#CoverReveal “Nowhere to Hide (Kayla Walsh Mystery Suspense Trilogy Book 1)” by Karen Randau

Randau cover

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A young woman embarks on a dangerous journey to bring a killer to justice.

Kayla is newly-engaged and excited to break the news to her parents during a visit for winter break before her final semester at Princeton. As she enters her family’s living room, a home invader shatters her life forever, ruthlessly killing her parents and putting her in a coma.

Two years later, she still remembers nothing of the attack, just that she kissed her fiancé goodbye before opening her family’s front door. Her fiancé thinks she’s dead and has moved on.

A suspicious house fire convinces Kayla it’s time to dump her witness protection program to embark on a dangerous quest to bring the murderer to justice. She and her best friend Martin follow clues that take them from the mountains of Arizona to Washington, D.C., straight into the killer’s lair. Will Kayla succeed in her quest, or will she and Martin fall victim to the ruthless assassin who stole everything Kayla loved?

Nowhere to Hide is the explosive first book in the Kayla Walsh Mystery Suspense trilogy. This fast-paced read is one you won’t want to put down from beginning to end. If you like the suspense of Willow Rose and the plot twists of Kendra Elliot, you will love Karen Randau’s clever, nail-biting Kayla Walsh series.

Releases January 4, 2022

Kindle Unlimited

PreOrder Links

AMAZON USA: https://amzn.to/3p5ShDF

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/3aJOvaI

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About Karen RandauKaren Randau

A native of the American southwest, Karen authors mysteries, suspense, thrillers with plenty of intrigue, actions, and twists with a dash of romance. Her protagonists are strong women with the grit to take matters into their own hands. She the outdoors, baking, and her family.

Social media:

facebook.com/karenrandauauthor

instagram.com/klrandau

pinterest.com/krandau

twitter.com/klrandau

bookbub.com/profile/karen-randau

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DRBT new banner

#FREE “12” by Nolon King and David Wright

12 cover

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What Would You Do With the Last 12 Hours of Your Life?

At 6 p.m. on a Wednesday in October, a gunman will enter Goldman’s Diner and commit one of the worst massacres the small coastal town of Palm Isles, Florida has ever seen.

Twelve hours earlier: twelve lives are on borrowed time, unaware that death is coming, or that their paths will collide in one tragic moment.

A young waitress and mother fights to protect her daughter from her violent estranged husband. Little does she know that a greater threat looms under her nose.

A cop is forced to decide between his job and his marriage.

A bullied teen with an abusive father is down to one friend when his world suddenly crumbles around him.

An old man struggles to hold onto his memories and do one last thing to honor his wife. But in doing so, he will have to reveal his darkest secret.

A cook with a shady past attempts to stay on the straight and narrow, until he gets a call which forces him to choose — his family or his honor?

A woman attempts to meet her father’s expectations, clinging to a struggling diner even as her relationship with her son falls apart.

TWELVE HOURS
TWELVE LIVES
WHO LIVES?
WHO DIES?

FREE at all online digital retailers at time of posting!

Amazon

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#NewRelease “Dangerous Pursuits: 15 Stories From Today’s Most Popular Mystery and Suspense Authors”

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Crisp Days. Cold Nights. Dangerous Pursuits.

The chill of fall brings with it a hint of peril in Dangerous Pursuits.

Consecrated Sacrifice by Mary Alford:

CIA Officer Branch Collins is saved by a dead woman. Is she a hero or a traitor? Everything rides on finding out the answer.

The Last Day by Lisa Harris:

When Dr. Hope McQuaid stops at the scene of an accident on a lonely west Texas highway, she becomes a bargaining chip for two dangerous fugitives with nothing to lose.

Sleep Deprived by Therese Heckenkamp:

When sleep deprivation skews her judgment, grieving young mother Mae risks everything to save a baby—only to wind up accused of a crime.

A Time to Hunt by Cynthia Hickey:

A bestselling author finds himself mired in a plot straight out of one of his books, and the clock is ticking down to the death of those around him.

Don’t Look Down by Gina Holder:

Can she prove a killer’s guilt before he silences her forever? Erynn, owner of the Gourmet Gal food truck, witnesses a murder, but no one believes her.

Deadly Heights by Ronie Kendig:

Heiress and experienced climber Jolie Decouteau doesn’t believe in coincidences, so getting acute mountain sickness while on a hike shortly after her father is found dead convinces her that someone is trying to kill her.

Never Think Twice by Loree Lough:

One of the felons recovery agent Fitz delivered to authorities has escaped from his maximum-security prison and is coming after Fitz and his loved ones.

A Dark Silence by Dana R. Lynn:

Deaf since birth, Heidi Martin is excited about her new career as a counselor at the school for the deaf. Until she walks in on a murder and must flee to stay alive.

Amish Justice by Ann Malley:

In the cross-hairs of an Amish criminal kingpin, Naomi Boentreger is forced to uncover family secrets first and trust the man she once loved yet now barely recognizes.

A Dark Road Home by Dana Mentink:

After a tragic mistake, Lola Armstrong left the U.S. Marshals and rancher Abe Everhart far behind. Now Abe’s on her doorstep with retrograde amnesia and his twin niece and nephew in tow.

Courage on the Run by J. Carol Nemeth:

When innkeeper Casey Hartman witnesses a murder, can guest DEA Agent Will Kerns keep her safe from the killer as they head out on the run?

Stepping from Shadows by Cara Putman:

When Emma Donahue goes home, it’s time to find answers or die trying. She has days to discover the truth or she’ll lose her inheritance. After years of trusting no one, can she risk relying on Lance Updike?

Deadly Catalyst by Sharee Stover:

What starts as an online computer game becomes a life-and-death struggle for Jorja Hale and her teen brother, plummeting them into a deadly underground network.

Protecting the Heiress by Terri Reed:

A reluctant heiress needs the protection of the intelligence officer who broke her heart if she is to make it to the reading of her father’s will alive.

The Winter Pearl by Lenora Worth:

When antique-jewelry store owner Hannah Dupree mistakenly receives a priceless pearl necklace, someone is out to kill her and get it back.

99c at all online digital retailers!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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#BookTour “Murder Worth the Weight” by D.M. Barr

Murder Worth the Weight by D.M. Barr BannerSeptember 13 – October 8, 2021

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Synopsis:

Murder Worth the Weight by D.M. Barr

Whenever Terry Mangel’s body acceptance revival meeting rolls into town, local diet execs and “fat shamers” turn up dead, often in grotesque, ironic ways. All single murders in small suburbs, no one’s noticed a pattern, until rookie investigative reporter Camarin Torres takes a closer look.

Torres is a crusader against discrimination. She reluctantly accepts a job offered by handsome publisher Lyle Fletcher, a man with a vendetta, who sees the recent college grad as salvation for Trend, his fledgling fashion magazine. Torres, however, detests everything the publication stands for, and joins solely to transform its judgmental, objectifying content.

As an unexpected romance blossoms, the overconfident, justice-hungry reporter defies orders and infiltrates Mangel’s world, only to find herself in the crosshairs of a vigilante group targeting the $60 billion diet industry. To this vindictive mob, murder is definitely worth the weight. But as Torres soon learns, unmasking the killer may save her life but shatter her heart: every clue seems to implicate Fletcher, her mercurial mentor and lover, as the group’s mastermind.

Previously published as Slashing Mona Lisa

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Romantic Suspense, Psychological Suspense, Women’s Fiction

Published by: Punctuated Publishing

Publication Date: 08/09/2021

Number of Pages: 340

ISBN: 978-0-9977118-6-8

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

CAMARIN TORRES PEERED down the tracks again, as if repeated checking would cause her delayed train to magically appear. It was a warm April afternoon, but the unexpected heat did little to lift her spirits. She was heading back to her apartment after yet another unsuccessful interview. If this kept up, she’d be the only one of her NYU friends graduating next month without a job lined up. How ironic not to be able to afford the food she wouldn’t allow herself to eat anyway. She checked her watch a third time. The 5:03 from White Plains to Grand Central was already ten minutes late.

Camarin heard a voice a few feet behind her softly exclaim, “Dammit!” Curiosity aroused, she spied a girl in her late teens standing by the vending machine, fervently searching through her handbag.

Camarin stared, mesmerized by what could have been a mirror image of her late twin sister Monaeka. Long, dark hair partially obscured her tanned, pretty face, and despite the temperature, she’d draped her two-hundred-plus pound body in an oversized raincoat. But as Camarin well knew, yards of fabric didn’t really fool anyone. The girl hunched over slightly, a stance her sister Monaeka had perfected, a sign of deference to a world demanding an apology for violating their arbitrary standards.

Camarin felt a familiar tug of compassion as the girl plunked a few coins into the machine and then searched for more. Looking on, she debated the merits of acquiescing to her own desire for a late-afternoon sweet. What’s really the harm? Cam reached into the pocket of her dress and pulled out three quarters, which she held out toward the stranger as she walked toward her.

“Want to share something?”

The girl tensed and gave her a quizzical look, but after a moment her shoulders relaxed. “That’s so nice of you. Thanks.”

Camarin winked and pushed the quarters into the machine. One click and clunk later, she retrieved their prize—a Kit Kat bar. One of Monaeka’s favorites. As she held it out to the girl, a slim, stylish woman clad in black came out of nowhere and snatched the chocolate bar right out of her hand.

“You don’t need it,” she said. “You’ll thank me later.”

The girl’s face turned bright red, but she said nothing, just watched in shock as the thief continued down the platform.

Camarin felt the blood rush to her temples. No matter how many years and miles she’d put between herself and her past, the critical voices kept seeking her out, today in the form of this interloper. Enough, she decided. She set down the briefcase containing her resume and clips and tore after the woman, grabbing her arm and pulling her around so they stood face-to-face.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Camarin yelled.

Heads turned. Conversations ceased.

“What’s it to you?” the offender shot back.

Camarin pointed at the girl, whose eyes were wide in disbelief. “That girl happens to be a friend of mine, so I’m asking a second time… what are you doing?”

“Saving her from herself, that’s what. Your friend is huge, and it’s unhealthy. If she can’t control herself, she needs others to do it for her.”

“Well, Miss High-and-Mighty, since you know everything about everyone, did you ever consider that my friend…Sabrina’s…size might have nothing to do with self-control? Could it be the result of…the lithium she takes to control her bipolar disorder? Are you a psychiatrist who has a better suggestion for more appropriate meds that don’t put on weight?”

“Well, no… no,” the woman stammered, as if the rush of passion suddenly drained from her, leaving her feeling exposed.

“You know what I think?”

The fat shamer glared back but remained silent, so Camarin summoned her courage and repeated herself, a few decibels louder. “I said, do you know what I think?”

“No. What?” The woman sneered.

“I think you should go over to Sabrina and apologize.”

“Apologize for helping her get thin?” Her voice dripped with indignation.

“No, apologize for sticking your big nose where it doesn’t belong,” interjected a young, beer-bellied man in overalls a few feet away. A Joe’s Plumbing patch was embroidered on his chest pocket.

“What exactly do we have to do to be accepted by you people? Why can’t you just leave us alone?” screamed a plump, older woman with perfectly coiffed hair and a fitted suit.

“Give her back the Kit Kat bar,” hollered a man clad in military garb, who then started chanting, “Kit Kat, Kit Kat, Kit Kat…” Others joined in, and the cacophony grew stronger.

“You may have grabbed a Kit Kat, but you ended up with Snickers,” said Cam with a smirk. “Maybe you want to just hand over the candy, so we can forget this whole ugly incident?”

The woman spat at the ground in front of Camarin and defiantly threw the chocolate bar on the tracks, eliciting loud boos from the small but agitated crowd. Then she ran down the platform, heading for the stairs that led to the parking lot.

“Good riddance,” the plumber called after her.

Camarin stood for a moment, shaking from the encounter. Then she returned to the now teary-eyed girl. “Sorry I made you bipolar,” she whispered. “I needed to make a point, and it was all I could come up with on the spur of the moment. Hi, I’m Camarin.”

“I’m Lexie,” the girl said. “No one has ever stood up for me before. Thank you.”

“Hey, I know what it’s like. I used to deal with jerks like that all the time.”

The plumber pushed a run of quarters into the vending machine and took out two Kit Kat bars, handing one to each of the women. Others on the platform clapped and cheered. The sound was slowly drowned out by the roar of the oncoming 5:03 PM train.

As the doors opened, Camarin noticed Lexie and the plumber now chatting animatedly. Not wishing to intrude, she entered the next car over. It was practically empty, not unusual considering most people were traveling in the opposite direction at this hour. A perfect opportunity to relax after an upsetting confrontation. Perhaps savor that chocolate bar. She could always purge later.

Given the plethora of unoccupied seats, she was surprised when a handsome man in an expensive-looking suit asked if the spot beside her was taken. She guessed he was in his early forties, since his face was too young for the silver in his hair and beard. He spoke with a confidence so lacking in her gawky college-boy contemporaries. She felt a shiver as the silk of his sleeve touched her bare arm as he settled in.

She wondered what clever icebreaker she could use to engage her attractive new neighbor in conversation. Nice weather, huh? would be too lame. Seconds passed. Other passengers shuffled by. Soon, the moment would be lost.

Then, to her delight, he leaned in covertly, as if sharing a private confidence. “Nice going. You’d never seen that girl before in your life, had you?”

She pulled back and studied his expression. Affable or accusatory? His smile assured her of his friendly intentions.

“What gave me away?”

“Nothing. Just a hunch. One you just confirmed.”

Camarin twisted her mouth, irked at having been so easily played.

“Do you always go around tricking strangers into confessing their secrets?” she asked.

“Probably as often as you go around defending the underdog.” The man winked. “Nothing to be ashamed of though. Quite the opposite. As I think you’ve already figured out, life is just a series of bluffs.”

Camarin considered the comment as the train rumbled along the tracks toward Scarsdale.

“And do you bluff much?”

“Funny you should ask. These days, it’s all I do.”

Grateful for such a provocative opening, she pressed forward. “That sounds intriguing. Care to elaborate?”

“Thought you’d never ask,” he said with a smile. “Up until a few years ago, I’d spent my entire career practicing law. Then my circumstances and interests changed, and I decided to become a redeemer of lost causes. I just purchased a failing magazine, which I intend to make profitable again. If that’s not the bluff of the century, I don’t know what is.”

Elegant and he owns a magazine? Camarin’s heart skipped a beat.

“That’s such a coincidence. I’m just coming from an interview with a magazine.”

“Some might call it a coincidence. I call it kismet,” the man said as he held out his hand. “Lyle Fletcher, fledgling publisher.”

Chapter 2

AS THE TRAIN rolled down the tracks toward Manhattan, Camarin sensed her future suddenly lurching ahead as well. “Camarin Torres, journalism and prelaw major. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

She reached out to shake his hand, eager to see if his grip would be as firm as she imagined, but the conductor interrupted, asking to punch their tickets. There was no way to try again without looking awkward, so she swallowed her disappointment and returned her hand to her side.

Fletcher broke the pregnant pause. “So, there must be many professions out there for someone as bold and beautiful as you. Why journalism and law?”

Camarin’s face grew warm. Had anyone else handed her that line, she would have regarded it as a come-on. But he seemed sincere, so she felt comfortable opening up. “All my life I’ve seen bullying and discrimination. As a child, I felt helpless to stop it. But as an adult, I can make a difference.”

“Bullying because of your ethnicity? You’re… ”

“My mother’s side of the family comes from Guam. But no, fortunately, I’ve encountered very little bias because of my roots. Maybe it’s because we live just outside Los Angeles, where I’m part of a large Chamorro community who share an intense sense of cultural pride. In fact, I think my background may have worked in my favor, that push for diversity in colleges and all.”

“So, discriminated against as a woman?”

“No again,” she said, reluctant to share too much of her past with a stranger, no matter how charming. “Let’s just say I’ve seen how cruel people can be to those who don’t quite fit in, no matter how hard they try. I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else ever again.”

“You’re going to personally end intolerance?” Fletcher seemed both dubious and amused.

“Well, at least make a sizeable dent in it,” she said with a smile. It wasn’t the first time that people had appeared incredulous at her idealism. “You’re speaking to the world’s first female Chamorro anti-discrimination crusader. After graduation anyway. And eventually law school, when I can afford it.”

“Lofty ambitions. You’ll need them in a world that doesn’t always cooperate with people’s dreams. Again, I’m impressed.”

“Thank you,” she said, her face growing even hotter. A charismatic publisher thought she was impressive. A once-disappointing day was rapidly metamorphosing into something magical, like a child’s giant, colorful carnival balloon.

“Have you interviewed at my magazine, Trend?”

Pop! Camarin did her best not to cringe with contempt. Trend represented everything in the world she’d come to hate: the brainwashing of women to fit into narrow, permissible roles dictated by fashion designers and greedy advertisers. And this man, appealing or not, was one of their leaders. Camarin paused, trying to formulate a polite and diplomatic response.

“You have heard of it, right?”

“Yes, of course. But no, I didn’t interview there. No offense, but as you said, it’s failing. As a matter of fact, I turned down an unsolicited offer from one of your competitors, Drift. I’m just interested in more…serious publications.”

“No offense taken,” he said with a grin. “I realize that up to now Trend has just covered style and gossip—total fluff. That’s what I’m planning to change. In your words, go in a more serious direction.”

She wondered if the comment was authentic or if he was just another jerk and this was an excuse that allowed him to live with himself. They remained quiet for a bit, and then curiosity got the better of her.

“I didn’t realize Trend is based in Westchester.”

Fletcher’s face clouded over. “No, it’s in Manhattan. I was out here today because…my late wife owned a condo in White Plains that we’d been renting out. I was just meeting with the real estate agent I might hire to sell it for me.”

Cam looked down at her pumps, annoyed at herself for bringing up such a sensitive subject. “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“Of my wife or the condo?”

She glanced back, astonished. He started to laugh, and she felt the earlier harshness of her judgment soften by a smidgen. He really was quite charming—for a body shamer.

“Are you ever serious?” she asked.

“Oh, when I am, you’ll definitely know it. Like now. How many years of college do you have left?”

His tone switched from whimsical to all business, and something about the way he commanded control sent a shiver up her spine. Hot as hell. Dammit. “About a month. Then I’m done.”

The conductor announced that they would soon be arriving at Grand Central Station, their final destination, and the windows grew dark as they entered the tunnel.

He reached into his suit pocket and pulled out a business card. It read Trend Magazine, with a fashionable NoHo address, close to her own apartment.

She held up her hand. “That’s kind of you, but I really don’t think—”

“Hey, I can see you’re not enamored with our current format. Nevertheless, I’d still like you to come in, show us your work. Allow us to describe the magazine’s revamped editorial direction. I think it may surprise you. I can use someone with your guts and ambition to develop our investigative-reporting beat. That is, if you have any interest.”

She took the card, slipping it into her jacket pocket. “If you’re really serious about moving away from your current focus, I’ll try to keep an open mind.” After all, a job was a job, and up to now, no one else but Drift had made an offer.

“Call tomorrow and speak to Rachel. She’ll set everything up. You’re going to be a superstar. Of that, I’m already certain.” He reached out to shake her hand. It felt as forceful as Camarin had imagined earlier. She didn’t try to read anything into the almost imperceptible squeeze he added at the end. Until proven otherwise, he was still the enemy.

As he rose and headed for the exit, she waited a few beats longer before also joining the crowd jostling toward the platform. By the stairs a newsstand featured the latest issue of Trend. Hating herself, she slapped down her $3.50 for a copy. Magazines like this were part of what had driven her sister over the edge, but she needed to see if there was anything redeemable within its pages. The jury was still out until Lyle Fletcher had proven himself a reformer, and not an enabler.

***

Excerpt from Murder Worth the Weight by D.M. Barr. Copyright 2021 by D.M. Barr. Reproduced with permission from D.M. Barr. All rights reserved.

 

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Author Bio:

D.M. Barr

By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire. My background includes stints in travel marketing, travel journalism, meeting planning, public relations and real estate. I was, for a long and happy time, an award-winning magazine writer and editor. Then kids happened. And I needed to actually make money. Now they’re off doing whatever it is they do (of which I have no idea since they won’t friend me on Facebook) and I can spend my spare time weaving tales of debauchery and whatever else tickles my fancy. The main thing to remember about my work is that I am NOT one of my characters. For example, unlike as a real estate broker, I’ve never played Bondage Bingo in one of my empty listings. As a yo-yo dieter, I’ve never offed anyone at my local diet clinic. While I’m a bit paranoid, I’ve never suspected my husband of wanting to murder me for my inheritance. Well, that’s not entirely true, but let’s go with that for now. And while I’ve volunteered at senior centers, I’ve never mastered the hula hoop. But that’s not to say I haven’t wanted to…

Catch Up With D.M. Barr:

DMBarr.com

Goodreads

BookBub – @DMBarr

Instagram – @authordmbarr

Twitter – @authordmbarr

Facebook – @authordmbarr

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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Join In:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for D.M. Barr. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs September 13 through October 10, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

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#BookTour “The Memory Bell” by Kat Flannery

September 1-30, 2021 Tour

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Synopsis:

Grace Penner’s safe haven crumbles when a body is found outside of town.

Gifted the memory bell, a family heirloom, from her grandfather’s will, Grace’s excitement is soon squashed when the bell gets broken right after she receives it. While gluing the pieces back in place, she discovers three are still missing.

Determined to find them, she is halted when the new detective, Bennet James, investigates her family. Grace is intent on showing the detective her family isn’t capable of murder, but as the investigation deepens, and pieces of the bell show up with ominous notes, Grace soon realizes the Penners are not what they seem. Amidst the tightly knit family; dark secrets, deception, and possibly even murder unfold.

Will Grace be able to save the family she loves more than anything without losing herself forever?

Praise for The Memory Bell:

“A naïve small-town girl and a disillusioned big-city cop, drawn together by an unsolved crime that is itself only the tip of the iceberg, The Memory Bell serves up the perfect steamy summer read.”
–Jenny Jaeckel, author of House of Rougeaux

“The story moves beyond a small town whodunit to probe the underlying bonds of history that connect a family.”
-Midwest Book Review

“Wonderful, engaging, and fast-paced! Flannery knows what she’s doing!”
-Jonas Saul, author of the Sarah Roberts series

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

Published by: Black Rose Writing

Publication Date: July 1, 2021

Number of Pages: 288

ISBN: 1684337089 (ISBN-13:978-1684337088)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

“Family is supposed to be our safe haven. Very often, it’s the place where we find the deepest heartache.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant

CHAPTER ONE

Detective Bennet James stood over the remains of a hand dug grave. The morning air was brisk for July, and a foggy cloud permeated the air as he exhaled. He’d woken as the first rays of dawn crept through his hotel window casting sundogs along the planked floor.

Bones were found by the grain elevators at the mill in Oakville. The sleepy town was an hour’s drive from Chicago and where he’d been stationed for the last two weeks. It was hell, but anything was better than sitting at home waiting to hear his fate. He flexed his shoulders. The muscles ached from the mounting pressure.

He took a sip of the coffee he’d bought at the local gas station. The bitter blend was cold and old. Probably made the night before and just waiting for some poor soul to drain the last of the dregs from the decanter.

With no details other than the presence of human remains to work with, Ben made quick work of taping off the area and closing all access in and out of the mill. The trains were halted and all productivity near the tracks was at a standstill. He surveyed the grounds. Three metal silos stood in a row to his left with tracks laid in front of them. Directly behind were wooden buildings with peaked roofs, and a single track led to a dead end.

He gathered the mill was over fifty years old by the way the boards heaved and sagged. Out of commission for some time, he wondered why no one had torn the dilapidated buildings down. Being that the place was pretty much deserted it’d make things difficult in the investigation. He snorted. It wasn’t his investigation, and if things didn’t work out for him with the state, he’d never see another one again.

He rubbed his hand across his face. His heart quickened with the familiar feeling of piecing together a puzzle. It was the same feeling he got every time he was dealt a new case. Except this one was different. It wasn’t his, and even though the thought of having something to occupy his mind was appealing, he doubted Sheriff Rhoads would let him take the lead on it, much less be a part of it.

Ben glanced down at the body. Nothing left but bones and a few fragments of hair which signified the death happened years before. The grave was not shallow, but not deep either. Ben guessed it was four feet into the ground. A blue blanket caught his eye. He fingered the soft cotton with a gloved hand, a crocheted throw that was now pulled from the knots someone delicately placed there. Whoever had wrapped the victim in it did so with pristine care.

“Where is the witness?” he asked the young deputy standing to his left. He couldn’t remember the boy’s name, or was it he didn’t care? It didn’t really matter. He’d stopped caring about those around him a long time ago.

The deputy looked a bit flushed, and Ben figured the kid living in the small town had never seen anything like this before. Regret settled in his stomach at making the boy stay with him while he looked over the body and its surroundings. Ben remembered seeing his first body, a young girl, no more than six. Her image still haunted him on nights when sleep wouldn’t come.

He blinked, collected his thoughts, and faced the young man.

“You’re no longer needed here,” he said.

“The men who found the body are over there,” the kid stammered. His hand shook as he pointed to the two silhouettes standing twenty yards away.

“Thanks.” Ben dismissed him and walked toward the two men sipping coffee from their mugs. A part of him wanted to turn back to his car and leave now that Rhoads was here, but his pride and his duty wouldn’t allow it. He pulled out the small note pad and pen he kept in his pocket.

“Morning. I need to ask you a few questions.”

“Ain’t you the new fella?” one of the men asked.

“Yeah.”

“You’re that swanky detective from the city.”

Ben didn’t answer.

“Why in hell would you want to come out here?”

He remained silent. It was none of the old man’s business why he’d been placed in this shithole town.

“Talk is you got into hot water up there.”

“I need to ask you some questions,” Ben repeated, an edge creeping into his voice. He wasn’t about to discuss his shit with these guys. He shifted from one foot to the other, took a deep calming breath, cleared his throat, and waited.

“Not much to tell,” the man said. His thick white moustache spanned the whole of his upper lip and the bottoms of his cheeks.

“Your name?” he asked.

“Walter Smythe.” The man leaned in to read what Ben wrote and tapped his index finger onto the paper. “That’s Smythe with a Y not an I.”

Ben nodded.

“Can you tell me how you came upon the body?”

“Ol’ Russ was the one who found it.”

He turned to the other man.

“I ain’t Russ,” the farmer said.

“Who is—”

“That’s my dog.” Walter whistled. A large St. Bernard came loping up from the field behind the buildings.

“The dog found the body?”

“That’s right.”

“What were you doing out here?”

“I come out from time to time.”

“Why if the place is closed down?”

The man shrugged.

“Have you brought Russ out here before?” Ben asked, still trying to piece together how the remains were found.

“Sure. I bring him everywhere.”

“Why was he in the elevators?”

Walter’s wide shoulders lifted underneath the plaid jacket.

“Did the dog take anything from the grave, or disturb it in anyway?”

“Once I seen him diggin’, I called him over.” Walter guffawed. “But the damn mutt just kept on going back. So, I went over to see what the hell he was after.”

“At what point did you figure out it was a body?”

“Right away when I saw the bones.”

“Russ dug up most of the grave?”

“Nah, maybe a foot of it.” Walter nudged the farmer beside him. “I called Bill and we determined it was best to call the sheriff.”

“Why didn’t you call the sheriff first?”

Walter didn’t answer.

“Did you remove or touch anything?” Ben asked.

“Nope.”

As much as the farmer was rough around the edges, he could tell Walter Smythe spoke the truth.

“One more question. Has anyone gone missing in the last ten years?”

“Not around these parts. Most people who go missing leave for the city.”

“Why is that?”

“Small towns ain’t for everybody.” Walter’s eyes narrowed. “Stuff like this don’t happen around here.”

Ben nodded before he walked away and headed back to his car. He opened the door but didn’t get in. Tall silos, train cars and tracks were surrounded by a field. Waist-high stalks of yellow waved in the breeze and from what he knew of farming, it looked to be canola. Why wasn’t the body buried in the field? There must be over a hundred acres of land. Until he received the coroner’s report, he couldn’t begin to guess at anything yet. Before he left, he’d need to talk to Sheriff Rhoads and see about any missing persons reports in the area.

“Well, that is odd.” Rhoads sauntered toward him, brows furrowed.

“What is?” Ben asked.

“A body, here, at the elevators, in Oakville.” His forehead wrinkled, and a perplexed look crossed his face. “Nobody has been here in years.”

“These things can happen anywhere. There are no rules for death.”

Rhoads focused on him, but remained quiet for some time before he said, “Not here.”

“I’d like to take the lead on this,” Ben said. The words surprised him, but he couldn’t take them back now. Besides, he needed something to keep him busy. The minor misdemeanors at the old folk’s home, break-ins, and an occasional kid in trouble wasn’t enough to keep him from going crazy with boredom.

“Not sure that’s wise, with your probation and all.”

Ben nodded, figuring that would be the answer.

“But I don’t see it as more than an unfortunate accident, so go ahead.”

Ben wasn’t so sure.

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Excerpt from The Memory Bell by Kat Flannery. Copyright 2021 by Kat Flannery. Reproduced with permission from Kat Flannery. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Kat Flannery

Kat Flannery’s love of history shows in her novels. She is an avid reader of historical, suspense, paranormal, and romance. A member of many writing Kat enjoys promoting other authors on her blog. When she’s not busy writing, or marketing Kat volunteers her time to other aspiring authors. She has been a keynote speaker, lecturer and guest author inspiring readers and writers at every event she attends. Kat’s been published in numerous periodicals throughout her career, and continues to write for blogs and online magazines. A bestselling author, Kat’s books are available all over the world. The BRANDED TRILOGY is Kat’s award-winning series. With seven books published, Kat continues to plot what story will be next. Creativity is in all aspects of Kat’s career. She does Social Media and Marketing for her own career and businesses, writing ads, and other content.

Catch Up With Kat Flannery:
www.KatFlannery.com/Books-1
Goodreads
BookBub – @KatFlannery
Instagram – @katflannery_
Twitter – @KatFlannery1
Facebook – @kat.flannery.5

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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ENTER TO WIN:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kat Flannery. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs September 1 through October 3, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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#Feature “Everybody Ain’t Your Friend: An Urban Romance Thriller” by Tanisha Stewart

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They say you should keep your friends close, and enemies closer, but sometimes reality might be the other way around…

Mia thinks her life is completely normal. She has a loving boyfriend, great and supportive friends, and a close relationship with her mother. Things take an interesting turn, however, when she is almost run down by a car one day.

Then come the messages from an untraceable number.

Not to mention the heartbreaking secret that is revealed shortly thereafter.

Suddenly, everything that Mia thought was right in her life goes wrong. She has no idea why, but she needs to find out, before her secret stalker decides her time is up.

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon

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#BookSale “Driftwood Springs: A Donatella fast-paced thriller” by Demetrius Jackson

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They see her as a monster. But she’s their only hope for seeing their kids again.

Charlotte, North Carolina. Agent Donatella Dabria’s assumed identity preserves her secrets but paints a target on her back. So when a billionaire’s son is abducted from inside a gated community, her too-real undercover role quickly gets her fingered for the crime. And she’s forced to abandon all pretense when the young witness she was supposed to protect is the next victim pulled into the shadows.

Hampered by an ineffectual police department, Donatella relentlessly pursues the truth in a neighborhood with more lies than residents. But when she barely survives a vicious attack at her home, she’s terrified she’ll be too late to prevent the kidnapped children from meeting a gruesome fate.

Can she disarm a deadly scheme before everything blows up in her face?

Driftwood Springs is the first book in the fast-paced Donatella thriller series. If you like scandalous revelations, rollercoaster action, and unstoppably strong women, then you’ll love Demetrius Jackson’s pulse-pounding page-turner.

Buy Driftwood Springs to unlock the darkness behind closed doors today!

99c at all online digital retailers!

Amazon

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#BookTour “An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery” by MB Dabney


An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery
by MB Dabney

About An Untidy Affair

An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery
Suspense/Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Per Bastet Publications LLC (June 25, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 280 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1942166761
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1942166764
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B097YPJYWN

Struggling Philadelphia private eye David Blaise gets two routine but unrelated cases on the same day in May 1985 – the day city police firebombed the MOVE house, which killed 11 people and destroyed an entire neighborhood. When Blaise starts following a cheating husband and searching for a missing person who may not actually be missing, he also discovers his cases may be related, and that he is being followed. When his tail is murdered, implicating the P-I, Blaise must find the true killer before he is literally buried alive.

About MB Dabney

MB Dabney is an award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in numerous local and national publications, such as Indianapolis Monthly, NUVO, Ebony magazine, Black Enterprise.com, the Indianapolis Recorder, and the Indianapolis Business Journal.

A native of Indianapolis, Michael spent decades as a reporter working at Business Week magazine, United Press International and the Associated Press, the Indianapolis Star, and The Philadelphia Tribune, the nation’s oldest continuously published Black newspaper, where he won awards for editorial writing.

He has co-edited two anthologies — Decades of Dirt: Murder, Mystery and Mayhem from the Crossroads of Crime; and MURDER 20/20 — and has published numerous short mystery stories, including Miss Hattie Mae’s Secret (Decades of Dirt), Callipygian (The Fine Art of Murder), and Killing Santa Claus (Homicide for the Holidays). An Untidy Affair is his first novel.

The father of two adult daughters, Michael lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Angela.

Michael took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to do a Q & A for us!

Q & A with author MB Dabney

I can tell from your bio you’re no stranger to writing, yet this is your first full-length novel. Is this something you’ve always wanted to do or a new direction for you?

When I started writing fiction nearly 15 years ago, it was basically a new direction. I wrote the first draft of a Star Trek novel back in the 1980s, and started work on a suspense/thriller in the 90s, but I didn’t really focus on writing fiction until the mid-2000s as I started to wind down work as a daily journalist.

 Describe your protagonist, David Blaise.

David is a tall, lean, light-skinned Black man just reaching his mid-30s. He’s lived in Philadelphia his entire life, except for his years in the Navy as an intelligence officer. He is single and, as he struggles to make-a-go-of-it as a detective, has become a bit of a loner, though not by choice. He is smart, hard-working, kind, and a do-the-right-thing sort of guy in a general sense, though he is willing, sometimes, to do something that’s ethically questionable. A failing is that he can be myopic – so narrowly focused on a task that he can miss important information just off to the side. But he is often under-estimated by an opponent. Both his parents are dead. The oldest of four children, he has a difficult relationship with his two brothers and dislikes his brother-in-law. But he’s very close to sister and absolutely reveres his grandmother. He lives and works in West Philadelphia but has Sunday night dinner with his family in North Philly nearly every week.

 Do you write full time, or do you also work outside the home?

I’m retired and don’t work outside the home.

 What is your work schedule like when writing a book?

While I work on short stories throughout the year, as well as re-write and edit full-length work, I generally only start a novel in November, during National Novel Writing Month. The goal of finishing the first draft of a novel in 30 days is a great motivator. During NaNoWriMo, I dabble at writing a little throughout the day, time permitted, but really sit down and focus after about 8 p.m. until around 1 a.m. An Untidy Affair was my first attempt at National Novel Writing Month back in 2009 and I finished the first draft in 18 days.

I listen to portions of movie soundtracks as I write.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

Something of a hybrid, I think. I have a small, traditional publisher in southern Indiana but she works through KDP Select in Amazon

What do you do when you’re not writing?

In addition to reading, I love to walk. Gives me time to imagine stories that I can work on later. I love Star Trek and auto racing, especially Formula 1 and Indycar. I play tennis, but not often enough, and I enjoy traveling. Can’t wait to go abroad again.

Do you have pets who “help” or inspire you?Pluto

No, certainly not as inspiration. But for 17 years we had a dog named Pluto, who, sadly, died last December. Pluto would sit at my feet when I was writing. And I certainly do miss that.

As a child, What did you want to do when you grew up? 

I wanted to be a lawyer and I considered law school well into my 30s, long after I started working as a reporter. But I never took any serious steps to do it.

What’s your next project?

I’m working on a prequel to An Untidy Affair that I plan to deliver to my editor by the end of the year. And if I’m far enough along with the prequel by then, I’ll write a novel in November and put it on a shelf to re-write later. If I do it, this year’s novel will be about an American driver in Formula 1.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Keep working on developing your craft and don’t ever give up.

Many thanks to Michael Dabney for stopping by today. Scroll down to check out his book links and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a print copy of An Untidy Affair. (US Only)

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

September 1 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 1 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

September 2 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

September 2 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT

September 3 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 5 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

September 5 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

September 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 6 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

September 7 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

September 8 – Nesie’s Place – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 8 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

September 9 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST

September 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

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#BookTour “Keepers of the Gate” by E. Denise Billups

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In 1779 Kanadasaga, Sullivan’s Expedition torches a Seneca village and many others, destroying the Iroquois Confederacy. Awakened from sleep, Pilan and Teka flee their blazing longhouse into the woodlands. After a soldier’s bullet thwarts their escape, Pilan vows to meet his beloved Teka again in another life.

Two hundred years later in present-day Geneva, New York, historical relics rise. Twilight Ends, a grand Victorian bed-and-breakfast run by the Newhouse family, sits on the property the Iroquois village used to thrive on.

After Twilight Ends’ long-standing matriarch Tessa Newhouse dies, her daughter and granddaughter, Skylar and Twyla, discover two artifacts under the maple tree in the backyard, and an ancient mystery as old as time begins to unravel.

But will they have the courage to follow the path their ancestors did?

BOOK LINKS

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KINDLE UNLIMITED

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

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AUTHOR BIO Denise Billups

Denise Billups is an author with a rare mixture of southern and northern charm. She was born in Monroeville, Alabama, and raised in New York City, where she has worked in finance and as a freelance columnist and currently resides. A multi-genre author of fiction, she has published four novels—Keepers of the Gate: Twilight Ends (Book 1), Kalorama Road, Chasing Victoria, and By Chance. She has also written several supernatural short stories, including Off the Grid, Ravine Lereux: Unearthing A Family Curse, The Playground, and Rebound. As an avid reader of magical realism, mystery, suspense, and supernatural novels, she was greatly influenced by authors in these genres.

Currently, she is working on book two of her trilogy, Twilight Ends, a paranormal historical fiction, and book two of Simone Doucet Series to be released in 2022.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Website: https://edenisebillups.com/

Next Chapter Publishing: https://www.nextchapter.pub

Facebook: @E. Denise Billups

Twitter:    @DeniseBillups

Goodreads: @E. Denise Billups

YouTube:  @E. Denise Billups

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#KindleCountDown “Midnight: Tales of a Blackened Soul (The Blackened Soul Book 1)” by Deidra D.S. Green

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London was on the hunt. Her intention was to kill.

London De La Motte is not a believer in religion or religiosity. She never found a use for it, considering her troubled past and no place for it in her life as a private investigator. An encounter with a statue in a historic Catholic Church sets London on a path of psychic vision and vigilante justice; righting injustices from the past and present. What she didn’t know is that her brush with Saint Cecilia’s graven image was far from accidental. It was destiny; conjured by Mama Bah, a voodoo high priestess some twenty-five years before. London’s world is rocked by this newfound giftedness. The question is, what will she do when the past and present come crashing down around her.

**If you are sensitive about race-related issues, this may not be the book for you.
**This book does end in a cliffhanger.
**This is the first book in the Tales of the Blackened Soul Series.

99c thru August 25th! (reg. 5.99)

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon

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