Thursday teaser #excerpt: Instigator

Share

This week’s excerpt is from Eliza Carlisle Mystery number 3

Read on to see how you could win a copy of the first Eliza Carlisle mystery, Trouble Magnet.

By DelSheree Gladden

He caught my wrist just as I reached his apartment door. Sighing, I turned to face him. He spoke before I could. “Can you come in for just a minute?”

“Baxter,” I said, “I have to meet Morales soon. I don’t have time—”

“Just for a minute,” he said, careful to keep most of the pleading from his voice.

The last few seconds before he stormed out of my apartment the night before played back in my mind. He’d switched from angry about me getting involved in the cupcake case to purposely seductive. That had only happened a few rare times, all quite memorable. I had no idea what he’d been about to suggest, I knew it hadn’t been advice on how to get through the weekend with Puck’s parents. In fact, I was almost positive it was something closer to me spending time with him instead of anyone related to Puck…or Puck himself.

All of that should have been enough reason for me to walk away. “Just for a minute,” I said, disappointed at my own weakness. Maybe he wanted to apologize. But probably not….

I slipped past him into his apartment and stopped as soon as I saw the table set for two. Either he was extremely presumptuous about me making him breakfast after the way he’d behaved or…. I stepped closer to the table and realized that while the mugs and bowls were empty, there was a covered dish and a thermos of what I hoped was coffee sitting in the middle of the table.

Turning to face Baxter, I couldn’t keep my surprise hidden. “You made me breakfast?”

“It’s nothing like what you can do, but…” He froze when my eyes welled with tears. “What? I’m trying to apologize.”

Blinking back tears, I asked, “Do you know when the last time was someone made me breakfast?”

“No,” he said slowly, wary of the answer.

I fought against the memories resurfacing and focused solely on Baxter. “The morning Ben died. My mom made me toast and scrambled eggs. After that…doing something nice for me would have been like admitting it hadn’t been my fault.”

“It wasn’t your fault,” Baxter said, his voice blunt and unbending.

“Regardless,” I said, gesturing at the meal, “thank you.”

Grimacing, Baxter’s gaze fell. “I was trying to thank you…for putting up with me the last few months.”

I chuckled and closed the distance between us. “I’ve been putting up with you since we met. The last two months haven’t been anything I can’t handle.”

Surprisingly, that drew a small smile from him. “I’m not sure there’s anything you can’t handle.”

I snorted and turned away to turn off the oven he’d left on. The list of things I couldn’t handle was quite long. He just didn’t happen to be on it.

About Instigator

“Why would someone commit murder over a cupcake?”

That is Detective Gordon’s question. Eliza doesn’t have an answer, and doesn’t particularly want to find one. Gordy promises she doesn’t have to get involved…just look at the cupcake and use her culinary knowledge to tell him why it would inspire murder.

It’s never that easy.

Not for Eliza Carlisle.

What should be a relaxing two week break between semesters of culinary school turns into a never ending string of embarrassing, injury-inducing, rat-filled situations Eliza can’t escape. She hadn’t wanted to meet Puck’s parents to begin with. Meeting them in the middle of the murder investigation and running into Chef Harper, her least favorite instructor who is intent on making her life miserable, guarantees anything but a good time.

Add it just keeps getting better. Baxter is getting impatient. His ex-wife, the Evil Queen of Darkness, is getting more vicious by the second. Cupcake bakers are dropping every time the cops turns around. Eliza quickly finds herself hating the Christmas holidays even more than usual. All she has to do to survive her least favorite time of the year is catch a killer, beat Megan at her own evil game, hold off Baxter a little longer, and face down Puck’s unimpressed parents.

Piece of…cupcake.

Get it on:

Check out the other three Eliza Carlisle mysteries:

If you liked this excerpt, leave a Comment to be entered in a draw for a free e-copy of the first Eliza Carlisle mystery, Trouble Magnet.

About the author

USA Today bestselling young adult and romance author DelSheree Gladden loves books—reading them and writing them.

The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities.

DelSheree lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist.

Get to know DelSheree at:

And follow her on Twitter @Delsheree.

Share

Thursday teaser #excerpt: Wildfire

Share

By Scott Bury

This week’s excerpt is a special one: it’s from a yet-to-be released book, the first in a new mystery series. Titled Wildfire, its author plans to release it as an e-book on Amazon on March 20, to be followed quickly by releases on other platforms and in paperback.

This excerpt is from Chapter 1.

Chapter 1: An Open Door

From a distance, the winery looked like a simple barn, but when she got close she could see it was a modern building, painted to match the yellow and orange of the mansion-restaurant. Set into the ersatz stucco front wall was a wide barn door made of solid dark wood. In its center, a human-size door gaped open. When Tara walked close enough, she could feel conditioned, cool air flowing out.

She leaned in and knocked on the open door. No one said anything. She could hear the hum of some kind of machinery. Smooth concrete floors and light grey ducts and pipes gleamed under halogen lights on the high ceiling. To the left, windows in sheetrock walls showed offices, where a man with dark hair sat, writing with a pencil.

Tara took another deep breath of cool air, stepped up to the office’s interior door and knocked on its frame. The dark-haired man looked up quickly, hazel eyes wide, then relaxing. She could now see a shaggy dog curled up on the floor near his feet.

“Yes? Can I help you?”

His voice was deep and smooth, his tone fast but courteous. Tinged with sadness? Stop imagining things, Tara. You haven’t even met him yet.

“Mr. DaSilva?” She stepped farther into the office, hand extended. The dog stood up, looking at her. The tail wagged tentatively. Its head was just below the level of the desktop, its light brown fur curly. It had a square nose and the fur at the blunt end of it looked to Tara like a moustache.

“I’m Tara Rezeck.”

The dark-haired man stood to shake Tara’s hand. He was tall and slim. The sleeves of his open-necked dress shirt were rolled up over his elbows, showing ropey forearms. His hand was rough, his grip firm. On the left hand was a large gold ring with a dark stone. “Rezeck? Oh, yes. Sophia called about you.” He indicated a guest chair in front of his desk and sat again. “So you’re looking for a job?”

The dog’s mouth opened slightly and its tailed wagged freely now.

Tara already had a crisp new copy of her résumé out of her briefcase. He took it and leaned back in his chair.

She waited, trying not to look around the office like some kind of thief casing the place. It wasn’t much to look at, just the working office of a company that made wine. Messy stacks of paper and notebooks took up most of DaSilva’s desk, and on an extension at right angles to the main part sat a large office telephone and a laptop computer. The screen saver was a picture of a vineyard.

On the wall beside DaSilva, over the laptop computer, a large whiteboard hung, covered with a multi-colored chart and acronyms that Tara could not begin to interpret. Behind him was a large window that looked out into the winery. Beyond high tanks, Tara thought she could see people moving around.

A window on the other side looked outside, where trucks were parked on a wide, dusty yard. Behind that was a thick hedge, a fence, and beyond that the vineyards, on south-facing slopes bathed in sunlight.

“You have a law degree?” DaSilva was staring at her, eyebrows high and mouth slightly open.

Tara nodded. “From the Vermont Law School. I graduated cum laude last spring.”

“Then what are you doing here? Why aren’t you applying for jobs with law firms in Vermont?”

Like it? Leave a Comment to be entered in a draw for a free e-copy.

About Wildfire

Single mom Tara Rezeck moves to California after graduating from law school, in pursuit of a lifelong dream. Unable to find a position in a Bay-area law firm, she takes a job in the kitchen of a prestigious winery-restaurant in Sonoma County.

When wildfires ravage wine country, a burned body raises questions that the police are too overwhelmed to investigate. It’s up to Tara to discover her own skills as an investigator and rebuild her confidence.

Wildfire will publish on March 22, 2018.

About the author

Pic-ScottBuryScott Bury can’t stay in one genre.

His first published book was The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, followed in 2013 with a “50 Shades” spoof, One Shade of Red, in 2013. Then came the first volume in his Eastern Front trilogy, Army of Worn Soles, a memoir telling the story of a Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army in the Second World War.

He has also written four mysteries in the Lei Crime Kindle World (based on characters and settings created by bestselling Toby Neal), two action thrillers in the Sydney Rye Kindle World (based on Emily Kimelman’s bestselling series) and a thriller in the JET Kindle World (based on Russell Blake’s Jet series.)

Visit Scott’s:

And follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

Share

Thursday teaser #excerpt: A Silent Prayer

Share

This week’s excerpt comes from the first volume of the Prayer Series.

By Samreen Ahsan

As I stare out over the city, a sound catches my attention. It’s music, but not the music from the restaurant. It’s magical-sounding. I try to determine where it’s coming from. I see a door and head toward it. It feels like it has not been opened for years; in fact, like no one has ever opened it at all. I struggle with the rusted knob and finally get it to turn and open the door. I am expecting another set of fire stairs, but instead there is a passage. There is nothing to the right or left and I follow the passage; or rather, I follow the magical music.

…The sound of the music is so warm and comforting that I realize I am not feeling cold anymore. I take a few more steps and what I see freezes me, just like the weather outside. There are no doors, no stairs in this piece of architecture. It’s nothing but a spiral passage leading down to ground level. I look down to the bottom and my heart comes into my throat. A girl is dancing to the music. From here on the sixth level I can’t see her face clearly, but the way she moves takes my breath away. I feel as if the dance and the music are casting a spell on me. The girl is lost in her dance, not caring about anyone watching her. I see the shadows of other people dancing with her, but since the light is on her, I am unable to see more than shadowy figures. For the first time in my life, I feel my soul is pulling me…toward her.

…I start walking down that spiral passage. The music becomes clearer and melts in my ears, in my body, in my soul. I have never heard of anything like this. How can mere humans create such a heartwarming composition?

Why can’t I take my eyes off her? This has never happened to me before. Or perhaps, I have never seen anyone like her.

…The violins behind me accelerate, and so does her body. She moves round and round with the music, unaware of my presence until all of a sudden, she crashes against me. I hold her by her waist tightly to give her support. The music stops, and so does her dance. Our eyes meet. Under the pink mask, her big eyes, darker than ebony, catch my attention. She looks at me as if she is looking directly through my soul. The madness in her eyes rips my existence and peels off my flesh and bone to search my soul. The darkness in them draws me to let her devour my presence, insanely and willingly.

…I want to touch her skin, but its softness and tenderness scares me in a way I have never experienced. Instead of touching her, I raise my hand to take the mask off of her beautiful face, wondering if it is as perfect underneath as it looks. She backs off and releases herself from my grip. The lights grow dimmer. The music fades. It is just me and her, staring at each other in consternation. I watch her stepping back, but cannot follow her; it’s as if my feet are frozen to the ground and I cannot move at all. I see her pick up her bag and look back at me, and then she leaves me in the darkness that she has cast on me with her one last look.

…I stand there numb, not sure for how long.

…I rush out of the spiral structure to catch my breath. Inside my body, my heart is skipping from one place to another. I feel like I have caught a really high fever. My body is trembling, and I can’t even stand properly on my own feet.

…I turn around to look back, and I’m flabbergasted. There is no spiral structure behind me. It twists my mind completely, wondering where I saw that beautiful girl, and where I came out from.

…I had never seen such an alluring woman in my entire life. A refinement that surpasses all levels of beauty and grace. An artistic existence so pure that even the angels would envy it. How could someone make your heart beat so fast, without even touching, without even kissing, without even making love? The urge to see her again is unexplainable.

About A Silent Prayer

A Silent Prayer is the Book One of A Prayer Series

Adam Gibson is a young and powerful Toronto millionaire. Despite his many blessings, he is an atheist, though he has an altruistic soul. He denies there is a God–until he meets a beautiful stranger in a place that does not exist for anyone but him.

Rania Ahmed strongly believes in God, but has lost hope she will ever find her soul mate. Endowed with hypnotic beauty and cursed by a brutal past, Rania has no idea she has cast a spell on Adam, who has never received more from a woman than physical pleasure. As Adam slowly discovers the true meaning of love from Rania, he begins to face his demons and reconsider his beliefs. He learns to love, forgive and repent. But as Adam grows closer to Rania, a series of strange, unexplained events threatens to drive them apart. To keep her from being destroyed by her past, he must persuade her to trust him with her deepest secrets.

In this spiritual romance, an atheist embarks on a path of enlightenment with a tormented soul who may just have the power to change everything he has ever believed to be true.

A Silent Prayer is the multiple award-winning title.

  • Winner  2014 Los Angeles Book Festival
  • Winner  2014 Paris Book Festival
  • Winner  2014 Hollywood Book Festival
  • Honorable Mention 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards
  • Honorable Mention  2014 New York Book Festival
  • “An intense, joltingly modern love story.” Kirkus
  • “This is a love story with a twist – perhaps one of the most unusual love stories I have ever read.”—Raheel Raza, freelance Journalist & documentary filmmaker
  • “I think A Silent Prayer by Samreen Ahsan is destined to become a classic in the romance genre.”—Readers’ Favorite
  • “A powerfully written modern day romance with a strong spiritual element. Highly recommended.”—The Wishing Shelf Awards
  • “Samreen Ahsan gives their love story a series of obstacles, but a love as powerful and inevitable as gravity pulls them together. Five stars!” — Scott Bury, Author of Army of Worn Soles
  • “Once I started reading this book it was very hard to put down.” — Books and Beyond Fifty Shades Blog
  • “Samreen Ahsan’s A Silent Prayer gets 5 stars hands down!” — Julies Book Review

About the author

History, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities.

A Prayer Series” is my first Multi-Award-Winning Series about paranormal events, based on Islamic concepts.

Share

Thursday teaser: Driscoll: Run and Hide #excerpt

Share

This week’s excerpt comes from Alan McDermott’s upcoming new thriller, Run and HideRead on to see how YOU could WIN a free signed copy!

By Alan McDermott

Colback was picturing the mouth-watering plate of juicy steak and baked potato that lay a couple of blocks south when his sixth sense kicked in.  Years of special-forces training and working in warzones had honed his personal alert system. Tilting his head slightly to the right, he identified the black SUV out of the corner of his eye. No telling how long it had been cruising slowly next to him; the tinted windows meant he couldn’t see who was inside.  He kept a subtle eye on the vehicle and quickened his pace slightly, but he jerked to a stop when he felt the hard object dig into the small of his back.

Shit. He had been too focused on the vehicle and had missed the real threat. He turned his head slightly to see the man who controlled the pistol behind him.  The short-cropped hair and bulging biceps under the white shirt told Colback that this wasn’t a typical street robbery.

Acronyms flashed through his mind.  CIA. FBI.  NSA.

Whoever they were, they’d gone about making his acquaintance the wrong way.

Colback saw the SUV come to a complete stop and the side door opened.  He had an instant to decide what to do.  Given the way this was going down, he saw only one choice.

Fight.

Colback pivoted quickly at the waist to face the threat, spinning his right arm around in an arc as he turned and trapping the assailant’s arm just below the elbow, the pistol now safely under his own arm. Dropping slightly at the knees and then thrusting up he palmed the man under the nose, breaking it bloodily. He followed through with his right arm, delivering a vicious punch to the throat, then grabbed the man’s gun hand and snapped the wrist backwards.  The weapon clattered to the sidewalk, but any thoughts of retrieving it were tempered by the sight of two more bodies exiting the vehicle.

Instead, a single word leapt into his head.

Run!

Colback’s legs were pumping before his own mental warning even registered.  A round from a silenced weapon slammed into the front of a building next to his head, and he took that as his cue to leave the sidewalk and run into traffic.  He almost collided with the hood of a yellow cab as he crossed Fifth Avenue, hoping to make his pursuers think twice about following him.  A glance back told him he was mistaken, their tenacity confirming that these weren’t simply thugs out to rob him.

At the corner of Fifth and East Forty-ninth, he took a left, dodging more traffic as he crossed to where a gaggle of pedal-powered rickshaws converged outside a department store.  At eight in the evening, the pedestrian crowds remained as heavy as the street traffic, which only made the brazen attack more worrying.

Colback crashed through a large throng of Asian tourists and stole another look behind him.  Two figures wearing leather jackets were hot on his heels, and the black SUV was tearing down Fifth Avenue, no doubt to cut him off at the end of the block.  The armed pair was closing fast, and he was quickly running out of options.  He turned right at the corner of Madison and Forty-ninth and found himself outside a café, its outdoor seating area cordoned off by half a dozen metal poles supporting red ropes.

Colback had a better use for them.

He unhitched two ropes and picked up the pole.  It weighed at least fifteen pounds and the base made it unwieldly, but it was all Colback had.  He held it over his shoulder like a baseball bat, listening for the sounds of rapid footsteps approaching the corner.

Colback swung the pole, its round base catching the first of the pursuers square in the face, stopping him in his tracks.  The second one couldn’t stop in time and barreled into his companion.  Both hit the deck hard, and with a couple of more swings Colback made sure they’d stay down.

About the book

Driscoll: Run and Hide is the first novel in a new series by acclaimed bestselling thriller author Alan McDermott. It will be available on Amazon later this year. Continue to follow BestSelling Reads for updates on when you can pre-order it.

Win a signed copy

You could win a free signed copy of one of Alan McDermott’s acclaimed, bestselling Tom Gray series. All you have to do is enter into the Comments below an answer to this question:

In the Tom Gray series, main character Len Smart has a hobby he indulges in every book. What is it?

About the author

Alan McDermott is a husband, father to beautiful twin girls, and a full-time author. Alan lives in the south of England, and in 2014 he swapped writing critical application for the NHS to penning thrillers that have gone on to sell close to a million copies. His debut novel, Gray Justice, was well received and earned him membership of Independent Authors International. That book launched in July 2011, and by the time he’d written the follow-ups, Gray Resurrection and Gray Redemption, it had attracted the attention of a major publisher. Alan signed with Thomas & Mercer in 2013 and has now written six novels in the Tom Gray series and a spinoff called Trojan. Alan’s eighth novel introduces a new female lead.

Until the end of January, the first three books in the Tom Gray series are on sale on Amazon.com, and the first six are just £1 for readers in the UK.

Books by Alan McDermott

Share

Thursday teaser: Blogging for Authors #excerpt

Share

By Barb Drozdowich

This week’s excerpt comes from Blogging for Authors, one of Barb Drozdowich’s series of books to help authors reach audiences.

Why do I need to blog?

THE QUESTION that comes up repeatedly during my discussions with authors — Why? Why do I need to blog? There are several answers to this question.

At the top of the heap, blogging is a writing exercise, another opportunity to develop that writing muscle. The second reason is to communicate with your readers and develop a community. We’ll talk about more reasons as we progress through the chapters of this book.

We all figured out how to make friends in Kindergarten: “Hi, my name is Barb. Do you want to play with me?” As adults in the electronic world, the way to make friends is admittedly a bit more complicated, but not impossible. It goes something along the lines of, “Hi, my name is Barb and I write books. Let’s chat about interests we have in common over a cup of virtual coffee.”

The third reason, as I mentioned in the previous section, is to communicate and share with your community of readers in a fairly permanent way. Unlike the other parts of your platform, your blog posts can be searched and found months or years after they were first shared. So a post that attracted a new reader into having a virtual chat with you two years ago could easily be found today and have the same effect on a new reader.

Your blog is your public face to the world. In today’s society if we want to find out more about a public figure, we “Google” them. Frankly, we expect all public figures including authors to have a website of some sort where we can find out more about them and their books. As we’ll find out in the coming chapters, it’s important to have a blog, but generally not necessary to have a website and a blog. A blog offers an author the ability to add fresh content on a regular basis to their site – something that Google LOVES!

Think of Google as a toddler. For those parents reading this, you realize that toddlers don’t stay interested in anything for long. Even shiny, new toys are quickly abandoned for the box they came in. Google is similar. Google is attracted to new content. A blog that’s posted to on a regular basis provides a steady stream of “shiny new toys” for the Google search engine. This helps a site rise up the ranks in a Google search. While it’s true that the majority of traffic to your blog will initially either come from your friends or be referral traffic from other social media, you want readers to be able to Google the genre they read and find your site in a search. We’ll talk more about this in a future chapter.

I often take people by surprise when I tell them that a country that I sell a lot of books in is India. As I’ll mention several times in this book, as beginner authors, we picture our books for sale in our local bookstore or at most, being sold to readers in our own country. As soon as our books are available online, they are available for sale in most countries in the world. India is considered to be one of the fastest expanding markets for books. I’m not going to be hopping on a plane to India any time soon, but I can interact with my readers in India or any other country by posting to by blog. No leaving the house necessary!

One last comment for this section is about tone and language. As I’ve mentioned previously, I feel that your blog should be a conversation — a dialogue with your readers. A blog post that’s a dialogue with your readers is typically casual in its language and tone, like a conversation between friends. It’s meant to share information as you would over a cup of coffee or a glass of beer with your friends. If your blog post is more formal, it will sound like a dissertation or even a monologue. It may end up conveying information to an audience, but it typically won’t turn your audience into a community. In short, your audience will react differently. Think about how you react when reading let’s say a Wikipedia page. You’re looking for information and you get it. Compare this to reading a chatty, personalized blog post. You’ll have a different internal reaction.

I’ll continue to remind you to keep the word “dialogue” in your mind as we go through this book. I find when you think of something as a dialogue, that is what you create.

About Blogging for Authors

Do you want to find more readers for your book?

Do you feel uncertain about the technology or what to blog about?

Technical trainer Barb Drozdowich has been blogging for the better part of a decade & knows what authors need.

Finding readers is the key to success. One of the best ways to connect with these readers is through the establishment of a blog – one that isn’t just a billboard for sales & releases, but a method for establishing long term relationships with readers.

In award winning Blogging for Authors, Barb teaches not just how to set up a blog but how to turn it into a powerful tool of communication with readers. She brings several decades of teaching experience to help even the beginner author.

In this book you’ll discover:

  • How blogging can help with communication with reader
  • How to create powerful topics to blog about that generate shareable content
  • How to create optimized blog posts that will get people talking
  • How to protect & backup your content to keep your site safe for years to come.

Through a series of free tools & helpful hints, Blogging for Authors helps you choose the right platform, understand the technical aspects & get started today.

If you like an easy to understand book that cuts through the technobabble that exists in many tech manuals, this book is for you!

Pick up this great deal today & start connecting with readers right away. 

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

Social Media and WordPress consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She delights in taking technical subjects and making them understandable by the average person. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about romance novels.

She is the author of 10 books, over 30 YouTube videos and an online WordPress course, all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

She can be found on her

And follow her on  Twitter @sugarbeatbc.

Share

Thursday teaser excerpt: The Damned Don’t Die

Share

This week’s excerpt is from Book 16 of the Reed Ferguson mysteries

By Renée Pawlish

“I know exactly what you’re up to.” It was Shirley. She was just as angry as she’d been inside.

“I can assure you, I’ve been board president for two terms now, and there have never been any issues.” This from Alan Prestwick.

“If you want to cover up for Phil Epstein, you can try, but I’m not going to put up with this nonsense. My money is valuable, and if I have to get the law involved, or more, I will. This is important, and if you don’t do something about it, I might talk to people. And that won’t help you with that other situation.”

“You wouldn’t do that!”

“If I have to, I will. How would you like that?”

“Don’t you threaten me.” Prestwick’s voice had grown ominous. “You think I don’t have ways to handle people like you?”

“That sounds like a threat, too. You better watch yourself.”

A crack sounded loudly in the darkness, and Prestwick cleared his throat. Then footsteps clapped on the pavement. I pressed against the wall, but neither one of them came by me. I peeked around the corner. No one was there.

What was that crack? Had one of them hit the other?

I peered into the night and mulled things over. Shirley was certainly stirring things up. Was it justified? The investigator in me didn’t think I could let it go, but I hadn’t heard anything about the HOA’s financials being off. However, I hadn’t been at too many meetings.

“You ready to go, hon?”

I jumped at the sound of Willie’s voice. She laughed and put her arm on my shoulder.

“I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“It’s okay. I didn’t hear you come up behind me.”

She looked around the corner. “What’s going on? Is there a ghost out there?”

“Nothing.” I told her what I’d overheard.

“Do you think Shirley has uncovered something illegal?”

“I don’t know, but I’ll make a few calls.”

“Okay. Let’s go.”

We walked to my 4-Runner and drove to B 52s. I didn’t think about Shirley for the rest of the evening. After a few games of pool, Willie and I headed home.

The next morning, Humphrey Bogart’s voice woke me from a deep sleep.

“The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.”

It was a new sound bite I’d installed, Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon. I’m an avid film noir fan. I love those movies with the dark, noir hero and the femme fatales. And I aspire to be as cool as Bogie was. A stretch, I know, but I can dream, can’t I?

Willie mumbled something about killing whoever was calling so early as I picked up my phone. I recognized the number. Deuce.

“What’s up, buddy?” I said through a yawn.

“You’re never going to believe it.”

“What?”

Humphrey – the kitten – jumped upon my chest and began purring.

“Shirley Durocher’s dead.”

About The Damned Don’t Die

From Amazon #1 Bestselling Author with over 1 million books in circulation.

“This series just keeps on getting better.”—Amazon review

Denver private investigator Reed Ferguson isn’t looking for an investigation, but one comes his way when his crotchety neighbor, Shirley Durocher, is murdered the day after a contentious Homeowners Association meeting. The suspects with motives are many, including Shirley’s shy granddaughter, Holly, who insists she is innocent and hires Reed to clear her name and find the real killer. To complicate matters, romantic sparks fly between Holly and Cal, Reed’s computer-geek best friend. As Reed delves into the case, he discovers lies, deceit, thieves, and secrets that may lead to Shirley Durocher’s murderer. Can Reed juggle his most challenging case yet while playing matchmaker for Cal?

The Damned Don’t Die is a suspense-filled mystery, with a Bogie-wannabe detective, a lots of humor, and a clever homage to film noir. From the award-wining author of This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies.

Great for fans who love a fast-paced, humorous read, without a lot of swearing or sex.

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

Renée Pawlish is the award-winning author of the bestselling Reed Ferguson mystery series, horror bestseller Nephilim Genesis of Evil, The Noah Winters YA Adventure series, middle-grade historical novel This War We’re InTake Five, a short story collection, and The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, a nonfiction account of a haunted house investigation.

Renée has been called “a promising new voice to the comic murder mystery genre” and “a powerful storyteller.” Nephilim Genesis of Evil has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti.

Renée was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado.

Find more about Renée and her books on

 

Share

Thursday teaser excerpt: Wildfires

Share

This week’s Thursday Teaser excerpt is from an upcoming, yet unfinished mystery novel.

Tara Rezeck Mystery 1

By Scott Bury

Tara’s shoulder slammed into the passenger door as the big old pickup flew around a bend. She wanted to tell Roberto to slow down and speed up at the same time, so she clenched her jaws to prevent herself from biting her tongue as a result of the way the truck’s worn suspension bounced on the rough dirt road.

The air inside was thick with heat and smoke Tara could taste ash in her throat. The heat outside was worse. To the west on the left, Tara could see blue sky through the windshield above the scrub-covered, brown slopes. But on her side, east, grey clouds that faded to black at the horizon blocked the sky. A slope fell away beyond the road’s narrow shoulder, smoke obscuring the vineyards she knew grew there. Opening a window would only let in the smoke, and was already hard to breathe.

Flames from Sonoma County wildfires are seen in close proximity to the
historic Gundlach Bundschu winery in Sonoma on Oct. 9.
(Courtesy of Rafe Tomsett)

No one ever warned me northern California would be this hot, never mind the fires.

Tara gripped the door handle tight as the truck fishtailed. She heard the crunch of tires on the narrow gravel shoulder. Roberto wrestled the wheel, bringing the truck back on course.

Tara risked a glance at him. His brows drew together in a frown and he pressed his normally full lips into a tight, thin line. But there was determination in his brown eyes.

Roberto’s hands were tight on the wheel as he brought them around a sharp bend. The truck didn’t fishtail this time, but the turn made Tara slide across the seat and the seat belt dig into her side. Her hands flew up to the dash just in time to brace herself as Roberto braked hard, then turned sharply to the right onto a paved road.

“Is this—” she said, regretting it as her mouth filled with the taste of smoke.

“The road to the main gate. We got past the road blocks,” Roberto answered without looking at her. He pressed the pedal down and the truck’s engine rumbled. Tara kept one hand braced on the dash, the other holding the door handle as they went around the last curve. She knew there was a gate a quarter-mile ahead, but she could barely see a slightly darker tone to the smoke across the road, let alone the brass plate that read “Rocky Creek Wines.”

“Think the gate’s open?” she asked, moving her left hand to brace against the roof.

“Sure hope so.” Roberto coughed, and Tara answered with her own cough, but it did nothing to ease the burning in her throat. Her eyes burned, but there were no more tears to cut through the ash on her cheeks.

Roberto slowed the truck, and Tara moved her left hand to the dash again. The low stone wall, decorative more than functional, slowly materialized behind the billowing smoke.

Seeing it brought a vivid memory to mind, and she saw the wall on a clear late-summer day, the first time she had seen it, with the ornate wrought-iron gates both wide open. Beyond the wall on a small rise stood a Spanish-style mansion whose terra cotta roof tiles seemed to glow in the California sunlight. She had parked her old Civic in the last place at the far end of the visitor’s parking lot.

She remembered how she had straightened her jacket, pulled the strap of her briefcase higher on her shoulder and flipped her hair back as she strode up the front steps with all the confidence she could fake. Even that slipped away when the handsome maitre d’ put his hand on her shoulder to direct her back onto the porch of the mansion that had been transformed into a restaurant. He pointed toward the back of the estate, past the manicured lawn and swept customer parking lot, toward a much more utilitarian barn at the back of the estate. Tara swallowed, pulled her strap up again and strode toward it.

From a distance, the winery looked like a simple barn, but when she got close she could see it was a modern building, painted to match the yellow and orange of the mansion-restaurant. Set into the ersatz stucco front wall was a wide barn door made of solid dark wood. In its center, a human-size door gaped open. When Tara walked close enough, she could feel conditioned, cool air flowing out.

She leaned in and knocked on the open door. No one said anything. She could hear the hum of some kind of machinery. Smooth concrete floors and light grey ducts and pipes gleamed under halogen lights on the high ceiling. To the left, windows in sheetrock walls showed offices, where a man with dark hair sat, writing with a pencil.

Tara took another deep breath of cool air, stepped up to the office’s interior door and knocked on its frame. The dark-haired man looked up quickly, hazel eyes wide, then relaxing. “Yes? Can I help you?”
His voice was deep and smooth, his tone fast but courteous. Tinged with sadness? Stop imagining things, Tara. You haven’t even met him yet.

“Mr. DaSilva?” She stepped farther into the office, hand extended. “I’m Tara Rezeck.”

About Wildfire

Single mom Tara Rezeck moves to California after graduating from law school, in pursuit of a lifelong dream. Unable to find a position in a Bay-area law firm, she takes a job in the kitchen of a prestigious winery-restaurant in Sonoma County.

When wildfires ravage wine country, Tara evacuates with the rest of the employee—but not the winery owner. His traumatized wife is the one to find his burned body.

The overwhelmed Sheriff’s office wants to classify the death as accidental, but Tara learns there’s also blunt-force trauma involved. When she notices other details that don’t add up, she’s challenged to unveil her legal and investigative skills.

Wildfire will publish on March 22, 2018. Leave a Comment if you’d like to be a beta reader and get a free e-copy when it comes out.

About the author

Pic-ScottBuryScott Bury can’t stay in one genre.

His first published book was The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, followed in 2013 with a “50 Shades” spoof, One Shade of Red, in 2013. Then came the first volume in his Eastern Front trilogy, Army of Worn Soles, a memoir telling the story of a Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army in the Second World War.

He has also written four mysteries in the Lei Crime Kindle World (based on characters and settings created by bestselling Toby Neal), two action thrillers in the Sydney Rye Kindle World (based on Emily Kimelman’s bestselling series) and a thriller in the JET Kindle World (based on Russell Blake’s Jet series.)

Wildfires will be the first volume in a brand-new, standalone mystery series featuring legal investigator Tara Rezeck.

Visit Scott’s:

And follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

Share

Thursday teaser: Wired Dawn

Share

This week’s Thursday teaser excerpt is extra-special: it’s from Chapter 1 of the latest Paradise Crime novel—which releases tomorrow!

Read on to learn how you could win a free copy.

By Toby Neal

The boy ran, stumbling in the darkness, toward the farthest black corner of the cave. His breath tore through his lungs. He put his hands out, slowing as the fire got further away, its flickering light dimming behind him. The darkness thickened, and he tripped and almost fell on the loose, jagged stones of the cavern floor.

That voice like warm honey called his name. “Come, Nakai. What you running for? Where you think you can go?”

Nakai reached the back corner of the cave, a dark and drafty spot where he could feel fresh air welling like spring water from somewhere deep in the earth.

The man’s footsteps approached, unhurried and confident. Nakai glanced back and saw his flashlight swinging, illuminating the harsh volcanic walls with every swing. “Stop this foolishness, boy.”

Frantic, Nakai felt down the wall to the vent where the air came through. There was a small opening there, and he dropped to his knees and wriggled through.

Pitch darkness on the other side of the wall was thick as a muffling black blanket. Nakai crawled forward, biting his lips to keep from whimpering at the pain of rocks digging into his hands and knees.

“What, boy? You trying fo’ get away?” That voice was the sound of evil disguised as a friend, the sound of the worst kind of betrayal. Even now, the boy’s skin crawled at the memory of the man’s hands on him, touching him, stroking and petting, pinching and forcing. “You want to leave so bad? You go, then. And sleep well in the dark.”

Nakai stopped, holding his breath, turning back toward the slit illuminated by the flashlight’s beam. He heard the scrape of a rock, and then the light blinked out.

He was in total darkness, and he was trapped.

Nakai turned and felt his way back in the direction from which he’d come.

Panic rose in a strangling wave and sweat burst out over his body as he crawled forward, and forward, and forward—and felt nothing ahead. No cleft, no wall. No light whatsoever.

He was lost in the dark already.

“Let me out! Help me!”

The stone seemed to vibrate around him, as if he sat on the head of a giant drum. “That’s why music sounds so good in the cave,” the man had told the circle of boys on Nakai’s first night with the group of runaways.  “This lava tube goes on for miles, and the porousness of the stone helps sound carry.”

Maybe it would carry his calls for help. “Let me out!” Nakai cried again. “Help! I’m stuck in here!”

Nothing but the faintest echo of his terror came back to him.

Nakai crawled rapidly now, heedless of bleeding, determined to at least hit some kind of surface—and suddenly, he was out in space, falling into blackness that swallowed his scream.

What’s Wired Dawn about?

Paradise has no protection from a hidden evil.

Security specialist Sophie Ang goes “off the grid” into the remote valley of Kalalau on Kaua`i, where she stumbles across the disappearance of a young boy. As she races against time to save him, uncovering ugly secrets hidden in the heart of the jungle, the events she tried to flee on Oahu gather momentum.

Special Agent Marcella Scott straps on her Manolos and wades in to help deal with what the cyber vigilante the Ghost has left behind, trying to clear her friend from a murder charge.

Can Sophie and Marcella find their way to the truth through the tangled layers of darkness surrounding them?

“If you’re ready to hold your breath and drop everything for hours, find your most comfy chair and start reading this series!”—Laura P., Goodreads

Get it on starting December 8 from:

Write a comment for a chance to win a free copy.

About the author

Fast paced, character-driven stories set in wonderful places. “No one can read just one!”

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. After a few “stretches of exile” to pursue education, the islands have been home for the last fifteen years.

Toby is a mental health therapist, a career that has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her books.

Outside of work and writing, Toby volunteers in a nonprofit for children and enjoys life in Hawaii through beach walking, body boarding, scuba diving, photography, and hiking.

Visit her on:

And follow her on Twitter @TobywNeal.

 

Share

Thursday teaser: Stranger at Sunset #excerpt

Share

Read on to see how you can win a copy of this week’s excerpt.

By Eden Baylee

The naked woman strolled back into his field of vision as a cramp sneaked up on him. A painful twitch stabbed his wrist, reminded him of old wounds. He dropped the binoculars secured by a strap around his neck to shake out both his hands. By the time he brought the lens to his face again, she had disappeared, no … wait, she popped up from behind the bed carrying two pillows. With an unhurried pace, she stepped out on the balcony and propped the cushions on the chair, even fluffed them before re-entering the suite. She closed the wooden French doors behind her.

The light in her room replaced the sun’s blush, a poor substitute given a set of floor-to-ceiling jalousies bracketed his view. He waited to see what she would do next. His breathing deafened his ears as if he were wheezing through a mask; adrenaline pumped in his veins. She moved in front of the window facing him. With hands on her hips, legs spread apart, she stood full frontal and stared straight at him. He shrank back and jostled her image.

Could she see him?

With his naked eye, he peeked in her direction. Nothing had changed. Motionless, she continued to stand in position. Unable to resist, he gathered his wits and raised the binoculars once again, adjusted the focus ring on her legs—those legs that seemed to go on forever.

Horizontal louvers interrupted his view of her body as he slanted the lens upward, advancing an inch at a time. He paused at her navel, swallowed hard, paused again when his lens reached her breasts.

Blood pumped in his ears as he moved up the curves of her collarbone to her long neck. When he met her eyes, he expelled a bellyful of relief. She wasn’t looking at him; she was looking through him. Her almond-shaped eyes trapped him in irrational fear of discovery.

Like a leech, he clung to her to draw out her secrets, imagined the pulse at her neck racing, wondered how it would feel to pull the pins from her hair, to touch her porcelain skin. Only a tiny squint betrayed her otherwise stoic expression.

As if she could read his mind, she turned away and broke the spell. When she faced him again, the mischief in her eyes had disappeared. She cranked the window handle, tilting the slats in unison against one another, narrowing his view with each turn of her wrist. He held his breath with one last image of her—a lowering of her chin before the light vanished from the room.

About Stranger at Sunset

Vacation can be a killer.

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show.

It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.

Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers?

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate’s own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.

Available from:

Amazon  US | Amazon UK | Amazon worldwide

Win a free copy

Author Eden Baylee will give a free e-copy of Stranger at Sunset to the first two people to write a Comment, below.

About the author

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.

Stranger at Sunset is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.

Find more about Eden at her BestSelling Reads author page, or her links below:

Website | Blog | Twitter @edenbaylee | Facebook

Goodreads | Youtube | Pinterest | Linkedin

Amazon Author page US | Amazon Author page UK

 

Share

Thanksgiving giveaway: A Case of Sour Grapes #excerpt

Share

This week’s excerpt comes from

Gae-Lynn Woods

Keep reading to see how you could win a free copy this Thanksgiving.

THE SHADOWS

IT’S A HELPLESS FEELING knowing it’s nearly midnight and your best friend is roaming the streets in pursuit of someone who might want to hurt you both, and you can do nothing to help her.

Except exactly what she tells you to do.

So I did. As I snatched up the phone on Aunt Kay’s desk and dialed, the conference room window exploded. A chorus of screams sounded and my heart jumped into overdrive. Despite the fear, I surprised myself by dropping the phone and squatting to duck walk into the conference room.

Kay and Babby hissed behind me like a pair of spitting cobras, but I stayed low and ignored them. If our intruder was throwing things, he might be armed. That was bad for Cass. I crunched across the conference room floor, bits of glass glittering in the sparse light filtering through the blinds. As had been the case for months now, there was absolutely no breeze, but the humid air rushed to invade our cool offices. The wooden slat blinds were ajar and through the slit I could see into the street. Lights were on around the square and I realized why Cass had reacted so quickly. From the conference room, she would’ve seen the glow of street lights even against the closed blinds. There was no logical reason for our power to go out.

Smart cookie.

Arcadia has a beautiful old courthouse in the middle of a grass lawn wrapped by the one way street that goes around the square. Seconds had passed since the window shattered, but nothing moved. I stayed low and waited, watching. Cass rounded the corner of the block at a full sprint. A sliver of shadow separated from the base of a giant oak on the courthouse lawn and scurried east.

I shouted through the empty window frame, “That way, Cass. He’s on foot.” I pointed and watched as she ran after him. Moments later sirens filled the night air, still heavy with a heat that would keep us in the eighties through the night.

My knees were protesting and I was ready to stand when a second shadow moved. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing at first, but a dark mass peeled away from the tall war memorial and morphed into the blackness beneath another live oak. I couldn’t decide what to do. Cass was out of earshot and I couldn’t see clearly where this figure was headed. I kept my eyes on the lawn and whispered for cousin Cindy to join me.

“There’s glass everywhere, Maxine. I’m not coming in there.”

I resisted the urge to snap at her. “Call 911 again. There’s a second man on the courthouse lawn. He was hiding — wait. There he goes again. South. Call now, Cindy.”

She backed away and I heard a phone being uncradled and a voice murmuring. More sirens wailed into the night but they were too late. I’d lose this second man if I didn’t hit street level.

I think that’s when I realized just how badly I wanted to be a detective. Maybe even needed it. I was utterly helpless while my best friend was out risking her life for a case I’d stumbled into. In those minutes when Cass was out of my sight, before I heard the gunshots, a tiny piece of me grew up.

But the rest of me was still impulsively immature.

Then a gunshot cracked and an image of Cass unconscious in a hospital bed those few weeks ago hit my brain. Icy fear flooded my body.

A second gunshot sounded.

I ran for the agency’s front door.

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.

Get it on Amazon.

How to win a free copy

For a free book, answer: If you were Maxine’s best friend Cass, would Maxine’s bravery/impulsiveness inspire you or drive you crazy?

Leave your answers in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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

 

Share