Thursday teasers of bestsellers to come
By your favorite BestSelling authors
This Thursday and next, we’re giving you something very special: excerpts from works-in-progress.
That’s right: a glimpse at books as they flow from the fingertips of some of today’s leaders in new fiction. Tell your avid reader friends about what you can look forward to.
A Death at Christfall Ranch
The third Cass Elliot mystery
Give the Girl a Whirl
The tornado yanked the pickup off the ground and slung it in an arc. Detective Cass Elliot’s stomach hardened into a knot as the truck bucked and shuddered until it was facing opposite the direction she’d parked. Just as suddenly, her world flipped and she hung suspended by the seat belt across her waist and chest, knees pressed hard against the steering column. A violent shudder ran through the pickup and she was jerked to the right, then thrown hard into the door frame. Shooting stars filled her vision and scorched her brain, and her world faded to gray as the truck plunged from the sky to crash on its roof.
The roaring subsided and Cass blinked thickly against the blurred sight of the undisturbed donut box, balanced precariously on the underside of the steering wheel. Her last thoughts as she fought to remain conscious were that Bruce would never forgive her for wrecking his truck, and Harry’s girls would never forgive her if the sprinkles had fallen off their donuts.
The Brisling Code
Through a door covered with a blanket, a lone man entered the dark attic and felt his way over to the wall on the other side of the wide space. Reaching out a hand to guide him, he was careful not to hit his head on the pitched ceiling above him as he made his way across. When his boot bumped against the familiar bookcase, he felt for the lamp above it. One click and the light was on, illuminating every cranny of the ancient attic. It cast shadows on the wall, trunks, boxes and the planks above him on and on a large wooden box painted with rosemaling flowers and berries. The man took the box off the book shelf and placed it on a small desk next to it. He took a deep breath and quickly opened it, exposing a wireless transmitter receiver. He soon had the W/T assembled and its antennae set out.
He checked his watch. “Time to send,” he said to himself. He cautiously crossed the floor to the window covered with a black-out curtain to listen to outside sounds. It was too risky to lift it, letting light out, no matter how faint, onto the winter street. Satisfied he heard no vehicles below, no tramp of hobnail boots, he pulled up a chair at the desk and prepared to send.
Out of his coat pocket, he unfolded a piece of rice paper and smoothed it out with the tips of his fingers sticking out of his wool half-gloves. He breathed on his fingers, then began to tap out his message on the key. First, he gave his identity code, then the message hurriedly written down on the paper. His intent was to send as quickly as possible then shut his operation down. He was in danger, but this message was extremely important. Each word was significant to resistance operations in Bergen. His concentration was so in tense that he didn’t hear the creak on the stairwell until it was too late.
Suddenly, there was pounding at the door, then the sound of splintered wood as several men dressed in the uniform of the SD poured into attic. Having no time to save himself, he stuffed the paper into his mouth and swallowed it while keeping his fingers tapping on the telegraph key. He did not stop even after the bullets struck him in the back.
Far away, a young woman in an operations center in Scotland read the last word from his dying fingers: BRISLING.
A Heart So Wild
Atlanta Siege Hockey Romance #1
By Raine Thomas
His mystery woman was winging for her friend.
Callan saw it in how she continually redirected attention to her friend. If there was a lull in the conversation, she said something to get things moving again. She was obviously studying her friend and watching for cues to know whether she should find a way to extricate them or make an effort to give her friend some privacy with one of the men they were with.
But she was breaking one of the cardinal rules of winging, Callan thought: never outshine the person you’re winging for.
“What about that group?” Christian asked, pointing to the table of women who had been watching them since they stopped walking around the room.
Callan looked from the table back to his mystery woman. She turned and once again met his gaze. Her head moved the slightest bit to her left.
Callan smiled. He gave her an equally subtle nod.
“Nah,” he told Christian. “Follow me. I think we’re both about to get lucky.”
The colt had no head.
Jared turned from the animal, his gut rocking. He braced himself on the rotting wood fence of the sprawling ranch and took a deep breath. Finally, he willed himself to turn to the remains.
The torso had been gnawed to shreds. The legs had been severed neatly, carefully placed on each side of the torso, the s tiff pairs crossed in a T and bound in baling twine. The front pair lay to the left, the hind legs the right, just as they always were: two hideous cruciforms. The thick smell of death made him double over and vomit.
“It’s him,” the old rancher said.
Jared knew the history. Animals butchered across the county in ritualistic killings. They were placed just so, the head sawed off, a cross carved into its forehead. Its placement was crucial, set precisely above the torso. Coupled with the two crosses fashioned from the limbs, it created one all-encompassing cruciform. He was not the religious sort, and while he had no alternate explanation other than this being the work of a sick and depraved mind, as a young boy he had accepted an alternate label. What his father had called la mano del diablo—the hand of the devil.
“He’s back,” the rancher insisted. “The Phantom.”
Coming out this month from Extasy Books
Jack’s eyelids snapped open. His heart was pounding. Though he was still in bed, he was someplace else. His hand shook as he moved it to his mouth.
Impossible…it couldn’t be…my face is wet. He’d dreamed of walking through a rainforest, following a tall, dark man, and it had started to rain. Oh, no…now I’m hearing the dream. I’m hearing my footsteps…I can still feel the rain on my face! He glanced around furtively. In the darkened bedroom, he saw the familiar shapes of his closet, dresser, the curtain against his window. His breathing was ragged. What a weird dream.
“How much did I drink last night?” he muttered aloud, turning toward the wall.
God, last night had been so depressing. He tried not to close his eyes, afraid the dream would be there again, sucking him in. He swore it was real. He could reach out and push back the suffocating jungle he found himself in. He could feel the leaves, smell the dense, cloying heat. No, no, this can’t be happening.
He fought the green, tasting his fear on his tongue, aware of the other man, his skin warm, turning to him. The man started to speak.
“Please don’t,” Jack said aloud, and awoke once again to find his hands stretched out in front of him, groping. For what? He concentrated on breathing. Who was the man? He focused on the city sounds. Yes…yes. For once he was grateful for the old Pinto his neighbor spent hours revving each morning before dawn. It was a familiar sound. It grounded him.
His thoughts drifted back to the dream. The jungle. Man…too much green.
Green was not a common thing in New York City, and certainly not here, not in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, sorry, Clinton, as the real estate agents, and his boyfriend Robert insisted on calling the gentrified neighborhood.
Jack forced himself out of bed, despite his usual hankering for sleep. He was afraid to close his eyes because, as ridiculous as it seemed, he knew the dream would still be there. Even now, the peculiar birdsong of the jungle was still in his ears.
“Stop!” he shouted. He swung his feet to the floor. It was early. Seven o’clock in the morning. Too early for the pounding of jackhammers that started as if on cue outside his brownstone on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Thirty Ninth. It competed with the loud, irritating thump of techno, now bursting from Wanda’s stereo. He almost called the dominatrix who lived upstairs, but thought better of dealing with her histrionics, and padded to his bedroom window.
Brushing the curtain aside, he stared out of the cold, grimy window at the apartment buildings and ritzy boutiques that had displaced the mom and pop restaurants, cafés, even a great bookstore.
New York’s coldest late fall on record had brought misery and a huge drop in business to everyone…except Wanda. The cops had been here again last night, interviewing her. What a mess. She was a wild one all right. Somebody had reported screams from her second floor apartment. It hadn’t been Jack who reported her, he’d been out with Robert, but he knew she would assume it was him. He sighed. Wanda was a nightmare on her good days. On her bad days, she was terrifying.
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