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Blood of the Dragonfly: The Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series, Book V by Hawk MacKinney (Book Spotlight)

Adult Fiction (18+), 227 pages

 
While dangling a fishing hook from his flat bottom skiff before dawn, former SEAL-turned-PI Craige Ingram spots grey-black smoke coiling above the treetops across the river in the direction of the Georgia bayous and Corpsewood Manor. Bayou or bogs, fire in the uncut cypress and pines bodes a sense that the river is no barrier to the fire that threatens his ancestral home, Moccasin Hollow. Neither are the bodies later found in the burned mansion of Corpsewood Manor. Craige wastes no time in helping his ex-SEAL buddy Lt. Graysen MacGerald who is now Head of Buckingham Homicide Investigations by unofficially investigating the bodies and an exquisite dragonfly brooch found in the mansion with a reputation for evil, hauntings, and mystery.
 
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Craige had known Mattie to flip-flop a few times between past and present about things and happenin’s. Mix details of what and when and turned backside forward. Her seein’s coming in jumbled threads were often hard to make sense of. She frequently had no idea what the seein’s meant, but she never wavered about describing what she was sensing. Craige unhurriedly placed his cup into its saucer and carefully unfolded the inner wrappings of the jeweler’s box, and opened the box. Crisp sunbeams slanting through the lace of the window curtains glinted across the brooch, flashing shards gleamed along the truly diaphanous lifelike wings. He hadn’t told Mattie anything about where he’d found it or about Gray’s investigation. The hovering intaglio shimmered as though hoarding its secrets, beckoning with an unreal seduction, as he laid the brooch in her palm.

Her cup delicately paused in mid-air. “How lovely.” Mild ripples trilled across the smile lines of her face. She squinted for a closer look, “There’s something carved into the shiny black jewel.”

“A dragonfly.”

“How fanciful. I’ve seen butterflies, crickets, frogs, all manner of doodads for lapel pins and lavalieres but never a dragonfly such as this. Its wings even look see-through. I’m sure—” Her words stopped.

Her pleasant expression crumpled into clouded bemused bewilderment. The sunny room seemed to feel smothered. Her teacup quivered. Ever so carefully, she placed her cup just so in its saucer. Her eyes grew wide in a pinched strained expression. She pulled back, as though some shapeless trepidation hovered about her, ready to seize her. Her hand moved up to the starched bleached, crocheted collar of her navy-blue paisley print dress. She clutched her throat, then gingerly rested her hand aside the unsettled quiver at her cheek, “How dreadful.” She stared at the brooch in her palm. As if the brooch was blistering hot with blazing embers, Mattie tentatively placed it into Craige’s outreached hand, “Such beauty to be so wicked.” In a shaded whisper, “Mister Craige, take this vile thing with its temptations.”

Craige had seen her upset by her visions, but never so abrupt. “Mattie, let’s not go any further with this if it bothers you.” He placed it back in its box.

“Ugliness and cruelty always hover about those what are vulnerable. Such occurrences do bother me, but too shy from it implies acceptance. Good people must be watchful. Malice feeds on fear; drives good folks from facing it. The poor dead creature was being burned, burning away her name so she will be forever forgotten, so no one will ever know what happened to the poor unfortunate woman. There are others. I can’t see their faces. Someone was with her—another woman either with or perhaps following her.” Mattie caught a quick, shallow breath, “You must have nothing more to do with such a bloodstained harbinger. It didn’t belong to her. She took it,” Mattie frowned, “And now she’s dead.”

“Took it from whom?”

“Evil wanted it. It is a bringer of trouble.” Mattie winced, “Someone wanted it from—” Her face puzzled, “Flames were too hot for the hand that reached for the brooch. That awful fire couldn’t wipe clean where she died.”

“She died in the flames?”

“Perhaps somewhere near? Or perhaps somewhere else. I get no feeling of where.”

Mattie’s words didn’t surprise Craige so much as stirred a thing deep inside him, somewhere in those secret whispers between sleep and awake and an unfinished nightmare. From Frannie at PDK to Mattie’s forewarnings, Craige no longer discarded happenstances as coincidence, especially Mattie’s bit about “another woman.” He wrapped the brooch. Closed the box lid tight. “Can you see how the fire started?”

She shook her head slightly. Her expression one less of fear than trepidation, “Only the faces watching you, watching your friend.”

“Who’s watching Gray?”

“Not Lieutenant MacGerald. Your other friend, the one visiting you, the one who swims in the ocean and jumps out of airplanes and hunts with a bow and arrows.”

Her words jarred Craige. Only Gray, Fred, Mabel, and Terri knew Spinner was here. He hadn’t mentioned Spinner to Mattie or that he even had a visitor at Moccasin Hollow.

“Mister Craige, you must take extra care. That pretty bauble in its velvet box belongs to some kind of devil. Washed in blood with terrible long-dead secrets, crawling from their long-dead places. Don’t keep it near you. There is smoke and fire over your home, over that bauble from where she burned.” Mattie’s hands trembled as she reached for her cup of tea and took a long slow sip to calm herself. Her tremulous cup rattled into its saucer, “I will feel so much better once that pretty thing is rid away from you.”

He stood, “I want to let Gray know what you’ve told me.”

A bit calmer, Mattie insisted, “You must promise to not keep that thing inside your home.”

“I will take care.”

Mattie’s face strained, “I most truly enjoy the tea.”

Her hand still lingering at her throat, as Mattie stood in the doorway and waved as Mister Craige drove away. She hadn’t wanted him to know how upset it had truly made her.

* * *

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Meet the Author:
Author Hawk MacKinney
Hawk MacKinney began writing mysteries for his school newspaper, served in the US Navy for over 20 years, earned two postgraduate degrees with studies in languages and history, taught postgraduate courses in the United States and Jerusalem, authored professional articles and chordate embryology texts on fetal and adult anatomy, and is well known for his works of fiction. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel, was nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. Both his CAIRNS OF SANCTUARIE science fiction series and the MOCCASIN HOLLOW MYSTERY series have received worldwide recognition.
 
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The One Who Got Away (Wilde Ways Book 12) by Cynthia Eden (Book Showcase)

THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY.

He has to get her back.

Antony Kyle can’t believe what’s happening to him. First, Ella Webb—the head of security at his gaming company—quits on him. Then…she kisses him as if she’s never wanted anyone more. They spend one incredible night together—a night that brands him to his core—and he wakes to find her gone. Gone.

No, not happening. Antony is not about to lose her now. Not when he’s been obsessed with her for years. He can’t have a taste and then lose…everything.

She’s done with his lies.

Ella has been in love with her gorgeous, genius boss for far too long. And she’s put up with his lies and secrets…for far too long! She’d fallen for his helpless act, thought that the man needed her, but now she has learned the truth. Antony Kyle is a secret spy, more than capable of looking after himself and taking out a whole army of bad guys. So, she gives in to the need that she’s always felt for him, she allows herself one, unforgettable night with him, then she walks away.

But he follows her.

Antony can’t lose Ella—not when he’s finally had the woman he’s wanted so desperately. But she’s got a new job at Wilde—an elite protection and security firm—and he has to figure out a way to woo her back. So, he hires Wilde. Says that he needs protection. He pulls some strings (because the owner of Wilde happens to owe him about a dozen favors), and Antony gets Ella assigned as his bodyguard. He thinks his plan is brilliant. He’ll have Ella in close proximity again, and Antony is sure that he’ll able to convince her that they belong together. Though some groveling—and a whole lot of seduction—may just be involved in his master plan.

Except…the danger turns out to be real.

Someone is gunning for Antony, and he doesn’t know if his enemy is from the spy world or the business world. He just knows that a big target is on his back. Now he and Ella have to unmask the threat that they never saw coming, before it’s too late. As they fight to track the bad guy, Antony has to prove to Ella that he can be honest with her, and, if she gives him a shot…he just might be a man she can love. Because if he loses her again, Antony knows there will be no second chances.

Author’s Note: Their sexual tension can’t be held in check. When Ella and Antony are close, they ignite. But with so many secrets and lies, can they find a happy ending? It will take a master spy—and one very savvy new Wilde agent—to bring down the bad guy in this case. Wilde times are ahead again. Let’s see where these two lovers lead as they fight for each other.

 
 
 

“I quit.”

Antony Kyle blinked, then he shook his head. He was certain that he must have misunderstood the words his head of security had spoken. There was no way Ella Webb just told him—

“Did you hear what I said?” Ella asked him as she leaned forward and flattened her hands on the wood of his desk. “In case you didn’t, please allow me to repeat…I quit.” Definite satisfaction underscored each word.

His head lifted. He stared into her warm, golden eyes. Got caught for a moment, as he too often did. Then her words fully sank in, and he leapt to his feet. “What? You can’t quit!”

Her head tilted back as she gazed up at him. “Sure, I can. I just did.”

“But, but—” He scrambled for something to say. He came up with nothing.

“I know who you are, Antony.”

“Of course, you know who I am.” Now he had a quick response. “I’m your boss! You’re my head of security! You’ve worked for me two years—”

“And as of now, I am no longer in your employ. I hope you don’t mind, but in light of the fact that you’ve been lying to me for the last two years, I’ve decided that I won’t be doing a full two weeks’ notice for you. In fact, this is my notice. I’m done. Good-bye.” She straightened, turned on her elegant heels, and marched for the closed office door.

He gaped after her. Then realized…Holy shit, Ella is really leaving me. This can’t happen! He bounded over the desk and raced after her. “Stop!”

She wasn’t stopping. Or even slowing. She was opening the door.

His hand flew out and shoved the door closed again. “Ella, no!” He sounded desperate. Probably because he was desperate. “Let’s talk about this.” He stared at the back of her head. The sleek mane of strawberry blonde hair. She even smelled like strawberries. He figured it was her shampoo or her body lotion or something that she used, and the scent always drove him crazy.

**Preview courtesy of  Cynthia Eden, to read more click HERE**

 

 

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Ghost Moon by Kathryn Knight (Book Review)

When Lark Cavanaugh’s life in New York City falls apart, she’s left reeling from a staggering betrayal. She escapes to Cape Cod, where a distant relative has left her an old house with a tragic past. Rumors of a haunting presence plague the abandoned home, but Lark doesn’t believe in ghosts…until she has no choice.

After completing his military duty, veterinarian Jesse Holt returns to his small hometown to take over his father’s practice. He soon finds himself drawn to the alluring redhead now living next door, but she has made her intentions clear—she’s moving back to the city as soon as possible. When frightening events threaten her safety, though, he can’t deny his protective instincts.

Unable to fight their feelings, they give in to desire…but another battle looms. Lark’s arrival has awakened a decades-old mystery, and the truth of what happened at Holloway House will only be revealed when it claims yet another life.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Without a doubt, Lark is a much braver woman than I. Even before her bags were unpacked, the house felt off to her. Preston, her cat, felt a disturbance in the force as well.

I understand money is tight, and options seem scarce, but I don’t think I’d move into a house that’s a hotspot for paranormal activity. 

Moans. 

Loud Crashes.

Apparitions.

Eerie sounds (lullaby tune).

Flickering lights.

Brrr, who turned down the heat?!

 

And that’s just what Lark is facing in her waking hours. Don’t get me started on her sleepy time horrors. I mean, I could, but I don’t want to give too much away. I want people to read Ghost Moon. It was spooky, but it also contained the right amount of romance. No, Lark didn’t get it on with a ghost. She fell for a military vet who was also a veterinarian. 

If you like paranormal (supernatural) stories that have a mixture of suspense, mystery, romance, and spookiness, then I encourage you to BUY GHOST MOON. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

 

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USA TODAY Bestselling Author Kathryn Knight writes books filled with steamy romance, dangerous secrets, and haunting mysteries. Her novels are award-winning #1 Amazon and B&N Bestsellers and RomCon Reader-Rated picks. When she’s not reading or writing, Kathryn spends her time exploring abandoned places and searching for ghosts. She lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband, their two sons, and a number of rescued pets.

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One Hot Holiday by Cynthia Eden (Book Showcase)

She’s running for her life. He’s the safe haven she never expected to find. The holiday season is about to get HOT.

Hiding out for the holiday season in the heart of the South? Not something that Haley Quick ever expected to have on her to-do list but then…she never expected her ex to want her dead, either. Turns out, life is full of surprises. Time to deal. Haley has ditched New York for a crazy little dot on the map known as Point Hope, Alabama. It’s a town gone extra crazy for the holidays, and Haley is sticking out like a sore thumb with her very much Grinch-self.

But enter sexy sheriff Spencer Lane…Tall, muscled, and made with an extra dose of sex appeal, he is exactly the kind of man that Haley should be avoiding. He’s charming, he looks way too good in a Santa hat, and, oh, yes, he’s her new landlord. The hits just keep coming. She can’t afford to let Spencer learn all of her secrets, a tough job since she is living with the man. No sex, though. It’s purely a business relationship. Except…the holidays in the South sure do get HOT. Or maybe that’s just sexy Spencer. Usually, Haley falls for the bad guy. It’s the whole reason she’s running for her life. She can’t help but wonder…What would it be like to fall for a man like Spencer?

He just got his Christmas wish.

Sheriff Spencer Lane can’t believe his luck. The most beautiful, fascinating woman he’s ever seen has just dropped into his life like a gift from, well, the big guy in red. Only the problem is that Haley seems to think Spencer is some by-the-book, nice guy. Probably because of the badge. And if she wants him to be the hero, that’s a role that he’s happy to play for her. But the truth is, Spencer has plenty of darkness inside, too. Ex Special Forces, he knows how to get sh—um, stuff done. He also knows how to be very, very naughty.

When danger threatens his Haley, all bets are off. No one is going to hurt her. No one is going to threaten her. Not in his town. Not on his watch. The nice guy will show Haley just how bad he can be.

Fake snow, a parade of drunk elves, and a stalker ex don’t make for the merriest of times, but in Point Hope, anything can happen—and it usually does. Ready for a steamy story that will get you in the ho-ho-ho spirit? Settle back, curl up with Spencer, and have yourself a jolly old time.

 

~ Click HERE to read Chapter One!~

 

 

 

 

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Yuletime at Cherrywood Hall: Once Upon a WolfPack Anthology by Veronica Cline Barton (Book Showcase)

Once Upon a Wolfpack

Contributing author, Veronica Cline Barton

I was so honored to have my short story, Yuletime at Cherrywood Hall, Pippa’s First Christmas, included in the #WolfpackAuthors anthology that was published earlier this year. The anthology is a compilation of works by authors of all genres, and all proceeds are donated to the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) My contributed short story is one close to my heart—it is a prequel to a storyline in the 3rd book of my #cozymystery series, Deadly Receptions; the Debut of Castlewood Manor. It tells the tale of a tainted bridal veil from years gone by and introduces the readers of my series to Aunt Pippa, the beloved ancestral aunt who saved the Cherrywood Hall estate with her marriage to Charles Lancaster, the 4th Marquess of Kentshire.

The short story takes place in the weeks before Christmas. Pippa has been receiving demeaning messages criticizing her every move as an American married to the popular marquess. A chance snowstorm brings her nemesis to Cherrywood Hall. Pippa meets her husband’s previous fiancé, the author of the critical notes–a jilted woman who is filled with anger at the woman who holds the position and privilege that she thought would be hers. As a blizzard rages outside, her mind is set on deadly revenge…Will Pippa’s first Christmas at the hall be her last?

Read more about the #WolfPackAuthors anthology and the great cause it benefits here:

The idea was simple: form a group of authors based on the mantra, “Do good things for the right reasons.” We are a pack – #WolfPackAuthors. Together, we expand exposure for our books, help one another with all aspects of the process, pick each other up when the lonely life of writing gets us down.

As with wolves, words can be dangerous or healing. The reintroduction of the wolf, hunted to the brink of extinction, carries such far-reaching results as to make vegetation grow on what was once barren, and to change the paths of rivers. Considering these powerful facts, we chose to donate the proceeds of this anthology to Lockwood Animal Rescue Center /LARC, a facility with a unique mission. They are one of the few organizations focused heavily on wolves, integrating military veteran rehabilitation into the caretaking process.

In this collection of work, you will find a showcase of many of our members’ talents: A young girl betrothed to a werewolf, yet her father, a human, is the true monster. Two snipers who lay in wait, an otherworldly supreme being watching them, in the form of a majestic wolf. A she-wolf sets her sights on a young woman, married to the man she loved. The paradoxical story of the big bad wolf, who through no fault of his own sets out on a calamity filled adventure. A batch of witty private investigators at work solving crime. A sarcastic banshee, a shapeshifting detective, and a vampire, all friends, investigate a string of murders. There are many others, varied in style or genre.

Come on an adventure with the WolfPackAuthors. We’ve got the stories you want; together, we hope to make the world a better place for wolves, humans, and those who dare to dream.

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Cozy MysteryYuletime at Cherrywood Hall: Veronica Cline Barton
Fairy Tale/ ParodyUnfairy Prosecuted: J.W. Crawford
Fairy TalePoppy: Tia Fanning

Fantasy/ SupernaturalFor the Love of the Pack: Sharon Lopez
Horror/ Meta horrorThe Untold One: B.L. Clark
HorrorFrost Harbor: Alexander Pain

LiteraryOmega Road: Lee M. Tipton
Magical RealismAn Early Snow: Andi Marchal
P.I./ DetectiveThe Wolf: Joe Congel 

P.I./ Detective, Cozy MysteryMrs Solberg’s Problem: CW Hawes
PoetryWolf Pack United: Angie-Marie Delsante
PoetryWelcome to the Den: Lori Katherine

Romance/ SupernaturalThe Soap Maker’s Mother: Christina van Deventer
Science Fiction/ MilitarySacha: Jeff DeMarco
Science Fiction/ ParanormalWolf Cry: Z Gottlieb
Science Fiction/ ParanormalCircus of the Night: Stefan Angelina McElvain
Urban FantasyTrue Nature : Luna Selas

 

Veronica Cline Barton earned graduate degrees in both engineering and business and has had successful careers in the software and technology industries. Her lifelong love affair with British murder mysteries inspired her to embark on a literary career. The Crown for Castlewood Manor and Cast, Crew, & Carnage; the Filming of Castlewood Manor are the first and second books in what she calls her My American Almost Royal Cousin Series. When not traveling and spinning mystery yarns, she lives in California with her husband, Bruce, and her two cats, Daisy and Ebbie.

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