~~ CAN BE READ AS A STANDALONE ~~
“Where evil lurks, no one is safe.”
The suspicious fire that destroyed the shed exposes a surprise corpse—not what ghostwriter Megan Scott and investigative reporter Michael Elliott expected when they reserved a cabin at their friends’ lakeside resort in rural Ontario.
Fear overshadows their visit like a looming storm. Their friends are receiving anonymous threatening letters. An elderly resident is reported missing. Locals are wary. They aren’t used to outsiders snooping around town, asking questions.
When Michael makes a connection to a cold case, evidence points to an ex-convict looking for revenge. He’s had reconstructive surgery. He could be anyone.
Terror blankets the town as the body count mounts. The killer is playing dangerous mind games with everyone—especially with Megan. If she doesn’t find him first, she could well become his next victim.
More stores: Books 2 Read
Excerpt from Dark Deeds by Sandra Nikolai
Madame Ora stood five feet tall and wore a red polka dot wrap dress that resembled something I’d once seen in a 1940s movie. Her wispy white hair stood on end and looked as if it had gone through dozens of perms. She beckoned me into a tiny room at the rear. A thick curtain separated it from the rest of the shop. Without a word, she motioned for me to sit down at a round café table and took a seat opposite me.
“Please do not ask me any questions until I have completed my reading.” Her voice was thick with a foreign accent—maybe Polish. She closed her eyes and mumbled words I couldn’t understand, then opened her eyes. “Please show me your hands.”
I extended both hands as requested.
Madame Ora peered at my palms, squinting as if she were trying to decipher coded messages. “My dear, you have suffered a deep loss, but things will change for the better.”
It was a pretty general statement.
“Your loss had to do with a man—a man who shared a deep bond with you.”
My late husband. Good guess.
“This man died suddenly and tragically.”
Okay, this was getting creepy.
“You have since moved on. Another man has entered your life. He is a very brave man.”
I swallowed hard.
Madame Ora continued. “On this particular journey, you are in grave danger, but you are surrounded by protection.”
Grave danger? Protection?
She looked up at me, her eyes staring at the space above my head. “The white feather will protect you. Keep it with you at all times.”
Goose bumps rose along my arms. While she closed her eyes and mumbled the same incoherent words as before, I reached into my handbag and rubbed the tiny white feather between my thumb and forefinger. It seemed beyond coincidental.
Madame Ora opened her eyes. “You may now ask me two questions.”
My practical side told me the simple white feather in my handbag would never protect me from any kind of danger. Regardless, the fact she had mentioned it intrigued me. “Can you be more specific about the grave danger you mentioned?”
She closed her eyes. “You are involved in matters concerning death. I see three dead spirits around you—spirits that have met with unexpected death. Take caution. Not everyone is to be trusted.” She opened her eyes. “Next question.”
Was she kidding? A dozen questions had popped into my head.
I thought of Michael. “Will the man in my life be safe too?”
“He has tempted fate many times and succeeded.”
“What you mean?”
Madame Ora pushed back her chair and rose. “I’m sorry, I have already answered your two questions.”
More stores: Books 2 Read
CLICK ON THE BOOK TITLES TO BE REDIRECTED TO AMAZON!
FYI –> THESE CAN BE READ AS STANDALONE. 😀
BOOK ONE: FALSE IMPRESSIONS
BOOK TWO: FATAL WHISPERS
(Short Story): TIMELY ESCAPE
BOOK THREE: ICY SILENCE
Sandra Nikolai is the author of the Megan Scott/Michael Elliott Mystery series. In addition to her novels, Sandra has published a string of short crime stories, garnering awards along the way.
Sandra held jobs in sales, finance, and high tech before leaving the corporate world to pursue a career in writing. She likes to think that plotting a whodunit reveals the lighter—yet more mysterious—side of her persona.
~~ BOOK ONE ~~
Suddenly single, in her forties, and eager to do what it takes to start over, Elaina Samuels meets three women with similar circumstances at a cash-for-gold event. They quickly become friends and form the No Sweat Pants Allowed – Wine Club. This newly found alliance brings about some humorous escapades, a few tears, and a bond so strong no man can break as they try to cling to the past and finally step out of their comfort zones to find a happiness they thought they’d never feel again. Discover Elaina Samuels, Tawny Westerfield, Stephanie Mathews, and Grace Cordray.
~~ BOOK TWO~~
Recently single, Elaina Samuels could’ve never imagined such an amazing six months. She’d met Tawny Westerfield, Stephanie Mathews, and Grace Cordray, at a cash-for-gold event. Individually they were there to trade in their wedding rings to get a fresh start. Little did they know that fate would step in and put them together – first in the jewelry store and then to share their stories over wine in the bar across the street. They clicked from the get-go and a few weeks later, Elaina made an offer for them to move in to share expenses. Best. Decision. Ever. Join Elaina, Tawny, Steph, and Grace as they continue their journeys to get life right-side-up and embrace the next six months with energy, mischief, chaos, fun, and a few tears.
~~ OUT NOW –> BOOK THREE ~~
Sometimes the only way to truly start over is to move. That’s exactly what Elaina Samuels and her unruly band of cohorts decided to do. Elaina, Tawny, Grace, and Steph bought a bed and breakfast in Maine. The trip from Cherry Ridge, Ohio to Portland is a wild and crazy ride, filled with things they never could have foreseen. In this adventure there’s laughter, tears, doubt, and a little danger thrown in to keep them on their toes. Will this relocation to the northeast be the key to real happiness? Or will it test their friendship to the breaking point?
Could the day get any stranger? First, the guy in the Mercedes; now Frank and Bax.
The unspoken question answered itself.
An old gal with powder-white hair and glasses came up to Elaina. “Four Sassy Chicks. That describes us to a tee. Isn’t that right, Flora, Hazel, and Josie?”
Accompanying the short, tiny-framed woman were three carbon copies. The four women were dressed in the same fake fur coats and floral bandanas.
The carbon copies nodded.
“We’re in our eighties but we can be a bit cheeky.” The leader of the pack smiled so big her eyes went closed. “I’m Adelaide. We’ve come from Tennessee to stay at your bed and breakfast. Sorry it took so long for us to get to baggage claim. We’re not as spry as we used to be. The airline offered to cart us with one of those fancy four-wheelers.”
One of the carbon copies spoke up. “They’re not four-wheelers, Addie. I believe they call them shuttles.”
Another of the four women winced. “A lot you know. They’re called courtesy transports.”
“That’s our know-it-all sister, Hazel. What she doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing.” Adelaide broke into a cackle that turned into a loose cough.
“I never claimed to know everything; although I do have more upstairs than the other three put together.”
“You wish. I’m Flora, dear.”
Elaina nodded. “Nice to meet you, Flora.”
“I’m, Josephine, the prettiest of the Turlington sisters.” She put her dentures together in a silly grin. “Boom.”
Did she really say boom? Elaina kept her expression even. Inside she was jiggling with a laugh. She had a feeling it would be a fun few days. “I’m Elaina. Welcome to Maine.”
Adelaide leaned into Elaina. “Several years ago we decided to vacation in every state before we kick the bucket. We’re proud to say this is the fiftieth. Right, girls?”
Their heads wobbled when they nodded.
“How exciting! I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of great things in your travels.”
Flora shook her head. “Not really. We don’t get around so good, so we usually don’t venture out.”
“You don’t leave the hotel or bed and breakfast?”
Hazel didn’t hedge on the truth. “Nope. We play cards and drink wine.” She made a weird noise that could’ve been a laugh. It was hard to tell. “When we get home we brag to our card club that we visited another state.”
“Oh it is.” Flora winked. “I want you to know ahead of time that we collect those little bars of soap and bottles of shampoo. Some people collect trinkets. We collect toiletries.”
“Collect?” Josephine scoffed. “We steal them.”
Hazel set the record straight. “They think they’re getting away with something.”
Adelaide rebuffed her sister. “It’s thievery all right. If you don’t use it, you’re not supposed to take it.”
Elaina looked from woman to woman. “Are you ready to discover the Four Sassy Chicks Bed and Breakfast?”
“Can we make a stop?” Flora inquired.
“I’ll bet she forgot to bring her Depends,” Hazel said under her breath.
Flora leveled a scowl at her sister. She couldn’t maintain it. An evil grin splashed across her weathered face. “You’re just jealous that you have to use the bathroom when you have to pee. I never have to leave the card game.”
Adelaide rushed to deny Flora’s boasting. “She’s teasing. Flora, tell this sweet lady you’re teasing.”
“Nope. I pee wherever and whenever I want. I’m peeing right now.”
Hazel lifted her eyes in embarrassment. “Sorry about that, miss. I could blame it on her age, but age doesn’t excuse everything.”
“Booyah.” Flora blew on her fingernails like she’d one-upped her sisters.
Elaina smiled at each Turlington sibling. “You remind me of my friends. Wait until you meet them. You’ll see what I mean.” Her cell phone chimed with an incoming text message. She ignored it to remain professional.
Her cell phone rang shortly after the text. Again, she ignored it.
Elaina addressed Flora. “Where would you like me to make a stop?”
“Wherever they sell wine.”
BUY ALL THREE NOW WITH THIS
——> 1-CLICK LINK <—–
Jan Romes is a hopeless romantic who grew up in northwest Ohio with eight zany siblings. Married to her high school sweetheart for more years than seems possible, she is also a proud mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She likes to read all genres, writes witty contemporary romance and women’s fiction, enjoys finding new ways to stay fit and gardens even though she doesn’t claim to have a green thumb.
What happens when your sex strike goes viral — and suddenly every man in town has their eye on your prize?
All I wanted was little old-fashioned romance. After a parade of Tinder disasters who think chivalry is giving me a pearl necklace on the first date, I made a pledge: until guys step up their game, this girl is off the market.
But one bottle of chardonnay later, and my drunken rant has gone viral. I’m the most famous person NOT having sex since the Jonas Brothers put on their purity rings. A men’s magazine has even put a bounty on my (ahem) maidenhead: fifty Gs to whoever makes me break the drought.
Be careful what you wish for…
Now my office looks like an explosion in a Hallmark factory, I’ve got guys lining up to sweep me off my feet – and the one man I want is most definitely off-limits. Jake Weston is a player through and through. He’s also the only one who sees through the mayhem to the real me, but how can I trust he’s not just out to claim the glory?
And how will I make it through the strike without scratching the itch – especially when that itch looks so damn good out of his suit? The thrill of the chaste has never been so sexy in Lila Monroe’s hilarious, hot new romantic read!
Lila showed men and women at their highest and lowest points. Yes, both genders can and will excel and falter in showing their love, romantic side, and take for granted their lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife. Whatever label you are using, the end result should be the same. Want to keep a good man or woman? Then, kiss them. Not because you want sex but because you want them to feel loved and appreciated. Don’t allow your significant other do all the cooking, cleaning, chores, and so forth. PUT IN AN EFFORT! Oh and I firmly believe you should do small things every chance you get and not wait until Valentine’s Day.
Lila Monroe made sure readers understood that to keep your sweetums happy, don’t let the romance die because if you do your sex life (relationship) will feel the strain.
Men, you know stroking it gets old. Fake holes aren’t the same as the real deal.
Women, self pleasure isn’t always so fulfilling at the end of the day.
So heed Lila’s words and go give your man or woman some attention. Not because you want sex — expect it. No, give them it because you’re honored and amazed they chose you as their partner.
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
~~ EXCERPT ~~
Linda was passing the empty tables by the tall windows when she felt her arm being tugged—very hard. Before she could react, she found herself being forcibly dragged through the open patio doors and onto the isolated garden path. She came face to face with the mighty Wolf and his trusted companion, Hayden. The grounds were deserted. Everyone had left the gardens and she was all alone with the two wicked vampires.
Wolf glared at Hayden. “Please let go of her arm; we are not animals. We never force ourselves on women.”
“Chivalry among demons—I’m very impressed. Too bad your table manners and choice of dishes leave a lot to be desired,” Linda said. Her hatred of Wolf had just caused her to forget her low position in the food chain; she closed her mouth to stop herself from talking. In the future, she must remember that he was a vampire—the strongest one in the world—and that he could easily destroy her at any time.
Wolf didn’t seem the least bit focused on her. “I didn’t come here to play parlor games with you. I need you to convince Todd to join with us. He can never be human or will ever be accepted by them. He belongs with us. He must stick with his own kind.”
“He’s not like you in any way at all: he cares too deeply for people and is loyal to his friends. On the other hand, you and your kind enjoy killing too much and have no feelings whatsoever.”
“Todd will never be accepted by humans or by his own kind. He will be an outcast with nowhere to go. He must join with us.”
“Todd is human and will always be accepted by humans.”
“Let’s kill her now, boss. She’s going to be trouble. I could take her away and no one will ever see her again,” Hayden said, grabbing hold of her arm again.
Oops, she did it again. Her big mouth had now sealed her fate. She had to learn how to be more assertive without getting herself into trouble.
Wolf strolled over to her with a wicked gleam surfacing in his eyes.
“I have a much better use for her in the future. When she finally comes to her senses, she’ll realize that she will be better off with a real vampire with limitless powers than with a pathetic human. She’ll learn about intoxicating love and passion—not the games that humans play that pale in comparison.
Here comes the human. Let her go for now.”
Linda was horrified to find herself wrapped in Wolf’s strong, muscular arms. She became hypnotized by his black eyes and tempted by his deep voice. He seemed perfect in every way. She only wanted to be with him.
“I’ll be back for you.” Wolf held her tight against his body and whispered in her ear. “I love the way you stand up to me with your flashing blue eyes. Soon you’ll be mine, my beautiful ice queen.”
Linda couldn’t move her body. She was stuck in some kind of trance…she couldn’t leave; didn’t want to leave if given the choice. His voice soothed her and made her think of love, passion, and great need: a need that could be satisfied only by him with his expert hands and mouth. She knew that one day she was going to be with him, to be joined with him.
He lowered his mouth onto hers and drew her into a swirling haze of unexpected feelings and desires. His mouth fully covering hers introduced her to a new realm of pure pleasure. His powerful form enveloped her, making her feel feelings that were foreign and untried for her. She couldn’t get enough of him. She tentatively began touching his face and then his body with an eager and unrelenting hunger. She didn’t know what she needed, but she knew that she wanted and desired this beautiful man standing right before her. Her past life was washed out of her mind, never to be considered again. She begged him to take her with him tonight. In response, Wolf lifted her in his arms, as if she weighed nothing, and turned to leave the party. His beautiful face looked victorious and happy. His black eyes filled with passion. She hoped that it was because of her. He looked down into her small face and gave a hearty roar.
While Wolf carried her in his powerful arms, a dark shadow swooped out of the house and flew directly at them. Linda was knocked out of his arms, and Wolf was thrown across the patio.
She looked up to see who had attacked them. It was Todd, his eyes a deadly shade of green, standing there panting.
Linda backed away in horror. Todd’s eyes cleared and returned to their original dark color. Then he looked at her. “Don’t ever be afraid of me. I’m here to protect you.”
Then he was struck down by Wolf.
They began circling each other like two wild animals. Todd thrust his body at Wolf, causing Wolf to lose his balance, and they crashed together to the ground. Wolf pushed Todd aside and stood back up. He lunged at Todd, who sidestepped his maneuver. Todd retaliated by lifting him high up in the air and flinging him through one of the glass doors to the house. Wolf rose up and dusted glass off his clothing.
He said to Todd, who stood before him, “We are not anywhere near finished, my dear friend. The next battle between us will be more private—without so many witnesses. If I were you, I would watch your back…and your pretty little girlfriend.” Wolf stalked away with Hayden following close behind. Todd quickly followed.
Linda was left standing alone outside. She felt bereft without the touch of Wolf’s lips on hers and the solid strength of his arms holding her. She had felt the unmistakable pull by him on all her senses. In his arms, she’d felt weak and needy—as if she needed him to live. Todd and Wolf were extremely powerful and both had taken hold of her senses.
If I had known it was going to be so hard,
involving computer skills to the extreme,
I might have thought twice about it,
thought twice about writing my book.
Writers must write each and every day.
We must promote our books daily.
We must post on our blogs each day.
But there’s not enough hours in a day.
How do other writers accomplish all this?
How do they leave free time for their families?
They must be expert jugglers.
Experts at writing, blogging, and juggling.
I must learn this dance,
this high-wire walk,
this never-ending battle.
I must learn to juggle.
I will do it.
I will do it all.
Just give me the chance.
Book two is being written.
I feel free.
I feel empowered.
I will survive.
James Patterson, eat my dust.
AND HERE ARE MY BLOGS:
Kara Kay George had agreed to be on The Stag as a favor to the producer, her old sorority sister. “I just need you for one night,” Noreen had begged. “Then you can go home.” But going home was not an option. As luck would have it, the Stag took a liking to her and decided to keep her around. No way would she fawn over him as the other women were doing. She had a business back home to run and no time for a silly romance, especially not with a man who had his eye on twenty-four other girls.
Tree Gunner had lost a bet at his best friend’s bachelor party, meaning that he had to apply to be on the popular TV show, The Stag. Of course the handsome son of a Houston building magnate was a shoo-in. Certain that he will not fall in love with any of the girls, Tree arrives on the show feeling smug and confident. He’ll enjoy the attention of twenty-five vain, beautiful women, all hoping to marry him and his money, and then haul it back to Houston, alone.
Luana Deneux goes on The Stag with one purpose in mind – to marry Tree Gunner. An heiress with a disappearing inheritance, she and her brother are desperate for her to marry The Stag in order to restore the family’s dwindling coffers, and they will stop at nothing to insure it happens.
Fae Warrior, Bliss Goodeve, fires up her empath skills to battle the Reptiles invading Earth. But when it comes to her new human partner, Nathaniel Calhoun, Bliss would rather make love than wage war. A man of mystery, she wonders what he’s hiding behind the horn-rimmed glasses and white lab coat.
Nate admits to being a brainiac, at least that’s the persona he shows the outside world. If his boss discovers his troubled past, life could get complicated. The bad boy in Nate wants the beguiling Bliss in the worst way. Yet, the scientist inside him calculates high odds of being left broken-hearted.
After one Reptile goes rogue, it’s up to Bliss, Nate, and an alien critter named Noodge to bring him down. But time is running out, and things are heating up—especially romantically. Bliss is all for living in the moment. But will that be enough for Nate?
He wasn’t a muscled-bound jock who looked like he lived at the gym, but rather he was tall and lean, with the broad shoulders and narrow hips of a Soccer Pro. Or on her planet, a three dimensional air jockey. She could watch those bad boys for hours.
“Does this mean you’ve come to terms regarding where I come from.”
“I’m not sure what you mean by terms. And I really don’t know where you come from other than out there.” He randomly pointed toward the ceiling. “I’ve had sufficient time to digest the concept, of course, but there’s still too much undiscovered data to come to a conclusion. But then we all have secrets.”
“Do we now.” Her favorite superhero, Bruce Wayne, he had secrets. Did Dr. Calhoun have an alter ego? Was there a bat-cave nearby, and someone equivalent to Alfred waiting for him? “Have you been briefed on why I’m here, and what we’re up against.”
“Again yes. And again, still working on it. I try to keep an open mind. After all, I’m a big supporter of SETI. Did a “tour of duty” at the Lick Observatory for my postgraduate work.”
Lick, such a nice four letter word. And in her mind, one that did not conjure telescopes and long boring hours of record keeping with hopes of alien contact.
“So you see,” he continued, leaning against the doorjamb, arms crossed over his broad chest. “I certainly believe in the potential for you to exist.”
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
When we shop for books, readers scan the covers and seek out what captures our interest the most. When we find something appealing, we read the book summary and decide if it’s worth the cost. For those who wonder if Bliss is worth the price tag attached, my opinion is YES!
Between the cover (courtesy of Debbie Taylor) and the book’s description, I had a feeling Bliss was going to be as memorable as Solace (book 1) and I was correct in my assumption. How can you go wrong with Fae triplets, an ex-army ranger, a cowboy/nerdy scientist, pet Rapran (defined on page 1 and/or see glossary, page 238), and the Reptilian creatures.
No joke, if I saw the transformation from man to reptile, a few things would’ve occurred.
1.) Cue scream 2.) Hello, pee pants. 3.) And timber….. I’ve passed out!
Maybe, I should sign up for martial arts lessons so I can do those fancy moves like Bliss or swing a staff like a ninja master. You know, just in case aliens do exist and they don’t come in peace.
As you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed Bliss and I know you will too. So get it and get Solace — if you haven’t yet!
Side note: Portence is up next and, based off the hospital scene and sneak peek, it’s going to knock my (our) socks off.
Heart Rating System
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
For Mackenzie Barton Taylor, known to the world simply as Kiz, modeling is beginning to lose its luster. She keeps thinking about her home in Texas, the baby she left behind, the man she loved and married. No other man has ever touched her heart the way he did. It is time to go back. Therefore, when her model agency opens a branch in Dallas, Texas, she jumps at the opportunity to run it.
But can a girl who abandoned all for a star-studded career in the big city go home to the small town she was raised in and reclaim the man she loves and the baby she abandoned, now fully grown? Can she convince them that she is sorry, that she’ll give up her life as a supermodel to be with them? As her husband has divorce papers prepared, Mackenzie fights to save what was once hers.
At Brodie Operations Security Service, Inc., following your instincts is company policy . . .
M. Cassidy—Luke Brodie had heard the name before, some novice bounty hunter working Seattle, catching tricky skips with more success than a newcomer should expect. But the dark curls, sparkly top, and impressive cleavage were not what Brodie had pictured.
Emma Cassidy is tough and smart and sexy as hell. She’s also popping up a step ahead of him every time he’s close to the capture he wants most . . . and there’s no room for learning on the trail of this monster.
Emma has idolized Luke Brodie, the bounty hunter who can bring anyone in. The big man in the soft shoes, with a face like a fallen angel and a reputation for breaking hearts. Watching him in action is intoxicating. But her fight with Rudy Vance is fiercely personal. If he gets too close, Brodie will find out just how ferocious she can be . . .
Sitting at the long, neon-lit bar in Rocker’s Karaoke Lounge, Luke Brodie sipped a cold Corona and eyed his quarry. A bail skip named Skinner Digby leaned back in a chair at a round Formica-topped table a few feet away.
“You here for Skinner?” Eddie Mullens, the bartender, a string bean of a guy with gold wire-rimmed glasses, followed Luke’s gaze to where Digby sat nursing a Jack and Coke. Eddie knew everything that went on in this part of Seattle. For a little cash once in a while, he kept Luke informed if anything interesting went down.
Luke took a sip of his beer. “Digby skipped on a DUI.”
“Seems like small potatoes for you.”
Luke was a bounty hunter. He went after FTAs, failures to appear, guys released on bail that didn’t show up in court. He got twenty percent of whatever the bondsman had posted for their release and would have to forfeit if the fugitive wasn’t rearrested. Luke specialized in the toughest and most profitable cases, bail skips whose bond sometimes ran into the millions.
“I need to ask Skinner some questions.” That was the way it worked. You went after the small fish to get your hands on the big ones. “Figure I might as well make a few bucks while I’m at it.”
Luke took a swallow of beer and returned his attention to his quarry. Digby had been flirting with a petite little brunette no more than five-foot-three in a tight black skirt and low-cut silver top who laughed at his dirty jokes.
Luke was getting irritated. Skinner, with his bulldog face and beer belly, was no ladies’ man. Luke wished the woman would just take the free drink he offered and move on.
Instead, she sidled a little closer and leaned down to whisper in his ear, giving him a bird’s eye view down the front of her sparkly top at some very impressive cleavage. Skinner pulled out a chair, inviting her to join him.
Luke softly cursed. If the woman was going to hang around, he was going to have to make his move. He didn’t like putting a woman in the middle of a situation that might go bad, but he needed to talk to Digby. The lady was giving him no choice.
He set the beer bottle down on the bar and came off the stool. Luke couldn’t hear what the little brunette said, but Skinner snarled a curse and started up from his chair.
Luke couldn’t believe his eyes when the lady grabbed Digby by the nape of the neck and shoved his head down, slamming him hard onto top of the table.
Skinner groaned and his muscles went limp. The brunette twisted one of Skinner’s arms up behind back, pulled a pair of handcuffs from the handbag on her shoulder, and shackled his wrist, did the same to the other one. Looking even more stunned than Luke, Digby swayed, his legs wobbly, as the brunette hauled him to his feet.
Sonofabitch. Luke turned to Eddie, who stood chuckling behind the bar. “What the hell just happened?”
“She’s something, ain’t she? Looks like the lady got to your bail skip first.”
“Who is she?”
“Name’s Cassidy. She’s a bounty hunter. Pretty amazing, huh?”
Luke was torn between annoyance and curiosity. “That’s M. Cassidy?”
“Short for Emma. The guys call her Em.”
Em Cassidy. He knew the name, thought it was a man. He watched the petite brunette–nine inches shorter than Digby’s six foot frame and no more than a hundred ten pounds–haul Skinner out the side door into the parking lot. Luke reached for his beer, took a last swallow, tossed a little extra cash on the bar, and followed the lady outside.
It took him a minute to spot her beneath a lamp post at the edge of the parking lot. He sauntered into the shadow of a car in a nearby space, got a real good look at her this time.
Late twenties, petite, but curvy in all the right places, thick dark hair that hung in heavy curls around her shoulders.
A bounty hunter. That was a laugh.
The smile on his face slipped a little as he watched her handle Skinner. She had the guy sitting cross-legged on the grass, hands cuffed behind him. She was pressing him to answer her questions–exactly the same questions Luke wanted to ask.
“There’s a guy you know,” she said. “His name is Felix Riggs. He’s your supplier. I want to know where to find him.”
Felix Riggs. Same guy Luke was hunting.
Skinner just grunted. “Yeah, right. Like I’m gonna tell you anything. You damned near knocked me out, you bitch.”
Emma lightly cuffed the back of Digby’s head, and Luke bit back a grin.
“You skipped on a drunk-driving charge,” the lady said, “third offense, Skinner. They’re going to stick your butt in jail for at least a year. Tell me what I want to know and I’ll let you go.”
She’d let him go? Luke hadn’t expected that. Now he was even more intrigued.
Digby sat quietly, considering his options. “Take off the cuffs, then I’ll tell you what you want to know.”
“Not a chance.”
Digby shook his head. “If Riggs finds out I told you, he’ll kill me. He don’t like snitches.”
Frustrated, Emma nibbled her bottom lip. It was plump and damp, and Luke felt a curl of heat he hadn’t expected.
“You want to walk or go to jail?” she asked, pushing, but not quite hard enough, only willing to go so far.
Luke glanced around. If Digby didn’t spill in the next few minutes, there was a chance the cops would arrive. Always somebody there to dial 911.
He stepped out of the shadows and Emma spun toward him, went into a wide-legged, self-defense stance. He pointed to the bail enforcement badge clipped to his belt and she relaxed.
“I didn’t hear you walk up,” she said.
Luke ignored her, zeroed in on Skinner Digby, crouched down in front of him. “The lady asked you nice and polite where to find Felix Riggs. You know who I am?”
Skinner grunted. “I know who you are. You’re Brodie.”
“That’s right. I’m going to ask you the same question just one time. You don’t answer, you won’t have to worry about dealing with Riggs. You’ll have to deal with me.”
“Now…where is Felix Riggs?”
Skinner ran his tongue over his lips. There was a lump turning purple in the middle of his forehead. “Riggs is…he’s out of town. Won’t be back till Monday.”
“Where can I find him?”
Skinner gave a sigh. “Hangs around The Polo Club. There’s a bitch he’s got the hots for.”
“What’s her name?”
“Lila Purdue…like the college, you know?”
“Yeah, I do.” Luke rose to his feet, turned to the lady standing a few feet away. The moon was out. She was prettier than he had first thought, with big doe eyes, fine features, and a firm little chin. He was a boob man and from what he could tell, hers were prime grade A.
“Emma Cassidy,” she said by way of introduction.
“Luke Brodie.” He glanced down at Skinner, who was grumbling beneath his breath, then looked back at Emma. “Nice work,” he said.
Luke glanced across the parking lot. “Here comes Skinner’s ride. I’ll see you around.” He started walking as a black and white patrol car rolled into the lot. Interesting lady, he thought, ambling over to his battered old Bronco. Pretty and feminine with a hot little body.
The very last person who should be running around trying to hunt down criminals.
Luke just shook his head.
He wondered why she was interested in Felix Riggs. Riggs wasn’t wanted, though he should be since he was a low-life scum. Maybe he knew something about another bail skip she was hunting. Luke hoped like hell Emma Cassidy wasn’t going to confront the guy. He didn’t think she’d come out as unscathed as she had tonight.
None of your business, he told himself as he crossed the lot, slid in behind the wheel of his beat-up old Ford, and fired up the powerful V-8 engine.
The Bronco, the perfect, non-descript surveillance vehicle, had been completely rebuilt. A powerful Ford Racing Aluminator XS 5.0 liter Coyote Engine–500 plus horses–idled like a predator under the hood. The Bronco had a Cobra jet intake manifold and fully CNC ported aluminum heads.
Welded restraints had been fitted into the back to hold any prisoners he had to transport to jail. Luke loved the Bronco. Like driving a rocket disguised as a paper airplane.
He checked the rearview mirror, saw little Emma Cassidy hauling butt-ugly Skinner Digby over to the patrol car. Why she would want to be a bounty hunter he couldn’t begin to guess.
He’d never understood women.
Clearly that hadn’t changed.
Beebe Walker’s life changes when she learns about a secret buried in her father’s cemetery. The secret revolves around the burial of a homeless woman and, eventually, draws her home to Larkspur, Michigan, to renew a relationship with her father, Cliff.
Months earlier, Cliff stood back from that sparsely attended funeral, unaware the woman’s passing made him a widower. Cliff, devoted caretaker of the cemetery, doesn’t know he’s tending to his wife’s grave. Beebe must find a way to tell her father that the homeless woman was misidentified. In reality, she was the wife and mother who abandoned them decades before.
Oddly enough, the first person Beebe meets upon her return is a young man who’s new in town. Yates Strand is also chasing the secret behind the homeless woman. He has another story to tell.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Death, no matter how it happens, takes a toll on the living. It can bring people together or tear them apart. In the case of Abigail (also known as Terri), it helped reunite a father and daughter. Two people who were harboring a lot of anger and hurt, all centering around the abandonment of a wife and mother.
Abigail/Terri, like most of us, made some bad decisions in her life. In her case, she lost her family, job, respect, and her body to AIDS. However, despite her mistakes, she was a good person. She used her nursing skills to save lives. Unfortunately, through a chain of events, she couldn’t be there for her family. An accident, painkillers, drug addiction and trouble with the law led to the loss of her loved ones.
For three decades, Cliff and Beebe had no clue if she was alive or dead. When you are faced with that question, you hold onto hope. When you finally get the answer, you must then face your true emotions and deal with them accordingly.
I can’t imagine living in this type of limbo or the aftermath of such an event. Connie Chappell illustrated beautifully the pains, the internal battle people face in this type of predicament. She made a dark, dismal story come to life. After I read Proper Goodbye, I immediately hugged my family. I imagine you will too.
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Connie Chappell is a bestselling author of both literary fiction and cozy mysteries. Proper Goodbye, the long-awaited standalone sequel to her debut novel, Wild Raspberries, is now available for purchase. In Proper Goodbye, Beebe Walker’s life changes when she learns about a secret buried in her father’s cemetery. The secret revolves around the burial of a homeless woman and eventually draws her home to Larkspur, Michigan, to renew a relationship with her father.
Connie’s other books, Wild Raspberries and Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont, were awarded the 5-Star Readers’ Favorite distinction. Two additional awards were received by Connie and Wild Raspberries in 2016: the Maxy Award for Best Literary Fiction and the Readers’ Favorite Book Award for Women’s Fiction.
In Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont, historian-for-hire Wrenn Grayson solves a double mystery in her hometown of Havens, Ohio. A murder, coupled with a theft, pulls her away from her duties for Mayor K.C. Tallmadge and her after-hours job of writing historical articles for the local newspaper. Wrenn’s knowledge of hometown history, specifically the old train station, plays into this mystery. Connie’s inspiration behind the inclusion of a Havens train station extends from her hometown, Springfield, Ohio. A postcard and short history of the Big Four train station are uploaded to this profile. A second Wrenn Grayson mystery has been hatched, so stay tuned.
Wild Raspberries, released in April, 2015, is especially dear because memory quilts are stitched to it. Photos of the memory quilt Connie sewed are uploaded to this profile. Like hers, the memory quilts described in Wild Raspberries were sewn with squares cut from favorite clothing a loved one wore in life. The quilts tell a life story, and through them, the reader meets the loved ones the women in Wild Raspberries have lost.
Connie’s novels are published by Black Rose Writing.
Learn more about Connie and her novels on her author webpage: www.conniechappell.com. Reviews of her books are there as well, so take some time and look around. In addition, she’s written several short stories—all ready for viewing on her website. Also available are a host of interesting podcasts.
Connie is a lifelong resident of Springfield, Ohio, where she serves its citizens from her office in City Hall. She also produces videos about Springfield, government projects, and community events for the local government-access channel. She devotes as much of her free time as possible to anything out-of-doors. Flowerbeds, golf, walking, and riding her bicycle are particular favorites.