Daisy Carruthers moved to Washington, DC, from New York City following an emotionally draining murder investigation, little knowing she would soon be involved in two more. But when her boss and her best friend come under suspicion for killing two adulterous lovers, Daisy has no choice but to help when they ask.
And when she comes across a diary and an old dime novel with suspiciously similar stories and unknown origins, she knows all the mysteries are somehow connected.
Can she figure out the identity of the killer–or killers–before it’s too late?
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Trudy’s Diary was actually a multi-layered mystery novel. Daisy was investigating two murder mysteries in present day and the disappearance of Trudy from the 1800’s. As I was reading Trudy’s secret thoughts, I wondered how her story played into the events of the present. I didn’t see the connection. However, when all the pieces clicked into place, I was impressed on how Amy connected all the dots.
Whether I was stepping into the past or attempting to unmask today’s killer, I was thoroughly engrossed with the happenings in Trudy’s Diary.
You don’t have to be a history enthusiast to read this story. You just have to like mystery novels with a touch of love and romance.
Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, community volunteer, and recovering attorney.
She’s also a writer. She is the author of Trudy’s Diary, A Libraries of the World Mystery (Book One: Library of Congress),The Worst Noel (Book One in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series), The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross), and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.
Her days are split between writing and marketing her books, but uppermost in her mind is the adage that the best way to market a book is to write another great book.
France, 1942. The world is at war. The Nazis have stolen the infamous blue diamond, Le Coeur Bleu, intending to barter it for weapons that will destroy the Allies. Jewel thief Hunter Smith is given a choice; help the French Resistance steal back the diamond and avenge the death of his best friend, or stay locked up in an English prison. He chooses revenge.
Resistance fighter Madeleine Bertrand’s husband died when he was betrayed by Hunter Smith. How can she now pretend to be married to the arrogant American? How can she betray Jean Philippe’s memory by her passionate response to Hunter’s kisses? Neither is prepared for the maelstrom of attraction that erupts between them. To survive they must uncover the mysteries of the past and conquer the dangers of the present. But first Madeleine must decide if her loyalties lie with her dead husband and the Resistance or with the greatest love of her life.
“From now on you will be known as Jacques Lemay, Monsieur Smith.”
Monsieur Gagnon filled his pipe, dropping bits of tobacco onto his wife’s immaculate floor. Madeleine sat off to one side of Monsieur Gagnon’s kitchen, watching as Madame Gagnon prepared breakfast for her husband and their “guest.”
Madeleine silently seethed as Smith—non, Lemay—helped himself to another piece of bread. Did he have to eat so much? Didn’t he know that food was scarce here in Lille, just as it was all over France?
She listened as Smith handed over the new two-way radio to Monsieur Gagnon and explained its use.
“It’s supposed to have a clearer and stronger signal than the radio you’re using now,” Smith said. He flipped a few dials to illustrate. “They also told me it is easier to scramble the signal to avoid detection.”
“Bon.” Monsieur Gagnon beamed in pleasure. “Good communications are essential to our work. Thank you for bringing it.”
“No problem. What else can you tell me about my cover here?”
“You are to work as a junior gardener at the chateau. I wrote to the head gardener, as if I was you, inquiring about work. He’s desperate for help. The Germans have rounded up many young Frenchmen and shipped them east to work in factories in Germany, so there are few able-bodied men available. You start tomorrow.”
He paused as his wife set a bowl of porridge in front of him. Monsieur Gagnon could not be connected with Jacques Lemay in any way; their comings and goings to this house had to be done with the utmost discretion. Madeleine knew the importance of keeping Monsieur Gagnon and his wife safe. He was the heart of their operation, their connection to the outside world through the radio he operated. If something went wrong and Hunter Smith was captured, it was crucial that no trails led back to Monsieur Gagnon. The safety of their réseaux, their Resistance network, depended on it. She hoped Smith understood the danger.
“I said in the letter that you had not worked as a gardener before, so he is not expecting you to know the difference between a delphinium and a dianthus.” Monsieur Gagnon poured milk onto his porridge. “But he is expecting you to work hard. If you don’t, you could be fired, or your cover could be blown.”
“I can manage.”
“The job might require a little more than sticking a shovel in the ground occasionally and spreading a bit of manure,” Madeleine said. The others turned to stare at her.
She immediately regretted her sarcastic remark, regretted throwing his words in his face. She shouldn’t let this man get to her, but she couldn’t seem to stop herself. They needed to work together for the sake of the mission. But she hated him. After what he’d done to Jean Philippe…
Hunter’s gaze locked with hers, and the heat of his anger scorched her clear across the room. She refused to back down from the challenge in his stare. She’d be damned if she’d let him intimidate her.
“Madeleine, enough.” Monsieur Gagnon spoke sharply. “Regardless of your feelings, we need him. He is our only hope for getting the diamond out of the hands of the Nazis.”
He was right. If they couldn’t steal Le Coeur Bleu, Jean Philippe would have died for nothing. She couldn’t let that happen.
She inhaled deeply and looked away. “All right. We’ll work together.”
Renata Cabral needs to hide for the weekend. Her cousin’s Valentine’s Day wedding means she’ll face embarrassing questions from her large, extended family. Questions like “Why aren’t you married yet?” Since the breakup of her last relationship, she’s not ready to answer that question. She invents a work-related excuse and escapes to a friend’s lakeside cottage.
Noah Brownlee has been hiding for two years. But now he’s ready to come home and mend his broken relationship with his brother. When a friend offers the use of his lakeside cottage, Noah arrives in the middle of a blizzard with his English Mastiff, only to find the place is already occupied. With her big brown eyes and quirky sense of humor, Renata stirs feelings he thought long dead.
As the blizzard rages, the candy hearts predict love. Can Valentine’s Day work its magic between them?
The bedroom door swung open and Renata stood in the opening wearing a short robe that revealed her lovely legs. A light floral fragrance drifted to his nose—he envisioned a field of flowers. Spike brushed past her and entered the room.
“Oh! I didn’t realize you were with Spike.”
“I’m sorry. When he gets a notion, he’s pretty hard to stop. I’ll get him out.”
“No, that’s okay. I don’t mind having him in my room. Besides, I doubt you could make him leave if he doesn’t want to.”
She was probably right. “You’re sure? He snores something awful. And did I mention the drool?”
She smiled. “Yes, I discovered the delights of sleeping with Spike last night. But I have to admit, I kind of like having the big lug around.”
“You’re sure you don’t mind?”
“I’m sure.” She took a step backward into her room, holding the door between them. “I should get some sleep.”
She hesitated, as if waiting for him to speak. For a moment he thought she was going to invite him into her room. But then she swallowed and lowered her gaze.
“Goodnight, Noah. Sleep well.”
She quietly closed the door. Noah’s heart beat frantically as he stood outside. He wanted her in a way he hadn’t felt in a very long time, a deep primal urge, an overwhelming desire. Should he knock, ask to come in, ask to spend the night with her? Should he throw caution to the wind and let her know how he felt?
He raised his hand, ready to knock. What if he’d misread the way she’d responded to his kiss? Were his feelings for her simply a product of their isolation together? If she made love with him tonight, would she later regret it?
Fear slapped him in the gut. He couldn’t face another rejection. He let his hand drop to his side and walked to his room.
After causing three cooking fires in her apartment, Iris Jensen finds herself evicted and homeless. She lands on Riley Benson’s doorstep, looking to rent a room in the beautiful old home he’s restoring. It’s only for six weeks until Iris leaves Portland, Oregon for her new job on a cruise ship. Firefighter Riley knows firsthand what a bad tenant she can be. But he needs money to finish the work on the house he loves. And something about Iris pulls at his heart…
Meanwhile, in Heaven, two angels watch over the young lovers. Angelica and Hildegard work in Heaven’s Relationship Division, where angels match mortals with their soul mates. The angels believe so strongly in Iris and Riley’s love that they break Heaven’s rules to help them. Can the angels convince them their love will last a lifetime?
~~ Excerpt ~~
Riley looked into her beautiful blue eyes and her smiling face and did the only thing he was capable of doing at the moment.
He kissed her.
Maybe later, he told himself, when sanity returned, he’d think of a hundred reasons why pulling Iris into his arms, holding her snug against his body, and plundering her soft, sweet mouth was not a good idea. But for now, right now, as she wound her arms around his neck and made tiny sounds of excitement deep in her throat, it felt exactly right.
Heaven. Having Iris in his corner made him believe everything was possible.
He stepped backward toward the stairs, pulling Iris with him, intent on taking her upstairs to his room. He suddenly tripped, nearly losing his balance. He glanced behind him and saw the object he’d stumbled over. A set of luggage sat next to the stairs, still bearing tags from the retailer.
“What the hell is this?”
Iris kissed his neck. “I’m sorry. I should have taken them up to my room.”
Iris had bought new luggage for her trip. Her plans hadn’t changed.
She’s leaving me.
The thought acted as effectively as a bucket of cold water tossed over his head. What was he doing? She was leaving in three weeks and didn’t plan to return. The calendar in the kitchen reminded him of that every day. Why start something that would only lead to heartache?
He’d already lost too many people in his life.
And Riley instinctively knew that if he let himself get close to Iris, let himself love her, a part of him would not survive when she left.
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada with their Pug/Terrier cross Lou and several unnamed goldfish. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com
For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(Diane)First of all, thanks for having me, Kam. I’m a somewhat typical West Coast girl (at my age, the term is best used loosely) I’ve always loved crafting stories, but writing did not evolve beyond a hobby until after I retired. Now that my children are grown, I’m free to enjoy my own pursuits. Before my mother passed away, she encouraged me to publish my work. I dedicated my first book, After Midnight, to her memory.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.
(Diane)Nothing is worse than the intimidation of the blank page of a new work. For me, it’s best to just start writing. The story shapes itself later. Syntax and rhythm don’t matter in a first draft. The point is to get it down to edit later. Afterwards, I put my work away and let it sit while I do other things. When I pull it out again, I go back to work. Voila—no more “block” in the process of defining the sentences.
Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
(Diane)Absolutely—I write 19th century historical fiction, with a twist of mystery and suspense. When I’m not writing a book, I can usually be found with my nose in one. My kids tell me I’m a good cook, but maybe they just like to eat. I love flowers and putter around with light gardening. I also have two dogs and three cats, all of which are rescue animals. I’m guilty of taking too many pictures, some of which I post on social networks.
(KAM) Kids will tell you when they don’t like a food/meal, so I’m sure you’re a fantastic cook. As for gardening, I’ve never had any luck making anything grow — well, except weeds. 😛
I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(Diane)Yes, with one book published and on the verge of launching the sequel, everyone in my family is aware of my passion to write. One of my daughters is actually my chief beta reader…I love to brag about my supportive family!
Will you share with us your all-time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
(Diane)Holy cow; where to start? I hold near and dear the writings of Kahlil Gibran. In high school, I read all the classics I could find in the local libraries. John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony was my first real book, a gift from my grandmother when I was eight. Lewis Carroll was also intriguing because he was my father’s favorite author. My older brother is actually named after him…but out of all those old classics, I would say Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe win out. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and Kipling have long been exciting. Of contemporary writers, I admire Gregory Maguire and Dean Koontz, Janet Evanovich, Michael Connelly, and I’ve just begun a fantastic new series by Ken Fry that’s very promising.
If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see casted in the parts?
(Diane)I would cast my own, of course!
Of the characters from the Midnight Trilogy, I’d like to see
Natalie Portman as Alix and her twin sister Lily
Richard Armitage as her uncle, Quenton Saint-Descoteaux
Taron Egerton as Lily’s husband, Nicholas Griffon
Hugh Jackman as Alix’s guardian, Sir Robert Gordon
Ryan Gosling as the mysterious Drago Fortescue
Ryan Reynolds as the notorious Count Claude Rouget, and lastly but not least…
Jessica Chastain as Alix’s friend, Leah Burton
(KAM) I love your casting choices!
Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(Diane) Book 3 of the Midnight Trilogy is my WIP. It is as yet untitled, and is the conclusion of the series and solutions to mysteries will be revealed.
Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?
(Diane)After Midnight is Book one, Midnight Crossing is Book two. Book 3 of course is under construction. They can be found online at Amazon, Kobo, Barns & Noble, Taylors–wherever books are sold, basically.
As far as Alix is concerned, she has no past—only today, and her plans for the future: creating a dynamic stable of Thoroughbreds that will take the 1830s British racing world by storm. When forced into assuming the role of Lord Griffon’s wife in London, her plans are threatened by disturbing images of a castle from her past that fight to resurface. Alix is determined to find a way to take control of her life and fulfill her dreams. This women’s historical fiction novel is the first in the Midnight Series.
When Quenton wants to take Alix home to France after years of exile in England, she is torn between the restoration of her fortune and her dream to build her Sterling Wood Stable into a successful racing business. She finds an unlikely friend in her uncle’s companion, Nicholas Griffon. Caught by her surprising fondness for him, Alix does not realize shadows from the past are stalking her―until she’s trapped by their darkness.
Curlew Champion, master archer, has always known his destiny. With his cousin, Heron Scarlet, he will become a guardian of Sherwood Forest and further his people’s fight against Norman tyranny. But the third member of the triad is still to be revealed, the woman who will complete the magical circle and, perhaps, answer the longing in Curlew’s heart.
Anwyn Montfort has fled disgrace in Shrewsbury and come to Nottingham at her father’s bidding. He wishes her to make a good marriage and settle down. But the wildness that possesses her refuses to quiet. She knows she’s been searching for something all her life, but not until she glimpses Curlew does her spirit begin to hope it has found its home.
Only the magic of Sherwood can bring them together, and only their union can complete the spell woven so long ago…
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
This tale was worthy of being a story arc on the highly acclaimed hit show Once Upon A Time. It had twists and turns which kept the storyline flowing at a nice pace. It also had true love for the romantics in us all.
I must note though……
Even though Amazon has this book listed as a historical romance and not fantasy, there was magic involved which helped in the battle with the villain threatening their lives. Actually, magic was a focal point of this story.
And, of course, there was a HEA because (as we all know) LOVE CONQUERS ALL!!
Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Though her imagination frequently takes her to far off places, she is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario with her husband and her “fur” child, a rescue dog. Author of Scottish romances Devil Black and His Wicked Highland Ways as well as The Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy consisting of Daughter of Sherwood, Champion of Sherwood and Lord of Sherwood, she has also published two Steampunk romances, Dead Handsome: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure and Off Kilter: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure and two Christmas novellas: The Tenth Suitor and Mrs. Claus and the Viking Ship. Her Lobster Cove Historical Romance, The White Gull, is followed by a Lobster Cove novella, Forged By Love.
Richard Hill, the Earl of Windermere, might desperately require a wife and heir, but thoughts of duty fly from his mind when he rescues Esme, Lady Heathcote, from the embarrassment of a failed affair. They usually never agree about anything. He’s never even kissed the vexing widow. But when the opportunity arises to whisk her away for a no-strings-attached rendezvous, Richard can’t imagine a better way to spend a moonlit evening.
Esme has never lacked for admirers, but having Lord Windermere’s company goes a long way to ease the pain of losing her suddenly betrothed lover. And when Windermere suggests an affair, Esme is intrigued by the blazing-hot connection even while knowing their relationship has no future beyond his house party.
But as with any temptation, it’s a bargain they’ll soon regret.
Read an Excerpt
The hallway beyond the drawing room was filled to bursting with chattering guests and she moved smoothly through them, nodding and speaking occasionally to some. While she admired the elegance and comforts to be found in Lord Windermere’s home, she kept her eye out for Meriwether. She turned into the library, but the room was startlingly empty.
“Looking for me?” Windermere asked as he came to stand near. His gaze raked her from head to toe in the most gauche way.
Arrogant and presumptuous. “Hardly. You should pay more attention to your guests and the health of your servants.”
Instead of taking the hint that she wasn’t in the mood to talk, he caught her hand and raised it to his lips. His blue eyes danced with amusement. “I do love when you’re friendly. How have you been, Esme?”
She scowled at him and withdrew her hand to her side. “I’ve not given you leave to use my first name and I am not of a mood to spar with you. Go back to your other guests for amusement and send your butler to his bed. Anyone can see he’s on the verge of collapse tonight.”
“I already banished Oswin to rest.” He laughed suddenly. “Young Pip has assumed his duties until Collins comes up.”
“Just as well,” she replied, thankful for such sensible decisions at last.
“Only you would ever dare tell me what to do in my own home. I wanted to thank you for coming,” Windermere murmured. “But to convince everyone we’re not at odds, you will have to talk to me occasionally with a little less acid in your tone.”
“We’ve spoken as much as needed to quell any gossip.” She smiled at him. “Or was it your wish to have me chivvy you out of your mopes too.”
“I will say again you were right.” Windermere sighed and raked a hand through his dark, wavy hair. “You’re enjoying rubbing my nose in that business with Lady Bartlett, aren’t you?”
“Perhaps.” She smothered a laugh. He hadn’t wanted to believe he was being used until it was almost too late to extract himself from the connection. “You were so indignant that day, and after venting your pique at me, you charged down the street—on foot of all things, my man and your horse trailing after. I laughed for at least a whole day afterward. But I am sorry you were let down.”
He inhaled sharply, his jaw clenching before he relaxed and shook his head. “No, you’re not. You’re positively gloating that you were proved right about her.”
Bestselling historical author Heather Boyd believes every character she creates deserves their own happily-ever-after, no matter how much trouble she puts them through. With that goal in mind, she writes sizzling regency romance stories that skirt the boundaries of propriety to keep readers enthralled until the wee hours of the morning. Heather has published over twenty novels and shorter works. Catch her latest news www.heather-boyd.com. She lives north of Sydney, Australia, and does her best to wrangle her testosterone-fuelled family (including cat Morpheus) into submission.