Thursday teaser: Avengers of Blood

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

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

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

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

“It doesn’t seem possible.”

“Why?”

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

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

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

“Was an autopsy performed?”

“Yes. Cause of death was smoke inhalation.”

“Dental comparison?” Kado asked.

“Umm,” more paper shuffling, “no.”

“Isn’t that odd?”

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

“Yeah?”

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

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

“Of both, please.”

“Do you have one for me?”

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

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

“A very old, very cold murder case.”

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

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

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

“What arrest record?”

“Well, why is he in your system?”

“For exclusion purposes, of course.”

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

“I didn’t mention it earlier?”

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

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

About Avengers of Blood

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

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

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

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

Find it on

About the author

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

Visit Gae-Lynn’s

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

 

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Grief and Writer’s Block

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gae-Lynn Woods 2015-08

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

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

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

You can also find Gae-Lynn at:

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

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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 Devil of Light

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

By Gae-Lynn Woods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to win your free copy

Answer this question in the Comments section:

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

 

About The Devil of Light

A BIZARRE MURDER

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

A COVERT WEB OF LIES AND EXPLOITATION

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

A PERVASIVE EVIL

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

Get it on:

About the author

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

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

Visit Gae-Lynn’s

And follow Gae-Lynn online:

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

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Sweet Treat Thursday: A romance giveaway

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ValentineBundle-FacebookIs there an avid romance reader that you want to be your Valentine?

No romance reader could resist a boxed set of 9 romantic e-books from the freshest voices in fiction today. And you can get them for FREE simply by signing up to receive the BestSelling Reads e-newsletter. Fill out the form on the right and you’ll get this nine-book volume in Kindle format FREE in your inbox.

We promise not to spam you. The BestSelling Reads email newsletter comes out three to four times per year, giving you advance notice on upcoming books from your favorite BestSelling authors. You can unsubscribe at any time, and of course we promise not to sell or give away your contact information to anyone else.

And you can make it the gift of romantic reading for your special Valentine.

Happy reading!

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Teaser Thursday: Avengers of Blood

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

Book 2 in the Cass Elliot Crime Series

You could WIN a free copy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As adversaries.

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

About Avengers of Blood

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

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

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

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

How to win a free e-copy

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

Is vengeance ever justified when the legal system fails?

About the author

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

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

Visit Gae-Lynn’s

And follow Gae-Lynn online:

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

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

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

Woods-SourGrapes

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

About A Case of Sour Grapes

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

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

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

About Gae-Lynn Woods

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

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

Visit her:

Find Gae-Lynn on social media:

Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   

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Focus Friday: A Case of Sour Grapes

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

THE DREAM

Woods-SourGrapes

THE DREAM IS ALWAYS the same: a rush of adrenaline as my body throbs to a pounding bass and pulsing lights; the dancing grows wild and sweat builds as bodies crush against me. Then dread creeps in, stealing the light, muting the music, and pressing down, down, down until I can no longer draw breath and just as I explode with need: relief. Sweet air fills my lungs but an image from a horror movie hangs over me, a familiar melting Dorian Gray of a face, eyes distant and dead, breath huffing and foul. A searing pain tears across my chest and a screech rips the fabric of my nightmare.

I woke, swinging at a phantom that didn’t exist, drinking in huge gulps of air, heart thrumming against my ribs, scar burning with liquid heat.

With equal measures of relief and rage, I glared at the howling alarm clock, a new addition to my bedroom. I slammed the snooze button and rolled away from the window, glowing with the dawn’s early light despite the heavy curtains I’d dragged shut last night. I lay motionless, panting, knowing my memories of dancing that night are real. But I wondered, yet again, which of the rape elements my mind has simply conjured to make sense of that night, and which are true memories buried deep in my subconscious.

Truth versus fiction matters, you see. Because my life is changing direction beginning today, and the hunt for my rapist will gain intensity in the coming months.

The dream always recedes as quickly as it appears and my heart slowed, the sweat slicking my body cooled, and terror released my mind. Cuddled in my down duvet, I pondered yet again whether working for a living was really worth the effort, and drifted back to sleep.

My personality must be quite resilient, because I slipped easily from my rape nightmare into an erotic fantasy. In the middle of a magnificent dream about Daniel Craig in his Quantum of Solace days, right when I was easing the button of his shirt through its hole and feeling the warm flesh of his chest beneath my fingertips, just as his lips brushed mine, my cell phone rang with the gutsy opening strains of “Bad to the Bone”.

I groaned but answered. “Do you have any idea what you interrupted? Shouldn’t you be sleeping until noon? You’re off work, you don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn.”

“It’s nine-fifteen, Max. I drove around the square and your car’s not there. You’re late.”

All thoughts of Daniel Craig vanished. “Crap. Thanks. Lunch?”

My best friend laughed the throaty laugh I love and envy in equal measure. “On your first day at the agency? I wouldn’t miss it. Call me.”

She was the reason I was taking the job, and she was right. Although my Aunts Kay and Babby owned Lost and Found Investigations and I’d been in and out of the office since I was a child, this was technically my first day at work. Running late would only confirm my aunts’ belief that I was unsuitable private investigator material. And I had my first assignment: picking up a package from the bank before going to the office. It was time to focus.

I slid the short-barrel pump-action shotgun I keep beside the bed into its case and then ran for the shower. I lathered and rinsed, and lathered again but forwent conditioner, which shows true dedication. My hair begged for a good moisturizing.

It had been some time since I had held a full-time job. Or a job of any kind, really. So it was no wonder my body rebelled when the alarm sounded at six o’clock. But I was determined to get my private investigator’s license and while I knew I’d have to pass an exam and get certified to carry a handgun – which sounded pretty awesome—I still wasn’t sure about the whole getting up and going to work every day thing.

I yawned at my reflection as I dried my black hair, glad I’d cut it short.

It’s worth it, I told myself. If the only thing you do in this job is find the man who raped you, your best friend, and who knows how many others, and get him off the streets, it’s worth getting up early.

But maybe not until six-fifteen.

About A Case of Sour Grapes

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

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

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

About Gae-Lynn Woods

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

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

Visit her:

Find Gae-Lynn on social media:

Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   Goodreads   |   LinkedIn   

Share

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

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

Woods-SourGrapes

You could win a free e-copy of Gae-Lynn Woods’ newest novel, just by leaving a comment. Don’t forget to also give us some way of contacting you to get your free book to you.

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.

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About Gae-Lynn Woods

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

Visit her full bio on BestSelling Reads.

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Focus Friday: Avengers of Blood

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By Gae-Lynn Woods

Avengers of Blood-final fileIT WAS A BEAUTIFUL night for a killing. One of those gorgeous Southern evenings that occur only occasionally as summer draws near, cool and clear, nearly devoid of humidity. Overhead, the stars sparkled in a vast expanse of velvety sky, their shimmering brightness dimmed only by the whisper-thin gauze of smoke that hung in the nearly motionless air.

Despite the smell of terror and charred flesh, the clearing retained the cheery, slightly crazed atmosphere of a traveling carnival. The crowd had at first been pensive, watchful, but once the killing was done a sense of relief swept through the watchers. Women gossiped and tittered, drinking soda pop from bottles dotted with condensation. Children played chase through the forest of legs and took turns reenacting the murders they’d witnessed only moments earlier. Men smoked pipes and cigarettes, talking in low voices and tapping dried mud from their tired work boots.

The sheeted men nearest the fires took off their hoods and their damp faces gleamed in the flames. People pulled back to give the photographer room and a bright burst stung the night. At last the crowd drifted away, women calling children and fussing at their husbands to hurry home. A few engines cranked in the still air, but most left on foot.

The men in sheets lingered until the last of the crowd was gone and then congratulated themselves on how quickly justice could be served. A rustling startled them and one man took long strides to the side of the clearing and parted two azalea bushes bearing papery violet blooms. A filthy figure gazed up at him, face tear-streaked and snotty, a broken pencil and tattered paper clutched in one grimy hand.

It took a moment, but at last he recognized the child. He leaned over and snatched the paper, calling to his companions. They towered over the tiny body, muttering to one another and turning the drawing to the firelight to see crude representations of the horror they had wrought. At last one of them lifted a foot clad in a pointy-toed cowboy boot and nudged the child toward the road.

“Get on home, now,” he said. “And don’t you ever talk about what you seen. You understand? Don’t draw no more pictures, neither.” The child looked up at him with dark eyes that pierced his soul. He blustered on. “What happened here tonight can just as easily happen to you. Easier, even. ’Cause there ain’t nobody to look out for you now.”

He watched as the child scurried away. Once out of reach, it turned and looked back at them with a burning gaze, searching their faces. He lifted his foot again and the child fled, swallowed quickly by the night. The laughter of the others was at first hesitant, as if they too had felt the intensity of the child’s hate. But the sound swelled and gained confidence and at last he joined in, hoping to obscure the vague uneasiness settling in his gut.

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.

About Gae-Lynn Woods

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

Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @gaelynnwoods

 

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