Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Exclusive Excerpt: Hide and Seek

Giveaway Alert!


Special Agent Macy Crow is a survivor. After a vicious hit-and-run nearly kills her, she gets right back to work, and now she’s gunning for a spot on the FBI’s elite profiling team. As an audition, she offers to investigate the recently discovered bones of Tobi Turner, a high school girl who disappeared fifteen years ago.

While investigating with local sheriff Mike Nevada, a former colleague and onetime lover, Macy discovers a link between Tobi’s case and several others that occurred around the same time as her disappearance. As Macy interviews victims and examines old cases, she uncovers a sinister picture of a stalker who graduated to sexual assault—and then murder.

Macy and Nevada race to put this monster behind bars before he can come out of hiding. But the murderer’s had years to hone his skills, and soon Macy herself becomes a target. She’s no stranger to pain and terror, but will Macy’s first profiling case be her last?

Exclusive Excerpt:

Macy took the elevator up to the third floor, where Special Agent Jerrod Ramsey worked. She made her way to his corner office and knocked.


She pushed open the door as a leather chair swiveled toward her, offering her her first up close look at Jerrod Ramsey.

Thick brown hair was cut short and swept off a striking face that conjured images of East Coast prep schools, old money, and the Hamptons. He wasn’t classically handsome, but the sharp green eyes and olive skin coupled with tailored suits had to be kryptonite to the ladies.

Ramsey rose and adjusted his blue tie before he crossed the room to her.

“Special Agent Macy Crow,” she said.

A faint smile hinted of a welcome. “Good to meet you, Agent Crow,” he said, extending his hand.

She accepted his strong grip, clasping his hand firmly. “And you as well, sir.”

When Macy had declared her intentions to return to the bureau, she had been temporarily assigned to the ViCAP computer section because her former position had been filled. If she wanted back in the field, she would have to apply for another position.

When she had heard Jerrod Ramsey’s profiling team had an opening, she had thrown her name into the hat. She had expected a quick no to her request but, instead, had received what amounted to a “let’s talk.”

Either returning from the dead had earned her points or someone with juice was pulling strings. Whatever the reason, she hadn’t looked a gift horse in the mouth and had agreed to the meeting. Last night a courier had delivered a file from Ramsey. He’d instructed her to review the case and be prepared to discuss.

Ramsey offered her one of the two seats in front of his desk. When she sat, he took the remaining one.

“How do you like being back at work? Working with tech in the ViCAP unit must be a change,” he said.

“It’s been great.” In truth, staring at the four walls of a cubicle and a computer screen sucked. But it was the price of readmission.

He allowed the pause to linger, expecting her to fill in the silence with nervous chatter. It was a good trick. And one she’d used when she interviewed suspects.

When she didn’t speak, he said, “I heard you’ve set a few recovery records.”

“Queen of rehab,” she said with a smile. No agent wanted a weak partner. “Ready to rumble.”

His eyes narrowed. Either he had decided she was too flippant, or he liked her moxie. Or maybe the pointed stare was supposed to make her second-guess and worry while he figured her out.

She again absorbed the silence. What the hell. She was her own person and wouldn’t tone herself down for him or anyone else. Near-death had a way of cutting through petty worries cluttering everyday life.

He reached across his desk and retrieved a file. Her name was marked on the tab in precise block letters. She imagined he already knew her professional credentials and her Texas origin story. Reading the file now was for show.

“Ten years with the bureau,” Ramsey said. “You worked in Denver, Kansas City, Seattle, and Quantico. Human trafficking is your specialty. You led several successful undercover operations.”

“Blessed with a slight frame, and in the right light, I pass for a teenager.”

He closed the file. “Why not go back to that?”

“The miniskirts and halter tops don’t fit as well as they used to,” she quipped.

“They’d also showcase your scars.”

“Honestly, the scars would have added to my mystique on the streets. But with or without the red racing stripe running up my leg, my days of passing as a teenager are over.” Climbing back alley fences was also no longer in the cards for her. “Time for a new challenge.”

“I’ve heard good things about you,” Ramsey said. “Texas Rangers said you cracked a big case for them. ViCAP also likes having you.”

“The Rangers solved the case in Texas. I just gave them the crowbar to pry open the cracks.”

“Tell me about Texas.” Ramsey wasn’t going to make her return easy. No slam dunks in this room.

Reciting the story wasn’t easy, despite lots of practice. “You have a reputation for being prepared. You must know as much as I do.”

“I’m not interested in the facts in a report. I want to hear your version.”

She shifted in her seat. “I returned to Texas when my father was murdered. Pop left a message for me. Basically, he said there was a grave in the desert. The grave belonged to my birth mother. Turns out there were three graves. All girls who’d been kidnapped, raped, and murdered after they gave birth.”

“Did you know you were adopted?”

“Hard to hide it. When both parents have black hair and brown skin, it’s difficult to pass a pale blond kid off as their own.” She shrugged. “They were always up-front about the adoption. But they left out the part about my birth mother being murdered.”

“That must have been a gut punch.”

“Learning I’m a child of rape and that I’m half monster wasn’t pleasant. Gut punch sums it up.”

Her adoptive mother had once whispered that Macy had bad blood. When a girl in her third-grade class had been kidnapped and murdered, the other children had been afraid. Macy hadn’t. She had been fascinated by the cops, the cadaver sniffing dogs, and the blue wave of law enforcement sweeping over their community.

“No one but Macy dare goes near that alley,” her mother had whispered to her father. “It’s not normal.” Her mother hadn’t relaxed until the fourteen-year-old murderer had been arrested.

The Texas trip drove home the true meaning of bad blood. Since then, its full weight rested heavily on Macy’s shoulders.

“Violence is forged in my DNA,” Macy said. “Maybe it explains why I’m good at hunting monsters.” Modesty didn’t become her, so she didn’t bother with it. “I’m good at what I do, or I wouldn’t be here now.”

“Do you think you’d have been injured in Texas if you’d had backup?” Ramsey asked.

Macy refused to apologize or backpedal. “I take risks. It’s the secret sauce behind my high-profile arrests, and yes, it set me up for the HNR.”


“Sorry, shorthand for hit-and-run. The incident has come up a few times, so I abbreviate it. Federal employees love acronyms.”

Ramsey wasn’t amused. “Did your injury teach you any lessons?”

“To be more careful. But I can’t promise. No agent really knows what they’ll encounter in the field or how they’ll react.”

A muscle pulsed in his jaw. “How are you physically?”

“Solid and better every day.” She could lie without blinking, thanks to the undercover work.

If he didn’t buy her assessment, he didn’t give any hint. “Technically, you’re to remain on desk duty for another month.”

She decoded the thoughts lurking behind his dark eyes. Instead of wondering, she asked, “Are you saying you want me on your team?”

A smile tugged at the edge of his lips. “Do you want to be on it?”

“Yes, I do.”


More silence settled between them as they played an invisible game of chicken. Would she stay silent? Or would she admit that catching monsters was how she justified her existence and eased her crushing sorrow for the brutalized girl who’d died giving birth to her in the desert?

“All I can say is that I love the work,” she said.

Author Biography

New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist Mary Burton is the highly praised author of twenty-six romance and suspense novels and five novellas. She lives in Virginia with her husband and three miniature dachshunds.

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Writing a K-9 Tracker

Congratulations to "Taurus", the winner in Elizabeth's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize!

My newest release, K-9 Defense, features a Malinois-German Shepherd who served in the Marines as a Combat Tracker Dog. When I decided to write a book about a K-9, I wanted to do something new, so when I came across Combat Tracker Dogs, I was intrigued. It’s a relatively new specialty within the military, so I’ve never seen these particular K-9s featured in novels.

Combat Tracker Dogs are usually assigned to Military Police and it’s a program that’s unique to the Marines. Their specialty is a specific kind of tracking, starting at the site of an explosion or ambush and tracking back to the person who set it.

Rebel, the K-9 hero in K-9 Defense, was a Combat Tracker Dog. She’s the partner of my hero, ex-Marine Colter Hayes. When Colter and Rebel showed up at the scene of an explosion, they – along with an entire Marine Special Operations Team – were ambushed. Rebel knocked Colter down into the site of the explosion, saving their lives, but also landing them on a twisted piece of metal that ended both of their careers.

When K-9 Defense starts, the two of them are hiding and healing in the remote town of Desparre, Alaska. Both did damage to their legs that will never fully heal, but it’s nothing compared to the PTSD they’re fighting. And the survivor’s guilt that weighs on Colter every day, since he and Rebel were the only ones to make it out of that ambush alive.

As the two of them are just trying to make it through each day without any flashbacks or re-injuring their legs (Colter’s right leg is held together with a rod and screws and Rebel’s back left leg went through multiple surgeries to put it back together), Kensie Morgan shows up. She’s desperately searching for the sister who went missing fourteen years ago. A new clue has surfaced, suggesting her sister could be in Desparre, but Kensie has no idea where to start – until she discovers that Rebel was a tracker.

Here’s a snippet from that scene:


There was too much hope in her voice. A dozen swear words lodged in Colter’s brain. “Not that kind of tracker.”

“But what—”

“She tracked back to perpetrators from explosion sites.” Just saying the words filled his mind up with images of a military convoy, blown to bits. Bomb fragments lodged in everything. Limbs not attached to people. Friends, gone in an instant.

An L-shaped ambush that had come in two waves, one for the people he’d come to help and one for the responders. His chest started to compress again, the edges of his vision dulling.

“But couldn’t she—”

“No,” Colter snapped, more harshly than he’d intended.

Even if he and Rebel did the kind of tracking she wanted, she had no idea what she was asking. If he tried to help her, he knew what would happen. He’d have a mission again. A reason to reconnect with the world.

And connections meant pain.

For a chance to win a signed copy of K-9 Defense, tell me your favorite book with an animal in it…

About K-9 Defense

To help a desperate woman’s search, he’ll have to brave treacherous territory.

In the wilds of Alaska, grieving former marine Colter Hayes shuts out the world…until he and his combat tracker dog become Kensie Morgan’s last hope of finding her long-missing sister. The improbable mission starts to rekindle Colter’s desire to rejoin the world—while saving Kensie from a killer unsettles his heart. Can they find all they are searching for before it’s too late?

Buy Links for K-9 Defense

About Elizabeth Heiter
Critically acclaimed and award-winning author ELIZABETH HEITER likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. Her novels have been published in more than a dozen countries and translated into eight languages; they've also been shortlisted for the HOLT Medallion, the Daphne Du Maurier award, the National Readers' Choice award and the Booksellers' Best award and won the RT Reviewers' Choice award.

Connect with Elizabeth
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/elizabethheiter/

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST April 21st. Due to GDPR regulations you no longer need to submit your email address in the comments. If you have been selected as a winner your name will be posted at the top of the post. You may then contact maureen@justromanticsuspense.com to claim your prize. Your email address will be shared with the author/publicist providing the giveaway. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Visiting Locations Makes ALL the Difference

CONGRATULATIONS TO "MARY P.", the winner in Angi's giveaway. Please contact JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE to claim your prize!

NAVY SEAL SURRENDER takes place in Aubrey, Texas. It’s a town close to where I grew up, located just northeast of Denton. It’s a horse farm town. I’ve included a short video with a bird’s eye view. My parents took me to Aubrey often. My great-aunt Audra owned the café there and had the coolest old house. At least it was a cool house to a kid like me. I loved going there. Loved going to the café and getting a malt (back when they made malts). The building is still there on Main Street.

Just before I wrote the proposal for the two-book series–Texas Family Reckoning–two dear friends from my high school class died. Johnny had been in the Navy (submarines, not a SEAL). And Brian who had worn a huge black hat from the day I met him in junior high (yes, he was truly a cowboy).

I had always wanted to write an identical twin story. And of course, utilize the fact that no one could tell them apart. So I chose a local town and gave most of the characters names from where I grew up. None of the characters resemble my friends…I just used their names. I can still remember the way John and Brian always had smiles on their faces. And especially their laughter…

An Excerpt from the beginning of NAVY SEAL SURRENDER

 “Driving with the windows down? Braving the Texas heat, Johnny? You forget how hot it gets here in July?” she asked, crossing the road in worn boots. She slid her glasses to the top of her head, tucking her hair back in the process. Bright smiling eyes laughed at him.

“Alicia?” He recognized her voice, but none of the curves she currently sported.

“Welcome home.” She leaned on the open window, giving him a great view straight between her breasts. A much better view than he’d ever seen in high school.
“How did you know I’d be here?”

“I was already at the house. Wanda thought she saw Brian in a new car and sent a text asking if he’d come into some cash.” She shrugged her bare, tanned shoulders. “I knew Brian was in the barn. So I assumed and waited.” She stepped back, pulling the door open. “Get out here so I can give you a proper welcome home. It’s been a while.”

Alicia Miller, now Adams. Or had she gone back to Miller after her husband had died? Either way, he barely recognized his high school sweetheart. She’d definitely filled out in all the right places. He popped the seat-belt release and stood, towering over her in a white undershirt that probably smelled as bad as the horse stalls. She wrapped her arms around his middle and squeezed. He hugged her back.


They separated, and the pearly-white smile he expected was gone. He missed her hand swinging upward, until it connected with his cheek. Connected hard. He rubbed it, not ashamed to let her know the slap had stung. Caught off guard by a girl. Or maybe he deserved it. Time enough to contemplate later.

A fitting welcome home.

“Before you ask, that was for your dad. J.W. will never say or do anything to make you feel ashamed, but you deserve that and more for just leaving. It broke his heart.”

The little fireball choked on the last word. But she was right. And he was grown enough now to admit he’d made a mistake by not calling more often. “You’ve seen him? Is he okay?”

“He gets stronger every day. I’m his nurse and help him with physical therapy. That’s what I do, at-home nursing.”

“Just for the record, that’s the one and only time you’ll slap me and get away with it.” He leaned against the rear door, crossing his arms to keep them in check. He didn’t know if he wanted to drive away or reach out and pull her back to fill the emptiness he suddenly experienced.

“Are you okay? I didn’t mean to hurt you. I’m not even sure why I did that. I never do that. And now I’m just babbling.”

“Really?” Had it been too long to tease her? She’d been a junior in college the last time he’d heard anything. Their lives had changed when he hadn’t chosen that route. Really changed when Brian had taken the blame for the accident. They hadn’t spoken since his twin had accused him of being irresponsible and leaving a campfire burning.

After boot camp, his dad said Brian had decided not to attend college. Brian’s taking public blame for the fire meant John could achieve his dream of entering the Navy. It wouldn’t have happened otherwise, and he owed his brother his entire career.
Join the Navy. See the world.

It had been his dream, and his brother had pushed him toward it, sacrificing everything to let him keep it. That was the problem. The closest people to him had believed the accusation.
“I should be…” She gestured toward her car. “Your father’s waiting.”

“You said Brian was in the barn?”

“He was earlier.” Alicia stuck her hands in her front pockets, creating a shrug whether she wanted one or not. “Sorry I slapped you, Johnny.”

“I’m sorry you needed to.” He rubbed his cheek again, scraping the three days of growth.
Alicia took a step toward him, awkwardly pulled him down for what he thought was another hug. He didn’t reach for her. Instead, super soft fingers caressed him from the bottom of his ears down both lines of his jaws.  The sting disappeared faster than a radar blip.

Before he could react, she’d kissed his lips, lingering just a second too long for it to be just a friendly welcome home. Then she waved and returned to her car.

“See you around.”

The dust from the road stuck to his arms and face as he stood there like an idiot while she drove away.


If you haven’t read NAVY SEAL SURRENDER…I hope you’ll give it a try.

Here’s what a couple of readers thought

"Loved it! Angi Morgan has such a talent with a complex plot and great characters! She places roadblocks before her characters so smoothly that I never have to question how it happened, a little nail-biting, but no doubts that the action fits, but the characters keep moving forward with intelligent successes that have me cheering.
     When Navy Seal John Sloane comes home to help out after his dad has a major stroke, he never expected to need his SEAL training to rescue a little girl and her mother. He hoped to work things out with his brother but Brian didn't want to talk about the situation that caused a split between them. Kidnapping, murder, financial challenge the Texan, his best friend, his brother, and the woman he loved since junior high. Facing people with money and influence makes the job even tougher but being able to take advantage of his "twin-ness" eases the job just a bit.”
~Jeanie J.

“I loved that this was far from your average love story. I hoped that John and Alicia would get back together and since her husband had been dead for a few years, it was time for her to move on. The kidnapping plot was well done and was slowly reveled. The reader knew who was actually responsible for the kidnapping early in the story but not how it was arranged. The estrangement between the twin brothers added another twist to this wonderful story. I liked that they finally talked it out - with Alicia's help in forcing the issue. I like Angi Morgan's books and highly recommend this one.” ~Jo-Anne B.

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USA Today Bestselling author ANGI MORGAN writes Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love. Her work is a multiple contest finalist and Publishers Weekly best-seller. She drags her dogs –and husband– around Texas for research road trips so she can write off her camera. They now have a map with highlighted roads they’ve traveled. Every detour somehow makes it into a book.

Website   Facebook   FB Fan Page   Twitter @AngiMorganAuthr     
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by leaving a comment for the $5.00 gift card.
Giveaway on JRS ends at midnight April 19th.  Contestants enter drawing by leaving a comment on Just Romantic Suspense. Don’t forget to check back to see who won!

How would you name characters you create?

Monday, April 15, 2019

Spring, at last!

Hi, Everyone,

Can you believe it’s Spring, at last? Although looking at the overcast weather today it doesn’t look much like it!

Do you know what I love most about indie publishing? All of it! At the moment it is especially helpful that I can change my publishing dates to suit my schedule. I’ve had some serious health issues the past 3 months. They now seem to be levelled out, but I’ve needed to have the ability to change and shift publishing dates for a couple of months. Let’s hope the rest of 2019 is kinder than its beginning!   

I am pleased to say I am continuing with my contemporary romantic suspense series and ATTICUS (Steele Protectors 2) is published today on all ebook sites. Atticus is the eldest of the Steele brothers, and the bad boy of the family. He’s rough, tough, and all arrogant alpha male, and when someone threatens his woman they had better be prepared to face Atticus’s wrath! 

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 agreed to protect, he will need all the stealth and cunning instilled in him during his years in special forces to ensure she stays alive.

Talk to you again soon!
Carole xx

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

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


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