SNAKE SKIN, CJ Lyons ($4.99)

Just your average Pittsburgh soccer mom, baking brownies and carrying a loaded forty-caliber Glock…

Lucille Teresa Guardino. A woman of many identities. Lucille to her doting mother, Lulu to her devoted husband, Mom to her pre-teen daughter, Lucy to her friends, LT to her co-workers, and Supervisory Special Agent Guardino to the criminals she captures for the FBI’s Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement squad.

A loving mom and wife, dutiful daughter, consummate professional, and kick-ass federal agent, Lucy is living the perfect life.

Until the day she comes up against a predator more vicious and cunning than any she’s ever tackled before, one who forces Lucy to choose between the life of the young victim she is fighting to save and her own daughter’s….and Lucy’s dream life is shattered.

What readers are saying:

“Not for the faint-hearted! Fast-paced, with characters you can feel for and like, Snakeskin is part crime fiction, part thriller with a strong female protagonist”. – Joanna Penn –mysterythriller.tv/snakeskin-by-cj-lyons/

“I flew through this novel, trying to connect the dots and find the killer along with Lucy. This is another great read from CJ Lyons. Women will enjoy the kick ass hero portrayed by Lucy.” - chicklitplus.com/snake-skin-cj-lyons/

“Snake Skin shows an artist at her best. The characters are detailed and rooted in reality, the plot tense, gripping and rapidly paced.” – Lynnette Phillips –avidbookreviews.blogspot.com/

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 4.5 stars {25 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase SNAKE SKIN for $4.99 from Amazon

 

Remnants of the Past, Bill Talcott ($2.99)

Remnants of the Past is a novel chronicling the failed mission of a group of mercenaries who believed they were taking a dying scientist to the planet Valdorion in search of a cure. Under advisement from Senator Tyrell and against his better judgment, the commander of the Undead agrees to take the youngest member of his mercenaries on the mission to the distant world. Mack gives fourteen year old Darkblood the task of protecting and transporting Victor Magnus, a scientist who is dying as a result of an accident in his lab. It is only when they reach Valdorion, the planet’s only city, that Darkblood discovers the dark truth behind their mission.

What readers are saying:

“This fast paced Action Adventure kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next.”

“Although Science Fiction is not my genre, William managed to captivate me with his characters and the pace of the story.”

The average customer review is currently 5 stars {2 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Remnants of the Past for $2.99 from Amazon

 

Text Me If You’re Breathing, Greg Schwem ($4.79)

What does a dad do when his daughter asks Santa for a Wii Fit and a 4G iPhone?  The answer is simple:  laugh!  In Text Me If You’re Breathing, stand-up comedian and technically challenged dad Greg Schwem accounts his mishaps and struggles with parenting in today’s digital world.  Whether accompanying his daughter to the New York City Apple store, purchasing a “high-tech” swing set, “tweeting” while coaching Little League or trying to lay down cell phone rules, Schwem shows readers that technology, while complicated, can be hilarious.  Along the way Schwem also aims his barbs at Tiger Woods, the Consumer Electronics Show, in vitro fertilization, the National Spelling Bee and the movie Avatar.  Insightful, heartfelt and always funny, Text Me If You’re Breathing is proof that parenting will never come with technical support.

What readers are saying:

“Greg’s hilarious take on dealing with the frustations of parenting in this age of technology made me LOL, ROFL, and LMAO (my daughter helped me with those). - Ray Romano, star of Everybody Loves Raymond

“The chapter on The Joy of Sex with 20 specialists had me laughing until I was crying. A great, fun read.” – Deborah Correnti, author of Slimming With Doughnuts

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 5 stars {4 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Text Me If You’re Breathing for $4.79 from Amazon

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Payroll (Jimmy Cochran Series), Alain Gomez ($0.99)

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Alain Gomez‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:


Description:

Jimmy Cochran thought that he had left his rough past behind him. But Ralph McCormick, the brother of the man he killed, didn’t forget… or forgive… so easily. Jimmy knows he should just hightail it out of town to avoid getting into trouble. That is until Ralph puts the woman he loves into danger…

Novella, approx. 25,000 words

 

Accolade:

5/5 Stars {Reviewed by Lynn}:

Have you ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Well this is exactly what happened to Jimmy Cochran. When a man robbed a bank and shot the banker, He took off leaven Jimmy holding the smoking gun so to speak. Fearing for his life he ran till he finally settled down and got a job on a ranch. With the death of the owner the ranch now became Jimmy’s except the crooked banker is about to take it all away from him. Though an accidental killing Jimmy is on the run again and ending up being in the right place maybe at the wrong time. Helping take a wagon train west he knows he should be getting out of town instead but when Adelaide the woman he loves is put in danger changes everything. Will Jimmy finally be able to settle down and quit being on the run. Will there be a future with Miss Adelaide?

This is a cleanly written story by a new author that I feel will go places. If you are looking for a fast afternoon or lunch hour read that is cleanly written without all the coarse language and the sexual encounters that seem to fill so many books today then you may want to give her books a try. If you liked “Payroll”, you will want to watch for book 2 in the Jimmy Cochran Series “Takeover.”

 

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Payroll (Jimmy Cochran Series) currently has a reader review rating of 4 stars. Read the reviews here.

 

An excerpt from Payroll (Jimmy Cochran Series):

The morning after his meeting with Ralph McCormick, Jimmy was still struggling with the choice that he had to make.  He realized that he needed to do something to help clear his head and keep him focused.  So he saddled up his mare and rode out a little ways from the town.   He finally reached an area where everything was completely flat except for a shelf of rock protruding from the ground.  “This looks as good a place as any,” Jimmy said to himself as he dismounted.  He went to his saddle bags and withdrew several tin cans that once held preserves and threw them towards the rock shelf.

Jimmy had not even gone through a whole round of ammunition on his six-shooter before he heard the sound of an approaching horse.  He turned and saw Adelaide O’Hara riding what could have been one of the finest paint horses that he had ever seen.

When Adelaide saw Jimmy, she reined in her horse and said “Well now, stranger, you’re pretty handy with those six shooters of yours.”

Jimmy grinned.  “I have to be if I want to protect pretty ladies such as yourself, ma’am.”

“Is that a fact now?”  And without even turning a hair, Adelaide dismounted from her horse, pulled Jimmy’s rifle from its place on his saddle, and emptied five clean shots in the cans which were some ways off.

Jimmy kept a poker face while watching the whole performance.  And after she was done, he was silent for a good 5 seconds.  At last he finally said “Your third shot went too far to the right.  You almost missed the can.”

Adelaide seemed to consider this for a moment while staring at the can in question and replied “No.  I do believe that your rifle is at fault, Mr. Cochran.  It throws a trifle to the right.”

“Nonsense, Miss O’Hara.  I had that rifle custom build back when I worked for your uncle.  If it threw the bullet to the right, I would have caught that right away and had it fixed.  I can assure you that it is a straight-shooter.”

Adelaide had that questioning look on her face again.  “Is that so?”

“It is.”

“Well I guess I’m going to have to get to know it better before I make that call.”


Payroll (Jimmy Cochran Series) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

Amazon UK for £0.70


Connect with Alain Gomez:

Website: ttp://bookbrouhaha.blogspot.com/

Monday’s Three: Under Nine, Under Five, Under One! (5/30/11)

It’s Monday ~ A brand new week is ahead of us. Let’s start it off with three Frugal Finds for our Kindles!

Under NineThe Weight of Silence, Heather Gudenkauf {$7.53}

It happens one August morning. As dawn’s light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing.

Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy as a toddler. Calli’s mother, Antonia, tried to do the best she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay has cost more than her daughter’s voice.

Petra Gregory is Calli’s best friend and voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual demeanor.

Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of family secrets.

The average customer review is currently 4 stars {186 reviews}.

 

Under FiveFaking It, Elisa Lorello {$2.99}

After breaking off her engagement, thirty-something writing professor Andi Cutrone abandons New England for her native Long Island to focus on her career and start over. When she meets Devin at a cocktail party, the sight of an honest-to-goodness male escort shocks her—and fascinates her more than a little. Months later, Andi impulsively calls Devin. Over cheesecake in Brooklyn, she offers him a proposition: he will teach her how to be a better lover, and in return, she will give him writing lessons. He agrees, and together they embark upon an intense partnership that proves to be as instructive as it is arousing. For in the midst of lessons in rhetorical theory and foreplay, Andi and Devin delve into deeper questions about truth, beauty, and self, gradually coming face-to-face with the issues at the core of their emotional limitations. Smart, witty, and introspective, Faking It is an engrossing novel about two people discovering their authentic selves.

The average customer review is currently 4 stars {193 reviews}.

 

Under One: Regret, Dan Dawkins {$0.99}

Dan blamed himself for his wife’s untimely death… at first, that is.

Dan, a newly published bestselling author has just begun to taste the good life: Money in the bank, house in a quiet neighborhood, beautiful wife. His monster of a fictional character–a wealthy, handsome, womanizing murderer–is the catalyst for Dan’s good fortune, intriguing millions of readers. But when Dan sleeps with his agent on a business trip, and then confesses the whole thing to his wife in near tears, he sets off a chain of events that cause him to lose his wife and his grip on everything, including reality.

Fleeing his hometown in an attempt to outrun tormenting memories, Dan lands himself in a nearly forgotten small town in Oklahoma, taking up indefinite refuge in a Bed and Breakfast. While here, Dan’s demons begin to prey on his mental instability, and the character that he’s thrilled his readers with begins to come off the page and out into the flesh, sending shockwaves through the otherwise peaceful town, and giving Dan some interesting and horrific ideas on how to cope with his pain.

The average customer review is currently 4.5 stars {7 review}.

Click on the links or covers above to read reviews or purchase this Monday’s Three Frugal Finds Under Nine from Amazon!

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY (+ A Giveaway!): Upcountry, R.M. Doyon ($2.99) (Updated with Winners!)

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R.M. Doyon‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

R.M. Doyon is also sponsoring a giveaway for Upcountry {an extra giveaway for this extra weekend-day!} ~ Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one of five gifted Kindle copies! Winners will be announced tomorrow. Jump to the comments section here!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Congratulations to the winners! Your gifted Kindle copy is on the way!

Linda

Molly

Katie

Patricia Dekker

Jessy W

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Description:

JANE SCHUMACHER, a smart and spirited political aide to the Governor of New York, is shepherding her charismatic boss for a serious run for the White House.  After receiving some serious news, she abruptly decides to return to her upcountry hometown to make amends with her estranged family only to discover her sister is the victim of serious spousal abuse.  Her dilemma?  Pull her sister from the clutches of her evil husband or take justice into her own hands?  Set against an engaging backdrop of modern political times, Upcountry is a riveting, page-turning story of sibling strife and affection, of sadness and grief, and finally redemption and rebirth.

 

Accolade:

Facebook Reviewers Roundup {Reviewed by G. A. Bixler}:

It’s strange to claim that a book is wonderful when the two main characters are involved in murder. But I’m saying it–this book is beautifully written and beautiful to read. Upcountry by R. M. Doyon was inspired by true events and Doyon has created characters that come alive as if the activities are happening as we read. There is no way readers will not be immediately pulled into the story and claiming your full attention right to the very last page. Somehow I predicted what that ending would be, but it still left me smiling and content when I closed the book! If you love true-life drama, you are going to love Upcountry.

On the other hand, this book is so intertwined and full of secrets that it is hard to share the storyline without giving too much away, so I’m choosing to share about the characters.

Jane and Joanne are fraternal twin sisters. Joanne stayed at home and married right out of high school, while Jane left their home town, working her way into a high position handling PR for the Governor of the State and assisting him to run for the presidency of the United States.

Their father is living next door to Joanne; their mother died of cancer. Her funeral was one of the few times that brought Jane back home, but not for long. Jane had purposely pulled away from the family and the pain and anger she had felt in her hometown.

But once again, her Dad had sent her a holiday card, as he had done for every single holiday since she had left, and for this Thanksgiving, she decided to visit the family, rather than spend the time with her lover, who had planned to seek her commitment to marriage during their time together.

Her coming home did not just disrupt those potential plans, however. Before the Thanksgiving day was over, Jane had committed murder!

And when she grabbed the shotgun to leave, she took her sister with her! During their time moving away from the scene of the crime, Joanne played and sang in a bar, Jane used the shotgun to bust into an amusement park where the twins rode all of the rides before escaping from the police who were coming, and Joanne drove a snowmobile away from the cabin where they had been staying, directly toward the four police cars coming, which included a high jump over the last car on the road!

But there were more tears than thrills as the two sisters shared the secrets that had kept them apart for so long…

This is a special book that I hope you don’t miss! It’s about family, forgiveness, and love measured against the evil that lives within some of those people we share our lives with. It’s a good triumphs type of book, with all the issues tied up in a bow when you finish, even if some of the packages bring sorrow rather than joy… Highly recommended for all and a perfect book to read during the start of this New Year!

 

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Upcountry currently has a reader review rating of 5 stars. Read the reviews here.

 

An excerpt from Upcountry:

At daybreak, Jane Schumacher awoke to discover that she had spent the night on the couch.  She was still dressed in the same white silk blouse and navy-blue, pleated skirt she had worn the day before.  Good God, she moaned, as she raised herself up and surveyed the situation.  It wasn’t pretty.

After a moment, she found the strength to walk towards her living room window and peered out.  The freezing rain that had threatened to paralyze the city the night before had finally ended, and in its place a steadily rising sun had turned the dominant sugar maples, now barren of their leaves, into sparkling prisms of light.  She squinted.  It was almost too much for her hangover to handle.

Well, no worry.  This sunshine won’t last, she concluded.

It never lasts.

It was November, after all…in fucking upstate New York.

She let out another big sigh.  Over the rooftops across the street, Jane could see the southwest corner of the capitol building where she and the governor had met the media yesterday.  Soon, she thought, the day’s activities would pick up.  Soon public employees would be scurrying to their cubicles as taxis, limos and buses jostled through traffic.  Through the plaza, the practitioners of real politics—the lobbyists and influence-peddlers—would be racing to yet another meeting on their mission to stop progress in its tracks.  Later, perhaps, a few tourists, mindless of the late season, would stroll over the stately grounds.  Maybe they figured they’d get lucky and catch a glimpse of someone famous.

Whatever.

It was just another sunrise in the most dysfunctional state capital in the nation, she thought.  Nothing changes.

But today, Jane now noticed, was different.  Why the hell was it so quiet?  Normally at this time of the morning she expected to hear the detonations of the city.  Where were the honking horns?  Or those annoying garbage trucks?  With their gears in reverse, emitting their familiar beeping sounds as they approached restaurants and stores?

Then she remembered.  Oh, shit, that’s right.  It was Thanksgiving, and the streets were nearly abandoned.  All commerce came to a halt on this most overrated holiday of holidays.

Jane let her eyes wander across her penthouse apartment, and it was not an appealing sight.  From the evidence on display, she slowly recalled what had happened the night before, and she groaned again.  She could see her briefcase.  It was on the floor near the condo’s entrance, open and askew, its contents spread haphazardly down the hall.  Her mail, too, had been strewn across the carpet of the living room.  On the counter separating the kitchen from the dining room sat a half-empty bottle of Scotch.  Next to it was an abandoned bag of microwave popcorn.

“Jesus, I guess that was dinner,” she muttered to herself.  “Keep me away from a mirror.”

She moved slowly to the kitchen and towards her coffee maker.  Opening the lid, she looked in and saw the grounds.  A layer of white, fuzzy mold had formed, the sight of which started to turn her stomach.  Jesus, I might be growing my own antibiotics here, she thought.  When was the last time I was home?  I can’t remember.  So much for my so-called life.

Jane was standing at her sink when her fragile lungs released another violent and painful cough that seemed to originate from her toenails.

Man, now that one hurt!

Slowly, she recovered but the pain lingered on.  After a few minutes, a new brewing process commenced and she waited impatiently for the first full cup to materialize.  From above the stove, she reached for her favorite mug, the one with a photo of the White House.  She remembered its origin; it was a gift from a friend at Meet the Press, a producer who attached a card saying, “Jane, consider this your first bribe! It was then that she remembered a bottle of Baileys in the refrigerator.

Oh, why the hell not?

Jane glanced back at the mess she had created the night before.  Screw the briefcase, she thought, but maybe I should check my mail.  She walked back to the living room and gathered the pieces that she had cast aside in anger the night before.

It was all coming back now.  Her memory was returning.  Upon entering her apartment, she had tossed her briefcase into the air with such velocity that she now spotted a deep gouge in the entrance wall.  Moments earlier, she’d struggled with the lock so long—the damn key wouldn’t fit!—that she had nearly given up, pounding on the door as if brute force would solve her dilemma.

Her spectacle caused such a commotion that she had aroused the concern of her elderly neighbor in the next condo.  Well, I must have been pretty loud and profane, Jane now conceded.  That old bat is nearly deaf.  The widowed woman—she couldn’t remember her name—had peered out and had enquired, innocently, if Jane was all right.  No, I’m not all right, she now remembered declaring, so why don’t you mind your own goddamn business!  Or something even ruder than that.

Whatever.

Jane promised herself she’d apologize later to her lovely, caring neighbor.  I’m not that much of a bitch, am I?  Well, maybe.

Fortified coffee in one hand and her mail in the other, her next destination was a return to the couch.  Almost in a trance, she plunked herself down and discovered the television remote under a cushion.  She flicked the set on.  A local morning channel popped up and a blonde anchor, a bit too chirpy for this time of the morning, was suddenly head-and-shoulders on screen.  Immediately, one of her favorite Don Henley songs came to mind.

How did it go?

‘We got the bubble-headed bleach-blonde who comes on at five.’

She glanced at the clock in her kitchen.

Well, make that more like seven-fifteen.

The governor’s face came into focus, and Jane turned up the volume.

“Now to the capital,” Her Chirpiness announced, “where Governor Foley delivered a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum to legislators yesterday.  His message?  Either cut spending or face his veto.”

The next verse.

‘She can tell you ‘bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye….’

The news program cut to a shot of the governor in front of a phalanx of microphones.  As his press secretary, Jane was standing by his side.  Jesus, I could stand to lose five pounds, she thought.  Well, my weight won’t be a problem now.  Especially after yesterday.

The song in her head continued.

‘It’s interesting when people die.’

Now there was a clip from the boss.

“New Yorkers are pretty fed up with the partisan games being played by the other side.  They know I’m serious about this out-of-control spending, and we need it to stop.  Don’t they realize what the rest of the nation thinks about this state?  We’re a laughing stock.”

She recognized some microphone holder from Westchester County interjecting.  “Or what, Governor?  Are you going to veto this bill?”

Jane forced a smile.  Even that hurt.

Then she remembered the last line of the title song.

‘Give us dirrrty laaaun-dry.’

Indeed, she thought.

Before flying back to Albany yesterday, Jane had spent a few days in the city shepherding her boss around Manhattan.  Their tour of the media included a couple of playful interviews on the morning shows before he attended several editorial boards at the Times and Daily News. Then it was off to NBC to tape an interview with its shrewd and popular anchor.  It went well, the boss was on track, and that clip would provide an excellent prelude to what she expected would be a gushing, almost embarrassing, profile this Sunday night on 60 Minutes.  That is if the venerable program wasn’t preempted by goddamn football. 

The purpose of the Manhattan media blitz was simple: the governor of New York was—and, under her watch, would remain—the most popular politician in the country and Americans needed to be reminded of that.  That was why these interviews were important.  Granted, most of the questions he faced were softball in nature.  That was not the point; he still had to hammer them out of the park or, at minimum, slam a few ground-rule doubles.  And he did.

It would not always be this easy, she had thought.  The time would come when the front-runner would be tested.  Perhaps as early as next week, after Thanksgiving, when she had confirmed appearances on a couple of late-night comedy shows.  Though the comedians slanted left-of-center, theirs were tough interviews; they loved to skewer hypocrites from both sides of the polar landscape.

But her candidate—no phony—liked the pointed, intellectual debate offered by the late-night shows.  He knew voters loved politicians who could laugh at themselves.  The benefits were many; as Jane surmised, one or two cool appearances on the late channels would deliver his message to millions of the under-twenty-four crowd.  Unlike other demographics, youngsters are engaged; they vote in real numbers now.

Over the past year, Jane had thought a great deal about the media and how she would play it.  The mainstreamers—the old papers, the big networks—were still players.  Fading from relevance, yes, but players nonetheless.  They were the Picassos of politics, painting a picture that most could admire, if not remember.  They still remained the thought leaders.  They still cared about serious issues.  But, sadly, Americans now received their news in snippets and bytes.  Fewer and fewer voters—even if they bothered trudging to the polls—subscribed to a daily newspaper or tuned in at six-thirty.  Cable and the blogosphere were nipping at their heels.

Jane snapped back from her daydream.  That was so yesterday, she swore.  Today’s another story.  So, screw the media, and the creeps who populate it!  And for that matter, screw politics too!

Hell, why put limits on it?

Screw everyone!

She continued to glare at the television screen.  The news clip ended and little Miss Chirp-a-tude burst back on to the screen, joined by an older white-haired dude.  A feeling of resignation came over her.  How original, Jane thought.  Every newscast in the country held fast to this format: a dazzling blonde or brunette teamed with a geezer only months away from shuffleboard.

God forbid if the reverse was ever attempted.  How about a young stud with a sage, older woman?  Now that would be interesting.  Would their ratings go up?  Maybe.  There are more women in this country than men.  But would that happen?  Not in a million years; the local news was vacuous, formulaic and carved in stone.  If people tuned in, it was probably just to check the weather forecast.

Jane glanced once again at the sunshine streaming through her living room window, and inhaled deeply.  Her pain returned.

When did she become so fucking cynical?

What has happened to me?

Slowly she turned her attention again to the television.

Her Chirp-a-liciousness continued.

“Well, John, Governor Foley seems to be using his popularity to push his way around the capital.  He seems to mean business.  Will he be successful?”

Okay, let’s hear it, Jane told herself.

“Well, Meghan, I don’t know if they will be influenced by Foley’s threats,” the older anchor intoned.  “The legislature marches to its own peculiar drum.  But this governor doesn’t care.  It’s no secret he wants to launch his presidential bid in a couple of weeks and his people are hoping that a good dust-up with state lawmakers might help him nationally.”

Jane took a moment to be pleased with herself.

She was “his people.”

Point made.  Checkmate.

As the newscast switched to another item, Jane took a quick look at her mail.  Nothing of consequence, she determined.  A letter from the condo association.  A couple of bills; one from the phone company, the other from American Express.  Jesus, I don’t want to open either one, she thought.  She continued rifling through the envelopes.  Another flyer or two from real estate brokers.  A menu from the shwarma joint around the corner.  Not much.

Then from the clutter appeared a letter with a postmark that read Morgantown, New York.  The return address was simply a post office box.  She ripped open the envelope and read the card inside.

In simple script, it said, “Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

It was yet another card from her father.  No message.  No, “how are you?”  No “hope you’re doing well.”

Nothing.  Just a simple signature.

Dad, was all it said.

For a long, meandering moment, Jane sat there and stared at the card.

He never forgets a holiday, does he?

Jane was about to turn the television off when her BlackBerry began ringing loudly.  She looked at the screen and it was Roberto.

Oh, shit, I’m not sure I want to answer this one, she thought.  Jane knew his plans were to escape the city after work and drive the hundred-plus miles to his managing partner’s cabin in the Catskills.  Like her, he was an early riser and knew that chances were good she’d answer her phone.

Her two days in the New York media meat market were exhilarating, but what she did at night was another thing altogether, and that brought a brief expression of satisfaction to her face.  Stealing a night here and there, she was able to make some time for a personal life—at least for now, before the real work began.  Especially if an excursion to the city included her handsome Argentinean immigrant and lover.

Ah, yes, Alvarez…Roberto Alvarez.  She was fond of that man.  A lean, muscle-ripped man in his early forties, Roberto was a Wall Street attorney with a Columbia pedigree.  They had met in Negril a year ago, at one of those resorts that bragged of fine snorkeling, hundred-and-fifty-one proof rums and limitless opportunities to prove your heterosexuality.  A week-long romp in the sand ensued.  That was followed by a steamy reunion in the city only days later, made more convenient now that her boss preferred Manhattan over the capital as his principal place of work.

Roberto was also hot—for a Republican.

That stimulated her too, because Jane knew she could impress him with her intellect, her knowledge of American history and her grasp of how politics really operated.  She was a political missionary whose duty it was to convert non-believers.  Of course, if wit and intelligence didn’t work, then her glistening, auburn hair that tumbled gracefully just beyond her shoulder blades always did the trick.

So far, at least one of those tactics was working.

After making the media rounds and bidding adieu to the governor at their midtown offices, she and Roberto had had a lively dinner at a normally serene restaurant in the east seventies.  They argued politics so noisily that the nearby patrons were getting pissed off.

“You’re missing the point, Rob,” she had said, her exasperation increasing with her alcohol consumption.  “Everyone knows the governor of this state isn’t the one with the magic wand.  The real power lies in the legislature and the dictators who run it.  Most New York governors don’t even want to be governors!  Go back in history.  Most have just used Albany for their own purposes, and Foley’s no different.  He wants to move south, and I don’t mean Newark.”

“You really think your guy could be the next FDR?” he had asked, incredulously.

“Or his distant cousin,” she replied.  “Foley’s good in the bully pulpit.”

Alvarez rolled his eyes at the comparisons.

“You’ve had one too many Rodney Strongs, babe.  Not only is Foley not FDR, or any Roosevelt by any stretch of your overactive imagination, I’m telling you, this country will never elect another New Yorker president!  Will never happen.  So why don’t you just admit it, ditch the politics and move to Manhattan?  We could do this more often.”

Jane had ignored his suggestions and remained on track.

“Never say never, my Latin lover.  He may not be FDR—hell, he may not even be Grover Cleveland—but mark my words, the party will nominate Foley and the country will elect him.  With my help, of course.”

Rob smiled.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why I admire you so much,” he replied.  “Your hopeless, delusional confidence is very appealing.”

“Is that all you can say?  That you admire me?”

Roberto had looked into her mischief-laden hazel eyes with affection.  She was thirty-nine but could pass for a woman much younger.  Her attractiveness, he felt, emanated from her independence and spirit, and probably a few superior genes, too.  Not runway-beautiful, mind you, but close.  Certainly not like some of the leggy, fleshless women he had dated after his divorce.

No, Jane was different.  At nearly five-eight, she reminded Roberto of his many travels past, to places like Oslo and Copenhagen, Munich and Prague.  Especially Prague.  Maybe throw in a few women from Stockholm and perhaps Johannesburg too.  Her cheekbones, truly Nordic in nature, were high and proud and dominant.  Her demeanor told everyone she was a woman of elegance and poise—maybe even trouble.  Don’t mess with her.

If she had any singing talent—and she didn’t, since Jane couldn’t carry a tune in a laundry basket—she could easily be mistaken for one of the current beauties on the country music circuit.  Not that he listened to such stuff but he knew who they were.  Personally, his musical tastes tended towards reggae, progressive jazz and the blues.  Or Rock en Español from his native continent.

But to him, it was clear; Jane was the type of woman who would get better looking as she got older.  His kind of woman.

Moments later, he signaled for the waiter and they were soon taxiing to his condo on the Upper East Side.

For another post-Negril romp.

Still in her stupor, Jane thought about that lovely night with Roberto as she let her BlackBerry ring five or six times.  She was still debating whether to answer the call.

Finally, she picked it up.

“The sun is shining,” he announced, his voice sounding chipper.   “I’m preparing a holiday feast and the champagne is chilling and there’s another log on the fire.  And, most importantly, the sheets are fresh.  Why aren’t you on the road by now?”

Jane sighed.

This was the call she was dreading, even before she opened the letter from her dad in Morgantown.  She glanced at his card again.

Right then and there, she decided her weekend plans would be changed.

“Uh, Rob, um, I have some, uh, bad news for you.  I can’t make it to the cabin this weekend.”

“What the hell?”  Roberto’s disappointment was apparent.

“I’m sorry,” Jane replied.

“What are you talking about?”

“I have to go to Morgantown today instead.”

“What?  Why?  You haven’t stepped foot in that town for, how long?  Years?  Jane, I can’t remember you ever speaking about your family.”

Jane was in no mood to debate the decision with Roberto, but she knew she had to nuance this conversation.

“I know, I know, Rob,” she said, sullenly.  “But it’s my dad.  He’s sick and I have to go see him before the campaign starts…before it’s too late.”

Roberto lowered his voice, too.  He was concerned.

“What’s wrong with him?”

Jane was clearly getting more and more uncomfortable with her escalating lie and wanted this phone call to end.

“My sister called—”

“—your sister?”

“Yeah, my sister said my dad had a stroke and that I should get up there,” she replied.  “I really should go.”

Roberto was perplexed.

“I don’t remember you ever really mentioning her either, Jane.”

“Well, we haven’t spoken in a while,” she conceded.  “But she called me this morning to say that my father is really sick.”

Roberto’s enthusiasm was now clearly deflated.  He wanted to be with Jane this weekend.

“I could go with you,” he suggested.

“No!”  Jane immediately replied.  “I…uh…mean, this is something that I have to do by myself.  Okay?”

He was taken aback by the bluntness of her reply.  She was almost too quick to reject his offer.

“Okay, babe,” he said after a long moment, a pregnant pause if there ever was one.  The doubts he’d had before returned.  Theirs was a tempestuous relationship.  Why do I bother, he asked himself.

But, recovering, he offered his support.

“Go to Morgantown and see your family.  I’ll be here if you change your mind.”  “Thanks, Rob,” she said.  “Anyway, gotta run.  I’ll call you later.”

Before he could say another word, Jane hung up the phone.


Upcountry is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

Amazon UK for £2.12


Connect with R.M. Doyon:

Website: www.upcountry-the-novel.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickdoyon

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/AuthorRMDoyon

Happy Memorial Day!

 

Take a moment today to remember and honor the heros who have sacrificed in service for our country.

Still Life with Murder (Nell Sweeney Mysteries), P.B. Ryan (FREE!)

Nominated for the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, Still Life With Murder is Book #1 of P.B. Ryan’s acclaimed historical mystery series featuring Boston governess Nell Sweeney and opium-smoking former battle surgeon Will Hewitt. Long thought to have died during the Civil War, Will is arrested for murder, and it’s up to Nell to prove his innocence. Originally published by Berkley Prime Crime.

What readers are saying:

“A beautiful combination of entertaining characters, minute historical research, and a powerful evocation of time and place. I’m very glad there will be more to come.” – New York Times bestselling author Barbara Hambly

“With its rich sense of place and time and a crisp, intelligent plot, readers will speed through this tale and be clamoring for more.” – Bestselling author Earlene Fowler

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 4.5 stars {30 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Still Life with Murder for FREE from Amazon

Peace, Love, and Murder (A Bo Forrester Mystery), Nancy Holzner ($0.99)

Finding a corpse in the trunk of your cab is a rotten way to start the day. For Bo Forrester, things go straight downhill from there. The cops are asking a hell of a lot of questions. The murder weapon turns up too close for comfort. And the attractive woman giving him the eye turns out to be Trudy Hauser, a cute-but-crazy deputy dead set on arresting him for murder.

Bo returned to Rhodes, an upstate New York college town, hoping to reconcile with his parents, gentle hippies who couldn’t accept his decision to join the Army at eighteen. Twenty years later, the commune where he grew up is a subdivision and his parents are long gone. Pondering his next move, Bo takes a job driving a cab. And he has no clue how the bullet-riddled body of art philanthropist Fred Davies ended up in the trunk.

Now, he can’t turn around without bumping into Trudy—it’s not her case, but that’s not slowing her down. The local cops, suspecting robbery as the motive, are right behind her. When Davies’s beautiful widow asks Bo for help, he can’t say no. Starting his own investigation, he plunges into a world of privilege, corruption, and high-stakes greed. A lot of people had reason to want Davies dead: a flirtatious art history professor with a taste for booze and men; her insanely jealous, ex-felon husband; the business partner with a secret addiction; and an avant-garde artist who proclaims that murder is the ultimate art form.

As the body count escalates, Bo must combine the skills he learned as a soldier with the values he grew up with on the commune to flush out a vicious murderer—if he manages to stay alive that long.

What readers are saying:

“I was kept guessing a lot and that is unusual in a mystery. I could relate to many of the characters, and just when I thought I had it figured all out, I could not have been more wrong. I hope the author writes another book because I would read it. I was pulled in at page one and could not put the book down.” -Armchair Mysteries

“Holzner has created an engaging mystery, with lovable characters, and a plot that keeps on going, without making any of the mistakes that often befall storylines with so many twists and turns. Most of all, she has created a community that readers will be sad to leave and will look forward to returning to once again.” -ReviewingtheEvidence.com

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 4.5 stars {9 reviews}.

Click here to read more about and purchase Peace, Love, and Murder (A Bo Forrester Mystery) for $0.99 from Amazon

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Under The Moon’s Shadow (Leroy’s Sins), T. L. Haddix ($2.99)

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T. L. Haddix‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

 

Description:

Journalist Beth Hudson knows her hometown.  When disappearances are coupled with strange nighttime events on local farms, she puts two and two together to make a terrifying picture.  Turning to her friends, family and a mysterious, handsome stranger for assistance in rooting out the truth, Beth is determined to solve the mysteries before another person disappears.  At the same time, her contentious relationship with Detective Ethan Moore takes an unexpectedly tragic turn.  Will Beth be able to figure out what is going on in time to stop a dangerous killer, or will she be the next victim?

Ethan Moore has been haunted by his feelings for Beth Hudson for years.  Fighting personal demons and real-life events that are spiraling out of control, Ethan is faced with an impossible decision.  Can the detective pull himself together in time to save her from an insidious evil, or will his pride cause him to lose everything he holds dear?

 

Accolade:

The Romance Reviews {Reviewed by Belinda}:

This was my first experience reading a romance with a suspenseful theme, so I was pretty apprehensive when I started to read it. The blurb describing the book was very intriguing and was the key factor in my final decision. By the end of the story, I was a firm believer in the power of a well-written blurb because I would have totally missed reading something that thrilled me with its action and moved me with the depth of emotion found in its characters and the journey of a couple that had to go through the pain of separation and betrayal only to find themselves come a full circle.

The author did an incredible job in writing a story that held me firmly in its grip. I loved the pacing of the book because it gave me the opportunity to enjoy what I was reading and the time to picture in my mind everything that was happening. What I especially appreciated was the way she put the story together because it felt as though it was two books in one.

The first part had me following Beth, the lead reporter of her small town paper as she tried to uncover the truth behind a series of disappearances and discovery of ritualistic altars. It placed me straight in the middle of conflict and as the story progressed and tension built, I was totally hooked on knowing who was behind it all. The implication that Ethan, the potential love interest for Beth, was involved lead to some interesting scenes and I loved the excitement it had me feeling.

The second part of the book was what really touched my heart and moved me at one point to tears. Without giving too much away, it tells of Beth’s journey to recover from the trauma of earlier events and her struggle to repair the damage to her spirit. To me, the storyline was realistic and I liked what I could only describe as the extra touches that made connecting with Beth easy. I enjoyed the obstacles Ethan and Beth had to work through before finally accepting and knowing what they wanted from each other. One thing for sure though – the last few sentences of the book blew my mind and has me somewhat impatient for the next book.

I loved the different characters of the story. I enjoyed reading the way they interacted with each other and how they were able to deal with the different challenges they faced. I admired the courage Beth showed in working through her fears to slowly put her life together and how after everything that happened, she was able to grab hold of what she wanted and claim it. Her relationship with Ethan was rocky at the best of times and I felt for both of them. Poor Ethan tugged on my heartstrings because through the many choices he made, disaster always seemed to follow. I loved the growth I saw in his character, the vulnerability I was eventually able to see as he pushed through it all. Watching all the tension, the betrayal, the anger and hurt made me want to cheer for the couple all the more loudly. I couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

Looking back, I really enjoyed the experience and aside from a little confusion about the abrupt disappearance of a subplot, it was a terrific read. Oh and just so you know, the confusion turned into an “OMGSH” at the last moment and the excitement from it will lead me into the next installment. For me, this was a well-written book and one that I think readers will enjoy a lot. UNDER THE MOON’S SHADOW is definitely a book worth getting a hold of and reading. Enjoy!

 

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Under The Moon’s Shadow (Leroy’s Sins) currently has a reader review rating of 4.5 stars. Read the reviews here.

 

An excerpt from Under The Moon’s Shadow (Leroy’s Sins):

Prologue

Beth opened her eyes just in time to see a tiny, still-green leaf float past her face. It was moving slowly, that leaf, as though it had all the time in the world, and it seemed unconcerned to find itself detached from the tree that had given it life. She followed its movements with her eyes as far as she could, and turned her head to watch when it caught on a tall, spiky stalk of grass.

Suddenly there was pressure on her abdomen. It was accompanied by a pain like nothing Beth had ever felt before, and it left her gasping. Movement caught her eye and she turned to see Cullen Jarvis leaning over her, his face tense with worry. He was speaking but she couldn’t make sense of the words. She moved an arm toward him but a second sharp pain spiked its way through her shoulder and she let her arm fall. Cullen moved her legs, bending them at the knees, and some of the pain in her abdomen dissipated. She tried to thank him but everything faded around her, and just that quickly, the world went black.

Some time later, Beth opened her eyes to see Jason hovering above her where Cullen had been before. She was dismayed to see that her beloved, amiable, happy-go-lucky brother had tears on his face. She realized Jason was talking to her, but she couldn’t understand what he was saying.

Without warning, two men in dark jackets and caps appeared. Beth recognized them as local EMTs, and watched as they surrounded her, working efficiently. As one shined a light in her eyes, Beth realized finally that she had been injured. It was clear from Jason’s reaction the injury was serious. She tried to remember what she had been doing earlier, what could have caused her injury, but her mind was sluggish. Beth closed her eyes, startled as she had a quick flash of the floor of a dirty van, remembered the sound of a man and a woman laughing, and saw the terrifying image of the wrong end of a rifle barrel. As she remembered, the truth settled in with painful clarity. The serious injury wasn’t the result of a car wreck or an accident on the farm. The pains in her shoulder and her abdomen had not been caused by a fall or some other benign mishap. She had been shot.


Under The Moon’s Shadow (Leroy’s Sins) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

Amazon UK for £2.08


Connect with T. L. Haddix:

Website: www.tlhaddix.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tlhaddix

Twitter: www.twitter.com/tlhaddix

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