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



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.



Monday, August 24, 2020

Monday Book Review: A Hundred Lies by Jean Grant


About the Book:

1322, Scotland

Rosalie Threston's fortune-telling lies have caught up with her. Uprooted yet again, she's on the run from a ruthless English noblewoman. She flees to Scotland and seeks refuge in the arms of a laird's son who happens to be a real Seer.

A bloody past and inevitable future plague Domhnall Montgomerie. He avoids physical contact with others to ease the painful visions. When an accidental touch reveals only delight, he wonders if Rose is the key to silencing the Sight.

Mystical awakening unravels with each kiss. But can Domhnall embrace his gift in time to save her life, even it means exposing her lies?



This was a wonderful historical read, with strong characters and enough twists and mystery thrown in to keep the pages turning. Author Jean Grant has a marvelous way with words, transporting the reader back in time to the sights, sounds, and scents of Scotland in the 1300s. This is the third story in this trilogy, following one family across decades and generations.

Rosalie Threston is a peasant living with her aunt and uncle, running a small shop and working odd jobs in a hand-to-mouth existence. She sells trinkets and tells fortunes, much of her business resulting in traded food instead of actual cash payments. While she is adept at reading people, she knows she has no actual psychic powers, relying more on her powers of observation than the supernatural.

Domhnall Montgomerie is the heir to both the castle and the supernatural powers passed down through this series, and through the generations from his Viking ancestors. As a child, Domhnall experienced scary psychic visions portending death and destruction, so for ten years he's avoided human touch. Until he meets Rosalie in the marketplace and realizes her touch brings him nothing but peace and calm. He thinks it's due to her own psychic abilities, not realizing her fortunetelling is a charade. All lies (like in the title.)

Thieves, vandals, and killers stalk the periphery of the story, the multiple threads coming together near the end. In the end, solving the mystery will depend on whether Domhnall embraces his gifts - and on whether he can trust Rosalie.

Grab your Kindle copy here

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Fall is Around the Corner - and My Next 2 Releases Coming Soon!

 I've had to wear a sweatshirt the last two nights - not that I'm complaining, merely commenting that FALL IS AROUND THE CORNER! This hasn't been a normal summer so I can't say I'm sorry to see it move along... this entire year can move along too... from the strange weather patterns to the global pandemic, to the murder hornets and other crazy stuff in the news. 2020 will be a better book than it was to live through.

And speaking of books....

October 1st will see the release of my first new paperback in a few years - and I'm so excited for it! 

Ghost in the Machine first released last fall as a short story in a Halloween anthology, so some of you are familiar with the title. I got the rights back and expanded the story to novel length and am SOOOO very excited about the results! The ebook is available for preorder now, and the paperback will be available October 1. If you're a Kindle reader you can preorder for 99 cents HERE. 

 The story blurb goes like this:

A missing black book that can take down Beacon Hill… and the ghost who holds the answers.

Massachusetts State Trooper Jack MacDonald sees the world in black and white. Good guys versus bad guys. But life isn’t always so simple. When a road crew finds a dead junkie stuffed in a trash bag, Jack’s drawn into a world of shadows where nothing is as simple as it seems. Especially not the dark haired beauty caught up in the middle.

Maggie Nelson lives in those shadows. Her sister might be the infamous Beacon Hill Madam, but Maggie just wants to stay under the radar and finish college. After her sister’s suspicious death, Maggie finds her own life endangered because of a missing ledger filled with names and numbers. It’s the kind of information that can crush dreams and ruin lives. Or get you killed.

Can a man who doesn’t believe in ghosts keep her safe from the shadows closing in on all sides?

I'll post an excerpt soon - and I'm expecting proof copies in the mail any day, so there will be photos of the shiny new toys on my social media soon *squeee*

The other new story coming this fall is part of the Hot Hunks series - and our theme for fall is Everyday Heroes. My hero is  Logan MacDonald, younger brother of Jack (the hero in the story above)... and I love the cover art...

His story blurb goes like this:

There are three things everyone knows about Logan MacDonald: he works for his uncle’s construction company, he coaches youth hockey, and he’s the size of a small mountain. What most people don’t realize is that he loves to spend hours in the kitchen cooking and baking, he has a soft spot for small furry creatures, and that behind the sometimes gruff exterior, Logan is actually a giant teddy bear.

Everyone knows Cricket Sorenson manages Chatham’s only organic market… but that’s about it. No one realizes she actually grew up on Cape Cod, or that her family belong to the secretive commune several towns away. She has one year to make a choice: go along with the marriage her parents have arranged, or take vows and embrace the monastic life. Neither option appeals to her nearly as much as the mountain of a man she hires to renovate the store.

When an attempted robbery turns into a hostage situation, Cricket realizes she needs to start living life on her own terms. And that the man who saved her may hold the key to her happiness.

Logan is also available for 99 cents as a Kindle preorder - you can grab it now for auto-download in October - link HERE


And on that note, I'd better get to work writing and editing - lots to do, apparently!

Stay safe and stay healthy - and Happy Reading! 


Monday, August 17, 2020

Monday Book Review: Vanilla With a Twist, by Peggy Jaeger

Vanilla with a Twist (One Scoop or Two), by Peggy Jaeger
Published May 2020 by The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:

Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop's machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn't had a day off in a decade and wonders if she'll ever be able to live a worry-free life.
Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher's Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy's shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.
Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?


The Wild Rose Press has a fun new series of novellas out this summer called "One Scoop or Two" - Ice Cream Themed romances! Full disclosure that I also write for this publisher and know that the call went out last fall. All are fun, beachy books set in fun, ocean or lake settings and center around ice cream shops. Peggy Jaeger writes a lot of romance for the Wild Rose Press, and answered the call with this sweet New England romance.

The setting is the small seaside town of Beacher's Cove, New Hampshire, and Vanilla with a Twist is the name of the ice cream shop along the boardwalk. Single mom Tandy Blakemore owns the shop and devises the delicious sounding ice cream flavors. She grew up on a farm in the area, and her parent's dairy supplies the fresh dairy products that help make her ice cream special. Summer tourists crowd the shop every day, keeping her way too busy to even think about any kind of social life beyond keeping her shop afloat and being able to afford a better life for her teenage son.

CEO Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation from the company he built from the ground up. He's also been too busy for a social life, and when he strolls into the little ice cream shop his world view starts to change. An engineer by trade, his work days have become filled with paperwork and presentations - he misses getting his hands dirty with machinery. Tandy's near-antique compressors challenge the puzzle solving side of his brain, and he finds himself drawn into Tandy's world. Helping fix compressors. Bringing lunch to share on the back deck. Having a different flavor combination of her delicious ice cream every day. A lifestyle as intriguing to him as the woman who creates those delectable treats.

This is a slow moving, sweet romance with lots of heart and emotion but not a lick of heat (it might melt all the ice cream, lol.) A fun summer read as you get a great feel for the New Hampshire boardwalk scene along the shore, and characters you can believe in and root for - a staple of Ms. Jaeger's books. She specializes in strong women like Tandy, with opinions and goals and dreams...a woman you'd like to have as a friend. And for the hours you spend reading, you're immersed in her world.

I'll admit I read this back over Memorial Day weekend and am just getting to getting my reviews written after taking most of the summer off - I actually went to the beach twice so far this summer, and to the family lake house four times... which might be a record for me in the last five years since the kids got older and I started working full time again. I kind of related to both character's workaholic lifestyles, and their revelations about taking time to enjoy life hit home for me. Which doesn't excuse the tardiness of this (or posting any) review, or my ignoring this blog for so many weeks. But it goes with the story's theme so I'm sticking with that as my excuse.

As summer winds down and we're all looking for a good book to curl up in the beach chair with for a few last days soaking up rays, I recommend this story, and optimistically this series of ice cream books by various authors. At $3.99 for Kindle, they're priced cheaper than any real ice cream cones you can get in the beachfront shops around here. So why not indulge? Fewer calories and lots of satisfaction.

Grab your copy on AMAZON