Strong-willed Elaine Hart is determined to save Hartland Orchards, her family’s’ California orange groves from being taken over by the bank. After the recent ending of a turbulent relationship, she vows to keep her professional and personal life separate, even though she’s attracted to David Cole, the one man who holds her family’s fate in the palm of his hands.
Serious-minded banker, David Cole, recovering from recent love and work fiascos has one goal and that’s ensuring that the delinquent Hartland Ranch account is brought up to date and not becoming personally involved with the unpredictable and beautiful Elaine Cole.
When a series of circumstances brings Elaine and David together, they must decide if they will continue to suppress their emotions or succumb to passion and take a chance on a forever love.
“Great.” Smiling, he squeezes my hand. “That’s taken care of then.”
“If I have to wait until Monday for him to repair the car, I’ll need to find a hotel.”
“There’s one inn and one bed and breakfast in town and they’re both completely booked months in advance.” His eyes twinkle and he laughs the deep, echoing laugh that I’m starting to get use to. “I’m not making this up. You can call and check for yourself, if you don’t believe me. Strawberry Festival is a big deal and people travel from out of town to come and enjoy the festivities. You’ll have to spend the night with me.”
The last thing I need right now is to spend the night with David. With the undeniable attraction between the two of us, I know exactly what will happen. My vow to not mix work and my social life has completely gone haywire, because here I am sitting in the cozy intimacy of his car. Betsy is on the way to the mechanic’s garage and I’m stuck in a remote little town that I never knew existed until a week ago. On top of that I’m with the most magnetic man I’ve ever met, who manages to make me feel emotions that are simultaneously new, exciting and frightening.
“I’m okay with that.” He’s the kind of man that I can trust. It’s me I’m more worried about. If we are going to be in close proximity, I’m not certain that I can keep my hands to myself. “Do you have a two-bedroom apartment in Littleton?’ I try to sound nonchalant.
“No, I don’t.” He has a twinkle in his eyes. “I have a one bedroom.”
“Oh,” I sigh, resigned to the fact that this is going to be a super challenging weekend. “We’ll have to make the best of it then, won’t we?”
He throws his head back and lets out a deep, robust laugh.
“What’s so funny?” Here I am getting all sweaty, nervous and yes, even a little aroused, thinking about the possibility of sharing a bed with him and he’s laughing like its a joke.
“Okay.” He gains control of himself—finally, casting a more serious expression in my direction. “You should have seen the look on your face. As if it would be torture to have to share a bed with me.”
“That’s what’s so funny?” I glare at his remarkably even features. If only he knew that I was wondering what kind of underwear he wore, boxers, briefs or God forbid, that the man slept in the nude. “Better that you don’t try to read my mind. Although, I’m glad to see that you have a good sense of humor.”
“Of course I do.” He gives me an odd look, and his words are slightly defensive. “Who doesn’t have a sense of humor?”
“Can we stick to the subject?” I tap my fingers on my leg and l glance at him inquisitively. “So…we’ll be sharing a room, is basically what you’re saying?”
About the Author
I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing and grew up surrounded by a wide variety of books, from westerns to romance novels. I love stories—watching them, listening to them, reading them, and writing them. My contemporary novels include complex and diverse characters that grapple with family legacy, love, loss, and laughter as they face the challenges of life. When I’m not working on my next manuscript, you can find me bike riding along the beach with my husband or exploring the mysteries of the universe with my daughter.
From internationally bestselling romance author Alexa Aston – the final book in the exciting Hollywood Name Game – a stunning new contemporary romance series. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
She’s a legal shark—sleek and deadly—but doesn’t trust anyone beyond her small circle of family and friends.
He’s internationally famous—and yet a mystery to the world as he cloaks himself in privacy.
Can they shed their fears and open their hearts to one another?
Actor Wynn Gallagher is at the peak of his fame, playing superhero Carbon Man in the Alpha Tharra Universe film franchise. While the role has made him wealthy, he’s ready to move on to newer challenges—but his ironclad contract will keep him tied to the role for years to come. Seeking legal advice, he approaches Scarlett Corrigan, one of the top entertainment attorneys in Los Angeles.
Scarlett is the younger sister of Hollywood’s highest paid actor, Rhett Corrigan, but she’s made a name for herself in entertainment law. She thrives on challenges and readily accepts Wynn as a client, but she puts the brakes on the strong attraction between them, not wanting to mix business with pleasure.
Eventually, Wynn and Scarlett become involved but tragedy strikes not once, but twice, threatening to end their relationship before it has a chance to grow and flourish.
Can Wynn and Scarlett overcome overwhelming odds and find lasting love?
Hollywood Enigma is the fifth and final book in the Hollywood Name Game series. Each book in the series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Other Books in the Hollywood Name Game Romance Series:
Hollywood Name Game, Book 1
Release Date: August 6, 2020
From internationally bestselling romance author Alexa Aston comes a stunning new Contemporary Romance series. Book One in the exciting Hollywood Name Game series has arrived. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
Being late to an interview lands her the biggest job opportunity of her life.
He may be rich and successful—but he’s just this side of miserable.
Can a wannabe be The One for the biggest star in Hollywood?
Cassie Carroll came to Hollywood with big dreams that never materialized. Acting isn’t even on the back burner anymore—it’s completely off the stove. Working for a third-rate agent, Cassie hopes to land a new job that will give her credibility, as well as help pay the rent. Late to her interview, she swerves to avoid hitting a dog—and totals the car of Hollywood’s leading action superstar. Surprisingly, she walks away from their encounter with a job—as the sexiest man alive’s personal assistant.
Rhett Corrigan is bored with the movies he makes and the drop-dead gorgeous model he’s dating. He’s afraid that Hollywood has typecast him—and that he’ll never be able to break out of his action mold and try new acting challenges. When Cassie Carroll literally slams into his life, she brings a breath of fresh air and common sense to his world. She pushes him to be a better actor and a better man.
Can these friends become lovers—and can their love survive—in a tabloid-happy town that thrives on rumors and backstabbing?
From internationally bestselling romance author Alexa Aston – Book Two in the exciting Hollywood Name Game – a stunning new contemporary romance series. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
She’s Hollywood royalty whose trail vanished a dozen years ago.
He doesn’t do relationships and thinks commitment is a four-letter word.
They Google each other . . . and sparks fly . . .
Sydney Revere, the daughter of a famous movie couple, left Hollywood behind over a decade ago. Christened The Wild Child by the media, she reinvents herself as a serious student who becomes an attorney and marries a safe, predictable man. When her husband cheats on her and the law loses its glitter, Sydney returns to Hollywood. Her father hires her to storyboard his upcoming movie, No Regrets—and then stuns Sydney when he offers her the job as his assistant director.
Dash DeLauria is a rising actor who hasn’t trusted a woman since his mother left. He’s now the guardian of his mentally-challenged brother. Dash is looking to grow professionally and after he wins the lead in No Regrets, he finds he’s lost his heart and soul to Sydney. With both their careers on the upswing, life is sweet.
But Sydney’s ex-husband isn’t finished with her yet. Discovering who she really is—and that she’s wealthy—he tracks her to California, ready to start over with her again.
She has zero friends . . . and is wary of men, living life as a recluse.
His only friend is 90 and when she dies, he’s adrift.
Can a dyslexic actor and a shy loner find happiness together?
Famous from the time she was fourteen, London Russell lands the cover of Sports Illustrated to cap off her modeling career. Leaving the fashion world behind, she follows her dream of becoming a singer-songwriter. Thanks to an ex-boyfriend’s vicious attack on her, London becomes a recluse who turns out hits but never tours—and can’t trust a man. Her life changes course when she encounters a Hollywood screenwriter and director and agrees to write the theme song for their next movie.
Knox Monroe grew up as America’s darling, a child actor featured on several popular television series. After his mother’s betrayal, Knox drops out of sight, returning years later to make the successful transition to adult roles. A known womanizer and loner, Knox meets London by chance. Through her connections, he winds up with the lead role in a new movie.
Will London be able to open her heart and move past Knox’s player reputation? And will Knox knock down the emotional fortress that he’s built around his heart?
Hollywood Double Hollywood Name Game, Book 4 Release Date: October 8, 2020
From internationally bestselling romance author Alexa Aston – Book Four in the exciting Hollywood Name Game – a stunning new contemporary romance series – has arrived. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
She’s a Hollywood leading lady who’s never found love – except with Jax, her Basenji.
He’s divorced from a cheating wife and refuses to ever give his heart away again.
Together, their smoking-hot chemistry leads to movie magic . . . and murder . . .
Mac Randall’s life turns upside down when he walks in on his wife and her lover. He finishes his tour of duty overseas and leaves the army, becoming a popular stuntman in Hollywood. When the actor Mac doubles for is murdered, Mac is surprised to find himself cast as the film’s leading man—at the suggestion of the actress who will play opposite him.
Keely Kennedy has built a solid career in Hollywood, rising from supporting roles to leading lady, but she’s been unlucky in love. She becomes close friends with Mac Randall, her new co-star, while she helps him prepare for his first on-screen role. Friendship blossoms into love during their shoot and despite several mishaps on the set, she knows not only has she done the best work in her career on this film, but she believes Mac will become an instant star.
Before production is complete, though, the murderer surfaces—ready to kill the film—and its two stars.
Hollywood Double is the fourth book in the Hollywood Name Game series. Each book in the series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Wynn had never experienced such a physical rush as he did sitting next to Scarlett. The tall beauty fascinated him. Over the years, he’d quietly seen a few women but as his success mounted, he’d almost lost interest in the opposite sex. Or rather, they’d lost interest in him. No one wanted to know Wynn as a person. Every woman seemed more interested in being seen with Wynn Gallagher, the superstar, and what that could do for them. He found himself shrinking inside until he’d almost disappeared.
Scarlett was different. A highly paid professional in a competitive field. Comfortable in her own skin. She came from a world where she mingled with the rich and famous on a regular basis. She didn’t seem impressed sitting next to Carbon Man. She treated him as Wynn, a guy—not Wynn, the megastar.
That was a huge turn-on.
He noticed people seated at tables around them began rising. Scarlett scooped up her casino money and he said, “You must’ve done Sarah a good favor to get double the money to play with.”
Those mesmerizing gray eyes looked at him with amusement. “I helped her work out a problem that arose at the last minute.”
With a straight face, he said, “It involved a demanding donor who wanted a front row seat to tonight’s action, I’d guess.”
The corners of her sensual mouth turned up. “I believe it did. Fortunately, this donor came alone. No plus-one. Since I ended a relationship this morning, it was easy to insert this fussy donor into my plus-one’s seat.” Her smile widened. “Problem solved.”
“Was this a longtime plus-one?” he asked.
She shrugged. “A couple of months. I had the feeling Chaz was more interested in the people he would see tonight and chat up than he was spending time with me.”
“Then Chaz is a fool,” Wynn said. “I’ve known you less than two hours and see you’re smart, capable, interesting, and incredibly beautiful. If I were your plus-one, it would be hard to get rid of me. I’d be stuck to you like glue.”
Her eyes lit with interest. “You would?”
About the Author
Award-winning and internationally bestselling author Alexa Aston lives with her husband in a Dallas suburb, where she eats her fair share of dark chocolate and plots out stories while she walks every morning. She’s a binge fiend (The Crown and Ozark are favorites) who enjoys travel, sports, and time with her family.
Her historical romances bring to life loveable rogues and dashing knights, while her contemporary romances are light and flirty and sometimes contain a bit of suspense.
Haunted by his discovery of a beloved neighbor’s body floating lifeless in the lake where he’s fishing, 16-year-old Benjamin Baum is convinced she was murdered despite her death being deemed an accident. While those around him tire of his fixation on finding a supposed killer, Ben’s alienation leads to drinking and the reader begins to wonder if he’s a reliable narrator. The plot takes a shocking twist, revealing the terrifying reality that things are not what they seem—that, beneath a façade of prosperity and contentment, darkness lurks.
I can recall with near perfect clarity the moment I saw Helen Lowenthal’s bloated body slide up through a carpet of emerald water lilies and bob on the water’s surface like a ghostly musk turtle. In the seconds before her lifeless ascent, a constellation of fireflies—tiny flickering furnaces—danced and glowed in the early summer dusk; a white egret, all legs and neck, landed atop Split Rock and stood regal guard over the lake; a long-eared bat carved wicked arcs through the sky before devouring a plump imperial moth.
From the direction of Second Beach, Nathan Gold’s pontoon boat—the Ark—puttered along the shoreline with four prosperous couples reveling in their evening cocktails. A symphony of big bands, laughter, and giddy howls poured off the boat and tumbled across the lake’s still water. Nathan and his wife, Bea—a gregarious, stocky woman—called out to me as they passed, and I waved back with delight, wondering how two people could be so festive, so happy, so often.
Bonnie Schwartz, my mother’s friend, was also on the boat. She was considered by many to be the prettiest woman on the lake, as was her mother before her. I waved to her with the hope of some reciprocity—maybe a nod or a simple smile in my direction—but this auburn beauty, distracted by her empty martini glass, did not notice me—an omission that punished my fragile sixteen-year-old heart.
I sat on the edge of the dock, my feet immersed in the water of our beloved New Jersey lake. As the Ark turned north toward the clubhouse, the boat’s wake caused the pungent, algal water to lap against my calves. I held a wooden fishing pole that Papa, my grandfather, had given me when I was six. The hook baited with a throbbing night crawler, I watched as the red-and-white bobber teased me with a quick downward thrust, only to rise to the surface and drift with rippled ease. Clever fish, I thought.
A few seconds before the swollen body emerged, I turned back to look at my grandparents’ summerhouse. I could see Nana flitting about the screened-in porch, setting the table for yet another dinner party, while Papa probed the lawn for moles, angling empty glass bottles into their holes with the open ends facing downward. “Makes a howling noise, Ben,” he once told me as he guided a beer bottle into the earth. “Drives them crazy, like psychological warfare.”
What I noticed first in the water before me was not a body, but a flutter in the lilies that I mistook for a jumping frog. It was only when the attenuated rays of the descending summer sun flashed off Helen’s gold and diamond watch that I realized something terrible had occurred. I gasped and leapt to my feet. “God,” I mumbled and raised my right foot as if to take a step forward, toward the body. “Papa!” I yelled, dropping the rod to the dock. “Papa, come down!”
Despite his old age, my grandfather was a lithe and energetic man who, after numerous injuries and surgeries, had somehow managed to retain much of the athleticism of his youth. He was alarmed by the distress in my voice, for he threw a bottle to the ground and dashed down the slate path to the water’s edge. I glanced up to my grandmother, who stood frozen on the porch, right hand on chest, her mouth open.
“There!” I shouted to Papa and pointed to the blue-white body of his next-door neighbor. Helen Lowenthal, whose rare kindness had evoked in me the greatest loyalty, was dressed in a pink tennis skirt and matching top. Barefoot, she floated on her back, her face dappled with lake slime, her dyed blonde hair draped over a mat of lilies, her pale arms elevated above her head as if she were a surrendering soldier. I took another step closer, toward the water. I found myself drawn to her body, to its deadness, to its serene, haunted passage, as one is drawn to the very things—once beautiful, now rotten—that intrigue us, that repulse us with their incomprehensible transformation.
Papa reached the dock and grabbed my arm. He stared at the body in silence, then, as if looking for a clue, scanned the shoreline and the lake’s expanse. A hundred feet from the dock, in a pool of quiet water, an elderly couple fished from an anchored motorboat; the Ark continued its journey toward the clubhouse, a familiar Ella Fitzgerald melody drifting off the stern; a small sailboat floated in the windless dusk; and the white egret elevated from Split Rock, relinquishing its perch in search of food. “Go inside and call the police,” Papa cried. “It’s Helen, you know.” He wiped the sweat from his face then, panting, bent over at the waist. “Helen … Lowenthal,” he said through heavy breaths, before stepping down, fully-clothed, into the shallow water.
I watched as he struggled to traverse the muddy lake floor, the water rising from his knees, to his waist, to his chest. When he reached Helen, he touched a small bruise on her forehead. He then grasped her left hand and guided her—belly-up—toward the shore, her body slicing through the water with ease and purpose. As I watched this scene unfold, I was immobilized by my first close contact with death. I stared at her corpse with a vast fear, with a revulsion that shamed me, and, I would later acknowledge, with something approximating wonderment.
With great care, Papa placed his palm on the side of Helen’s head—a tender movement that protected her from hitting a protruding rock. Now just feet from the shore, the water knee-deep, he turned to me. “Go, Ben,” he demanded. “Go now!”
Unable to divert my eyes from the scene before me, I moved slowly up the dock. I watched as Papa stepped up onto the shore, his legs heavy from the weight of his sodden pants. I watched as he lifted Helen, as he groaned in exertion, and then gently laid her down on the spongy moss. I took one last look at the woman. She wore the fancy watch her husband had given her for their twentieth anniversary, and on her left hand was an engagement ring, the one with a diamond so large that some of the women from the bridge club had started a rumor that the stone was fake. I glanced at her toenails, painted cherry red, and at her slime-lacquered face.
“Go!” Papa screamed, now with fury in his eyes. And then I ran to the house and into my grandmother’s fleshy, perfumed embrace. I ran to a safe place.
About the Author
Adam Pelzman was born in Seattle, raised in northern New Jersey, and has spent most of his life in New York City. He studied Russian literature at the University of Pennsylvania and went to law school at UCLA. His first novel, Troika, was published by Penguin (Amy Einhorn Books). He is also the author of The Papaya King, which Kirkus Reviews described as “entrancing,” “deeply memorable” and “devilishly smart social commentary.” The Boy and the Lake, set in New Jersey during the late 1960s, is his third novel.
BLOOD MONEY is the true legal thriller of a terrifying David vs. Goliath
fight against massive healthcare fraud by a brave Whistleblower. It
includes attempted murder, extortion, money-laundering, fraudsters hiding
money in the Cayman Islands, gold buried in a storage container in a
CEO’s backyard, an Assistant Attorney General sabotaging her
state’s case, and a corrupt Governor torpedoing litigation by his own
Attorney General. From Silicon Valley to the Sunshine State, in a
showdown that reads like a Hollywood movie, Chris Riedel survives to share
it all. His actions have resulted in more than $550 million in settlements
and a court verdict… and counting.
Blood Money is the story of how a Silicon Valley CEO became a fraud fighter. It is an insider’s look at the David vs. Goliath struggle between a whistleblower seeking to save his company and stop taxpayers from being ripped-off, and healthcare companies engaged in massive fraud. Along the way, it exposes what it is like to work with government prosecutors.
I lived the Silicon Valley dream, founding my first company at twenty-four, and then starting two others while I was still a young man. The first two companies revolutionized how bacterial infections were diagnosed and treated—saving hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.
My third company, Meris Laboratories, jumped to another level entirely. Between 1988-90, it experienced the fastest growth among 2,000 labs in the industry, and delivered the highest pre-tax profit margins. In 1991, we achieved the ultimate Silicon Valley aspiration by leading the company through an initial public offering (IPO). A secondary offering (SPO) followed six months later. A month after the SPO, Business Week selected Meris as the fortieth best small business in America — out of over 20 million registered small companies. We were deeply honored.
We decided to celebrate our success in the best possible way: a few months after the SPO, I retired after twenty-two years in healthcare. I was forty-five years old. For someone who grew up in a lower middle-class family, you can only imagine how proud I felt.
During the 1990s, two labs (dubbed the “Blood Brothers” by Wall Street analysts) grew to dominate the industry: Quest Diagnostics and Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp). When my wife, Marcia, and I came back into the industry 11 years after we retired, the California laboratory industry had changed. Instead of walking into a level playing field for all labs, what we found was a rigged deck, a broad pattern of corruption, kickbacks, price gouging, and naked profiteering. This made it impossible for honest competitors, like our Hunter Labs, to survive.
Even worse, I discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars were being stolen from California’s Medicaid system.
This corruption was anything but a victimless crime. Beyond California’s taxpayers, many others were getting harmed, namely California’s oldest, sickest, and poorest. What I found was that the Blood Brother-dominated laboratory testing market in California had devolved largely into profiteering by the greedy at the expense of the needy.
These frauds were not accidents. They were core business plans, designed and sanctioned at the top. I learned of this as the “big wink” that goes on every day in American healthcare. If you want to be a big or mid-sized player in the healthcare arena, you quickly find out that you must make a choice: join the fraud team or go home. One of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Merck, was described by an Assistant U.S. Attorney at a Taxpayers Against Fraud conference as: “Organized crime masquerading as a drug company.”
I never imagined I would become a fraud fighter. My closest friends, also successful businessmen, despised anyone who sued corporations—particularly whistleblowers. This held throughout corporate America, which views whistleblowers as pariahs instead of people who stand for integrity and fair business and employment practices. Was I about to become something they despised?
About the Author
CHRIS RIEDEL is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has founded five healthcare companies and served as the Chairman and CEO of all. Chris achieved the Silicon Valley dream when he took his third company public in 1991. A few months later, it was ranked by Business Week as the 40th best small company in America. Soon after founding a fourth company, his battle against healthcare fraud began. In 2011, he received the Taxpayers Against Fraud Whistleblower of the Year award.
FBI Agent Joseph Trammell retires to a beachfront home on a Georgia island.
Six months later, PI Red Farlow finds him dying in a pool of blood. Someone shot him four times. Five shell casings litter the floor. Drops of blood lead out of the house and onto East Beach on St. Simons Island. Red sets out to find out who killed Joe Trammell and why.
Did the local drug and arms smuggler hire a hit? And who caught the fifth bullet?
Farlow wades into the murky water of intrigue, conflicting love affairs, and danger as he tracks down the killer. It’s not exactly a relaxing day at the beach.
East Beach, Red Farlow Mysteries, Book Three
Red Farlow resisted following his wife, Leigh, to bed. He’d slept fitfully of late. Instead, he walked to his front porch overlooking the beach and St. Simons Sound.
He sat and listened to the water and waves, cloaked in a fog teased by a gentle winter breeze.
The mist had drifted in earlier that evening and thickened into a likeness comparable to Brunswick stew. The cloud blanketed Red’s neighborhood.
His nostrils flared. A southwesterly wind ushered in the rotten egg stink from the paper mills on the mainland.
A freighter hauling across St. Simons Sound to Brunswick’s port sounded its foghorn. Red watched as the ghostly hulk cruised past. Gulls danced in the breeze over the beach’s surf line. All was right with the world. Or was it?
Red looked down at his cell phone. How did I miss a call? He noticed the time— half past midnight.
He listened to the voice message.
“Red, ah…Tram. Now!”
The short, clipped message alarmed. Red’s friend was a talker by nature. He recalled Joseph Trammell’s older brother relating how he burst forth from their mother’s womb, chatting up a storm. Tram didn’t deny that. He just grinned upon hearing the story.
At times as a federal agent, Tram faced predicaments that would dent anyone’s proclivity toward conversation.
Red considered what the trouble might be as he went in to tell Leigh he was going out. He put on a windbreaker, walked through the mist to his truck, and drove up the road to Tram’s house.
He parked on the street and walked to the front door, which stood half-open. A lone lamp glowed in the living room and an upstairs hall light sprayed the stairwell with its softness. He stepped into the house, down the hall by the stairs, and to the brightest lit room—the kitchen.
Joseph Trammell sprawled, barely alive, in a pool of his blood on the floor. Red kneeled over and cupped the back of his friend’s head and shoulders.
Tram’s eyes fought hard to open.
“Red,” he managed to utter.
“Yeah, man. It’s me,” Red said. “Tram, help will be on the way soon.” Red dialed for an ambulance.
The former FBI agent fought for breath. He managed to say, “Key West.” Tram tried to heave more air, but the rattle denied it. His eyelids opened and shut several times.
It was the last time Red saw his old boss and friend he called Tram. Someone put four bullets in him. Looking at Tram on the floor, the private investigator feared the EMTs could do little to save him.
Joseph Trammell exhaled a final faint whoosh of breath, and his head slumped to one side. He died.
That was too bad. Red loved the guy. Damned.
Tram retired from the FBI late the previous summer and moved into a house on St. Simons Island’s East Beach.
Red and his wife Leigh had passed the house on the road a dozen times. They walked by it on the beachfront that many or more. The night Red got the call, he finally went inside the cottage.
It’s not that they weren’t welcome. Tram had invited them to visit his house twice. Both times they had conflicts and couldn’t make it, so Red was long overdue in dropping by to see him and his pride in homeownership. He and Leigh did manage to meet Tram once for dinner at a restaurant on the island.
The sad part about not having visited Tram’s new house was Red had a home a mile away in St. Simons Island’s Village on the Georgia coast.
Busy lives got in the way. Leigh had her psychotherapy practice on Chippewa Square in Savannah. They went to Europe for three weeks that autumn. On and on the reasons mounted. But Red knew he should have visited Tram as soon as he moved in on that hot day in August. He didn’t.
Red looked around the kitchen and concentrated on everything in a quick view.
A large pool of blood under his friend. Five shots fired, as indicated by the collection of brass casings on the floor five feet from Tram’s body. He’d taken four bullets. Someone else got the fifth. A trail of blood drops speckled the floor.
Red saw no gun but noted a butcher knife on the kitchen counter near the sink.
He remained still, not wanting to disturb the evidence there—someone who was bleeding escaped out the back. Anyone could see that much. Small puddles of blood found three to four feet apart led from the kitchen to the porch, out the screen door, and onto the sand of East Beach.
Red took out his cell phone and shot a dozen photos of the scene. When a siren sounded a few blocks away, he gingerly stepped out of the kitchen and left through the front door. While waiting on the small patch of grass, he watched as a lone woman approached the house from down the street. A couple walked up the road that dead-ended into Tram’s property.
Minutes later, an ambulance pulled onto the short pebble driveway, followed by a county police car. Two EMTs ran to the house. Red directed them and the cops to the kitchen.
The hubbub began.
Other neighbors appeared. Two more cops arrived and started asking questions of everyone there. An officer talked to one woman—the early arrival—who said she lived several cottages down. Red wondered what the cops would learn from her and the others.
In the middle of the night, gunshots tended to raise alarms, particularly in high- end neighborhoods with million-dollar beachfront houses. Of course, many were vacation homes and unoccupied much of the time. Still, there were plenty of full- timers on the stretch of East Beach.
Red walked back into the house. As the ambulance guy and woman examined Tram’s body, two sheriff’s officers came in and started asking questions. Soon, a county homicide detective appeared in a sedan. Red spoke to him, explaining that after Tram’s voice message, he came over and found his friend dying on the kitchen floor.
Red saw no need to tell them what Tram uttered in his last moments. No one asked.
About the Author
W.F. Ranew is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and communication executive. He started his journalism career covering sports, police, and city council meetings at his hometown newspaper, The Quitman Free Press. He also worked as a reporter and editor for several regional dailies: The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, The Florida Times-Union, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Ranew has written two previous novels: Schoolhouse Man and Candyman’s Sorrow. He lives with his wife in Atlanta and St. Simons Island, Ga.
Warrior’s aren’t born, they are forged from the harsh experiences that shape them as they strive to defend what is sacred and true. And geniuses aren’t born either—or are they? Courtney Ramm would know, as she’s one of 229 offspring born from the controversial “Genius Sperm Bank”, a genetic experiment that existed in the 1980s and ‘90s. With a predisposition for “genius”, Courtney found herself driven toward success. Following her passion for dance, by the age of eight she was studying at the renowned School of American Ballet and soon thereafter, performing on New York’s greatest stages. At twenty-five years old, she acted upon a strong inner calling to start her own dance company—in Hawaii.
Moving across the globe from the concrete jungle of Manhattan to the tropical jungle in Hawaii, Courtney brought along her endless to-do lists and a strong determination to succeed. But one thing was missing from the picture-perfect life she had imagined: a perfect husband.
When she first locked eyes with Marcus at a spiritual gathering, she sensed something was off in the uncanny intensity of his stare. But she dove into a relationship anyway, not grasping the graveness and outright danger of the decision.
Eris Rising is a story of breaking deep karmic patterns, grappling with the calling of destiny, and changing long-held karma into mission. With the powerful feminine warrior spirit of Eris as inspiration, this memoir shows how it’s possible to move forward after life-altering “mistakes”, and recover the true “genius” within.
About the Author
Born and raised in the heart of New York City, Courtney Ramm has followed her passion for dance since childhood, which led to a career as a professional dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She’s directed dance schools, performed, and taught all over the world, from Singapore to Thailand to Manhattan.
With her Master’s degree in Dance Education, Courtney has led wellness retreats in Hawaii, focusing on empowerment and transformation. Courtney is the founder and artistic director of RammDance, a non-profit dedicated to keeping the legacy of modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan alive. She blends her love of dance with holistic healing, and is a certified Pilates instructor, Yoga teacher, Ayurvedic consultant, Theta healer, Master Detox Chef, and Reiki practitioner.
Alongside her focused training and career in dance, writing has always been one of Courtney’s passions. She knew she would write a book—although she never imagined her memoir would take such a twisted turn.
Courtney is a full-time single mama to two toddlers. Eris Rising is her first book.
Event planner Julia Fernández is in Chicago for an internship that she
hopes to turn into a full-time job. She’s ready to live on her own, out from
under her familia’s expectations that she take over their catering business
in Puerto Rico and away from their year-round baseball fever thanks to her
three ball-playing brothers. Ex-MLB pitcher Ben Thomas knows what it’s like
to have different dreams than your family intends for you, but since his
injury-caused early retirement, he’s been struggling to find the sense of
family baseball once brought him. When he volunteers as the emcee for
Julia’s big holiday fundraiser for a local youth center, he finally begins
to find a sense of purpose working with the kids and alongside Julia.
She’s focused on organizing the best holiday event the youth center has ever seen, not on romance. But Ben…he’s got a game plan for them that includes both.
Holiday Home Run was previously released as part of the holiday anthology A
SEASON TO CELEBRATE.
About the Author
Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today Best-Selling author & 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Her books have earned Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly & Booklist, hit the top 5 on Barnes & Noble’s Top 100 Book Bestseller list, & notched Amazon #1 Bestseller status. Her latest release, Island Affair, made it onto O, The Oprah Magazine’s “28 of the Best Beach Reads of Summer 2020” list. Priscilla earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and currently serves as adjunct faculty in the program while also teaching the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. She’s a self-professed romance genre junkie, who’s also a sports fan, beach lover, Zumba aficionado, and hammock nap connoisseur. Follow her at prisoliveras.com and on social media via @prisoliveras and https://www.facebook.com/prisoliveras.
While working independently as a pre-med student at Cleary University, the soon-to-be physician, Mary Austin, discovers a remarkable, non-toxic drug that could offer tremendous hope to cancer patients. Her work is headed for publication in a top medical journal until a drug company begins negotiations with her bosses from which she is mysteriously excluded.
Amid egregious sexual harassment, Mary’s materials are blatantly sabotaged.
As death threats follow and her work becomes impossible, she is accepted at
Whitehead College of Medicine despite evidence that her bosses tampered with
her application process. After becoming a pediatrics resident, she shares
her story with her beloved mentor, Dr. Daniel Taylor, who allows her to
temporarily leave her residency training to reproduce the work. Her joy
turns to sorrow and then determination when she learns that Dr. Taylor is
battling terminal pancreatic cancer. Even as a chain of events prompts the
sabotage of Mary’s drug stock and leaves her seemingly without any choice
but to permanently leave academic medicine, the story of her drug is not
In this novel inspired by a true story, after a young cancer researcher
discovers a breakthrough drug that could change chemotherapy, the drug
industry suppresses the breakthrough and transforms her life and career
Camera Aversion, Redux
It certainly came as news that I would, very much against my will, feature in that film [featuring Dr. Taylor] as I presented my patients that morning—and after a sleepless night and with no makeup on, because Murphy’s Law is never not in effect.
I ran around telling the other residents that we were apparently going to be filmed during rounds, and that we had to hurry it up.
“Oh, crap!” said one of the other female residents. “I have to put makeup on!”
“Well, how do you think I feel?” I asked her, laughing ruefully. Besides looking awful, I had twelve complex cases to present on zero hours of sleep. That my hair resembled a haystack in form as well as color that particular morning was the least of my concerns.
I wound up giving one of the best performances I’d ever given in rounds, presenting every single case without missing a beat. I made all the appropriate teaching points for the students and fielded every question they asked without dropping even one. I don’t even know how the hell I got through it all except that it was for him.
Well, that and I drank a shedload of caffeine. But that only served to kickstart my faltering brain; my heart was already in it all the way for him.
About the Author
Mary Austin is the pseudonym for a physician who, in order to publicize a
suppressed discovery in cancer research, had to sacrifice first her academic
career, then a career as a board-certified pediatrician, and then her
personal safety. She would do it again.
Set in Southwest Virginia and inspired by actual events and the story of
the small town’s most revered doctor, who may just be a serial killer. A
local police officer with a tarnished reputation, a reporter who manipulated
facts, and the doctor’s chief intern, who may be a thief, have pieces of the
puzzle. Yet no one in authority believes the great doctor could be
responsible. All the while, patients are dying.
Shadowed and protected by the mountains of her native southwest Virginia, Amelia Townsend has lived hither, thither, and yon – mostly between Virginia and North Carolina. She has worked as a newspaper and TV reporter, freelance producer and director, writer, and now PR hack. She is a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She has no claim to fame. Further, she is most often bewildered when people say they are impressed by her work. Her first novel, Keepsakes for the Heart, was nominated by the N.C. Historical Association for the prestigious Ragan Old North State Award for non-fiction.
Her favorite avocation is listening to and writing down other people’s stories, for truth surely is stranger and more beautiful than fiction. This is where Townsend has found fodder for the stories of the hills that she wrote with her late writing buddy. Several have come to life in the form of a novel and a couple of plays in production. The names have
been changed to protect the guilty.
Townsend’s most impressive accomplishments are her children – a son and daughter – who managed to turn in to fine young adults, despite her attempts to raise them.
Jack Galloway has had enough of life and is chasing a high he just can’t seem to find. Upon meeting with a drug dealer from his school, he is given some mysterious, bean-shaped pills that just so happen to be nothing but beans. However, Relatively Normal beans do not grow miles and miles into the sky overnight, drawing attention from everyone around and destroying the very idea of reality on Earth.
Now, in order to restore his Relatively Normal world, Jack must embark on a
mission with a girl he barely knows from high school, Red Crawford, who just
so happens to be the only one he knows who has encountered a tear in the
non-magical reality they live in.
The beanstalk, too tall and too wide to climb, leads them down a rabbit
hole to the strange and nonsensical Underland, where they must go through
insane trials in order to reach the answer to their problems — the Giants,
magical creatures who live in Overland and can rid the Relatively Normal
world of that pesky beanstalk. However, the beanstalk and its effects on
reality might just be the least of their worries when they reach the dark,
“You’re not looking in the right place,” the voice said again. It was distinctly male, although it didn’t necessarily sound human. It was soft and silky, almost like a purr.
Jack frowned, looking all around him, and jumped so hard he crashed into Red when he saw a pair of yellow eyes and a wide, ridiculous smile with pointed fangs on top of the hedge. Slowly, a fuzzy face started to materialize around it, and then a long, thick body and a fluffy tail. A cat, although it didn’t look like any cat Jack had ever seen before. The smile was all-knowing, mysterious, and unnerving. The fur was striped bright blue and dark purple. It studied them with eyes that seemed to peer right into their souls.
“Could you help us find them then?” Jack asked, then rolled his eyes. He couldn’t believe he was talking to a cat, and almost without hesitation. He was starting to think he might be losing his mind.
“I mean you’re not looking in the right place for your question.” Somehow, it seemed as if the cat’s eyes had grown larger. He sat up, tilting his head to stare at them, and began to lick his paw.
Jack looked over at Red, but she appeared just as confused as he felt. His skin prickled in fear as Red said, “Question? What question?”
“I don’t know,” the cat purred. “You tell me. I know you have one. I see it all over your faces. I just know the answer isn’t here. Not with me, not with the queen.”
“Yes. The Queen of Hearts.”
About the Author
Mikaela Miller has not exactly found her place in the world yet, and she’s still trying to understand herself, so there’s not much to say. She loves writing, memes, her friends, and her fur children. She is currently living the small town life but has high hopes of moving to a big city to live out her dreams one day. She loves the darker side of all fairytales and has recently discovered a love for horror novels. This book idea came to her in a dream, as many of her strange ideas do, and she hopes for a bright future as she delves further into her characters’ lives. One day, she would like to be able to rescue lots of homeless animals and be the crazy old cat lady down the street.