Thursday teaser: The Devil of Light

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Win a free e-copy of Book 1 in the Cass Elliot Crime Series

by Gae-Lynn Woods

LENNY SCARBOROUGH TAPPED THE syringe and placed the glass vial in the pocket of his overalls. He reached through the loading chute’s weathered planks, deftly pinched together the heavy hide and inoculated Cleopatra with an antibiotic. She’d been limping for the past few days and he’d spotted the beginnings of foot rot, a dangerous condition for a cow. He’d rounded the cattle up this morning to medicate those who were showing signs of the disease. Extracting the needle, he rubbed the injection site and ran an appraising eye over his lead cow, her coat gleaming in the misty morning light. She was a Black Angus, full-blooded and full of herself, if you asked the other cows. Top of the pecking order, Cleopatra was first to the feeding trough, first at the pond and first into the loading chute when Lenny had treatments to dish out.

Fondling her ears, he slipped her a feed cube as a reward for good behavior and released the heavy headlock. She trundled through, trotting for the far gate and fresh hay. He watched to see if she would avoid the unconscious form in the corral’s cool grass. The damage inflicted by the sharp hooves of a twelve-hundred pound animal would’ve been a sight to behold, but a part of him relaxed when Cleopatra grunted once and swung wide of the body resting near the long arms of the hay dolly attached to the old farm pickup. Bruises were one thing, but severe injuries from a cow would require a doctor; that kind of intrusion into his life Lenny did not need.

The next cow in line rushed forward and he clamped the headlock around her neck to begin his examination. He sang as he worked, low voice reciting the hymns his little Methodist church used in worship. Life had been good to Lenny, and such was his faith in himself and his Lord that he only smiled briefly at the strangled sound of movement behind him. A few quiet gasps later, the corral settled back into stillness and Lenny returned to his work, so absorbed in the care of his cattle and the praise of his Lord that he was momentarily startled by the creak of the rusty pickup’s door. A derisive laugh escaped him, and he shook his head once, reluctantly impressed at this display of dogged determination.

The engine hiccupped to life, roaring as a foot was applied to the accelerator, but still Lenny did not turn from his task. He was thumping an air bubble from the syringe when the engine’s rattling changed and his senses prickled, searching for the oddity in this otherwise mundane sound. As the engine screamed and mud flew from beneath the spinning tires, the hair on the nape of his neck rose, and he turned as the tires gained purchase. The sharp point of the hay dolly’s long spike plunged into his chest, lifting him from his feet and pinning him against the loading chute’s weathered planks. Warmth spread down his chest and between his legs. His eyes met those reflected in the pickup’s rearview mirror and he was shocked at the exhausted fury burning in them. As his heart thumped its last weary beat, Lenny Scarborough’s face reflected his amazement that something so weak and worthless could’ve at last gotten the better of him.

You could win a copy of The Devil of Light

A BIZARRE MURDER

When young Detective Cass Elliot responds to a 911 call at the home of a prominent businessman, she finds him violently murdered in the barnyard with his battered wife unconscious near the tool that killed him. Still raw from her own unsolved attack six years ago, Cass is stunned when confronted with graphic photographs scattered across their kitchen floor that lead to a shadowy sect called The Church of the True Believer.

A COVERT WEB OF LIES AND EXPLOITATION

Cass and her partner Mitch Stone delve into a cunning world of blackmail and violence – and find a cult concealed for nearly a century beneath the genteel, small town façade of Arcadia in East Texas. Their investigation triggers a brutal response from powerful men who will protect their identities at any cost. They unleash a ruthless killer whose actions create a media frenzy and destroy the fabric of trust within the police department.

A PERVASIVE EVIL

Cass and Mitch circle closer to the cult’s few members, following a slim lead into a night lit by fire. A night that begins with a blood ritual and ends with Cass holding a man’s life – or death – in her hands and struggling to walk the fine line between vengeance and justice.

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About the author

Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

Visit Gae-Lynn’s

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Meet the Author Monday: Gae-Lynn Woods

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This week, BestSelling Reads presents Gae-Lynn Woods, an author who lives in East Texas.

Tell the readers about the books you’ve written.

I have written three books, and I’m hard at work on novel number four.

All my books are mysteries set in a small town in East Texas. The first two, The Devil of Light and Avengers of Blood, are part of the Cass Elliot Crime Series. The third, A Case of Sour Grapes, is a companion novel to the series, featuring Cass’s best friend, Maxine Leverman. My fourth book is a return to the Cass Elliot series.

How have the main characters developed or changed over the course of the series?

I had the vaguest idea of the characters who would inhabit Forney County when I started writing The Devil of Light and have loved getting to know them. Cass grows considerably over the series, from a damaged woman unsure of her place in the world, to a confident detective hunting for the man who hurt her, and perhaps many other women. I try to highlight a character in each book, because I love learning about them. In Avengers of Blood, we find out how Officer Ernie Munk lost his daughter years ago, and how that event continues to impact his career and his life.

How has your style changed over that same period?

I am a fan of long books with twisty plots. Greg Iles, Stephen King, Elizabeth George, Justin Cronin—I love the way their books allow for character and story development. My first two novels are long, with Avengers of Blood running to almost 600 pages, and the stories themselves are dark and twisty. I decided I wanted a different feel to Maxine Leverman’s first novel, so it’s written in the first person and is a much tighter and lighter read. The mystery is still intense, but Maxine’s approach to it is impulsive and at times, comical. The next novel in the Cass Elliot series is headed right back to those intertwined plots and original length, but I’m looking forward to writing another novel from Maxine’s perspective.

Has the way your write, or the process, evolved?

I’m a complete pantser and as much as I would like to o-u-t-l-i-n-e, even thinking the “o” word shuts my creativity down. I start a story with a general idea of the conflict and a glimpse of how the story ends, then write and see where events and my characters take me.

What about the way you create characters or build worlds?

Because my novels are set in in the same small town, many of the characters overlap from one novel to the next. That’s the way it is in small towns: everybody knows everybody else, and all their business! I know very little about my characters when they show up during the course of a book, and learning about them as I write is part of the fun. I keep notes about almost all characters, even the most minor, updating them as the books develop. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to many countries, and meeting so many people gives me great ideas for character traits and development.

Is there a particular place or time you like to write?

My preference is to write first thing in the morning, before the day has a chance to interrupt me. But life is a bit unpredictable right now, so I write whenever I find time.

I do most of my writing at home in our study, but I spend a lot of time at gigs and rehearsals with my husband. Earphones and music are crucial to my writing process. I’ve written in coffee shops and restaurants, stuffed in dusty backstage corners or dressing rooms, and sitting cross-legged in airport hallways. I’m outside a music store now, waiting in the car for my husband to pick up a guitar. I’ve got a mobile desk on my lap and Freddie Mercury in my ears. Life is good.

Get to know Gae-Lynn Woods

Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

When she’s not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fence, or digging post holes, Gae-Lynn is working on the next Cass Elliot novel and the next Companion Novel featuring Maxine Leverman, Cass’ best friend.

Gae-Lynn can be found:

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Thursday teaser: Avengers of Blood

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

THE PHONE SLIPPED AS he wrote, and Tom Kado hunched his shoulder to bring the handset up against his ear. “Would you repeat that?”

The forensics man from Thayerville, Alabama, sighed. “Calvin Whitman. Born September 13, 1935. Died December 27, 1978. White male. Six feet two inches tall, two hundred and ten pounds. I still think something’s wrong with those fingerprints.”

“I can fax copies to you. I’ll even overnight an original to Alabama,” Kado said, finishing his notes. “But I’m absolutely certain that your dead Calvin Whitman has been living in Arcadia for over thirty years.”

“It doesn’t seem possible.”

“Why?”

“I’m looking at his file. His house burned the night of December 27. The fire started from faulty Christmas tree lights. The house went up fast. His bedroom was on the second floor but they found Whitman in the remains of his bed in the living room. Looks like the middle of the house collapsed and most of the second story dropped to the first floor.”

“How did they confirm that it was Calvin Whitman?”

“Let’s see.” Kado heard a sneeze. “Sorry, I had to dig this file out of storage. You’re lucky we still have it. This was part of a group scheduled to be shredded last year. I don’t know why they missed it.” The sound of shuffling paper came through the phone. “Here we go. Seems they found a ring that belonged to Whitman on the right hand, and some of the hair was still on his head. From the photo in the file, he had very thick black hair.”

“Was an autopsy performed?”

“Yes. Cause of death was smoke inhalation.”

“Dental comparison?” Kado asked.

“Umm,” more paper shuffling, “no.”

“Isn’t that odd?”

“Maybe. No fingerprints, either, probably due to the fire damage to the body. A deputy confirmed that it was Whitman. Nobody questioned his identification. Say, Tom?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you have a photo of this Calvin Whitehead? He must have been an old man, right?”

It was Kado’s turn to shuffle through paperwork. He located the crime scene photos and found only one photograph of Calvin Whitman. It was hanging on the wall behind the cash register and Kado needed a magnifying glass to see it clearly in the crime scene photo. In the picture, Whitman was frowning at the camera as he held a pair of scissors, ready to snip a ribbon stretched across the little store’s doors. Half a dozen locals looked on, smiling broadly. “There must be a driver’s license photo on file, and that’ll be pretty recent. We’ve got one early photo of him in a newspaper. Do you want a copy?”

“Of both, please.”

“Do you have one for me?”

“Yeah, I’ll send it when we’re done.” He sighed heavily again. “If you’re right, you know what this means for us?”

“Yup, you’ve got an open case,” Kado answered.

“A very old, very cold murder case.”

“And the very dead Calvin Whitman or Whitehead is your prime suspect.”

“Man, I’m gonna land in a white-hot shit storm.”

“Sorry about that,” Kado said, with genuine feeling. “When you send Whitman’s photograph, would you include his arrest record?”

“What arrest record?”

“Well, why is he in your system?”

“For exclusion purposes, of course.”

Kado felt dread tighten his gut. “What do you mean?”

“I didn’t mention it earlier?”

“Mention what?” Kado asked as the dread uncoiled along his spine.

“Calvin Whitman was Thayerville’s sheriff when he died. Had been, for close to twenty years. Everybody loved him. This, his still being alive, means that he’s a criminal. That’s why I’m gonna land in a shit storm.”

About Avengers of Blood

A deadly game of cat and mouse is playing out in Forney County…

Detective Cass Elliot is still on suspension after killing a fellow officer and Sheriff Hoffner refuses to sign her release papers. But when four people are murdered in one night, one with the exceptional brutality of a lynching, the Medical Examiner side-steps Hoffner to hire Cass and loan her to Forney County’s overstretched police department.

As Cass and her partner investigate, they realize that three of the murders were committed by the same person but find no connection between the victims. Their frustration intensifies when another victim survives and disappears instead of coming to the police.

Sheriff Hoffner is frantic about anonymous letters claiming one of his star officers is dirty, and Cass suspects a link to the current crimes. The pieces fall together when she uncovers the true identity of the man who was lynched, revealing connections between the victims, the killer, and an unpunished crime committed nearly fifty years ago.

Find it on

About the author

Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

Visit Gae-Lynn’s

BestSelling Reads page   |   Amazon author page   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   |    Website   |    Blog

 

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Grief and Writer’s Block

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I’m writing this post in the hopes that it will offer comfort to others dealing with writer’s block as a result of grief. If you Google “writer’s block” and “grief,” you’ll find loads of posts telling you to write your way through it. Many people do so, and I admire them.

Really, I envy them. Because I haven’t been able to do that. I’ve barely been able to breathe.

It’s been a tough decade. My dad has a slowly advancing case of Alzheimer’s, and one of the reasons my husband and I moved to East Texas from London was to help my mom cope. And cope she did. Far longer than she should have. She made a promise to my dad that he would die at home, and she did her best to honor that promise. But eventually Alzheimer’s won. It usually does.

She made the difficult decision to move him to a nursing home in May 2015. By September 2015, she had dropped dead of a heart attack that was completely unexpected. I know without doubt that she died more from grief and guilt than from any cardiac complications. In addition to overwhelming sorrow at her loss, her death left me with the challenge of closing out her estate, becoming my dad’s power of attorney, and taking responsibility for watching over him. I’m lucky: my husband and two brothers are incredibly supportive, and I’m not sure how I would manage without them.

The year since my mom’s death has taken a toll on my creativity, and I was naive to imagine otherwise. She had a huge personality and was an important part of our lives, and I miss her very much. I’m also dealing with the challenges of having a loved one in a nursing home. One of us is there every day to feed Daddy dinner and help get him ready for bed. But there are problems. From cuts and scrapes that refuse to heal, to continuing weight loss, to problems finding the right diapers for my dad, every new wrinkle is cause for fresh grief.

the devil of light-finalAvengers of Blood-final fileWoods-SourGrapesThroughout this year, I’ve wanted to lose myself in the next Cass Elliot novel. The story is there, waiting and wanting to be written, and I love where it’s going. I’ve tried to write it. But every word I’ve put down — 40,000+ of them — has been its own tragedy. First drafts are supposed to be rough, but not this rough.

This is doubly frustrating because I’m an Achiever. Yes, with an annoying capital “A.” I set a goal and work my happy little ass off until I achieve it. But not this past year. Don’t get me wrong, I have achieved things. They’re just not related to writing. (I have the best organized sock drawer in East Texas and we’re currently running a champion/challenger diaper contest on my dad. That gives you an idea of my creative capabilities in the midst of grief.)

We’re now past the first anniversary of my mother’s death, and I am hopeful that the haze shrouding my creativity is lifting. Characters are banging around in my head again, offering snippets of conversation and plot for this new book, and the words are slowly coming. How long will it be before I’m hitting my word count on a daily basis? I have no idea, but at last I am moving in the right direction.

So here it is: I want to tell you that it’s okay if you’re blocked. Nobody knows your life, your circumstances, and no one is entitled to judge you. If the words don’t flow in the midst of your grief, give yourself a break and time to heal. The words will come back and perhaps be richer for what you’ve experienced.

Most importantly, hang in there and remember that you are not alone.

Gae-Lynn Woods 2015-08

Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

Gae-Lynn writes the Cass Elliot Crime Series. When she’s not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fence, or digging post holes, Gae-Lynn is working on the next Cass Elliot novel and the next Companion Novel featuring Maxine Leverman, Cass’ best friend, who makes her debut in Avengers of Blood.

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

You can also find Gae-Lynn at:

Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   |    Website   |    Blog  |    Amazon 

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Thursday teaser: A Case of Sour Grapes

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Woods-SourGrapesYou could WIN a FREE
e-copy of this Cass Elliot Companion Novel. See the details at the end of the excerpt.

By Gae-Lynn Woods

TO TELL THE TRUTH, even after reading the internet articles I was clueless about how to find someone. So I did what every enterprising woman does when faced with a challenge: I had a facial and massage. When at home in Fort Worth, I use a fabulous technician named Jeremy. Handsome and a honey, he’s gooey in love with his partner of the moment, Paul. But that won’t last. It never does. My relationship with Jeremy has survived at least seven partners. I big-sister him through every break up and remind him of the importance of protected sex when each new love comes along.

Funny, now that I think of it. He does the same for me.

But my options are limited when I’m in Forney County. The best salon I’ve found is on the Loop around Arcadia, a place called Holy Rollers. It’s run by a family of Pentecostal women and let me tell you, despite their own reluctance to doll up, these gals know hair and skin. Janie took one look and ordered me to strip and assume the position on the massage table.

“What’s eating you, Maxine?” she asked in a soft voice, covering me with a sheet and placing hot, smooth stones along the back of my left leg and one in each palm.

“I need to find someone, and I’m not sure how to do it.”

“Why?” She slicked oil along my right leg and worked the muscles, then gently massaged its length with a hot stone.

“He’s just somebody I need to find.”

“Nobody’s invisible these days. Start with the internet. Use a picture and do a facial recognition thing.”

“No photo.”

“What do you mean?” Janie finished working my right leg, placed hot stones along its length, and oiled the left leg. I was butter already.

“He hates having his picture taken.” I pointed at the magazine in my purse, folded open to the shot of Blue and Bret Ivey laughing. “That’s the best his wife has.”

“Suspicious.”

I rose to twist and look at her, but Janie pushed me back down. “Why?” I asked.

“With all the smart phones around? Given that he runs a winery, there are bound to be pictures of him out there in cyberspace.” She hit the ticklish spot on my left thigh with a hot stone and I giggled. “Be still. Google him. See who he’s with.”

“Pretty smart,” I told her. “If that doesn’t work, all I know is where he lives and what kind of vehicle he drives. I don’t know how to find him when he’s not at home.”

Janie moved the sheet from my back to my legs and placed hot stones along my spine and on both shoulder blades. The tension in my neck melted away. “Can’t you wait until he comes home and then follow him to wherever he goes?”

“He’s not coming home, which is part of the problem. And I’d like to be proactive.”

“Then you’ll have to go wherever he goes.”

“I don’t know where he goes.”

“Well, what kind of things does he like?”

“Leather and Corvettes.”

“That’s easy,” Janie said. She removed the stones from my back and worked the muscles from my lower spine up to my shoulders. “If he stays around here, he’ll be at The Golden O over the state line.”

I lifted from the massage table and looked over my shoulder. “The biker bar? How in the world do you know about The Golden O?”

Her smile was like the Mona Lisa’s, intriguingly unreadable. “I haven’t always done hair and nails.”

“Janie Chapman. You are full of surprises. You used to strip at The Golden O, didn’t you?”

“If you won’t be still, turn over.” My prim Pentecostal masseuse lifted the sheet and I rolled to my back. “I wore a mask and had my hair pinned up until the final spin combo on the pole. I’d pull a clip out, my hair would swing free, and the dollar bills? Honey, they came a-flying.” She laid the sheet over my chest and hips and went to work on my legs. “That’s how I paid for beauty school. Don’t tell anyone. I couldn’t bear for my family to know.”

“Given everything you know about my life, your secret is safe with me.” I thought for a moment. “I always think of strip clubs as boob focused. He likes big bottoms. Do they have them at The Golden O?”

“Most of the places hire anyone who hasn’t been overcome by gravity, so you’ll find all shapes and sizes everywhere you go. But try The Bicycle Club. They used to hire women with more Rubenesque figures.”

I wiped my hands on the sheet and reached for my phone. “Give me a minute. I need to find an accomplice for tonight’s outing.”

“Unless you want lots of male attention, choose an attractive woman and pretend you’re lesbians.” That Mona Lisa smile returned. “It’ll ramp the men up, but at least they’ll believe you’re unavailable.”

I stared up at this sweet-faced woman who knew my body almost intimately, and whom I clearly knew not at all. “So how about it?” I asked. “Got any plans tonight?”

About A Case of Sour Grapes

Wine, women, and song. What could possibly go wrong? Meet Maxine Leverman, lover of expensive shoes, beautiful handbags, and her lingerie wearing ex-husband’s hush money. When she pleads her way into a job at family run Lost and Found Investigations, Maxine’s only goal is to gain the concealed carry license and PI skills she needs to find the man who attacked her, and then kill him. (Or maybe just put him in jail, that decision can wait.) But when she secretly takes a missing husband case on her first day at the agency, she stumbles into a high-stakes game of blackmail and murder. Maxine must unravel the links between a forgotten folk punk band, an international drug cartel, and the tangled history of the missing husband to keep the women in his life alive.

Fans of the early Stephanie Plum novels and Stuart Woods’ Holly Barker series will love Maxine’s tenacity, grit, and lust for life.

How to WIN

You can win a free e-copy of A Case of Sour Grapes by answering this question in the Comments section below:

What’s your strategy when you have to visit a strip club?

Don’t forget to include your contact information. The author will randomly select a winner from the entries.

About the author

Gae-Lynn Woods 2015-08Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

Gae-Lynn writes the Cass Elliot Crime Series. When she’s not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fence, or digging post holes, Gae-Lynn is working on the next Cass Elliot novel and the next Companion Novel featuring Maxine Leverman, Cass’ best friend, who makes her debut in Avengers of Blood.

Visit Gae-Lynn’s

And follow Gae-Lynn online:

Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   |    Website   |    Blog

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Thursday Teaser: The Devil of Light

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You can win a free e-copy of Book 1 in the Cass Elliot Crime Series. Find out how at the end of this excerpt.

By Gae-Lynn Woods

the devil of light-finalGOOBER’S BREATH CAUGHT IN his throat as the lawn mower sputtered to a stop in the middle of Possum Creek Bridge. This was a lonely stretch of road, infrequently traveled. Rare farmhouses rested at the end of rutted dirt tracks masquerading as driveways, and the heavy forest obscured the welcome warmth of electric light. Goober hated the dark. Monsters did their dirty work in the dark. They hid in the dark, beneath beds and in closets, under bridges and behind trees, lunging when your guard was down. Cries for help went unanswered in the dark. Alone was worse in the dark.

It was no surprise that he was afraid of the dark, or of being alone, for Goober’s origins were a mystery. He’d been found one morning nearly forty years ago, nestled in the gnarled roots of the ancient hanging tree on the courthouse lawn, sleeping peacefully next to the town drunk. A scandal of magnificent proportions ensued. Who was this child? Where had he come from? And where were his parents? The grapevine drums were beaten, gossip smoke signals went up, and the newspaper and radio made repeated announcements encouraging his parents to come forward. But no one came to claim the gentle-natured toddler whose passion for chocolate covered peanuts earned him his nickname. An elderly widow had taken the boy in, and so his life as Arcadia’s child began.

Goober wasn’t retarded, but he was slow at formal education. He never learned to read or write beyond a fourth grade level and he dropped out of school when he was sixteen, picking up odd jobs and developing a talent for gardening. When the widow died, she left Goober her small trailer and her smaller savings account. For years he’d ridden a decrepit tandem bicycle, happily pedaling Forney County’s highways and byways. At some point, a generous soul had given Goober a red riding lawn mower with no blades. And at exactly that point, Goober entered the glorious world of combustible engines, whose maintenance requirements outstripped his abilities. Which brought him to his precarious position on the bridge this evening.

His eyes darted into the murky shadows surrounding Possum Creek as he twisted the mower’s key. Her engine whirred but refused to turn over, and as her groans faded into a desperate click, Goober was flooded with a sudden urge to pee.

Reluctantly, he lifted his long frame from the mower, his imagination running wild. He’d heard rumors of ghosts roaming the woods, the spirits of slaughtered cowboys and Indians seeking revenge for past wrongs. Standing stock-still with his stomach churning, Goober waited. When only the night noises reached him, he gathered his courage, dried his sweaty palms on his overalls and unhooked the small can bungeed to a platform behind the seat. Unlocking the mower’s gas cap, he prepared to tip the can up when starlight shimmered across the fuel tank’s gaping maw. He paused, and the memory of stopping at the filling station this morning streaked across his brain. Confused, he frowned at the mower, forgetting his fear as he struggled to understand why she wouldn’t start.

A sudden clanking rang across the still night and drove Goober into a squat. His heart pounded as he clutched the gas can against his chest and scuttled behind the mower, breath coming in shallow gasps. He tried to listen past the blood thrumming in his ears but the evening remained stubbornly closed, refusing to reveal its secrets. Rattled but reassured that the noise had stopped, Goober rose on shaking legs and relocked the tank before returning the can to its platform. One hand on her seat, he examined the mower with a mixture of dread and affection. His source of freedom had failed him and Goober’s childlike mind cranked through his options. Slowly, he realized that he had no choice but to walk to town, through the terrifying night.

He tried to swallow, but found that his tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth. Lifting his baseball cap to run a hand over his thinning hair, Goober turned resolutely away from the mower and sought the city’s glow arcing over the black forest. He firmed the cap back on his head and hummed a jumpy tune, walking steadily toward Arcadia, eyes fixed on the strip of road before him.

The blossoming of an unnatural radiance off to his left spooked him. A bright fire danced among the tall pine trees and the vague silhouette of a distant building engulfed in flames captivated him. A devilish ghost danced between Goober and the flickering light, startling him from his trance. Heart pounding, bladder releasing a warm torrent, he turned and fled from Possum Creek, too terrified to scream.

In the blushing night air, Hitch slunk to the edge of the road, taking in the man pelting toward town. He moved to the lawn mower, his amber eyes narrowing. Turning to the fleeing man with a look of recognition, Hitch took two steps forward and then stopped, head cocked to one side, seeming to consider the situation. Reluctantly, the monster left the road and melted back between the trees.

How to win your free copy

Answer this question in the Comments section:

What is the loneliest stretch of road you’ve ever driven? 

 

About The Devil of Light

A BIZARRE MURDER

When young Detective Cass Elliot responds to a 911 call at the home of a prominent businessman, she finds him violently murdered in the barnyard with his battered wife unconscious near the tool that killed him. Still raw from her own unsolved attack six years ago, Cass is stunned when confronted with graphic photographs scattered across their kitchen floor that lead to a shadowy sect called The Church of the True Believer.

A COVERT WEB OF LIES AND EXPLOITATION

Cass and her partner Mitch Stone delve into a cunning world of blackmail and violence – and find a cult concealed for nearly a century beneath the genteel, small town façade of Arcadia in East Texas. Their investigation triggers a brutal response from powerful men who will protect their identities at any cost. They unleash a ruthless killer whose actions create a media frenzy and destroy the fabric of trust within the police department.

A PERVASIVE EVIL

Cass and Mitch circle closer to the cult’s few members, following a slim lead into a night lit by fire. A night that begins with a blood ritual and ends with Cass holding a man’s life – or death – in her hands and struggling to walk the fine line between vengeance and justice.

Get it on:

About the author

Gae-Lynn Woods 2015-08Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

Gae-Lynn writes the Cass Elliot Crime Series. When she’s not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fence, or digging post holes, Gae-Lynn is working on the next Cass Elliot novel and the next Companion Novel featuring Maxine Leverman, Cass’ best friend, who makes her debut in Avengers of Blood.

Visit Gae-Lynn’s

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Teaser Thursday: Avengers of Blood

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

Book 2 in the Cass Elliot Crime Series

You could WIN a free copy.

Avengers of Blood-final fileAnswer the question at the end of the excerpt to be entered into a draw for a free e-copy of Avengers of Blood from the author!

THE QUIET MAN IN the cowboy hat walked down the hospital’s corridor, nose twitching at the stinging antiseptic scent. With barely a glance, a janitor pushing a floor buffer moved the whirring machine from his path. Hitch carried on, golden eyes watchful.

It was nearing midnight. Visiting hours were long over and the nurses were updating reports and watching the late news. The police guard stationed outside Detective Cass Elliot’s room had either been reassigned or was on a break. Either way, Hitch was grateful. He peered in the window of one room; the bed was empty. In the next, a man put his fishing magazine down and struggled to reposition himself, fighting his leg cast and the apparatus that held it suspended.

Hitch moved on, seeking the flame-headed woman. The old man had sent him to the emergency room to hear firsthand what had happened out at the little farmhouse. It had taken several hours for an accurate picture to emerge of who was alive and who was dead. Hitch had stayed in and around the ER waiting room eavesdropping, trading one tattered magazine for another, drifting through the clusters of officers and the few reporters, and sipping dreadful coffee until the information flow stabilized and repeated itself.

Once people began drifting away, Hitch stepped outside and called the old man. After Hitch delivered his update, the old man’s pipe clacked against his teeth in a way that Hitch had come to recognize as satisfaction. He allowed himself a brief moment to wonder why the old man was so interested in these people, and then pushed the thought away. The old man told him to head home, that his work was done for the night.

But Hitch hadn’t left. Instead, he’d waited and watched until the last of them had gone. A nurse stopped by occasionally to ask if he needed anything, and he would shake his head with a smile. It was only now, when the hospital was as silent as hospitals ever got, that he looked for her. It was a compulsion he didn’t understand or question. Hitch simply needed to find her.

He checked the last two rooms, then turned and walked back along his path on the opposite side of the hall. He found Detective Elliot three doors down. A lamp shone from one corner, its outer edges providing scant illumination. But it was enough. She was sleeping, deeply from the look of her breathing. Hitch checked the hall and then pushed into her room, crossing silently to the bed.

Her red hair was a dark mass against the white pillowcase, lustrous in the low light. Her skin was pale but her features were peaceful despite the bandage near her eye, and her long lashes lay like soft wings against her cheeks. A corner of gauze was visible from beneath the sheet and Hitch was filled with an intense longing, an emotion he had never felt before. It made him want to cradle this woman, this stranger, in his arms. To offer healing, protection. Reaching out a finger, he stroked her cheek. She frowned and her mouth twitched.

Squeaking footsteps hurried past and Hitch stole to the door, peeking through the window and checking the corridor. It was empty. He turned back to the beautiful detective and wondered why she attracted him so. He allowed his gaze to travel over her features one last time, then Hitch settled his hat on his head and trod quietly to the exit.

His thoughts were troubled as he moved across the quiet parking lot. Detective Elliot was the one who had uncovered the old man’s cult back in the spring, and she had enough tenacity that without the break due to her suspension from the force, he suspected she would have found him. The old man wasn’t done with Hitch and his unique gifts, and therefore he would cross paths with this woman again.

As adversaries.

The old pickup’s engine purred to life and Hitched slipped onto Forney County’s dark back roads. With the sensation of longing still strong in his heart, he gazed through the windshield up at the sparkling sky, and wished upon a star that he wouldn’t have to kill her.

About Avengers of Blood

A deadly game of cat and mouse is playing out in Forney County…

Detective Cass Elliot is still on suspension after killing a fellow officer and Sheriff Hoffner refuses to sign her release papers. But when four people are murdered in one night, one with the exceptional brutality of a lynching, the Medical Examiner side-steps Hoffner to hire Cass and loan her to Forney County’s overstretched police department.

As Cass and her partner investigate, they realize that three of the murders were committed by the same person but find no connection between the victims. Their frustration intensifies when another victim survives and disappears instead of coming to the police.

Sheriff Hoffner is frantic about anonymous letters claiming one of his star officers is dirty, and Cass suspects a link to the current crimes. The pieces fall together when she uncovers the true identity of the man who was lynched, revealing connections between the victims, the killer, and an unpunished crime committed nearly fifty years ago.

How to win a free e-copy

Answer the question below in the Comments section to be entered into a draw for a free e-copy from the author:

Is vengeance ever justified when the legal system fails?

About the author

Gae-Lynn WoodsGae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

Gae-Lynn writes the Cass Elliot Crime Series. When she’s not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fence, or digging post holes, Gae-Lynn is working on the next Cass Elliot novel and the next Companion Novel featuring Maxine Leverman, Cass’ best friend, who makes her debut in Avengers of Blood.

Visit Gae-Lynn’s

And follow Gae-Lynn online:

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Win-a-Book Wednesday: A Case of Sour Grapes

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

Woods-SourGrapes

You could WIN a free e-copy of Gae-Lynn Woods’ Cass Elliot companion novel — all you have to do is leave a comment below.

About A Case of Sour Grapes

Wine, women, and song. What could possibly go wrong?

Meet Maxine Leverman, lover of expensive shoes, beautiful handbags, and her lingerie wearing ex-husband’s hush money. When she pleads her way into a job at family run Lost and Found Investigations, Maxine’s only goal is to gain the concealed carry license and PI skills she needs to find the man who attacked her, and then kill him. (Or maybe just put him in jail, that decision can wait.)

But when she secretly takes a missing husband case on her first day at the agency, she stumbles into a high-stakes game of blackmail and murder. Maxine must unravel the links between a forgotten folk punk band, an international drug cartel, and the tangled history of the missing husband to keep the women in his life alive.

About Gae-Lynn Woods

Gae-Lynn WoodsGae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle, one very cranky donkey, and The Dude, a rescue kitty with attitude.

Gae-Lynn writes the Cass Elliot Crime Series. When she’s not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fence, or digging post holes, Gae-Lynn is working on the next Cass Elliot novel and the next Companion Novel featuring Maxine Leverman, Cass’ best friend, who makes her debut in Avengers of Blood.

Visit her:

Find Gae-Lynn on social media:

Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   

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