Monday, May 21, 2018

A little time at the beach...

With: Kat Martin

Giveaway Alert!

Everyone loves the beach.  Though I live in Montana, I’m fortune to spend my winters at the beach in sunny California.  My writing space looks out on a boat channel that leads to the harbor so I watch the tide go up and down several times a day.

A bicycle-ride away, a sandy beach slopes down to the water where a frothy tide rolls in and out, the perfect place to talk a stroll at the end of a long day or just dig your toes into the warm gritty sand.

For me, there is no better way to spend an afternoon than lying in the sun on a bright-colored beach towel, straw hat shading your face while you read a delicious, page-turning novel.  The rhythmic curl and tug of the waves is the perfect backdrop, lulling me into the story, shutting out the day-to-day troubles of the world, if only for a little while.

As a writer, lying half-asleep in the sun, listening to the soft rush of the wind and the cry of seagulls, is a great way to get story ideas. 

Too often I get stuck when writing a novel (I refuse to call it writer’s block, which is way too scary).  The beach, I’ve discovered, is a great antidote.

 While I was writing the third book in my Texas Trilogy, BEYOND CONTROL, Josh Cain and Victoria Bradford’s story, I found myself unable to figure out how the heroine was going to escape the perilous situation I had put her in.  After several sleepless nights, I took a drive along the beach just a few blocks from my house. 

As I looked at the clear blue ocean stretching endlessly in front of me, my whole body relaxed--a little slice of heaven.  An hour away from the computer, watching the waves crash up on the shore, my creative juices started flowing.  Ideas flashed in my head, some good, some not-so-good, as the next part of Josh and Tory’s story opened up in my mind. 

Hurrying home, I madly began pounding on the keyboard, desperate to get my thoughts down on the page.  The story started moving forward again, and I was even able to get a good night’s sleep! 

So the next time you’re feeling jammed up about something, whether you’re a writer or not, whether you live at the beach or in the desert, the mountains or the city, find a place that lets you breathe, refreshes you and lets you face the world again. 
Have a great summer and happy reading.  Till next time, Kat


BEYOND CONTROL


Present Danger
 
When Victoria Bradford got engaged, she told herself to give love a chance. Six months later, she's on the run from her angry, abusive ex-fiancé with her four-year-old daughter and nowhere to go.
 
Seventy miles north of Dallas, the Iron River Ranch is pretty much nowhere. That’s what its new owner, Josh Cain, wanted when he came back from Afghanistan. Big skies, quiet nights, no trouble.
 
One look tells Josh the pretty redhead with the adorable little girl will give him trouble of the most personal kind. But he’s seen trouble before, and he doesn't scare easy. Not when “accidents” start happening around the ranch. Not when Tory’s best friend back in Phoenix is abducted and brutalized. Not even when it looks like their current problems are only the tip of the iceberg.
 
But if he gets too close to fierce, determined Tory, Josh knows his nights are going to be anything but quiet. And that’s one possibility no amount of training can prepare him for . . .

iTUNES

Excerpt:
Iron River Ranch
Iron Springs, Texas

Victoria Bradford drove the old blue Chevy Malibu along the two lane road.  Up ahead, a sign hung above a narrow dirt track running off to the west, IRON RIVER RANCH.

“Are we there yet, Mama?”  Ivy, her four year old daughter, had asked at a dozen times since they’d left the Walmart parking lot in Iron Springs.  The ten mile drive didn’t take long, but to a four year old who’d been in the car for days, they couldn’t reach their destination soon enough. 

“We’re very close, sweetheart.  This is the turn, right here.”  Tory checked the gas gauge as the wheels left the pavement and started rumbling over the bumpy dirt road.  Less than an eighth of a tank.  She hoped the ranch wasn’t much farther.

More than that, she prayed the job hadn’t already been filled. 

She sighed as the aging Malibu rolled along.  She was basically in bumfrick Egypt, ten miles north of Nowhere Springs, almost out of gas, with twenty three dollars and thirty three cents in her wallet. 

Last night, without enough money for a motel room and afraid to use her credit cards for fear Damon would somehow track her, they’d slept in the car in the Walmart parking lot.  As soon as the McDonald’s opened, she had pulled into the drive-thru and bought Sausage McMuffins, then driven out to the ranch to somehow convince the owner to hire a woman with a daughter and no actual ranching experience.

She thought of the ad in the paper she had spotted last night on the counter in the Iron Springs Café.  If she somehow managed to get the job, it would be perfect.  Besides a steady paycheck and the ranch being way off the grid, the position included the use of a double-wide trailer. 

After being on the road for the past three weeks, living out of motel rooms and suitcases, the trailer sounded like a palace.

“Look, Mama, there it is!”  Ivy pointed toward the cluster of buildings up ahead, a couple of barns, several fenced training arenas, and a two-story home with dormer windows and a covered porch running the length out in front.  A double-wide sat fifty yards away.

Vast stretches of open green pastureland surrounded the complex where horses and cattle grazed, and there were ponds and woodlands in the distance, and dense copses of trees.
The Chevy bumped over the last patch of road, pulled up in front of the house, and Tory quickly turned off the engine.  No use wasting what little gas she had left. 

“Mama, there’s a man over there by the barn.”

Her gaze swung in that direction.  There was, indeed, a man.  The noisy buzz of a saw covered the sound of their arrival, giving her time to assess him. 

Shirtless, he was working with his back to them, broad, tanned, and muscled above a narrow waist that disappeared into a pair of faded jeans.  The jeans hugged a round behind and long, powerful legs. 

  He was tall, she saw when he straightened away from his work and walked into the barn, with medium brown hair cut short.  She got her first look at his face when he walked back out, handsome, with a solid jaw and masculine features, at least three days’ growth of whiskers. 

The front of him was just as impressive as the back, a broad chest with solid pecs, muscular biceps, and six pack abs.

Unease filtered through her.  This was a strong, powerful male.  She knew first hand what a man like that could do to a woman. 

Tory forced down the notion.  Not all men were like Damon.  Before she’d met him, she had been married to a good and decent man, the father of her child.  Jamie Bradford, her high school sweetheart, was one of the gentlest people she’d ever known.  Her father was a good man, before he’d fallen in love with his secretary and divorced her mother, leaving the two of them alone.

Tory took a courage-building breath.  “Stay here, sweetheart.”  Cracking open the car door, she slid out from behind the wheel.  “Don’t worry, sweetie.  Everything’s going to be okay.”

She hoped.

Giveaway:


Kat is giving away a copy of AGAINST THE STORM to one lucky reader posting a comment or email entry. (Hardback, Kindle, or Nook-Winner's Choice US residents ONLY)

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 22nd. 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, May 17, 2018

Vindicated



I’m super excited about my new series – Atlanta’s Finest! They are a group of security specialists who are former police officers, detectives, or have other law enforcement backgrounds. In the first three books of this series (all being released over the next few months), you’ll meet Hamilton (Ham), Lazarus (Laz), and Ashton (Ash) and the women who bring them to their knees!


First up, book 1 – VINDICATED. This is Hamilton Crosby and Dakota Sherrod’s story! I have wanted to write a story about a stuntwoman for a while, and I had a blast with this one!

*
She’s a distraction he can’t resist…

A spark ignites the moment security specialist, Hamilton Crosby, meets stuntwoman, Dakota Sherrod. She’s like no other woman he’s ever met. But Hamilton never ignores his gut, and his gut tells him to stay clear of the enticing beauty.

Dakota is an adrenaline junkie. Leaping off buildings and running through fire is just another day at the job. Hence when she sets her sights on Hamilton, she goes after him full-force. Their attraction is fierce, but he thwarts her advances at every turn. He’s the strong, silent type who operates by a set of rules, but he’ll soon realize she rarely follows rules.

Falling for Dakota catches Hamilton off guard. So does the fact that she’s attached to part of his past. A past that indicted him with shame and loss. But when Dakota becomes the target of an unknown enemy, Hamilton stops at nothing to protect her. In turn, vindication is his reward, except it comes with complications.

Excerpt:
Dakota snagged his attention when she revved the engine of a custom Ducati 1098S and took off down the street before slowing and circling back. She looked like a total badass on the sleek black bike that was accented in chrome with a matching helmet. The black leather jumpsuit she was wearing added to the fierce look.
“Your woman has nerves of steel, man. I can’t imagine doing half the stunts she’s performed on this project,” Justin said, admiration ringing in his voice. “How much did she tell you about this stunt?”
The question immediately put Hamilton on edge. “Not much. She just said that she’d be riding a motorcycle like one she wanted to purchase one day. I guess she’s been planning to test drive one but hadn’t yet.”
“With the way she’s handling that machine, no one would ever know she hadn’t ridden it before.”
As the words left Justin’s mouth, Dakota did a wheelie, riding a short distance with the front wheel of the bike off the ground. Considering the act was illegal on city streets, he hoped it wasn’t something she did outside of being on a movie set.
Justin chuckled. “Now she’s just showing off, probably for you.”
Hamilton’s pulse thumped loudly in his ear and his chest tightened as she popped another wheelie. When the front tire hit the ground, she sped down the street at top speed, then slowed and turned around only to do it again. This woman was going to be the death of him. He didn’t want her showing off. He just wanted her safe.
“This will be the last time I come and watch her do a stunt,” he said to Justin. “My heart can’t take this shit.”
Justin laughed and pounded him on the back, then gripped his shoulder. “Well, brace yourself, bro. You’re in for a treat.”
*
Copyright © April 2018 Sharon C. Cooper

Find out what happens next! Get your copy today!

About the Author:
Award-winning and bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, is a romance-a-holic - loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies, or real life. Sharon writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She’s been nominated for numerous awards and is the recipient of an Emma Award for Romantic Suspense of the Year 2015 (Truth or Consequences), Emma Award - Interracial Romance of the Year 2015 (All You’ll Ever Need), and BRAB (book club) Award -Breakout Author of the Year 2014. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course). To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit www.sharoncooper.net

Connect with Sharon Online:
Subscribe to her blog: http://sharonccooper.wordpress.com/


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Who loves a good mystery?


Giveaway Alert!

I’m so thrilled to be here today and to share the story behind my latest release, Loved By Darkness.  But before I do that, I want to ask the question who loves a good mystery? I do. I’ve always enjoy a story that makes me scour the pages, every word in fact, looking for clues to the big question the author has set up in the opening scenes.  If you adore great mysteries, I think you’ll love Loved By Darkness.

Authors get story ideas in many ways. For me, some event triggers a notion and then what if questions pop into my head. The event could be anything from seeing a driver cut off another driver in early morning traffic or I’ll overhear a bit of interesting conversation.  The premise for Loved By Darkness came to me as I lounged on the beautiful St. Augustine, Florida beach. I was there on a working writing retreat with an author friend. As I scrolled through my Facebook feed, I saw a post from another friend who had just found a little girl lost on the beach in New Jersey. This scenario is nothing new. Children get separated from their families all the time on busy summer beaches.  But a scene immediately played out in my mind as I gazed at a beautiful sail boat gliding across the water in front of me. What if, someone on that boat saw a tiny raft floating out into the ocean and what if a child clung to it? A chilling thought right?

What if questions, are always followed by how, who and why questions.  So the questions I had then were, how had the child been put into the water and by whom and why did they do such a horrible act? These questions lead to others and then to research into the mindset and personality of my villain.  Once I had my villain, then I knew I had to have strong opponents for him.  I also knew this child had to change my heroine and hero’s views concerning themselves and the world.  My heroine, U.S. Marshal Jolene Martinez entered the story. Jolene was a secondary character in Obsessed By Darkness. While she puts up playful, carefree front, she is a dead-serious, bad ass, kickass heroine who has locked down in her psyche a ton of baggage.  Love is not in her plans, ever.

Like most heroes, Police Chief Norris Stiles, has been burnt by love and he’s not looking for the forever girl of his dreams. He knows that woman doesn’t exist, so when he meets Jolene his thought is only to get laid. However, before he can make a move on her, the case of his career lands in his lap and he’s all about catching the perv. As he works with Jolene to learn who the child is and the villain behind the crime, he realizes one night with Jolene would never be enough.  He wants to love, but there is just so much between them. Neither one of them knows even how to begin to make a relationship work, until….

Loved By Darkness has received excellent reviews since its debut last week.  Check them out at Amazon.  Loved by Darkness is also available at B&N, I-Books and Kobo.  I hope you enjoy!



Excerpt from Loved By Darkness

He veered off the main road and made a right turn into a driveway. As he did, the muscles in Norris’ forearms flexed and the tattooed lynx came to life on his arm.
He braked suddenly and she put her hands up in front of her so as not to hit the dashboard.
Eight cars filled the half-moon driveway. The shrubbery alongside the driveway had kept them hidden until they turned in.
“Looks as if there’s a party going on.”
Norris inched his Jeep forward, careful not to tap the bumper of the Dodge Caravan parked in front of them. He maneuvered around it and drove alongside the line of cars. He stopped next to a cherry-red van sitting near the front door then shifted the Jeep into park.
The moment the engine cut, cries for help became clear in the distance. Jolene grabbed her purse from the floorboard and pulled her gun and badge from inside. She glanced back as her sandaled foot touched the pebbled drive. Norris’ door was already closing behind him and he rounded the front of the vehicle.
Only the sounds of crashing waves filled the air now.
They stood side by side, muscles tense, listening.
A blood-curdling scream cut the air.
“What the hell?” Norris sprinted forward.
She followed, backing him up. The snap of his holster sounded and she checked whether he’d drawn his gun. He hadn’t. She understood why he hadn’t. They were in a beach community which catered to families. Until Norris knew what they were facing he kept his weapon sheathed. Jolene followed suit and shoved hers into the waistband of her capris and looped her badge around her neck.
Immediately her heart thumped against her ribs. It always did the moment she entered an unknown situation that had the potential to turn deadly within seconds. She scanned the windows of the house while they kept moving around to the side in the direction of the cries for help. She saw no movement.
The house appeared deserted except there were eight vehicles in the driveway and someone was calling for help from the back of the two-story brick home. A picture-perfect cover for a meth lab, she thought. She wondered what was running through Norris’ mind.
“That sounds like a child,” Jolene whispered, falling into step behind Norris.


About the Author
Autumn Jordon is an awarding-winning author who likes to spend at least a few hours of each day in someone else’s head. She writes both romantic suspense-mystery and contemporary romance comedy. She lives with her family and fur pups in northeast Pennsylvania. Visit her cyber-home at www.autumnjordon and join her newsletter to keep abreast of her misbehaviors or follow her on Facebook.

Social Media Links:

Giveaway

One digital copy of LOVED BY DARKNESS and a $10.00 Amazon gift card. To enter the contest, type in your comment, 1) the name of the person believed to have kidnapped the child. (Hint look inside) 2) Confirmed you’ve followed me on BookBub.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 29th. 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, May 10, 2018

A War of Hearts, the dark romantic suspense series by Karen Lynn

With: Karen Lynn


A WAR OF HEARTS –FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME!

Why do I love writing dark romantic suspense? Powerful emotion and extremely complex, intense characters excite me. I write what I love to read, and stories with highly charged emotions, passion and tension are what I thrive on. That’s why I created broken, imperfect characters in a constant struggle to find and hold onto love without succumbing to the darkness that threatens them. When I write I lose myself in the characters and their fractured worlds. It is a lonely process, but a necessary one because if it is not real to me, it won’t be to my readers either. Every main character deals with some form of mental and emotional turmoil, irrational, compulsive behavior and spiraling out of control obsessive needs. Oh, how we adore those deliciously dark, destructive secrets and fantasies we are afraid or reluctant to share. In dark romance, we get it all. But there’s a lot more involved here. 

Love triangles and obsession?  Nobody consciously seeks them. Who wants the trouble, heartache and danger? Kristen, the conflicted heroine in this series certainly doesn’t.  But she gets more than her fair share of it. To truly understand her, you have to open yourself to the experience of deep, all consuming love. With Kristen and Jake, it happens out of the blue and is almost instantaneous. Quite the opposite occurs with Logan, where the bond takes years to build and is very difficult to sever.

If it is possible to love too deeply, Kristen is guilty. Then again, so are Jake and Logan. None of them set out intending to hurt anybody, least of all themselves. Except, possibly Logan, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.  You will find many parts of A War of Hearts and A Sea of Smoke, open to interpretation. After all, life and human behavior are very unpredictable.

Craving a good cry and potent emotional release? I think you will be satisfied. As a hopeless romantic, I believe love is a crucial part of life and second chance romance is very fulfilling. My characters experience disappointment and suffering, but it doesn’t stop them from going after what they need. I don’t think anything will. The question is this: how many lives will be destroyed in the process?

I hope you take the journey with Kristen, Jake and Logan, but don’t forget the tissues.


A WAR OF HEARTS (BOOK 1)

What happens when passion erupts into dark obsession?

They’re about to find out the hard way. 

Logan is poison and Kristen knows it. 
She’s developed a hatred for the increasingly risqué lifestyle he is addicted to. His lust for deviant sex, women, and drugs threatens to destroy her world. Yet every time she tells herself it’s over, his seductive powers draw her back.

That is until she meets Jake.
Together their worlds are rattled by a love so powerful it promises to change their lives forever.

Unless the manipulative Logan has his way.
As he struggles to preserve his crumbling sanity, his determination to keep Kristen at all costs spirals out of control.

While Jake will die for Kristen.
Logan is ready to kill for her. 

Lose yourself in this dark, passionate and deeply emotional tale of toxic love, obsession, revenge and murder.

A WAR OF HEARTS IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON AND KINDLE UNLIMITED NOW! http://getBook.at/warofhearts


5 Stars! Here’s what some readers are saying about A War of Hearts!

“Loved, loved, loved this book. What a fantastic debut Karen Lynn. I am captivated. This book hit me hard and got into my soul like no other book. Such creativity and very relatable.” - Elizabeth

“I would definitely read more from Karen and I am definitely going to read book two when it comes out. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a angsty wonderfully written story. Wonderful book!” - Erika 

EXCERPT: A WAR OF HEARTS

Jake was waiting outside the little cafe on East 8th Street. When he saw her heading towards him, her face lit up with a bright smile, it brought out a sense of urgency in him. Unable to wait, he ran over, taking her hands, holding them tightly. They stood immobilized in the middle of the busy sidewalk, looking into each other’s eyes, oblivious to the herds of people swarming past them.
            "Hey," she finally said, breaking the trance.
            "I'm glad you came.” He touched her face, then kissed her. His hand settled on her back, guiding her out of the way of two oncoming bicyclists. "Are you hungry?"
            His eyes seemed to penetrate her soul—they were so dazzling, deep, compassionate. She studied his face, committing it to memory. Especially those delicious lips. Dazed, she couldn't think straight.
            "I'm not sure..." She shrugged with a shy grin.
            "Let's go in. We can find a booth in the back.” For the second day in a row, the twinkle in his eyes was back after a long hiatus. His fingers laced through hers, tight and protective, as they strolled into the dimly lit cafe.
Pulsating indie rock music filled the air. The place was packed, but they finally found a booth close to the back door. He slid next to her, their thighs pressing together. It wasn't satisfying enough for either of them. They moved in closer.
            After the waitress took their order, Jake concentrated on Kristen’s face, his fingers tenderly touching the black and blue bruise on her cheek. "I noticed this outside. What happened?" His hand dropped to lay upon hers.
She had forgotten about it and was taken aback. Why hadn't the makeup hidden it? Apparently, his hawk eyes could see right through it. She looked down, avoiding those dark, dreamy eyes. What can I tell him when he doesn’t even know I’m involved with anyone, let alone married?

IT DOESN’T END HERE: BOOK 2, A SEA OF SMOKE – AVAILABLE NOW!

*********

A SEA OF SMOKE (BOOK 2)

Two men obsessed, one woman caught in the crossfire.

Kristen wears a smile for survival. 

Her nights are spent dreaming of Jake, the lover she left behind. 
Her days are spent living a nightmare with Logan, who is still unsatisfied in victory.

Jake does not have the comfort of pleasant dreams.
Shallow gratifications fail to quiet his raging mind.
Haunted by his lover's disappearance and his best friend's murder, he grows obsessed.

With so much on the line, Kristen plays the game and bends to Logan's will despite the pain it brings her.

With nothing left to lose, Jake lives on the edge. Consumed by emptiness, he will never rest until he finds the woman he loves. And hurts the man who shattered his world.

The tables have turned, the stakes at an all-time high.  Now, it is just a matter of time before the fine line between love and hate is crossed.

An unforgettable and gripping dark romantic suspense tale that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

But this twisted, emotional roller coaster ride is not over yet!

A SEA OF SMOKE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON AND FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED NOW!  https://getbook.at/aseaofsmoke

Watch for Book 3 – TURN TO DUST

EXCERPT: A SEA A SMOKE:

She sat patiently waiting for the tea, enjoying the half-naked sun worshipers parading by, when she saw him. Stiffening, she blinked, thinking the harsh glare of the sun was effecting her eyesight. Pushing her sunglasses higher on her nose, she leaned back into the shade to take a closer look. Her heart stopped. It really was Logan, hand in hand with a tall, familiar looking Latina. They walked right by without ever noticing her sitting there. All alone. They never even saw her mouth flop open in shock, or her face go deathly white. Without a sound, she turned her head, her eyes following them down the block.
“Here's your tea, miss.” The soft-spoken waiter’s voice was lost in a swirl of wind.
Her lips parted, but the words wouldn't roll off of her tongue. A sudden gust of wind whirled across the table, sending the napkins flying onto the ground. For a few seconds, her eyes fixed on them but all she saw was black.
He won’t get away with it this time.
The words continued to play over and over in her mind. She couldn’t turn them off. Or control the quivering that wracked her body.

Want the series? Click here:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen Lynn, a native New Yorker has always loved writing poetry and short stories with intense characters struggling to find love and survive in a troubled world. After years of working in the legal field, Karen moved with her son to Oregon. Inspired by the rain and Portland’s creative culture, Karen has been able to follow her dream of writing novels.
A War of Hearts is her debut novel in this dark romantic suspense series of the same name.


Follow me on Goodreads


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Her Last Word


Giveaway Alert!

My latest Romantic Suspense, HER LAST WORD is set in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia and features homicide detective John Adler, university teacher Kaitlin Roe and, not to be forgotten, a vengeful killer. HER LAST WORD has its roots in Kaitlin Roe’s obsession to solve the cold case of her missing cousin, Gina Mason, who vanished fourteen years ago. They were walking along the deserted road that snakes along the James River. Both were drunk. When a man attacked them, Kaitlin got away. By the time she found help, Gina was gone.

I’ve done quite bit of research over the years on police procedure and have attended events such as Sisters in Crime’s Forensic University, Writers Police Academy and my local citizen police academies. I’ve interviewed detectives and I have a library of books that cover everything from true crime stories, courtroom procedures to forensic evidence collection. Having a basic understanding of police procedure was a great jumping off point for this novel.

But with this story, I wanted to dig a little deeper, so I started listening to crime podcasts. Initially, I was searching for new police procedural twists and turns. I especially liked listening to podcasts featuring cops describing investigative techniques and their take on the criminals they hunted. As I listened, I found myself writing backstory scenes as if they were for a podcast. I found the style crisp and fun, and I was enamored with the idea of building the plot around a podcast.

As much as I enjoy this storytelling technique, I knew I couldn’t ignore my main protagonists. Let’s face it. We keep turning the pages to learn what’s happening to characters we care about. In this case, I knew the focus had to stay on Kaitlin and John. Plus, I love pairing opposites and those two fit that bill immediately. Both come from very different backgrounds, and it would be easy to assume they’d never be right for each other. But if you dig past John’s affluent background and Kaitlin’s less stable upbringing, you find two people who each carry a deep sense of guilt. It’s the losses they suffered that have changed them both, making them far more similar than anyone would imagine. The two are drawn to each other at the first spark of sexual tension. Both soon discover the other is honorable and values friends and family above everything, including personal safety.

And of course, I can’t forget the villain, the character I consider the most important in any suspense novel. Without the villain, there’d be no story. To me, one of the most entertaining bad guys I’ve ever written is in HER LAST WORD. He’s got a quirky sense of humor that under normal circumstances might be charming. His quips and jokes about cold blooded murder are hard to forget. Though I balanced several points of view in the book, slipping into the skin of one of my most chilling villains yet was fascinating and fun.


HER LAST WORD is not only told in a podcast style of writing, but it weaves together suspense with romance with a cast of characters that are truly some of my favorite. 


***

HER LAST WORD



Fourteen years ago, Kaitlin Roe was the lone witness to the abduction of her cousin Gina. She still remembers that lonely Virginia road. She can still see the masked stranger and hear Gina’s screams. And she still suffers the guilt of running away in fear and resents being interrogated as a suspect in the immediate aftermath. Now Kaitlin has only one way to assuage the pain and nightmares—by interviewing everyone associated with the unsolved crime for a podcast that could finally bring closure to a case gone cold.


But when a woman Kaitlin questions is later found stabbed to death, she fears that she’s drawn a killer out of hiding. It’s Detective John Adler’s fear that the murders have only just begun. Now his job is to keep Kaitlin safe.

As a bond between Kaitlin and Adler builds, the past closes in just as fast—and it’s darker than Kaitlin remembers. Soon, her wish will come true. She’s going to find out exactly what happened to Gina. Someone has been dying to tell her.


Her Last Word Excerpt

Kaitlin had not revisited the spot by the river since she left Richmond fourteen years ago. Returning now was harder than she’d imagined. Her chest tightened and her hands trembled as she stood on the narrow road hugging the river just under Mrs. Hayward’s house.
The afternoon sun cast a warm glow on the rippling water lazily drifting past large rocks. The warmth of the sun took the edge off the cold and blustery air as she walked toward the outcropping of boulders that would be packed with sunbathers in only a few months. It looked so peaceful. So innocent.

She closed her eyes. The soothing sounds of nature grew silent in the wake of Gina’s screams. Her cries. And when she opened her eyes, for a brief second, she saw the menacing clown mask.

Every fiber in her demanded she run now.

Run, Kaitlin. Run.

Her fingers curled into fists.

Breathless, she retraced the same path she had walked with Gina. She hugged the shoulder of the narrow road, remembering as an occasional car came flying by full of kids not paying attention. With each step, she felt the pull of the past.

Kaitlin was now a half mile from Pony Pasture and standing at the spot. Her heart pounded as fragmented memories rushed her from all sides.

The knife to Gina’s throat and then her ear. Gina’s screams. The blood. The seconds when she didn’t remember but must have stood in shock and utter denial that this could be happening. A memory of those missing moments reached out and teased her, but it quickly drifted away. Why couldn’t she remember?

A car drove by, and she sidestepped into a line of trees separating the river from the road. To steady herself on the sloping bank, she placed her hand on one of the trees. Its broken branch scratched her palm, and in an instant a memory emerged.

It was Gina’s abductor. “I told you I’d come for you, Gina.

She closed her eyes and replayed the words that until now had remained locked in her subconscious. She focused, trying to trigger more memories. She waited. Listened. But instead, the sounds of the river and wind in the trees came back.

Frustrated, she headed back to her car. “I’ll make this right, Gina.”
***


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

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