Tag Archives: Serial Killer

Guest Release–The Fourth Victim by Beverley Bateman

The Fourth Victim 1102

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Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.

Mac is responsible for training women in special ops, so they are prepared in their challenge to save other women. When he meets Sara, sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.

Sara graduates. Her first assignment is to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back in this dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues?

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EXCERPT

The office said he’d had a heart attack. Was he alive? Did she want him to be? What if her husband had to stay home for a few weeks to recuperate? Palms sweating, Sara’s breath came in short, shallow bursts at the thought.

The taxi jerked to a stop in front of the hospital emergency entrance.

Sara fumbled through her purse and counted out her meager number of dollar bills. Gordon didn’t allow her to have a credit card and he only allowed her to have a small amount of cash. She didn’t have enough money to pay the taxi.

“I’m so sorry. I left home without any cash. I…I … Would you take a check?” Tears spilled over and trickled down her flushed cheeks.

The driver spun around. A short stubby finger waved at the sign over the rearview mirror. “Look lady, it says right there – No Checks.”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry. My husband’s had a heart attack and I … I don’t know what to do.” Sara ran her fingers through her hair and scrunched the tight bun at her neck.

The driver shook his head. “Aw, shit. Go ahead, lady. Write the check.”

Sara pulled the single crumpled check Gordon allowed her carry for emergencies out of her purse. When she touched the check a vision of Gordon floated in front of her.

She froze and rapidly blinked her eyes. She only saw the ghosts of dead people. Gordon didn’t believe her and forbid her to ever mention it.

Could he really be dead?

“Gordon?” she whispered.

“Lady, are you writing that check or not?”

“Yes, sorry.” Sara scribbled her signature on the bottom of the check. “Please, fill it in, and give yourself a generous tip. Thank you, thank you so much.” She clutching her worn purse to her chest, slid out of the cab, and scurried through the emergency room doors.

What if he was dead? She didn’t have any money. Gordon did all the finances and never shared anything with her. How would she manage?

Twenty years ago she could have handled it. Could she do it again? But he couldn’t be dead. Gordon would never allow that to happen.

His face flitted in front of her, fixed in an angry glare.

He had to be dead or she wouldn’t be seeing him. He didn’t want to be dead. He didn’t want her to be free. If he thought she could see him he’d be furious.

Sara shuffled toward the reception desk. She glanced over her shoulder, searching for some sign of Gordon, listening for his voice, waiting for him to yell at her. She couldn’t believe he was really dead, even though she had seen him. She clung to the edge of the transition counter, her head down, chewed on her lower lip and waited to be noticed.

Finally a brusque voice snapped, “Can I help you?”

Sara looked up to see a heavy set, older woman in a loose blue top. The woman’s thick dark brows met in a v in the middle of her forehead.

“I’m sorry, I …I’m looking for my husband. His office phoned to say he’d been brought here.” Sara shrunk into her body.

“Name?” the woman commanded.

“Gordon, Gordon Peters.” Sara stared at her worn black oxfords, then at the scuffed, gray linoleum with the red, blue and yellow lines that led to different areas. Maybe she shouldn’t have come. Maybe she should have waited for Gordon to call and tell her whether she should be here or not. But if he was dead she would have to make her own decisions. Her pulse raced. Her head pounded. For the last nineteen years she had never made a decision. Gordon made all of them for her.

“When was he admitted?” The woman reminded Sara of a sergeant major.

“I’m not sure, less than an hour ago. They told me to meet him here. Maybe he’s been discharged already?” She chewed her thumbnail. If Gordon had been discharged he’d be furious at her for spending all that money on a taxi. But she’d seen his ghost.

Tension twisted her stomach into knots. The pain caused her to clutch her purse tightly against her abdomen. She needed to get home and start dinner. She’d have to take a bus. Did she have enough money? She opened her purse.

The woman moved to a second pile of folders and pulled one out. “You’re his wife?”

Sara nodded. “Yes. Can I see him?”

A sob slipped out. If she didn’t find see him soon, he’d be furious. He’d think she was too stupid to even find him in a hospital and he’d be right.

His ghost floated in front of her. This time confusion mixed with his anger.

“Have a seat, Mrs. Peters. I’ll have the doctor speak to you.”

BevB_Oct2

Beverley Bateman is a Canadian author now living in Medicine Hat, Alberta, with her husband and Shiba Inu dog. She’s exchanged the Okanagan vineyards and orchards for ranches. Winters she’s a snowbird. She writes the latest romantic suspense in both places. She enjoys reading, watercolor painting and the Native American flute.

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Guest release–Not a Chance by Maureen Bonatch

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Hope just wants to be normal—too bad that will never happen.

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The last thing Hope Hallows wants is to become the latest headline. Living in a town that likes secrets, she prefers to keep hers hidden. Avoiding a nosy reporter’s questions about her ability to infuse euphoria or despair with a single touch, and those who crave this bliss, is nothing new. But having her brother’s annoying girlfriend, Berta, go missing is—especially when it makes Hope suspect number one.

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EXCERPT

“I swear you have a death wish. Are you looking for any excuse to use your abilities again?”

I started at the ferocity in his remark and straightened in defense. He was supposed to be my ally, but I should’ve anticipated his reaction. “I had no choice.”

“Only because you chose to take her in the woods in the first place.” The tiny haze of lights ignited around him as his frustration built.

I pushed my hands in my pockets to prevent from reaching for him for my own selfish comfort. He had to understand. Griffith was the only one who understood me. He was my rock in this ever-changing town. “I had to help look for Berta. There isn’t a choice in everything. I couldn’t let Chance go alone. Yes, I went because it was my idea in the first place, but also because he’s my brother. It’s not safe for him.”

His gaze locked with mine. “You didn’t worry about yourself? Or consider how much worry you’ve caused me? Damn it Hope, you, of all people, should realize what lurks undercover in the daylight has little fear at night and outside of town.”

Griffith always saw right through my petty motives. The trait was what I loved and hated about him.

 

maureenbonatchMaureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.

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Guest Interview–Maureen Bonatch

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

It’s interesting that you ask that question since I’ve recently had my website and my logline updated. Previously it was, “Making the Ordinary Extraordinary and Laughing all the Way”.  My new one is, “Stories with Hocus Pocus and All That.”

I believe both capture the essence of my writing, which is humorous paranormal and fantasy romance.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

My characters always start the story. Sometimes I don’t even know their names when they begin telling me their story.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

As you can see from my answer above, my writing is freestyle (or panster as some refer to it–I write by the seat of my pants.) I’ve tried to force myself to plan out part of my story to reduce editing after, but most of the time my characters have minds of their own, lol.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

Most of my stories feature small towns surrounded by dense wooded areas (a great place to tuck away all kinds of secrets). I draw from my home to create the settings, although I don’t use any specific locations.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

Yes, definitely. I currently have a Shih Tzu, or I should say, he has us, lol. Scruff’s been with our family for four years now. Prior to that, we had a Lhasa Apso for 14+ years. My girls have had an array of other critters over the years—guinea pigs, hermit crabs, fish and a hamster. My husband is allergic to cats, or I’m sure one might’ve been in the mix as well.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope readers find a relaxing escape from the everyday. That they might laugh a little and wander out of the comfort zone of their imagination. That they might appreciate those around them once they look a little closer and see the extraordinary concealed within.

EvilSpeaksSoftly_Oct 11

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They were never supposed to meet. Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades…until Liv changed the story. Her villain doesn’t like the revision—and he isn’t a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins.

They were never supposed to find love. Liv never questioned her demanding nocturnal muse, or the strange incidents in her old, family home until she met Gage. His job was to watch her from afar, not reveal the truth about the curse and the stories of the dead. They’ve broken all the rules. Together they unravel secrets as they strive to stop the cycle. Liv’s ability to find love, and protect her loved ones, hangs on the fickle whims of the dead—and they’ve got nothing to lose.

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EXCERPT

“I met this strange man at the bar last night. He told me some really weird stuff.” I paused. When she remained silent, I continued. “He said it was related to my writing.” She watched me with the fascination of one who desperately wanted to look away but couldn’t. As if a deer blinded to the oncoming headlights, she was fixated, trapped. “He said to talk to you.”

I searched her face. I knew my Grams. When resignation settled on her features a knot clenched in my stomach from either fear, or the excitement of validating Gage didn’t fabricate the story. Perhaps he wasn’t crazy.

Grams slowly closed her eyes and opened them again. “He found you?”

I nodded.

She turned to stare out the frosted window where the birdfeeder sat frozen over from the recent snow. “I can’t believe he took that risk. Watchers are never to approach the Recorders. It could totally upset the balance.” She worried her lower lip between her teeth.

When she used the same terms as Gage, my anxiety elevated. I expected her to deny his claims and then we’d laugh about the incident. “Grams, please tell me. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I took a deep breath. “Some weird things happened last night. Occasionally I notice unusual things, but it’s an old house and I have an active imagination, but this time it scared me.”

Added note: This manuscript placed second in the 2015 Golden Palm Contest of the Florida Romance Writers—Paranormal category

maureenbonatch

Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.

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Guest Release–Hard Silence by Mia Kay

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FBI profiler Jeff Crandall returned to Fiddler, Idaho, to work on new Bureau protocols in peace…and because he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Abby Quinn. Kind, beautiful and quietly sexy, the petite rancher next door is loved by the entire town but keeps fiercely to herself. She’s a mystery that doesn’t want to be solved, though he’s desperate to try.

Whether that interest is professional or personal is a question he’ll sort out later.

Abby knows sharing her secrets would bring death and destruction to Fiddler. She survived her childhood, barely, but a long list of stepfathers weren’t nearly so lucky: their bodies are buried across the country, waiting to be discovered. The best protection is silence, anonymity and isolation, though the handsome agent next door seems hell-bent on destroying all three.

And he just keeps kissing her

When Jeff is called in to investigate an interstate serial killer case spanning two decades, Abby knows it’s only a matter of time before he connects the dots, sees her for who she really is and walks away. But it’s when he’s standing in the crosshairs of Abby’s past that Jeff faces his biggest challenge yet: how to give the woman he loves the life she doesn’t believe she deserves.

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EXCERPT

The other horse remained quiet in his stall. “Good morning, Hemingway,” Abby whispered as she stroked the giant black gelding’s nose and danced her fingers through his forelock. He was becoming such an elegant animal. “How are you, handsome? Ready to work this morning?” He dropped his head to her waiting hand. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

She forced her left arm up, ignoring the persistent pain, slipped the halter over his head and scratched his ears until he quieted. “No saddle today, I promise. Let’s get used to this first.” She opened the door but let the lead rope dangle as she walked away and let him follow. He needed to know she wouldn’t tug and pull. His clopping tread reminded her of Beau and her wobbly bike ride.

Shaking the memory free, she stood in the stable doorway. The pasture was cloaked in fog, and dew silvered the grasses not already trampled. It was like looking through a soft-focus lens. In this moment, right before sunrise, the world was fuzzy, tinted green, blue and gray. The birds chirped quiet, sleepy greetings. Hemingway froze when she picked up the rope.

“I won’t hurt you.” Abby took one step, keeping the lead slack, and waited. When the animal moved forward, she took another step. They inched through the paddock and the gate to the edge of the field.

“Good boy,” she murmured as she offered him a carrot and stroked his graceful neck. “See? No pain.”

Leaving him there, she went back into the stable only to run out when an equine scream ended in canine yelps and snarls. All that remained of Hemingway were his thundering hoof beats and the waving grass.

Abby knelt next to Toby and ran her hands over him, checking him for injuries. The dog’s shame gave way to a plea for a belly rub.

“I know you want to herd him,” she scolded as she gave in and scratched his chest, “but he hates to be crowded right now.” She stood and sighed. “Let’s go get him.”

Hem’s trail was marked in the dew, and easy to follow. The tall grass swallowed Toby in a gulp, and Abby waded through the swaying fescue to the river, her bag of carrots and apples bouncing against her hip. Stepping carefully on the slick rocks, she hopped to the Simons’ pasture and continued up the hill.

Off to her left, a covey of quail clattered clumsily into the sky, scaring her as much as she’d startled them. Toby shot off, intent on catching the slowest prey. Abby trudged on alone.

The giant gelding was stopped at the fence, munching on Deb Simon’s newly budded shrubs. He watched her approach with one dark, wild eye.

“Shh.” She touched his neck and pursued him when he flinched away. When he quieted, she rubbed his sweaty coat and stared down at the ragged plant. “I hope you haven’t killed that. I’ll never find a replacement.” At least the Simons were gone for the summer. It would be enough time to determine the damage and do some shopping, if necessary.

Comforting pats grew to long strokes as Abby ran her hands over the horse’s shoulder and then down his back. When she reached his ribs he stepped away and tossed his head. She kept a steady grip on the lead rope. “Quiet. I need to see if you’ve reinjured yourself. It won’t hurt. I promise.” She hoped she was right.

She got farther the second time. “Good boy, Hem.” He moved away again, and she started over.

It took four tries before she could run a light hand over his bones and feel the spots that were once jagged pieces. The horse shook beneath her, but he stayed still. “Good boy. I know it’s scary to trust someone, but you’re a brave man.” She pulled an apple from her bag. “You’re going to be good as new.”

The horse ignored the treat and stared over her shoulder, his nostrils flaring at a new scent. They weren’t alone.

Abby’s skin tingled as her muscles tightened. If she faced the intruder, she risked chasing Hem again. She tensed and moved her weight to the balls of her feet and whistled for backup. Toby came at a run. The dog was too well trained to bark, but his eyes stayed glued on their observer. Abby kept her focus on her dog.

Instead of growling, he wagged his tail. He’d seen whoever it was before. Convinced it was safe, Abby turned to face their audience.

“Hi, Abby.”

Jeff Crandall stood on the Simons’ porch, barefooted, in a wrinkled T-shirt and faded jeans. Lounging against a newel post, he was sipping a cup of steaming coffee, holding it with one hand while the other was shoved into the front pocket of his jeans.

Abby swept her gaze from him to the yard. She’d been so intent on the horse, she’d missed the car parked in front of the barn Hank Simon used as a garage. The silver Audi roadster with Illinois plates was the sort of car she only saw in magazines, and it would have easily fit in her horse trailer.

Maggie Harper’s reminder echoed through Abby’s scrambled brain. Jeff was renting the house for the summer, something about a project related to his job with the FBI.

He descended into the yard and started toward them with an easy gait, frowning slightly like he always did when she caught his eye. She’d seen that look for so many years, from so many people—teachers, doctors, ministers…stepfathers.

Would she ever get used to him appearing without warning? For the past year, since Gray Harper had asked for his help figuring out who was stalking Maggie, Jeff had come and gone with predictable unpredictability, always keeping her on edge.

Mia Kay

Mia Kay spent years writing legal documents and keeping people out of trouble. Now she spends her days looking for ways to get her characters into trouble. She lives in Arkansas with her husband, who doesn’t mind discussing (and sometimes causing) mayhem over breakfast.

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Guest Promotion–Landlocked by Marilyn Baron

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Amelia Rushing is an inexperienced South Florida realtor with weather issues, and a loser in love. Her grandmother asks her to sell some property on an isolated North Carolina mountaintop, and upon investigation, Amelia finds the tract is landlocked. Determined to make her first sale and right the injustice to her grandmother, Amelia travels to the town of Confrontation and enlists the help of local real estate attorney, Alec Brady, who thwarts her at every turn.

Sparks fly when Amelia announces her plans to move into her grandmother’s cabin until she can sell the property. It is Alec’s current home, and he’s not giving it up. When Amelia discovers that thirty years ago a prominent landscape artist disappeared in the town of Confrontation, she is anxious to solve the decades-old mystery, but there’s a serial killer on the loose, one nobody wants to turn in, despite the number of people missing. What is the community hiding, and does Alec know where the bodies are buried?

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EXCERPT

He was too freaking gorgeous with his chiseled movie-star face and a buff body to match. He extended his hand, and she stood up to shake it. But for a  moment, he’d rendered her incoherent.

“Welcome to our little part of—”

“I’ve already had the ‘little part of heaven,’ speech from your receptionist,” Amelia said when she rediscovered her voice.

Alec skewered her with a piercing look from his fathomless blue eyes.

“You think I’m a hillbilly.” His deadpan delivery indicated it was more of a statement than a question.

“You must be a mind reader.”

“Don’t have to be. It’s written all over your face.”

“Okay, I have to ask. What’s a Duke grad doing in a backwater town like Confrontation? And I use the term town loosely.”

Practicing law,” Alec answered dryly.

“I’ve already contacted a local broker/realtor named Barry Brady, and he referred me to you. He said he’d looked at the papers I faxed over and that we couldn’t proceed with the sale. That’s when he recommended I see you. Your secretary’s named Brady, too. Is everyone in this town related?”

Alec’s face flashed a barely disguised smile. Must be an inside joke.

“Pretty much, ma’am.”

“I’m glad I could amuse you. Do you all intermarry up here in Confrontation?”

“I’m not married.”

“No cousins available?”

“Is that a serious question?”

IMG_1172 (2)MarilynBaronMarilyn Baron is a corporate communications consultant in Atlanta. She’s a member of RWA and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), recipient of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award and winner or finalist in writing awards in single title, suspense romance, novel with strong romantic elements and paranormal romance.  Landlocked is her 10th book with The Wild Rose Press.

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Website:  www.marilynbaron.com

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Blog:  Marilyn blogs with Savvy Authors on the 22nd of every month at  http://savvyauthors.com/blog/

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Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4722647.Marilyn_Baron