Summer has arrived for BestSelling authors and readers. This week, we’re treating you to a series of summer teasers, all designed to get you in the mood for lying in your hammock or on your deck, cold drink close by and a great summer read in your hands.
Enjoy these samples, and follow the link to get the whole books!
My breath catches in my chest as she leaps off the cliff. It’s not the height that makes me dash forward. I have never been afraid of jumping off something high. It’s the way Leah’s ankle rolled as she leapt. I have seen way too many dives to not recognize that as a dangerous one. I skid to a stop at the edge and grimace as I see exactly what I feared.
Leah’s body is tumbling toward the water, completely out of control. The splash she throws up skyrockets my pulse. Everyone on the cliff is silent, watching for a sign that Leah is all right. My head starts shaking back and forth as the ripples from her splash begin to settle. There’s no motion under the water. She would have gone in deep, but if she were conscious, she would be kicking back to the surface. There would be some sign that she was coming back up. If she isn’t conscious…these pools are practically bottomless.
While everyone else is looking at the water with concern slowly building, I am kicking off my shoes and tossing my bag at Lacey. I hear Carlos ask, “Why hasn’t Leah come up yet?” right before I jump.
Kimo grinned. He pulled me more tightly to him and I felt myself hardening against him. “Would you like me to finish what I started?” His hand shot into the fly of my shorts.
“You two…” my sister walked in, opening the fridge door. “It’s a good thing Lopaka’s not pregnant. You can’t keep your hands off each other.” She walked off with a carton of chocolate milk.
Kimo stared after her. I reached up for a kiss. He looked back at me.
“Care to finish what you started in our bedroom?”
“No. I want you right here over the kitchen sink.”
Kimo blinked, but he was aroused, all right.
“What if somebody walks in, Lopaka?”
“You’ll think of something.”
Julia Blake left Hotel Leonardo and walked out into the incandescent heat of the narrow street that is Borgo Pinti.
Perhaps the miniskirt was a mistake. She knew she had good legs. It was hot; forty in the shade, warmer in the direct sun. It had been an impulse but one that didn’t seem so bad now she could feel the way the hint of a breeze that her movement was creating in the still warm air played across the perspiration on her thighs and gave a cooling sensation.
At the end of Borgo Pinti, sitting on the shallow kerb, was a group of the homeless, drinks cans in their hands at midday. Four men, a bedraggled woman and a mangy dog. The dog began to move towards Julia and as it approached she winced; all manner of fleas and mites must be in its filthy fur. But at the last minute one of the men grabbed the dog’s collar and pulled it away from her. He looked up at her. From the gutter up her skirt must have looked much too short, much too revealing. The man rolled his eyes in mock desire, knowing his days of making passes at beautiful women were long over.
The restaurant opposite, now closed, was one of the best in Florence. At night on white hot days like this they often cleared the narrow street and set tables out on the cobbles. There must have been some long established arrangement that the drunks could have that end of the street for their drinking during the day; the restaurant would have sole use of it to serve gourmet meals in the evening. No one was bothered by the contrast; the police didn’t need to intervene. It was one of the many Florentine arrangements that went on unchallenged, unofficial, unnoticed.
IT 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.
She got out of the car, recoiling from the heat rising from the pavement. She straightened her jacket, pulled the strap of her briefcase higher on her shoulder and flipped her brown hair back as she strode up the front steps with all the confidence she could fake. Even that slipped away when a young, African-American man in a uniform put his hand on her shoulder to direct her back onto the porch of the mansion that had been transformed into a restaurant. He pointed past the manicured lawn and customer parking lot toward a simple barn-like building at the back of the estate. Tara swallowed, pulled her strap up again and strode toward it.
From a distance, the winery looked like a simple barn, but when she got close she could see it was a modern building, painted to match the yellow and orange of the mansion-restaurant. Set into the ersatz stucco front wall was a wide barn door made of solid dark wood. In its center, a human-size door gaped open. When Tara walked close enough, she could feel conditioned, cool air flowing out.
On July 4th, at the crack of dawn, Jeannie and the Parkers left to go American Camp. This time Jeannie went with Gilly in a buggy driven by Dr. Parker. Forrester rode alongside them with some of the officers. At least I shall ride in comfort for three hours. Then she remembered the ruts on the military road cutting across the valley.
They eventually arrived at American Camp. In an opening to the north of the picket fence lining it, soldiers and civilians were playing a game. To her surprise Breed was at the center, throwing a ball underhand to a soldier in shirtsleeves. The soldier held a long wooden bat in his hand.
“What game do they amuse themselves with?” she asked.
Dr. Parker turned around. “I believe they call it base ball. I’m told back in the States a number of towns have their own teams of players.”
“Is it like our cricket?” As they passed by, Jeannie watched the soldier swing and miss. “Is the soldier a batsman?”
“Aye, and Mr. Breed would be the hurler. He has a good arm.” He went on to explain what he knew about the intricacies of the game and how it was not like cricket, but Jeannie wasn’t listening. She recalled how Breed had thrown a stone to unseat the ruffian abusing her. She admired him even more as he threw the ball and the soldier swung and missed again. It also made her smile to make this new discovery about him.