Posted in Book Tour, Mystery/ Romantic Suspense

MOCHA, MOONLIGHT, AND MURDER By MaryAnn Kempher




MOCHA, MOONLIGHT, AND MURDER
By MaryAnn Kempher
Romance/Mystery

One night, 28-year-old, Katherine O’Brian, decides to walk to an all-night diner. The only problem? It’s midnight, but Katherine lives in Reno Nevada, a city that never sleeps; she can clearly see the diner’s lights in the distance. It’s no big deal, until she passes someone’s garage where a man is loading a dead body into the trunk of his car.

And now, she’s in trouble. She outran the man that night, and while she has no idea who he is, he knows who she is. And he wants her dead.

As if attempts on her life weren’t stressful enough, Katherine has gone back to college. She’s determined to finally finish her degree, but her lab partner is driving her crazy. He’s hot, but annoying. And she’s not sure which she wants more—a night of mad, passionate sex or a new lab partner. It varies from day to day.

Will Katherine give in to her lust for her partner or will she give in to her desire to throttle him? If she’s in the ground before graduation, it won’t matter.
Not your typical romance, not your typical mystery.




Amazon → https://amzn.to/2OkHlii










Monday afternoon, the raspy wind snarled Katherine O’Brian’s long hair and reddened her face as she quickly walked into the building. She pulled her gloves off and blew on her hands for a few seconds before weaving her way through the thick crowd in the college’s hallway. It was the first night of class and she was nearly late.
She looked around the classroom self-consciously; she seemed to be the oldest person in the room. Well, that’s what you get for putting off college. You get to take classes with kids barely out of high school.
All the desks had been placed in a circle and the professor was moving from one student to another, having them introduce themselves. Katherine’s eyes widened when the teacher got to the man directly across from her.
The day before she’d stopped at a nearby Starbucks. After placing her order, she’d casually looked around. Her eyes had met those of a woman sitting across the room. When the woman smiled, Katherine had blushed. She was a he, dressed in drag.
Slap on some eye shadow and a pair of high heels and that’s the guy I saw yesterday, minus the dress.
Once everyone had introduced themselves, the professor began talking about the term project.
“You’ll be working in pairs, and this assignment is worth seventy percent of your grade, so obviously you’ll need to work together to do a good job.”
Katherine quickly looked at her syllabus. There it was: the class term project. Very writing-intensive. Even PowerPoint slides were required. This was why she’d put off taking the class—writing wasn’t her strongest subject.
 “You’ll find your partner listed there,” the professor continued, pointing toward the chalk board, to which a piece of paper was taped.
After all the details of the project had been covered, class was dismissed. Katherine quickly looked at the paper on the board. Oh, this just gets better and better. She looked around for her new partner, but he was speaking to the teacher.
I’ll talk to him about the project on Wednesday.
She hugged her book to her chest and walked toward the exit. When she dropped her purse and stopped suddenly to pick it up, she heard a deep voice.
“Hey.”
Katherine looked up—and up—to the face that went with the deep voice.
“Sorry,” she said, “I didn’t realize you were behind me.”
He was smiling. Not that it matters, but of all the men in the class, why do I get the one that wears dresses?
“I’m Scott Mitchell. We’re partners on the project.”
She turned back and held out her hand. “I’m Katherine.”
As he pulled on his coat, he said, “I was wondering if maybe you wanted to go get something to eat or drink, to talk about it.”
Katherine stalled by moving closer to the wall, as if to let other students hurry past. Her first instinct was to say no, but then she remembered her resolve to do well in the class.
“Sure, where?”
They started walking outside together.
“There’s a Starbucks near here,” he said. “We could meet there.”
Coffee was always the magic word for Katherine, or chocolate.
“Sure, I’ll see you there.”
As she sat in her car waiting for it to heat up, she noticed her hands were shaking slightly. She looked at her reflection in the rear-view mirror. Jeez, it’s just a guy. Get a grip.
They arrived at the same time. The hard part came after they’d gotten their drinks and sat down. Katherine could hardly put two words together; it had been a long time since she’d had a decent conversation, especially with a man. After a few minutes, Scott broke the silence.
“So, how about that project?” he said, a little too loudly. Katherine flinched and turned pink. When she answered, the words flew out. “Going to be an avalanche of work: slides and an oral presentation, thousand words each. A monster.”
“Yeah,” said Scott, “and not really what I expected from a history course. Doing a biography from birth to death is a big deal, especially with all the details the professor wants. Do you have any ideas who we should do it on?”
“How about van Gogh?” suggested Katherine.
“He committed suicide, didn’t he?”
“So?”
Scott sighed. “Well, I don’t know. I’d just prefer to do the biography on someone I can respect. For me, it’s hard to respect anyone who kills themselves. Seems so cowardly.”
“That’s very presumptuous of you,” said Katherine. “To assume the man was a coward because he killed himself. And such a generalization. Sometimes people are just in pain, and that’s the only way they see to end that pain.”
Scott held his hands up defensively. “Sorry. Didn’t know you were such a fan of van Gogh.”
Katherine rolled her eyes. “That’s what you take away from what I said?” Jeez, this guy’s hot, but what an idiot.
Scott tipped his cup forward and backwards, side to side. Katherine held her cup to her lips, blowing on the coffee. Judging by the attention their cups received, Starbucks’ coffee had never tasted so good. Scott sat up, leaning forward, his arms folded in front of him. He seemed to take up the whole table. Katherine sat back in her chair.
“We should probably plan on getting together at least a few times during the week,” he said.
The prospect of seeing him so often filled Katherine with both dread and excitement – dread, because she wasn’t sure she even liked him, and excitement because his baritone voice made her unwilling heart flutter, and his mahogany eyes made her blush. He’s right, though, she thought, if I’m serious about getting a good grade, this project will need a lot of attention.
“You’re probably right,” she answered, her eyes avoiding his. “When do you want to meet?”
“How about tomorrow at the library,” Scott replied. “The one on Virginia Street near the mall, does five thirty work for you?”
“Sure.”
After exchanging numbers, Katherine stood. “I should go,” she said. “It’s getting late.”
They walked out together, Scott holding the door for her.









For many years, MaryAnn Kempher lived in Reno Nevada where most of her stories are set. Her books are an entertaining mix of mystery and humor. She lives in the Tampa Florida area with her husband, two children, and a very snooty Chorkie.

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Posted in Book Tour, Mystery/ Romantic Suspense

Rain Man

Rain Man
Lies He Told Book 2
by Sylvie Grayson
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Can Rain solve his last case without getting his girlfriend arrested?
Rainier is a survivor. He’s made some mistakes, and now he’s paying for them. As a condition of his probation, he must work with the police on investigations where his skills might be useful. There is one more case to solve to complete his commitments. Then he’ll be free. As he heads undercover to work this last case, Sophia arrives in town. She is a childhood crush who means a great deal to Rain, and she is obviously terrified of someone.
Sophia has made a bad choice in the past, and now she’s in hiding to avoid dealing with it. Still, it follows her, and Rainier is the only one she can trust to help her deal with it.
Rain’s problem? The clues he uncovers on his final case all seem to lead directly to Sophia. Can he solve the case without breaking his heart or pointing the police in his girlfriend’s direction?
**Only .99 cents!!**
The Lies He Told Me
Lies He told Book 1
When a police detective falls in love with his main suspect, life gets complicated.
When Chloe Bowman woke to find her husband gone, never did she imagine it would take so long to find him, or that in the midst of the search she’d discover she didn’t really know this man at all. She soon realizes she has been left alone with her young son and a time bomb on her hands. Then the earthquake throws everything into question. Lurking in the shadows is the mysterious Rainman who travels under an unknown name.
Police Detective Ross Cullen was already investigating Chloe’s husband when he disappeared. Although he’s powerfully drawn to Chloe, Ross also knows that when one member of a family disappears, the first place to look for the suspect is among those closest to him. No one is closer than Chloe.
But the deeper Ross digs the less he knows, and the more he’s attracted to the young wife as she struggles to put her life back together. Can Ross break through the Rainman’s disguises to solve the case so he can be with Chloe?
Sylvie Grayson loves to write about suspense, romance and attempted murder, in both contemporary and science fiction/fantasy. She has lived most of her life in British Columbia, Canada in spots ranging from Vancouver Island on the west coast to the North Peace River country and the Kootenays in the beautiful interior. She spent a one year sojourn in Tokyo Japan.
She has been an English language instructor, a nightclub manager, an auto shop bookkeeper and a lawyer. Now she works part time as the owner of a small company, and writes when she finds the time.
She is a wife and mother and still loves to travel, having recently completed a trip to Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam and Hong Kong. She lives on the coast of the Pacific Ocean with her husband on a small patch of land near the sea that they call home.
$20 Amazon
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Posted in Book Tour, Mystery/ Romantic Suspense

Deadline by Jessica James


Book 1 Phantom Force Tactical Series
Romantic Suspense
Date Published: April 2016

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“Engaging read. Hard to put down.” — Billy Allmon, U.S. Navy SEAL (Ret)


He’s a relentless homicide detective. She’s an uncompromising journalist.

Neither desires to work together—but they’ll never uncover the truth alone.



Landing a front page headline isn’t why reporter Caitlin Sparks is investigating a string of suspicious deaths connected to the U.S. State Department. She has a personal stake in finding the killer.

Detective Blake Madison has a connection to the murders too, and will risk anything to uncover the truth. But a journalist is the last person he’d rely on to help him solve a crime—especially one whose trail of evidence leads back to him.

Joining forces becomes essential as the body count continues to grow. Someone powerful doesn’t want the truth to come out—and will stop at nothing to make sure no one talks.

On the run with nowhere to turn, the couple devises a plan to expose the killer. The risk is great and the chance of success small, but the ultimate outcome is something neither one of them envisioned.


IndieBRAG Medallion Winner



Excerpt


Blake stroked her hair. “It’s okay, baby. Just a nightmare.”

“It seemed so real.” Caitlin felt his arms tighten around her, felt the power in them, and appreciated the comforting peace they provided. She had never felt so exposed, and yet so safe and secure. She turned her head and strained to see into the darkness again. “It felt like he was really here.”

“Dreams have a way of doing that.” He rocked her for a few more minutes in his soothing embrace, and then whispered in her ear. “Better?”

Caitlin took a few more deep breaths, and then tried to draw away, embarrassed. “Yes. I’m all right.” Again, she peered over her shoulder into the darkness to see if the figure would reappear. “Sorry if I woke you.”

Blake did not release his grasp. “Don’t worry. You didn’t wake me.”

Caitlin knew it was useless to struggle so she rested her head against his chest again and tried to relax. Her mind drifted back to a time when she had been intimidated by this man. Now his mere presence was reassuring. His touch, his voice, brought security and a sense of peace.

“That’s better.” He cleared his throat, but it still sounded hoarse when he talked. “I wish you would put the past behind you.”

Caitlin’s breath caught in her throat. That’s what Vince had just told her. She pulled away and regarded Blake with a troubled look. Had Vince been trying to tell her something from the other side that was merely being echoed by Blake? Was it time to move on with her life? Was she ready for that?

She lay her head down again before answering. “I’m not sure I want to yet.”

Blake’s chest rose against her cheek as he sucked in a deep, slow breath, but he didn’t speak and his grasp was unrelenting. She savored the sensation of being held by him with her head against his heart, keenly aware of the solidness of his arms and the warmth of his skin. His embrace was powerful and tender, strong and gentle.

She allowed herself to bask briefly in the peaceful, shared moment, but then feared she was being selfish. He’s probably uncomfortable and wants to go back to bed. “I’m okay,” she murmured into his chest, trying to reassure him. “You can let me go now, Blake.” She opened her eyes when he finally answered.

“I’m not sure I want to yet.”








About the Author


Jessica James’ award-winning novels are inspired by her love of the land, her belief in everlasting love, and her curiosity about the past. Her novels run the gamut from military suspense and thrillers to historical fiction, Christian fiction, and small-town Southern women’s fiction.

She enjoys transporting readers to another world with complex characters and stories that stir deep emotion. Her novels appeal to both men and women and are featured in library collections all over the United States including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy. She resides in a 200-year-old house in Gettysburg, Pa.

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Posted in Book Tour, Mystery/ Romantic Suspense

Sam’s Folly

Sam’s Folly
Midnight Sons Book 1
by Carmen DeSousa
Genre: Romantic Suspense
When a bigwig fight promoter needs someone to search for his missing fiancée, he hires expert tracker Sam Belgarde and his search dogs. Sam is more than a little reluctant. His family’s company, Search and Rescue Alaska, is in financial trouble, though, so if searching for a spoiled socialite will save it, then he’s willing to break the rules—just this once.
After witnessing a murder, Nora Molina needs to get away—fast—and her best hope to escape without her passport is Alaska. A native of Argentina, Nora’s accustomed to harsh winters and high elevation, so she gets more than a little irritated when some tracker thinks she needs rescuing. Even if he is get-out sexy. And even if he’s the guy she stood up before leaving town. It’s going to be a long few days.
When an unexpected storm rolls in, Sam and Nora find themselves in each other’s arms—to keep warm. Things get a little too hot when it’s clear someone wants the two of them to stay lost—permanently.
**Only .99 cents! **

Alex’s Atonement
Midnight Sons Book 2
Alex Belgarde has carried the culpability of his father’s death for more than ten years. Every year, as his family’s company falls deeper into debt, the guilt eats away more of his soul until there’s only one answer. Prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his father’s legacy, Alex takes off on a frigid winter day with no radio and very little fuel in his seaplane. He’s using up the last of his reserve tank, preparing to drop from the sky, when he sees plane wreckage below.
Irene Rose has spent her life chasing her dream. But after a possible terminal diagnosis, she realizes how lonely her life has become and is ready to forgive her sister and beg for her family’s forgiveness. Instead of arriving on the island of her birth, Irene finds herself stranded in the Alaskan wilderness. Unbeknownst to her, the pilot for the plane she chartered was a drug runner, so he didn’t alert authorities as they crashed.
While Alex’s illogical idea to save his father’s company is thwarted because of his obligation to help others, he finds purpose in offering aid to the beautiful and intelligent Irene. The attraction is mutual until Irene persuades Alex to tell her the real reason he can’t simply fly them to safety or call for help. Now the two castaways will have to fight the harsh winter elements, as well as the drug smugglers who lost their cargo in the wreck, if they want to make it home alive. Not easy tasks when Irene refuses to trust Alex to get her home safely. She simply can’t get over the fact that as talented, tough, and tantalizing as he is that he was going to throw his life away when hers will probably be cut short. For the first time in his life, Alex will have to face his demons instead of running from them in order to win the girl and prove to himself that he’s a real hero.
**Only .99 cents! **

Vince’s Chance
Midnight Sons Book 3
Vince Kolya inherited only one trait from his biological father: a need to be on the sea. The rest of his life he has tried to emulate what he learned from his unofficial adopted family, the Belgardes: dedicating his life to helping others instead of abusing them. Unfortunately, he’s yet to find a woman who wants the same things he does in life. It’s bad enough that his wife left him, but she also failed to make his boat payments while he was on a three-month stint. Giving up on relationships, Vince throws himself into working with his family’s search & rescue team. Highest on his to-do list, though, is saving money to buy another boat so he can get back on the water, away from the reminders of his abusive past.
Now that her father is dead and buried, Valery Yura is coming home to her beloved state of Alaska in hopes that moving her troubled son to the place where she grew up will transform him into the loving young man he once was. The last thing she needs is a distraction, especially when it comes in the form of the gorgeous man she’s loved her entire life—Vince. A few too many drinks and sexy dancing on the dock, and she’s repeating ancient history, a situation she can’t allow, so she runs from his bed. When her son goes missing after a fishing excursion, Valery feels that the authorities aren’t doing everything possible. Although she’s resigned herself to never seeing Vince again, she needs his help.
As much as Vince tries to hold onto his feelings of anger and abandonment, knowing it’s paramount to protecting his heart, he finds himself falling deeper and deeper for Valery as they search for her lost son. The only way to win her love is to be her hero and find her son, but that hope fades when the authorities call off the search. Determined to give Valery closure and win back her heart, Vince embarks on an all-out manhunt for the missing boy. What he discovers, though, might be a death warrant for him and the woman he can’t lose again.
**Only .99 cents! **

Carmen DeSousa’s stories overflow with romance, suspense, a hint of humor and, of course, a few Kleenex moments. After all, what would a great story be without an emotional event setting the stage? All of her novels are sensual but not erotic, gripping but not graphic, and will make you cry, laugh, love, and hope. Although some of her books include supernatural or ghostly beings, her stories dance on the edge of make believe.
As most authors, Carmen blames her leap into a full-time career as a professional writer on her love of reading. She states that reading has always been an escape for her. When life was rough as a child, she could always disappear into a book. But she found something else too… She discovered that writing out her thoughts was therapeutic. Not only could she create hope for her protagonists, but she could also do away with her antagonists–legally.
Carmen currently lives in “The Heart of Arizona” with her husband of twenty-nine years and a very spoiled “rescued” calico they lovingly refer to as “Baby Kitty,” even though she’s twelve years old. Carmen and her husband love to experience different areas, so they move a lot. They’ve lived on both of Florida’s coasts: Cocoa Beach and Tampa Bay; Charlotte, North Carolina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; Bullhead City, Arizona, the Northern Central Valley of California, and now Arizona’s high desert. They’re always looking for their next adventure, so they travel every chance they get. If you’ve read about a place in one of Carmen’s stories, she’s been there!
Most of her novels share her favorite hobbies, mostly, anything to do with the great outdoors. Both Carmen and her husband not only write, but also love to read outside–or a coffee shop if it’s raining. And if the weather is really nice, they enjoy kayaking and hiking. Carmen says they rarely spend their days off at a movie theater or the mall. In fact, she hates shopping, and her husband would rather do anything than take her to a movie when she’s already read the book.
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Posted in Book Tour, Mystery/ Romantic Suspense

Vow of Silence Melynda Price

Vow of Silence
Melynda Price
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: May 27th 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

A killer is hiding in Plain sight…

The hunt for a serial killer leads Homicide Detective Josiah Troyer back to his Amish roots. To catch a madman preying on young women, Joe must return to Lancaster County and regain the trust of a shattered community.

The FBI knows Joe is the best chance they have of solving this case. By returning to Lancaster, he will face shunning, and resentment from the people he once called family and friends.

Hannah’s heart was broken when Josiah abandoned her eight-years ago to live with the Englishers. Forced to wed a man not of her choosing, her husband’s untimely death has left her struggling to put her life back together.

When unspeakable tragedy strikes again, Josiah unexpectedly returns, investigating the murder of her sister and two other young Amish women. Hannah quickly discovers the man that’s come back is not the same one she fell in love with.

Gone are Josiah’s easy smiles and gentle ways. He’s harder, colder—a true Englisher… But not even shunning can stop the attraction from consuming them both, and Josiah soon opens Hannah’s eyes to a world of passion and pleasure she never imagined. Choosing Josiah would mean walking away from the only world she’s ever known.

Josiah’s investigation begins to unravel when he discovers the killer is closer than he thought. Soon, he’s in a race against time to save the only woman he’s ever loved before she becomes the next victim.

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Only 99¢ for a limited time!

EXCERPT:

“Ya left me…”

Joe froze, barely hearing her accusation over the pounding of his heart, every muscle in his body going ripcord tight. She had no idea. And he resented her implication that any of this was his fault. He’d sacrificed everything for her—given up who he was so she could have the life she’d always wanted. Joe was careful not to look at her, but it was impossible to keep the anger from his voice when he replied, “Has the thought not crossed your mind even once in the last eight years, that I did it for you?”

“For me?! If ye’re expectin’ me to thank ya for breakin’ my heart, Josiah Troyer, then you’ll be waitin’ till hell freezes over!”

Joe tossed the hammer aside and shot to his feet. His temper too short, and his emotions were running too high for him to soften his words. “Would ya rather I stayed and made an adulteress out of ya?” With his anger, the lilt of his Pennsylvania Dutch accent returned. It tasted foul on his tongue, further fueling his anger. As he advanced on her, Hannah’s vibrant blue eyes widened with surprise. She stumbled back, countering his advance until she couldn’t retreat anymore.

Joe planted his hands against the chipped siding, caging her in his arms and growled, “I would’ve gotten us both shunned because make no mistake, if I’d stayed, ya would’ve been mine, husband or no’.”

She gasped sharply at his confession, staring at him with scandalous shock. Hell, he should really scandalize her and kiss the woman senseless. But he’d only be torturing himself, because Hannah Beiler-Adams was not his to have.

“Ya musn’t say such things, Josiah.”

“Why not?” he challenged. “Can’t handle the truth? I suppose it’s easier to keep on hating me.” He spun around, needing to put some distance between himself and the only woman that had ever owned his heart.

Her voice was a soft whisper behind him. “I was angry… I still am… But I never hated ya, Josiah. I hated myself.”

She sounded so sad, so…defeated. He turned back to face her, and his heart clenched. The crushing ache made it difficult to breathe. “Why would you say that?”

“I wasn’t a good wife,” she confessed. Her eyes filled with tears, turning them into luminous pools of regret that reached into his chest and ripped his heart out.

“I seriously doubt that—”

“It’s true. I never loved Jacob the way he deserved. He was a good man, Josiah.”

Of course, he was. Joe never would’ve found the strength to leave if he hadn’t been.

“He deserved the love of a good woman, not the leftovers of a heartbroken mess who couldn’t let go of the past. He knew I was in love with ya and he married me anyway.”

It was easy to see she had many regrets. If he could, he’d take her pain away, but he wasn’t sure that the truth wouldn’t hurt her more.


Author Bio:

Melynda Price is a bestselling and award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her novels have finaled in and or won many awards such as the RONE, USA Today BBA, Golden Quill, National Readers’ Choice, Write Touch, and New England Readers’ Choice.

What Price enjoys most about writing is the chance to make her readers fall in love, over and over again. She cites the greatest challenge of writing is making the unbelievable believable, while taking her characters to the limit with stories full of passion and unique twists and turns. Salting stories with undertones of history whenever possible, Price adds immeasurable depth to her well-crafted books. She currently lives in Northern Minnesota with her husband and two children where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua and a hot cup of coffee to write.

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Posted in Book Tour, Mystery/ Romantic Suspense

When An Angel Whispers


A Chance O’Brien Novel, Book 1
Romantic Suspense

Macy Adams, a beautiful law student, is abducted and assaulted by a vicious serial killer known as the Bayou Butcher. She escapes with the help of a guardian angel and Houston Police Detective Chance O’Brien.

After fleeing her captor, she begins to build a new life, but is plunged back into his murderous grasp by circumstances beyond her control.

More women are murdered, and only Macy can help the FBI catch the Butcher before he kills again. What they don’t know is that this time he is out for revenge and is pulling Macy into his carefully planned trap.


Excerpt


Chapter 1

“Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.”  Desiderius Erasmus

Ba Boom! Ba Boom! Ba Boom! The noise was deafening. A drum or a clock. Yes, a tick but no tock. Not a clock. Not a drum. Louder. Hammering. Beating. Ba Boom! Ba Boom! Ba Boom!

Macy moved her head from side to side and tried to open her eyes. Where was she? What was that sound? She was in a terrible dream. The kind that you have when you want to scream and scream, but you can’t. You try to run, and your feet won’t move. It’s as if they are glued to the floor. Why couldn’t she open her eyes? Why couldn’t she see?

Macy reached to cover her ears. Her chest ached from the vibrations. Her hands refused to move. Her legs were paralyzed. She realized her eyes were already open and she gasped for air.

She could hear the pounding even louder coming from deep inside. Inside of her. Macy realized the pounding was her own heart beating inside her chest. “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!”

Darkness! “Oh, my God!” She exhaled slowly. Was she blind? Or was she just trapped? Would she stay in this darkness forever? Once, when she was a teenager during a truth or dare game, somebody asked her to name her worst fear. She hadn’t told the truth then. To do so would have made it real. Make it something that could really happen. But, it did happen. This was her nightmare. The one she’d had since childhood. To be trapped, in darkness with no one. Alone. Left to go insane for all of eternity.

Macy sucked air into her lungs. It hurt to breathe. She could only manage small puffs. Tears poured down her face, and she sobbed in desperation.

Again, she pulled at her arms, but they were held down. She couldn’t move. Confused and bewildered, she cried harder. Her body shook with spasms. What had happened to her? Was she dead? She began to recite her childhood prayer.

“Macy,” a soft voice spoke to her from the darkness. A woman’s voice. “Macy, hush.” The voice caressed her. “You aren’t alone. I am here with you.”

The woman’s voice was low and raspy, and Macy strained to hear her. She spoke with an accent Macy didn’t recognize. Macy had often heard Cuban or Mexican accents since she moved from Florida to Houston, Texas, but this was different. She felt someone hold her hand and rub her arm. The woman’s touch was like silk. It soothed her, and Macy found that her tremors lessened.

“I’m dead, aren’t I? Am I in hell? No, can’t be. I don’t believe in hell. Where am I? What happened to me? What have I done to deserve this?” Macy began to sob again and found it difficult to swallow. Her throat was raw from her screams.

“No, my little one, not dead,” the voice whispered. “You are very much alive, and I will help you stay that way. But, you must listen, Malyshka, and do what I tell you. He will be back soon.”

Macy pulled her arms forward again and discovered why she couldn’t move them. Her wrists were bound above her head, and it felt like her feet were bound as well. Because of the soothing voice and calming presence of the woman, her horror eased.

“Please, oh please, untie me,” she pleaded. “I can’t move. I can’t breathe. I can’t see. Am I blind?”

“No, not blind, but blindfolded. You are in a dark and evil place. I would gladly free you if I had the power, but I do not. I cannot. I can only be with you and guide you.”

The voice seemed to be moving away, getting softer, and becoming more difficult to hear.

“Oh, don’t go. Don’t leave me. Please don’t leave me,” Macy begged.

A whisper in her ear. A soft flutter on her skin. “I will not leave you. You are a strong woman. You will survive. I know this. I have seen it. Hush now. He is back, and you must pretend to be asleep.”

“But, who are you? Where am I?” Macy was building toward hysteria again.

“Shhh. Evil is here. Close your eyes now. Be brave,” the voice whispered as it moved away.

Macy swallowed and listened for whoever he was. She heard what sounded like a door opening and was about to scream for help when she heard a man say in a sing-song voice, “Macy, oh Macy. I’m here. I’ll bet you can’t wait to see me!”

Macy swallowed again, closed her eyes, and followed the woman’s warning. She pretended to be asleep.

 ~ ~ ~

 Martin Sabien turned and unlocked the padlock on the outside of the large steel door and swung it open into the dark garage. He flipped up the switch just inside the door, and the small, yellow light from the ceiling blinked on revealing walls that were soundproofed with two layers of drywall and fiberglass insulation. In the far corner of the garage was a white Chevy van that Martin inherited when his father died from a stroke two years earlier. He also inherited the small one-story home set on two acres on the outskirts of Splendora, a small town about thirty-five miles north of Houston. Martin had been bringing his women to the garage for the better part of a year.

He blamed most of his bad luck on women. They always got the plum positions and all the breaks. His mother took off when he was seven, and his daddy always said it was because Martin was a little pussy pecker. Just a mamby pamby like her. He didn’t know what that was, but he knew he didn’t want to be like that, so he did everything he could to make his daddy happy.

Martin stood only five-foot-seven inches with his boots on, but he worked out regularly and had plenty of muscles to impress the ladies. His scruffy whiskers and black-framed glasses made his face appear what most people would call unremarkable. Women walked right by him as if he were invisible.

Martin’s father, who worked as a guard at one of the local malls, came home every day wearing his rent-a-cop uniform and swaggered into the house. Right then, Martin decided he would one-up the old man and be a real cop. He was a fair student in high school and made good enough grades to get accepted into college. His father would never say it, but he was proud of his only son.

As soon as Martin turned twenty-one, he applied to all of the local law enforcement agencies in Houston and the surrounding counties. He was not accepted and decided it was because they were hiring women and queers, and not good, solid, educated men like himself. With no prospects for a job after he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, he decided to work on his master’s degree and was hired as a teaching assistant. Suddenly, the world looked different. Women that never looked his way before would smile at him because they knew he graded their work. But Martin was not a forgiving man, and he wasn’t interested in what the ladies wanted to give him. Now, he was only interested in taking.

Martin walked to the back of the garage where a large, old, rectangular wooden box sat upon a sturdy worktable, and called out again to Macy.

Suddenly Macy’s world was flooded with light. She wanted to open her eyes wide to prove that she could still see, but she remembered the words, “Pretend to be asleep.” She tried to breathe evenly and not flinch when she felt a hand engulf her neck and then travel down her breasts and come to rest between her legs. It was only then she realized she was completely naked. His other hand grabbed her breast and pinched the nipple until Macy thought she would cry out.

“You’re good. Let me tell you.” He ripped off her blindfold. “All my other girls started begging and crying as soon as I opened the lid. You stay in there long enough; you’ll do just about anything I want. Huh, Macy?”

When she didn’t respond, he brought the flat of his hand down quickly and slapped her hard on her left cheek, forcing her head to nod and her eyes to pop open. Tears of pain swam in her blue eyes.

“There now. I didn’t think you were still out. I didn’t give you enough to last long. Won’t do any good to pretend. I know all your tricks.”

Macy licked her parched lips and said, “Who are you? What do you want with …”

Martin brought his hand down harder. This time the force of the blow across her face caused Macy to bite her tongue. Blood trickled from between her lips. She could taste it, salty and metallic.

“You don’t talk. Not unless I tell you to talk. Do you hear me? I am the one in charge here, not you, Macy.” He said her name drawing out the last syllable as he reached down and smeared the blood over her chest.

Macy’s tears were flowing freely now, and she could no longer contain herself. She began to sob uncontrollably.

“Not so strong now, are you?” He reached into the box and freed her hands and feet that were tied to the pine box. For a small man, he was exceptionally strong. He easily lifted Macy’s five-foot-eight-inch frame from her prison and roughly deposited her feet first on the concrete floor. She teetered unevenly and almost fell until he pulled her up and steadied her with his hand around her neck again. Her hands and feet were still bound together, and the ropes cutting into her skin were blood-soaked from her unsuccessful attempts to free herself. Macy tried to look around to see where she was, but he pulled his hand back to slap her again, and she flinched.

“Got ya, huh? Never know when it’s coming. You know, I usually wear a mask and don’t let the girls see me. But you, you’re special. I picked you out a long time ago. Gonna have a really good time for a long time with you, sweetheart.”

Macy looked at the man standing in front of her and tried to recall who he was. Something was familiar about him, but she couldn’t place him. He wasn’t ugly. He was just nondescript. If someone asked her to identify him, she would say he had dark hair and dark, soulless eyes. He was young. Maybe her age, and she had just turned twenty-four in January. She doubted she would see twenty-five.

He dragged her across the floor toward what looked like a daybed with a brass frame across the back and sides. She choked back a laugh. A cherry red quilt with matching pillows covered the bed. He was quite the homemaker.

“Something funny?” he asked as he dragged her across the room and threw her face down on the cover.

He pulled her arms up above her head and tied them to the frame, loosened her feet, and tied them separately to each side of the foot of the bed. She could smell sweat and his unwashed body. Panting and sweating now, he discarded his clothes haphazardly on the floor and climbed on top of her.

“No, no. Please. Please don’t do this to me.” Her whimpering, begging sounds quickly turned into piercing screams.

 ~ ~ ~

 She lay crumpled on the bed for what seemed like hours, and when he finally loosened her arms and legs from the bed frame, she sat up and vomited all over the floor, barely missing his naked legs. He yanked her hair so hard she thought he would pull it out and slapped her twice more in the face. Blood poured out of her broken nose.

When he returned her to the box, it was a relief. Although she was still terrified of being left alone in the dark, she was exhausted and hurt. Her face burned where he hit her, and she could feel her swollen lips when she licked them with her tongue. She was thirsty and would have been hungry if she wasn’t so sick at her stomach.

Martin leaned down inches from her face and spoke, “Night night. Well, not the whole night. I have some things to do, but I’ll be back.” Although Macy’s mouth was dry, she managed to produce enough saliva to spit in his eyes.

“Bitch,” he yelled and punched her hard in her stomach. The air left her lungs, and she struggled to breathe. He punched her again and then slammed the lid down and hammered it into place.

She slowly sucked air into her lungs between clenched teeth and listened. Finally, she heard the door open and then close.

She was alone.  



About the Authors

Charlene Tess and Judi Thompson are sisters who live over 1400 miles apart. They combined their two last names into the pen name Tess Thompson and have been writing novels together since 2002.


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Posted in Book Tour, Mystery/ Romantic Suspense

False Memory Meli Raine

False Memory
Meli Raine
(False Memory, #1)
Publication date: November 15th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

It all started with the bereavement flowers with my name on them.

Not the best way to wake up, right? I work in a flower shop. I know a funeral arrangement when I see one.

I know a killer when I see one, too. And one is standing in my hospital room right now, straight behind the man who saved my life.

I can’t tell anyone the truth, because that’s the fastest way to really die. So I do the next best thing. I “lose” my memory.

I fake my amnesia.

Pretending not to remember a brutal attempted murder has its perks. The killer is backing down, spending less time around me, loosening the noose.

The less I claim to recall, the more my rescuer, Duff, works to help me “remember.” I hate lying to him.

But he doesn’t understand that my memory is dangerous. To me. And to him.

Fooling everyone isn’t easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Except it’s starting to look like I’ve been fooling myself.

In more ways than one.

Read Book 1 in the newest series from USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine.

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EXCERPT:

Sensation turns to pain when you have no control. A full-body flush of horror rip-ples across my skin. Mom frowns as she senses it, her eyes tracking my arms, my legs, my face.

“There,” the nurse says, looking up at the red numbers on the IV machine. She fid-dles with a clear tube. “That’ll help her.”

The doctor seems satisfied, a small huff of breath his only reply.

“Lily? Lily, what’s wrong?” Mom asks as my arms, my legs, every inch of skin turns to hot air, floating away as I disintegrate. The pain is my only tether.

My killer turns so fast, facing me, that I can’t look away in time.

Our eyes meet.

I close mine.

I open them. I can’t help myself.

It’s worse than I thought. My killer smiles at Duff, who looks back at him, not smil-ing, but clearly engaged. Familiar.

Duff is in on it. Duff was trying to kill me, too. He didn’t pull the trigger, but he’s in on it.

He has to be.

For the first time since I’ve woken up, I wish I were dead.

Because I’m about to be, if they get me alone.

Author Bio:

Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them. Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.

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Finding Our Morning Mickie B. Ashling

Finding Our Morning
Mickie B. Ashling
Publication date: January 28th 2020
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery

May 1977

Ginny Tate bides her time on the family stud farm in San Antonio, Texas, waiting to start veterinarian school in the fall. Bullied as an adolescent, she’s finally shed her old skin, but the emerging beauty still harbors insecurities and would rather hang out with horses than people.

Sponsored by his uncle, the Shah of Iran, Dariush—David—Akbari, a twenty-five-year-old NYU grad with a degree in International Law, is also a skilled polo player. He joins the royal traveling team for a tournament in Plano, Texas.

A decade in America has gradually altered David’s views on certain aspects of his culture. Torn between familial obligations and his adopted country, David resists the idea of returning to Iran so soon after graduation.

At the traditional after-party, David strikes up a conversation with Ginny, who is refreshingly honest. He receives an invitation to visit Tate Stud Farm and, on the pretext of buying another polo pony, persuades the shah to make a detour.

Great horsemanship coupled with self-effacing charm sets David apart from the entitled braggarts who normally populate the sport, and Ginny falls hard. His visit turns into a life-changing week that neither can foresee. Will they walk away unscathed or live to regret their impulsive behavior?

Inspired by events preceding the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty, Finding Our Morning is a love story that catapults us from Texas Hill Country to the epicenter of a monarchy on the brink of collapse.

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EXCERPT:

So much time had elapsed since Ginny issued the invitation, she didn’t know what to expect when David called two weeks later to arrange a meeting. Was he passing through town or was this an intentional stop? Either way, the days leading up to his arrival were pure torture.

On the morning in question, Ginny took longer than necessary to get ready. She left her hair loose instead of tying it back in her usual ponytail. Her luxurious locks were the only thing she could count on to draw eyes away from her face. The dark blond strands fell in a silky curtain to her midback and had been compared to a palomino’s coat on many occasions. As for the rest of her, it was business as usual. Faded jeans, a checked cotton shirt, and her favorite red cowboy boots. Her complexion was clear this morning, thank God, and she took her time applying eye makeup. It was out of the ordinary to get dolled up during the day, and her parents noticed as soon as she sat down to breakfast.

“Going to a party?” Margery asked.

“No, but you know the Shah of Iran is about to grace our doorstep, and I thought I’d look nice for a change.”

“You always look good,” Ray commented. “Anyone who thinks otherwise is a blind fool.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

“What about your chores?” Margery inquired. “Won’t your hair get in the way?”

“I’ll get ’em done,” Ginny promised.

“See that you do,” Margery replied. “I know you want to make a good impression, sweetie, but those foreigners aren’t coming to socialize. We have to present our best, and a clean, well-organized farm is just as important as our livestock. You wouldn’t eat in a dirty kitchen.”

“For Christ’s sake, Marge. Leave the girl alone.”

“Seriously, Mom. You’re overreacting as usual.”

“Then explain why you look more like a debutante than a rancher’s daughter this morning?”

“He offered dinner and dancing the last time we were together. I don’t want him to change his mind.”

Aghast, Margery exclaimed, “The shah?”

“God no,” Ginny said. “David.”

“Which one is he again?”

“Their number-three player.”

“He was good,” Margery recalled.

“Right?”

“What are you going to wear tonight?”

“I’m not sure it’s happening, but I bought a new dress in case.”

“What color is it?”

“Black.”

“You’re too young to wear black,” Margery opined with a tsk.

Ginny rolled her eyes. “Give it a rest, Mom. I’m eighteen.”

“Black is more appropriate for someone older and more experienced.”

Ginny refused to take the bait. Her mother was being overprotective, given her dating history, and was understandably worried. Nonetheless, it was too early in the morning to argue. She scooped up the last of her egg yolk on a piece of toast, swallowed it down with orange juice, and stood up to go. “I’ll catch you guys later.”

Standing on the steps outside the kitchen door, she paused and scanned the horizon. The sun was already a bright ball of pulsing heat in the cloudless blue sky, and she could tell it was going to be another scorcher. Ginny hoped the Iranians had the good sense to come early to avoid the worst of it.

As she headed toward the stable where they kept the horses for sale, she scrutinized their property and tried to see it through the eyes of a stranger. Theirs was a small operation compared to other stud farms, but they had a stellar reputation. Margery Tate was the driving force behind their prosperity. The woman was a stickler for order and quick to remind new employees that pride in ownership was as important as a good pedigree.

Margery acquired her code of ethics from her parents who’d started the stud farm with one stallion and a few mares. As their only child, she’d inherited the bulk of the estate, with small portions divided among the loyal ranch hands who had been around until her father finally passed, a year and a day after her mother died of cancer. Her gender had never been a good enough excuse to avoid the hard work necessary to ensure the success of the farm, and Margery expected her only daughter to work as tirelessly as the rest of them.

She did have a point, Ginny conceded begrudgingly, but her advice was often framed in criticism, which usually rubbed people the wrong way. Horse breeding could be a messy business when things got out of hand, and organization was key.

She made the rounds swiftly this morning, inspecting each area with a critical eye, paying particular attention to the horses for sale. This would be their first stop and she wanted the area to be in tip-top shape. She could only imagine what the royal stables must look like with dozens of helpers at the shah’s beck and call. Well, they might not have his manpower, but over the years, the stud farm had gained a well-earned reputation for their excellent stock and integrity.

By the time the shah and his entourage arrived two hours later, her nerves were frayed. The group of six, dressed in casual attire, climbed out of a gleaming limousine. Ginny wasn’t sure what to expect, given their status, but these men looked like any prospective buyer, albeit better dressed. Her parents greeted the Iranians deferentially and offered to be their guides as they toured the premises. While they concentrated on the shah, Ginny walked up to David with an outstretched hand.

“I’m glad you could make it.”

“Was there any doubt?” he asked, stepping forward and clasping her hand in his. He was so close she could smell his sweet breath, overlaid with a hint of coffee. His eyes weren’t black as she’d first thought. They were deep brown with a touch of caramel and were gazing at her appraisingly. Now that he was actually here, Ginny’s confidence faltered as she met his intense scrutiny. Had he come to buy a horse or check her out? Her heart rate sped up as nerves and anticipation made her breath falter. It was at once unexpected and exhilarating. Ginny withdrew her hand and stepped back, laughing off the moment awkwardly.

Author Bio:

Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multi-published author who resides in a suburb outside Chicago. She is a product of her upbringing in various cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West.

Since 2009, Mickie has written several dozen novels in the LGBTQ+ genre—which have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Lately, her muse has been nudging her in a different direction, and she’s learned through past experience to pay attention to creative sparks that show up unexpectedly. Her pen name is a part of her now, and will travel along on this exciting new journey, wherever it might lead. She promises to be very specific in her book blurbs and cover art to avoid any confusion.

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The Rebound Effect by Linda Griffin

The Rebound Effect
by Linda Griffin
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Publication Date: July 15, 2019
In the small town of Cougar, struggling single mother and veterinary assistant Teresa Lansing is still bruised from a failed relationship when Frank McAllister sweeps her off her feet.
Frank is a big-city SWAT officer who moved to Cougar only four months ago. He’s handsome, charming, forceful, very sexy, and a bit mysterious. He had his eye on Teresa even before they met and is pushing for a serious relationship right away.
Teresa finds his intense courtship flattering, and the sex is fabulous, but she doesn’t want her deaf six-year-old son to be hurt again. Her former fiancé cheated on her when he got drunk after being unjustly fired, but he loves her and her son, and the whirlwind romance is complicated by his efforts to win Teresa back.
And then there’s the matter of the bodies buried at Big Devil Creek…
I was born and raised in San Diego, California and earned a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. I began my career as a reference and collection development librarian in the Art and Music Section of the San Diego Public Library and then transferred to the Literature and Languages Section, where I had the pleasure of managing the Central Library’s Fiction collection and initiating fiction order lists for the entire library system. Although I also enjoy reading biography, memoir, and history, fiction remains my first love. In addition to the three R’s–reading, writing, and research–I enjoy Scrabble, movies, and travel.
My earliest ambition was to be a “book maker” and I wrote my first story, “Judy and the Fairies,” with a plot stolen from a comic book, at the age of six. I broke into print in college with a story in the San Diego State University literary journal, The Phoenix, but most of my magazine publications came after I left the library to spend more time on my writing
My stories have been published in numerous journals, including Eclectica, The Binnacle, The Nassau Review, Orbis, Thema Literary Journal, and forthcoming in Avalon Literary Review, and and in the anthologies Short Story America, Vol. 2 and The Captive and the Dead. Four stories, including two as yet unpublished, received honorable mention in the Short Story America Prize for Short Fiction contests.
Member of RWA and Authors Guild
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Posted in Book Tour, Mystery/ Romantic Suspense, Sizzle

A Pride of Brothers: Rick by Peggy Jaeger

A Pride of Brothers: Rick
by Peggy Jaeger
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. He doesn’t get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.
Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client’s vengeful husband, but refuses Rick’s offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.
Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.
I’m a #contemporaryromance writer who writes #RomComs about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If I can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, I’ve done my job as a writer!
#Family and #food play huge roles in my stories because I believe there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, I bring all topics of daily life into my stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents I longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through my books, I’ve created the families I wanted as that lonely child.
As a lifelong diarist, I caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit me at peggyjaeger.com where I’m blogging about life, writing, and stuff that makes me go “What??!” daily.
I’m a social media junkie! You can visit me at all these sites below, any day and I’ll probably be there.
2 $10.00 amazon gift cards
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