Book Showcase: THE SCENT OF WAIKIKI by Terry Ambrose

The Scent of Waikiki (Trouble in Paradise)


by Terry Ambrose

About the Book





Cozy Mystery

9th in Series

Satori (July 19, 2018)

Print Length: 330 pages

ASIN: B07CZ3B389



Honolulu landlord Wilson McKenna can smell a scam from across the room. So when one of his tenants loses everything in a work-at-home scam involving a new perfume, he’s shocked. With his wedding just weeks away, McKenna has to make a tough decision. Does he evict a woman who’s down on her luck? Or take time out from wedding planning to help his tenant?

Turning the case over to his PI-in-training friend Chance Logan seems like the perfect solution—until Chance tells McKenna he needs a wingman for a visit to fragrance entrepreneur Skye Pilkington-Winchester. McKenna’s sure he can keep everyone happy by helping Chance this one time. But nothing is ever as easy as it seems, and soon McKenna’s up to his board shorts in hot water. His tenant’s simple fragrance scam might involve industrial espionage, Skye’s assistant is murdered, and McKenna’s bride-to-be accuses him of having cold feet.

As McKenna and Chance dig deeper, it seems so much of what they’re being told doesn’t pass the sniff test. And the only way to get his life back is to find the dead girl’s missing boyfriend, unmask a killer, and finish up in time for the wedding. Other than that, it’s just another day in paradise.



About the Author



Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who tracked down deadbeats for a living. He’s long since turned his talents to writing mysteries and thrillers. Several of his books have been award finalists and in 2014 his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. He likes cool photography, funny mysteries, and finding the oddest things while walking on the beach.


Author Links:

Website: http://terryambrose.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/suspense.writer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6447968.Terry_Ambrose

Purchase Link

Amazon   B&N


Giveaway

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 25 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 26 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

July 26 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

July 27 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

July 28 – Laura’s Interests – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 29 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

July 30 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

July 30 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

July 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 31 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 31 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 1 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 2 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

August 3 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

August 3 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 3 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 4 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

August 5 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, GUEST POST

August 7 – The Montana Bookaholic – CHARACTER GUEST POST 



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Guest Post: Elizabeth Byler Younts – THE SOLACE OF WATER

Good day, my bookish divas and divos. I am beyond excited to welcome today’s guest Elizabeth Byler Younts, author of The Solace of Water, a recently released coming-of-age historical fiction novel set in the 1950s. Today, Ms. Younts will be providing us a few character sketches to help whet our interest in The Solace of Water. I’ve already put this book on my TBR list and I hope you will as well. Without further adieu, I give you Ms. Elizabeth Byler Younts.





I’m so happy that The Solace of Water is highlighted today! This book has my heart and I’m so excited that it’s out there in your hot little hands now!

And now…meet the 3 leading ladies!

Delilah Evans…aka Deedee. The reader will meet Delilah in the midst of deeply grieving the loss of her young son, Carver. But she’s trying to keep it together for her husband, two daughters, and two more sons. She blames her oldest daughter, Sparrow, for Carver’s death. She has been born and bred in the Deep South but is moving North—oh, the culture shock! 

The reader will get a sense for Deedee’s anger and heartache. Her grief is heavy and she doesn’t mince words. You will get no shortage of her thoughts on how she feels about facing her new life. And when Emma becomes part of her story, she will tell you what she thinks about that!


Emma Mullet is a reclusive Amish woman who has never lived anywhere but the small secluded town of Sinking Creek, Pennsylvania. She has a husband who isn’t just a deacon in their Amish church but is also a closet alcoholic. They have a son, Johnny, and many years earlier lost a baby through a traumatic miscarriage. 

Emma not only is burdened with the secrets of her husband but also her own. You’ll have to read the book to find out what they are. 



Sparrow Evans—Deedee’s daughter. Sparrow was the last to see her brother Carver alive. The weight of the guilt that she feels and experiences is palpable and, without question, utterly heartbreaking. She feels she’s lost her mother’s love and begins to express her hurt and fears through self-harm. 

Sparrow and Emma develop a deep connection and they begin to fill a void that both of them need. You don’t want to miss Sparrow’s story.








The Solace of Water by ISBN: 9780718075668 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780718075675 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781978607156 (audiobook)
ASIN: B077CS7NL6 (Kindle version)
Publisher: Publication Date: June 5, 2018

After the loss of her young son, Carver, an African-American preacher’s wife named Delilah Evans moves with her family from Montgomery, Alabama, to Sinking Creek, Pennsylvania, for a fresh start. The last thing she could have imagined was becoming friends with Emma Mullet, a reclusive Amish woman.

Emma is fighting personal battles of her own and feels estranged from her small Amish community. The secrets that have kept her isolated from her own community serve to unite her in an unlikely friendship with Delilah.

Sparrow, Delilah’s eldest daughter, knows she is responsible for the death of her little brother. When tensions at home become unbearable, she seeks solace at Emma’s house, becoming the surrogate daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own, secrets that could sever all ties to her safe refuge.

Life for these three gets harder when church and social issues confront them, causing rifts within Sinking Creek’s three distinct communities: whites, blacks, and Amish. When their carefully protected secrets come to light, there seems to be little hope for friendship, restoration, or even forgiveness. But when the unthinkable happens, Delilah and Emma find themselves looking into the mirror of their own self-deceptions and are forced to make a choice that will set the way of their future.



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Listen to a sound clip from the book here. 




Meet the author


Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl and is a RITA nominated writer. She is also the author of The Promise of Sunrise series. She has consulted on Amish lifestyle and the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect for two award-winning television shows. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, two daughters, and a cockapoo named Fable.






Connect with Elizabeth

Website     |    Instagram    |    Facebook     |    Twitter     |    Goodreads 


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The Solace of Water: A Novel

The Solace of Water: A Novel


The Solace of Water: A Novel

The Solace of Water

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The Solace of Water

  

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2018 Book 262: I CAN HANDLE HIM by Debbie K. Lum

I Can Handle Him by Debbie K. Lum
ISBN: 9781944463120 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781944463137 (ebook)
ASIN: B079H9HTP3 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: DKLit
Release Date: April 7, 2018 (paperback & Kindle edition) | May 11, 2018 (ebook)


Quinn Corbin’s got nothing to lose – except her life.

She’s finally got the attention of the man she’s always loved, Nick Allen. But Nick has a reputation for trouble. And after a car explosion killed his last girlfriend, many people in San Antonio, Texas think Nick got away with murder.

But Quinn, a 24-year-old elementary school teacher and bubbly optimist, believes Nick is innocent. So does her best friend Tory, a law student and sarcastic realist. Soon Quinn and Nick find their relationship growing when suddenly their world upends. Now Nick is in major trouble again and Quinn may have made the biggest mistake of her life.

With incriminating evidence mounting against Nick, Tory works to prove his innocence. But Nick finds himself in a bigger battle when he must fight to protect, and win, his true love. 



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Quinn Corbin, Tory Taylor, and Nick Allen are reunited at the retirement party for Al Thomas, their former employer and owner of the bookstore/cafe the Indigo Exchange in San Antonio. All three have moved on with their lives, but have fond memories of Al and Indigo Exchange. Quinn has finished graduate school and has been hired to become an elementary school teacher, her dream job. Tory is following in her father’s footsteps and is in law school. Nick has decided to become an entrepreneur and take what he’s learned from Al and open his own cafe/bookstore but includes an in-house bakery. On the surface, it looks as if everything is great between these three and Al, but a recent car accident that resulted in the death of a girl has Al’s son’s best friend and his family out-of-sorts. This family wrongly blames Nick for Sienna’s death, especially since Nick wasn’t driving the car — Sienna was — and the investigators found that the car had a faulty gas tank that raptured after the accident. But trouble seems to follow Nick. His parents died in a car accident when he was only 18 years old (he wasn’t in the car and had nothing to do with the accident). He was then in an accident where he hit and killed a beloved family pet (he tried to make amends). Now the incident with Sienna. But Quinn and Tory both know that Nick has a kind heart and isn’t the bad guy everyone seems to make him out to be, so Quinn decides to befriend him once again. Her plan seems to work until she invites him over to her parents’ home for their annual fiesta and he’s disinvited because of rumors and bad feelings. But Quinn refuses to give up. When the opportunity presents itself to make amends for this slight she takes it. Little does she know that this opportunity may well be her last. Tory loves Quinn and is also a staunch advocate for Nick, so when a devastating accident occurs she does the only thing she knows how and that’s become his legal ally. Can Nick and Tory find out which enemy has it out for him before he ends up behind bars permanently?

I didn’t particularly enjoy the first portion of I Can Handle Him, as I found it to be a bit slow. However, the pace picked up after a few chapters and the story sucked me in. I was just as invested and Quinn, Tory, and Nick into finding out what had happened, why it had happened, and who was behind it. There’s a lot going on in this story, there’s the death of Sienna, the rivalry and antimony between Sienna’s brother and Nick, the business rivalry between Faze (Nick’s business) and Indigo Exchange (Al’s business), another prominent character’s death (no, I’m not telling you who but it is pivotal to the story), the investigation into that death and subsequent arrest of Nick for vehicular manslaughter, family drama (Nick gets reunited with his long-lost brother), and romance. My only wish for this story was to get to know the San Antonio area a bit more (I can say I’m craving tacos now, thank you Ms. Lum), but enjoyed reading the scenes set on the Riverwalk area. For those of you that are fans of New Adult stories, Romance, or Romantic-Suspense, I encourage you to grab a copy of I Can Handle Him to read while lounging on the beach, camping, glamping, flying to your vacation destination, or during your staycation.


Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this book from the author/publisher via PR by the Book. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Meet the author

Debbie K. Lum is an unlikely author, a non-reader who was inspired by a self-esteem ad campaign encouraging little girls to dream big. Her romantic suspense novels feature fun, flawed characters with steamy and complicated relationships (and plenty of surprises!) In 2018, Lum released I Can Handle Him, which was called “A fresh, enjoyable tale.” by BlueInk Reviews. Reviews for the book have been published in Booklist Magazine and Kirkus Review Magazine. Her 2017 novel, The Doctor, The Chef, or the Fireman, was called “A quick, satisfying romantic mystery.” by Kirkus Reviews. In 2016 she debuted Plebeian Revealed, Plebeian In Danger, and Plebeian Reborn, a series about a married woman who finds sudden fame with her ex-boyfriend.

Debbie splits her time between Florida and Texas and drinks more unsweetened iced-tea than she probably should.


Connect with the author

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Goodreads      |     Pinterest



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I Can Handle Him

I Can Handle Him 


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2018 Book 260: BABY TEETH by Zoje Stage


Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
ISBN: 9781250170750 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250170774 (ebook)
ASIN: B076ZTC4GQ (Kindle edition)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 17, 2018


Sweetness can be deceptive. 

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all. 



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Suzette and Axel had an idyllic relationship. They met, fell in love, married, and looked forward to beginning a family. Even with Suzette’s medical problems, they were excited about having their child and initially Hanna was everything they could have imagined. She was a healthy and happy child. But then she never talked. They took her for various testing to ensure there was nothing physiologically wrong with her and were assured that nothing was wrong. Then Suzette enrolled Hanna in kindergarten. She was asked to leave after only days there. Suzette homeschooled Hanna and saw a side of her daughter than Axel never saw, but she wasn’t afraid of her. Then Hanna turned six and they tried to enroll her in first grade. Hanna was once again asked to leave the school and, once again, Suzette was back to homeschooling her daughter. Suzette knew that Hanna was incredibly intelligent. Her daughter could read, write, and do math beyond her grade level. The only thing Hanna couldn’t do was talk. Now Hanna is seven years old and Suzette is recovering from another surgery to help with her Crohn’s disease. Suzette knows that Axel will never be able to see Hanna the same way she does, but she’s hopeful that perhaps this is the year that Hanna can transition to school. But then Hanna does begin talking only not as Hanna and the things she says can only be taken as threats, threats to Suzette’s welfare. When Hanna is expelled from a third and then a fourth school in less then three years, Suzette takes the advice of specialists at the schools and makes an appointment to see a child psychologist. Her only hope is that this psychologist will be able to provide help before serious injuries occur.

We’re all raised to think that little girls and boys are cute and innocent. Little girls are supposed to be made of “sugar and spice and everything nice.” Hanna is not that child, by any stretch of the imagination, although she presents as sweetness and love to her father. Hanna is a child with a severe case of the Electra complex, meaning she’s in love with her father and wants to kill her mother so she and her father can live happily ever after. If that doesn’t scare you, think about this, a seven-year-old child is devious enough to think of ways to kill her mother and even tries a few. I found Baby Teeth to be an engrossing read but perhaps not one for the faint of heart. This twisted tale is told in the alternating voices of Suzette and Hanna, and I was disheartened reading about everything Hanna did from Suzette’s perspective and downright chilled to read about it from Hanna’s perspective. Ms. Stage has crafted characters and scenarios that are not only plausible but spine-chilling. Once I started reading Baby Teeth I couldn’t put it down (yes, it was just that good). I enjoyed the characters, the action, and the settings. If you’re looking for a thrilling read this summer, look no further and grab a copy of Baby Teeth to read. Baby Teeth is going to be one of my must-read recommendations for this year. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Stage in the future.


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Baby Teeth : A Novel

Book Spotlight: A SOUFFLE OF SUSPICION by Daryl Wood Gerber



A Soufflé of Suspicion: A French Bistro Mystery

by Daryl Wood Gerber


About the Book





A Soufflé of Suspicion: A French Bistro Mystery

Cozy Mystery

2nd in Series

Crooked Lane Books (July 10, 2018)

Hardcover 296 Pages

ISBN-13: 978-1683315865

Digital ASIN: B075QMR44B


The buoyant mood at Bistro Rousseau deflates when Chef Camille’s sister, Renee, turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen, and Mimi Rousseau must tease the real killer out of a mélange of menacing characters.

Crush Week in Nouvelle Vie is a madhouse—in a good way. Tourists pour into town for the pressing of the Napa Valley’s world-renowned grapes and all the town’s businesses get a nice lift, including Bistro and Maison Rousseau. Mimi is raising the ante this year with a Sweet Treats Festival, a wonderland of croissants, cakes, tarts, and soufflés crafted with expert care by the area’s top talents.

Chef Camille’s sister Renee is managing the festival with a cast-iron fist, upsetting everyone, including her sister. Which is bad for Camille when Renee turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen. Mimi is still building her business, so her first course of action is to whip up answers and catch the unsavory perpetrator before Camille takes a dusting and gets burned.


About the Author



Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries and CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES, which she pens as Avery Aames. She will soon debut the new French Bistro Mysteries. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: DAYS OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!


Author Links

Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.

Daryl’s Blog Avery’s Blog Mystery Lover’s Kitchen Killer Characters

Facebook:   Daryl      Avery

Twitter: @AveryAames @DarylWoodGerber

Goodreads:    Daryl Wood Gerber     Avery Aames

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N   BookBub  Kobo


Giveaway:

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

July 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

July 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

July 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

July 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

July 8 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

July 8 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

July 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

July 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

July 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

July 11 – cherylbbookblog  – REVIEW

July 12 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 12 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

July 13 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

July 13 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

July 14 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

July 14 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

July 15 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

July 15 – Lisa Ks Book Review – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 16 – That’s What She’s Reading – GUEST POST

July 17 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

July 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 18 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW*

July 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 19 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

July 19 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, GUEST POST



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Book Showcase: BURN ONE DOWN by Jeffrey A. Cooper

Burn One Down by Jeffrey A. Cooper Tour Banner

Burn One Down

by Jeffrey A. Cooper

on Tour June 11 – July 13, 2018



Synopsis:


Burn One Down by Jeffrey A. Cooper

Retiring thief Jack Apple is offered a low-­risk, six-­figure payout to heist a medical marijuana dispensary from the feisty and impetuous Diane Thomas after Diane steals the robbery plans from her shady ex-­husband Alvin, hoping to beat him to the score.

Diane promises to stay out of Jack’s way but she can’t help interfering, forcing them to take hostages inside the dispensary when the robbery is interrupted by law enforcement, inciting a media circus that deteriorates into a full-­on urban riot.

To escape, Jack and Diane must negotiate the hostages, their agendas, an army of Sheriff’s deputies, the tenacious local news media, crooked deals, corrupt politicians, rioters, Diane’s shady ex-­husband Alvin, and their growing attraction to each other.


This little ditty about Jack and Diane is a fast-paced read that finds a few new wrinkles in a familiar genre. ~ Kirkus Review



Book Details:


Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Heist
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: June 15, 2018
Number of Pages: 271
ISBN: 978-­0­‐692­‐06952-3
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads



Read an excerpt:

(Profanity alert!)

Chapter One


We are all thieves and criminals.

Jack Apple had too much pride to let people look down him because he’d been in prison. Most people were hypocrites. Their own lawbreaking might not extend past trivial offenses like unpaid parking tickets or racing past the posted speed limit, but if right was right and wrong was wrong then Jack Apple was someone who believed that everyone breaks the law at one time or another. People justified their behavior based on their own personal sense of morality just like he did. It wasn’t his fault that he aimed higher than they did. But that part of his life was over. Thievery and criminality were all behind him now. Jack Apple was a changed man.

At least he would be after tonight.

***

Jack swung himself over the top of the twelve-foot stone wall surrounding Leo Dorsey’s home and laid flat across the top for a good look at the property. Leo Dorsey was the owner of Ledo Luxury Automobiles, a limousine and hired car service that fronted for a long list of illegal activities including drug trafficking, gun running, extortion, prostitution and probably about six or seven other things. As a rule, Jack didn’t rob people in the trade out of professional courtesy, but Leo had stolen money from a friend of his, so Jack would let that rule slide on this one. If he really was ditching the trade for good, this was something he needed to take care of first. He planned this job before prison and knew there was a decent chance Leo would have the $80,000 he still needed to open his new business. In the trade, they called that a win-win.

The business Jack wanted to open was a gas station, positioned on the lower right-hand corner of a busy “Y” street traffic pattern that fed into two distinct thoroughfares, and was a popular route for locals to access the freeway. In addition to the pumps, a small retail store sold cigarettes, lottery tickets, energy drinks and lousy coffee. A service area hadn’t been operational since the days when they used real steel for bumpers, but it was a space ripe for expansion. The property had just been listed, and Jack knew it wouldn’t be on the market long. It had everything. What was the old adage?

Location, location, location?

The word came this morning that Jack needed to move on the property. Other parties were sniffing around, ready to make an offer, and there would be no time to raise money.

While Jack had money stashed away from his recent ATM fiasco, there was still a lot of heat on that job, and that money would need to stay buried for a while. He needed a quick score no one could trace, no one would report, and that he could do alone. Hitting Leo Dorsey was perfect. It had to be.

A series of motion detectors captured Jack’s movement and flooded the area with bright white light. Jack jumped down off the wall and hid behind tall landscaped shrubbery, waiting for a response. Instead, an automated voice spoke from a speaker sitting on top of the stone wall, giving Jack a terse warning in both English and Spanish.

“You are trespassing on private property. Security cameras are recording your movements. There is an armed response to all trespassers. Leave this property immediately.”

Jack moved toward Leo’s house and saw a large man in an open window staring into the yard. It looked like Leo, but Jack remembered a slighter man, guessing that this version topped out between three hundred fifty and four hundred pounds. Leo had become very successful since Jack had seen him last, but it did nothing for his disposition. Leo was still a miserable shit.

“Idiots! There’s something wrong with that security system!” Leo shouted at two haggard employees who were clearly showing early signs of PTSD. “Why do the lights go on for no reason? There it goes again! What don’t you simpletons understand? Get it fixed!” The employees looked at each other, certain that Leo was talking about the other one.

“Boss, I…,” one hapless employee pleaded.

“Get away from me,” Leo interrupted. “I’ve had enough stupid for one day. I’m going to bed now. Try not to burn the house down before I wake up. And make sure those dogs go out again, too. I don’t want them shitting all over my floors again.”

“Dogs,” Jack whispered to himself, grimacing. “Why is it always dogs?”

Jack slipped through the garden and climbed up to the veranda outside Leo’s bedroom with a backpack full of safecracking tools while he waited for Leo to finish browbeating his employees and go to sleep. Leo’s nightstand confirmed his notorious longtime habits of pills and a three-finger glass of Scotch was still current, telling Jack that sleep probably wasn’t far away.

Jack stretched out his shoulder. His thirty-five-year-old body was sending him reminders that it wasn’t about to put up with the kind of abuse he’d heaped on it all these years for much longer. While he tried to keep in shape in prison, his long, willowy frame strong from years of street running and urban gymnastics, Jack couldn’t do anything about getting older or the damage that twenty-three hours a day of lockdown did to a body. His guilty conscience chimed in, reminding Jack of everything he had risked: his health, his family, his freedom, his youth. All for money. Things. Shit. When would it be enough? Would it ever be enough?

Doubt. Crippling, stifling doubt. This was why he was getting out. He’d already been arrested and sent to prison once, so he obviously wasn’t the master thief he once thought he was. Could he even make it on his own? Jack always worked with partners and recent history would seem to indicate that he couldn’t work without them. He’d nearly been bested by a 70-year-old hermit and his English bulldog two weeks ago.

It was reasonable to ask that maybe his time in the trade had passed. He heard Leo through an open window, talking in drunk guy loudspeak.

“You think I dunno what you think I dunno but I know what you think I dunno ya know?” Leo enunciated every syllable as an almost empty glass of Scotch dangled from his fingertips, then dropped to the floor without breaking. He stumbled to a large double-door safe adjacent to his changing area, his head foggy from drink and drug. Leo focused on the keypad, entering the combination numbers at a slow, deliberate pace, then he pulled open the door with his right hand. Jack watched Leo through a monocular as he wrote the safe combination in pen on his pant leg, thankful that the tools in his backpack would no longer be necessary. It was nice of Leo to save him all that work. Maybe he’d send him a fruit basket later.

“I’ll be right outside if ya need me, Boss,” Leo’s other employee said, assuring him as he shut the bedroom door behind him. Leo said nothing. He wasn’t assured at all.

“Lock th’ door!” Leo barked with a pronounced slur. He took off his Patek Philippe watch and put it in the safe along with the bankroll from his bathrobe pocket. Leo inspected it all with a listless shake of his head then closed the large double doors, pulling on the handle again to make sure the safe was locked. He turned, his beefy feet squeaking along the marble tile as he stumbled back to his bed and fell face down on the mattress, fast asleep before his head even hit the pillow. His snores were deep and guttural. It was no mistake Leo slept alone.

Jack waited through several minutes of uninterrupted snoring next to a window underneath a security camera aimed at the French doors leading to Leo’s bedroom. He picked the lock as he waited, sliding the window open with little effort and easing himself inside. He looked around, wary of alarms or motion detectors. Once he was confident he could move without disruption, Jack stepped forward and immediately set off a motion detector that turned the overhead lights on and lit the space with lighting dimmed for the evening hours. Jack moved back to the window, ready to bail out. He listened. Nothing. No sound. No movement. No one was coming. It was quiet except for Leo, who was fifteen feet away and snoring like a champ.

“Okay, no more surprises,” Jack whispered.

He moved into the large room with caution, gently walking past the bed straining under Leo’s sleeping body and toward the safe, where he zeroed in on the combination keypad and the numbers he’d scribbled in pen on his pant leg. Forty-two. Eight. Thirty-one. Five. Jack pulled the handle to open the safe door, but the door remained locked.

Maybe I entered the numbers wrong?

No. He wrote the numbers down exactly as Leo entered them. Jack tried the series again, re-entering the numbers one at a time and pulling on the handle, but the safe still would not open. This time the repudiation was accompanied by a message on a small LCD screen: BIOMETRIC ACCESS DENIED. Your BioMetric Identification has been declined for the second time. For your protection, the safe will be locked if additional biometric identification is refused.

Jack looked at the handle. At the top was a thumb pad with a painted-on thumbprint he hadn’t noticed during his previous attempts. The numbers he’d entered were correct. The safe didn’t open because it needed a thumbprint, specifically Leo’s thumbprint, to open the door. Jack wondered what the odds were of chopping Leo’s thumb off without waking him up. He sat, considering his options. Technology sure was making it tough for a fella to earn a living.

***

At close to four hundred pounds, getting Leo to the safe over fifty feet away from the bed was a challenge. Jack rolled Leo over on the bed and was startled to discover Leo’s eyes were wide open despite Leo being in a deep, sound sleep. Jack waved his hand in front of Leo’s face. Leo didn’t blink, and the snoring got even louder once there was no mattress to contain it.

Jack mapped out his strategy. An office chair on wheels, probably for Leo’s shell-shocked employees, would suffice for moving Leo across the marble floor. That part was easy. The challenge would be getting Leo into the office chair. It was like moving a Smart Car by hand.

Jack pushed Leo up off the bed and reached his hands around his barrel chest, clenching his hands together the best he could across Leo’s massive sternum. Jack bent his knees, took a deep breath, then pulled Leo to the edge of the bed. Leo greeted the move with a loud snort, then went back to a steady snore, his drugged eyes still open as wide as the sky.

“Pull him up, right into the chair,” Jack coached himself. He used the same strategy as before, which this time pulled Leo off the bed too fast. His momentum landed Leo right on top of Jack, who howled. Leo, for his part, wasn’t disturbed by the fall at all.

“You know, you’ve really let yourself go, Leo!” Jack wailed before pushing Leo off of him. Jack stood up, grabbed Leo’s arms and leaned back, groaning, using the remainder of his strength to hoist Leo into the office chair, which creaked under the strain. Jack backed away, hoping the chair would hold. It would be a long, slow drag to the safe otherwise.

Jack positioned himself behind the chair but struggled across the marble floor. The chair moved slow but steady, gaining momentum once Jack picked Leo’s legs up and pulled him instead of pushing. After a heroic effort from Jack and especially the chair, Leo was positioned in front of the safe. Jack caught his breath, hoping that he didn’t give himself a hernia.

The lock on the outer bedroom door clicked, and the door opened. Leo’s employees, having heard Jack’s howling, came to investigate. Jack swiveled the office chair toward the door, pushed Leo’s head forward and ducked behind Leo’s mammoth frame. The employees looked around until they saw Leo in the chair, his eyes still wide open, staring at them.

“You okay, Boss? I heard something. Everything all right?”

Leo, who was still sound asleep, said nothing. His snoring sounded like a growl, especially to these two. “Just making sure you’re okay, Boss,” the nervous employee said in his awkward rush to get out of the room.

Jack swung the office chair back around and stood up. He entered the series of numbers on the combination pad, then lifted Leo’s stubby hand and placed it on the handle, so Leo’s thumb pressed down on the biometric sensor. This time the lock on the safe clicked and the doors opened. Inside the safe were three $10,000 stacks of hundred dollar bills and the large roll of money from Leo’s bathrobe, which Jack estimated at around $3,000. He could hock the watch, too. It wasn’t a bad haul, even though it was far less than Jack was expecting.

Isn’t it always less than you’re expecting?

Jack took what there was and left Leo on the overworked office chair in front of the open safe. He went back to the window he entered through and got out as easy as he came in, even taking time to re-lock the window behind him. The motion detector lights clicked on and off as Jack climbed down from the second story veranda. That’s when Leo’s dogs, two female German Shepherds outside to do their evening business, saw Jack and started barking in a frenzy.

“Nope,” Jack said once he saw them at the bottom, waiting for him to come down. “No dogs.” He climbed back up to the veranda, content to find another way. The only people in the house were Leo’s employees who, from the sound of it, weren’t nearly as smart as the dogs. Jack slipped back into Leo’s bedroom, where Leo was still snoring heartily in the office chair that would be lucky to last the night. At the bedroom door, Jack heard voices in the hallway.

“Keep those dogs quiet before they wake him up!” The two employees were in a panic, apparently unaware of how deep and sound Leo slept after his bedtime snack of pills and Scotch. Their panic gave Jack an opportunity to get to a stairwell at the end of the hallway that he hoped would lead him outside. Jack listened first then moved quietly, soft-stepping his way down the stairs, peeking his head over the railing as he went. He saw the two employees at the stairwell door window on the first floor, so Jack slipped down another level to avoid them.

The stairwell emptied Jack into nondescript hallways of white concrete and white tile floors. The stairwell door locked behind him, so Jack had a choice of the single steel door ahead of him or a hallway that led off to the right. As Jack approached the hallway, the two German Shepherds sauntered around another corner from a hallway fifty feet away.

There was a moment of silent recognition. They all stood still, sizing each other up. The dogs looked at Jack, then to each other, then back to Jack. Everyone jumped at the same time. The dogs took off after Jack, who sprang into action, running down the hallway toward the door.

“Why is it always dogs?” Jack screamed.

Jack raced through the door and pushed it closed behind him. He didn’t suppose the dogs were smart enough to follow, but they figured it out, jumping up together to push open the door’s exit bar and continue their pursuit down the long hallway. The dogs, whose nails clicked like icy rain on paws that were slipping and sliding across the waxed hallway, were gaining ground. There were several doors along the hallway that Jack tried to open, but each one was locked. When Jack finally found an unlocked door, he got inside and pulled the door shut behind him, half a second before the snapping jaws of the German Shepherds took a sizeable bite out of him.

“Okay. Big dogs. Very big dogs,” Jack wheezed.

His hands felt around in the dark until Jack found the light switch inside the door frame, revealing the janitor closet that was now his safe refuge. “What did I ever do to a dog?” Jack panted, catching his breath. He opened the door slightly and saw a door leading to the outside thirty feet further down the hallway. “All right. I’ve been in worse situations,” Jack said. His voice activated the dogs, who barked as he shut the door. “I’ve never been food…”

The dogs paced back and forth outside the closet door, waiting for Jack to come out. They heard a sound; a scraping, grinding noise coming from deep inside the janitor’s closet. The dogs cocked their heads to the side, confused. The doorknob moved, and their ears perked up. The pin on the door unlatched, and the dogs sat crouched, ready to strike. When the door opened the dogs rushed in, then stopped all at once. From inside the deep janitor closet came the loud, abrasive growl of a stand-up vacuum cleaner that Jack parriedout of the closet after them, and now was using to chase the German Shepherds back down the hallway.


“Ha-HA!” Jack jeered, quick on their heels. The dogs reached the exit door and jumped up against the bar to let themselves outside, but Jack wasn’t letting them off that easy. He went out after them, confident and mocking. “Mess with me, and you know what happens?”

The cord for the vacuum cleaner pulled taut and yanked out of the wall. The pitiful motor on the vacuum cleaner died down with a slow, agonizing, mournful wail. The two German Shepherds stopped to listen, then turned their heads around slow. Jack could swear they were licking their lips.

“Idiot,” Jack said. He jumped for the closing exit door, and the dogs were on top of him. One had Jack’s pant leg while the other held the bottom of Jack’s shirt. The shirt ripped when the dog tried to pull back, sending one German Shepherd onto her back, while the other dog tried getting a better grip on Jack’s pant leg. Loose for the split second he needed, Jack took advantage, getting inside and pulling the door closed, with the vacuum cord preventing the door from closing tight.

“Hey! Stop right there!” Leo’s two employees came through the first exit door and saw Jack pulling the exit door closed on the dogs.

Jack ran away. The employees were quick on his heels until they passed the exit door. The tenacious German Shepherds forced open the door at the exact moment the employees ran past, and the dogs sprang into action, jumping into the hallway and biting the first thing they saw.

“No! Him! Get him!” The first employee said as he was being mauled by the first dog.

“That one, girl! That one! Ow!” The second employee shook his free arm, pointing down the hallway. His other arm was firmly planted in the second German Shepherd’s jaw.

Jack’s only option at this end of the hallway was the window straight ahead of him. He pulled opened the window and looked out, craning his neck in both directions, but this was no time to get particular. Jack hoisted himself up and pushed through the window until momentum took over and he dropped ten feet to the ground. The soil was dry and loose, and Jack hit hard, flat on his back, before sliding down the sloped hill head-first and backward. The drop knocked the wind out of him, but Jack shook off the fall, spit dirt from his mouth, then scaled the twelve foot stone wall and jumped down on the other side. His pursuers knew Jack could still hear them.

“We know what you look like, pal! You’re on camera, dumbass! We’re gonna find you, you sonofabitch! You messed up bad, man, you messed up real bad!”

Jack ran for his life down the hill surrounding Leo’s house but couldn’t tell if the sounds he heard, of rustling trees, branches snapping, or running through fallen leaves was the sound of someone following him or the echo of the noise he was making all on his own. Jack turned his head to see the lead he had on his pursuers, but the night was dark, and it was difficult to see. What wasn’t difficult to see was the tree branch that caught Jack above the sternum when he turned back around, the one that clotheslined him flat to the ground. He slid down a steep, sloping hill, twisting and turning his body to avoid the rocks and tree stumps in his path before launching himself off an even larger, brush-covered hill.

Jack landed at the bottom of the hill next to a roadway, right at the feet of Diane Thomas, who stood next to her car like she’d been waiting there for him all along. Diane was dressed in black jeans and a black leather coat with a torn red t-shirt underneath. Her hair was long, with an easy, natural curl that fell over her flawless soft brown skin. Her necklaces and bracelets were tasteful; piled on but not overdone. Black boots were highlighted with metallic studs that covered the backs to the heels. She looked like trouble. Jack liked trouble.

“Something tells me you’re Jack Apple.” Diane stood in front of an idling muscle car, the headlights creating a silhouette that captivated Jack’s attention through his hazy thinking.

Jack asked, “Do I know you?”

“Not yet,” Diane said with a smile. “But you will.”

***


Excerpt from Burn One Down by Jeffrey A Cooper.  
Copyright © 2018 by Jeffrey A Cooper. 
Reproduced with permission from Jeffrey A Cooper. All rights reserved.






Jeffrey A Cooper

Author Bio:



Jeffrey A. Cooper lives in Los Angeles, CA. His previous novel, How to Steal a Truck Full of Nickels was published in 2015. Jeffrey has optioned several feature film scripts and co-­created two shows executive produced by Emmy-­award winning comedian Louie Anderson.

Jeffrey lives with his wife, daughter, two rescue dogs, a rescue cat and a fish who all get along famously.


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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeffrey A. Cooper. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 11, 2018, and runs through July 16, 2018.

Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.


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Book Showcase: DANGEROUS SECRETS by Susan Hunter

Dangerous Secrets by Susan Hunter Banner


Dangerous Secrets

by Susan Hunter

on Tour July 2 – 13, 2018





Synopsis:


Dangerous Secrets by Susan Hunter

A week that starts out with a woman’s dead body in the living room is not going to end well. Writer Leah Nash learns this truth when her friend Miguel arrives home on a Sunday night, only to discover that his weekend renter has failed to checkout—at least in the usual sense of the word. By Wednesday, Miguel’s uncle is arrested for murder.

The victim is the owner of SweetMeets, a website for sugar daddies in search of college-age sugar babies. Police investigators uncover an eye-witness who saw Miguel’s uncle at the scene. They find his fingerprints on the murder weapon, and they dig up a connection to the victim that he was anxious to keep buried.

But Miguel’s uncle isn’t the only resident of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin with something to hide. As Leah and Miguel hunt for the real killer, they’re faced with half-truths and outright lies from local citizens desperate to keep their own secrets under wraps. In her most complex investigation to date, Leah must use all the smarts—and smart-assery—she has to find the killer’s true identity. When she does, everything comes together in a tense climax that tests her courage and reveals that she’s been keeping a few things secret from herself.





Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: November 2017
Number of Pages: 362
ISBN: 1979009821 (ISBN13: 9781979009829)
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries #4 (Each is a Stand Alone Mystery)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Goodreads

  

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1



The late-afternoon sun shone with a fierce light that set the autumn reds and yellows of the leaves on fire. I had passed the construction and congestion around Madison, and I was almost home on that almost perfect October day. I rolled down the car windows, turned up the music, and sang my heart out to Adele, Aretha, and yes, it’s true, the Backstreet Boys. Don’t judge.

I was eager to get back to my small-town home—Himmel, Wisconsin, after a pretty grueling two weeks in Michigan. I had been thrust into the role of primary caregiver for my Aunt Nancy, after she took a tumble from the stage during an energetic dance number in her local theater group’s production of Grease. Normally, her husband, or my mother, or her daughter would have stepped in. But Uncle Jeff was on a fishing trip at some remote camp in Canada, and Aunt Nancy refused to ruin it for him. My mother was on a cruise, and my cousin Rowena was giving birth in Texas.

Enter me, Leah Nash, devoted niece, former reporter, current true crime writer, and unlikely home health care aide. I love my Aunt Nancy, but, sadly, I don’t have a big reserve of tender-loving care to draw from. And Aunt Nancy, it turns out, doesn’t have a big reserve of patience for forced immobility, cabin fever, and a steady diet of grilled cheese, Honey Nut Cheerios, and spaghetti. When I tried to vary the menu one night by making Cornish game hens, a favorite of Aunt Nancy’s, it just underscored my domestic deficiencies. They were in the oven a little long—well, maybe, a lot long. After I served them, Aunt Nancy started calling me “Baby Jane,” and asking me where her parakeet was.

When Uncle Jeff finally got home, both she and I were relieved. I flew out the door on a flurry of hugs, kisses, thanks, and don’t-mention-its almost before he set his suitcase down. My tour of duty in the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was over. Himmel may not be a metropolis, but at least we don’t have wolves in our backyard. And bears. I don’t even want to talk about the bears.

The thought of sleeping in my own bed, in my own apartment, made me giddy as I neared home. If I had known it was the last time I’d feel unfettered joy for quite some time, I would’ve reveled in it more.

* * *

“Leah! When you get back?”

“Hi, Mrs. Schimelman, just now. I’m starving, so you’re my first stop. What’s good today?”

Clara Schimelman owns the Elite Café and Bakery just a short distance from my apartment. She’s a friendly, gray-haired woman in her late sixties. Her large, comfortable frame is testament to the delicate pastries and delicious sandwiches she serves. The Elite, with its rickety old tables, squeaky wooden floor, and uncomfortable small chairs, is a Himmel favorite.

“Is all good,” she said with justifiable complacency. “I make you döner kebap. Is a new menu item I bring back from Berlin. Pita bread, roasted turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, chili flakes, garlic-yogurt sauce. It’s the bomb.” Mrs. Schimelman, a fixture in town for more than 30 years, still retains a strong German accent, but she loves her American slang—though she generally runs a few years behind.

“Sounds perfect,” I said. “So, what’s been going on?” I asked, as she turned to assemble the sandwich.

Over her shoulder she answered, “You haven’t talked to no one?”

“No. Most of the time I couldn’t get a signal on my phone, and my aunt’s internet connection was so slow, I couldn’t stand it. I texted a couple of times with Coop and Miguel, but that’s about it. Why, did something happen?”

At that moment, the bell over the door tinkled and a frazzled looking mother with three rambunctious little boys came through the door.v”Coffee, just a really dark, really big cup of coffee, please, Mrs. Schimelman. Boys, one cookie choice. And don’t forget please and thank you.”

“Hey, Lanette, how are you?”

Lanette Howard is my mother’s across-the-street neighbor.

“Leah, hi. Sorry, did we just barge in on your order? Dylan, don’t lick the display case. Marcus, stop pinching Arlo.” As she spoke, she deftly separated two of her children and swiped at the remains of Dylan’s tongue print on the front of the case. “I’m so sorry, Mrs. Schimelman. If you have a cloth and some spray, I’ll wipe that off. And please, go ahead, get Leah’s order.”

“No, that’s OK, you go ahead. I’ll just take a look at the paper and catch up.” A copy of the Himmel Times Weekly sat on the counter, and I grabbed it and moved to a nearby table.

“Thank you. It’s probably better for everyone if we get out as quick as possible. How’s your aunt doing? And when’s your mother due back?” The boys, having made their selections, were vibrating with anticipation as Mrs. Schimelman reached into the display case with practiced hand and scooped up their choices in thin, white bakery tissue paper. There was a moment of buyer’s remorse while one changed his order, and the other wailed because his brother was “copying.” Lanette sighed and said, “I know, sugar is a bad idea, but I had to have a coffee and I couldn’t bring them into this divine bakery and not let them have a cookie.”

“Hey, you’ll get no argument from me. Aunt Nancy is doing pretty well. Mom will be back Tuesday or Wednesday. I can’t remember which. Anything going on in the old neighborhood?”

She looked surprised for a second and said, “In the neighborhood? No, but—Marcus, that’s it. Hand over the cookie. You may be able to get it after dinner, if you can ride home without picking at your little brother. I’m sorry, Leah, I have to get these monsters out of here.” She managed to pay Mrs. Schimelman, grab her coffee, and wrangle her crew out the door without spilling, dropping, or losing anything—or anyone. I stand in awe of Lanette’s multitasking skills.

I half-expected Mrs. Schimelman to share her views on parenting with me after they left. She’s as generous with her opinions as she is with her portions, but she was busying herself slicing turkey and getting out condiments. I opened the paper and scanned the headlines. Trick or treat hours had been set by the city council; a car had fallen into a sinkhole on Maple Street; a potbellied pig was used to assault a man in a domestic dispute; and Mrs. Hanson’s first grade class had participated in a trip to the zoo in Madison. A busy week, indeed.

I turned to the inside pages and checked the obituaries. It’s an old habit I can’t seem to break. My first assignment at my first newspaper, which happened to be the Himmel Times Weekly, was to write the obituaries. I’d envisioned covering police news, or at least a lively city council meeting—not dull, dead people stuff. When I had balked, my boss brought me up short.

“Every obituary is the story of a person’s life. It’s their final story. It’s something their families keep, and reread, and pass on. It’s a marker for their memories. It’s not a throwaway job. You need to do it right, and you need to can the attitude. Understand?”

I did. Ever since then, I’ve never been able to put aside a newspaper without at least scanning the obituaries as a small way of paying respect to all those life stories. As I looked through them, one notice surprised me. I put the paper aside and saw that my sandwich was ready.

“Mrs. Schimelman, what happened to Duane Stanton? It says he died suddenly. Heart attack?”

“Oh, ja. Terrible that was. No heart attack. He fell from that bird-watching place. Watching birds. It’s crazy.” She shook her head.

“That’s awful. He was a quirky guy, but I got a kick out of him. What do I owe you?”

“$4.50. And I give you pumpkin walnut cookie for free. Welcome home.”

* * *

I pulled into the parking lot behind my apartment and was just hauling my suitcase out, when a familiar voice called to me.

“Leah, what are you doing here?”

“I live here, Courtnee, remember?”

“I thought you were fishing in Canada with your grandma.”

It was typical of Courtnee Fensterman, a self-absorbed blonde who never really pays attention to anything that doesn’t center on her, to mash half-heard information into her own particular version of fake news.

“I was in Michigan taking care of my aunt.” I yanked the suitcase out and shut the door. Then I pulled the handle up, ready to head inside the back door to my loft.

“Aren’t you even going to ask me what I’m doing here on a Saturday?” Her pretty but vapid face had taken on a frown, and her blue eyes held reproach. I noticed then that she had a cardboard box in her arms.

“OK, I’ll bite. What are you doing here?”

“Well.” She paused and shifted the box, then handed it to me. “Could you hold this for a minute? It’s really heavy.”

Reflexively, I grabbed it, looked down and saw that it appeared to contain the vast make-up collection Courtnee kept in her desk drawer, along with some framed photos, at least half of the pens owned by the Himmel Times Weekly, and several boxes of Junior Mints.

“What are you doing, moving out?”

“Duh. Yes. Keep up, Leah.”

“Wait, what?” Courtnee leaving had long been my dream when I still worked at the Times. It seemed unfair that it should happen after I left.

“Rebecca is just so mean. I’m not, like, her personal slave. ‘Courtnee, you’re late! Courtnee, this message makes no sense. Courtnee, you can’t close the office to get your hair highlighted. Courtnee, the conference room isn’t your personal party place!’ Like anything is ever a party around here. My mom said I shouldn’t have to take that kind of thing. So, I finally quit.”

I wasn’t shocked that Mrs. Fensterman seemed to share Courtnee’s view that slavery on the job consisted of performing duties in a timely, accurate and professional manner. She had to develop her skewed vision somewhere. But it did surprise me that her mother had encouraged her to leave a paying position. It’s not like Courtnee’s job skills would open the door to many careers.

“Wait, wait, wait. You quit your job? What are you going to do?”

She tilted her head and rolled her eyes the way she does when she thinks I’ve said something especially lame.

“I’m already doing it. I’m a secretary or something in the Public Safety department at Himmel Tech. My Uncle Lou got me the job. Rebecca didn’t even give me a goodbye party or a gift or anything. And then she calls me today and says to come and get the rest of my stuff because the new girl needs the drawer space or something. Like, I’ve been busy, right? You’d think getting married might make her feel happy and be a little nice. But no. She’s still a biatch.”

I felt a fleeting frisson of sympathy for Himmel Technical College, but I was more interested in the last bit of information Courtnee had dropped in. I handed the box back to her, then leaned my face in close so she’d have to focus on me. I had to see if this was real news, or fake. “Courtnee, are you saying Rebecca is married? Who to?”

Rebecca Hartfield and I had clashed at our first meeting, and things had gone downhill from there. She was dispatched by A-H Media, the hedge fund that had bought the Himmel Times a year or so ago, to bring their latest purchase into line. Which, as far as I could see, meant squeezing every drop of profit out of the paper until A-H Media shut it down or sold its dried, dead husk. There’s a reason I refer to it as Ass-Hat Media.

“Well, Coop, of course. They got married last week.”

***


Excerpt from Dangerous Secrets by Susan Hunter.  
Copyright © 2018 by Susan Hunter. Reproduced with permission from Susan Hunter. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:


Susan Hunter

Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first-place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.

Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.

During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain’s Bar and Grill.


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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on July 2, 2018, and runs through July 14th, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.


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2018 Book 245: IT ALL FALLS DOWN by Sheena Kamal

It All Falls Down Nora Watts #2 by Sheena Kamal
ISBN: 9780062565778 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062565785 (ebook)
ASIN: B073B1VDHR (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: July 3, 2018


The brilliant, fearless, deeply flawed Nora Watts—introduced in the “utterly compelling” (Jeffery Deaver) atmospheric thriller The Lost Ones—finds deadly trouble as she searches for the truth about her dead father in this immersive thriller that moves from the hazy Canadian Pacific Northwest to the gritty, hollowed streets of Detroit

Growing up, Nora Watts only knew one parent—her father. When he killed himself, she denied her grief and carried on with her life. Then a chance encounter with a veteran who knew him raises disturbing questions Nora can’t ignore—and dark emotions she can’t control. To make her peace with the past, she has to confront it.

Finding the truth about her father’s life and his violent death takes her from Vancouver to Detroit where Sam Watts grew up, far away from his people and the place of his birth. Thanks to a disastrous government policy starting in the 1950s, thousands of Canadian native children like Sam were adopted by American families. In the Motor City, Nora discovers that the circumstances surrounding Sam’s suicide are more unsettling than she’d imagined.

Yet no matter how far away Nora gets from Vancouver, she can’t shake trouble. Back in the Pacific Northwest, former police detective turned private investigator Jon Brazuca is looking into the overdose death of a billionaire’s mistress. His search uncovers a ruthless opiate ring and a startling connection to Nora, the infuriatingly distant woman he’d once tried to befriend. He has no way to warn or protect her, because she’s become a ghost, vanishing completely off the grid.

Focused on the mysterious events of her father’s past and the clues they provide to her own fractured identity and that of her estranged daughter, Nora may not be able to see the danger heading her way until it’s too late. But it’s not her father’s old ties that could get her killed—it’s her own. 



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Nora Watts isn’t your typical friend, sister, or even PI-in-training. She’s antisocial, a bit abrupt in her speech and manners, but she can be loyal to those she cares about. Nora is no longer working as a private investigator-in-training as her previous bosses have separated. She’s now working with one of them, a retired journalist, who’s trying to finish writing his memoirs before the cancer that’s decimating his body kills him off. She’s moved into his home along with her dog Whisper. She’s maintaining contact with her biological daughter through brief text messages at her daughter’s request. She’s even tried to mend her relationship with her sister and brother-in-law, as much as they can be mended. She knows that Seb is going downhill fast and she knows there’s nothing that she can do but be there for him when someone approaches her about her father and his past. All Nora knows about her father is that he was indigenous Canadian, adopted by an American family, and he killed himself when she was young. Shortly before he killed himself, her mother walked out on the family. Both she and her sister were raised in the foster care system and she’s made her peace with that part of her past, or she thought she had until this man arrives and opens old wounds. The only way Nora can deal is to confront her father’s past and that means a trip to his adopted hometown of Detroit. Shortly after arriving there, Nora is attacked by two thugs, stalked, and more. What secrets did her parents have over 30 years ago that people would still want to protect today? Will Nora be able to find these secrets before it’s too late?

If you read my review of The Lost Ones last year, you’ll know that I loved that story and the character of Nora Watts. Well, it’s been a year and now that I’ve read In The Grip of It and It All Falls Down, I have even more respect for this character. Nora is gritty, impulsive, tough, and above all, a survivor. She’s also loyal and can be sensitive when you least expect it. It All Falls Down gives us more of Nora’s backstory and with that comes an understanding of what she had to go through as a child. We also learn more about her parents and their influence on her worldview. In addition to Nora’s story from Vancouver to Detroit, the reader learns that there are ties between the Triad, Nora’s daughter’s abduction from the past year, and Nora. There’s a lot of action in this story. I could tell you all about it, but then you wouldn’t need to read the book at all. What I can say is that I enjoyed the pace of this story, the characters, the action, and the settings. Ms. Kamal has crafted two stories that appear to function separately but are seamlessly intertwined. The characters and action are wholly believable and I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. If you’ve read The Lost Ones, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of It All Falls Down. If you enjoy mysteries or thrillers and you haven’t read either book, what are you waiting for? Go, grab a copy of The Lost Ones to read before It All Falls Down is released. Trust me, you’ll want to read this series. You can thank me later.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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It All Falls Down: A Novel

It All Falls Down

It All Falls Down: A Novel

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It All Falls Down : A Novel