Tag Archives: cozy mystery

Guest Release Promotion of The Mason’s Mark by M.S. Spencer

Thank you so much for having me at Musings about the Writing Life, Linda. Several of my romantic suspense/murder mystery books are set in Alexandria, Virginia, a colonial town on the Potomac River across from Washington, DC, where I lived for many years. The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, is one of those novels.

GeorgeWashingtonMuseum in Masonic Memorial

Most of The Mason’s Mark, is set at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. The 330-foot-tall building has three sections—the ground level, the main floor, and the tower. The tower holds six progressively smaller rooms. The top level opens to an observation deck, from which visitors can see all of Alexandria and Washington, DC—or, if you’re my heroine, find a dead body.

The fourth floor contains a museum dedicated to George Washington. Washington served as the Charter (first) Master of the Alexandria lodge, and many of his letters and memorabilia are housed here, including the Washington family Bible. Since our heroine and hero meet in the museum, it follows that the Mason’s Mark would involve long-lost papers, distant family scandals, and academic intrigue concerning our first President. Delicious mystery and even more delicious romance ensue.

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In the worst first day at work ever, newly minted docent Claire Wilding’s carefully memorized spiel is interrupted by the discovery of a dead body. As she deals with a smitten police detective, a hunky Senator, shadowy black ops agents, and two eccentric mothers, she learns more than she ever expected to about jewels and pennies, renegade Italian Masons, and our first President’s family secrets. Along the way she discovers that first love is not always the right love.

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EXCERPT

When they reached Prince Street, Gideon found a parking spot directly in front of her house, no small feat. Just one more way he’s special, thought Claire glumly. He walked her to her door. She unlocked it and turned to thank him, but he was already on his way to his car.

Ichabod greeted her with a snarl.

“I know. I forgot to feed you. Come on, Icky.” She found a can of cat food and emptied it into his bowl. Then she poured herself a large glass of water and took it to the living room to conduct an analysis of the soiree.

So at any point did I come across as even semi-coherent? She tried to hack through the warm, fuzzy blanket of the evening. Gideon had been the perfect gentleman, ordering foie gras and champagne, pointing out the constellations with obvious expertise, helping her in and out of the car. It all seemed so…unreal. Like he was acting a part. Too perfect. And he’d sucked her in like soda through a straw. She slapped her forehead, forgetting that she still held the glass. Water sluiced across her face and ran down her front. She mopped it up with some tissues and vowed to hit the antique stores that weekend. I’ve got to get a coffee table. Preferably one with cup holders.

The doorbell rang. With the disintegrating tissue pressed to her face, she stood on tiptoe to check the peephole and looked straight into an unblinking sea-green ocean. Gideon. After a minute she remembered to open the door.

He stared at her with concern. “Are you all right?”

Claire pulled the tissue away and noticed black streaks on it. Her mascara must have run. Oh no, I bet he thinks I’ve been crying. She rubbed her eyes, hoping that wasn’t making it worse. “Fine. I spilled a glass of water, that’s all.”

“Oh.” He stood, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “Um, could I come in for a minute?”

She pointed at the living room and backed away, then turned and leapt up the steps. A quick look in the mirror confirmed her suspicions. I look like something Ichabod’s been playing with. She fixed her face, wrung out her blouse, and returned with renewed aplomb.

Gideon filled the small space. Claire sidled around him and sat on a packing crate. He looked around the room. “So…er, have you just moved in?”

“Yes.” It struck her that he was more uncomfortable than she and drew strength from that. “About a week ago. Sorry about the mess. Won’t you have a seat?”

He dropped down on the loveseat but immediately sprang back up. He patted his rear, flummoxed. “Why am I wet?”

Claire put a hand to her mouth to suppress the giggle. “Ooh, I’m sorry. I forgot. That’s where I spilled the water. Here, let me.”

She retrieved a towel from the kitchen and began to dab at the dark blotch on his khakis. He stood it for a minute, then put a hand under her chin and lifted her up. “You’d better stop doing that. This is hard enough for me.” He blinked. “Do you…do you know how beautiful you are?”

The question threw her. How to respond? Yes? No? Tell me more? She decided to let him talk.

“Your eyes are the color of the deepest part of the Caribbean Sea on a cloudless day. I could sink into them and drown.” He touched her brow. “And these little cinnabar ringlets framing that soft, creamy face…” He wrapped one around his finger. “Wind one up tight and it could strangle me.” He took her hand. “Your fingers—so slim and delicate, like little stilettos. Sharp enough to gouge an eye out.”

Claire stepped away from him, bewildered. “You make me sound like a vicious animal. Why?”

His hands dropped to his sides. “Because I sense how dangerous you are.”

“Dangerous?”

“To me. Claire…I—” He gazed at her helplessly.

Someone had better take charge.

M. S. Spencer Author (2)

Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Blessed with two fabulous grown children and an adorable grandchild, she has published ten romantic suspense/mystery novels. She now divides her time between the Florida Gulf coast and a tiny hamlet in Maine.

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Character Interview of Alex O’Hara from Diane Burton’s mystery series

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

I’m Alex (Alexandra) O’Hara from Diane Burton’s mystery series. An only child (but never spoiled), I grew up in Far Haven, Michigan, a small resort town on Lake Michigan. I love it here and don’t ever want to leave.

What’s your favorite participation sport?

Swimming. Growing up on the lake meant a lot of beach time. I used to sail, but now I have no time.

Did you always want to be a private investigator?

Absolutely. My father and Nick Palzetti’s father owned an investigation agency. I started working there in high school. I loved it when they’d let me tag along on a case. Of course, my mom had a fit the first time. Too dangerous. Hah. That was the exciting part.

What do you like most about being a PI?

Helping people get answers. Sometimes, like with a philandering spouse, they don’t want to know something they already sense. Finding a lost sibling or confirming the history of a potential spouse makes me feel good.

Talk about your favorite setting for a date.

The beach. Maybe a picnic, if it’s warm enough. Or just a long walk. I’m not crazy about going to fancy restaurants, although I clean up good. 😊 Or so I’m told. I’m just a small-town girl with small-town tastes.

What attracts you first to a man?

His attitude. Forget guys who think they’re God’s gift to women. I want to see confidence and intelligence. His body comes next. Since I’m 5’ 10”, he has to be tall, with long legs, and a great butt. Shallow, I know.

Are you talking about a particular man?

Oh, yeah. Nick Palzetti. We grew up together then he broke my heart in high school. We were reunited in The Case of the Bygone Brother when he returned to town. He comes and goes through the next two books in the series, The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé, and The Case of the Meddling Mama. I’m not real happy about his absences. He thinks I get into too many dangerous situations. Our jobs are a constant source of frustration and arguments between us.

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Small Town . . . Big Case.

Alex O’Hara finally gets a case that will give her bottom line a much-needed boost. She might even be able to change her diet from ramen noodles to prime rib. All she has to do is track down a man who’s been missing for over ten years. Piece of cake . . . until an old flame arrives and a mugger roughs her up with orders to back off.

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EXCERPT

“Hello, gorgeous.”

I whacked my head on the display shelf.

Well, what would you do if you were lying across the top of a four-drawer lateral file cabinet, and your arm—yardstick attached—was wedged between the wall and the cabinet, trying to retrieve the license renewal application that if you mangled, crushed or couldn’t get would mean the end of your business, and the ex-love-of-your-life stood in the doorway looking at your butt?

The shelf shook on its braces from contact with my head. Never mind that the encounter didn’t do much for the aforementioned body part. The Far Haven Chamber of Commerce awards rattled, and signed Detroit Tigers baseballs pelted my head, shoulders, and the back of my thigh. I dropped the yardstick and swore.

“I thought you promised your mother you wouldn’t swear anymore.” He would remind me of that vow.

“Relapse,” I muttered as I looked over my shoulder.

In that loose-limbed, cocky manner I once thought scary, sexy, and so cool, Nick Palzetti stood in the doorway to the spare office. He even dressed the same in a black leather jacket, black knit shirt, and jeans that molded his hips. Lordy, he could still make my mouth go dry.

As I wiggled back and sideways across the long cabinet, I felt my skirt ride up. Of all days to wear a skirt. With my foot, I searched for the desk chair I’d climbed to get on top of the cabinet. I’d kicked off my high heels before standing on the chair, probably the only smart thing I’d done so far.

“Red panties, you naughty girl.”

Diane Burton

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is regular contributor to The Roses of Prose and Paranormal Romantics blogsites. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three (soon to be five) grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

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Guest Release Promotion–The Baron’s Cufflinks by P.J. MacLayne

The Baron’s Cufflinks is the third book in the Oak Grove Mysteries, and Harmony Duprie is up to her usual antics. I fell in love with Harmony when I wrote the first book in the Oak Grove Mysteries series, The Marquesa’s Necklace, so I enjoy writing her stories. As I often tell people, I’d like to spend an afternoon sitting on the bottom step leading to her apartment, sipping ice tea, and chatting about everything and anything. You could say that this book is the product of one of those chats.

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What starts as Girl’s Night Out ends in murder, and Harmony Duprie is a suspect.

She’s innocent, but with no alibi, the sheriff’s department won’t remove her from the list of suspects. It doesn’t help when a waitress from the bar gets beaten up and the only clue is a slip of paper with Harmony’s name on it. Throw in a rookie deputy set on building his reputation and Harmony must tread carefully.

But caution isn’t Harmony’s middle name and she plunges head first into danger to defend her honor.

What she finds is a web of half-truths and suspicions implicating several law enforcement agencies, with Jake, her ex-lover, stuck in the middle of it all.

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EXCERPT

It didn’t take long for a warm body to slide into the barstool next to me. The middle-aged man with a bad comb-over hairdo and bulging stomach wasn’t my type at all. But Tiffini would talk to him.

“How’s it going, Sugar?” he said. “Buy you a drink?” He’d already had several drinks based on the smell of liquor on his breath.

I smiled and waved my beer bottle in front of his face. “Thanks! How about the next round?”

He waved to get the bartender’s attention and pointed to me. “Another of those for the lady.”

I wouldn’t be drinking it, but I didn’t stop him.

“What’s your name, Sugar?” he asked.

God help me, I giggled. “Sugar will do fine for now. What’s your name?”

“Dave.” He took a swig of whatever poison he was drinking. “I haven’t seen you around here before.”

He looked like a Dave. His wife—yes, he was wearing a wedding ring—probably called him David when she was mad at him. “I’m new in town,” I said. And giggled again. “Thought I’d get out and make some friends.”

Dave grinned widely. At least he had a full set of teeth. “Why don’t you come over and join me and my buds?”

I glanced over towards the table he indicated. The three men looked like clones of Dave. None of them appeared to be dangerous. It would likely be a waste of my time, but I picked up my beer and slid off the barstool. “Sure.”

He grabbed my second beer and his own drink and we made our way across the room.  One of them grabbed an empty chair from a nearby table. “Sugar, meet the guys. That’s Bill, Harry, and Lamar.”

They could have been Mo, Larry, and Curly for all I cared, but I grinned as I settled into one of the empty chairs. “Nice to meet you.”

“Sugar’s new around here,” Dave announced. “So, I volunteered us to make her feel welcome.”

I fluttered my fake eyelashes and giggled. “Sure is nice of y’all to let me join you.”

I did my best impression of Tiffini flirting with all four of the men and discovered, to my surprise, they were actually fun to talk to. I think they were surprised at my knowledge of Steeler’s football, and that made Tiffini more of a friend than a target. The chair they’d given me had a view of the front door, and as was my habit, I’d been keeping an eye on it. It had opened and closed many times, but this time was different.

pjmaclayne

Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests.

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Guest Release Promotion–Bad Lies by Rolynn Anderson

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Italy’s haunted caves spell danger for an American golfer and a NATO geologist

Sophie Maxwell is a late-blooming, unorthodox golfer, and mother of a precocious thirteen year-old. Determined to put divorce, bankruptcy, and a penchant for gambling in her past, Sophie goes to Italy for a qualifying golf tournament.

Jack Walker turned his back on a pro golfing career to become a geologist. As a favor to his ailing father he’ll caddy for Sophie; off hours, he’ll find caves on the Mediterranean coast, suitable for NATO listening posts for terrorist activity.

Someone is determined to stop Jack’s underground hunt and ruin Sophie’s chances to win her tournament.

On a Rome golf course and in the Amalfi coast’s haunted caves, all the odds are stacked against Sophie and Jack.  In their gamble of a lifetime, who wins?

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EXCERPT

A wave of sadness about the chasm separating Jack from his father hit him hard. He covered his discomfort by picking up his water glass.

Sophie lost her smile. “You didn’t know your dad was coaching me, did you?”

“I told you, we don’t talk about golf.”

“Yet now you have to because you’re my caddy.”

He gave her a shrug. “He’s never asked me to do something for him, not since I quit golf. My mother’s been trying to get him to offer an olive branch for fifteen years. Seemed cruel not to accept one when he’s sick.”

“I get all that,” she said. Her expression morphed to calculating. “You wondered how I could afford your father, didn’t you? He told you I’m not paying for coaching lessons and—”

Raising his hand to stop her, he said, “Not my business.”

“I knew it. I could tell you were mad about something.”

Irritated she presumed to read his thoughts, he said, “I repeat—”

“You can’t figure out why he’d work free for a nut like me, but you won’t ask him. And you’re mad at me because you think I’m taking advantage of your dad.”

The sun and Sophie had him pinned down. He’d rather explore a dank cave.

“You won’t ask him and you won’t ask me. Do I see a pattern?”

Jack widened his eyes at her comment. When he saw her teasing smile, he exhaled. “Every time I talk to him on the phone, his motives get muddier. This isn’t about his heart problems or the operation. He’s using something about you or getting back to golf, or both, as catalysts for repairing my relationship with him.”

Sophie gulped. “Yikes.”

Jack nodded. “Like dropping the bomb about you not paying. He keeps upping the ante.” He huffed. “My inclination is to resist his manipulation.”

“So is mine,” she blurted. In the next moment, she looked down, appearing confused.

“Sophie?”

Her eyes met his. “Your father’s a good coach.”

“Okay.”

“I’ve learned what he says works, if I apply it. Like the new Vision 18 concepts.”

“So?”

“I want to win this tournament.”

“Of course you do.”

“I don’t blame you for feeling set up. But for this one week, could you erect a temporary bridge between you and your dad? Could we do exactly what he wants?”

Once again, Jack felt trapped. In the airplane, perpetually facing Sophie, on a dreaded golf course, all engineered by a father he hardly knew. He examined his hands, which hadn’t held a golf club or embraced a father in fifteen years. The tremor in his fingers spoke volumes.

When he raised his eyes to look at Sophie, he read genuine fear in her expression. She thinks if I balk at Dad’s bidding, she’ll fail.

Time stopped for a moment, underlining their separate fears, so strangely entwined. I thought I could do this without really getting involved. Now I’ve got her and my dad to worry about. Give me a cave to spelunk any day; rocks I understand.

Brows knit, she said, “Only five days of staying with your dad’s program.”

“Believe me, I know his philosophy.”

She gave him a not-that-well look.

“I’ll help you in every way I can.”

Sophie added narrowed eyes.

Feeling panic, he let out a breath. “Okay, I’ll talk to him. Later.” He ran his fingers through his hair.  “You, too. I’ll ask you later,” he said, his gut twisting as he made both promises.

rolynn color 1.5mb

Scandinavian, Army Brat, Wife, English Teacher, High School Principal, Golfer, Boater, World Traveler, Author.  She delights in creating imperfect characters faced with extraordinary, transforming challenges.  Her hope: You’ll devour her ‘makeover’ suspense novels in the wee hours of the morning, because her stories, settings and characters, capture your imagination and your heart.

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Character Interview from Dumpster Dicing by Julie B. Cosgrove

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics? 

My name is Janie Manson and I am the widow of an Austin police detective. He often bounced his most puzzling cases off my brain to get a different perspective. Now I live in Sunset Acres retirement village where I power walk almost every morning with my best friends Ethel and Betsy Ann and host Bunco on Thursday evenings.

Family members?  

I have a son living with his family in New Jersey ad a daughter, Mel, who lives here in Alamoville with her husband. His name is Blake Johnson and he is the chief detective for their police department. I don’t mind telling you, he is overworked and I worry that it might damage their marriage.  Mel and Blake have two teenaged kids, Elli and Jaime. He never gets to their banc=d concerts or soccer games.

Did you attend college? 

I did, and that is where I met my late husband. He was moonlighting as campus security while going for his law enforcement degree. I majored in English with a minor in sociology. Don’t ask me why. Back then it was acceptable. All of us gals were really there to get our MRS. Women’s lib was not yet in full swing so most of us expected to be housewives.

Are you athletic?  

I try to stay fit, even though I am in my sixties. My ticker is fine and except for a slight blood pressure issues and being about fifteen pounds more than I’d like to be. I do power walk, as I said, which is how Betsy Ann and I discovered Edwin’s body diced up in the community’s dumpster. And after he’d only lived here three days. Quite odd, don’t you agree? But I won’t tell you why, because then you wouldn’t read Dumpster Dicing.

I also take yoga at the village and swim. I have never been a golf or tennis aficionado, even though they offer both here at Sunset Acres. Walking the golf course in the early morning is invigorating, however.

Did you ever think about a profession?  

(She leans closer to the microphone with a hushed voice.) Just between you and me I wanted to be a private investigator. Women in my day just didn’t do that sort of thing, you know. Or if they did, well they were very secretive about it.

Are you a pet person?

Oh my, yes. I have a cat, Ms. Fluffy. A spoiled rotten Persian, but she is a great companion. I am not that fond of dogs, but I tolerate them as long as they don’t bark obsessively or slobber. My late husband had a German Shepherd named Buddy. He was a police dog, of course, so when Jack died I gave him to his junior partner. Buddy stayed outdoors most of the time. He preferred his run and dog house to our house. Got antsy when he remained inside for too long, so we got along just fine.

Do you have any hobbies?

I do needlework, and of course I am an avid reader. Mostly suspense and mysteries, though I am nothing compared to Ethel with her bookshelves crammed with mystery novels. Did you know she cross-catalogs them by crime and motive? Oh, but I digress. I also love Bunco, which is why I host it in my home.

What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?

Well my dear, if I told you, I’d be revealing part of  the plot of Baby Bunco, the next one in the Bunco Biddies mysteries. You will just have to wait until the winter of 2017 to discover that!  (She winks and sets down her tea cup.)

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As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

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EXCERPT

The community’s trash receptacle dangled at a precarious angle.

The senior citizens sputtered in unison. “Stop. There’s a body.”

The garbage man shook his head in confusion.

Betsy Ann motioned to the back. “A body. Get it? Dead person.”

The man shut down the engine. “¿Muerto?”

“Yes. Uh, sí.” She bobbed her cropped, reddish-blonde hair.

The worker crawled down from his seat and walked to the back of the sanitation truck, which rumbled and spewed more putrid fumes. The dumpster titled down at a forty-five degree angle. Suspended in time clung numerous trash bags, pizza boxes, a broken lawn chair and…an arm?

It’s Edwin.

“Who?” Betsy Ann’s brow furrowed.

“Newman. Edwin Newman. He chewed out Mildred Fletcher because her Yorkie barked at him. Threw a coffee mug at the poor animal. Whack! Right on the nose. It left a raw, sore spot.”

“He did?”

Janie gave her a quick nod. “Mildred must apply a special salve on him three times a day. Says it cost her $22.95.”

“On Mr. Newman?”

Janie scoffed into her velour v-neck. “No, the Yorkie.”

Betsy Ann’s lips formed an “O.”

Janie pointed to the dumpster. “Mr. Newman’s in there all right.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Janie bent to Betsy Ann’s ear. “I see his head.”

Julie Cosgrove

Julie B Cosgrove is an award-winning novelist, freelance Christian devotional writer and public speaker.  When she is not writing novels, she enjoys reading those by other faith-based authors while curled on her sofa with her two purring cats and a cup of Earl Grey.  And yes, she plays Bunco.

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Guest Promotion–The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé by Diane Burton

Alex O’Hara - The Case of the Fabulous Finance - 750 Cover

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Alex O’Hara wants to take her investigation agency in a new direction—background checks for potential spouses. She hopes this new case will do the trick when a high-powered executive asks for info on her new boyfriend. Is the man she met on a cruise her Mr. Right or is he too good to be true? On the same day, Alex gets another case—finding a deadbeat dad. And both women want to double her rates so she’ll give them highest priority. She can’t believe her luck. Her finances are on the upswing. If only Nick Palzetti was around to share her good news. He disappeared on Christmas Eve, and she hasn’t heard from him in almost three months. But glitchy phones and no internet bring everything to a screeching halt.

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EXCERPT

“Dottie Matthews said you’re the best at finding people.” Perched on the visitor chair in my office, Stephanie Voorhees clutched her purse.

The old saying “When it rains, it pours” was true. I mean, when did I ever get two cases on the same day? Nora Finley in the morning, and Stephanie Voorhees late in the afternoon. I should have stopped the woman from pouring out her story, but she’d said the magic words. Dottie Matthews.

“You need to find that deadbeat who hasn’t paid child support in two years. My kids—his kids—need new shoes. Boots, too. And snowsuits don’t grow on trees. My God, you can’t believe how fast they outgrow their clothes.”

“Have you gone to the police? They are vigilant about making deadbeat dads pay what the court has mandated.”

If her kids needed new shoes and winter coats, she shouldn’t be shelling out money to hire an investigator.

“Mrs. Voorhees, Michigan—”

“It’s Ms. I’ve taken back my maiden name.”

“Ms. Voorhees, Michigan has zero tolerance for fathers who don’t pay child support. I can give you information on how to—”

“I’ve already done all that.” She cut me off again. “I want action, and I don’t see it from the Bloomfield Hills police. That’s where we lived when he left us. I want you to find that b*****d.”

“Right now, I can’t take on another case. I—”

Her eyes filled with tears. Were they real or a practiced reaction? “B-But, why . . .”

What did I do to deserve this? A windfall—two emotion-packed cases—when I didn’t have time to devote to either.

“Ms. Voorhees, Stephanie. I can’t devote the time necessary to do justice to your case. Perhaps next month—”

She tried to stifle a gasp. “A month?”

Oh, hell. She looked so crestfallen, I added, “Or three weeks.”

At that, she brightened. Tears miraculously gone. I’d been played. “Three weeks is fine. I mean, it’s not fine but acceptable. I’ve waited this long—nearly two years—what’s a few weeks?”

“Are you sure? I might not be able to—”

“I have faith in you. Dottie Matthews says you’re the best.”

Diane Burton

BIO

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mysteries. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

 

Connect with Diane Burton online

Blog:  http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

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Guest promotion–Beneath The Stones by Susan Coryell

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Ashby Overton has everything to look forward to, including a promising writing career and her wedding at summer’s end. But, Overhome, her beloved historic family estate in Southern Virginia, is in financial peril and it is up to Ashby to find a solution.

Interfering with Ashby’s plans is a dark paranormal force that thwarts her every effort to save Overhome.  Supernatural attacks emanate from an old stone cottage on the property rumored to be a slave overseer’s abode, prior to the Civil War. As the violence escalates, Ashby begins to fear for her life. Who is this angry spirit and why is his fury focused on Ashby?

Mystery, suspense and romance flourish against a backdrop of Civil War turmoil and ancestral strife–where immortality infiltrates the ancient air breathed by all who inhabit Overhome Estate.

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EXCERPT

Luke climbed down cautiously, the old boards of the steps groaning and creaking under his weight. When he reached the bottom, he turned, held out his arms and said, “Come on down, Ashby. Just go slow.”

“Not to worry. I’ve done this before,” I told him, reaching for the first step with my foot. Carefully, I moved toward the bottom, one step at a time, leaning against the wall for support. I was half-way there when it happened—so suddenly that I had no time to react. Frigid air swooshed down on me from behind, freezing my face so that I screwed my eyes tight shut at the same time something strong and determined pushed against my back violently—so violently that I stumbled, then tumbled forward, to be caught in Luke’s outstretched arms from several stairs below.

“Whoa!” Luke exhaled from the impact of my body on his. “My God, Ashby. What happened?”

I slumped against him, unable to utter a single word, my breathing shallow and rapid. At last I found my voice. “Something pushed me, Luke. I don’t know what—or who—but it was powerful and deliberate.”

Luke glanced up to the top of the stairs. “Nothing there. I’m going back to the loft to look.”

I stopped him. “I doubt you’ll find anything.” I sniffed the air, expecting a new infusion of foul odor. “And what would you do if you did find anything?”

Just then we both heard it. Hollow, chilling, trailing away from us with every syllable: “Go away. He’s dead. He’s dead. He’s dead….”

small pro photo of SusanSusan has long been interested in Southern concerns about culture and society, as hard-felt, long-held feelings battle with modern ideas. She was able to explore these themes in her cozy mystery/Southern Gothic A Red, Red Rose, whose fictional setting is based on Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. Beneath the Stones is a stand-alone sequel to A Red, Red Rose. Susan is also the author of the award-winning young adult novel, Eaglebait.

When she is not writing, Susan enjoys boating, kayaking, golf and yoga at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. She and her husband love to travel, especially when grandchildren are involved.

 

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