Bone Deep, Debra Webb {$3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

Some secrets are best left close to the bone…

From the author of the bestselling Faces of Evil series comes another chilling story of deception and betrayal.

Jill Ellington’s twin sister hasn’t spoken a word since she allegedly murdered her husband and her three-year-old son is missing. No one in the small, idyllic town of Paradise saw or heard a single thing. The chief of police already has Jill’s twin convicted and her nephew dead and buried. Jill is going to need a miracle to uncover the truth.

Dr. Paul Phillips has a gift or a curse depending upon how sober he is when ask. He agrees to review Jill’s case to settle an old debt but five minutes in Paradise and he knows he has made a monumental mistake. This is the kind of case that broke him once before and he has no desire to go down that dark path again. But there’s something about Jill Ellington that won’t let him walk away. Paul’s ability to sense what others cannot once made him a legend…but he’s not that man anymore. Yet somehow Jill makes him yearn to be the miracle she desperately needs.

As they unravel a web of shocking lies that go back three generations, they uncover bone deep secrets that will rock the town of Paradise—if they can survive long enough to tell.

What readers are saying:

“This story held me captive from the opening page!”

“This is one of those stories that you don’t want to put down until you finish it and wish it wasn’t over.”

“Bone Deep is unlike any other book that I have read by Debra Webb. It is a compelling and formidable book that conjures up theories of cloning…and Stepford “lives.”

The average Amazon Reader Review Rating is currently 4.6 stars {15 reviews}.

 Click here to read more about and purchase Bone Deep for $3.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs, Elissa Ambrose {$2.99}

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Elissa Ambrose‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Frugal Find of the Day

Description of Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs:

If a woman tries to preserve a marriage that has been damaged by infidelity, is she heroic or is she delusional? How many times does her husband have to cheat before she calls it quits? How many times does he have to get caught?

Meet Ellen Dunwell, doting wife, loving mother, high school teacher extaordinaire. She’s worried that her husband, the respected Dr. Jeffrey Dunwell, successful dermatologist, wonderful father, great lover, is having another affair. A man of many interests, Jeffrey also dabbles in real estate. But Ellen won’t confront him about what she’s sure is his latest interest, his perky new lab assistant, Keeley Wilder. She doesn’t want to sound like a shrew, but worse, what if she’s right? As if that’s not bad enough, her friends don’t understand her, her neighbor’s son is a Peeping Tom, and her angst-ridden teenage daughter is stashing pot in her room and dating a control freak. When Jeffrey suddenly disappears, Ellen nearly slips over the edge. Instead, she pulls herself together and sets out on a mission to find him—only to get caught up in a web of intrigue and danger, where nothing is as it seems and the stakes are her life.

 

Accolades:

“In Ms. Ambrose’s realistic portrayal of Ellen’s situation, you can understand how a woman would feel following an affair, how difficult it is to regain the trust that has been severed, and how dramatically it impacts an entire family…If you’re looking for a fast, lifelike piece of women’s fiction, look no further. You won’t regret it.”

“on the edge of my seat all the way to the stunning ending”

“The mystery was really a mystery until the very end. I had problems setting the book aside to go about my real life. Plenty of humor sprinkled in with intrigue! Really a delightful read!”


Amazon Reader Reviews:

Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars, with 20 reviews! Read the reviews here!


Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

 

Excerpt from Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs:

From Chapter 6, “Don’t Let the Bastard Grind You Down”

It all started two years ago when I arrived home from school and found a package on my doorstep. It was from La Femme Mystique, the racy new lingerie store that had opened at the mall. Even though it was addressed to Jeffrey, I assumed it was for me. Why else would he buy lingerie?

I had no reason to be suspicious. Our life had an easy rhythm, and I was content. I thought we both were. We’d hoped for a larger family, but when that didn’t happen, we’d adjusted. We went on, as families did. So even though Jeffrey was working overtime at the clinic and had a sideline in real estate, even though he spent one or two evenings a week with his racquetball friends, aka The Boys, I thought, as any trusting wife would think, that this gift was his way of saying, “I’m sorry I haven’t been there for you. This is to let you know I’m thinking of you.”

Eager to discover what my husband had bought to appease me, I tore open the box right there in the foyer. Lying on a bed of lavender tissue were red lacy panties and a push-up bra. The bra was strapless and patterned with pitchforks, the panties crotchless and sprouting wings at the hips.

Was Jeffrey getting religion or was he getting kinky? Was he saying he found our sex life boring? Maybe I wasn’t woman enough for my husband. “You have to be a whole woman,” my mother used to say. Would my father have stayed if she’d been whole? What did that even mean? I used to look at her and try to discern what part of her was missing.

You’re being silly, I told myself, fingering the lace. Your husband loves you, and this is his way of telling you how much. I grabbed the box and headed to the bedroom to try on the lingerie. If a whole woman was what he wanted, a whole woman was what he’d get.

Two red stripes pinched at my hips and chest. I was petite, but this outfit would hardly fit a Barbie doll. Not that I faulted Jeffrey—what man knew his wife’s dress size? I giggled when I saw myself in the mirror. I looked like a cross between a hooker and a barbershop pole. My giggling evolved into full-blown laughter and I couldn’t stop, even when I doubled over with pain. If Claire had been home, she would have gotten a never-before-seen view of her mother, and then she would have had me committed.

Come on! Was this what men wanted? Did women actually wear these things?

I noticed the envelope and came to my senses. The lingerie was a gift after all, and who was I to knock another person’s fantasy? Didn’t I have fantasies of my own? (They did not, however, involve Lucifer.) I plucked out the card:

My angel, my temptress, tease me, please me, make me yours. Wear this on Saturday. Waiting in anticipation, your Devil-May-Care.

Saturday? This Saturday?

On Saturday, Jeffrey would be at that dermatology convention in Flagstaff.

Oh.

My laughter started up again, only this time it was born of panic. It came out as a constipated chortle, as if I’d read about an incurable disease and recognized the symptoms.

This weekend was the mother-daughter luncheon at the high school. He knew I couldn’t go with him to Flagstaff.

Not that he’d asked.

On the dresser sat several framed photographs, some of Jeffrey and me, some of just Claire, some of the three of us in various stages of family life. Aiming for the wedding photo, I hurled the box across the room and knocked over my bottle of Allure, a present from Jeffrey for my forty-ninth birthday. Drifting through the room, the overly sweet scent of lilac made me want to gag.

A folded piece of paper flew out of the box and soared toward me like a paper airplane. I watched, mesmerized, until it ran out of steam and landed on my thigh. I picked it up. Two addresses were listed: ours, here in Scottsdale, in the left column under Jeffrey Dunwell; the other, Lariat Lane in Tempe, in the right column under Angelica Kravitz.

The only Angelica I knew worked in Jeffrey’s clinic. Angelica Woodward, the overly made-up, pint-size, permed receptionist who’d recently thrown out her husband because, as she’d put it, according to Jeffrey, “He’s a lowlife sack of shit.”

Was Kravitz her maiden name? Maybe she’d discarded her married name along with the sack. Very generous of her, giving back his name. Considering she’d kept everything else.

But if Jeffrey was having an affair, wouldn’t he have it with some brainless twitty half his age? Wasn’t that what middle-aged men did? Seriously, who had an affair with a brainless twitty old enough to be my…sister?

That I felt insulted rather than hurt was probably due to shock. In my stupor, still wearing Jeffrey’s love-garb, I ran to the kitchen. Asia glanced up in expectation, pouting when I didn’t stop to pet her. “What are you looking at?” I snarled. Tail straight in the air, she paraded over to her dish and waited for me to make amends. Figuring a little kitty karma wouldn’t hurt, I gave her a treat before pulling out the phone book.

Angelica wasn’t listed under Kravitz, but when I looked up Woodward, I hit pay dirt. A Trevor Woodward lived at the address listed on the packing slip.

Well, not anymore.

Apparently, the information in the phone book was out-of-date. Obsolete, just like Trevor. Apparently, too, the lingerie store had made a fatal boo-boo. It had sent the underwear to the bill-to address instead of the ship-to.

“Where shall we send ze underwear, Monsieur Dunwell?” I imagined the little French salesgirl asking. She’d be bursting out of her bustier, teetering on four-inch heels.

“The lady is at this address,” Jeffrey would answer, scribbling away.

Lady, my ass.

Jeffrey might have gotten away with it, if not for the screw-up. Even if I’d been in charge of the household accounts, he knew I’d never see the bill. He had a few credit cards apart from me entirely, which he used for his other business.

Clearly, not all his business was business.

I ran back to the bedroom and threw myself onto the bed, but the tears wouldn’t come. Maybe I wouldn’t let them. Maybe I feared I’d never be able to turn them off.

I rolled onto my back and stared at the ceiling. It’s just a fling, I told myself. Didn’t these things usually end? But at what price? Thoroughly chastised and emotionally castrated, the errant husband begs for forgiveness, and the betrayed wife is torn between saving her marriage and ripping out his heart.

That lowlife sack of shit.

An hour later, he called to say he’d be late and don’t hold dinner. I got dressed, tossed the tart’s tawdry togs into the trash, and headed out to Lariat Lane.

And I waited.

And then I saw him. With great flourish, he swerved his BMW into her driveway, jumped out of the car, and headed up the walkway. Coward that I was, I sped away.

 

Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99

Connect with Elissa Ambrose:

Author Website: www.elissaambrose.com

Author Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/elissa.h.ambrose

Author Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/#!/ElissaAmbrose

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: For Keeps (Sam Moore mystery), Aaron Paul Lazar {FREE!}

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Description of For Keeps (Sam Moore mystery):

When retired family doctor Sam Moore’s old girlfriend is murdered in a local hotel, the police suspect his involvement. The coroner, a former med school colleague whose husband is about to desert her, reveals that she had a crush on Sam in med school. When she is strangled the next day in her own morgue, Sam is once again in the hot seat.

Sam’s world falls apart when he returns home to find a family member killed in the laundry room, stabbed with his own garden shears. Rocketed into a world of denial and temporary insanity, Sam faces his worst fear, and is locked up in the very same psych ward he was in when his brother Bill died fifty years ago. Sam is determined to ask his long dead brother to help him. Billy, who communicates through a little green marble, has the ability to propel Sam through time and has helped Sam unwrap baffling mysteries in the past.

Sam’s plan: to change time, and bring his loved one back to life.

 

Accolades:

“Aaron Paul Lazar’s deft paranormal mystery starts off quietly and builds to a powerful finish. More than a thriller, FOR KEEPS is a heartfelt story of love and devotion, family ties and emotional crisis, loss and redemption. A winner!”

- Michael Prescott, USA Today bestselling author of Final Sins

“Lazar does it again with Sam Moore’s explosive return in FOR KEEPS, a story of sordid pasts, buried secrets, and ultimately, true love. This tale will break your heart—and then tenderly stitch it back together—all while you’re biting your nails to the quick. Every book in the Moore Mysteries series just keeps getting better!

- Sonya Bateman, author of Master of None & Master and Apprentice

“The author’s gentle prose brings the scents of a summer garden to life, together with rippling shade of forest and cool clear waters of lake. Characters are vividly real and welcoming too, with pitch-perfect dialog around the dinner table, a wonderful grandfather dealing with a two-year-old’s tantrum, and the awkward embarrassment of past secrets becoming public knowledge.”

- Sheila Deeth, author of FLOWER CHILD

 

Amazon Reader Reviews:

For Keeps (Sam Moore mystery) currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars, with 17 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

For Keeps (Sam Moore mystery) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for FREE!

 

Excerpt from For Keeps (Sam Moore mystery):

Chapter One

“Murdered?” Sam juggled four pots of yellow daylilies in his arms, squeezing the cell phone between his shoulder and ear. “Where? And why in world do you need me?”

Lou sighed. “I told you. The Twin Sisters Inn. And I can’t say over the phone, I just need your…expertise.”

My expertise? Sam had practiced family medicine in East Goodland, New York for over thirty years, but couldn’t imagine how treating runny noses and chicken pox qualified him to help with a murder. And why was Lou being so damned secretive about the whole thing?

“Hold on a sec, Lou.” He dropped the flowerpots on the counter and barely caught them before they toppled. Flashing the clerk an apologetic smile, he swept the spilled dirt into a pile and mumbled into the phone. “I’m at Palmiter’s. Just checking out.”

Lou groaned. “Why am I not surprised? Since you retired, that’s all you’ve done. Flowers and more flowers. Holy Mother Mary. Don’t you get sick of it? Or are you trying to get your place on the Home and Garden network?”

Sam slid the plants toward the clerk. “You’re just jealous.”

“Damn right I am. I can’t retire for another coupla years. Remember, I was two years behind you in med school.”

“Just because I’m retired doesn’t mean I’ve lost my marbles. Of course I remember.” Sam thought back to the coroner when she was a student at the University of Rochester. Short strawberry blond hair, willowy figure, high cheekbones, and a ready smile. Aside from her gray hair, Louise Reardon hadn’t changed much after forty years and five kids. Except she was a hell of a lot pushier.

The freckled teen behind the counter looked bored. “That’ll be fourteen ninety-two.”

Sam dug out fifteen bucks and paid her. “Thanks. Keep the change.”

She raised her eyebrows as if she couldn’t believe he’d actually try to tip her with eight lousy cents. “Gee. Thanks, mister.”

He shrugged, loaded his plants into a green wagon, and pulled it toward the Highlander. He’d bought enough plants here to put all their kids through college. Anyway, who tipped sales clerks? “Lou? You still there? I’m almost at the car.”

“I’m here.” She let loose another frustrated sigh. “How long ‘til you get here?”

Sam loaded his plants in the back, got in, and turned the key. The SUV purred to life. “Not long. I’m putting you on speaker. Just a sec.” He slid the phone into his breast pocket and backed out of the parking spot. None of those new-fangled blue tooth gadgets for him. It was hard enough to keep up with cell phones, laptops, iPods, and every new device that came out each year. “On my way.”

“Geez. Finally. Watch out for the news vultures when you get here, though. They’re everywhere.”

“Will do. Be there in a few.”

He hung up and pushed his silver forelock back from his forehead. Shouldering his way through a pack of hungry journalists to view a dead body had not been in today’s plans. Today was supposed to be devoted to gardening, to feeding his insatiable need to dig in rich loam while the sun warmed his back. If Lou weren’t such a good friend, he’d have blown her off.

Turning south on Route 39, he imagined the ribbing he’d get if she knew about his aversion to cadavers. A doctor? Afraid of bodies?

He’d dealt with dead people before, but not a great deal. Med school, of course. He’d barfed his way through that ordeal. And when Mrs. Tupple had died in her bed ten years ago, he’d gone to the house at Mr. Tupple’s request. Reluctantly. But he’d gone. The most recent experience had been last fall, at his brother’s funeral.

Well, it hadn’t really been a body…it was Billy’s bones, bones pinned underwater for fifty years. Submerged with heavy stones deposited by Sam’s three best friends. Billy’s disappearance had remained a mystery, until it was finally revealed last year. When things happened. Things he couldn’t explain to anyone, except Rachel. He couldn’t even tell her the whole story. But Billy connecting with him from beyond and helped him get to the truth.

A familiar sadness took hold, and as if in response, Billy’s green marble hummed and warmed in his pocket. His brother’s face floated across his mind’s eye. Freckles. Clear hazel eyes. Sandy hair. Impish smile.

Billy wanted to talk.

Not now. I can’t. Later, buddy. He thought the words in his head, knowing Billy could hear him if he said them out loud or imagined them.

Sam turned left at the Mobil Station on the corner of Main Street and Route 20A and headed for the historic brick building housing The Twin Sisters Inn. Willing the marble to be quiet, he forced himself to think of what lay ahead.

A murder victim? Why the heck did Lou need his help? It didn’t make any sense, but in spite of his reservations, a trickle of excitement ran down his spine.

News vans and squad cars jammed the lot. He parked on the side of the road and headed toward the building. The marble pulsed twice, then grew cold.

Was it a warning?

The green glass talisman had linked Sam to Billy since he unearthed it in his garden last year. He’d learned to respect it, and through it, Billy’s interventions had helped with a number of sticky situations. He’d saved the life of his friend, Senator Bruce McDonald, after the sudden collapse of Healey’s Cave. And more important, he’d found his daughter, Beth, after she’d been kidnapped.
He locked his car and headed toward the building, skirting around vehicles and people. He brushed against the back of a policeman when several news reporters pushed past him. The officer swung his head around and stared.

“Er. Sorry.” He smiled at the patrolman and kept going.

If they had any idea. If they knew I talked to Billy, traveled back in time with him… A lace dragged from his shoe, threatening to trip him. He stopped to tie it. If they knew, they’d put me back in the asylum, just like they did when I was twelve.

A chill stole over him. Memories of the day Billy disappeared assaulted him. Billy, on his brand new bicycle, driving down the road, never to return. Guilt coiled in his stomach. He’d answered a phone call from a damned girl, instead of following his brother on the bike ride like he’d promised. He’d never forgive himself for that.

That moment had been the end of life as he knew it, and the beginning of his tortured life to come. The insane asylum had been the worst, though. He hated to remember the way they talked to him, the stupid pills they’d made him take that doped him up, and the disgusting smell of antiseptic that had followed him everywhere, even seeped onto his pillowcase at night. He shuddered and tried to put it out of his mind. Best to forget it and see what the hell Lou wanted.

Chapter Two

Lou hailed him from the front steps. “Over here, Doctor Moore.”
She said it loud enough to discourage the eager journalists who craned their heads to see if he was anyone they cared about. When they realized he wasn’t a detective, they lost interest and swarmed toward the police chief’s car that just pulled in behind Sam’s SUV.
Lou took his arm and steered him inside. The inn boasted antiques and wide plank floorboards. Inside the door, a pine bench with a stenciled backboard lined the wall; an old-fashioned pie cabinet anchored the opposite wall beside a mahogany sideboard, on which an essential oils diffuser sat, filling the air with the scent of balsam. Sam breathed it in, relieved it wasn’t one of those chemical smelling, fake candles. It bolstered his spirits and reminded him of the deep woods in the Adirondacks. He was damned sure it smelled a hell of a lot better than what he’d find upstairs in the crime scene.
Mary and Alice Peterson, the inn owners and former patients of his, had been encouraging him to investigate the oils for years, and he’d meant to, but had been too swamped with patients to check them out. He’d always regretted that, and had resolved to do some research in his retirement that might help merge traditional approaches with those steeped in Eastern medicine. Time would tell if he could fit it in between the gardening, babysitting, and spending time with Rachel. She needed more care now that her MS had worsened, but he was up to the challenge. It was one of the reasons he’d retired a little early.
He shuffled after Lou. Tin chandeliers hung over a long trestle table, decorated with dried crabapples and fresh flowers. The twins reportedly served scrumptious breakfasts to guests at that table, and he’d been invited more than a few times to partake of their homemade breads, jams, and other goodies. Again, he’d had to decline his patients’ generous invitations. There just hadn’t been enough hours in the day to socialize and run his practice. But now that he was retired, he wanted to find time for more of that kind of thing.
A policeman sat in the corner, interviewing the hotel owners. Alice’s hands shook when she took a pen from the officer to sign a statement, and her complexion seemed unusually pale. Sam wondered if her blood sugar was low. She’d been his patient forever. He started toward her with concern, but Lou grabbed his sleeve.
“Come on, it’s this way.”
“But Alice—”
“For crying out loud, you’re retired now. She’s not your patient anymore, Sam. It’s not your job. Come on.”
Sam dug in his heels. He shook his arm loose and spun around. “Alice. Are you feeling okay?”
Alice’s face lit up. “Oh, Doc! I’m so glad you’re here. It’s awful. Just awful. A woman was killed in the Maple Nut room!”
Mary put an arm around her sister’s shoulders. “She’s shook up, Doc.”
Sam felt her pulse. “I think she’s more than shook up. Let’s get her some orange juice. She needs something to get her sugar back up.”
“I’m fine, Doc. Just a little light-headed.”
When Mary brought the juice, he sat while she drank it, sputtering the whole time about not needing such a fuss made over her. He waited another ten minutes, making small talk, while Lou fumed. When he was sure she seemed stable, he turned to Lou. “Okay. I’m ready.”
Lou blew up a lock of her gray bangs and made a face. “Geez, Sam. You’ll never be able to leave it alone, will you?”
“It’s not like I died when I retired. Alice has been my patient since I started my practice. I couldn’t just walk past her, for God’s sake. I’m not a monster.” He followed Lou up the stairs to the second floor, ticked off now. Did being a coroner make you callous toward the living? He shook his head, mulling it over while they threaded around police, through a carpeted hallway, and into a room already marked with yellow tape. The room crawled with technicians.
Lou spoke through tight lips. “Just be careful not to touch anything.”
Sam nodded and followed her across the suite, around a coffee table, past a fireplace, and into a bedroom.
“She’s in the bathroom,” Lou said. “You’ll have to stand in the doorway to see. They’re still taking photos of the blood spatter.”
Blood spatter. Sam’s insides churned. There was a reason he didn’t become an emergency room doctor. And blood spatter had a lot to do with it. He took a deep breath and forced himself to focus.
Inside the black and pink bathroom, a woman lay on her side, facing away.

 

For Keeps (Sam Moore mystery) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for FREE!

 

Connect with Aaron Paul Lazar:

Author Website: www.lazarbooks.com

Author Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/aplazar2

Author Twitter Page: @aplazar

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Zemsta, Victoria Brown {$4.99}

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Description of Zemsta:

What Drives Good People to Do Something Bad? As terrible revelations come to light, four people join together to commit an unspeakable act…

When a member of the privileged upper class frames a Polish immigrant for a socialite’s murder in 1920s Akron, the heart-pounding events that follow lead to a stunning and unexpected conclusion. This gripping tale of bigotry and class distinctions includes political corruption, greed, injustice, murder, and betrayal. While Albo Jablonski endures the atrocious conditions of the state penitentiary, his son Nickels, daughter Antonia, and their friends Kurt and Charlie are tormented by the knowledge that he is innocent. Zemsta is a powerful, character-driven story of three boyhood friends during the tumultuous days of Prohibition that explores the meaning of friendship, family, love, and loyalty.

 

Accolades:

Kirkus Reviews:
Brown’s debut novel recounts how a young woman’s murder affects the lives of childhood friends. But it is the portrayal of real-world history–the height of Prohibition, the early days of cinema–that makes the book such a gem. A nostalgic, authentic novel that charms with its vintage hue.

A Must-Read for Historical Fiction and Suspense Fans!
Masterly crafted and peppered with historical facts, Zemsta takes place during the years of Prohibition in the unlikely setting of Akron, Ohio. Brown knows how to write a fast-paced suspense novel that will keep you reading. Her prose is lean, and the pages move quickly in and out of Cleveland Indians baseball games, the Cotton Club, speakeasies, and bootlegging stills in the Ohio countryside. It’s evident that Brownmeticulously researched the era.

A Must-Read for Historical Fiction and Suspense Fans!
Masterly crafted and peppered with historical facts, Victoria Brown’s debut novel takes place during the years of Prohibition in the unlikely setting of Akron, Ohio. Brown knows how to write a fast-paced suspense novel that will keep you reading.

An Unputdownable, Face-Paced Read
I started reading Zemsta yesterday, stayed up until 2 a.m., and just finished it. Once it gets going, it’s unputdownable!

Great Historical Fiction
I read this book in 2 days and when I get through a book this quickly, it rates high for me. The author brings to life the heroes and heroines in the story, as well as the horrendous villains. Our book club read “Zemsta” and all agreed that it was well worth their time.

English Reader in NY
This is a first novel by a very promising writer set in Ohio in 1920s. The plot is well thought out, engaging and satisfying at the end. The author provides an excellent background to set the scene for a very interesting period of history. All the characters come to life and are well developed.


Review Ratings:

Zemsta currently has a review rating of 4.5 stars from 38 reviews. Read the reviews here.


Zemsta is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $4.99

 

An excerpt from Zemsta:

Prologue

In that colorless time right before sunset, in the woods bordering the fairway, there was a glint, a flash of light, and the sound of someone struggling. The following morning, behind the country club pool house, they found a young woman beaten so badly she was unrecognizable.
It would be twelve years before they knew who really killed her.

My name is Patty Henry. I’m sixty years old, and this is the story my grandfather told me thirty years ago about his friends Kurt and Charlie and the murder of Catherine Block at Rosewood Hills Country Club on October 24, 1920.

The Early 1900s

At the beginning of the twentieth century, there was a tremendous sense of well-being and satisfaction in the United States and especially in Akron, Ohio, the fastest growing city in the country. After Henry Ford’s 1905 deal with Harvey Firestone to supply tires for his Model-A cars, the rubber industry was booming, and each day hundreds of immigrants and “barefoot people”—the poor from West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee—arrived at the railroad station. From 1910 to 1920, Akron’s population exploded, growing by over sixty percent to 208,000.

Chapter 1

It was November 1914. Three twelve-year-old boys huddled together on a weatherworn bench at the city-sponsored ball field where they had met three years ago. They were best friends.

“The Tribe. Let’s call it The Tribe.”

“Yeah, I like that. That’s great.”

So that’s what Kurt Becker, Nickels Jablonski, and Charlie O’Brien called their new club—The Tribe. Die-hard Cleveland Indians fans, the club’s name was in honor of their favorite team, which had changed its name from the Molly Maguires to the Indians at the end of the season. The team owner asked local newspapers to come up with a new name, and they chose “Indians” after the Boston Braves pulled off a miracle by coming back from last place in July to win the World Series.

After they got back from the ball field and clamored through the kitchen of the boardinghouse, they headed for their hideout under the stairs. They often sat under the stairs between the front hall and the parlor for hours—laughing and scheming like only twelve-year-old boys can.

The war in Europe had begun in July. Sitting in their hideout shoulder to shoulder, they played war and made believe they were soldiers fighting in the trenches. They imitated the stuttering sounds of machine guns and shouted to each other in loud whispers.

“Watch out.”

“That was a close one.”

Charlie said, “Good thing we didn’t get hit. I need a cigarette. Got a light?” They sat back and smoked their imaginary cigarettes. They laughed so hard, they could be heard throughout the boardinghouse.

Someone was playing a record in the parlor. “Can you hear that?” said Charlie. “What a stupid song.” Through the wall, they could hear “The Aba Daba Honeymoon” playing on the old Victrola. The tinny sound blended with the sounds of several people talking.

Knowing they could trust each other, the boys agreed that anything they said in their “dugout” was secret, shared only among the three of them. To declare their loyalty and secrecy, they stacked their hands, one by one on top of the other and said together, “Swear.”

That was the first thing my grandfather Nicky told me about Kurt and Charlie. He always remembered the dugout and said they spent some wonderful times holed up under the stairs. It was the beginning of their lifelong friendship.

Grandpa said, “Even when we were boys, I knew I could depend on Kurt and Charlie, and as it turned out, I was right.”

 

Zemsta is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $4.99


Connect with Victoria Brown:

Author Website: www.woodchuckpublishers.com

Author Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Woodchuck-Publishers/379257952093261

Author Twitter Page: @VBrownWriter

SPIRITS IN THE TREES (THE SPIRITS TRILOGY), Morgan Hannah MacDonald {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

SOME FAMILY SECRETS ARE BETTER LEFT BURIED.

An abandoned house, a psychotic killer, and a victim reaching out from the grave. A woman must unearth deadly family secrets before she becomes a ghost herself.

Madeline Anderson goes to Isabelle Island, Washington, to sell a family home abandoned over forty years before. Bizarre things occur the moment she steps on the property. Inside the dilapidated old house, items move about of their own accord. Strange noises come from empty rooms. She has a vivid, recurring dream of a woman running for her life. The wind rustling through the trees sounds like urgent, murmuring voices. When the cacophony dies down, one single word emerges:

MADELINE,MADELINE,MADELINE.

At first, Doug Lindstrom, the hot fireman helping Maddy restore the old home, doesn’t believe anything is going on. He’s certain Maddy is jumping at shadows because she heard the local kids call the house haunted. That is, until he witnesses horrific violence himself that he can’t explain away. After Maddy’s life is threatened not once, but twice, Doug vows there will not be a third time.

EVIL DOES EXIST.

While searching for answers, Maddy uncovers astonishing secrets about her aunt’s past. Finding more questions then answers, she digs deeper until she stumbles across evidence of a cold case involving a serial killer nicknamed The Seaside Strangler. Together, Doug and Maddy must unmask a killer. The lives they save just might be their own.

What readers are saying:

A MYSTERY WITH A SPIRITED TWIST!, By Carol (Idaho)
I read the first book by Ms. MacDonald and found it a very excellent read, so that when this book came along I was excited to dig into it. I wasn’t sure what the book was about and when I found it was a paranormal, I hesitated as I do not read those kinds of books, but continued because of “Sandman”. I have to say I was not disappointed. I was laughing so hard in parts of the book that I began snorting (terribly embarrassing at work, I was on my lunch break) and my cat thinks I’m crazy. Other parts will have you biting your nails.

I truly love the way Ms. MacDonald writes; she doesn’t bog you down with a lot of detail, allowing your mind to wonder and imagine and if there are ghosts around, well, it becomes a rollercoaster of a ride!

The hero in this was exciting and I too, would have been drooling over him. I like the fact that the heroine was able to overcome tragedy, live through strange occurrences, and welcome love.

This is one author to watch for; her mysteries are exactly that, and to also to tell your friends about, I know I have!

Great work, can’t wait for your next book. A trilogy? Brilliant!

BUCKLE UP FOR AN AMAZING RIDE!,By Skye Doggett (Oklahoma City, OK) Morgan Hannah MacDonald does it again! When I read “Sandman”, I thought it can’t get any better than this but Spirits in The Trees does just that! I know, “I couldn’t put it down” is highly overused but it is the truth. I started reading it first thing in the morning, and literally got nothing done until I finished it (thank goodness it was my day off)! It has the best of everything; edge of your seat suspense, a mystery that deepens with each page, a nail biting ghost story, and a passionate love story. Ms. MacDonald breathes flesh and life into characters that are deep and whom you come to care about very quickly. I love that the main character Maddie, though she endures more than your average woman in a mystery story (not giving away any spoilers!), still comes across as having strength. I highly recommend this book to anyone loving a good mystery/suspense/ghost story with a he althy dose of romance.

The average Amazon Reader Review is currently 4.5 stars {71 reviews}.

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Sandler Inquiry: A Spy in New York, Noel Hynd {$3.09}

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Description of The Sandler Inquiry: A Spy in New York:

Noel Hynd knows the ins and outs of Washington’s agencies both public and secret. – Publishers Weekly

A deadly and elusive man. A young woman seeking justice and retribution. A thirty-year-old secret from World War Two. A latter day showdown among British, American, and Soviet intelligence services.

Who was Karl Sandler? Wartime patriot? Or a ruthless and amoral monster who put his vast financial machine behind the highest bidder? Leslie McAdam calls him by another name: her father.

Based on a shocking and shameful episode in history that threatened to alter the course of the world’s economic future, The Sandler Inquiry tells a gripping and unforgettable story of espionage and intrigue, loyalty and love, set in the sprawling ragged violence-prone New York City of the 1970′s.

Determined to claim her rightful inheritance — and to uncover the shrouded past of the man she knew as her father — Leslie has come to Thomas Daniels, a New York attorney haunted by his own bloodstained family history. Yet not even Daniels can imagine what lies beneath decades-old secrets when he launches an inquiry into his client’s murky past. As he moves through the twisting labyrinth of the world’s intelligence community, he uncovers a monstrous link between the man who called himself Karl Sandler and a conspiracy reaching to the highest levels of government…in three countries. From America to Europe to Soviet Russia, he pursues a cold trail that is suddenly red-hot, as the violence of the past lives again and Daniels is stalked by a deadly adversary who must keep the truth buried at all costs.

Now available in a brand-new Amazon Kindle edition, it is a classic novel of World War II and its chilling aftermath from Noel Hynd, the author of FLOWERS FROM BERLIN.

 

Accolades:

“A HUMDINGER! Incredible tension, byzantine plotting, fascinating people. Keeps you off balance and guessing all the way. How it all works out is enthralling and chilling.” – Publishers Weekly

“Fast moving, intriguing and very readable, this spy mystery gets its impact from its intricate plot and complex characterization. For those who revel in suspicious characters, sinister happenings and baffling mystery, Noel Hynd’s latest novel is a delight.” – The Christian Science Monitor

“Noel Hynd had you glued to the last page! – Boston Globe

“Fast-paced and extremely well plotted…espionage, murder and romance are all intertwined in this up to the minute thriller… Keeps the reader on the edge of his seat!” – The Mirror Magazine (London)

“Hynd is a few notches above the Ludlums and Clancys of the world.” – Booklist


Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Sandler Inquiry: A Spy in New York currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars from 4 reviews. Read the reviews here!

 

The Sandler Inquiry: A Spy in New Yorkis available for purchase at:

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An excerpt from The Sandler Inquiry: A Spy in New York:

Chapter 1

Of all the enemies that his late father had made in the past, there remained one elaborate mystery: who still cared enough to want to burn him out? Destroy his records? His office? His livelihood? Maybe even kill him?

Thomas Daniels considered the hundreds of enemies his father must have made. He wondered whom he knew who liked to play with fire. Aside from the fire, which had been pretty hot, it was a cold winter evening in New York in 1977. Mid December. The ‘Son of Sam’ killer had been arrested that summer and the Yankees had just won their first World Series in fifteen years. But aside from that, Manhattan and all four other boroughs were gloriously coming apart at the seams, a little stitch almost every day, even when they were decked out for Christmas.

“Arson?” Thomas Daniels asked.

“You bet! This was a good professional torching,” said Matthew Corrigan, a lieuten ant from the New York City Fire Department, examining one such ugly stitch. “High-intensity, quick-spreading fire. Would have taken the whole building if the custodian here hadn’t found it.” Corrigan pointed to the filing room. The air was gray with the vestiges of smoke, and the law offices were permeated with the sweet smell of ashes and water. Thomas Daniels’s eyes smarted. He was looking at the charred remnants of the old wooden files that he had inherited professionally from his father.

“No one was here when it started,” Corrigan continued. “That’s the usual. A good arsonist uses a fuse.”

“An electricity fuse?” asked Jacobus, the janitor, in heavily ac cented English.

Corrigan shook his head to indicate, no. “A timing fuse. A candle, a wire, a clock, even a cigarette sometimes. Anything that will burn down slowly and not ignite whatever chemical, papers, or rags are being used until the torch man is gone.” He glanced around. It was a few minutes past four A.M. “If the fire had done the whole building we’d never have known where the flash point was. Here we know where the blaze started. So we’ll go through the debris in the filing room, inch by inch. We’ll find a fuse mechanism in there. Bank on it. Now I’ll show you something else.”

Corrigan led Jacobus and Daniels through the two adjoining rooms. He pointed to places and showed them how the flames ap peared to have traveled in a path from the flash point.

“See?” he said. “Tracks. Tracks made by trailers that our firebug left. If we hadn’t broke in on the fire early, we wouldn’t have these, neither!”

The trailers, Corrigan explained, had been some highly flamma ble substance—chemically treated rags, paper, or plastic— which had been left by the arsonist to be triggered by the fuse. When the fuse had burned down, the trailers had been sparked. And a rap idly spreading blaze had shot in every direction. The intense flames consuming the trailers had left the tracks.

Thomas Daniels, though working up a dislike for Lieut. Corri gan, knew he was listening to an expert. But the questions which kept recurring to Thomas Daniels were ones Corrigan couldn’t answer. Who? And why? A premeditated fire made no sense. “A pyroma niac?”

The lieutenant seemed amused. “No. Too neat a trick for a pyro. Pyros are sloppy. They leave so much evidence you’d think they was trying to get caught.” Corrigan shook his head. “Nope. This was set by somebody who wanted all the tracks covered but wanted the whole area destroyed. Usually that points to one thing.”

“What’s that?” asked Thomas Daniels.

“Something else was involved. Another crime. Sometimes you dig in the rubble of a fire like this and come up with a grilled cadaver. Get it? No stiff here, though. That means something else….”

 

The Sandler Inquiry: A Spy in New Yorkis available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Hurricane Lover, Joni Rodgers {$3.99}

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Description of The Hurricane Lover:

During the record-smashing hurricane season of 2005, a deadly game of cat and mouse unfolds and a stormy love affair is complicated by polarized politics, high-strung Southern families, a full-on media circus and the worst disaster management goat screw in US history.

As Hurricane Katrina howls toward the ill-prepared city of New Orleans, Dr. Corbin Thibodeaux, a Gulf Coast climatologist and storm risk specialist, preaches the gospel of evacuation, weighed down by the fresh public memory of a spectacularly false alarm a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Shay Hoovestahl, a puff piece reporter for the local news, stumbles on the story of a con artist who uses storm-related chaos as cover for identity theft and murder. Laying a trap to expose the killer, Shay discovers that Corbin, her former lover, is unwittingly involved, and her plan goes horribly awry as the city’s infrastructure crumbles.

The Hurricane Lover is a fast-paced, emotionally charged tale of two cities, two families, and two desperate people seeking shelter from the storm.

Rodgers, a bestselling author and ghostwriter living on the Gulf Coast, volunteered during relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and experienced Hurricanes Rita and Ike firsthand. She writes knowingly about the dramatic megastorms, weaving in elegant meteorology and riveting transcripts of actual emails sent and received by FEMA director Michael Brown (later released through the Freedom of Information Act.)

 

Accolades:

“Rodgers is a pure storyteller. She writes with a wit, lyricism, humanity and joy that make her books impossible to put down.”
Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin

“Every character resonates with life.”
Southern Living Magazine

“Unconventional love scenes scorch the pages.”
Orlando Sentinel

“Rodgers lives, loves and writes without a safety net… managing the rare literary feat of being painful and funny in one urgent breath.”
Entertainment Weekly

 

Reviews:

The Hurricane Lover currently has a customer review rating of 4.5 stars from 13 reviews. Read the reviews here.


The Hurricane Lover is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $3.99

 

An excerpt from The Hurricane Lover:

1

New Orleans, Friday Evening August 26, 2005

The Thibodeaux brothers stood side by side on the scrolled second-floor balcony of their flamingo pink house in Algiers, drinking beer and looking a lot alike. Corbin Thibodeaux was older, a little taller, and somewhat better groomed, but only because his work that day had required him to put on a media-appropriate appearance and company manners. Guy was stockier, sporting the thick, ruddy neck of a biker, a full sleeve of tattoos and unruly hair that cast him as Jesus for some people and Charles Manson for others. Guy’s grin was quicker, his easy laughter more from the belly; Corbin was serious in a way that often put him at odds with the world he’d grown up in. The Thibodeaux brothers shared their father’s square Cajun bones and doglike urge to run. They both wore a sunburned versions of their mother’s fair freckled skin and hawkish nose and studied the skyline with her exacting, hazel-eyed squint.

Corbin always thought of his mother, ached for her a little, whenever a good storm rolled up from the Gulf, but this evening, he was focused on the precise trim and trajectory of each breath of wind that lifted the Spanish moss and shuddered the whorled oak trees that shaded the street below. Keeping a quiet vigil between a loaded barbecue grill and solar-powered Remote Telemetry Unit, he checked the barometer on the wall, tapped a notation into his laptop and trained his spotting scope on the crooked elbow of the Mississippi.

Beyond the rolling brown water, on the east bank of the river, lay the culture clash of scattered Marigny rooftops and the glassy angles of the Central Business District. Above the high-rise lights of the CBD, beyond a faint layer of cayenne-colored smog, the first thin swish of Katrina’s dervish skirt could be seen in the evening sky over New Orleans.

Hurricanes were Corbin’s bailiwick, the core income of his one-man-band consulting firm, EarthWeather Analytics. Companies with oil rigs and mainframes in and along the Gulf of Mexico needed to know what each storm would do, where it would go, whom it would kill and how much it would cost, and over the years, Corbin had become very good at telling them. He’d been warning his clients all week that Katrina was going to cost a lot, and he was privately laden with the statistical probabilities of whom it was going to kill.

Corbin lived for events of this magnitude, but most storms were born and spun out their life cycles over the ocean. Never touched land. Never made news. The last several computer models he’d run before leaving his office in the CBD showed Katrina sucking in a deep, warm breath over the Gulf of Mexico and shrieking directly into New Orleans as a Cat 5 in approximately thirty-nine hours. It was like seeing everything and everyone he loved tied to a railroad track.

“There’s still time for you and Bonnie to get out,” Corbin told his brother. “You could leave tonight, Guy. Be in Houston by morning. I’ll give you the hotel money if you need it.”

“Doc.” Guy swiped at a trickle of sweat on the back of his neck. “Give it a rest.”

Disaster management was Corbin’s religion. During hurricane season, he preached the gospel of evacuation, but like the majority of folks, Guy would never voluntarily leave New Orleans, and Bonnie would never voluntarily leave Guy to his own devices. She was half white and a quarter Coushatta, but when she had to, she tapped into that remaining twenty-five percent, which was pure, empowered, mm-hmm black girl. She loved her husband and held her home ground with intimidating ferocity, and in deference to that, Corbin generally stayed out of their business, but this time, he was arguing hard for them to break with tradition and go.

“Best possible scenario leaves Algiers in hundred degree heat without power and water for at least ten days,” Corbin said. “At best, Guy, she’ll be miserable. At worst—”

“Dude,” Guy said sharply. “It’s not your business.”

The decision to “hunker down”—or in disaster bureaucracy lingo, “shelter in place”—was not unusual, particularly for residents of Algiers. Their French forebears had wisely chosen this fin of land on the west bank of the river for the very fact that it was above sea level, unlike much of the recumbent New Orleans metroplex, which came along later, a top-heavy madam who decided to take a load off her Saturday night heels and prop her feet up on the lakeshore. For more than a hundred years, easygoing population slid down into the mechanically drained bathtub of the lowlands, but heavy rains reawakened memories of the primordial back swamp along. People had grown up with the roar of the old pumping stations, and anyone who’d lived in New Orleans for any length of time had some high water story to tell.

Bonnie had taken charge of storm preparations early on. Food from the chest freezer was dragged out to be barbecued or braised for gumbo and dirty rice, making room to freeze gallon jugs of water. Downstairs, the wide shop windows and doors at Bonnie’s Bloom & Grow were firmly boarded up. On the third floor, where Corbin lived, the shutters were drawn and locked. Out back, Bonnie’s brother Watts secured the potting porch with tarps and bungee cords, plywood being as scarce as ghost orchids now. Returning from a final sortie through the depleted grocery store, Bonnie came out on the balcony, and Guy lit up like a used car lot.

“Hey, ma femme.” He kissed her and held her big belly between his hands. “How’s Harley Davidson Thibodeaux doing in there?”

“Albert Schweitzer Thibodeaux. Feels like he’s playing soccer today.” Bonnie gathered her wild, rust-colored hair into a kinky topknot. “Did you scrub and bleach those plastic garbage cans so I can fill them with water?”

“Sorry, baby, I got busy with something else. I’ll do it tomorrow.” Guy tipped the last swallow from his beer bottle. “I’m out of here. I’ll be back for supper.”

“Guy, honey, I need you to haul in those groceries.”

“I’ll get ‘em later, baby. I gotta swing by the shop and make sure the insurance photos are backed up online.”

“Whatever,” she sighed. “Be back in one hour, baby, okay? No jackassing around.”

“Love you, Bon Bon.” He bent to speak into her navel. “George Thorogood Thibodeaux, mind your mama.”

She ruffled his hair and gave him a playful swat. “Isaac Newton Thibodeaux.”

“Later, Doc,” said Guy, and Corbin said, “See ya later,” not really knowing if he would or not, because one never could tell with his little brother.

Bonnie consulted a list from her shirt pocket. “You’ll cook that turkey tomorrow?”

“Yup.” Corbin nodded to the grill. “Everything else from the freezer is on fire. Freezer’s full of water jugs. I made up a power rationing schedule for the first week of generator usage. Hopefully, we’ll locate some additional fuel before we run out.”

“I don’t have high hopes for my hydroponics project,” she said wearily, pushing one fist against the small of her back. “Breaks my heart after all the work we put into building it.”

“We did it once,” said Corbin. “We can do it again.”

He squeezed her shoulder and pushed the French doors a little wider so he could see the TV in the living room. After a perfunctory check of the Weather Channel, he clicked to the local news, where Shay Ray, the NOLA Now Sunshine Girl, was effervescing on location at “a very special ice cream social benefitting the American Cancer Society.” The mask of television makeup was as unsettling as the phony name, but in the close-ups, Corbin could see Shay Hoovestahl, her eyes warm and alive, like they were when she used to laze in bed with him on Sunday mornings, arguing over op-eds, trading barbs, giving in.

“I’m here with 96-year-old breast cancer survivor Orofina Sampson and her great-great-great granddaughter—that’s three greats, people—greatness cubed!” said Shay, cheek to cheek with the toddler in her arms. “Two-year-old Danisha Sampson is bravely battling leukemia.”

“Greatness cubed?” Bonnie huffed. “That would be touching if I didn’t know she’d rather kiss a snake than a baby.”

“Please, stop by my website,” said Shay, “meet these two inspirational ladies, and support the important work of the American Cancer Society.”

Shay’s hallmark was a genuine and indefatigable joie de vivre, and some days it felt like the antidote to Corbin’s innate melancholy. Today, the Texas pep squad dynamism bordered on grating. But Shay was still beautiful. Even more so, now that she wore an easy light brown ponytail, instead of the inflexible, bottle-blonde minesweeper helmet she had when they first met.

It wouldn’t be inappropriate to give Shay a call, he decided. As a friend. A friendly call, encouraging her to evacuate.

“Beau frère.” Bonnie eyed him without pretense. “Don’t even think it.”

“Bonnie, is there anything on that list about you getting off your feet for a while?”

“I still have the groceries to deal with.”

“You should leave the groceries in the car,” he said, “throw in a couple suitcases and head toward Houston. Guy’s pigheaded bravado might wear pretty thin when you find yourself in the hundred degree heat without AC, hot water, phones—”

“Guy’s a grown man,” Bonnie cut in. “It’s no longer your job to take care of him, and it never was your job to take care of me. You need a nice girl who’ll take care of you for a change.” She trash-glanced the TV and enunciated, “A nice girl.”

Corbin took the list from her hand, wrote GET OFF YOUR FEET and handed it back.

“I’ll get the groceries,” he said.

“Thanks, Doc.”

Before she went in, she hugged him, her belly bulky and warm, a separate entity between them. Corbin felt his nephew roll over inside her, pushing a fist or foot against his uncle’s abdomen.

The yet to be named Baby T would be the fourth generation of his family born into the flamingo pink house on Powder Street. The structure had weathered a good number of storms during the century or so that it stood among the Victorian ladies, shabby shotgun houses, and Creole cottages of Algiers Point, and the Thibodeaux family history was a recitation of disturbances and depressions.

Corbin and Guy’s parents were married on this very balcony as tornados spawned by Hurricane Gladys spun out of the Gulf in 1968, and Corbin was conceived by candlelight in the back bedroom as Camille raged through in 1969. His earliest memories were of towering clouds and the intoxicating smell of ozone, his mother sitting on a little iron ice cream parlor chair outside the shuttered doors, singing, “C’est la petite poule blanche, qui a pondu dans la branche…” Long red hair streaming over her shoulders, her face tipped up to the rain, she kept him pressed against her thigh and made him wear a red plastic fireman’s helmet to “warn off lightning strikes.”

“Guy just likes the noise,” Corbin’s mother told him one rainy day when she was in a morphine haze. “For you, baby, storms are a soul-force.”

She was an eccentric, a crazy lady, given to high winds and glory days, Southerly vapors and dark bouts of overcast. Corbin’s father was a jovial lush who downgraded to heartbroken drunk after the death of his wife and died under unseemly circumstances himself three years later, which is how Corbin, at eighteen, inherited the flamingo pink house, along with its burden of back taxes and guardianship of thirteen-year-old Guy, all of which might be considered a sob story had the Thibodeaux boys lived anywhere other than Louisiana, where crazy ladies are revered for their beautiful bedtime stories and heartbroken drunks are accommodated with drive-through daiquiri stands.

 

The Hurricane Lover is available for purchase at:

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Connect with Joni Rodgers:

Blog, The Girl With the Shakespeare Tattoo: http://jonirodgers.blogspot.com/

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: MURDER TAKES TIME (Friendship & Honor), Giacomo Giammatteo {$4.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of MURDER TAKES TIME (Friendship & Honor):

There was only one rule in our neighborhood—never break an oath. But oaths are easy to take and damn hard to keep.

Now I’m staring at my best friend, lying on the floor in a pool of blood, my bullet in his gut. Where the hell did it go wrong?

To understand that you’d have to go back to the beginning, back to when the three of us ruled the neighborhood.

Book Trailer

 

Accolades:

This novel is not just a murder mystery.

This novel is not just a thriller.

This novel is not just a love story.

This novel is not just a life story.

This novel is all in one.

OBI-Amazon Reviewer

Giammatteo turns a genre stereotype on its head. Kirkus Reviews

Grips you by the throat in the first two chapters… OnFictionWriting

There is a grit and reality to the story that gives it a credibility few books ever achieve. Amazon Reviewer

Giammatteo takes his crime novel to a new level and… puts the characters through the wringer, so the reader knows each one intimately. SPReview


Reviews:

MURDER TAKES TIME (Friendship & Honor) currently has a customer review rating of 5 stars from 24 reviews. Read the reviews here.


MURDER TAKES TIME (Friendship & Honor) is available for purchase at:

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An excerpt from MURDER TAKES TIME (Friendship & Honor):

Chapter 1

Rule Number One―Murder Takes Time

Brooklyn, New York—Current Day

He sipped the last of a shitty cup of coffee and stared across the street at Nino Tortella, the guy he was going to kill. Killing was an art, requiring finesse, planning, skill—and above all—patience. Patience had been the most difficult to learn. The killing came naturally. He cursed himself for that. Prayed to God every night for the strength to stop. But so far God hadn’t answered him, and there were still a few more people that needed killing.

The waitress leaned forward to refill his cup, her cleavage a hint that more than coffee was being offered. “You want more?”

He waved a hand—Nino was heading towards his car. “Just the check, please.”

From behind her ear she pulled a yellow pencil, tucked into a tight bun of red hair, then opened the receipt book clipped to the pocket of her apron. Cigarette smoke lingered on her breath, almost hidden by the gum she chewed.

Spearmint, he thought, and smiled. It was his favorite, too.

He waited for her to leave, scanned the table and booth, plucked a few strands of hair from the torn cushion and a fingernail clipping from the windowsill. After putting them into a small plastic bag, he wiped everything with a napkin. The check was $4.28. He pulled a five and a one from his money clip and left them on the table. As he moved to the door he glanced out the window. Nino already left the lot, but it was Thursday, and on Thursdays Nino stopped for pizza.

He parked three blocks from Nino’s house, finding a spot where the snow wasn’t piled high at the curb. After pulling a black wool cap over his forehead, he put leather gloves on, raised the collar on his coat then grabbed his black sports bag. Favoring his left leg, he walked down the street, dropping his eyes if he passed someone. The last thing he wanted was a witness remembering his face.

He counted the joints in the concrete as he walked. Numbers forced him to think logically, kept his mind off what he had to do. He didn’t want to kill Nino. He had to. It seemed as if all of his life he was doing things he didn’t want to do. He shook his head, focused on the numbers again.

When he drew near the house, he cast a quick glance to ensure the neighbors’ cars weren’t there. The door took less than thirty seconds to open. He kept his hat and gloves on, walked into the kitchen, and set his bag on the counter. He removed a pair of tongs and a shot glass, and set them on the coffee table. A glance around the room had him straightening pictures and moving dirty dishes to the sink. A picture of an older woman stared at him from a shelf above an end table. Might be his mother, he thought, and gently set it face down. Back to the kitchen. He opened the top of the black bag and removed two smaller bags. He set one in the fridge and took the other with him.

The contents of the second bag—hair and other items—he spread throughout the living room. The crime scene unit would get a kick out of that. He did one final check, removed a baseball bat from the bag, then sat on the couch behind the door. The bat lay on the cushion beside him. While he stretched his legs and leaned back, he thought about Nino. It would be easy to just shoot him, but that wouldn’t be fair. Renzo suffered for what he did; Nino should too. He remembered Mamma Rosa’s warnings, that the things people did would come back to haunt them. Nino would pay the price now.

A car pulled into the driveway. He sat up straight and gripped the bat.

#

Nino had a smile on his face and a bounce in his step. It was only Thursday and already he’d sold more cars than he needed for the month. Maybe I’ll buy Anna that coat she’s been wanting. Nino’s stomach rumbled, but he had a pepperoni pizza in his hand and a bottle of Chianti tucked into his coat pocket. He opened the door, slipped the keys into his pocket, and kicked the door shut with his foot.

There was a black sports bag on the kitchen table. Wasn’t there before, Nino thought. A shiver ran down his spine. He felt a presence in the house. Before he could turn, something slammed into his back. His right kidney exploded with pain.

“Goddamn.” Nino dropped the pizza, stumbled, and fell to the floor. His right side felt on fire. As his left shoulder collided with the hardwood floor, a bat hit him just above the wrist. The snap of bones sounded just before the surge of pain.

“Fuck.” He rolled to the side and reached for his gun.

The bat swung again.

Nino’s ribs cracked like kindling. Something sharp jabbed deep inside him. His mouth filled with a warm coppery taste. Nino recognized the man who stood above him. “Anything you want,” he said. “Just kill me quick.”

#

The bat struck Nino’s knee, the crunch of bones drowned by his screams. The man stared at Nino. Let him cry. “I got Renzo last month. You hear about that?”

Nino nodded.

He tapped Nino’s pocket with his foot, felt a gun. “If you reach for the gun, I’ll hit you again.”

Another nod.

He knelt next to Nino, took the shot glass from the coffee table. “Open your mouth.”

Nino opened his eyes wide and shook his head.

The man grabbed the tongs, shoved one end into the side of Nino’s mouth, and squeezed the handles, opening the tongs wide. When he had Nino’s mouth pried open enough, he shoved the shot glass in. It was a small shot glass, but to Nino it must have seemed big enough to hold a gallon. Nino tried screaming, but couldn’t. Couldn’t talk either, with the glass in there. Nino’s head bobbed, and he squirmed. Nothing but grunts came out—fear-tinged mumbles coated with blood.

The man stood, glared at Nino. Gripped the bat with both hands. “You shouldn’t have done it.”

A dark stain spread on the front of Nino’s pants. The stench of excrement filled the room. He stared at Nino, raised the bat over his head, and swung. Nino’s lips burst open, splitting apart from both sides. Teeth shattered, some flying out, others embedding into the flesh of his cheeks. The shot glass exploded. Glass dug deep gouges into his tongue, severing the front of it. Shards of glass pierced his lips and tunneled into his throat.

He stared at Nino’s face, the strips of torn flesh covered in blood. He gulped. Almost stopped. But then he thought about what Nino had done, and swung the bat one more time. After that, Nino Tortella lay still.

He returned to the kitchen and took a small box from the bag on the counter then went back to the living room. Inside the box were more hairs, blood, skin, and other evidence. He spread the items over and around the body then made a final trip to the kitchen to clean up. He undressed and placed his clothes into a large plastic bag, tied it, and set it inside the black bag. He took out a change of clothes, including shoes and plastic covers for them. Careful not to step in any blood, he went back to stand over the body.

Nino lay in his own piss, shit, and blood, eyes wide-open, mouth agape.

You should never have done it, Nino.

He blessed himself with the sign of the cross while he repeated the Trinitarian formula. “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.” Then he shot Nino. Once in the head. Once in the heart. An eye for an eye. And then some.

Before stepping out the door, he removed the plastic covers for his shoes, placed them into the bag, then closed and locked the door behind him. The wind had picked up since he arrived, bringing a cold bite with it. He turned his collar up and tucked his head into his chest.

Forgive me, Father, for what I have done.

He walked two more blocks, almost to the car, when an image of Donnie Amato appeared in his head.

And for what I still have to do.


MURDER TAKES TIME (Friendship & Honor) is available for purchase at:

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THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Cut Up – A Short “Gory”, James W. Lewis {$0.99}

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Description of The Cut Up – A Short “Gory”:

A wife feels no need to overact despite catching her husband in bed with her daughter’s high school friend.


Accolade:

“The Cut Up” written by the crafty James W. Lewis is 8 pages of twists, turns, and emotions. Eve is the woman inside of everyone woman that men love to fear, joke about, and exaggerate. James Lewis’s literary techniques are so subtle that the plot line is even more powerful because of it.  James Lewis really showed up and showed out. This is my first time reading anything of his and he did such a good job on such a short piece that I am more than curious about his other recent works.”

 

Reviews:

The Cut Up – A Short “Gory” currently has an Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars from 4 reviews. Read the reviews here.

 

The Cut Up – A Short “Gory” is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

 

An excerpt from The Cut Up – A Short “Gory”:

Eve froze in the bedroom doorway, her mouth hung open and gaze locked on the adulterous transgression in progress before her. Her husband’s head banged against the headboard, hips grinding and circling between thin butterscotch-colored thighs.

Derrick’s loud grunts shocked Eve; he never made a sound when he made love to her. Wails of pleasure pierced the air. The young woman’s shrieks vibrated in continuous spurts–the same shrieks that startled Eve when she opened the front door downstairs. Mattress spring squeaks matched their cries, creating a harmony of orgasmic delight.

“Oooh! Yes! Yes!” the woman cried, praising Derrick’s Indy 500 thrusts. She dug her pink-painted nails in his butt cheeks.

Eve tiptoed toward the bed, her heels hardly making a sound against the plush carpet. Before she stood a few feet away from the bed, the young woman’s eyes opened. Seconds later, they nearly shot out the sockets. Her moans morphed into one bellow of terror and surprise.

Derrick’s head recoiled. As if wearing a neck brace, he slowly turned his head in the same direction as the young woman’s gape. A quick gasp escaped when his jaw dropped.

“Oh my god,” Derrick whispered.

Eve didn’t speak. A radar-like stare locked on the woman who dared invade her home, bedroom, and fidelity. She looked no more than twenty years old.

Derrick pushed himself off her and sat naked on the bedside. His beer belly slightly concealed his rock hard penis. He wore no condom.

“Baby … I-I can explain!” he pleaded, trying to reach out to Eve. The young woman gripped a pillow against her breasts, her eyes swiveling as if scanning the room for an exit. She inched toward the other end of the bed.

Eve looked down at Derrick’s pathetic face with an expressionless stare, ignoring Derrick’s inaudible pleas. She brushed a hand across her forehead and then exhaled a short breath.

“Wooo,” Eve sighed, “you guys scared me for a second! Chile, I thought you were one of my high school students! I didn’t recognize you at first, but now I remember you talking to my husband at the mall a few weeks ago. He told me you were a co-worker. Shoo, am I relieved!”

Derrick tilted his head sideways and gazed with a look of canine confusion. The young woman lay with her back against the headboard. Strands of hair stuck to her cheeks and lines crumpled her forehead.

“You’re a pretty young thing, too!” Eve said with a grin. “I love your hair! Where do you get it done? Let me know who does your hair after you finish, all right?”

Derrick still didn’t budge, only moving his head toward the young woman with eyes that yearned for answers. She shrugged, then shook her head. A slight grin creased her pink lips.

Derrick turned back to Eve. “Baby,” he said, daring to sound concerned, “everything all right?”

Eve swatted her hand through the air. “Pssst, I’m fine. I’m just glad she doesn’t look like the last girl you had in here. Ugh!” She slapped her hands together and rolled her eyes. She then turned to the woman and said, “Baby, that ho he had in here last week looked like a train wreck! Ugly bitch had cracked teeth and was cross-eyed and … oh, never mind. Can I get you anything?”

Derrick blinked a few times. He said, “Uh … no.”

Eve tilted her head toward the young woman. The woman shook her head, still gripping the pillow against her chest.

Eve slapped her hands together. “Okay! Just give me a ring if you need anything. I’ll be downstairs making dinner, so let me get outta here! I hope you like pasta, uh … what’s your name again, sweetheart?”

The young woman’s eyebrows shot up. “Uh … Joanne,” she stuttered. “I d—don’t want anything, Mrs. Peete. Thanks, anyway.”

Eve studied her face for a moment. Seconds later, her eyes widened. The bulb in her head had lit up.

“Oh,” Eve said, “your Bobbi’s daughter, huh? You used to go to King High School about two years ago, right? You graduated with my daughter Monica! How are you, baby?”

Joanne’s arm dangled over the bed, still trying to keep her eyes on Eve. “I—I’m fine, ma’am.”

“That’s good,” Eve replied. She turned to Derrick and planted a kiss on his forehead. Sweat smeared her lips.

“Monica will be coming by soon,” Eve said. “You should stay until she gets here. She’d love to see you!”

Joanne knelt to the floor. Her butt was the only thing visible as she reached for her clothes under the bed. “Oh … uh … no thanks, Mrs. Pee—ow!” she cried, bumping her head into the nightstand.

Derrick tried to find his own clothes, first looking around the bed and then behind the headboard. He found his tee shirt wedged between Eve’s nightstand and the bed’s metal frame.

“All righty, Joanne,” she replied with a Mrs. Cleaver-like chuckle. “I don’t know how Mrs. Davis whips up lasagna, but mine is to die for!” Eve strolled toward the door while singing a Jill Scott tune.

Joanne stood and strapped on a silk bra. “Uh … Mrs. Peete?”

Eve stopped at the door. She turned to Joanne and said, “Yes, dear?”

Out of the corner of her eye, Eve could see Derrick, who now had on his tee shirt and socks. He hadn’t found his underwear.

“You’re not going to tell anybody, are you?” Joanne asked, pulling up her pants.

Eve waved her off. “Of course not.”

Joanne smiled. “Thank you. Don’t want anybody to know about this, ya know?”

Eve nodded. “I understand. Nobody will know.”


The Cut Up – A Short “Gory” is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99

 

Connect with James W. Lewis:

Website: www.jameswlewis.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjames.w.lewis

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files), Bailey Bristol {$2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!}

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Description of The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files):

A novel of historical romantic suspense

“Those who prosper by thievery, thuggery, or by ruining another, have chosen to live on the devil’s dime.”

Addie is abducted, her father is about to be put to death, all because of Jess Pepper’s investigative reporting in 1896 New York City.

All Jess wanted to do was show a good Samaritan a city’s gratitude. Instead, he signed the man’s death warrant with one of his first articles as investigative reporter for the New York Times.When his story re-opened a twenty-year-old criminal case, it unleashed the anger of Deacon Trumbull, a corrupt precinct chief who thought his old crimes long buried.

Beautiful and talented, Addie came to the city with little more than a violin tucked beneath her chin and enough moxie to launch her dream – and find the father she hadn’t seen in sixteen years. And she did find him – just days before Jess’s article put a noose around his neck.

Now, in the darkest corner of the city, corruption and greed bring Addie and Jess to the brink of terror, and Jess must discover not only who wants this good man dead, but how to save the woman who has stolen his heart.


Accolades:

” …a richly crafted historical romance, with well-drawn characters, a suspenseful plot and so much historical detail that 19th century New York comes to life on the page… The result is not a light read, but a story to savor, one that any lover of historical romance can take their time with and sink their teeth into.” – Night Owl Reviews

“Great historical detail and empathetic characters made Devil’s Dime one of my favorite reads so far this week.” – Christy Carlyle | Goodreads


Amazon Reader Reviews:

The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files) currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars, with 16 reviews! Read the reviews here!

 

The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!


An excerpt from The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files):

In a window on the top floor of a noisy dance hall, a lamp guttered and went out. With darkness for a backdrop, a red glow moving past the window was the only thing to be seen from the street. A moment later, the lamp flickered back on, brighter, adjusted by some human hand.

Inside, the talk was gruffly impatient, enlivened by the occasional growl. It was risky meeting like this, but they’d both agreed too much was at stake not to.

“He can’t possibly know anything. We cleaned it up twenty years ago.” The voice was low, cultivated, on the keen edge of disdain.

“I’m telling you, Pepper is on to something.” The red glow arched out, lost some of itself to the floor, and flared again.

“Perhaps he could be persuaded.”

“The bastard’s got a conscience. And a public. Crusaders like him make me sick.” Another flicking of embers.

“Then get rid of him.”

The flaring embers dropped to the floor and died under the broad shoe of the man who paced the storeroom loft. He fancied shoes, the kind that drew envious stares when he nonchalantly crossed a foot over his knee at his favorite  drinking establishment, a blind tiger on the upscale side of the Tenderloin. They paid him good money to keep their  “permission” to serve alcohol, though no license had ever changed hands. He was always sure of a good time there. And the girls at the Palladium were sure to notice when he sported new footwear.

It had always been that way. Deacon Trumbull took pride in his boyish good looks, his devil-may-care swagger, and his top drawer shoes. It was a deadly combination, sure to draw the prettiest of the pretty to sit on his knee.

When he’d made his first run at getting a promotion to sergeant, he’d had too much confidence in the devilish good looks. They’d bought him entrance to every venue he’d ever sought. But not in the police force. It was sewed up tight as a drum by the commissioners. And they’d gotten greedy with him. It still rankled, even after all these years.

The Samaritan mess had almost gotten him dumped in the East River, he’d fumbled it so badly. So royally, in fact, that when he put in his first bid for promotion, they’d laughed. The bribe they’d set to overlook the bungling of his beat duties was stiff, and he refused to pay.

Twice he’d threatened to expose their graft if he didn’t get the promotion, and twice he’d just about taken a final dip in that filthy river. But he’d done too many favors for too many swanks and politicians by then, and they came through for him. Still, when he went for the third time to his commissioner, meekly with the bribe in hand, the squeeze had suddenly quadrupled. His backers—the ones who needed him in the chief’s office to keep their own necks out of the noose—had nearly balked. But they’d paid. And the favors he’d had to render in return had been endless. Now, in his twisted logic, Ford Magee owed him that $20,000.

That was the last time the hotheaded swaggerer had swallowed his rage, and it had been the best choice he’d ever made. Within a day of making sergeant, his pockets were lined with the kind of “contributions” he could never have imagined. And it had only gotten better.

“I mean it, Deac,” his companion repeated, “just get rid of him.”

“It’s too late. He may have talked to someone already.”

A chair scraped back from the table and soft Italian Barracudas moved quietly to the window. Deacon’s partner was well-soled as well, but unlike Deacon he’d been born that way. “Then discredit his voice. Ruin him. Make his audience hate him.”

The two looked out the window in silence, then turned in unison toward the door.

“Don’t wait too long with Magee, either.”

“How does tonight sound, Cash?”

The hollow laugh of two men who knew not to turn their back on one another died away in the rafters. They scuffed along carefully over tattered satins that had fallen from padded hangers. Mice scurried away from their nest in the springs of a half-buried chaise lounge as the two passed to the door.

“I miss what we had here.” The cultivated voice stopped to drag the door open.

“You know I had to shut it down. That damn Magee had already cost me a promotion.” He took a long draw on his cigar. “I couldn’t take the chance of him connecting the part he knew to the burglaries. If he knew about them, chances were he’d find out about the ‘rewards’ our boys took off those Madison Avenue dames right here. Hell, half the wives and daughters from those hoitytoity mansions lost a bauble of some sort here. It would’ve been holy hell for me if their names went public. I’d have been dead before their spit could hit the floor. It had to stop cold.”

He shook his head and kicked at a dusty scrap of wood. “I cannot fathom how Magee’s lived this long, you know? I really thought he must be dead by now. Nobody, I mean nobody could find a trace of him. He left his job, his place, just kicked me in the balls with that letter he wrote to the paper and disappeared, the goddamn, two-bit—”

Cash put a careful hand on his shoulder, lightly, in case it was not welcomed. “You’d be Chief of Police right now,” he commiserated, if it hadn’t been for that damned Samaritan.” His sympathetic tone carried more than a hint of remorse.

Deacon gritted his teeth. He’d get rid of Magee tonight. And then partner or no, one day he was going to sink his fist into this patsy’s jowl. But not yet. Not just yet.

 

. . .

Adelaide Magee wasted no time getting from the hotel to her apartment. She was exhausted.

Six hours at the bank and four hours playing at the hotel made for excruciatingly long days. Days that most young women her age wouldn’t put up with.

But the smile that lingered on Addie’s face proved that it was just the kind of day she relished. Her Avalon Strings, the women’s orchestra she’d put together in a mere two months, had been more ardently received than she had dared dream.

It was that plucky bunch of girls that had made it happen.

“Look like St. Agnes and play like Beelzebub and we might get our foot in the door,” she’d said at their first rehearsal. And they’d taken it to heart.

The hardest part had been finding a performance venue. But the manager of the Warwick Hotel who’d been so staunchly opposed to women entertainers was now begging her to extend their contract from three weeks to three months.

Addie dropped her hair brush onto the vanity and checked her starched cuffs. Still clean. She’d wear them tomorrow. But the shirtwaist would have to be rinsed out. She hoped no one had seen the gauzy fabric sticking to her sweaty shoulders when she played the gypsy piece.

Particularly not the handsome fellow who sat alone near the kitchen. She’d botched three full measures when he made visual contact with her, drilled her with his eyes that she’d decided were cobalt blue. Not that she could really tell from that distance, but what other color could have made them so piercing?

Knowing a man watched her was nothing new. But his wasn’t the usual leer to which she’d become accustomed. This fellow’s gaze held intelligence. And surprise.

Addie caught the look on her own face and laughed at the mirror. Well, it had been surprise on his face. And she liked that. Liked it very much.

Addie twirled the cuffs on a lazy finger and realized she wanted to see him again. Not just because he filled out his western-cut suit coat so admirably. But because something tangible had lived in the space between them while their eyes were locked. Whatever it was, she wasn’t ready to name it just yet. It was just…something.

She dropped the cuffs into the cuff box on top of her dresser and poured a pitcher of water into the white porcelain bowl. One quick chore and she could crawl into bed.

Addie plucked an errant curl off her brow and vowed she’d find a better room with running water before summer. If the Warwick really wanted to keep her string group on contract, that might actually be possible.

She rubbed a stubborn spot in the wet fabric and promised herself she’d double her wardrobe as well. In the two months she’d been here, she was certain everyone had figured out that she owned only two shirtwaists and three blouses—two ecru and one white.

She hung the lightweight blouse over the wire she had strung from her bedpost to the top of the window casing. The light fabric would dry before morning. And it wouldn’t need pressing, so she wouldn’t have to warm up her little room by stoking the little coal stove to heat up the flatirons.

Addie smoothed the wrinkles out of the sleeves and fingered the unique embroidery along the collar points. They were some of the last stitches her mother had sewn—another reason why it was the perfect thing to wear tomorrow.

She’d wear it to work at the bank, and since the orchestra didn’t play on Thursdays, she’d have the evening free to attend to the one last errand she’d been putting off since moving back to New York City.  She knew the shirtwaist showed off her long neck and slim waist and gave her the look of a modestly successful, independent woman. Exactly the way her mother had taught her. Exactly the way she wanted to appear when she met the father she hadn’t seen since she was four years old.

 

The Devil’s Dime (The Samaritan Files) is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or Borrow FREE w/Prime!


Connect with Bailey Bristol:

WEBSITE: http://www.baileybristol.com
TWITTER:  @baileybristol
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