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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Book Feature: Scene of the Crime by Jennifer Chase @jchasenovelist #blogtour #kindlebooks #amazon #bookclubreads


SCENE OF THE CRIME by Jennifer Chase, Mystery, 300 pp., $.99 (Kindle)



Title: SCENE OF THE CRIME
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 300
Genre: Mystery Suspense

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

 

Chapter 1

NOTHING CAPTURED HIS ATTENTION. IT wasn’t as if he wasn’t looking for anything specific or that he didn’t care about anything, but everything became like white noise. Looking down, he spotted a couple squashed beer cans, which had resulted from the constant compression of car tires repeatedly running over them. Now they lay in the gutter unnoticed—as discarded litter. Out of boredom, he kicked the aluminum pancakes with his worn out running shoes. The compressed disks clattered a ways before landing back in a different part of the same gutter, just as his life.
Roger Case was in one of those moods where everything seemed futile. It was a time when his temperament plummeted; he entertained the spirit of defeat, which was becoming more common these days. His concentration slipped farther into the dwindling mindset of drugs and crime to the point of mania. Rationalizing his motives, he preferred to enact self-medication.
He needed something strong to take away his thoughts of negativity. The repetitive movements of his hands and arms worsened. He wanted anything that would take away his fears, his depression, and his unrelenting obsession for the next quick fix. Roger knew that even when he felt the most empowering high that there was a high price to pay—and it was predictable and inevitable—the hard, downward crash.
Roger hadn’t always been teetering on that slippery slope, dangling over the life of crime; in fact, he still remembered when things were normal and even mundane. He grew up in a typical middle class family with his mom and dad, along with his older brother and sister. Reflecting on those memories now, he would trade just about anything to have those times back.
Now he waited with anticipation for his contact. It was going to make everything better—at least for a while. He convinced himself that just a little bit of crystal meth would help him get back on track—to see things clearly again. It wasn’t as if he was a full-blown addict, he just needed something to help motivate and push him in the right direction.
He heard a hollow scraping noise and stopped to listen. Standing quietly, still straining to hear, but that sound never repeated. He looked around. Curious. The sound seemed to resonate in his head instead of around the street. Upon further inspection, he realized it came from inside the cement structure.
The old water treatment plant had been decommissioned by the county some time ago, now outdated, and was nothing more than an eyesore gathering the grime and deteriorating aspects of time gone by. Something loomed in Roger’s vision and waited in darkness—he strained his eyes looking into the long structure that seemed to lead to nowhere.
Maybe his connection made a change of plans and the meeting place was at the cement sinew, and out of sight from any onlookers, or cops happening by on their route. It was possible. At this point in Roger’s life, anything was possible.
Roger contemplated his options for a moment and then decided to check it out. He turned toward the water treatment plant and headed inside. The first thing he noticed was the temperature difference—cold and damp compared to the warmer street areas.
He slowed his pace, unsure if he should call out or announce his presence. Fidgeting nonstop with his hands, pressing his fingers tighter and then releasing them, Roger moved farther into the tunnel.
A shuffling sound came from the other end.
“Hello?” he finally said, his voice weak and tinny which made him unconsciously twitch.
A muffled dragging sound was the responded answer. It resonated from the back-left area.
“Hey, I don’t have time for this… you either want the money or not.” He tried to sound tough but his nerves were frayed. It wasn’t something he was used to feeling. In fact, Roger couldn’t remember the last time he felt scared, frustrated, angry or anxious.
The damp cement tunnel seemed to pull him closer to the heart of it—into the bowels of no return. Instead of turning around and leaving, Roger slowly moved deeper into the cavern. It was as if someone or something else had control over his body. His insatiable curiosity had put him in troubling situations throughout his life. It contributed to him getting into deep trouble with a growing rap sheet to prove it.
Most memories had a calming effect on Roger, which had initiated his fidgeting to cease and his hesitation to subside. He didn’t understand many people’s fears and phobias, most things were just benign and didn’t amount to anything remotely scary or debilitating.
There it was again—a dragging sound followed by what he thought were hushed whispers.
Kids.
He would smack a kid if they jumped out at him or gave him any crap. Most likely, they were tagging gang symbols and looking to get into trouble.
There was the distinct sound of two people whispering to each other.
Roger tried to sharpen his vision but the darkness played tricks on him with weird shadow figure apparitions. He blinked his eyes quickly trying to concentrate on the area and where the kids were hiding; his eyes began to water from the extreme effort. Wiping away the aggravated tears, Roger felt his surroundings close in tightly around him as his perception changed. The darkness seemed to give a strange rippled effect.
The voices became louder. There was nothing sinister about the voices, but they were speaking faster with more of an urgent tone.
“Hey, you little maggots, I know you’re here,” stated Roger.
He stopped and stood still.                                                         
The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.
A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.
The anonymous whispers stopped.
All buzzing in his ears stopped.
Roger Case’s heart stopped too.


Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Other Books in the Series

Body of the Crime


 





Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

Book of the Day: Spine Chillers: The Scarecrow by Nancy Gray


SPINE CHILLERS: THE SCARECROW by Nancy Gray, Mid-Grade Horror, 113 pp., $2.99 (Kindle)


Title: SPINE CHILLERS: THE SCARECROW
Author: Nancy Gray
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 113
Genre: Mid-Grade Horror

BOOK BLURB:

Eleven year old, Sophie, arrives at her Aunt and Uncle’s farm to horrible news: her cousin, Hunt, has gone missing.  When Sophie starts searching for clues to where her cousin went, strange things happen.  The scarecrow wanders around the cornfields at night and murders of crows lash out at other animals for no reason at all.

An ancient spirit wants revenge. Sophie will have to be brave and clever in order to save her cousin…and herself!

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Excerpt:


Chapter 1 – Aunt Angie’s Farm

Sophie leaned against the car window listening to the soothing sounds of the dirt road that threatened to lull her back to sleep. When her head rolled to the side, her glasses occasionally rattled against the windowpane, waking her from her dreamlike state. She glanced at the scenery rolling by like the background of a side-scrolling video game. Even though most of what she could see was the forest, she knew that they had to be getting close to the farm. The oak trees would occasionally part revealing a long patch of clover or grass that looked luxurious in the setting sun. She imagined rolling around in the grass like a happy puppy and then exploring the woods, climbing into a tree or discovering a hidden trail.
Just as she thought that she couldn’t take wondering if they were getting close and was about to ask, she realized that her parents were talking in hushed tones that they thought that she couldn’t hear. They must’ve thought that she was still asleep. She closed her eyes and listened, curious about what they were saying.
Her mother sighed and said, “Sometimes I really don’t know how you two are related.”
Her father chuckled. “Yeah, but at least she isn’t living out in the woods foraging berries or something. Angie’s always been a flake.”
“Do you think that Sophie likes coming here? I mean, the farm used to always scare her so much when she was little, but she acted like she was excited to come this time.”
At first, Sophie thought about telling them that she could still hear them, but instead she just continued to lean against the car door with her eyes shut.
“Well, she’s always liked seeing the animals and I think she likes spending time with her cousin.”
Her mother made a snorting noise and said, “Sometimes I wish she didn’t. That boy is a bad influence on her.”
“I talked to Angie about that. This time, if they want to explore they’ll be going with one of us.”
Sophie frowned at her mother’s comment. Part of the reason why she enjoyed going to the farm at all was to spend time with her cousin Hunt. They were a lot alike. They both loved exploring the farm together and playing with the animals. They even could be mistaken for siblings because they both looked alike as well, around the same height with blond hair and blue eyes. Even though she hated to admit it, her mother was right.  Sometimes Hunt did get her into trouble, but it was always fun. They loved to sneak into places on the farm that they weren’t supposed to go, like the old barn or the woods nearby. Playing with Hunt always meant going on some sort of adventure.
She thought miserably, “It just won’t be as fun if mom and dad are close by. I never get into any trouble at home. Why can’t they just let us play? I guess, at least, we won’t be getting lost in the corn field this time.
Sophie’s dad said in a voice that shook her out of her daydream, “Sophie, we’re here.”
She opened her eyes and stared out the window at the rows of feed corn in front of her, fascinated. The road was so narrow the plants scraped against the sides of the car. She could hear a tractor up ahead and their car slowed down. The tractor motor stopped and her dad stopped the car. Sophie craned her neck and saw her uncle waving at them from the seat of a large, green combine and motioning for them to get out of the car.
Her father muttered, “Looks like Mike wants to talk. Come on, Sophie. Why don’t you get out and stretch your legs too.”
She gladly got out and stretched then ran in the direction of her uncle. He gave her a long hug and said, “There’s my favorite niece. Good to see you, Sophie. Give me a minute to talk to your dad, and then maybe I’ll give you a ride on the tractor later.”
Sophie said, “Okay.”
She thought, “He usually seems more excited to see us. Why is he frowning? Is something wrong?
Her uncle put an arm around her father’s shoulders and walked down the road until they were far enough away that Sophie couldn’t hear them. From the way they pointed in her direction, she knew they didn’t want her to listen in and were talking about something that concerned her as well.
Sophie walked up to her mother. “Mom, can I go look around?”
“Okay, but don’t go too far. I’m going to talk to your dad. Stay close to the car.”
Sophie squinted and shielded the sunlight from her eyes, glancing at row after row of corn. Finally, she spotted what she was looking for and carefully entered the corn, counting the rows so that she wouldn’t get lost, until she reached the clearing. Hanging on a pole in the center of the open area was a scarecrow. Oddly, there were several crows perched on top of it. One was even pulling on one of its button eyes. The black birds glanced at Sophie for a moment with dark, doll-like eyes and then flew away as she approached to get a closer look.
Since the scarecrow’s head was tilted downward she got a good look at its face, and immediately wished that she hadn’t. The head was made of a burlap sack. Even though it was just a cloth bag, the folds around the bottom and the eyes were deep, creating grooves in the material, making the scarecrow appear to have an unhappy expression, possibly even an angry one. One of the button eyes hung limply where the crow had pecked it loose, and the wide brimmed black hat on its head cast a shadow that made the body seem to leer over her like the intimidating silhouette of a villain in a western movie. Sophie stepped back slowly and then turned and ran in the direction of the car, not stopping until she reached her mother. Sophie hugged her tightly around the waist.
Her mother glanced down at her and asked gently, “Sophie, what’s wrong?”
“Can we go?”
She nodded. “Yes, we were just about to go to the guest house and get settled in.”
Sophie got into the backseat of the car and didn’t glance back in the direction of the scarecrow until they were driving. When she did turn to look, even though she knew it wasn’t possible, the scarecrow’s head seemed to be cocked in a different direction, slightly upward, as though it was watching them leave. Just as she was about to say something to her parents, a wall of crows flew up from the cornfield and obscured her view. When they were gone the head was resting down again. Sophie made a whimpering sound in the back of her throat that she was glad her parents didn’t hear and shifted further down into her seat, hoping that even the top of her head wouldn’t show through the back window.



 







Nancy Gray 
 
Nancy Gray has published a number of works including her young adult fantasy series Blood Rain. Her short story “Chosen” appeared in Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Author Quest: a Penguin Special from Grosset & Dunlap. Her work also appears in various anthologies.

Nancy Gray has been writing for over ten years. Gray lives in South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys books, video games, anime, manga, and horror.
Her latest book is the mid-grade horror, Spine Chillers: The Scarecrow.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK


 

Friday, September 7, 2018

#BlogTour #VBT Wyoming Tryst by Charlene Whitman


WYOMING TRYST by Charlene Whitman, Sweet Historical Western Romance, 360 pp., $15.95 (paperback) $3.99 (Kindle)


Title: WYOMING TRYST
Author: Charlene Whitman
Publisher: Ubiquitous Press
Pages: 360
Genre: Sweet Historical Western Romance


Two ranching tycoons. A decades-old feud. A sheriff bent on ridding the town of lawlessness . . .
In the midst of the trouble brewing in Laramie City in 1878, Julia Carson yearns to be free of her parents’ smothering and wonders whether she’ll ever find a man worthy to love in such a violent town rife with outlaws.
But when Robert Morrison sneaks onto her ranch the night of her sixteenth birthday party, Cupid shoots his arrows straight and true. Aware that their courtship would be anathema to their fathers, who are sworn enemies, Robert and Julia arrange a tryst.
Yet, their clandestine dalliance does not go unnoticed, and forces seek to destroy what little hope their romance has to bloom. The star-crossed lovers face heartache and danger as violence erupts. When all hope is lost, Joseph Tuttle, the new doctor at the penitentiary, is given a letter and a glass vial from Cheyenne medicine woman Sarah Banks.
The way of escape poses deadly dangers, but it is the only way for Robert and Julia to be together. It will take the greatest measure of faith and courage to come through unscathed, but love always conquers fear.

ORDER YOUR COPY BELOW:

https://www.amazon.com/Wyoming-Tryst-Front-Range-Book-ebook/dp/B07B8NK5WC
Click on Amazon graphic to purchase


Excerpt:

Chapter 1

November 5, 1878
“I don’t care what it costs—get it done! Stop lollygagging, and make Morrison sign that paper. Rohrbach has other offers, and he knows I’m chomping at the bit—”
Julia Carson cringed at the sound of something heavy smashing against the wall adjoining the sewing room, but a glance at her mother showed that Lester Carson’s histrionics ruffled her not at all. When did they ever? But Julia knew that was the only way her mother could successfully navigate around her husband’s outbursts.
Her mother, with her lustrous back hair piled atop her head in perfect fashion, pulled another straight pin from between her teeth and said, “Stop wiggling, Julia. How will I ever get this hem pinned if you keep swiveling about?”
Julia sighed, feeling the familiar constriction and barely telltale rattle in her chest. But thank the heavens autumn was here. A glance out the wide windows showed a bright, crisp morning, though menacing clouds were gathering in the distance. She wouldn’t be surprised if the first snow fell later that day.
This summer had been the worst yet, and twice her parents had flown into a panic when Julia had awoken in the middle of the night unable to breathe. The tonics the doctor had given her did little else but make her woozy, and though Reverend Charnel urged her to give her burden to the Good Lord, it seemed He wasn’t all that keen on lifting it from her shoulders. Predictions over the years said she’d never make it to her sixteenth birthday, but yet, here she was.
“—Get out! Just git!”
Her father’s boorish directive followed on the heels of two short, fastidious men in three-piece suits making a hasty exit from her father’s study. Upon noticing Julia standing on the round dais and her mother squatting with pins in her mouth, the solicitors nodded brusquely from the hallway and muttered their farewells, their hats clenched in hand.
Julia’s mother muttered, “Heavens, your father is putting those poor men through the wringer.” She shook her head and finished pinning the last section of hem of the elegant white satin party dress. Then she took a step back, her petticoats swishing under her toile skirt, and admired her handiwork.
Though her mother could easily afford to hire the finest dressmaker in Wyoming Territory, she made all of Julia’s dresses and blouses, spending her quiet evenings, especially in the winter months when snow piled up the windows, bent over her tiny stitches. The sewing room in which they stood overflowed with bolts of lace and strings of seed pearls that her mother painstakingly added in beautiful detail to Julia’s party dresses.
And this dress would be the most magnificent yet, for, as her mother kept reminding Julia, “No one must outshine you on your sixteenth birthday.”
But there was more in her mother’s eyes than admiration for her handiwork and pride in her only child—her only living child, Julia noted. Because, wasn’t that at the heart of this celebration? That Julia was the only child of Danielle and Lester Carson to have survived into adulthood.
And that was what Julia read in her mother’s eyes. Pain and loss. Three stillborn babies lay in the nearby family graveyard. Alongside the small coffin containing Julia’s older brother, who’d succumbed to the influenza when he was four—two months before Julia was born.
Julia could never be free of her mother’s loss, never be absolved. Her parents stifled and smothered her with love and protection and worry because, as her mother often lamented, “We couldn’t ever bear to lose you. It would kill us both.” Though her father never voiced such sentiments aloud.
And it was hard to interpret his heavy hand and unfair restrictions as fear of loss. No, her father’s actions seemed anything but fearful, and his protection anything but loving and concerned.
But no matter. She would soon find a man to wed, and though she’d been so sheltered, hardly even permitted to say hello to any unhitched young man, even at church, she secretly hoped she’d get her chance at her party. A party that would make the high-society columns in papers all the way to the Mississippi, if her mother had her way. Her parents were sparing no expense for an event that would no doubt be hailed as the most extravagant gala Laramie City had ever seen.
Julia’s throat tightened at the attention that would be heaped upon her that night, for crowds of people made her terribly claustrophobic, often exacerbating her asthma. Her rigorous protests for a small family gathering had been lost on unresponsive ears. Though, why was she surprised? This party really wasn’t about her, or for her, for that matter. It was, in essence, a way for her father to show off his opulence and success as Laramie’s foremost cattle rancher. And to flaunt that success before the Morrisons, who, as a matter of course, were not invited and never would be.
“Oh, you are such a beauty,” her mother crooned. “Spin around and show me.”
Julia dutifully spun, the layers of eyelet-lace-edge skirts whirling and fluttering like snowflakes on a breeze. Wearing such a gorgeous dress made Julia feel beautiful indeed. But she wondered if any dress could negate her flaws. Her pale complexion that freckled terribly in the sun. Her long lifeless hair the color of bark that constantly slipped out of her pins. And worst of all—her height. She stood over her mother by four inches. What man would want to look up to his wife? At five feet eight, she was taller than most of the ranch hands on the farm. Except Ty, her much-older cousin, who was like a brother to her. And, of course, her father, who towered a head above every man in town. The Carson men had always stood out prominently in a crowd—due to both height and propensity for bluster. But, unlike Julia’s uncles, Lester Carson was more the quiet but intense type who believed in an economy of words. Except when someone sparked his anger.
Julia stepped down from the dais and turned so her mother could fuss with the button loop at Julia’s neck. The spacious sewing room with its floor-to-ceiling windows spilled warm light across the thickly varnished oak floorboards that shone like glass. Dust motes danced on the air.
“Mother, why has Father been meeting with his lawyers so often? And what is he so crotchety about?”
Her mother’s sigh blew warmth onto Julia’s neck, making a shiver run down her spine. “It’s nothing to concern yourself with. Another land deal. He wants to acquire the thousand-acre parcel to the northwest.”
Julia shook her head. “But why? Doesn’t he own enough land? Aren’t fifty thousand acres sufficient for his purposes?”
“It’s the water access. You know in late summer Dead Man’s Creek is the only source of water for the cattle. That property has the only year-round spring for miles around.”
“So? Father has always moved the herds north in the fall.”
“And it appears he doesn’t want to be bothered to do so any longer.”
Julia fell silent. Once her father got a hankering in his craw, there was no pulling it free. But this was something different than his normal dealings. He’d been downright perturbed these last months, working himself into a frenzy, more apt to snap at Cousin Ty and Sheldon McManus, his ranch foreman, than ever before.
“Is . . . Father ill?”
Her mother turned Julia to face her. Julia saw close up the tired lines etching her mother’s still-beautiful face. Dark splotches sagged under her eyes, and her mouth drew into a tight line.
“No,” she said, then hesitated. “Though, I daresay if he keeps up like this”—she gestured to the now-closed door to the study, where Lester Carson was tromping across the floorboards so loudly, Julia feared he might bust through them—“his heart just might succumb from the aggravation.”
But there was something her mother wasn’t telling her. Something—Julia knew—whose source went way back, before Julia was born. Something neither parent ever mentioned, but on occasion Julia caught a whiff of, like the scent of a moldering dead carcass carried on the wind. In the late hours Julia sometimes heard terse words spoken behind closed doors. Words that often included the name Morrison.
Her father hated Stephen Morrison. That was a fact everyone in Wyoming Territory knew well. And Morrison hated Julia’s father. But no one seemed to know what had started the feud that had been going on between the two men—and that had dragged both families through the mud of hate and threats—for decades. Ty had once let slip words that hinted at a card game and someone cheating, but for all Julia knew, his words were little more than grist for the rumor mill in town.
And she’d heard her father tell his lawyers to make Morrison sign the papers. Did Stephen Morrison own that land her father coveted? If so, he had to know Morrison would never sell—not on his life.
Oh, all this land wrangling and vying for power made Julia more than weary. She felt like a prisoner in her own home. Her upcoming party was the only bright glimmer of hope on the horizon. If only it held the promise of escape. Would she ever be free of her father’s heavy hand?
The door to the courtyard swung open, and Ty came in, a grin on his sun-baked face, his unruly wheat-straw hair splaying out from under his floppy hat. He touched the brim and said, “Ladies,” then knocked on the door to the study. As Julia’s mother gathered up her scissors and pins and spools of thread, Julia felt a sudden urge to change out of her fancy dress, throw on a riding skirt and blouse, and race across the range on Little Bit. The house seemed to be closing in on her, and the glorious late-autumn day was passing her by.
Her father opened the door and exchanged quiet but terse words with Ty. Then, without another word or a glance at his wife or daughter, he strode past the open doors of the sewing room and down the hallway, his footfalls echoing loudly.
Ty turned to Julia and her mother, his soft gray-green eyes thoughtful and intense. “I’m headin’ to town with the wagon to pick up supplies at Harold’s. Need anything at the mercantile?”
“Milkman Mary should have our order ready for pickup,” her mother said. “I’d be obliged if you stopped in and picked up the milk and cream.”
“May I go with you?” Julia asked. She’d rather stroll the shop windows than saddle up her mare and ride, alone, with no one to talk with. And Ty, always so funny and cheerful, was just the company she needed right now.
“Dressed like that?” He pointed at her. “You’d ’bout give every fella apoplexy if’n they saw you saunterin’ down the street.” He sashayed around the room, making Julia laugh, as he stroked the wiry goatee on his chin.
Though Ty was her cousin and fourteen years her senior, he had come under the wings of her parents when he was twelve due to a mudslide that had left him orphaned. The two of them had been raised like siblings, and Julia couldn’t imagine having more affection for Ty if he’d been her brother. Or Ty having a fiercer sense of protectiveness for his younger relation.
“There’ll be no town visit today,” her mother said sternly.
“Why not—?” Julia tried to keep the whine out of her voice. It wasn’t fair.
“Because I said so.”
Ty frowned. “I’d keep her safe, ma’am—you know that—”
“No, Ty. It would be highly imprudent . . . at this time. This discussion is over.”
Ty promptly shut his mouth, as he was wont to do when her mother spoke in that tone.
Her mother hastily stuffed the remaining notions into her sewing box and latched the cover. She looked over at Julia. “Have Edna help you out of that dress, and hang it up in my parlor so I can hem it.” Her tone brooked no argument or even a reply.
“Yes, Mother,” Julia said anyway, keeping her tone even and respectful, though she held back what she really wanted to say. I’m a grown woman. I can take care of myself. I’m not your sick little baby anymore. How will I ever live in the world if I’m sheltered from it?
Ty stood and watched as Julia’s mother exited the room, then turned to Julia, kneading his hat in his hands.
“She’s only bein’ protective.”
Julia scoffed. “I know Laramie’s a rough town, but surely—”
“You didn’t hear the news? What happened last night?”
Julia shook her head as a chill settled on her neck. She’d seen the Daily Sentinel lying on the credenza in the dining room, but she hadn’t glanced at the headlines. Fights and trouble plagued the streets of Laramie, always had. Most people—decent folk—knew to stay away from Front Street at night, where the brothels stretched for blocks and drunken men poured out of saloons to fight, cheered on by equally drunken crowds. And no decent woman would wander the streets of downtown past dark unchaperoned.
“Two fellas were shot, right in the middle of Grand Street. One o’ the fellas had a woman on his arm, and in the brawl that ensued, she was . . . trampled to death.”
Julia felt the blood leave her face. “Was . . . she someone I knew?” She swallowed at the reticence evident on Ty’s face.
“Lola Peterson—”
“Mrs. Peterson? The school marm?” The young woman who’d taught Julia her letters and read her first primers with her had recently wed. Oh, Lord, it couldn’t be . . .
Ty nodded. “Your ma hadn’t told you.” It was a statement, an observation. His lips quirked in an expression of empathy. “I’m so sorry. I know how much ya liked her. I did too.”
Julia had a flash of memory—of Ty putting a frog on their tutor’s chair and guffawing when she squealed in shock. A rock lodged painfully in her throat.
“And her husband?” Julia brought to mind the sweet-faced man with the thick black hair and beard who had a little gap between his front teeth—a grocer by trade.
Ty shook his head slowly. Julia’s throat clenched, and she struggled to draw air into her stubborn lungs.
“Why doesn’t that blasted sheriff bring order to this town? He and his hooligan deputies don’t seem to do anything but drink and cause their own kind of trouble.”
Ty’s severe expression said it all.
If there was someone her father hated even more than Stephen Morrison—if that were possible—it was Sheriff Thomas Jefferson Carr. And it seemed the feeling was mutual. Julia had only met the beefy unpleasant sheriff on a couple of occasions, at public affairs that she’d been allowed to attend, such as the Christmas concert at the Grange Hall and the Fourth of July picnics in the park, where all the politicians and public figures made their appearances—especially on election years.
When Sheriff Carr was elected, he said he would “put fear in the hearts of evildoers,” and he’d certainly made true on his claim. But from what Julia gleaned from overhearing the men on the ranch, the sheriff was a scoundrel and as corrupt as they came, always flanked by his posse of Irish thugs. Which contributed to Laramie’s reputation as the most lawless town in the West.
Julia’s heart weighed heavy as her thoughts drifted back to Mrs. Peterson. The news sucked out her restlessness and filled her with melancholy. Now she just wanted to run up to her room and bury her face in her pillow.
“I reckon I should git goin’,” Ty said quietly.
Julia nodded, glancing down at her white satin gown with the lyrical waves of shiny pearls and layers of lace. It felt so wrong to be standing there, wearing something so pristine and pretty, when the news couldn’t be more gloomy and dark. She couldn’t wait to get out of the dress. Maybe a long gallop across the prairie would do her some good. Maybe being unmarried wasn’t so deplorable a condition.
How horrible to finally find a man to love and wed, only to lose him—and your own life—to such senseless violence. Like many women, Mrs. Peterson had come to Wyoming, and Laramie specifically, because of its radical views of equality for women. Not ten years ago, Laramie became the first town in the West—maybe in the whole country—to let women serve on a jury and vote in elections and hold jobs as court bailiffs and other county positions.
But, judging by the way Julia’s father smothered his daughter with his overbearing protectiveness, you’d never know she lived in such a progressive community. Oh, she was so tired of being kept in a box.
“I’ll bring ya back a licorice stick,” Ty said with a wink, then slipped out the courtyard door, leaving Julia alone, silence filling in the space around her. She could hear the beating of her heart as she stood and looked out over the Front Range through the windows. A few flakes of snow swirled around the glass.
Someone had named Laramie “The Gem City of the Plains” because at night, when a person gazed down from atop the Black Hills to the east, the lights of the town looked like precious stones nestled in a black velvet jewel box.
Julia wondered if that person had ever walked the streets of Laramie at night, when the whoring and shooting and drunken brawls erupted. She doubted the person who penned that sublime description would be inclined to give her town such an appellation then.
Thinking about her lawless town made her thoughts settle back on her father and the never-ending feud between the Carsons and the Morrisons—a feud Julia neither wanted nor understood. Yet here she was, in the midst of it, her party just one more piece of wood to throw on the fire of contention. She hoped it wouldn’t add to the blaze and worried that rather than enjoy her sixteenth year celebration, she would suffer the heat of her father’s ire for Stephen Morrison, and it would leave her scorched.





 






The author of “heart-thumping” Western romance, Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado’s Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George “Dix” Whitman, her love of thirty years.

The Front Range series of sweet historical Western romance novels (set in the 1870s) includes Wild Horses, Wild Hearts, set in Laporte and Greeley. Colorado Promise, set in Greeley, Colorado; Colorado Hope, set in Fort Collins; Wild Secret, Wild Longing, which takes readers up into the Rockies, Colorado Dream (Greeley), and Wyoming Tryst, set in Laramie, WY.

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Book Feature: Taking Control: Rick's Story by Morgan Malone @mmaloneauthor




Taking Control: Rick's Story by Morgan Malone, Contemporary Romance, 170 pp., $10.99 (paperback) $2.99 (Kindle)


Title: TAKING CONTROL: RICK’S STORY
Author: Morgan Malone
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 170
Genre: Contemporary Romance



Summer on the Jersey Shore and all Rick Sheridan wants is some solitude at his beach house. Then he spots a lean, leggy blonde coming out of the surf and his plans are shot to hell. And the dangerous looking knife strapped to her arm tells him this is no damsel in distress. As a not-so retired Marine, at 51, Rick’s learned that nothing is for certain, plans can spin out of control and shit happens.

Wounded and weary from one too many wars, Britt Capshaw thought a summer at the Shore, hanging out in her family’s beach cottage, would help her heal. And figure out what to do with the rest of her life. Out of the military, disillusioned and distrustful of any two-legged male, Britt’s one love is Alex, the yellow Labrador retriever she rescued from Afghanistan.

Rick and Britt are immediately attracted to one another, but after years in combat, they are wary of letting down their guard, of giving up control. The summer heats up and fireworks are flying between them even after the Fourth of July. But, ghosts from their pasts haunt them and finally bring them face to face with some dark secrets that may destroy the fragile trust they’ve built.

Can Britt trust Rick with her dangerous past? Will Rick be able to let go of the rigid control he needs to keep Britt and himself safe from more heartbreak? These two brave souls fight against surrendering their hearts and finally finding love. Who will win?

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Amazon




He stood before the French doors to the deck, with a large mug of steaming black brew cradled in his hands, letting its warmth take away some of the chill that had surrounded him for the last several months. I’m freezing. And it’s not the air-conditioning. It’s my damn frozen heart. Rick pushed the doors open, letting the heat of the sun and the smell of the ocean sweep into his house. He stepped outside, breathing deep, relaxing just a little. Yeah. This is what I need. A summer at the Shore, a few projects, and plenty of quiet—then I’ll be back to my old self. Chuckling as he mentally reminded himself of just how “old” his self was, Rick raised the cup to take a long sip of coffee.

He saw the figure emerging from the waves almost directly in front of his cottage at the same moment he heard the loud barking of a nearby dog.

What the hell?

She was a modern-day Botticelli’s Venus, with the waves foaming around her legs. Long, long legs, lean and tan, disappeared into a bright blue bikini bottom, just visible under the blue and white swim T-shirt that covered a long, muscular torso. Her arms were raised, her hands brushed back sodden strands of platinum blond hair. A swim mask dangled from her left elbow, dropping down into her hand as she lowered her arms. When she stepped from the surf, the woman gave an all-over body shake, drops of ocean water flying off her, glistening for an instant like diamonds in the early morning sun. Then she dropped to her knees so suddenly that Rick lurched forward, splashing coffee as he looked down for a place to leave the heavy mug before he rushed to her aid.

He needn’t have bothered. From the deck of the cottage to his left, a huge yellow dog was bounding down the wooden stairs two at a time in a mad dash to the woman. She stretched out her arms to the animal just before the happy hound collided into her, rolling her into the sand. The woman’s laugh floated on the ocean breeze. Rick straightened, still grasping his cup of coffee and stepped back into the shadows cast over his deck by the second-floor balcony. From his vantage point, he watched the woman ruffle the dog’s fur, the animal prancing and shaking in spasms of pure pleasure. When had he ever experienced such unfettered joy? Rick couldn’t remember. A long, long time ago…maybe.

Who was she? The owners of the cottage next door were an older couple who spent half the year in Florida and half the year on the Shore. Could she be a granddaughter or niece? Or had the couple decided to rent this year? Rick made a mental note to contact his property manager who handled many of the shore homes and make inquiries. He had not planned on having to deal with a stranger; he just wanted some peace and quiet.

The woman and dog were walking up from the water’s edge. Rick eased toward the open doors of his living room, thinking to disappear into the shadows. He just didn’t feel like an early morning encounter with anyone, certainly not the mermaid with those incredible legs who was ambling slowly in his general direction. He stopped suddenly when something caught the corner of his eye. A glint of sunlight on metal. He reached for his pistol, but his waistband was empty. Damn. What is that woman doing with a diving knife strapped to her right bicep? Who the hell is she?




 









Morgan Malone is the pen name of a retired lawyer who turned in her judicial robes to write romantic memoir and sexy contemporary romance, which always features silver foxes and the independent women who tame them.

Morgan fell in love with romantic heroes after reading her mother’s first edition of “Gone with the Wind” when she was 12 years old. Rhett Butler became the standard by which she measured all men. Some have met the mark, most have failed to even come close and one or two surpassed even Rhett’s dark and dangerous allure.

Morgan lives near Saratoga Springs, NY with her beloved chocolate Lab. She can be found on occasion drinking margaritas and dancing at local hostelries, but look for her most often in independent book stores and the library, searching for her next great love in tales of romance, history, adventure and lust. When she can’t find the perfect man, she retreats to her upstairs office and creates him, body and soul, for her pleasure and for yours. Remember: love, like wine, gets better with age.

Her recent novel is the contemporary romance, Taking Control: Rick’s Story.

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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Book Feature: Unlawful Desires by Sassy Sinclair #erotic #suspense @authorpsy



UNLAWFUL DESIRES by Sassy Sinclair, Erotic Suspense, 198 pp., $10.99 (paperback) $3.99 (Kindle)


Title: UNLAWFUL DESIRES
Author: Sassy Sinclair
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Pages: 198
Genre: Erotic Romance


Sparks fly when a handsome lawyer falls hard for a smart, seductive woman who thinks like a man and acts like one too.

Sharla Ratliff is done with having her heart broken. Her new dating rules are simple. No emotion. No expectation of commitment. Sex purely for her own physical enjoyment. Then she meets Marcel Dennard. The attractive lawyer has all the trappings of success: a thriving career, women at his beck and call, and enough money in the bank for the finer things in life.

Their lust for each other doesn’t just create sparks, it sets off explosions. The sexual attraction between them is so passionately erotic they behave in ways that can only be called reckless. After a shocking series of events place both of their careers in jeopardy, can they restrain their sexual desires long enough to keep everything they’ve worked for from going up in smoke?

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Amazon




Excerpt:

Marcel
“But I don’t understand. You said you loved me!”
Marcel stood in the doorway of his bedroom as Camille snatched clothes from his closet and tossed them onto the bed.
He didn’t realize she kept that much stuff at his house. They’d only been seeing each other for five months and had never lived together. Once he got her out of his crib, he wasn’t letting another woman leave a bubblegum wrapper at his house, much less a toothbrush.
“Don’t just stand there,” Camille cried. “Say something!”
Since he couldn’t tell her what he was really thinking—that he couldn’t wait for her ass to leave—Marcel thought it was best to keep his mouth shut. Yeah, he’d told her he loved her. More than once, in fact. But only in response to her saying it first and usually about three seconds before he came. Never once had he initiated the phrase or uttered the words while fully clothed. That should’ve been a clue.
“You’re upset,” he said, backing out of the room. “I’ll wait in the den until you finish packing up.”
As Marcel turned to leave, Camille hurled a bottle of deodorant across the room. It nicked him on the shoulder.
“Hey!” He rubbed the sore spot. “Was that really necessary?”
“You used me!”
Marcel almost laughed out loud. He’d taken her to Paris, bought her designer purses and treated her to the finest restaurants in L.A. He even paid off one of her credit cards. And she was being used? Go figure.
“I told you from the start, I didn’t want a commitment. We had a good time while it lasted.”
“But I don’t understand what happened,” she sniveled.
He did. The same thing that always happened. He got bored. All relationships were great in the beginning. Unfortunately, he had an addiction to pussy. New pussy in particular. But new pussy can’t stay new forever.
Marcel glanced at his watch. He wanted Camille and her drama to disappear before the Clippers’ game came on.
 As he headed into the den, he knew he only had himself to blame. He had let his guard down with Camille. The minute she started texting him ten times a day and trying to track his every move, he should’ve called it quits. But the girl worked wonders between the sheets and that did have its value. And those legs of hers. He loved doing her standing up with her back against the wall, her long brown legs clamped tightly around his waist. Even now, he got excited just thinking about it. Too bad she’d gotten so clingy.
Marcel picked up the remote and switched on the TV. It took another thirty minutes before Camille trudged down the hallway dragging two military-size duffle bags behind her.
When in the hell did you sneak in all this shit? And why didn’t I notice?
Camille wasn’t crying anymore, which he considered a good sign.
“I’m sorry I got so upset,” she said. “You were right. You did tell me you didn’t want a commitment. I should’ve listened.”
Marcel didn’t respond. Her apology was probably a trick. He feared saying something that might set her off again. His goal was to get her ass on the other side of his front door and lock the dead bolt. At least he’d been smart enough not to give in to her pleas for a key. If he had, he would’ve had to change all the locks.
“Do you need help with your bags?” he asked.
Camille nodded.
Marcel took the bags from her, surprised at how heavy they were. They had to weigh close to fifty pounds apiece. When they got to the front door, he waited for her to open it.
Instead of reaching for the doorknob, Camille just stood there.
Now what?
"Can you get the door?" Marcel asked.
She turned around to face him. “Despite everything that happened, I really enjoyed being with you. You’re a great guy.”
“Back at you. Now open the door.”
 Camille clasped her hands in front of her and spoke in an annoying little girl’s voice. “Don’t I even get a hug goodbye?”
Here we go. Women were so transparent.
Marcel let the bags fall to the floor with a thud and pulled her into his arms for a quick hug. Damn, she smelled good. Felt good too.
When he tried to pull away, Camille moved in closer, snuggling her face into the crook of his neck. Then she licked his earlobe, which she knew drove him wild. He instantly grew rigid.
Damn.
Camille grinded against his erection. “Uh-oh.” She grinned up at him. “Something tells me you don’t want me to leave.”
Women made the mistake of equating sex with love. Just because his dick wanted her to stay, didn’t mean he did.














 




 
  
Sassy Sinclair, AKA Pamela Samuels Young, is an attorney and award-winning author of multiple legal thrillers. Unlawful Desires is her first foray into the erotic romantic suspense genre. Her mystery Anybody’s Daughter won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction and was a Top Ten pick by In the Margins, the best books for at-risk teens. Her novels #Anybody’s Daughter and #Abuse of Discretion are young adult adaptations of two of her most popular adult mysteries. Prior to embarking on a full-time writing career, Pamela was an associate at O’Melveny & Myers, LLP and Managing Counsel for Labor and Employment Law at Toyota. A former journalist, she also worked as a television news writer and associate producer for WXYZ-TV in Detroit and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. Pamela received her bachelor’s degree from USC and earned graduate degrees from Northwestern University and UC Berkeley School of Law. A natural hair enthusiast, Pamela wrote Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide to educate women about the true beauty of their kinky coils. The Compton native is a frequent speaker on the topics of child sex trafficking, teen sexting, self-empowerment, independent publishing and fiction writing.

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 http://www.pumpupyourbook.com