Thursday teaser: Secrets of the Dead

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By Caleb Pirtle III

Lincoln descended the steps to the pavement. He was facing a strange town on a strange mission under strange circumstances at a strange time in his life.

Somehow, none of it seemed strange.

He may have only been walking the back alleys of his mind.

But he had been here before.

Or he had been to someplace that looked a lot like a dying Baden-Baden when the lights went out. Lincoln walked down the dark street and left the glow of the gaslight behind him. The snow against the building had melted. By morning, it would freeze again. The cold dug deep into an old wound just below the third rib on his left side. In time, the cold would end the pain as well.

Baden-Baden had become a town of silence.

No screams.

No whimpers.

It was as though the town was afraid to breathe, afraid to move, afraid.

On the platform, Captain Emmerich motioned toward the shadows. A small woman with red hair clipped to her neckline and wearing a black leather overcoat walked toward him. “Don’t lose the American,” he said. “Keep your distance, but keep your eyes on him. He will suspect one of us. He does not trust any of us. He will not suspect you. He will regard you as simply another misplaced woman who needs a little help. If he offers to help you, let him. But don’t lose him. He will lead us to the girl, and she will give us the film.”

“What about the American?” she asked.

“Don’t worry about the American.”

“Why not?”

“Leopold will take care of him.”

“Leopold is not here.”

Captain Emmerich smiled. “He will be when it’s time for the American to die,” he said.

Emmerich turned and walked away as the train left the station. The whistle blew, and it sounded like a cry in the night.

About Secrets of the Dead

Ambrose Lincoln is one of the government’s prized operatives, a trained assassin, a man whose past is continually erased by mind control treatments. He is dispatched to Baden-Baden after the Night of Broken Glass to find rolls of film that will tell the truth and uncover the lies. The photographs will reveal to the world the sadistic threat that exists for everyone if Hitler’s mad march isn’t stopped. Lincoln’s mission is to uncover the deadly secrets that his own government doesn’t want him to find, secrets that can change history.

Get it from:

About the author

Caleb Pirtle III is the author of more than seventy books, including three noir thrillers in the Ambrose Lincoln series: Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, and Night Side of Dark. Secrets and Conspiracy are now audiobooks on audible.com. The fourth book in the series, Place of Skulls, will be released during the spring of 2017. Pirtle’s most recent novel is Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever.

Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Read more about Caleb on his

And follow him on Twitter @CalebPirtle.

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Thursday teaser: Imperfect Harmony

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House of Archer Series #1

By Raine Thomas

Coming in January 2017

Read on to find out how you can win a $10 Amazon gift card

imperfect-harmony_ebooksm

Excerpt

“I don’t get it, Dane,” Lily said at last. “What are you so afraid of?”

Archer frowned over the blunt question. “That’s easy enough for you to say. You’re not the one facing the idea of trying to make it on your own after failing so badly before.”

“You’re right, I’m not. And neither are you. What you’re doing is considering making a change while you’re already on the cusp of stardom…a change that could finally push you over the edge into the success you so obviously want.”

He bristled over her pointed statement even though he knew she was right. “You make it all sound so simple,” he grumbled. “What if all that’s waiting for me over that edge is an empty void?”

“Then you make the world crave to be in that void right along with you.”

Lily’s calm and practical responses eased the anxiety and pressure that Archer had carried into the conversation. By the time her uncle and the maintenance worker returned with the tools and removed the door handle to free her, he’d made a decision that would change the course of his future.

The door finally opened and Lily stumbled out, blinking against the light. Archer helped steady her before she turned to give her waiting uncle a hug. It somehow didn’t surprise Archer when Lily then turned back to him and hugged him, too.

Overall, her appearance suited the image he had formed in his head while they talked. Her hair was pulled back into a sensible ponytail. Rectangular dark-rimmed glasses perched on her lightly-freckled nose, framing her intelligent gaze. Silver braces gleamed as she shifted away from him and flashed a grateful smile.

The only trait that surprised him was her petite size. With her strong opinions and clear determination, he somehow pictured a much more domineering physical presence. Lily looked more like a woodland sprite than the pit bull he’d imagined.

“Thanks for your help, Dane,” she said. “Now can someone point me in the direction of the closest bathroom before my bladder explodes?”

“Sure,” Archer replied before casually adding, “and after that, how would you like some content for the story you came here to write?”

Her eyes sharpened with what he interpreted as approval. “You’re going to do it?”

“Yep. You convinced me, Lily Montgomery. Let’s go turn the music world on its ear.”

About Imperfect Harmony

A rock band. A reality show. The opportunity of a lifetime.

As the front man for The Void, lead singer Dane Archer has yet to achieve the success he craves. He hopes that will change when he’s approached about filming a reality show called House of Archer. All he and the band have to do is get some juicy footage while on their upcoming tour.

The problem? Archer’s life is a snoozefest. His parents are happily married, he’s never done drugs or gotten arrested, and he doesn’t get into fights with his band mates. He knows the show will fizzle and die before it ever hits the air, taking his dreams of worldwide fame along with it.

Unless…

If Archer can convince his best friend Lily to be on the show, he’s sure they’ll get all the compelling footage they need. Her life is filled with drama. Hell, she’s practically a reality show in her own right.

Archer’s willing to do whatever it takes to get Lily on board, even if it means charming her into being more than just friends. But when he finds himself falling for her, his seemingly simple plan gets complicated. Soon the line between reality and Reality TV begins to blur, leaving him wondering if achieving his dreams is worth all it might cost him.

Get it in January 2017

Sign up for book notifications on Raine’s website or follow her on Amazon to be the first to hear of Imperfect Harmony’s availability.

Win a $10 Amazon gift card

Tell us about a song you connect with, and why, in the Comments section. Raine will select one entry at random.

About the author

Raine Thomas Headshot (small)Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Follow Raine on:

And follow her on Twitter @Raine_Thomas

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Win 10 BestSelling Reads books on an iPad Air 2

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Send us the first line of Chapter 4 from your favorite BestSelling Reads book for a chance to win a brand new iPad Air 2 loaded with the Kindle Reader and 10 books by Bestselling Reads authors.

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To be eligible to win the prize, you must email the first line of Chapter 4 from any book by one of the authors in the list above. It doesn’t have to be one of the books on the iPad Air 2 — in fact, it’s better if it’s a different one.

All you have to do is go to any book in any format by one of those authors, turn to the first page of Chapter 4 and copy the first line into an email to contest@bestsellingreads.com. All correct entries before the end of October 30, 2016 will be eligible to win.

Need more help? Follow these links to the contest authors’ websites to see more of their books.

We look forward to your entries!

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Thursday Teaser: The Wife Line

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You could WIN a free copy of this Sydney Rye Kindle World mystery.

WifeLine-final-smallBy Scott Bury

Find out how at the end of this excerpt.

Chapter 1: A simple assignment

Provence, France, May 2010

The mansion seemed to Sydney the epitome of France: originally constructed of light grey stone probably hundreds of years ago, it had new, modern windows that showed polished wood floors, bright lamps and modern furniture inside. The light spilling out the windows added to that from modern fixtures that lit up the manicured gardens inside the wall. Two cars sat on the gravel, a black Peugeot and a bright red Lamborghini.

While she couldn’t see them from her vantage point in the tree, Sydney was certain there was also state-of-the-art security and surveillance technology that kept a better eye on the grounds than she had.

Sydney glanced down to the ground. She couldn’t see Blue in the shadows below her, but she could feel him there. Blue — her rock. Always there for her. He had saved Sydney’s life more than once, even took a bullet meant for her.

Blue was the size of a Great Dane with the long, thick fur of a wolf, the markings of a Husky and the elegant muzzle of a collie. He was better to her than she was to him, Sydney knew, but she also knew she could always rely on him.

She turned her attention to the manor house. Two men entered the front room. One was her target — no, make that subject, Sydney reminded herself — Nigel Willem, wearing a suit without a tie, one button of his white shirt open at the collar. The other was a short, broad man with dark hair, cropped short. He had a round, blunt face, heavy eyebrows and a short, thick neck. He wore a golf shirt and casual pants, and as he sat in an overstuffed leather sofa and crossed one ankle over the other knee, Sydney could see he wore deck shoes.

Okay, so Willem is meeting with someone from the Russian mob. Maybe. Or maybe it’s just a movie star.

But why? And why sneak here to do it?

Movement in the front yard caught her eye. A shadow slid down the wall. A tall man dressed all in black crouch-walked to the Lamborghini, keeping it between himself and the front door. The slim figure vanished into the car’s shadow, then re-emerged a few seconds later. It took a run at the wall, sprang up, gripped the top and swung over, vanishing into the night.

Sydney jumped off the branch, landing ten feet below beside Blue. “Hunt,” she said, pointing along the wall toward the front of the estate. Blue sprang ahead, disappearing into the darkness under the trees.

Sydney ran as fast as she could behind him. She rounded the corner of the wall, arriving in a small clearing, still invisible to anyone in the manor. She had expected to find Blue pinning the shadowy figure to the ground, standing on his chest and growling into his face.

Instead, the wan light showed Blue in classic play posture: butt high in the air, tail wagging furiously, front paws and head low to the ground, head tilted slightly to one side.

In front of him was a man in the same posture, or as close as a human being could get to doggie pose: on his hands and knees, butt high, head low. He and Blue looked at each other, sprang up simultaneously, collided, fell together on the ground, rolled over and over. Blue jumped away, giving a little, happy bark, turning to look back at the man lying on the ground. Blue’s tail was a blur in the dark.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Sydney stepped close, getting down on one knee to touch the barrel of her gun to his head and said “Freeze.”

The man did not freeze. Instead, he rolled over onto his back and smiled up at her. He had large, light-colored eyes under heavy eyebrows, high cheekbones, a perfectly straight nose, a full mouth and a slight dimple in his chin. The woolen cap on his head hid his hair.

Sydney leaned over to keep the gun in his face, and turned to Blue. “What is the matter with you?”

Blue’s ears drooped, his tail stopped and fell. He whined softly.

Sydney turned to the man in black. “Who the hell are you and what have you done to my dog?”

“Dogs like me,” he replied with an American accent. His deep voice stirred something inside Sydney’s chest. She swallowed. She could feel sweat on her upper lip.

He smiled broadly, his teeth shining in the wan light. That smell again, she thought. What is it? It was so faint, she wondered whether she was imagining it. Soft but irresistible. Her mouth suddenly felt too full of saliva.

About The Wife Line

Human traffickers are selling young women from eastern Europe as sex slaves and killing them when they become inconvenient. Sydney Rye’s job is only to protect her client, until a mysterious, aggravating and irresistible young crusader pulls her and Blue on a far more dangerous path: taking down the whole slaving ring.

If you like Emily Kimelman’s Sydney Rye series featuring a strong female character, her canine best friend, Blue, tons of action and a dash of sex, you won’t be able to put The Wife Line down.

Following Sydney, Blue and Van across the seamiest part of Europe.

Get is exclusively on Amazon.

How to WIN a free copy of this Sydney Rye Kindle World mystery

It’s easy: in the Comments below, name any other title in the Sydney Rye Kindle World. The author will draw two winners from the correct answers.

Don’t forget to leave your name and contact information when you leave your comment.

About the author

Pic-ScottBuryScott Bury cannot stay in one genre. As an award-winning journalist, he has published articles in Macworld, The Financial Post, Marketing, Graphic Arts Monthly, Applied Arts and other magazines in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. His first published fiction was a children’s story, Sam, the Strawb Part. His next was a paranormal/occult thriller, Dark Clouds, followed by the bestselling historical fantasy, The Bones of the Earth.

His other titles include a parody, One Shade of Red, and Army of Worn Soles, a memoir of World War 2 seen through the eyes of a man who fought on the Eastern Front.

Most recently, he has been writing mystery-thrillers in three Kindle Worlds:

  • Torn Roots, a Lei Crime Kindle World mystery
  • Jet: Stealth, a JET Kindle World thriller
  • Palm Trees & Snowflakes, a Lei Crime Kindle World story
  • The Wife Line, a Sydney Rye Kindle World thriller

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He holds a BA from Carleton University’s School of Journalism. He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot.

He is a recipient of Maclean Hunter’s Top 6 Award and a member of a team that won a Neal Award for business reporting.

Scott can be found:

BestSelling Reads Author page    |  Website   |   Blog    |  Facebook    |   Twitter

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Thursday teaser: Return of the Ascendant

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Ascendant Series #1
By Raine Thomas

You could WIN a signed copy of Return of the Ascendant. Find out how at the end of the excerpt.

Return of the Ascendant_ebooksm

Looking up, Kyra realized she was walking in shadow. Typically, the quad was well-lit by tall lights designed to look like old-fashioned gas lamps. The posts stood about twenty feet apart and surrounded the square area, offering plenty of luminescence and providing a sense of safety. Now, at least three of the lights along Kyra’s route had gone out.

Her steps faltered. She looked to her right, where the school’s science building stood. Rows of bushes cast deep, uneven shadows along the brick face. A muggy breeze rustled the leaf-covered limbs, generating an eerie scratching sound as they brushed the harsh surface of the wall.

Feeling as though someone was watching her, she cast a furtive look around the quad. On any normal evening, there would be plenty of people walking around the area. Now, however, not another soul was in sight. Kyra supposed they were all either still moving into their dorm rooms or had already left for the big party.

Despite the visual confirmation that she was alone, she had the pressing urge to call out and ask who was there. An image of herself acting like a horror movie cliché kept her lips firmly sealed, however.

Another scraping noise on her right had her starting. She clutched her purse closer to her body and picked up her pace. Surely the shadows were just making her jumpy, she reasoned. That didn’t explain why every hair on her arms and neck now stood on end.

Swallowing her rising fear, she almost broke into a run as she reached the last twenty feet of darkness. Her eyes didn’t move from the gloomy bushes. She couldn’t explain her reaction, as the university was in a small, sleepy town and had a low crime rate. But every instinct in her told her to run.

Just as she neared the halo of light cast by the closest lamppost, it went out. She staggered to a halt.

That was when the darkness moved.

Not possible, she thought.

She watched the shadows take shape, growing ever taller. Five feet, six feet, seven feet tall…like a creature advancing and casting a longer and longer shadow. Her heartbeat accelerated. The voice in her head ordered her to flee.

Run now!

Before she could command her limbs to move, she felt her arm taken in a firm grip. She barely avoided issuing a terrified shriek over the contact. Her fear had escalated to a point where she couldn’t even get a sound past her throat.

Her head whipped to the side. She realized the man who had grabbed her was a good eight or nine inches taller than her, even in her heels. She got a sense of a chiseled profile and broad shoulders as he urged her to move. Her gaze flew to the ground as she tried to avoid breaking an ankle. Only when they emerged from the darkness did her sense of panic begin to ease.

Her unexpected companion’s pace also slowed once they reached the light. She turned her gaze to him once again. Had he been the one who had cast the shadow?

She didn’t think so. Although she couldn’t tell much about him from his profile, she didn’t sense that he would harm her.

“It isn’t me you need to worry about,” he said in a deep voice. “You were right to fear the dark.”

Win a signed copy of Return of the Ascendant by describing your favorite alien-related book or movie in the Comments section. The author will choose a winner.

About Return of the Ascendant

Expecting to enjoy another typical college night at a frat party with friends, Kyra Vaughn’s plans derail when she’s almost killed…twice. Her savior, a tall, sexy stranger who calls himself TaeDane, claims that he’s the personal bodyguard for the Ascendant of Alametria. She’s convinced he’s crazy.

Especially when he insists that she’s the Ascendant.

With dark enemies hunting her down, Kyra has no choice but to trust her supposed bodyguard. Ty vows to help her remember her past and return her safely to Alametria, but someone seems intent on interfering, challenging his abilities at every turn.

As Kyra’s memories emerge, she remembers that Ty is more to her than he’s let on…much more than he’s allowed to be. She’ll also discover that there are many things about her planet and herself that she’d rather forget. In the end, she’ll have to make a choice: cling to the life she knows, or risk it all to become the person she’s destined to be.

Where to get it:

About the author

Raine-Thomas-Headshot-small-233x300Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.
Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @Raine_Thomas.

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Thursday Teaser: Under the Nazi Heel

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Read this sample to win a paperback copy of Book 2 of Scott Bury’s Walking Out of War trilogy.

UTNH - V3Chapter 1: Back home

Ternopyl, December 1941

A rooster crowed and Maurice bolted up in bed, wondering where he was. Where is the bugle?

He looked side to side without recognizing where he was. It seemed familiar, but where were his men? His uniform? His pistol?

He saw the window, the grey sky beyond. The red and orange horizon. It was morning.

He saw his dresser, his bed.

His bed.

Not the army’s bed.

He fell back onto the mattress, looking at the familiar ceiling. What time is it?

Memory came back. He was home. Safe. In his mother’s house, in his own bed, the bed he hadn’t seen in — what? Nine months?

He felt weight on his eyelids. Just a few minutes, that’s all. Then I’ll get up.

He woke hours later. It had been the first good night’s sleep he’d had in months, since before he had left to join the army. The months now seemed like an entire lifetime. His familiar bedroom looked strange, foreign in some way he could not define.

He looked in the mirror, surprised to see the man looking back at him. He realized that he had always thought of himself as handsome. High cheekbones, a straight nose, hazel eyes under a wave in his thick brown hair. But now that hair hung limp and ragged, his eyes looked dull with dark semi-circles sagging below them. His cheeks were dark hollows. Lines cracked his lips and coarse stubble grew in thin patches across his jaw and throat.

I look like I crawled out of hell. I guess I did.

An aroma reached his nose, an odour he hadn’t sensed in months. Immediately, his mouth got wet and his stomach growled. Mama’s cooking. He found his old housecoat in the wardrobe and pulled it on as he nearly ran down to the kitchen.

Somehow, his mother had managed to gather enough food to put a magnificent breakfast on the table: sausages, eggs, kasha and tea. She cried as she put the dishes in front of him. “Maurice, you’re so thin, so thin. What did they do to you?”

Maurice could only manage a few bites. “Delicious, Mama. I haven’t eaten food like this since … I’ve missed you so much.” He stood so his mother could embrace him.

She pulled away to wipe tears from her face. “But why don’t you eat more? Please, Merosho,” she said, using her pet name for him. She put a plate of home-made bread, sliced thick, in front of him.

The food was delicious, but Maurice just could not swallow another bite. His stomach had shrunk.

“I’m sorry, Mama. I just can’t. Maybe later.” He sat again to sip his tea. If only there was a slice of lemon to put in it, but lemons hadn’t been available since 1939, when the Soviet Union occupied western Ukraine.

Later, his mother and sister sat with him in the kitchen as the thin winter sunlight crept across the floor. They told him what had happened since the Soviet Army had drafted him the previous April, and especially since the Germans invaded on June 22.

How to win a paperback copy

In the comments section, tell us what Germany’s June 22 invasion of the USSR was called. The author will draw three winners from the correct answers.

About Under the Nazi Heel

For Ukrainians in 1942, the occupying Germans were not the only enemy.

Maurice Bury was drafted into the Red Army in 1941. Captured and starved in a POW camp, he escaped and made his way home to western Ukraine, where the Nazi occupiers pursue a policy of starving the locals to make more “living space” for Germans.

To protect his family, Maurice joins the secret resistance and soon finds they faces multiple threats. Maurice and his men are up against Soviet spies, the Polish Home Army and enemies even closer to home.

Experience this seldom seen phase of World War 2 through the eyes of a man who fought and survived Under the Nazi Heel.

Under the Nazi Heel is the second of three volumes telling the true story of Maurice Bury’s experiences on the Eastern Front of World War 2. The third volume will be published in December 2016.

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

Pic-ScottBuryScott Bury cannot stay in one genre. As an award-winning journalist, he has published articles in Macworld, The Financial Post, Marketing, Graphic Arts Monthly, Applied Arts and other magazines in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. His first published fiction was a children’s story, Sam, the Strawb Part. His next was a paranormal/occult thriller, Dark Clouds, followed by the bestselling historical fantasy, The Bones of the Earth.

His other titles include a parody, One Shade of Red, and Army of Worn Soles, a memoir of World War 2 seen through the eyes of a man who fought on the Eastern Front.

Most recently, he has been writing mystery-thrillers in three Kindle Worlds:

  • Torn Roots, a Lei Crime Kindle World mystery
  • Jet: Stealth, a JET Kindle World thriller
  • Palm Trees & Snowflakes, a Lei Crime Kindle World story
  • The Wife Line, a Sydney Rye Kindle World thriller

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He holds a BA from Carleton University’s School of Journalism. He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot.

He is a recipient of Maclean Hunter’s Top 6 Award and a member of a team that won a Neal Award for business reporting.

Scott can be found:

Website   |   Blog    |  Facebook    |   Twitter

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Teaser Thursday: Getting Even

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Win a free e-copy of newest novel by bestseller

Claude Bouchard

Getting Even 20160327 LR

Leave a comment at the end of this excerpt.

William stepped into the parking garage from the elevators and, with a glance, confirmed the presence of the Barrys’ vehicles. Though it was possible they had gone off somewhere on foot, he doubted it, having seen Chris and Dave arrive less than an hour earlier toting a couple of grocery bags. In addition, as he had learned the previous evening, Dave was still recuperating from his injuries and not yet likely to walk the distance even to the closest eatery several blocks away.

Stepping out into the chill evening by a side door, he proceeded to walk toward the back of the building, expecting the grounds to be deserted but not leaving anything to chance. As he went, he reflected on the events of the last few days, pleased with the progress he had made in so little time which had led to spending several rather pleasant hours solidifying his new friendship with Barry and McCall. He had yet to determine when and how he would bring his brilliant charade to an end but he knew it would be much more satisfying than anonymously pulling a trigger from a safe distance like a cowardly sniper.

He walked at a brisk pace and was soon approaching the front of the building on the other side, content that his neighbours were all tucked in the warmth and comfort of their homes, enjoying their long weekend and minding their own business. He scanned the visitors’ parking lot as it came into view, noting a handful of vehicles, all of which had been there a couple of hours earlier when he had last checked. Satisfied with the absence of any witnesses, he strolled the short distance across the lawn to the copse of trees which had offered him the needed cover when he had attempted to eliminate Jonathan four days earlier.

“Good, you’re here,” he said in way of greeting to the beefy young man who stood in the shadows of the evergreens. “I don’t like to be kept waiting.”

“You said seven,” the man growled as he glanced at his phone before pocketing it. “I been freezing my ass for twenty minutes.”

“Get yourself a better coat next time,” William replied, unimpressed.

“If you’re trying to motivate me by pissing me off, it’s working,” the man warned. “So, are you serious? We’re doing this?”

“I wouldn’t be here otherwise,” said William, gazing toward the street below the incline. “That’s your car?”

“Yeah, ready to go as soon as I’m done,” the thug confirmed. “You owe me another two-fifty.”

William pulled his hand out of his jacket pocket and held out a wad of bills. “Now you can buy that coat I suggested.”

The young hood grinned this time as he stuffed the cash into his jeans.

“You’re funny, I gotta admit,” he said before driving a meaty fist at William, clocking him solidly in the jaw.

William’s eyes glazed and his knees buckled but he managed to stay on his feet. “Again.”

“You’re da boss,” the man replied, lashing out and hitting William below the right eye.

As William began to keel over backward, his paid assailant grabbed the front of his jacket and pulled him upright. Holding him up with one hand, he backhanded William with the other then brought the now clenched fist back for another blow on the opposite cheek, this time drawing blood. He released his grip and William crumpled to the ground.

“Juss to make sure it looks real,” the thug muttered before kicking at William a few times, promising some decent bruises to the torso and thighs.

“Those are on the house. Pleasure doing business with ya,” said the man before trotting down to his waiting car.

What’s Getting Even about?

Doesn’t everyone fantasize a bit about vigilante justice? Haven’t you ever read or heard of some despicable act of violence and secretly wished you could have the opportunity to make the predator pay? Welcome to the VIGILANTE Series, a growing collection of suspense best sellers best described as thrillers and mysteries which will have you cheering for the assassin as justice is delivered in a clandestine fashion… But remember, this is fiction so it’s not a crime… Available in kindle and print books…

Book 12 of the VIGILANTE Series

Born of old money, attractive and well educated, philanthropist, William Enright had been the picture of the perfect socialite until his arrest and conviction as Montreal’s “Homeless Killer.”

After spending nine years in British Columbia’s maximum security Kent Institution, William succeeds in executing a masterful escape with only one purpose in mind…

Finding Captain Dave McCall and the others who sent him to hell and, getting even.

You can win a free e-copy. Leave a Comment and Claude will choose winners at random.

About the author

CBouchardUSA today bestselling author Claude Bouchard was born in Montreal, Canada, at a very young age, where he still resides with his spouse, Joanne, under the watchful eye of Krystalle and Midnight, two black females of the feline persuasion. In a former life, he completed his studies at McGill University and worked in various management capacities for a handful of firms over countless years. From there, considering his extensive background in human resources and finance, it was a logical leap in his career path to stay home and write crime thrillers.

Read his full bio on his BestSellingReads Author page. And visit his:

And follow him on Twitter @ceebee308

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Teaser Thursday—The Legend: A Marienstadt Story

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By Kathleen Valentine

You can win a free paperback copy of this new book. Read the excerpt to find out how.

TheLegend-Marienstadt“Got us a new boarder,” Andy said, hanging up the phone, one morning when Kit came into the stable’s office. “The owner just called and said she talked to our vet and checked our references. Nice lady. She came by the other day and Giselle showed her around.”
“Good,” Kit said. “Are they bringing the horse over or should I go pick him up?”

“She’s riding him over this morning. I told her we could give her a ride home, but she said her husband would come for her.” Andy grinned a mischievous grin. “We’re in for a treat with this one. Ever seen a Friesian stallion?”

“No. What’s that?”

“One of the most beautiful breeds of horse that you’ll ever see. Black as coal, every one of them, and powerful. They’re an ancient breed of draft horses so they’re all muscle, but every one I’ve ever seen is as graceful and nimble as a show horse.”

Kit’s eyes widened. “No kidding?”

“Missus St. Clair said the horse was a gift from her husband. He’s some kind of big shot financier—worth a ton of money. She said they had a big place out in the country where she could take care of the horse herself, but her husband is selling it so they can move into the city. She didn’t sound real happy about that.”

“Why would he do that?”

“Because people have their heads up their asses.” Andy stood up and reached for his hat hanging on a wall rack. “It happens too damn often. A horse is a twenty-five to thirty year commitment. These people with more money than brains buy one because mommy and daddy didn’t let them have a pony when they were little, then a few years later they can’t be bothered. It pisses me off.” He shouldered into his jacket. “Giselle needs me out in the north pasture. Can I count on you to stick around here?”

“Sure.”

“Her name is Amelia St. Clair. I’m sure you’ll be more charming than I am. She sounded upset. I’m not real good with upset women.”

Kit kept his amusement to himself as he watched Andy take the reins of the horse waiting for him, mount it, and ride off like a disgruntled old gunslinger tired of shooting people for their own good. An hour later Kit was crossing the driveway between the office and the house when he spotted a horse with rider galloping through the south pasture toward him. He stopped in his tracks and stared. There was no mistaking this creature—he had never seen anything like it. The horse was both powerful and graceful with an elegant neck and a long, thick mane that blew about in the wind like billowing smoke. Its deep black coat gleamed and long feathers puffed out around all four lower legs with each step. As horse and rider drew closer, the animal slowed to a beautiful, high-stepping trot. Kit looked up at the rider whose face was shaded by the brim of a dark fedora. He raised his hand in greeting.

About The Legend

The Legend continues the story of the Wilde family from The Christmas Daughter: A Marienstadt Story. Boone Wilde’s life is busy as he continues to run the hotel and tavern his parents started, raise his daughter, Charity, who is now fourteen, and romance Grace Winter. Then on a snowy winter morning his brother Kit returns to Marienstadt to enlists Boone’s help. Kit tells him about Sultan, a magnificent Friesian stallion, that was removed from the Kentucky horse stables where Kit works. Sultan belonged to a woman named Amelia and for three years she has been searching for him. With the help of a motorcycle club called Durga’s Dogs, whose mission it is to rescue fight dogs, Kit has a lead to Sultan’s whereabouts, but he has to hurry before the horse is sent to slaughter. This is a story about failure, last chances, redemption, and the love between brothers.

Get it as an e-book or paperback on Amazon—or leave a comment about your favorite horse and we’ll pick one at random for a free paperback. Don’t forget to leave your email address so we can contact you when you win!

About the author

KV-300pxKathleen Valentine was born and grew up in the Allegheny Highlands of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in The Arts and worked for over twenty years in the art/marketing departments of high-tech corporations. Since 2003 she has run her own design business, Valentine-Design.com. She is the author of “Fry Bacon. Add Onions”, a cookbook/memoir of growing up, Pennsylvania Dutch, as well as 4 novels, several novelettes and short story collections, and knitting instruction books. She has been listed as an Amazon Top 100 Author in Horror. Her novellas, The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic and Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter were Amazon Top Ten Best Sellers in Horror and Ghost Stories for over 20 weeks.

Visit Kathleen’s

and follow her on Twitter @Kathleen 01930.

 

 

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Teaser Thursday: Wired In

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Read this preview of the latest Paradise Crime novel by Toby Neal and win a free copy

Toby will choose a commenter for an ebook copy of Wired In! Tell one thing you like about Hawaii per entry. Ends March 2.

wired-22416

The child had curled her body around an old stuffed rabbit as if protecting it. She lay on a bare mattress in a walk-in closet whose gloom was held back by a night-light, her thumb in her mouth. Blond hair gleamed silver in the grainy video feed. 

Special Agent Sophie Ang swiveled the tiny video cam snaked through a hole bored in the drywall of the ceiling. She checked all four corners of the small space, and there was nothing to see but empty shelves. She brought the camera back to rest on the tiny figure in the daisy-sprigged nightgown she’d been wearing when they took her. 

“Primary feed established,” Sophie whispered into the comm unit. 

She took one more look at the child, visible in a window on the monitor, before crawling along the floor of the apartment above, pushing the floor schematic ahead of her.

Sophie drilled her second hole right near where the living room light fixture should be. She leaned all her body weight onto the silent, battery-operated pneumatic drill. The dust and wood of the subfloor and ceiling material of the unit below blew past her on a jet of warm air, making her nose tickle with an incipient sneeze. She turned her head hard, pressing her nose against her shoulder and holding her breath until the urge passed.

 Sophie felt a sudden give as the drill punched through and instantly let up on the pressure, holding the drill in place so it could suck the last bits of ceiling material out of the hole. She fed in the camera on its stiff, flexible cable, looking to see what was happening in the room below on the monitor. 

Directly beneath the eye of the camera two men lounged on couches set at right angles facing a flat screen TV. Sophie rotated the cable slowly, watching in the monitor. The camera scanned the room, taking in guns set carelessly on the coffee table beside empty pizza boxes and a pyramid of beer cans.

“Secondary cam installed and operational. Two unsubs in exterior room, armed,” Sophie whispered.

“Roger that. Return to base when camera secure.”

Sophie opened the black tool backpack she’d carried in for the operation. Inside were a battery-operated cutting saw, pliers, and the camera equipment’s plastic case. She stowed the drill in the backpack and glanced at the two open windows of the video feed, now streaming wirelessly to the surveillance van parked outside the apartment building.

The little girl rolled over, looking at the ceiling, the rabbit clutched in her arms. 

“Mama,” she whispered. “Mama.” Her eyes were black holes in the low-resolution image. Tears shone on her cheeks. Sophie felt something painful tug at her as she read the girl’s lips. She endured a flash of unwanted memory.

Something was happening in the other video feed. 

Both men had picked up their phones and were reading what looked like a text message. Sophie saw them look up at each other, and through the floor beneath her, voices rumbled to accompany her lip reading.

“The FBI is onto us. You ratted us out!” 

One of the men leapt to his feet. 

“No, you did!” the other one yelled. “You even got the payoff!”

Sophie whirled and grabbed the saw out of the tool backpack. She ran back to the hole directly above the child even as her earbud crackled with orders for the rescue team. “Move, move, move!”

Sophie flipped on the saw, set at top speed, yanked off the vacuum piece that suctioned out the dust. She brought the chainsaw-like tool down, whining like a dentist’s drill. The saw bit into the wood, tearing though it like an electric bread knife through dinner rolls. She hauled the saw up out of the hole, threw it out at another angle, and drew it toward the end of the last cut. 

The girl only had moments.

Sophie made the third cut of a triangle as the room below echoed with yelling, then the deafening bam-bam-bam of the kidnappers firing on each other.

Sophie leapt to her feet, threw aside the saw, and, hoping like hell the child had the sense to get out from under the hole appearing in her ceiling, she leapt with both feet and all her weight onto the rough triangle she’d made.

 The fall was short and hard and she landed facing the closet door as she’d planned, knees bent to absorb the landing, the mattress taking some of the shock.

She hadn’t landed on the child. That was all she cared about as a tumult of wood, drywall and dust followed her down. She drew her weapon, and the closet door opened.

Sophie fired at the dark silhouette in the doorway. She fired until the shape fell backward out of sight, and then she spun to find the girl.

Anna Marie Addams had folded herself into the corner of the closet and her rabbit was tight against her chest. She lifted her head, eyes huge. Sophie squatted down, touched Anna’s hair and whispered softly, “Don’t look. You’re safe now. But don’t look. And put your fingers in your ears.”

Anna obeyed, putting her head down over the rabbit and her hands over her ears. Sophie turned and faced the door, blocking the girl with her body. 

“Package is secure,” she said into the comm. 

Her earbud crackled. “Roger that. Breaching the apartment.”

Sophie felt Anna shudder with terror, pressed against the back of her legs, as the door cannon boomed in the exterior of the apartment. 

This time the doorway filled with nothing but a man’s arm, firing into the closet. Sophie fired back, but her breath was stolen by a blow to the chest that knocked her back against the child and the wall. 

Sophie felt Anna squirming beneath her. She couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe, and an endless long moment passed as black spots filled her vision and her hands scrabbled for the Velcro closures of the vest. Then hands lifted her off of the child, dragged her over the bodies in the doorway, and ripped open her Kevlar vest.

Sophie’s diaphragm finally started working and she dragged in a breath. Her squad commander, Agent Gundersohn, leaned down into her face. “You’re okay, Agent Ang. The vest caught the round.” 

Demon spawn of a pox-ridden sailor,” she cursed in Thai, her voice a thin wheeze.

“What?” Gundersohn cupped his ear.

In the closet, Anna was screaming.

Sophie hauled herself to her feet. Her ears rang from the gunshots in the enclosed space. Her ankle buckled when she stood and it hurt like hell to breathe—but Anna was screaming. She stumbled back into the closet, pushed her way through the two team members trying to calm the girl, and dropped to her knees in front of the child. 

Anna’s head was down and her hands were still over her ears. A high-pitched cry ululated from her tiny body. Sophie put her hand on the child’s head and leaned close, into the screaming.

“Hush, you’re safe now. They’re gone.” 

A second later the shrieking stopped. The rigid little body uncurled. The small white arms reached out. Sophie stood up with the child in her arms.

“Don’t look,” Sophie whispered. 

Anna pressed her wet face into Sophie’s neck and shut her eyes, clinging like a baby monkey with her arms and legs. Sophie carried the child past the two sprawled bodies in the doorway, past the pizza containers and fallen beer cans and the man with his throat ripped open by bullets, leaving arterial spray across the couch. Past the black-clad Hostage Rescue Team members in their FBI-emblazoned Kevlar. Down the hall and a flight of stairs, through the push-handled exit, across the foyer of the building, out the glass front door, onto the sidewalk, and into the sunshine.

About Wired In

Paradise has no protection from a hacker with a hidden agenda.

Special Agent Sophie Ang’s emotions are battered by a child kidnapping case that goes badly wrong. In tracking the criminal ring, her rogue data analysis program D.A.V.I.D. identifies an anomaly that leads her into a cat-and-mouse game online with a deadly enemy whose motives are unclear. The chase lures her through dark corridors of cyberspace into a confrontation with the violence from her past that sent her fleeing to the United States. She’ll need every skill she’s learned to defeat her worst nightmare—and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

“Toby Neal has created a wonderfully rounded action heroine with everything: looks, brains, mixed martial arts prowess, and the ability to swear proficiently in Thai and English. Fans of the genre will love FBI agent Sophie Ang, as well as the tangled web she must negotiate in the tropical setting of Hawaii.” — Russell Blake, NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author

Where to get Wired In

About the author

Toby Neal, bestselling author of Hawaii mystery Torch Ginger

Toby Neal

Toby Neal was raised on Kauai in Hawai’i and makes the Islands home after living elsewhere for “stretches of exile” to pursue education. Toby enjoys outdoor activities including bodyboarding, scuba diving, photography and hiking as well as writing. A mental health therapist, Toby credits that career with adding depth to the characters in the Lei Crime Series.

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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.

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