Friday, February 23, 2018

MURDER WITH LEMON TEA CAKES/BETTER DEAD TOUR



MURDER WITH LEMON TEA CAKES

A Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery
by Karen Rose Smith
Genre: Cozy Mystery

In an old Victorian in the heart of Pennsylvania's Amish country, Daisy Swanson and her aunt Iris serve soups, scones, and soothing teas to tourists and locals--but a murder in their garden has them in hot water . . .

"... readers are immediately drawn to main character, Daisy Swanson, and her beloved Aunt Iris."
- Suspense Magazine

Daisy, a widowed mom of two teenagers, is used to feeling protective--so when Iris started dating the wealthy and not-quite-divorced Harvey Fitz, she worried . . . especially after his bitter ex stormed in and caused a scene at the party Daisy's Tea Garden was catering. Then there was the gossip she overheard about Harvey's grown children being cut out of his will. Daisy didn't want her aunt to wind up with a broken heart--but she never expected Iris to wind up a suspect in Harvey's murder.
 
Now the apple bread and orange pekoe is on the back burner while the cops treat the shop like a crime scene--and Daisy hopes that Jonas Groft, a former detective from Philadelphia, can help her clear her aunt's name and bag the real killer before things boil over . . .
 
Includes delicious recipes for Iris's Lemon Tea Cakes and more!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


After writing romances for twenty years, Karen Rose Smith is excited to see her Caprice De Luca home-stager mystery series published. Her sleuth reflects many of her interests: interior decorating, cooking, retro fashion, gardening, and, most of all, taking in stray animals. Married to her college sweetheart, Karen has convinced her husband that felines can make  purr-fect housemates. They share their home in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania with their three rescued cats. For more about Karen, please visit her website.

Connect with Karen:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Amazon  |  Goodreads
Buy the book:
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BETTER DEAD

A B&B Spirits Mystery
by Pamela Kopfler
Genre: Cozy Mystery

As the owner of a charming Louisiana bed and breakfast, Holly Davis believes in Southern hospitality—but she draws the line at welcoming the ghost of her cheating husband . . .
 
Burl Davis checked out of this life a little earlier than expected—before Holly could serve him with divorce papers over his extramarital flings. Unfortunately, it was not before he nearly bankrupted her beloved B&B, Holly Grove, a converted plantation that has been in her family for generations. Holly would never wish anyone dead, but three months later she's feeling a lot more relief than grief.
 
Until Burl's ghost appears as an unwelcome guest. Before his spirit can move on, her not-so-dearly departed needs Holly’s human help to bust up the drug smuggling ring he was involved with. She has reservations, to say the least, but agrees to assist him if he’ll make a show of haunting the B&B to draw in visitors. But when Holly’s former love, Jack McCann, mysteriously resurfaces in town and checks in, she has to wonder if her B&B is big enough for the ghost of her husband and the very real physical presence of her old flame . . .



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Pamela Kopfler is a novelist, Southern-fried and sassy. She writes award-winning humorous mysteries with a kick of Southern sass. Her debut novel, Better Dead, is the first in her B & B Spirits mystery series, to be followed by Downright Ded, and Hog Wild Dead (Kensington Books). She is a four-time Golden Heart® finalist and a Daphne du Maurier award winner.
She can stir up a roux, mix a cocktail, and loves swapping stories. Putting words on the page keeps her alligator mouth from overloading her hummingbird heinie in real life. She marks her time on earth by the lives of the dogs she has loved–who often show up in her stories. 
Pamela lives in South Louisiana where the spirits are restless, the food is spicy, and the living is divine.



Connect with Pamela:

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Buy the book:
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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!





Wednesday, February 21, 2018

FEATURED SERIES: THE POPPY MCGUIRE MYSTERIES



Details:

Series: The Poppy McGuire Series

Author: Anina Collins

Genre: cozy mystery, amateur sleuth

Books in series: 7

Touring with: Silver Dagger Book Tours




EXCERPT FROM THE ELEVENTH HOUR


I inhaled the delicious smell of my favorite coffee. The man certainly knew how to come bearing gifts first thing in the morning. But then it dawned on me. We'd never had coffee together, so how did he know this was my favorite? Lucky guess?

Taking it from him, I asked, "How did you know how to get it?"

Alexander gave me a sly smile that somehow made him even more attractive. "I'm a detective. It's my job to know things like that."

Oh, he was entirely too confident.

I offered him a seat at my kitchen table and took a drink of the dark roast coffee made exactly as I liked it—two sugars, three creamers, and ice. In fact, the temperature told me he'd gotten the number of ice cubes right too. Three. But how?

"So Mr. I'm a Detective, how did you know to get it just the right temperature and exactly the way I take it? I'm a pretty particular coffee drinker."

Another smile, but this one was slow to spread across his face and so charming I almost looked away, worried I might blush at any moment. Almost. I didn't look away, though, because I wanted the answer to my question.

"I pay attention to what goes on around me. I was sitting in The Grounds one morning when you came in and ordered that very particular cup of coffee. It stayed with me from that day."

Still quite shocked at his even being there in my kitchen, I leveled my gaze on him and tried to determine if he was telling the truth or just trying to charm me. "So you're telling me that you remembered the exact way I take my coffee, even though you didn't know me from a can of paint…when did you hear this anyway?"

"A week or so ago."

"From a week ago, when I was a perfect stranger to you and simply some person ordering a coffee, you remembered that this morning and got me my coffee just like I like it?"

He chuckled. "Yes, and the girl behind the counter knew how you took your coffee when I told her it was for you. I'd forgotten how many ice cubes, if we're being honest."

I took another sip of coffee and couldn't help but smile. He probably charmed the pants off Jennie. And he probably didn't have to remember anything about how I took my coffee because he just told her it was for me.

Detective indeed.

"So what are you doing here, Alexander?"

The smile slowly faded, and after taking a drink from his cup, he lowered his head slightly and looked me directly in the eyes. "I came to apologize for what happened last night."

This guy had the most delicious brown eyes I'd ever seen. Brown like expensive milk chocolate, and at that moment, I felt myself getting lost in those eyes.

Snap out of it, Poppy! This isn't some high school date. If he's willing to make peace, maybe you can get his help on the case, so get your head out of the clouds and say something!

I turned away to break our shared gaze and then looked back at him. "I guess I should apologize too. I should have handled that differently. I'm sorry."

"I am too. I shouldn't have pulled my gun on you, and for that, I'm truly sorry. I have no excuse."

Something in those eyes of his told me he did have an excuse but he wasn't going to tell me. All the better because I sensed hurt lay behind how he acted.

Extending my hand, I offered my own olive branch. "No harm, no foul. Maybe if we pretend like we're meeting for the first time we can put those other times behind us. Hi, I'm Poppy. Nice to meet you."

That slow smile returned, and he took my hand in his to shake it. "Hi, Poppy. I'm Alexander, but my friends call me Alex."

"Hi, Alex."

And with those two words, everything between us changed. I didn't know why or how, but suddenly I had a feeling that he would become one of the most important people in my life. At the same time, I felt like I'd known him my entire life, even though I'd just met him days before and this was the first time we'd ever spoken more than a handful of civil words to each other.

Strangely, our conversation came to an abrupt halt after reintroducing ourselves to one another. He seemed content to sit there next to me and drink his coffee in silence, so I took the opportunity to study him as he seemed to have studied me already.

He was definitely a good looking man. I didn't need to spend much time studying him to see that. Dark, thick hair and those delicious brown eyes that told anyone who looked into them that there was a story in his past gave him an exotic feel. With the last name Montero, he was likely Italian or maybe Greek. Sunset Ridge didn't have many citizens with those ethnic backgrounds, which made him stand out even more.

I let my gaze drift over him as he sat there silently and couldn't help notice his hands. Strong looking, they were bigger than even my father's working class hands and had long fingers. I'd noted that he wasn't married the first time we'd met because of the lack of a wedding band, but now that I sat right next to him, I could see the lighter skin where it had sat on his ring finger until recently.

So where was Mrs. Montero? Was she the woman I'd read about in the obituary from nearly five years ago? Possibly, but if that was the case, why was the mark where the wedding band had been still so clear? Five years was a long time to wear a wedding band for a wife who'd died.

I wanted to ask about his wife, if only to say I was sorry because it seemed like I should and if that wedding band mark was any indication, he still hurt. But I didn't. Alex and I were practically strangers, and strangers didn't pry like that.

At least this stranger didn't.

If he was sitting with one of those committee ladies and they had any inkling of a wife in his past, the poor man would now be dodging questions left and right about her. Those Founders' Day ladies were nothing if not nosy. 

The thought of Alex stuck in a room with those four made me smile, and I looked up from staring at his hands to see he had seen where I was looking. Quickly, I turned away to avoid his gaze, feeling oddly embarrassed.

"You have a nice house here. Very cozy."

I turned back to see him scanning my kitchen, as if he were studying it like I'd been studying him. "Thank you. I like it."

"It's a big house for just one person." I wanted to ask how he was so sure I lived alone, but he didn't even have to be a half-way decent detective to know that. A few minutes with my father the other night at the bar and he likely had my entire life story.

"I guess," I mumbled, sort of hating how awkward things had gotten between us already.

He didn't continue the conversation, but that seemed to be the type of person he was. Talk about opposites. I was what my father had always called a Chatty Cathy, but Alex parsed out words like they cost him money every time one came out of his mouth.

Sitting quietly for a few more minutes, the question that had been on my mind earlier before I got lost in those eyes of his and the idea that his past was some kind of tragedy came back to me.

Why was he here?

Breaking the uncomfortable silence, I asked, "Alex, why did you come here today? I mean, you could have just apologized and then left or simply called me to say you were sorry. Instead you come here and say you're sorry and then say little else. What are you doing here?"

I cringed at how blunt that sounded. I never meant to phrase things so succinctly. They just came out that way. Before I could apologize, though, he nodded and began to speak again.

"I like how forthright you are, Poppy. That kind of frankness is refreshing, so I'll return the favor. I've heard a number of things about you, and all of them point to someone who's smart. You're different than everyone else I've met in this town. I also know this is the first time you're working with Derek on one of his cases. To be honest, I know why he likes to have you around, but I have to believe you want to work with him on this Geneva Woodward case because you're a detective in your heart and not because you have some secret love for the brother of our police chief."

A mixture of stunned disbelief at how much Alex knew about me and amusement at the thought of my having any romantic feelings for Derek washed over me. My brain felt like it short-circuited, and not knowing what to say, I let out a laugh as the thought of Derek and me settled into my mind.

"Did I say something funny?" Alex asked, his gaze intently focused on me now.

"No. I guess I just got sidetracked by the idea of Derek and me together since, to be honest, I felt a little exposed by the rest of what you said."

"So no secret romance between you and him?" he asked with a smile that told me he was trying to make things less uncomfortable.

I shook my head and screwed my face into an expression that was meant to show my distaste for anything like that with Derek Hampton. "No. He's nice, but he's not my type."

"I had a feeling. As for the other things I said, I didn't mean to make you feel like I've been prying into your personal life. Your father loves you a great deal and he likes to brag about you. I will admit I checked into what he said and found he wasn't exaggerating. Your job at The Bottom Line might be beneath you, but you're good at it. See? You are a detective in your heart."



The Eleventh Hour

Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 1
196 pages


Poppy McGuire has always been a curious soul, but it's her life that's usually the topic of conversation in the small town of Sunset Ridge. But now one of the town's most important citizens has been found murdered, and everyone's life is suspect. 

What begins as a friendly wager with her old friend Officer Derek Hampton soon becomes far more for Poppy, and she turns to Alex Montero for help, but the enigmatic former Baltimore cop's quiet way hides as many secrets as each suspect they encounter. 

Everyone in Sunset Ridge has something to hide, but Poppy and Alex are determined to uncover the identity of the murderer. They just have to watch that they don't become the next victims. 

Amazon  |  iTunes   |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads 


After Hours

Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 2
202 pages

While life in Sunset Ridge is quaint and charming during the day, what happens after the sun goes down might shock the citizens of this small town. Things are heating up in Poppy McGuire's home town, and it isn't just the July weather. 

Poppy and her new partner Alex have their eyes opened to the realities of Sunset Ridge after dark when a traveling salesman is murdered in his room at the Hotel Piermont, a common destination for cheating spouses on the outskirts of town. When they find out what he sells, the mystery gets even more interesting. 


Amazon  |  iTunes  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads



Top of the Hour

Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 3
204 pages

Controversy sells as much as sex, and nobody knows that better than the local radio morning DJ who loves to talk politics. His shows enrage people, but who hated Lee Reynolds enough to shoot him point blank and leave him for dead in the woods outside of town?

Poppy and Alex have no shortage of suspects and for once aren't at odds on who they like for the crime. But all is not well between the partners. This time, murder has brought with it a new love interest for Poppy, but Alex isn't happy with this turn of events. 

Will he lose Poppy, the one person he trusts in Sunset Ridge? 


Amazon   |  iTunes   |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads 



The Darkest Hour

Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 4
210 pages

Poppy and Alex come up against their toughest case yet, and they may never be the same again.

When someone close to both Poppy and Alex is found brutally murdered, all the clues point to Alex as the killer. But Poppy knows in her heart that her partner could never commit such a heinous crime. As the evidence begins to mount against him, Poppy must race against the clock to prove that the man she trusts with her very life isn’t the murderer, even as everyone around her is convinced of his guilt.

But if Alex isn’t the killer, who is? As the mystery unravels, the past and present finally meet in Sunset Ridge.

Amazon   |  iTunes   |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads



Happy Hour

Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 5
266 pages

Poppy and Alex are back for another mystery in Happy Hour, the fifth book in the Poppy McGuire Mystery Series!

Springtime brings warm weather and murder to Sunset Ridge, and for Poppy, this particular case strikes close to home.

Antiques dealer Marcus Tyne is found dead in the front seat of his friend’s car outside of McGuire’s after a Cinco de Mayo celebration, but at first glance, there’s no reason why he’s dead.

Until the coroner finds out he’s been poisoned.

When a second man is poisoned, Poppy and Alex are thrust into a mystery that threatens to tear them apart. While they struggle to solve the case as their differences become more apparent, a murderer walks free in Sunset Ridge and may have another victim in their sights.

Amazon   |  iTunes   |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads 



The Witching Hour

Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 6
207 pages

In the middle of a late summertime heatwave, a woman Poppy interviewed for an article on paganism is found with a dagger buried in her chest in the woods out near Alex's house. Initially, Stephen and Craig are given the case, but when Derek determines that this murder shouldn't be their first big case together, Alex and Poppy are brought in to help.

But Stephen has never liked Poppy, and tensions quickly begin to run high between the two sets of partners. The Sunset Ridge police force can't afford to have infighting if they want to solve this case before a fear of witches takes hold in town.

It doesn't take long before everyone reaches their breaking point and Alex wonders if he will be a Sunset Ridge police officer for much longer. Life is about to change for him and Poppy, but will that change mean the end of his time in town?

Amazon   |  iTunes   |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads



The Finest Hour

Poppy McGuire Mysteries Book 7
194 pages

Join Poppy and Alex for the final Poppy McGuire mystery!

For three years, Poppy and Alex have worked together solving cases in their small town of Sunset Ridge, first as just co-workers but later as partners in nearly every sense of the word. Now they're about to take the final step and become husband and wife, but in the midst of getting ready for what folks around town are calling the wedding of the year, the murder of someone involved in the preparations makes their plans go awry. 

Samuel Morrow, the kind man who has run Morrow's Jewelers for over twenty years, is found murdered in an apparent break-in, and there's no shortage of suspects who may have had a reason to kill him. Oddly enough, something very valuable to Poppy and Alex is missing from his store too. Is the theft connected to the murder? 

As they hunt for Samuel's killer, carefully eliminating suspect after suspect, they must juggle cake tastings and reception planning, as all the while someone's watching their favorite amateur sleuth. Will Poppy and Alex solve the case and reach the altar, or will the killer make their ever after far less than happy? 

Amazon   |  iTunes   |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads


About the Author

Anina Collins has always loved a good mystery. As a child, her favorite books were Nancy Drew books passed down from her grandmother, and as she grew up, she moved on to Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and their famous detectives. She currently lives in North Carolina and writes her Poppy McGuire Mystery series.

Website   |  Facebook   |  Amazon   |   Goodreads


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!





Monday, February 19, 2018

GUEST POST WITH TRICIA L. SANDERS' CECELIA CAVANAUGH




ABOUT THE BOOK


When Cece Cavanaugh’s husband empties their joint bank account, steals her designer luggage, and runs off with a younger woman, Cece must decide whether to ask her manipulative mother-in-law for a handout or get a job. Choosing the easier path, Cece lands a job cleaning a crime scene where a high school coach was murdered. When his wife is implicated—a young woman Cece practically raised—Cece finds herself mopping floors, balancing an empty checkbook, and ferreting out a killer.

Amid all this messy business, Cece bumps heads with a handsome detective. She tries to ignore her growing attraction to the detective, but he gives new meaning to the term “hot flash.”

After she stumbles onto a clue that could vindicate her friend, her elation turns to panic when she haphazardly confronts the killer. Through the danger and romance, Cece discovers self-reliance and inner strength.

And that crime—at least, someone else’s—does pay the bills.


Book Details:

Title: Murder is a Dirty Businiess

Author: Tricia L. Sanders





Genre: Cozy Mystery,
 1st in series

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing, LLC (November 15, 2017)


Print Length: 254 pages
Touring with:  Great Escapes Book Tours








GUEST POST BY TRICIA SANDERS

' CECELIA CAVANAUGH


Hi, I’m Cecelia Cavanaugh, but my friends call me Cece. So, Cece it is. We’re officially friends, right? I’ve been through a lot these last several months. My husband left me for a floozie the same age as our daughter. He also cleaned out our joint bank accounts and left our mortgage six months in arrears, but I’m not going to dwell on the negative as I have positives for which I am thankful.

I have a great many blessings like my two daughters, well one anyway. Jessie, my eldest, is a nurse and my rock. I can count on her. She’s more like me physically and emotionally. Michelle, sixteen, is still a work-in-progress and more like her father. She periodically shows signs of adulthood, but often, she’s rolling her eyes, or sticking her tongue out at my advice. I can’t complain. The rolling eyes thing she got from me. I know, I know. I set a bad example, now I’m living with it. Recently she dyed her beautiful blonde hair black and went Goth on me. I’ll be honest, for a minute I wanted to slap the crap out of her, but good sense won out. I yelled and stomped my foot a few times. She took the hint.

Another blessing is my neighbor Angie. Truth be told, she’s my guardian angel, but she’s also a big pain in my neck. Since my separation from Phillip—my cheating husband—Angie has been by my side providing emotional support. The flip side is she’s also intent on fixing me up with this hot detective who I recently met when I accidentally became involved in a murder investigation—which by the way I helped solve. Not bragging. Just fact. I almost got myself killed in the process, but details, schmetails.

Angie and I have been friends since elementary school—a long, long time. We’re both of ‘hot flash’ age, if you know what I mean. I usually always follow her advice, but the one time I didn’t . . . Well, that’s how I wound up with the cheating, soon-to-be-ex-husband. Angie has never liked Phillip. I guess you can say, she saw through him, while I was blinded by love. Took me almost 30 years to see him for who he really is. Again, no dwelling. I’m moving on.

And speaking of moving on, that brings me to a few more blessings. I’ve already mentioned the hot detective, Detective Alder. He is Hot with a capital H. At this point, I am not, N-O-T ready for a relationship. I keep reminding Angie, and she’s keeps ignoring me. But when I’m ready, if I ever am, Detective Alder might be the answer. He’s easy on the eyes, and he has a stubborn streak, but not overbearing. We’ve flirted, and there might have been a kiss involved. A very passionate kiss I might add. But I’m not that kind of girl, but apparently, I kiss and tell. So, don’t tell anyone, okay? My life is swirling around the drain. Until my divorce is final, and I can stand on my own two feet, I cannot drag anyone else into my circle of hell. Besides, I have this mother-in-law—a close relative of Satan—who is intent on making me the pariah of our community. Wickford is a small town, and gossip is the mainstay for the country club set. I cannot give her any fuel for the rumor mill she rules over.

I can’t fail to mention Grant Hunter, my knight in shining armor. He’s a building contractor who swooped in and rescued me from financial ruin. He’s also a bit sweet on me. Personally, I think he’s lonely, but he is a dear and has provided me with steady work cleaning condos at his latest project, Hunter Springs.

There are many things I’m finding to be thankful for and each day shines a new light on another. Like I said earlier, I’ve been dealt some blows, but I’m still out there swinging and will continue to hold my head up. As I see my marriage in the rearview mirror, I’m learning to view Phillip as a blessing. He did give me my two girls. In the broader perspective, our separation has enabled me to see myself as an individual and to value my self-worth.

Finally, I hear that my author, Tricia L. Sanders, is continuing my story. I’m hoping my blessings continue, but I imagine she’s going to make me sweat it out a couple of times. But I’ve got news for her, you can’t keep Cece Cavanaugh down for long. Bring it on.

P.S. Look for your blessings. Even in adversity, they are all around.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tricia L. Sanders writes about women with class, sass, and a touch of kickass. A former instructional designer and corporate trainer, she traded in curriculum writing for novel writing, because she hates bullet points and loves to make stuff up. And fiction is more fun than training guides and lesson plans.

When she isn’t writing, Tricia is busy crossing dreams off her bucket list. With all 50 states checked, she’s concentrating on foreign interests. She’s an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, so don’t get between her and the television when a game is on. Currently, she is working on a mystery series set in the fictional town of Wickford, Missouri. Another project in the works is a women’s fiction road trip adventure.

Her essays have appeared in Sasee, ByLine, The Cuivre River Anthology and Great American Outhouse Stories; The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt. She is a proud member of The Lit Ladies, six women writing their truths into fiction.


Connect with Tricia:

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Buy the book:
Amazon




Saturday, February 17, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: LESLIE JONES




ABOUT THE BOOK


The next action-packed thriller from the author of Night Hush, Bait, and Deep Cover

When former hacker turned FBI cybersecurity specialist Hadley "Lark" Larkspur is asked to analyze a piece of malware, she never imagines the simple task will put her on the radar of underworld criminals. After armed gunmen try to abduct her outside a nightclub, though, it’s suddenly clear she’s in way over her head.

Delta Force operator Thomas "Mace" Beckett is in Boston awaiting his next assignment when he witnesses an attempted kidnapping. His training forces him to intervene, but then the woman pulls a gun on him. Mace isn’t sure what to make of the spitfire holding him hostage, but he quickly discovers that Lark is an innocent pawn in a dangerous game. Someone has framed her for the theft of millions from the mafia, and they want her to pay . . . in blood, if necessary.

With only days to find the funds, Lark and Mace scramble to track the real culprit. But their investigation unexpectedly leads straight to the heart of a terrible plot, one that could mean death for thousands. The criminals have stolen something far worse than money… and it’s about to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Book Details:

Title: Framed
Author: Leslie Jones

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse (January 30, 2018)
Paperback: 384 pages
Series: Duty & Honor #4
Touring with: Partners in Crime Tours






INTERVIEW WITH LESLIE JONES



Leslie, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
Framed follows the story of Hadley “Lark” Larkspur, who is framed by an unknown entity for the theft of millions of dollars of mafia money, and they want her to pay . . . in blood, if necessary. That’s just the beginning, though. With only days to find the funds, Lark and Delta Force special operator Mace Beckett scramble to track the real culprit. But their investigation unexpectedly leads straight to the heart of a terrible plot, one that could mean death for thousands. The criminals have stolen something far worse than money . . . and it’s about to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
My Duty & Honor series consists of four standalone books: Night Hush, Bait, Deep Cover, and my newest, Framed. Secondary characters in earlier books become the protagonists in later books, but they do not need to be read in order.

Where’s home for you?
I found my forever home in Phoenix, Arizona. There aren’t many who understand my love for the raw, primal beauty of the Southwestern desert. It teems with vitality. It boils life down to its essence. Survive, or don’t.

Where did you grow up?
I spent my first years roaming the back of beyond in Alaska. I loved the freedom of the forests, animals, fish, and glacier-fed lakes. We moved to the Lower 48 when I was 11, to a farm in Vancouver, Washington. Taller pines, cows and sheep, my pet goat, and a variety of fruit trees. I went to Seattle for college, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, and moved around the world from there.

Wow! What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
Writing is a passion. It’s an art. But it’s also a business, and you have to treat your writing as a job. That’s distasteful to a lot of writers, who like to rely upon their Muse for inspiration. When Thomas Edison said that it all boils down to 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, he meant that you must BIC-HOK (Butt in Chair-Hands on Keyboard) every single writing day. For me, that’s the distinction between being a hobbyist and a serious author.

How did you meet your spouse? Was it love at first sight?
We met when I arrived at my new assignment with the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. I’d just reported in to my commander, who told me to write up a brief bio for myself. Kim walked into the Adjutant’s office, saw me, and came right over. “I’m Kim Jones,” he said. “Welcome to the unit. Are you all settled in?” I told him I’d literally just walked into the battalion headquarters. He claims I yelled that at him. I didn’t. From that moment on, we were best friends. Twenty-six years later, he’s still my best friend.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
London, definitely. I love the accents, the food, the architecture. I love when the woman tells us to “Mind the gap, please” when the Tube stops. I love the rich history at the Tower of London, the art hanging in the National Gallery, and the many unique bookshops on Charing Cross Road. I can’t drive there, though. I might forget to drive on the left.

What’s your favorite line from a book?
My favorite line is actually the tagline for The Princess Bride by William Goldman. “What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince in the world – and he turns out to be a son of a bitch?” How could you not read it after hearing that? The Princess Bride is one of the most entertaining books I’ve ever read.

I love The Princess Bride! How did you create the plot for this book?
Framed has a complex plot that was very challenging to write. I always start a book by developing my heroes and villains. Then I brainstorm different scenarios, accept or reject plot ideas, and try to go beyond the obvious to something unique and exciting. While my books aren’t inspired by real-world events, I strive to create believable scenarios that will make readers say, “Boy, I hope that never really happens!”

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Lark, the female protagonist in Framed, was inspired by my best friend. Lark has a vibrant personality all her own, with quirks and mannerisms that are unique and entertaining. I enjoyed writing her the most of any of my characters. My BFF says I nailed it!

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
Inaccuracies drive me nuts. I love reading military romantic suspense, for example, but there are comparatively few authors who are truly able to capture the feel and flavor of the military mindset, or understand the military culture if they haven’t served. I’ve read books where NCOs salute other NCOs, where soldiers abandon their posts in the middle of a firefight, and where the author did not understand the difference between a First Sergeant and a Sergeant First Class. Those mistakes show a lack of proper research, and it’s enough to make me put the book down and not pick it up again. Details matter!

So true! What are you working on now?
I’m excited to be starting a brand-new series, tentatively called the Hard Chargers. The 1st book, Kill Zone, is about a joint Delta Force/85th Military Police Battalion training mission that takes a deadly turn when convicts bound for the United States Disciplinary Barracks overrun a Fort Huachuca, Arizona prisoner transfer facility. I’m thoroughly enjoying figuring out how to torment my heroes!




READ AN EXCERPT



Lark came even with an idling taxi, unaware of the danger as the two men stopped on either side of her. She half-turned, surprise and then alarm filling her face as she finally noticed them. A puff of white escaped her open mouth. She wrenched open the door of the taxi to escape, but one of the men yanked her away, pulling a Colt M1911 and pressing it into her stomach.


Mace came in fast and low, catching the second gunman around the waist and riding him down hard. The man’s head smacked against the pavement. Mace tore the semiautomatic from his hand, already rising and turning to the man holding Lark. The taxi driver yelled something Mace couldn’t hear and burned rubber as he raced away from the violence. Fucking coward.


He forced himself to ignore the blind panic on her face, instead focusing on the threat.


“What the fuck?” said the gunman. “Who the hell are you?”


Mace felt his expression go cold. “I’m the man who’s goan kill you if you don’ let her go.”


The man’s eyes narrowed and his grip on Lark tightened. The two gunmen—Dumb and Dumber—wore clothing almost identical to his own. Black jackets over T-shirts, military pants and black boots.


Dumb frowned as he looked Mace up and down. “Did Palachka send you? We got this covered, man. Get lost.”


“Let her go. Now.”


Dumb shook his head, anger growing in the depths of his eyes. “I got my orders. Palachka wants to have a chat with her, so I ain’t going to hurt her none.”


Damned straight he wasn’t. These men were muscle, just following orders. Palachka’s orders.


Who the hell was Palachka?


He glanced at the crowd. A small group watched them, grinning and nudging one another. As long as they thought theirs was simply a drunken brawl, no one would bother to call the police.
Lark hadn’t so much as twitched a muscle, but the whites of her eyes showed and he could feel her terror. She, too, looked at the line outside the nightclub.


He took a risk with a bald-faced lie. “Palachka tol’ me to take over. He said to tell you to head back and leave her to me. I’m the one’s goan to chat with her.”


Dumber picked himself up off the pavement and staggered over to his partner. “Lying prick. He’d’ve called us. And I don’t know you.”


“Best you don’ know me. I’m who Palachka calls when fucks like you bungle it.” Mace snorted. “What, you think he don’t have nothing better to do than deal with the likes of you? He’s waiting for you, though. Don’t want him pissed, do you?”


Both blanched. Mace walked casually over and tugged on Lark’s arm. Dumb hesitated, looked into Mace’s icy eyes, and finally loosened his grip. Mace lifted the Colt he’d taken from Dumber, pointing the barrel at the sky.


“This registered anywhere?”


Dumber felt the back of his head for the lump that must be forming. His fingers came away red with blood. “Nah, man. It’s clean. Why’d you wallop me, man?”


“Get out of here. We’re attracting attention.” He stared pointedly at the line of people outside the Promenade. “I’ll check in with Palachka when I’m done with her.”


Mace settled the matter by tightening his grip on Lark and dragging her toward the parking lot. Dumb and Dumber followed, exchanging a look.


“I’d better check in with him,” Dumb called. “Make sure you’re on the level.”


Mace forced an uncaring shrug. “Your funeral.”


They reached the edge of the deserted lot. Mace paused, raising his eyes pointedly. The two men hesitated, then shrugged and started in the opposite direction.


Stupid fucks.


Lark wrenched her arm so abruptly he lost his grip, and she took off like a rabbit back toward the nightclub. How could she even run in those ridiculously high heels? He caught her in three strides. Sure, she’d be safe inside—for now. But what happened when the two gunmen realized Mace had clowned them? They’d be back, and they would be furious.


“Wait,” he said. He pulled her to a stop.


She swung her huge purse like a brick. He pulled back just in time to avoid being clocked in the head. She dug into her bag, scrabbling around inside. Maybe she really did have a brick in there.


“Come on. We have to get away from here. It won’t take those idiots long to figure out I’m not one of them.” He risked a glance behind.


When he turned back a second later, she had dropped her purse and now pointed a Smith & Wesson .38 Special at him, backing off several steps to gain distance. Her hands shook so badly he feared she’d drop it. He looked hard at it, then had to bite the inside of his cheek to stop the laughter that threatened.


The cylinders were empty; the revolver wasn’t even loaded.


Clearly, she was no criminal mastermind. So why were those men after her?


He needed to get her somewhere safe. Then he could get the answers he wanted. Pulling his cell phone from his pocket, he punched in the code to unlock it.


“Put it down!” she nearly shrieked. “Put down the goddamned phone. Drop it right now!”


Of course. He was the idiot. She now thought he worked for the same man who’d sent thugs after her. Interestingly enough, she’d demanded he drop the phone, but not the pistol he still carried. He bent down and set both on the muddy slush of the asphalt, stepping away from them and raising his arms from his sides to show her he meant her no harm.


“Look, that was just—”


“Shut up,” she snapped, narrowing her eyes. He guessed she was trying to cow him, but she seemed as threatening as a baby kitten. “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll…I’ll shoot you.”


********


Saturday, February 18. 12:35 a.m. The Promenade. Boston, Massachusetts.



Lark tightened her grip on the gun, her mind a blank. Her life had been threatened. Why? And what the hell was she supposed to do now?


“I’m calling the police.” She tried to reach her right front pocket with her left hand, but it shook so badly she couldn’t manage it.


“No.”


“What?” She stopped fumbling with her phone out and stared at him.


“No. I can’t allow you to call the police. Either I’ll have to vacate the area or they’ll arrest me. Either way, I can’t protect you.”


He seemed so calm. Did he know she wouldn’t shoot him? The gun Kaley had insisted she buy felt heavy in her hand. In fact, Kaley had all but dragged her to the gun store, explaining to the owner that Lark often worked late at night, when Chelsea was dark, deserted, and dangerous. The box of bullets in the bottom of her purse made it worse than useless, but she’d barely had time to register for a class in how to use the gun, let alone load it. Not that she’d admit such a thing to him.


His words finally penetrated her panicked mind. “You should be arrested. Attacking defenseless women on the street? Kidnapping? You should be in jail.”


“I did none of those things.” Mace nodded toward the nightclub. “This is too public. Someone is going come into the parking lot soon. Someone will have called the police by now. We need to get out of here.”


She snorted. “So you can protect me?”


“Yes.” He remained maddeningly calm.


“Bullshit.” Call the police, her rational mind told her. Let them handle it. It was their job, after all. But some buried instinct agreed with him. In her experience, the police were the enemy. You’re not a hacker any more. You’re legit. You work for the FBI. You have nothing to fear.


Except maybe being arrested for carrying a gun in her purse without a permit. She’d worry about that little detail later.


But old habits died hard. If Mace were arrested, the odds that the cops would share information with her were minimal, and she would still be in the dark. And it pissed her off that her big brain couldn’t find a logical solution to her current dilemma. “We’re going to walk to my car. If the police show up, so be it. You become their problem. Get your hands up higher, and walk in front of me.”


Common sense dictated she force him to leave. To get into her car and drive away. To call 911 and hope for the best. But she’d still know nothing. Mace was clearly working with those other men with guns, and she needed him to tell her what was going on. That meant keeping him with her. Not her smartest idea ever, since he’d been sent to kill her. But what choice did she have?


She’d make him spill the beans. Somehow.


Right now, she needed to get out of this neighborhood before any more black-clad thugs came within grabbing distance of her.


“Move,” she said, deepening her voice and snapping off the words. Hopefully he couldn’t see the tremors in her hands. Thankfully he obeyed, strolling down the line of cars as though she didn’t have a gun trained on him. She scooped up her purse and followed.


“Go to the left. Down this row. There…no, stop. The orange Jeep Liberty.”


He paused beside her car. “Good God. You actually drive this thing?”


It had been her first purchase after getting her Master’s degree, even before the FBI hired her. She’d been so relieved to ditch her junker and drive a new-ish car, and she’d gotten a smoking deal on it. Her hackles rose, and for a moment, she forgot to be terrified.


“It’s a sweet ride. What do you know?”


He grinned at her. “Whatever you say.”


For a moment, she wished she’d gone through agent training with the FBI, instead of as a computer scientist. She’d know, for instance, how to shoot her shiny new gun. Computer scientists received training at Quantico, sure. But in reverse engineering of malware, digital forensics, and intrusion detection. Administrative processes. She’d received no training in firearms, tactics, or taking smokin’ hot men prisoner.


Who else could she call for advice? Trevor’s mobile was number five on her phone’s favorites tab. It would be, what? Nine in the morning in London, assuming he wasn’t on assignment. She put a hand to her head. Her gun hand, she realized, as it thumped her temple. “God damn hairy ass wrinkly old man balls!”


Mace laughed. “You don’ mess around, do you? Dat was an impressive bit of cussing.”


“Gee, thanks.”


“Lark, I’m serious. It won’ take those yahoos long to come back. We need to be long gone by then. Please trust me.”


First thing first. Before her innards melted from his honeyed Cajun drawl, she switched the revolver to her left hand, keeping it trained on him as she fished her phone out.


“Please don’t call the cops,” he said again. “Say they show up. You tell them what happen’. I tell them what happen’. Maybe they take me down to the station, maybe they just put me in a squad car while they check me out. Either way, the cops will release me. But while all the fuss is going on, you might decide to just walk away. Bad people are gunning for you. Keep me with you.”


She shot him a warning glare and pressed Trevor’s number. It went straight to voice mail. Now what?


She swung her bag forward so she could scrabble inside for her keys. Damn it! She risked a quick look inside her purse and spotted them. Hooking the ring out with a finger, she tossed the whole thing to him. He caught it one handed.


“Get into the driver’s seat,” she commanded.


He obeyed, squashing his six-foot-three inch frame into the driver’s seat. “Gawd damn. This t’ing built for a child.”


He reached down and pulled the seat lever, sighing in relief as the seat moved back. He stretched his legs, reaching across to unlock the passenger door for her. She dropped her bag at her feet before easing inside, keeping the gun trained on him. He glanced at her and away. She could have sworn he hid a smile.


“Now what?” he asked.


She had no earthly clue. Putting a hand to her aching head, she made a sound of pure frustration. Only he could provide the information she needed.


She couldn’t take him to her home; that would be insane.


Would it?


It would have to be her room at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. Kaley had insisted the entire wedding party stay at the hotel the night before the wedding.


“A hotel.”


“Good choice. I know one down by—”


“No,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere anyone knows you, or can find you.”


“All right. You’re calling the shots.”


Why did he seem so calm? She’d threatened to shoot him.


“Get on the freeway.”


He put the car into gear and drove on surface streets till he got to the highway, then took the entry ramp and merged with traffic. They headed northwest.


“Take this exit.”


“Why this one?”


“Just do it!” She couldn’t help the way her voice rose. “Turn left.”


Mace made a soothing motion with one hand, then returned it to the wheel. “Look, I know what I said back there. I played along to get them away from you. I’m not trying to hurt you.”


“Yeah, you’re just trying to kill me.” Anger replaced her fear. She lifted the gun and pressed it against his head. “Turn in here, asshole.”


Mace slowed and turned into the parking garage for the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. Lark cringed, already regretting her choice to bring him back here.


“What now?”


In for a penny, in for a pound. That sounded like something Trevor would have said. Remembering his cool competence steadied her. She squared her shoulders. “Park it.”


Mace did so. “Now what?”


Lark felt like tearing her hair out in frustration. How could she get him up to her room without him just walking away? “Now you tell me what’s going on. Now you tell me who the fuck Palachka is, and why he wants me dead.”


Surprise lifted his brows. “You don’t know?”


“Aagh!” She thunked her head against the headrest. “Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. All right. This is what we’re going to do. You’re going to open your door and come out with your hands where I can see them. Is that clear?”


“Yes, ma’am.”


What would she do if he attacked her here, in the still, dark parking lot? He’d already caught her once because of her high heels. She could threaten all she liked, but, ultimately, she had no control over him.


“Stand by the hood and don’t move.”


When he’d complied, she dug frantically in her purse for the box of bullets. The store owner had shown her how to open the cylinder thingy so she could put the bullets into the holes, but hadn’t allowed her to load it inside his store. Pulling the box into her lap, she fumbled it open, spilling most of the bullets down her leg and onto the floor mat. Swearing and sneaking looks at Mace to ensure he hadn’t moved, she pressed the button to swing the cylinder open, and got it on the third try. Shoving some bullets into the holes, she pushed the cylinder closed again. According to the gun store owner, all she had to do now was pull the trigger. She reached down and scooped as many bullets as she could find back into her purse.


Time to face the music. Or the firing squad.


***


Excerpt from Framed by Leslie Jones.  Copyright © 2017 by Leslie Jones. Reproduced with permission from Leslie Jones. All rights reserved.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Leslie Jones was an Army Intelligence officer for many years, and she brings her first-hand experience to the pages of her work. She resides in Scottsdale, Arizona and is currently hard at work on her next book.

Connect with Leslie:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads





Thursday, February 15, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: E.J. MORAN




ABOUT THE BOOK



The year is 1978, and the New York fashion industry is an orgy of glitz, glamour, and decadence. New models—especially those as beautiful as eighteen-year- old Anna McKenna—are prime targets for all kinds of predators.



Anna is already aware of the men who enjoy preying on models. She knows a woman represented by her modeling agent was found raped and murdered—but she tells herself that, tragic though it was, this is New York. Such things happen. Mickey Gallo is less sanguine about the killing, but he’s both a police detective and Anna’s protective uncle. In Anna’s mind, she doesn’t need his protection. Or so she thinks.



When one murder becomes two, Anna’s confidence is shaken, but she’s determined to accept an offer to model in Italy. There, surrounded by beauty, Anna will confront the darkest side of the fashion industry. It’s an encounter she may not survive.




Book Details:


Title: Shadow Crimes

Author’s name: E. J. Moran


Genre: Mystery & Detective/ International Mystery & Crime 


Publisher: TreeLane Press (December 2017)


Paperback: 250 pages

Touring with: Partners in Crime Tours






INTERVIEW WITH E.J. MORAN


What’s the story behind the title of your book?
The incidence of sexual harassment and assault in the fashion modeling arena.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
No one does it alone.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Getting on a plane and moving to Milan at the age of eighteen.


What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
Too many to count!

What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now?
Smiling is much more effective than pouting.


What makes you bored?
People who talk too much.


What is your most embarrassing moment?
I was sixteen and modeling in one of my first fashion shows. I forgot to put in my contact lenses and couldn’t find my way off the stage. Unfortunately, the audience became well aware of my issue when I climbed over the backdrop because I couldn’t find the opening to the dressing area.


Ouch! What makes you scared?
Bumpy airplane rides.

What makes you excited?
Publishing my first book!

How did you meet your spouse?
I was working as a fashion model in Japan and met him through another model at a nightclub.

What brings you sheer delight?
Watching Modern Family and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Not sure it’s attributed to anyone in particular, but I live by: "Always expect the Unexpected."

How did you create the plot for this book?
It was easy. I lived much of the life and just exaggerated the ‘baddies’ to make a thriller.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Definitely, but I’d like to leave it at that.

Is your book based on real events?
To a degree.

Who are your favorite authors?
Erik Larson is my all-time favorite.


What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
Excessive use of unusual, rarely used words words.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I am late to the writing industry and figured it would be almost impossible to find a publisher before I’m ready for a nursing home! 

What steps to publication did you personally do, and what did you hire someone to do?
I hired Elizabeth A. White as my editor. She is fabulous. I also hired CreateSpace to help me with formatting, cover art and etc. They have also been fabulous and now the equally fabulous Erin Mitchell from HEW Communications is handling my PR.

What are you working on now?
The screenplay and the sequel . . .


READ AN EXCERPT

Part 1

New York City, 1978
April Night

The buzz of the intercom surprised Rhonda. It was 11:00 p.m. and she was about to go to sleep.
“Hello?” she said.
“Hello, Rhonda?”
The man identified himself and she recognized his name immediately. “What are you doing here?”
“Sorry. I know it’s late. I wanted to speak to you earlier but couldn’t because there were too many other models around. I may have a potential opportunity just for you.”
“Oh?” She was dead tired and the last thing she wanted was unexpected company. Nevertheless, she didn’t feel she could say no to any possible break that presented itself. She was desperate to make it in the modeling world.
“OK. Let me buzz you up.” She opened the front door and waited for the rickety vintage elevator at the far end of the hall to set in motion. It was completely black, so she turned on the hall lights. She thought about how crazy she had been to rent an apartment in a building that was mostly for commercial use. The building was totally empty at night, as was the surrounding area. It was the meatpacking district after all. No one ever showed up until around 6:00 a.m. Yes, the rent was dirt cheap, but in hindsight it was a huge mistake. How could she know any better though? She was only eighteen—a complete babe in the woods. Not only that, no one taught her anything. Growing up, her mom worked every day, and most nights, to support her and her younger sisters. Her father was nowhere in sight, never had been, so with no money and no father she knew very little about how to make decisions; she just had pure ambition. That’s what lead her to NYC, hardly a penny in her pocket, to become a model.
The clattering elevator came to a halt. Its passenger opened the scissor gate, then the double door, and exited. “Thank you for letting me up,” he said as he walked toward Rhonda.
“Hi,” she said sweetly. “Come on in.” Rhonda motioned him through the door. “I’m really sorry but I’m already in my nightgown. I was about to go to sleep.”
“Of course, it’s late.” He glanced around the miniscule studio. It was neat and barren, apart from a tiny, decrepit kitchenette, a single bed, and a small side table lined with a few of Rhonda’s modeling photos. “So, this is the apartment you were talking about?” he said, shaking his head in dismay. “You can do better than this. It’s horrible here.”
“It is, isn’t it?” Rhonda said, putting her head down with embarrassment. “Unfortunately though, I couldn’t afford more.” Regaining her composure, she smiled softly. “Anyway, the good news is I pay month-to-month, and as soon as I make some decent money modeling I’m going to move out.”
“That’s what I wanted to speak to you about.”
“Well, have a seat,” she said, laughing as she motioned to a corner at the far end of the bed. “Can I get you something to drink first?” she asked as he sat down.
“No, nothing, thank you.” He looked at her intently, following her every gesture as she perched herself down near the head of the bed.
“So you want to be a famous model?”
She nodded in agreement.
“Let’s talk about what I can do for you.”
“Terrific” she said, overjoyed by his interest in helping her.
“I think you have a lot of potential. I really do.”
Rhonda smiled eagerly and took in a big breath of air, emphasizing her svelte, perfect figure.
“It’s not easy though to make it as a model. Beautiful girls are a dime a dozen,” he said.
“I know. It’s true. I see so many beautiful models every day.”
“Exactly. That’s why you need someone with connections, someone with power, to help you.”
“You’re right,” Rhonda said. She could hardly believe she may be about to get her lucky break, one that could launch her to stardom in the modeling world.
Suddenly, he reached for her arm and pulled her toward him.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Rhonda’s eager smile faded. Confused, she tried to pull away.
“You know what I’m doing, Rhonda.”
“No I don’t. You said you wanted to speak with me.”
“You want help? You want to make it big?”
“Yes, but not this way.” She struggled to get away, but her resistance made him angry.
“You know you want this. I could see it in your eyes earlier.”
“No I don’t,” she said, still trying to pull away as his fingers dug into her arms.
He didn’t loosen his grip. “You are so sexy, don’t you know that?”
“Stop. I don’t want to do this. I’m still a virgin.”
“A virgin?” He pushed her back and held onto her tightly with outstretched arms, his piercing stare locking onto her terrified eyes. “I don’t believe you.”
“I am, I swear!” She tried to loosen his grip and get up from the bed. “You got the wrong impression.”
“Then why are you such a cockteaser?” His large almond-shaped eyes began to shrink as he held her firm and squinted at her with the most evil look she had ever seen.
“I’m not. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Pulling her closer, he kissed her hard as she desperately made futile attempts to get away.
“You slut!”
Rhonda squirmed and dodged his attempts to kiss her, shrieking in terror. He wrestled her down on the bed, straddling her hips and pushing her down against the pillow. He smothered her face with one of his large hands, both to shut her up and hold her still. Terrified she froze.
“Cockteaser! You’re like all the others,” he hissed.
Using his free hand, he undid his trousers and forced himself inside her. Rhonda could only whimper, too paralyzed with fear to do anything else. He grew more and more excited with each thrust, mumbling incoherent words of disgust and hatred until he reached his climax.
Rhonda bled to death in her own bed, her throat sliced with a seven-inch combat knife.
***
“Looks like she’s been dead a few days,” Detective Tansey said as he stared at Rhonda’s decomposing body. The ruggedly handsome man held his cool demeanor while the two officers from the crime lab covered their noses—the room was beginning to have a foul smell.
“Do you think she was a model?” Officer Kasinski asked.
“Maybe.” Tansey glanced over at the professional-looking photos of Rhonda on the nightstand. “Definitely not a famous one though if she was living in a place like this.”
“Unless she was a druggie. Could have spent all her money on cocaine or something,” Officer Smith added.
“True, seen that before.”
Kasinski checked out the bathroom and returned. “No signs of drug paraphernalia.”
Tansey searched Rhonda’s outstretched arms. “No signs of track marks either. She must have been living in this shithole because it was cheap.”
The men shook their heads in disgust at the level of violence.
“Killer didn’t just cut her throat, he damn near took her head off,” Smith said.
“Looks like she’s been raped too, judging by the bruising,” Tansey added.
“My guess is that she let him up here,” Kasinski continued. “The intercom works, and there are no apparent signs of forced entry. That is, unless he was already in the building and snuck into her apartment while she slept. The lock is a joke.”
“Or maybe she brought him home with her,” Smith countered.
“Possibly. OK, let’s get to work. We don’t need to stare at her anymore.” Tansey glanced away from the dead girl and began assessing the room for more evidence.
A few hours later, he picked up Rhonda’s telephone and called the coroner’s office. The men had collected everything that could be useful; now it was time to have the poor girl removed from the putrid, blood-soaked bed and taken to the morgue.
***
Excerpt from Shadow Crimes by E. J. Moran.  Copyright © 2017 by E. J. Moran. Reproduced with permission from E. J. Moran. All rights reserved.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Born and educated in the United States, E. J. Moran began a career as an international fashion model at the age of eighteen when she was scouted by a top modeling agency based in Milan, Italy.

Moran’s move to Italy set in motion the rest of her career. She signed with top agents and modeled for famous fashion designers and photographers. Her work took her to Milan, Tokyo, New York, and Paris.

After marrying and starting a family, she retired as a fashion model and continued life as an expatriate in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Singapore, and Italy, where she divided her free time between teaching English and volunteering for multiple international organizations.
Recently, she decided to put pen to paper and make fictional use of the plethora of experiences she gained during her globetrotting life. Moran and her husband currently divide their time between Europe and the United States.

Connect with the author:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads 


Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble






Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH LENA GREGORY'S CASS DONOVAN




ABOUT THE BOOK


Whoever said that dead men tell no tales has never met Cass Donnovan . . .

Cass has always relied on her abilities to guide her, but after communications with a ghost land her in the middle of a murder investigation, she has to wonder if her gifts are really more a curse.



Cass knows she is meant to help track down the killer--much to the chagrin of local law enforcement--when the apparition leads her to a dead body on the beach near her psychic shop, Mystical Musings. But the police are not the only ones who wish Cass would stick to reading palms. Someone is trying to scare her off, and it will take all her powers of premonition to catch the killer before Cass herself becomes the next victim . . .


Book Details

Title: Clairvoyant and Present Danger (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery)

Author: Lena Gregory

Genre: Cozy Mystery, 3rd in series

Publisher: Berkley (February 6, 2018)

Paperback: 304 pages

Touring with: Great Escapes Book Tours







ABOUT THE CHARACTER: CASS DONOVAN

After growing up on Bay Island, a small tourist destination between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, Cass Donovan left to go to college, then open a psychiatric practice in New York City. After several years, she gave up her practice and returned to her hometown of Bay Island to open a psychic shop on the boardwalk. Now she enjoys doing readings for local residents as well as tourists and hanging out with her two best friends, Bee and Stephanie.



INTERVIEW WITH LENA GREGORY'S CASS DONOVAN


Cass, how did you first meet Lena? 


After overhearing a conversation between Lena and her husband, regarding whether or not ghosts were real, I just had to step in. I approached Lena, who does believe in ghosts, by the way, and asked her to write my story. Of course, it took a little persuading, but she eventually got around to it.

Want to dish about her? 

Well, one thing I can tell you is that she’s a master procrastinator. One minute I’d be talking to her, going on and on about what I wanted her to write that day, and the next, she’s on facebook chatting with friends and playing games. I’m not gonna lie, she can be a little frustrating.

Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?

I think, generally, people are fascinated by what might exist beyond our own limited view of reality. Since I can tap into that other world, people are interested in hearing what else is out there. Plus, there’s always the debate about whether or not ghosts are real, which I can assure you, they are.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book. 


My favorite scene is between Bee and Stephanie’s husband, Tank. Tank and Bee are about as opposite as two people could possibly get, and because of that, they don’t always see eye to eye. But when Bee gets it in his head that Tank has done something to hurt Stephanie, he steps up in a big way.

Did you have a hard time convincing Lena to write any particular scenes for you? 

The hardest scene to convince Lena to write was the beach scene. She found it hard to believe I’d try to conjure a spirit on a deserted beach in the middle of the night with a storm coming. Boy, does she underestimate me! 



What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

I love taking the ferry across to Long Island with Bee and Stephanie, especially in the fall. I visit the farm stands, eat roasted sweet corn and apple cider, and walk along the ocean beaches when they’re not crowded with tourists.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters? 

I love my fellow characters! Bee is pretty much my best friend in the world. I don’t let the fact that he (supposedly, though I have my doubts) doesn’t believe in ghosts interfere in our friendship, and he accepts the fact that I talk to myself fairly regularly. And Stephanie is a sweetheart! We grew up together, and have lots of stories to share, but we drifted apart when I left Bay Island to go to college. As soon as I returned, we just picked up right where we left off.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

I’d pick up Bee and Stephanie and head to Tony’s Bakery for donuts and coffee. After that, I’d take Beast for a long walk along the beach, then maybe visit a few antique shops before heading over to the diner for dinner with my friends.



What's the worst thing that's happened in your life? 


The second worst thing that’s ever happened in my life was walking in on my husband and my friend. First, I learned not to trust my now ex-husband or my now ex-friend. Then, I learned how to pick myself up and move on after my world fell apart.



Tell us about your best friend.

As close as Stephanie and I are, Bee is probably my best friend in the world. He owns Dreamweaver Designs, a designer dress shop just down the boardwalk from Mystical Musings, and he is everything you could ever want in a friend; fun, talented, loyal, and willing to go along with pretty much anything. And he always has my back. He swears he doesn’t believe in ghosts, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a cover for his intense fear of anything otherworldly. And still, he helps me with my group readings, helps me now and then with seances, and even (reluctantly) helped me try to contact a spirit with a Ouija Board. 


What’s Lena’s worst habit?

Lena is an incurable insomniac. And when she doesn’t sleep, I don’t sleep. She often wakes me in the middle of the night, because she gets an idea she just has to write down before she forgets it.



How do you feel about your life right now?
My life is going well right now, though a little confusing. Things have been happening that I can’t explain, and it scares me a bit, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Tell us about the town where you live. 

Bay Island is a small tourist island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York. The town of Bay Island consists of two rows of stores facing each other across Main Street. During the summer, tourists flock to the beaches, the boardwalk, and the lighthouses, but during the winter months, things are usually very quiet.

Describe an average day in your life.

I live just down the beach from my shop, Mystical Musings, and I often start my day with a walk to work with my dog, Beast. Once I get the shop open, Stephanie and Bee often stop by with breakfast from the deli, along with a good dose of the day’s gossip. Then, I usually do a few readings and hopefully sell some souvenirs, essential oils, and crystals. My best days end meeting up with Bee and Stephanie at the diner for dinner.

Will you encourage Lena to write a sequel?
Absolutely! Even though I’m at a good place right now, I’d like to think there’s still more to tell.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Lena lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs.



When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Connect with Lena:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  | Pinterest

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |   Penguin Random House