Tag Archives: Murder

Guest Release Promotion–Targeted by Beverley Bateman

Targeted is the third book in the series. I was at a conference In Victoria, BC, Canada, up on the mezzanine overlooking the expensive lobby with marble floors. I sorted of squatted down and peeked through the carved posts and had this image of a cowboy in spurs striding through the lobby. I then became the heroine, watching him arrive with mixed feelings. And that was the start of Hunted, the first book in the series. I love ranches and cowboys, and I developed this small town in Montana.

Targeted_Oct 2

BLURB

After an eleven-year absence Janna Kincaid inherits a ranch and must return to a town she remembers with unhappiness, a man she briefly married and never wants to see again, and someone is trying to kill her.

Kye Hawkins has loved Janna since they met. They were married, but right after she left without an explanation. He hasn’t figured out why. Now she’s coming back. Can he rekindle the romance, and prevent her from being killed?

Janna doesn’t want Kye’s help, yet he’s always there when she’s in trouble. Can they work together to stop a killer, and find romance again?

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EXCERPT

Someone had shot her back tire. Janna gripped the wheel to keep the vehicle on the road. She debated whether to try and outrun the shooter, wherever he was, or find cover. The windshield shattered as a third bullet entered the passenger side.

So much for outrunning the shooter.

She scanned the area and spotted an outcropping of rocks a few feet ahead on her right. She aimed the vehicle in that direction.

Two more shots, and both the back tires went down.

Definitely find cover.

Janna ducked low behind the steering wheel until the vehicle reached the rocks. When the car stopped, she grabbed the keys from the ignition and her purse and dove out the door. Bullets bounced off the rocks behind her as she scrambled for cover. Whoever was doing the shooting was serous. Anyone of the shots could have hit her.

She reached the rocks, keeping low until she got to the middle where she curled up as tightly as possible, her back against a rock. Her heart pounded in her ears, her breathing came in gasps. This was getting to be a habit. First someone tried to kill her in Seattle, and now, out in this god-forsaken country.

What the hell is going on? Why are they shooting at me? Was it the same person who shot at me in Seattle? That doesn’t seem likely, but who even knew I was coming here? Maybe it’s someone just trying to rob a stranger.

Yeah right, be honest, Janna, does this road look like many strangers came this way? And if they did, would they have a lot to steal? You really think this person selected a spot in the rocks where he would have a good shot at my vehicle. Coincidence? Not damn likely.

At least she’d worn boots and jeans—even if they were designer jeans. Now they were filthy, and so was her red sweater and jean jacket.

Another shot hit the rock behind her. She rolled over onto her stomach, shaded her eyes, and squinted into the sun. He must be up on the cliffs straight ahead. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she might have glimpsed a light, maybe a reflection off his scope.

Terrific! Now what? My gun is in my purse. I could fire back, but that would be a waste of bullets at this distance.

She yanked out her cell and punched in 9-1-1.

Damn—no reception.

A pounding pulsed through the ground and came closer. Janna could feel the vibrations. It felt like horses. She glanced around, without raising her head, to see what was coming.

Suddenly there was a hand in front of her face.

“Grab it and jump on.”

The deep, rumbling voice was not asking. It was an order.

Janna grabbed the strong hand. In one smooth motion, she swung up behind a man on his horse. Seconds later, she had her hands wrapped around his well-developed, muscular chest, as the big chestnut thundered across the ground, out of the bullets’ range.

The man wore a leather jacket over a sweater. Her hands slid under the jacket for better grip. Even through the sweater she could feel sinewy muscles. She laid her head against his back and his braid. She took a breath in, inhaling the rich scent of leather, trying to calm her racing heart rate.

She glanced behind her. The cliffs were fading into the distance. The muscles of his well-developed shoulders bunched and relaxed as he led the horse at a gallop across the field. She felt safe for some unfathomable reason.

He had a familiar woodsy scent that made her think of sex under pine trees, not that she’d ever made love there. In fact, her sex life was pretty negligible these days.

They’d been riding for several minutes when Janna leaned forward. “You can put me down any place. I can manage now.”

“Really? And just what are you going to do out here, miles from town, by yourself, with someone shooting at you?”

The voice was deep, but soft, and rolled over her like warmed brandy. It triggered something in the back of her memory. The earthy scent, the sinewy body, the braid, the voice… She knew this person who had ridden up out of nowhere to save her.

“I have my cell. I’ve already called 9-1-1,” she snapped.

“And did you get an answer?”

Janna yanked her cell phone up where she could see the screen again and re-tapped in 9-1-1. And then there was that famous phrase—No Service.

There was a deep chuckle. “That’s what I thought. There’s no service in this area. The mountains block it.”

BevB_Oct2

Beverley Bateman exchanged the Okanagan vineyards and orchards for the ranches and farms of Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she lives with her Shiba Inu dogs. Winters she snowbirds and continues to write her latest romantic suspense books. Hunted, Missing and Targeted are part of her Hawkins Ranch series.

 

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Guest release promotion–By Design by Beverley Bateman

Why I wrote the book:

An editor talked about doing a medical-based boxed set. She asked if I’d be interested. I said yes and thought about doing a hospital mystery – disease, murder, etc. Then I thought about cloning and the possibilities for illegal cloning. I started to research it and found the subject fascinating, both the pros and cons. We didn’t end up doing the box set.

By Design--June 2

 

 

BLURB

Nurse Evie Dalton succumbs to greed and a chance to work with sexy Dr. Adam Marsden. She accepts a position at an isolated hospital with an onsite animal farm, screams in the night, and mysterious limos arriving in the dark. People disappear and turn up dead. There’s no way to leave and no communication outside the town. Dr. Adam Marsden left his past behind. Now he has it all; a great job, money, and a chance to buy his own hospital. But he hadn’t counted on Evie Dalton. Because of him, she’s at risk and might be the next victim.

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EXCERPT

On the way to the shower she heard a car. She detoured to the window, opened the curtains slightly and watched two limos pull up beside the hospital. Nine or ten people got out and disappeared into the back wing. They appeared to be both men and women. Most of them carried small black bags. The limos backed up, turned around and left.

Now what would all those people be doing going into the hospital? They didn’t look like patients. What else could they be? They were obviously going to be there for a while since their transportation had left.

They’d gone into the back wing; one of the wings Evie hadn’t been shown.

Evie let the curtain close. She frowned, chewed her lower lip, and tried to figure out what they might be doing. Her mind was a total blank. She shrugged and gave up. Maybe she could ask Adam. He might know.

In the shower she let the hot water pulsate against her skin and turned so the water hit directly at the base of her neck. It might help to wash away some of the stress. She’d talk to Adam tonight. He’d have some answers. She could trust him. He’d give her a logical explanation and make her feel better.

She glanced out the window again. This time an ambulance slipped quietly through the dusky night. It slid up to a large door down from where the other group of people had entered. Evie couldn’t resist. She stood to one side so she wasn’t reflected in the light and let the curtains almost close together so she wouldn’t be noticed. She watched the ambulance attendants open the back door and remove a stretcher. They carried it inside. By the shape, it appeared to be a body under the covers. She couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman or even if it was dead or alive.

Things got more curious. Evie was sure there was probably a good explanation, but what kind of surgery would they be doing on someone brought in by ambulance out here? To the best of her knowledge, they didn’t have staff working in the operating rooms at night. Warren said he worked nights. She should go down and ask him what a group of people and a body did at night.

Evie turned away from the window. A scream pierced the air. A chill ran down her spine. She stopped and listened. It wasn’t repeated. She wasn’t even sure if it was human. It might have been an animal. Maybe a wild animal.

What was really going on here? She felt like she should do something, but what? She didn’t know what it was or even where it came from. She couldn’t phone anyone. There really wasn’t much she could do.

A residual chill still claimed her body as she buttoned her blouse. Her mind tried to figure out what was going on at the hospital. She’d ask Warren about it next time they talked. Right now, she had to hurry so she’d be ready for Adam.

It wasn’t just her over active imagination. That scream had been for real. Something unusual was going on and they didn’t want people to know about it.

* * *

On the other side of the hospital another black limousine eased to a stop in front of a side exit door. The hospital door opened and Grethe Byrne stepped out, reflected in the yellow light. She allowed the door to close behind her. The light was extinguished. She stood in the darkness. She’d been waiting for the limo to arrive but didn’t want to call attention to it.

The driver unwound himself from the front seat, stood up and adjusted his cap. Then he strode around the front of the car across the headlights and along the side toward the back. Reaching the door, he opened it and stepped back.

A slender woman, maybe in her mid-thirties, wearing a simple, but very expensive designer black suit and hat, stepped out and tripped up the stairs in her four inch heels. Diamonds flashed on her wrist and her ears.

The driver closed the back door.

When she reached the top step she turned toward the driver. “Charles, check with my husband in about a week. I should be ready by then.”

“Yes ma’am.” He nodded, slid back behind the wheel, and turned the key. The engine purred quietly as it slid down the driveway. The taillights disappeared into the night.

Grethe Byrne watched the car fade away.

“You have what we want?” the woman asked.

“Of course, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?” Nurse Byrne snapped.

“No. I mean exactly. Do you have exactly what we ordered? White blonde hair, sky blue eyes, IQ of at least 130?”

“Yes. Don’t worry. It will be exactly what you ordered. Did you bring the balance of your payment? In cash and small bills?”

“Yes of course. I’ve kept my part of the arrangement. You had better keep yours.” This time it was the woman’s turn to snap.

“We stand on our reputation. We deliver what we promise. We’ve had no complaints so far.” Nurse Byrne punched in the code to unlock the door. Light flooded the area again as they entered the hospital. Nurse Byrne whisked the woman down the corridor and toward the back rooms.

“Your room is through here. I’m sure you’ll be very comfortable during your stay with us. I have the papers for you to sign.”

“What papers? I should have my lawyer here to review any papers before I sign them.

Nurse Byrne fixed her with an icy stare. “I really don’t think you want your lawyer or anyone else to know what you’re doing, do you? You know what the consequences might be.”

Beverley Bateman

Beverley Bateman is a Canadian author who writes romantic suspense and medical thrillers. She’s the author of several books who loves traveling, good wine and a mystery. She also enjoys watercolor painting, glass fusion and tai chi. She lives with her husband and two Shiba Inu dogs in southern Alberta.

 

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Guest release–The Newspaper Code by Lisa J. Lickel

The_Newspaper_Code

BLURB:

Judy Wingate’s NOT-BFF, Olivia Hargrove of the Robertsville Reporter, discovers a Civil War-era secret newspaper code that may lead to a seven million dollar windfall.

Not long after Judy and Hart’s baby is born, Judy and Ardyth are embroiled in another murder. This time it’s 99-year-old Esme Espe, the queen of the Petunia Society, Robertsville’s Garden Club. Dead-heading petunias has become a serious undertaking in Robertsville.

EXCERPT:

Ten minutes later, Judy, who’d accompanied Olivia to her second-floor apartment above the card shop, stood with her in front of the big oval mirror in the bathroom. Judy hovered behind her, deciding what to say and how to say it. Olivia still hadn’t told her about the code in the newspaper, or much about Adam.

And the hair! What in the world could she say without being accused of being too honest again?

“Hopeless, isn’t it? I might as well shave it off.” Olivia made a face at herself.

“I changed my mind. Do you really need glasses?” Judy decided to start with something easier. “Who…why did you decide on that style?”

“The clerk said cat’s-eyes were retro chic and I’d be memorable.” Olivia raised one eyebrow. “I’ve a lot to learn about reading people, don’t I?”

Judy took a deep breath, not about to start sharing her secret ability to read body language. She’d gotten so good at it after taking a class a few years back her former principal tried to use her as a kind of human lie detector in student behavior hearings. Her gift seemed to have faded since having Elizabeth. “I think you want to try something simpler. Have you heard of ‘less is more’?”

“Of course.” Olivia removed the glasses and reached into a drawer. She pulled out a pair of wire rims. “This is my last prescription. And, yes, I do need glasses. If I want to see anything, that is.” She stuck them on her nose and peered, eyebrows beetled, at herself. “Are these better?”

“If you want to look like a reject from Woodstock. You don’t exactly have to be in style, but you should aim to be stylish.”

“You’re saying I have no style?”

“That’s not what I mean.” Judy prayed for the right words. “Sometimes I think you don’t care about how you look.”

“I don’t usually have time to do makeup and hair, with my job.” She studied her reflection. “But I’m afraid I might end up a batty lonely old lady, like Esme, in a houseful of stray animals.”

“Esme had a lot of people who cared about her. She did things for the town. She might have lived alone, but I don’t think she was lonely. And Ardyth says she didn’t really have a houseful of strays. That was just a rumor.”

“Oh.”

“You didn’t report that, did you?”

“No. It’s not relevant. I don’t think.” Olivia turned to look at her. “Unless somehow one of her strays got into trouble with, like, shredding her work, or picked up something that belonged to someone else and brought it back. I read a book, once, where a packrat hid jewels in its nest and the homeowner was killed over it.”

“That’s pretty far-fetched.”

Olivia shifted back into place and gathered her hair in both hands. “What about this?”

Judy didn’t have a clue what to do with the wiry mop on Olivia’s head. “Have you tried growing it?”

“This is about as long as it gets.”

“Have you tried braiding, or something?”

“I’m hopeless.”

“Maybe I can try.” Judy studied the amount of hair and the directions it coiled. “I learned how to do this style back when I had my apartment in Lewiston. One of my neighbors was a flight attendant, and she liked to have her hair away from her face. Let me see. I divide it first. Do you have a comb?”

Five minutes of untangling and looping later, Olivia jerked under her hands. “Ouch!”

“Sorry. It’s been awhile.” Judy tucked under one of the French braids she’d styled around Olivia’s face. “And I have a daughter now, so I better get back in the habit before she starts asking me. Okay, how’s that?”

Wow, who knew Olivia had a real face under all that. Heart-shaped, too.

“Um, okay. I guess.” Olivia gave a cursory glance at the mirror. She raised her chin and looked at Judy’s reflection. “How many boyfriends have you had?”

Ah, so she’s back to thinking about Adam Gordon. Let’s follow this tack. “I’m probably not the best person to ask about boyfriends,” Judy warned.

“Besides the one who was a murderer,” Olivia added.

Judy felt the tingle of anger. No matter how nice Olivia looked on the outside, tact was not part of her inner make up. She acted more like one of Judy’s students.

Don’t take it personally, she reminded herself.

But maybe I can turn this to my advantage. “Graham was my first adult boyfriend,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons I didn’t know he couldn’t be trusted—I didn’t have any experience with boys. Men.”

“So, you’re saying I can’t trust my feelings about Adam Ray because I don’t know any better.”

Judy cleared her throat and finished the other braid before stepping back. “That’s pretty blunt. Why don’t we talk about the things you know for sure, not what you think or feel?”

Olivia nodded. “I can do that. Let’s see. We went to college together.” She frowned. “He was three years ahead of me. I guess I don’t even know for sure that he graduated, though I could look it up on line.”

“If he took a teaching job at a college, let’s assume he finished college and graduate school.”

“I had no idea what he was doing after college until he sent that letter inviting me to collaborate.”

“Those were his words? He wanted to collaborate?” Judy smothered a laugh. “I haven’t heard that one before.”

“You think it’s just a line?”

“I don’t know. I’m sorry, that wasn’t very nice of me. What else did the letter say?”

Olivia pulled the towel from around her neck and replaced the wire rims with the cat’s-eyes. “Here, you can read it for yourself.”

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Lisa Lickel E 110 KB

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. A multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and magazine editor.

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Twitter: @lisajlickel