Monday, May 20, 2019

Exclusive Excerpt: The Dark Bones


Giveaway Alert!


THE DARK BONES



When Detective Rebecca North left her rural hometown, she vowed never to return. Her father’s apparent suicide has changed that. The official report is that retired cop Noah North shot himself, knocked over a lantern, and set his isolated cabin ablaze. But Rebecca cannot believe he killed himself.

To prove it, she needs the help of Ash Haugen, the man she left behind. But Rebecca and Ash share more than broken hearts. Something darker lies between them, and the investigation is stirring it back to life. Clues lead them to the home of Olivia West and her deeply troubled twelve-year-old daughter, Tori. The child knows more about the murder than anyone can imagine, but she’s too terrified to say a word.

And as a cold-blooded killer resurfaces from the past, Rebecca and Ash begin to fear that their own secrets may be even harder to survive.

Excerpt:
The lawyer striding beside her clutched a file of papers to her chest. She said coolly, her eyes fixed directly ahead, “Remember, Sergeant, a lot of excellent cops get snagged on the stand by issues that have nothing to do with their credibility, or with their level of professionalism. They get caught up with the little things that—”

“You told me,” she said. “I got it.”

Rebecca and her legal counsel rounded a marble column. She saw the crowd gathered outside the courtroom. As they neared the courtroom doors Rebecca’s phone buzzed in her jacket pocket. She hesitated. It could be her superior calling again.

“I better take this,” she said quickly to the lawyer.

“You’re up next,” the lawyer said.

“I’ll just be a sec.”

She extracted the phone from her pocket and stepped into the relative seclusion of an alcove. When she saw the caller ID, her heart fell. Her father. Again. She’d allowed his last four calls to kick over into voice mail. She didn’t have time for his paranoid conspiracy theory nonsense right now. She was about to kill his call but faltered. Her dad had not been well. He drank too much—always had, but it was getting problematic. And winters were lonely where he lived in the old family cabin. The closest town was Clinton. Forty-five minutes away on unpaved logging roads that were not routinely plowed.

The rural isolation, the booze, the creeping age, it was all addling his brain and causing confusion and depression. And to fill his long, lonely nights on the farm he wallowed in old cases, obsessively going over and over the ones he’d been unable to solve, cooking up crazy theories he usually forgot by morning. Rebecca connected the call.

“Hey, Dad, listen, can I call you back? I’m about to head into court.”

An odd, weighted silence followed her words.

“Dad? Are you okay?”

“I … need to talk to you, Bec. There … there’s something you need to come clean with me about.”

He was slurring his words. Rebecca glanced at her watch. It was barely noon in her father’s time zone and he was already three sheets to the wind. He’d be passed out cold by the time she was done this evening.

“Look, I’ll speak to you when—”

“No, no, Becca, not over the phone,” her dad whispered. “I’m in the lobby of the Cariboo Lodge, using the courtesy phone outside the Moose and Horn. People might hear.” There was a pause. Rebecca could make out background noise from the pub. “I … I suspect he’s been inside my cabin, took some papers from my case file.”

“Who? What case file?”

The silence outside the courtroom was suddenly loud. Almost everyone had filed inside. Tension strapped across her chest. “Dad,” she said firmly, crisply, “I can’t do this conspiracy stuff right now. I need—”

“Last night. I think he was outside, among the aspens. Watching my cabin. The night before, I think someone followed me home in the dark. I think he knows what I know.”

Rebecca hesitated. The tone underscoring her father’s words was not something she’d heard before. She had little doubt her dad was imagining things, but his fear was real. She had to think about getting him professional help. It was time. She’d go home and deal with it all once this trial was over. But at the same time, returning to the ranch for any extended period was the last thing Rebecca wanted to do. There always remained the possibility she might run into Ash. But she’d put this off as long as she could.

“Dad,” she said more gently. “Look, it’ll be okay. I promise. As soon as this trial is wrapped up, I’ll put in for time and—”

“I know he lied, Becca. You both lied. All those years ago. It wasn’t a riding accident that gashed open his face, was it? What were you protecting him from that day?”

What are you talking about?”

“Sergeant North—Rebecca!” It was one of the lawyers, eyes flashing with urgency. “Get your ass inside there, now! For Chrissake, Sergeant—do you want to lose this thing for us?”

She pinched the bridge of her nose. “Dad, I’m about to testify. I’ll phone you tomorrow.” He’d be too drunk if she called tonight. “I promise. Now get a room at the lodge, get some sleep. Whatever you do, just don’t drive.” She ended the call and pocketed her phone, but as she hurried after the lawyer, unease dogged her.

He lied. You both lied … it wasn’t a riding accident that gashed open his face.

As she entered the courtroom her mind catapulted back to a late September Sunday more than twenty years earlier. A massive thunderstorm had just broken over what had started out as a typical Indian summer afternoon with the birch and alder trees shimmering yellow and gold over the hills.

Rebecca had been driving home from her weekend job at the vet when rain started coming down in sheets. Gripping the truck wheel, she’d bent forward, straining to peer at the muddy road through smeared wiper arcs across the windshield. Suddenly a man had appeared in front of her truck, walking slowly down the middle of the road, feet bare, arms hanging limp at his sides. His jeans were drenched and his T-shirt plastered to his body.

Rebecca had slowed her truck, coming right up behind him. He’d seemed oblivious to her presence, made no move at all to get out of the road, didn’t even turn.

Thunder had clapped and rolled into the distance. The trees along the road had bent sharply in the wind.

She’d honked.

No reaction. Rebecca had hit the brakes and stopped her truck. She’d sat there for a moment, rain thrumming on the metal roof.

What in the hell?

Then, suddenly, he’d turned. And her heart had faltered.

Ash.

His face—it had been gashed open down the left side. His eye was purple, swollen almost shut. Blood streamed with the rainwater down his cheeks and darkened the front of his T-shirt.

She’d flung open her door and run through the rain to him.

“Ash! What happened? What on earth are you doing out here?”

But he’d just stared, his eyes completely vacant…

Rebecca forced her focus back to the present. But as she took her place in the witness box a chill trickled down her spine. She was barely able to register the court official in front of her, let alone recall how she’d gotten to the box.

“Do you, Sergeant Rebecca North, solemnly affirm that the evidence to be given by you shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

He lied.

You both lied.
***
Author Biography
Loreth Anne White is an internationally bestselling author of thrillers, mysteries, and romantic suspense. A three-time RITA finalist, she is also the 2017 Overall Daphne du Maurier Award winner, and she has won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Romantic Crown for Best Romantic Suspense and Best Book Overall, in addition to being a Booksellers’ Best finalist and a multiple CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award winner. A former journalist and newspaper editor who has worked in both South Africa and Canada, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Visit her at www.lorethannewhite.com.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Friendship, courageous women, and the men who deserve their love.



FREE DOWNLOAD of TheHitman’s Mistake, May 15-19

Crush-worthy, clever heroes remain front and center in my suspenseful stories, but I incorporate personal views on women supporting one another during crisis and conflict. The Hitman’s Mistake and Torn by Vengeance feature two women bonded by past adversity and more importantly, unquestionable loyalty to one another. I’m blessed to feel the gift of friendship in real life from a wide variety of women spanning several generations in age range. Their varied life experiences include running a foundry, interment in a WWII prison camp, and teaching at the university level. You won’t find a debutante or pampered princess headlining my stories—I write who I know.

My heroines include gardeners, welders, party planners, and journalists. I enjoy creating their backstory and then pitting them against the worst possible adversary they can imagine. And when the villain’s on the prowl—female friends shouldn’t react, they should act. 

At the opening of TheHitman’s Mistake, Miranda’s acquiesced to an inconspicuous life. Corrin’s her BFF, a paralegal striving to gain partnership in a prestigious Seattle law firm. They need each other to survive. Their personalities and initial career goals are opposite, but their shared values of truth, honesty, and integrity are essential while they team up with the heroes to defeat a hitman in Book 1 and a stalker in Book 2, Torn by Vengeance.

I hope you’ll download a free copy of The Hitman’s Mistake while it’s on sale, and then write a review on Goodreads or Amazon to let me know your thoughts. Thank you for supporting romantic suspense authors, we truly appreciate our readers.

“Sally Brandle’s ability to inspire intrigue, attraction and razor-taut tension is spot on! From the bustle of Seattle to the wild beauty of Montana, each scene is so vivid, one can almost smell the saddle leather, the crisp mountain air and the slow simmering attraction between two people whose lives and future dreams couldn’t be more different.” 5 Star review from Diane, Tome Tender 

Sally writes clean (no intimate scenes), edgy, romantic suspense published by Soul Mate Publishing.

THE HITMAN'S MISTAKE

After Miranda Whitley stops crooked cops from assassinating a prominent Seattle judge, she’s next on the hit list, and her survival depends on the buff FBI Agent she’s had one awkward encounter with. But can she find him in time?

The last person Grant Morley expects to discover on his annual supply run to a Montana mountain hermit is alluring Miranda Whitley, nearly dead from a bullet wound in her side. An accidental witness or the cold-blooded accomplice to would-be assassins?

Miranda must convince Grant of her innocence, evade the killers intent on preventing her testimony, and fight her unwanted attraction for the agent…an attraction which seems to be mutual. Fortunately, love thrives in Emma Springs. If you love sizzling chemistry, Montana’s mountain landscape, and fast-paced action, then you’ll love Sally Brandle’s galloping thriller, The Hitman’s Mistake. 



Haynet (horse enthusiast) Review: http://hay-net.co.uk/the-hitmans-mistake-a-review/


Author Bio:
Multi-award winning author Sally Brandle weaves slow-burning romance into edgy suspense stories. Sally left a career as an industrial baking instructor to bring to life stories motivating readers to trust their inner gifts. Her rescue Aussie is her companion during long spells of writing, bouts of tormenting weeds in her garden, or afternoons spent riding on the wind with her twenty-nine year old Quarter Horse. The Hitman’s Mistake, without intimate scenes, began her Love Thrives in Emma Springs series. Book 2, Torn By Vengeance, release on May 22, 2019. Book 3, The Targeted Pawn, releases 3/2020. Sign up for her newsletter at www.sallybrandle.com for freebies.

Monthly writing tips column: www.writer-writer.com

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Surrender


Hi, Everyone,

Me, again!

I honestly only write you a blog when I have a new Romantic Suspense book out. If you’ve read my earlier blogs this year you will know I haven’t had a very good start to the year health-wise, but I’m hoping to have a better second half of the year.

This month I’m publishing SURRENDER (Regency Lovers 5). This is a hot Regency romance with romantic suspense. All of the books in the Regency Lovers series are loosely connected by the characters.

The Pre-Order for SCANDAL (Regency Lovers 6) is also available. This is the last book in this Amazon ALL #1 series.

I will be starting another Super HOT Regency Romantic Suspense series later in the year. 

Last month I published the second book in my contemporary romantic suspense series, ATTICUS (Steele Protectors 2). This follows on from LOGAN (Steele Protectors 1) – and the good news is there are another 4 Steele brothers yet have their story written! 

Also available on all ebook sites is the Pre-Order for BRYCE (Steele Protectors 3), with a publishing date of June 28th. Bryce is the most lethal of the Steele brothers. When someone threatens the woman he has decided to protect, he will need all the stealth and cunning instilled in him during his years in Special Forces to ensure nothing happens to her.

Talk to you again soon!
     
Carole xx

Amazon Buy Link for SURRENDER (Regency Lovers 5) 
Also Available B&N, Kobo, Google, iBooks and Smashwords

Amazon Buy Lnks for SCANDAL (Regency Lovers 6)
Also Available B&N, Kobo iBooks, Google, Smashwords 

Amazon Buy Link for ATTICUS (Steele Protectors 2)
Also Available on Google, Smashwords, NOOK, Kobo iBooks

Amazon Buy Link for BRYCE (Steele Protectors 3)
AMAZON
Also available on Google, Smashwords, NOOK, Kobo, iBooks

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The Mist of Her Memory


Giveaway Alert!

What happened that fateful morning in Lambton?
What brutal attacker caused such grievous, near-fatal injuries?
Does she remain in danger? Elizabeth cannot remember!
Sequestered in her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner’s London home, Elizabeth Bennet tries to recover from a devastating incident that stole her memories during their Derbyshire tour. She continues to suffer from strange, angry voices in her head and to recall events that people tell her never happened. Even those who love her refuse to believe her. Elizabeth can barely endure the confusion!
Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate for any hint of his beloved’s well-being, yet he lacks the information he seeks as her family forbids him contact with Elizabeth. His frustration mounts when he learns that her mental impairment incited taunting and torment in her home village of Meryton.
Which of Elizabeth’s recollections bear the closest resemblance to the truth? And what is the result of her sister Lydia’s elopement with Mr. Wickham? How is Mr. Darcy to rekindle his romance with Elizabeth when her aunt and uncle strictly shield her from him?
Prepare to grip the edge of your seat during this original romantic tale of suspense and mystery, another Pride and Prejudice variation by bestselling author Suzan Lauder.
“Suzan Lauder skillfully weaves a story that submerges you into the plot and doesn’t let go. The Mist of Her Memory’s twists and turns hold a well-guarded secret that keeps you guessing until the very end.”
̶ author L. L. Diamond


Excerpt:
Late February 1813
Gracechurch Street, London


The promise of the trip to the booksellers’ and Gunter’s lightened Elizabeth’s heart a great deal. What a delight to anticipate! Aunt and Uncle must trust her recovery a great deal to allow her this much time out of the house. It gave her hope for other calls.

Her mood was so positive, she was extra chatty over breakfast with the children, indulging them in discussions about fairies and other imaginings particular to young ones. She had a gift of reacting to their childish statements so they felt noticed and important and thus was a favourite with the four Gardiner youngsters. This always lightened the load for her aunt and the nurse as the children could be a challenge for two grown ladies, particularly when one had less energy due to her recent lying-in with a new babe, never mind picking up a small boy who had tripped and fallen and needed his mama.

Soon, the time came to ready herself for the afternoon out. Once she was dressed, Elizabeth gathered her best bonnet and warmest gloves whilst she awaited her uncle’s return.

Her aunt joined her in the sitting room and told Elizabeth that the new babe was finally sleeping, providing some time for her to catch up on her correspondence. She seated herself at the writing desk provided near the fire for the purpose of her writing or enjoying the view whilst seated there. “Perhaps if this trip turns out well, I shall bring you along on a call to Mrs. Fraser to discuss her offer.”

Elizabeth’s day could not possibly get better. “Oh, Aunt, attendance at a ball would fulfil the best part of my dreams!”

Her aunt continued, “We shall have to arrange for some gowns to be made, but it will only be for small, private affairs with families known to us.”

Elizabeth was so excited, it was all she could do not to fly across the room and embrace her aunt as she had earlier, but she maintained the decorum of a lady whilst she replied, “Oh, thank you, Aunt!”

Just then, her uncle returned, and she rose to join him. His face was pink from the cold outdoors, and he grinned widely at the ladies, asking Elizabeth, “Are you nearly ready?”
“Yes, just a few minutes to put on my outer garments.”

Uncle warmed himself by the fire whilst Davis helped Elizabeth on with her merino cloak and handed her the fur muff. Gloves alone simply would not do on this frigid a day. It had been an exceptionally cold winter thus far.

When they entered the front hall and were about to leave, she recalled the broadsheet she read that morning. Given all the faith her family had shown towards her ability to be in public without embarrassing them with what they considered inappropriate statements, perhaps she should take this pleasant permissiveness as a signal. Was this a good time to ask for one small indulgence? She addressed her aunt, who stood in the sitting room doorway.

“Do you think it would be possible to make a call to Miss Darcy someday soon? I thought a great deal of her and should like to renew the acquaintance.”

Uncle’s cheery smile faded into a frown, mirroring that of her aunt’s. What could be wrong with such a request? Aunt replied, “She may not be in town.”

“Mr. Darcy is in town, and I am sure we could find out whether Miss Darcy is as well. Please, Aunt. I should apologize for missing dinner when I had my accident.”

The Gardiners looked warily at one another before he spoke. “I am not certain we should continue a familiarity with that family after what happened in Lambton.”

“But Mr. Darcy provided a surgeon to care for me and was all attention to my well-being; you told me so. He was quite solicitous to us before I fell as well, inviting us to a dinner we did not attend. If he were at home, I could thank him for that and for—” She could not mention specifically his aid to Lydia and Wickham lest that anger them again, so she stopped speaking.

The air in the room became heavy. But why? Elizabeth looked from one to the other. What was it about the Darcys that caused such a change in their happy demeanours? Should she have used the coarse woollen cloak in the back hall to sneak off for the call? The deception struck her as so unseemly, and they had been showing signs of allowing her to make such calls. Her uncle turned towards her aunt, who nodded. Both had grim expressions.

“We must tell her all,” said Aunt Gardiner.

“Very well,” replied her uncle, and he stepped forward to take Elizabeth’s hand. “We learned more about Mr. Darcy from the surgeon’s report after you awoke, and that is the reason we quit Lambton so quickly despite warnings you should perhaps lie still for a few more days.”

“But why? What was it about Mr. Darcy?”

“Mr. Darcy was the cause of your injuries.”

“No, no, I fell. I tripped. That is what you told me.”

“No, your injuries were much more extensive than those you would have obtained in a simple fall. You were beaten and thrown to the floor. Since you were found alone with Mr. Darcy, we could only conclude he was the man who hurt you.”

“No, no! It cannot be! He came to see me. He spoke words of…of…attachment. He could not have hurt me any more than he could have hurt his own sister. You must be mistaken. It must have been another.”


The voices, the shouting, loud and fierce in her head, came back to her along with a sharp pain in her head.
Author Bio:
A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, cycling, yoga, blogging, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder is seldom idle.
Her first effort at a suspense novel, The Mist of her Memory is the fifth time Lauder has been published by Meryton Press. Her earlier works include a mature Regency romance with a mystery twist, Alias Thomas Bennet; a modern short romance Delivery Boy in the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter, the dramatic tension-filled Regency romance Letter from Ramsgate, and the Regency romantic comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman.

She and Mr. Suze and two rescue cats split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150 year old Spanish colonial home near the sea in Mexico.

Suzan’s lively prose is also available to her readers on her blog, road trips with the redhead www.suzan.lauder.merytonpress.com, on her facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/SuzanLauder, on Twitter @suzanlauder, and on Instagram as Suzan Lauder. She is a lifetime member of JASNA.

Author Links:


Giveaways
Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of The Mist of Her Memory. Thank you for your support with these giveaways. The giveaway runs until midnight, May 19, 2019.

Terms and Conditions:
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.

One winner per contest. Each winner will be ran
domly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.


The Mist of Her Memory Blog Tour Schedule

May 7 /
Just Romantic Suspense / Book Excerpt
May 8 /  Austenesque Reviews / Vignette Post
May 9 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Book Excerpt
May 10 / From Pemberley to Milton / Guest Post
May 11 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post
May 12 / Half Agony, Half Hope / Book Review
May 13 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Character Interview
May 14 / Just Jane 1813 /  Author Interview
May 15 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Excerpt
May 16 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review


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