Monday, September 28, 2020

Monday Book Review: Lucky Double, by Deborah Coonts


About the Book:

Haven’t met Lucky yet? Here’s your chance!

This boxset includes Book One (Wanna Get Lucky?) AND Book Two (Lucky Stiff) in the bestselling Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure series. With over 700 pages and 1000+ five star reviews, you don’t want to miss this bundle of Vegas highjinks, murder, romance, and laugh-out-loud moments we all can relate to.

Everyone Has a Hidden Talent

For Lucky O’Toole it’s murder…solving it.

Surviving in Sin City takes cunning, a pair of five-inch heels, and a wiseass attitude. Lucky has mastered them all and has a pair of legs she uses to kick butt and turn heads.

As the Chief Problem Solver for the Babylon, Las Vegas’s most over-the-top destination, mischief is in her job description.

She’s good at her job.

She’s less good at life. But who has time for a life when there’s a killer on the loose?

Light, funny, romantic mysteries providing a Vegas escape appropriate for anyone looking for a good laugh.
 

 MY TAKE:

I found this indie author through BookBub (and if you don't get their daily emails of free and discounted books, what are you waiting for) ...and I'm so glad I clicked and bought this two-fer full of snark and wit and crazy situations and oh-my-god this was a fun read. 

Be warned there are a bunch of negatve-nelly reviews on Amazon because of the language and adult situations, but tell me how can an author set a series in Vegas in this day and age without dropping f-bombs? That said, if coarse language is a deal breaker for you as a reader, steer clear of this series. And of Vegas in general.

This two-books-in-one are the first two in this series about a Las Vegas "Fixer." Think Ray Donovan in designer dresses and heels, without the baseball bat or nearly as much bloodshed. Lucky's actual title is ostensibly Director of Guest Relations for a major casino/hotel, but she has so much more on her plate than dealing with tourists complaining about their rooms. Every work day seems a million years long, she barely sleeps and has no social life outside of work. Or at least she doesn't when we first meet her.

Lucky O'Toole was born and raised in Vegas, the City of Sin. Her mother runs a legal whorehouse, where she was raised until she was 15, when she lied about her age and moved to the city to work a legit job in one of the major casinos. Her best friend is a female impersonator who lives one floor above her and works at her resort, and her executive assistant is a demure powerhouse who would put Moneypenny to shame for being lazy.

Each of the books has a central murder Lucky must unravel along with a myriad other subplots to untangle, as well as a complicated love life and don't even get me started on her family! Reading these two stories - back to back, mind you, when I shoulda been working - was like reading Stephanie Plum or Kinsey Millhone on steroids with the sarcastic tone dialed up to eleven.

If you like strong, take charge women with a heft dose of snark - and you don't mind f-bombs exploding on the page - try one of these Lucky O'Toole mysteries.  

Grab LUCKY DOUBLE on Amazon for $3.99 to get your Vegas on.

Friday, September 18, 2020

New HOT HUNKS series coming this fall ~ and an excerpt from mine!

 


Yes, I signed on to another Hot Hunks series for this fall ~ which is cool, because GHOST IN THE MACHINE releases October 1st with Logan's older brother Jack. Both brothers paired off in the same month! Love it!

I have one MacDonald brother left to pair off after this one, but he might not be suitable for this series so if I'm going to stick with this group, I'll have to come up with some new characters to torture, err, I mean write about!

Anyway, I'm excited about Logan's story, and thought I'd share the prologue - it starts off where his cousin Ed's story ends (ED'S BLIND DATE DILEMMA, available on AMAZON)

Please let me know what you think... email me or send me comments via my website at www.katie-osullivan.com

Prologue

August 2, twilight

Pleasant Bay, Chatham

 

Logan MacDonald leaned both forearms against the porch railing, the last rays of the day still warm on his perpetually bronzed skin. He’d need to dig a sweatshirt out of the truck soon, but for right now he welcomed the cooler breeze on his overheated body. If only it could also take the edge of the restless feeling he couldn’t seem to shake.

All day the feeling dogged him, no matter how hard he pushed himself. He’d gone for a five mile morning run with his buddy Jake, bicycled into downtown to meet a few friends for breakfast, then done yard work until it was time to hit the beach with his family for the afternoon. He’d taken his young niece for a sail around the bay and worked up quite the sweat paddle boarding with his cousins… the only strenuous activity he hadn’t tried yet was sex, but the night was still young. Maybe he’d head into town after the bonfire and hit the bars, hook up with friends and find a willing tourist looking to score with a local. Yeah, that might quench this feeling.

Of all the things Logan could count on during the summer, easy hookups topped the list. Not with the local girls whom he’d known since preschool. Chatham was a pretty small town, except in the summer when the population swelled with summer people and weekenders, all looking to escape their “real lives” back home, wherever that might be. He and his buddies were happy to oblige.

At twenty-five, he’d been around the bar scene long enough to know what the summer girls were looking for and he fit the bill to a “T”, if that “T” for tall, dark and handsome. Actually, all of his cousins fit that same description, especially his cousin Quinn who was currently the lead singer in one of the hottest rock bands on the radio. Of course, Logan had a few inches on all of them, being the tallest of the eight MacDonald cousins. But fuck all if he was gonna name drop Quinn to hook up with a tourist. He’d never hear the end of it.

Happy with his plan for late night to quench the last of his restlessness, Logan surveyed the scene at the bottom of the small hill. Friends and family gathered on the shore and around the fire pit. One of his cousins added more wood to the blazing flames while another helped pull the last kayak up onto the private beach that had been in the family for generations.

His aunt and uncle owned the sweet turn of the century farmhouse at his back, perched on a slight rise overlooking the shore of Pleasant Bay with a perfect view out to the Atlantic. Over the last hundred years it had been added onto several times, but luckily Uncle Grant was a contractor who knew how to best care for the now sprawling residence.

Someday, he thought.

Someday he’d own a house on the water. He’d majored in construction engineering in college and currently worked as a foreman for his Uncle Grant, earning serious bank. Logan had his eye on a piece of property in Brewster, the next town over, with gorgeous views of Cape Cod Bay. He heard it might be going up for auction the following spring. He knew the house, knew it needed substantial work, but he’d been honing skills with his uncle’s company for the last four years. Plus, he and his brother Jack pooled their savings a few years back to purchase a “practice” fixer-upper. Their house sat nestled in the trees, so no ocean views, but it was around the corner from his parents’ bed and breakfast and within walking distance of Pleasant Bay. Not the house Logan ultimately wanted, but it would do for the time being.

He’d renovated the kitchen and dining room first, and added a wide back porch to host parties. Food, friends, and family ranked high on his list of importance. Especially family. His father was one of four brothers who came over together from Scotland years ago. Logan was the youngest of eight cousins, most of whom still lived right here on Cape Cod. He loved spending time with his family, and enjoyed nothing more than hosting a get-together and cooking up a feast for whomever happened to be there. The house he shared with Jack was perfect for that.

Or rather, it used to. Now it seemed crowded.

Jack’s girlfriend Maggie moved in two months ago. She used to own a brownstone up in Boston, but it sold earlier in the spring. Ever since she and Jack met the prior fall, she spent much of her time living with the brothers. Not that Logan minded, not really. Mags was fun to hang around with, and she made Jack happy.

But… three can be a lonely number. Huh. Maybe that’s where this restless feeling is coming from.

He’d never felt lonely before, not in his entire life. His older brother was one of his best friends, in addition to the six other cousins, all guys, all around the same age. Always there when you needed a helping hand, a drinking buddy, or a wingman on a Saturday night. But in the last year or so, most of his cousins found steady girlfriends. Or wives. Quinn the rock star – of all people – kicked it all off in December when he married one of his bandmates. An avalanche of engagements followed.

Brendan got engaged on New Year’s Eve.

Brian married Caroline in June.

Dylan finally popped the question to Bella during the family Fourth of July party.

Now Jack had Maggie. Even Ed started dating again, after losing his high school sweetheart to cancer three years before. Only Logan and his cousin John remained single these days. And John barely came home to Chatham, preferring his city life up in Boston. Leaving Logan the odd man out at so many of these family events.

Hell, I’m only twenty five. Plenty of time to settle down later.

So why the nagging feeling in his gut that he was missing out on something?

“Hey bro! Got a minute?” Jack pushed a cold beer into Logan’s empty hand. They clinked the bottles together and Logan drank deeply, slightly worried by the nervous energy wafting off his brother.

He pressed the cold glass against his temple, watching Jack warily. “You have fun teaching Mags how to kayak?”

“Yeah, turns out she’s a natural on the water.” Jack picked at the label on his longneck, leaning his hip against the railing next to Logan. “So you remember how we talked about me buying you out your share of the house at some point?”

“Yup.” Logan figured he’d need that money eventually. Not to purchase the property in Brewster, since he made good money and had enough saved up for the downpayment. But the house on the bay needed a helluva lot of work. It might even be a tear down…

Jack’s next question pulled him from his musings.

“Do you have a plan? Like, if you want to buy a new house or where you might move to?”

Logan laughed. “Jack, you don’t have the cash to buy me out on your salary. I figure I’ve got time.” His older brother was a State Trooper, and while he had great benefits, the pay was half what Logan pulled in doing construction.

The silence stretched between them for a long moment until Jack cleared his throat. “Thing is, we do have the money.”

“We?”

“Maggie and me. She closed escrow on her place in Boston.”

Logan let out an inelegant snort. He knew her Beacon Hill brownstone sold for several million. “With that kind of money in hand, why buy me out? You two should look for something on the ocean.”

“Most of the money is already earmarked for the rehab facility she wants to open in honor of her sister. She’s been talking with Uncle Grant about the building plans all summer. And you know she loves how secluded our house is. And that it’s so close to family.”

How could Logan argue with any of that? Maggie was trying to turn her sister’s tragic death into something positive, and keep out of the spotlight at the same time. Plus, with no family left of her own, she’d formed a tight bond with his mother and was always hanging around the B&B helping out. Before he could formulate an answer, his cousins Ed and Brendan exited the house, arms laden with trays of hotdogs and hamburgers for the grill down on the beach below.

“Logan, mind grabbing the other tray from the kitchen counter?”

“Sure thing, Ed.” Logan turned back to Jack and shrugged. “Can we talk about this later?” His brother nodded in agreement, and Logan went into the kitchen to grab the additional tray of buns and condiments, his brain stuck on the fact that Jack wanted him to move out.

Not like he hadn’t seen it coming.

He just wasn’t sure what he was going to do about it.



Monday, September 14, 2020

Monday Book Review: Woke, by Peggy Jaeger

 

About the Book:

Waking up each day is a gift….

On her 21st birthday, someone slipped a potent drug combination into socialite Aurora Brightwell’s champagne putting her in a coma for the next ten years. It’s been a long road back, and it’s time to reclaim the life she lost and find out exactly what happened on that fateful night.

Financier Kincade Enright has his own reason for helping Aurora discover who poisoned her, but for the time being he’s keeping that - and his true identity - to himself. What he can’t keep hidden though, are his growing feelings for the one-time paparazzi darling and party-girl.

When this prince of finance joins forces with the former sleeping beauty, nothing can stop them from finding the answers they seek…or prevent the powerful emotions developing between them as they search for the truth.

 MY TAKE:

This is a fun, fizzy read which starts with lots of socialite sparkle and glam like every good fairy tale. Yes, it's a Sleeping Beauty tale right down to the heroine's first name - Aurora. While there is no wicked witch or spinning wheel to prick her finger upon, this is a modern take on a classic. It doesn't stick to the Grimm fairy tale version, but rather takes the storyline as a starting point and creates something new and all her own.

Aurora is young, beautiful and rich, living the high life in New York City. The darkness sneaks in and takes over in the form of party drug overdose, leaving our heroine in a coma for ten years. When she finally wakes, she shares in first person her long road of recovery and the nagging question of what actually happened to her at that party, and who is responsible.

The twists in the story keep the pages turning, the sleeping beauty trope put aside in favor of more of a whodunit mystery with a heaping dash of romance between Aurora - now AJ -  and her new Prince Charming named Cade, as they seek answers to the ten year old mystery. This book was more like her Will Cook for Love series, with the tantalizing sizzle of romantic suspense keeping me glued to my ereader.

With another 5-star read, Ms. Jaeger has proven herself a versatile author, and remains an auto-buy for me. Totally recommend!

 Grab a copy on AMAZON

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Proof Copies in Hand! Excerpt to Share!

 

Proof copies are here! I love holding a new book with my name on it in my hot little hands!

Release date is still set for October 1 for Kindle and Paperback.

To share the love, here's the prologue to the story... Enjoy! And if you like it, go preorder your Kindle version on AMAZON

 

Prologue

Saturday, October 12

Somewhere along Route 6, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

 

The speeding car slowed its pace a fraction allowing the back door to push open. She tumbled into the darkness, her body weightless as it flew through the pitch-black, down into the shallow ravine. Luckily, she landed on something that cushioned her fall. Not that it’s ever lucky to be thrown from a moving vehicle in the middle of nowhere.

But still, she thought. It’s the little things.

Surprisingly, she didn’t feel any physical pain… Just dazed. Disoriented. She put a hand to her forehead, trying to remember why she’d been in the car in the first place. Nothing. No memory of why she’d been in the backseat or who drove the car that was now red tail lights fading in the distance.

The last thing she remembered clearly was leaving her lawyer’s office, phone to her ear talking with… someone. Arguing, but she couldn’t remember about what. Another gap in her memory. She felt restless, as if she needed to be somewhere else right this minute, but at the same time she had no idea where that “else” might be. Or why she needed to hurry.

She put her hands down on the grass and attempted to stand but her body felt strange. Her legs didn’t want to respond. “Not surprising, given the circumstances.” Her voice sounded small and hollow, like it was afraid to echo into the surrounding darkness.

Cars and trucks whizzed along the two lane road several feet from where she was, headlights offering enough ambient light for her to make out the surroundings. Finally, she convinced her legs to try again and stood on the grassy bank to look around. Tall trees fenced in both sides of the road, with no billboards or storefronts or houses or signs of any kind to help her know where she was or even what state she was in. A line of those three foot yellow road dividers rose from the middle of the road to keep the traffic going each way separate from the other. Something about it seemed familiar, but she couldn’t quite put a finger on why.

She looked down at the large black trash bag near her feet, the one that saved her from even more pain. A small rip in the thick plastic revealed a few fingers, their chipped nail polish nearly obscured by dried blood.

She covered her mouth, suppressing an involuntary scream as she backed away several steps. Her knees buckled and she sank to the ground, unable to tear her eyes from what she now knew was a body. A woman’s body. Who was she? Why was she here by the side of the road like so much garbage? She lowered her head into her hands, the sadness devastating but no tears came. She’d witnessed so much tragedy in recent years that she couldn’t say she was truly shocked to find an abandoned corpse by the side of the road.

But the idea of someone getting away with murder weighed on her.

When she looked up again, the rising sun brightened the sky and her outlook. She gazed up at the nearly cloudless expanse, vowing to seek justice for the dead woman lying so close to her. But first she needed to find help for herself. Funny that she didn’t have her cell phone in her pocket; she never went anywhere without it. She rose slowly to her feet and thought about flagging down one of those cars zooming by. Would anyone stop?

An oversized white van pulled off the highway onto the grass, coasting to a stop several yards from where she stood. Yellowish lights flashed on its roof, giving it the semi-official look preferred by most highway departments. The side door slid open and several passengers jumped out into the grass, all wearing matching orange jumpsuits and reflective neon vests. The men carried trash bags and pointed sticks. A state trooper with a sharp-edged hat emerged from the front seat of the van and stood watching as the jump-suited men slowly shuffled through the grass.

“Barnstable County Correctional Facility,” she read from the side of the van. Now the familiar-looking yellow dividers made more sense. She must be on Cape Cod, on the infamously narrow stretch of Route 6 known as “Suicide Alley.” She’d been here before. Well, she’d driven down Route 6 in the past. She never sat on the grassy side of the road with a corpse before.

She raised her arm to wave down the trooper and his charges, but no one seemed to notice her. Perhaps the prisoners were instructed not to interact with motorists? One of the guys headed her way, walking straight toward the black trash bag. He must see me, she reasoned. He looked right at her. And then he focused on the trash bag at her feet.

Taking a few steps closer to the bag, she wondered how to explain why she was here by the side of the road with a dead body, something even she didn’t understand. The sunlight reflected on gathered dew, the bag holding the body shining like a treasure. Wait until he discovers what the treasure is, she thought, grimacing. And what happens to me? Will I be joining them in lockup? She shuddered, thinking of the complicated circumstantial evidence. She’d been in court enough times to know situations like this were hard to explain away.

Wait, why am I familiar with lockup and courtrooms? Am I some kind of criminal? Something tickled her mind, but she couldn’t quite grasp the thought. Just tell the truth, she told herself, taking a deep breath. What’s the worst that can happen?

“Hey,” she said as the skinny man in the orange jumpsuit approached. “I know this is strange, me being here without a car and all. Someone dumped me here, believe it or not. The same way they dumped her.” She pointed to the bag.

He stopped short, his eyes riveted by the fingers poking from the hole. Thrusting his pointy stick deep into the grass, he turned away from the body. “Marvin! Bubba! Get the trooper. We got a problem.” He turned back toward her. “Now who’ve we got here?” His beady eyes focused on the trash bag.

“I really don’t know,” she admitted, following his gaze. “It’s a crime scene, though, so don’t touch anything.”

“I’d better not touch anything,” he agreed, nodding his head along with his words. “Don’t need no fingerprints of mine complicating things.”

She looked up to see the trooper and several other convicts in bright orange running toward them. She sighed with a kind of relief, feeling as if some burden had been lifted. She’d been found. She could go home. Even if she didn’t quite remember where home was.

“What’ve you got there?” The trooper’s voice sounded deep and gravelly, as if he wasn’t fully awake. “What’s all this commotion about?”

“Officer, there’s a dead woman in… ” she started, but the convict spoke over her.

“Saw this bag by the side of the road. Saw them fingers poking out.” He yanked his trash-collecting stick from the ground and used it to point at the tear in the bag. “I ain’t touched nothing,” he added.

“Everybody back to the van. Now.” The trooper’s deep, commanding voice brooked no arguments, and the crew turned as one to head back to the vehicle. He unclipped the radio from his belt. “Griff, I’m sending them all back to you.”

“It hasn’t even been ten minutes,” complained his partner. “What’s going on, Jack?”

“Looks like murder. Better call in the local cops for back-up.” Jack returned the radio to his belt, and slowly circled the bag, still refusing to acknowledge the woman standing next to him.

“Excuse me?” she asked, confused that he was ignoring her. As far as he knew, she could be the murderer, or at least an eyewitness. “Don’t you want to ask me anything?”

“What happened here?” His voice was low, not much more than a growl.

“I’m not really sure,” she started, realizing that her lack of answers would definitely make her sound guilty. “One minute I was on my phone, and the next thing I know I’m being thrown out of a speeding car.” She paused. “I remember bumping into someone on the sidewalk, and feeling like I was stung by a bee. Then, nothing until I woke up here.”

The trooper didn’t comment on her story. Instead, he kept looking at the bag and asked, “Who are you?”

That stopped her short. “I… I don’t remember,” she said, starting to panic. Why couldn’t she remember her own name? She felt light-headed as she wracked her brain to answer what should be a simple question. The sun was much brighter now, higher in the sky. She looked up at it and felt a tremor run through her. “I need to sit down,” she said and sank down into the rough-mown grass.

The radio crackled with static. “Jack?”

He unclipped the two-way and spoke. “Is back-up on the way, Griff?”

“E.T.A. seven minutes,” Griff answered. “The crew’s getting restless in the van.”

“There’s a dead woman here,” Jack snapped. “Let them sit. Tell ‘em it’s better than picking up garbage.”

“I think they’re worried this might reflect on them somehow.”

Jack grunted. “Reassure them. None of them are suspects.”

As she listened to the troopers talk, she closed her eyes. When she opened them again, the area was swarming with uniformed men and women, both state troopers and local police officers. “I must have dozed off,” she said out loud to no one in particular. No one seemed to be paying any attention to her, which she found curious. She was in the middle of a crime scene. How could they not notice her?

She stood and walked toward the man giving orders to the other troopers whom she recognized as the original guy on the scene. Jack. He was tall, with dark hair and piercing blue eyes, now that he’d taken off the mirrored shades. “Tell Griff to take those prisoners back. There won’t be any more trash picking today. I’ll get a ride with one of you guys.”

She raised a hand to shade her eyes from the glare. “Excuse me, officer? I’m the one who found the body...” Her voice trailed off as she watched the body turn in her direction when they lifted it.

Her own face stared back at her, brown eyes open but sightless.

“It’s me?” she whispered, unable to look away. “How can it be me? I’m not…” she looked back at Jack, still giving orders, and stepped directly in front of him, inches from his face. “Can’t you see me? Am I really dead?” She reached out to touch his arm, but he turned his back to speak with someone else.

“No ID on her,” one of the local cops said. “No purse or wallet in the bag either. Simmons thinks she was thrown from a car at high speed, but he says it’s hard to tell since the prison gang got here first.”

“The bag was torn,” Jack reminded him. “I want the officers checking the area thoroughly in case her wallet or phone slipped out.”

“Okay, MacDonald, we’ve got it from here.” Two older men in dark suits stepped in front of Jack. “Let the real detectives take over.”

“Pretty girl,” one of them said, staring at her body. “What a waste. Another junkie on the trash heap of life.”

She watched Jack’s whole body go rigid. “Sir, I don’t think she’s your average drug overdose. If you look at the clothes she’s wearing…”

“So she’s a well-dressed junkie,” the detective said with a smirk. “She’s still dead, isn’t she?”

“I’m dead?” she asked again, on the verge of tears. “That can’t be right. Can someone please explain this to me?”

The law enforcement personnel swirled around her body, unable to comfort the ghost they couldn’t see or hear.

 

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