervisor?” “I wish.” I make a sad face. “My ex-boss passed away a few months ago from a horrific accident. A terrible situation. He was a mentor to me. The head of Human Resources said to call her with any questions. She understands my need to move on.” He scribbles something before looking up. “When can you start?” “Next week.” There’s something wrong with his left eye. I’m guessing it’s made of glass. I bet it’s a flaw that bugs him. I file away the thought. *** Excerpt from What She Gave Away & What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. Copyright 2020 by Catharine Riggs. Reproduced with permission from Catharine Riggs. All rights reserved.

~~~

What She Never Said

Santa Barbara Suspense #2

What She Never Said People are dying at a luxury retirement community . . . and not from natural causes. Ruth Mosby is the VP of operations at Serenity Acres, where the privileged elite go to die. For a hefty fee, wealthy retirees can live the good life in this posh Santa Barbara community—even after they outlive their money. Ruth thinks this is a fine arrangement, but the savvy new boss has a new rule: if you can’t pay, you can’t stay. Ruth is deeply disturbed when destitute residents start dying at an alarming rate, as if on cue. Even more troubling, a macabre note accompanies each departed guest. Surviving guests whisper about an “Angel” who assists with suicides. Ruth has another word for it: murder. Ruth enlists her neighbor, an ex-detective named Zach, to discover the Angel’s secret identity. However, the two have a painful history, and Ruth has dark secrets all her own. To solve the mystery, Ruth must descend from her golden tower—but can she bear the consequences of revealing her own sinister truths?

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Published by: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date:September 10th 2019

Number of Pages: 362

ISBN: 1542042135 (ISBN13: 9781542042130)

Series: Santa Barbara Suspense #2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

THE ANGEL

Some might call me a cold-blooded killer. I beg to disagree. I’m more like a kindly saint. A patron saint of crossings. One part Saint Christopher, two parts angel of mercy. Add a dash of Mother Teresa, and the recipe is getting close. I have a calling, and I’m good at it. I’ll keep it up until I’m stopped. “Will it hurt?” The bedside candle casts a shivering shadow across Loretta’s sunken face. Tracing my fingers along the glass syringe, I gaze into her liquid eyes. “Not for long.” I’ve administered a few insulin overdoses. It doesn’t seem like a bad way to go. But I never lie to my disciples. That would be morally wrong. “It won’t be worse than the bone cancer?” “It won’t be worse than that.” “Then I’m ready.” I tug her pink slip from my pocket and set it on the nightstand. “First, I need your secret.” Tears slip along the folds of Loretta’s crumpled cheeks. “I don’t have one.” I fight off a quiver of irritation. “You’re forgetting our agreement?” “Of course not. But I can’t think of a single thing.” “Oh, Loretta. I’m disappointed. I can see the secret in your eyes.” She plucks at her satin bedcovers until a lavender scent blooms. “What kind of secret do you want?” I shrug. “Your choice. It can be happy or sad. Scandalous or glorious. I’m not picky. It’s totally up to you. But it must be something you’ve never revealed. A defining moment in your life.” Loretta is quiet for so long I wonder if she might back out of the crossing. But then she speaks with a trembling voice. “All right then. It’s something that happened on my fourteenth birthday. I’ve never told anyone—not even my husband. I’m still so terribly ashamed.” “Go ahead,” I say, nearly drooling. This side of me isn’t quite so noble. Less like a saint and more like a tick. “It was a hot summer day in Michigan.” Her voice cracks as she speaks. “My friends were busy with chores, so I walked to the lake on my own. When I entered the forest, I heard a rustling behind me, and . . .” Her words drone on from there. Closing my eyes, I sip on her secret. Her words are like a melody—the mournful notes of a dove. When she finishes, I have tears in my eyes. “Thank you,” I say. “That was beautiful.” “Beautiful? But it was such a terrible moment. So unspeakably dark.” “There are times when dark can be beautiful.” Loretta takes a choking breath. “Yes, I suppose you’re right. And I do feel better somehow. You promise you’ll never tell?” “I promise.” “Good.” She lifts an arthritic hand and swats vaguely at the air. “You’ll stay with me?” “Until you cross.” “Then let’s get moving. I’m ready to see my Charles.” Loretta folds her hands across her chest and takes a quivering breath. “Peace be with you,” I whisper, and then I inject the fatal dose. A half hour later, I head to my office, where I retrieve my crossing journal and write the seventh entry in my book. *** Excerpt from What She Gave Away & What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. Copyright 2020 by Catharine Riggs. Reproduced with permission from Catharine Riggs. All rights reserved.

~~~

Author Bio:

Catharine Riggs Catharine Riggs lives and writes on California’s central coast. She is the author of the twin thrillers What She Gave Away and What She Never Said, both set in Santa Barbara, California . Riggs has worked as a business banker, adjunct college instructor, and a nonprofit executive.

Get caught up on the progress of her Santa Barbara Suspense series by visiting the author online at: www.CatharineRiggs.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, & Twitter

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GIVEAWAY:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Catharine Riggs. There will be three (3) winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card, One (1) US ONLY winner will receive the series (print) and one (1) Worldwide winner will receive the series (audio). The giveaway begins on March 10, 2020 and runs through March 18, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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@RABTBookTours presents The Holiday Book Blast and Giveaway!

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WELCOME TO THE HOLIDAY BOOK BLAST! 
 
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Halloween Book Blast and Giveaway!

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WELCOME TO THE HALLOWEEN BOOK BLAST! 
 
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#BookBlast “The Quest for Home (Crossroads Trilogy Book 2)” by Jacqui Murray

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cover

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Title: The Quest for Home

Author: Jacqui Murray

Series: Book 2 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

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Available at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

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Driven from her home. Stalked by enemies. Now her closest ally may be a traitor.

Blurb:

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind her African homeland, leading her People on a grueling journey through unknown and perilous lands. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that her most dangerous enemy isn’t the one she expected. It may be one she trusts with her life. 

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, the one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is the unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man makes his way across Eurasia, fleeing those who would kill him. He must be bigger-than-life, prepared time and again to do the impossible because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

Northern shore of what we now call the Mediterranean Sea

Pain came first, pulsing through her body like cactus spines. When she moved her head, it exploded. Flat on her back and lying as still as possible, Xhosa blindly clawed for her neck sack with the healing plants. Her shoulder screamed and she froze, gasping.

How can anything hurt that much?

She cracked one eye, slowly. The bright sun filled the sky, almost straight over her head.

And how did I sleep so long?

Fractured memories hit her—the raging storm, death, and helplessness, unconnected pieces that made no sense. Overshadowing it was a visceral sense of tragedy that made her shake so violently she hugged her chest despite the searing pain. After it passed, she pushed up on her arms and shook her head to shed the twigs and grit that clung to her long hair. Fire burned through her shoulders, up her neck and down her arms, but less than before. She ignored it.

A shadow blocked Sun’s glare replaced by dark worried eyes that relaxed when hers caught his.

“Nightshade.” Relief washed over her and she tried to smile. Somehow, with him here, everything would work out.

Her Lead Warrior leaned forward. Dripping water pooled at her side, smelling of salt, rotten vegetation, mud, and blood.

“You are alright, Leader Xhosa,” he motioned, hands erratic. Her People communicated with a rich collection of grunts, sounds, gestures, facial expressions, and arm movements, all augmented with whistles, hoots, howls, and chirps.

“Yes,” but her answer came out low and scratchy, the beat inside her chest noisy as it tried to burst through her skin. Tears filled her eyes, not from pain but happiness that Nightshade was here, exactly where she needed him. His face, the one that brought fear to those who might attack the People and devastation to those who did, projected fear.

She cocked her head and motioned, “You?”

Deep bruises marred swaths of Nightshade’s handsome physique, as though he had been pummeled by rocks.  An angry gash pulsed at the top of his leg. His strong upper arm wept from a fresh wound, its raw redness extending up his stout neck, over his stubbled cheek, and into his thick hair. Cuts and tears shredded his hands.

“I am fine,” and he fell silent. Why would he say more? He protected the People, not whined about injuries.

When she fumbled again for her neck sack, he reached in and handed her the plant she needed, a root tipped with white bulbs. She chewed as Nightshade scanned the surroundings, never pausing anywhere long, always coming back to her.

The sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky. Sweltering heat hammered down, sucking up the last of the rain that had collected in puddles on the shore. Xhosa’s protective animal skin was torn into shreds but what bothered her was she couldn’t remember how she got here.

“Nightshade, what happened?”

Her memories were a blur—terrified screams and flashes of people flying through the air, some drowning, others clinging desperately to bits of wood.

Nightshade motioned, slowly, “The storm—it hit us with a fury, the rain as heavy and fierce as a waterfall.”

A memory surfaced. Hawk, the powerful leader of the Hawk People, one arm clutching someone as the other clawed at the wet sand, dragging himself up the beach.

He was alive!

It was Hawk who offered her People a home when they had none, after more than a Moon of fleeing for their lives through lands so desolate, she didn’t know how anyone survived. Finding Hawk and his People, she thought she’d found a new homeland.

Her last hunt with Hawk flashed through her mind—the stone tip they created like the Big Head’s weapon, how she had hung by her ankles from a tree trunk to cross a deep ravine. How he grinned when she reached the other side, chest heaving but radiant with satisfaction. He told her many of his warriors shook with fear as they crossed. His pride in her that day glowed like flames at night.

For the first time in her life, she felt Sun’s warmth inside of her.

She looked around, saw quiet groups huddled together, males talking and females grooming children. Pan-do bent over a child, whispering something in her ear but no Hawk.

Where is he? But she didn’t ask Nightshade. The last time she’d seen the two together, they had fought.

She couldn’t imagine a world without Hawk. They had planned to pairmate, combine their groups into one so strong no one could ever again drive her away. She hadn’t known there were enemies worse than Big Heads until Hawk told her about the Ice Mountain invaders. They attacked Hawk’s People long before Xhosa arrived. Hawk had killed most and chased the rest back to their home, icy white cliffs that extended from Sun’s waking place to its sleeping nest, bereft of plants and animals. When he saw where they lived, he understood why they wanted his land.

The children of those dead invaders grew up and wanted revenge.

Someone moaned. She jerked to find who needed help and realized it was her. She hoped Nightshade didn’t hear.

He glanced at her and then away. “All the rafts were destroyed.”

She shook, trying to dislodge the spider webs in her brain. Hawk’s homebase was squashed between a vast stretch of open land and an uncrossable pond. They should have been safe but the Ice Mountain invaders attacked in a massive horde. Her People—and Hawk’s—were driven into the water. The rafts became their only escape. Floating on a log platform to the middle of a pond too deep to walk across was something no one had ever done but they must or die. The plan was the rafts would carry the People to safety, away from the Invaders.

That hadn’t worked.

“There were too many enemy warriors, Xhosa,” and Nightshade opened and closed his hands over and over to show her. “More than I have ever seen in one place.”

Images of warclubs slashed through her thoughts, flying spears, the howls of warriors in battle. Many died, beaten until they stopped moving, children dragged screaming from mothers. The giant female—Zvi—sprinting faster than Xhosa thought someone her size could, the children El-ga and Gadi in her arms, a spear bouncing off her back. Her size stunned the enemy, immobilized them for a breath which gave Zvi the time she needed to reach safety.

Almost to himself, Nightshade motioned, “I’ve never seen him this brave.”

Xhosa didn’t understand. “Him?” Did he mean Zvi?

“Pan-do. His warriors attacked. They saved us.” Nightshade locked onto the figure of Pan-do as he wandered among the bedraggled groups, settling by an elder with a gash across his chest and began to minister to the wound.

“I remember,” Xhosa murmured. When the People were trapped between the trees and the water, prey waiting to be picked off, Pan-do’s warriors pounced. That gave Xhosa precious time to push the rafts out onto the water. It seemed none of the enemy knew how to swim. Pan-do sliced through the Ice Mountain invaders without fear, never giving ground.

Nightshade motioned, “He isn’t the same Leader who arrived at our homebase, desperate for protection, his People defeated.”

Xhosa’s hands suddenly felt clammy. “Is Lyta alive?”

Since the death of his pairmate, before Xhosa met him, Pan-do’s world revolved around his daughter, Lyta. He became Leader of his People to protect her. When he arrived at the People’s homebase, Lyta stood out, unusual in an otherwise homogenous group. First, it was her haunting beauty, as though she shined from within, her hair as radiant as Sun. Awe turned to shock when she walked, her gait awkward on malformed feet. She should have been destroyed as a child but Pan-do said he had never considered it. He explained that in Moons of migration, before joining Xhosa’s People, Lyta had never slowed them down. He didn’t expect that to change if the two groups traveled together.

And then she spoke. Her voice was like bird’s song and a gift to People exhausted from the day’s work. It cheered up worried adults and put smiles on the faces of children, its melodic beauty convincing them that everything would work out.

It was more than a Moon after his arrival before Pan-do told Xhosa what he valued most about his daughter. Lyta could see truth simply by watching. No one could hide a lie from her, and she never hid it from her father. Pan-do kept it secret because the people it threatened might try to silence her. He only told Xhosa because Lyta had witnessed a conversation about a plan to kill Xhosa.

One of the people Lyta didn’t recognize but the other, he was someone Xhosa trusted.

When Nightshade nodded, Yes, Lyta lives, Xhosa relaxed but only for a moment.

“Sa-mo-ke?”

Nightshade nodded toward a group of warriors. In the middle, eyes alert and hands energetic, stood Sa-mo-ke.

She sighed with relief. Pan-do’s Lead Warrior was also Nightshade’s greatest supporter outside of the People. When he first arrived, Sa-mo-ke spent Moons mimicking her Lead Warrior’s fighting techniques until his skill became almost as formidable as Nightshade’s with one critical difference. While Nightshade liked killing, Sa-mo-ke did so only when necessary.

Nightshade motioned, “Escape came at a tremendous cost, Xhosa. Many died, the rafts were destroyed, and we are now stranded in an unfamiliar land filled with nameless threats.”

 It doesn’t matter, she whispered to herself. We are good at migrating.

She jerked her head around, and then motioned, “Where’s Spirit?”

The loyal wolf had lived with people his entire life. He proved himself often while hunting, defending his packmates, and being a good friend. An image flitted across her mind, Spirit streaking toward the rafts, thrusting his formidable body like a spear through the shocked hordes. The enemy had never seen an animal treat People as pack. Then, the wolf swimming, paws churning the water into whitecaps, gaze locked onto Seeker. Endless Pond was too deep for him to touch the bottom so his head bobbed up and down, feet paddling like a duck’s as he fought to stay above the surface.

Nightshade gestured, “The attackers almost killed Spirit.”

She bit her lip, concentrating. “I remember Mammoth’s trumpets.”

The rare hint of a smile creased his mouth. “Another of Pan-do’s tricks. It saved Spirit and probably all of us. He brayed like a herd of Mammoth thundering toward the shoreline. The invaders fled for their lives.”

Pan-do is clever.

Nightshade grimaced. “But the storm worsened and the rafts foundered. Many of the People managed to cling to logs long enough to crash onto this shore. Then, they saved others. But many died.”

He opened and closed his hands to show how many.

A stillness descended as Nightshade’s gaze filled with a raw emotion he never showed. It shook Xhosa. Nothing frightened her Lead Warrior.

She gulped which hurt her insides. Shallow breaths worked better. Rolling to her hands and knees, she stood which made her head swim and she threw up.

Finally, the dizziness subsided and Xhosa asked, “Hawk?”

Nightshade peered around, hands fidgeting. He examined something on the ground, toed it with his foot. “When the tempest destroyed the rafts, he dragged many to shore, to safety. The last time, he did not return. I tried to find him.”

Soundless tears dampened her face. Nightshade touched her but Xhosa focused on a trail of ants and a worm burrowing into the soft earth. Her vision dimmed and she stumbled, fell, and then crawled, happy for the pain that took her mind off Hawk. When she forced herself up, everything blurred but she inhaled, slowly, and again, until she could finally see clearly.

How dare Hawk die! We had plans. Xhosa shoved those thoughts away. Later was soon enough to deal with them.

“His People—do they know?”

~~~

teaser

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About the Author

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of herJacqui Murray daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, In the Footsteps of Giants, Winter 2020, the final chapter in the Crossroads Trilogy.

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Inside The Quest for Home

  • How do you know these People are as smart as they seem?

Just to be clear, because these predecessors to man lived long before recorded history, scientists have no definitive evidence of their intelligence. We do get hints of its excellence, though, from their toolmaking. The complex thought required to create their stone tools (called Acheulean), the variety of tool types (cutters, choppers, handaxes, cleavers, flakes, scrapers, and more), and their aesthetically pleasing and functional forms make many paleoanthropologists believe Homo erectus was cerebrally smart. A 2017 study mapped the brains of students as they recreated these same tools and it showed that the work required higher-level motor skills and the ability to ‘hold in mind’ information—much as you do to plan and complete complex tasks (the study compared it to playing Chopin on the piano but I have no idea about that).

  • Their speech is too sophisticated.

As a species, Homo erectus lasted far longer than any other Homo species—and there is a reason for that: They were not only highly intelligent for the day but possessed rich communication skills. Their sophisticated tools, especially the symmetry of the hand-axe, suggests to many scientists that they possessed the ability to use language. Since most paleoanthropologists (scientists who study prehistoric man) believe the ‘speech’ part of their brain—the part that allowed them to speak—wasn’t evolved enough for verbal words, I present communication often through body language.

A more convincing argument of why early man didn’t want to talk is that voices are noisy and unnatural. That attracts unwanted attention. For these primordial humans, far from the alpha in the food chain, being noticed wasn’t good.

  • Convince me they can communicate as well as it sounds like they do with just gestures, hands, and facial movements.

 I get this a lot. Let me give you two examples. First, have you ever been around someone who doesn’t speak your language and still, the two of you communicate by pointing, hand gestures, body movements, and facial expressions? Second, think of sign language. Very sophisticated ideas are communicated with just hands and facial expressions. That’s how Xhosa and her kind did it.

Teaser

 

 

#BookBlast “Moon Games” by Shelly Frome

November 6, 2018 Book Blast

Synopsis:

The Secluded Village Murders by Shelly Frome

At the outset, Miranda Davis has nothing much going for her. The tourists are long gone by October in the quaint Carolina town of Black Mountain, her realty business is at a standstill, and her weekend stint managing the local tavern offers little to pull her out of the doldrums. When prominent church lady Cloris Raintree offers a stipend to look into the whereabouts of a missing girl hiker on the Q.T, Miranda, along with her partner Harry (an unemployed features writer) agree.

But then it all backfires. A burly figure shambles down a mountain slope with a semi-conscious girl draped over his shoulder. Miranda’s attempts to uncover Cloris Raintree’s true motives become near impossible as she puts up one smokescreen after another, including a slip of the tongue regarding an incident in Havana. The local police keep stonewalling and Harry is of little help.

Tarot cards left on Cloris’ doorstep and arcane prompts on her e-mail only exacerbate the situation. Growing more desperate over the captive girl’s fate, Miranda comes across a link to a cold case of arson and murder. With the advent of the dark of the moon, she is summoned to “Tower Time” as this twisty tale continues to run its course.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Amateur Detective
Published by: Milford House
Publication Date: August 2018
Number of Pages: 264
ISBN: 1620061848
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

The wind picked up yet again, joined by spatters of cold rain and the rustle of leaves from the encircling shrub.

All at once, the lantern flicked off, a scream cut through the wind and spatters. The cries became muffled, replaced by the grunts of a hulking figure clambering up the knoll, coming directly toward him with something writhing and flailing over its back.

For one interminable moment, he caught sight of her eyes, frozen, terrified, beseeching him.

Reflexively, despite every decent intention deep in his bones, Harry dropped the Maglite, turned and ran down the slope, tripping and stumbling, falling to his knees, righting himself, smacking into a brush that scraped his cheek. Rushing headlong now, smacking into more brush and banging his elbow, he kept it up, twisted his ankle but hobbled forward fast as he could until he reached his station wagon. Squirming behind the wheel, he fumbled for his keys, dropped them on the mat, groped around, snatched them up, grinded the ignition, set both front and back wipers going and shot forward hitting the trunk of a tree. He backed up into the hedgerow, turned sharply, not daring to flip on the headlights, scraped another tree and slid onto the narrow lane.

He switched on the low beams so he could see where he was going in the drizzle and fog and began making his way down. Dull headlight beams flashed behind his rear window and faded.

With his mind racing and the wipers thwacking away as the rain lashed across the windshield, he careened down the zig-zagging lane and thought of the car that was wedged under the branches parked on a downward angle and the hulking figure carrying his prey over his shoulder shambling toward it. And her eyes, those beseeching eyes.

He might have a few seconds lead before the girl was tossed in the trunk . . . or deposited in the cottage while the driver lying in wait exchanged signals and went after him. So many what-ifs? while some cowardly part of him only wanted a place to hide.

Then the dull, low beams flicked on again, glinting on his rearview mirror.

Straining to see through the wipers and beads of rain, he turned off down Sunset, then onto a flat, darkened stretch, then gunned it through an amber light over the tracks across brightly lit Route 70.

He drove away from the tracks where the girl doubtless had been tailed, came upon a T and swerved left onto a sign that said Old Route 70. In no time, he spotted a Grove Stone Quarry, but the gates were closed and he could swear the low beams tailing him flicked on again. If only he could stop veering all over the place, if he could get behind those humongous mounds of sand and stone.

Ignoring the traffic light, he cut to his right and swerved up a road bordered by a high wire fence demarcating a prison facility, sped past until he was hemmed in by walls of white pine. The walls of pine were intersected by for-sale arrows and a bright red banner. He killed his headlights altogether, swerved again into a cluster of model homes that formed a cul-de-sac, and coasted to a stop as the car stalled.

He got out and followed an exposed drain pipe that angled down until it cut off at a rain-slick paved drive onto a neighborhood of two-story houses, porch lights and street lamps.

His ankle gave way again as he became fixated on circling back to that massive, enclosed hiding place where he could try to get his bearings.

The cold rain beat down harder. Though the Blue Ridge range hovered in the near distance, it was shrouded in mist and offered no comfort.

***

Excerpt from Moon Games by Shelly Frome. Copyright © 2018 by Shelly Frome. Reproduced with permission from Shelly Frome. All rights reserved.

 

Shelly Frome

Author Bio:

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, and Murder Run. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Moon Games is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shelly Frome. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on November 6, 2018 and runs through November 14, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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#BookBlast “Broken Windows” by Paul D. Marks

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October 30, 2018 Book Blast

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Synopsis:

Broken Windows by Paul D. Marks

While the storm rages over California’s notorious 1994 anti-illegal alien Proposition 187, a young woman climbs to the top of the famous Hollywood sign—and jumps to her death. An undocumented day laborer is murdered. And a disbarred and desperate lawyer in Venice Beach places an ad in a local paper that says: “Will Do Anything For Money.” Private Detective Duke Rogers, and his very unPC partner, Jack Riggs, must figure out what ties together these seemingly unrelated incidents. Their mission catapults them through a labyrinth of murder, intrigue and corruption of church, state and business that hovers around the immigration debate. Along the way we explore the fiery immigration issue from all sides and no one escapes unscathed.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: September 10th 2018
Number of Pages: 360
ISBN: 1948235072 (ISBN13: 9781948235075)
Series: Duke Rogers PI, #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

The Hollywood Sign beckoned her like a magnet—or like a moth to a flame. The sign glowed golden in the magic hour sun—that time of day around sunrise and sunset when the light falls soft and warm and cinematographers love to shoot. Like so many others, Susan Karubian had come here seeking fame and fortune, hoping to make her mark on the world. Oh hell, she had come to be a star like all the others. And she would do it, just not quite in the heady way she’d anticipated.

She had spent hours deciding what to wear. After all, this wasn’t exactly in the etiquette books. Probably not the kind of thing you’d find in Ask Amy column. She finally decided on a tasteful dress with high-heeled sandals.

The young woman drove her Passat down Hollywood Boulevard, turning up Franklin, passing the Magic Castle. She turned slowly up Beachwood Canyon, past the low-rent area north of Franklin, up through the towering stone gates with their “Welcome to Beachwood Canyon” signs. Past the movie star homes in the hills—past where she thought she’d be living by now. She drove in circles, past piles of rubble from the earthquake several months ago, figuring that sooner or later she’d hit the right combination of roads and end up where she wanted to be.

The Passat crested the top of the mountain—mountain or hill? What was the difference anyway? A small concrete building with an antenna sat just below the road. No cars. No one around. As quiet as the Sherman Oaks Galleria on a Monday morning. She parked on Mt. Lee Drive.

She rolled up the windows, locked the car, set her purse on the floor by the gas pedal. The note she’d written in a steady hand tucked into her pocket. She hoped someone would find it quickly. Standing beside the car, she realized she’d have to hike down to get to the sign. She had thought it would be at the top of the mountain. She was buggin’, as she treaded toward the edge of the road.

The nonstop rain of the last couple weeks had broken. The view from up here was incredible. You could almost see Mexico to the south and the Pacific glittering in the west. The city below, shiny and bright. Pretty and clean from up here. A million doll houses that reminded her of childhood, playing with dolls and making everything come out the way she wanted it to. Little toy cars down below, scooting back and forth. Swarms of ants scurrying this way and that on important business. Oh yeah, everyone here had important business all day and all night. Everyone but her. She gazed down at Los Angeles on the cusp of the millennium. The place to be. Center of the universe. Totally.

She hesitated at the edge of the road, her toe kicking some gravel down the hill. It clattered down, somehow reminding her of the industrial music in the clubs where she liked to hang.

Should she try to talk to him? What would be the point now? She was talked out. And he wouldn’t forgive her. Why should he? She had hurt him. No, it was beyond hurt. There was no way to rationalize it.

***

Excerpt from Broken Windows by Paul D. Marks. Copyright © 2018 by Paul D. Marks. Reproduced with permission from Paul D. Marks. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Paul D. Marks

Broken Windows, the sequel to Paul D. Marks’ Shamus Award-winning mystery-thriller White Heat hit the shelves 9/10/18. Publishers Weekly called White Heat a “taut crime yarn” and said of Broken Windows: “Fans of downbeat PI fiction will be satisfied…with Shamus Award winner Marks’s solid sequel to… White Heat.” Though thrillers and set in the 1990s, both novels deal with issues that are hot and relevant today: racism and immigration, respectively. Marks says “Broken Windows holds up a prism from which we can view the events burning up today’s headlines, like the passionate immigration debate, through the lens of the recent past. It all comes down to the saying we know so well, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’.” His short stories appear in Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazines, among others, and have won or been nominated for many awards, including the Anthony, Derringer and Macavity. His story Windward, has been selected for the Best American Mystery Stories of 2018, edited by Louise Penny & Otto Penzler, and won the 2018 Macavity Award for Best Short Story and was also short-listed for a 2018 Shamus Award. Ghosts of Bunker Hill was voted #1 in the 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll. He is co-editor of the multi-award nominated anthology Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea.

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https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=288130

 

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Paul D. Marks. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on October 30, 2018 and runs through November 7, 2018. Void where prohibited

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