#BlogTour #Giveaway – THE REAL THING by Melissa Foster

This sassy, spirited baker is fine with heat—

but is her fake fiancé too hot to handle?

THE REAL THING
Sugar Lake #1
Melissa Foster
Releasing Sept 5, 2017
Montlake

 

Bakery
owner Willow Dalton’s friendship with Zane Walker has always been a bit
complicated. Now a scrumptiously hot A-list actor, Zane’s always had a
reputation as player. He’s arrogant, and he’s definitely not boyfriend
material. Sure, he did Willow a favor by agreeing to take her virginity before
college, but is that reason enough to go along with a fake engagement a decade
later—even if it comes with a real diamond ring?
 
Zane should
have known better. Nothing involving Willow has ever been easy. Still, he knows
her better than anyone, and becoming America’s hottest new leading man means
cleaning up his reputation. An “engagement” to curvy, sass-mouthed Willow is
the perfect PR move . . . provided no one gets hurt.
 
Now Zane
and Willow’s little white lie has turned into an irresistible recipe for sweet
temptation. And soon no one will be able to tell the difference between their
fake engagement or the real thing—including them.
**THE REAL
THING is being published by Montlake (an Amazon imprint) and won’t be available
on other ebook retailers, but you can download a FREE ereader app to read
it HERE, order the paperback.
 
PRE-ORDER THE NEXT SUGAR LAKE ROMANCE
ONLY FOR YOU
Releasing December 5th, 2017

 

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.
 

 

$20.00 Amazon eGift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Advertisements

#BlogTour #Giveaway – SUNSETS AT SEASIDE by Addison Cole

Dive into the Newest Sweet with Heat Romance!

 

SUNSETS AT SEASIDE
Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers #4
Addison Cole
Releasing Aug 23, 2017

 

 
Jessica
Ayers has lived a sheltered life with little more than cello lessons and
practices taking up her day. Now a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, she
escapes the prim and proper symphony to vacation in the Seaside community in
Wellfleet, Massachusetts, to determine if she is living life to the fullest or
missing it altogether.
 
For the
first time since developing the second largest search engine in the world,
billionaire Jamie Reed is taking the summer off. He plans to work from the Cape
and spend time with his elderly grandmother—and falling in love is not in his
plans.
 
From the
moment Jamie and Jessica meet, the attraction is white-hot. Once-overly-focused
Jamie can think of little else than sweet, smart, and alluring Jessica, and
Jessica discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. But when Jamie’s
business encounters trouble and his attorney and best friend intervenes, he
proves that the brown-haired beauty is too distracting for Jamie. To make
matters worse, it appears that Jessica might not be who she says she is,
turning Jamie’s life—and his heart—upside down. In a world where personal
information is always one click away, Jamie must decide if he should trust his
heart or watch the woman he loves walk away.
 

Sunsets at Seaside is the sweet edition of
the steamy romance novel Seaside Sunsets
by Melissa Foster.

 tastytoursexcerpt

“Guess it’s just you and me.”

Jamie’s rich voice slid over her, bringing goose bumps to her arms and heating her up even more. How the heck did he manage to pull off laid-back and sensual at the same time? And why was it such a turn-on? She looked down at her hand, still on his thigh, and felt his muscles flex. The fire was nearly out, just a few embers glowing in the darkness. She should probably go home. It was already far later than she was used to staying up, and she had a big day tomorrow. Didn’t she? Didn’t she always? She had to practice and…No. That wasn’t right. She wasn’t practicing. She was vacationing. She had all the time in the world.

She realized that she hadn’t responded to Jamie’s remark. Instead of answering him, she tilted her head and looked at him. Really looked at him. He was too beautiful, and she was pretty sure it wasn’t just the tequila that made her think so. His hazel eyes were seductively dark and narrow. His tanned skin blended handsomely with the sexy scruff on his jaw, and his full lips were barely parted. She wanted to run her finger along his lips and feel their softness.

“What?” he asked quietly.

“I’m just…” Thinking about touching your scruff. And maybe your lips. And that crease by your mouth when you smile. There it is. Oh, I love that crease. Oh, and your hands. I’m dying to know what your hands feel like. “Thinking…” It was the only word she could manage without making a fool of herself.

“Thinking about throwing your phone at me again?”

 

Start the series for FREE with 
Read, Write, Love at Seaside

 

Addison
Cole is the sweet alter ego of New York Times and USA Today bestselling
and award-winning author Melissa Foster. She writes humorous and emotional sweet
contemporary romance. Her books do not include explicit sex scenes or harsh
language. Addison spends her summers on Cape Cod, where she dreams up wonderful
love stories in her house overlooking Cape Cod Bay. 
   
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#NewRelease #Giveaway – READY TO RUN by Lauren Layne

Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon and iBooks 
READY TO RUN
I Do, I Don’t #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing Aug 22, 2017
Loveswept

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.


NOW AVAILABLE!

 

Lauren
Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies.
She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former
e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York
City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in
2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s
written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York
Times
, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

 

 $25.00 Starbucks Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#ExcerptReveal #PreOrder #Giveaway – READY TO RUN by Lauren Layne

A reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: 

a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

READY TO RUN
I Do, I Don’t #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing Aug 22, 2017
Loveswept

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.


PRE-ORDER TODAY!
Damn. Charlie hadn’t been lying about
the hot blonde.
The woman walking straight toward him
was all tight jeans, high heels, and confi-dence. And hot. Very, very hot.
Charlie muttered something admiring
under his breath, and Luke’s gaze flicked to the man beside the woman. Tried to
place him. Couldn’t.
Not too many guys around here who
wore light-purple shirts and white pants with the same easy comfort that Lucky
Hollow residents wore jeans and flannel.
No doubt about it—neither was from
around here. Not by a long shot.
The man was a half step behind the
woman, and Luke assessed that the woman was calling the shots.
His eyes narrowed as he realized that
she hadn’t once wavered in her approach.
She knew what she was after:
Him.
She got closer and Luke saw that the
face matched the body. Wide blue eyes, full lips, sassy shoulder-length blond
hair that was just tousled enough to make a man wonder how it had gotten that
way—to want to be the one to muss it.
Her gaze flicked over him, and
Charlie whistled and muttered under his breath. “She just checked you out,
man.”
She had indeed, but Luke was far from
flattered. It hadn’t been the assessment of a woman checking out a man so much
as a predator evaluating its prey.
As though she was evaluating him for
. . . something.
Blondie stopped in front of him, and
the second her blue eyes locked on his, Luke felt a little jolt of awareness
and was irrationally annoyed. It had been a long time since he’d been quite so
aware of a woman.
Once, he’d enjoyed the feeling—sexual
chemistry was almost the perfect combination of pain and pleasure. A subtle
punch in the gut that you wanted to experience again and again.
These days, though, he was having a
hard time getting past the pain part. The shitty parts had outweighed the good
parts just one time too many. Now he mostly settled for casual hookups with a
divorcée a few towns over who was even less interested in com-mitment than Luke
was.
He had zero use for attraction to a
pretty, bold woman in high heels.
Luke noticed that for a sheer moment
she had a slightly off-balance look, as though she too had felt the annoying
zip of arousal when their eyes met, but she recovered quick-ly.
Pasting a sunny, generic smile on her
face, she stuck out her right hand. “Luke Elliott. I’m Jordan Carpenter. This
is my colleague, Simon Nash.”
Good manners had him setting down his
equipment and extending his own right hand toward hers even as his brain caught
on her name. Familiar, and . . .
Shit. Shit!
He managed to stop from jerking his
hand back, but just barely. Instead, he gritted his teeth, gave her hand a
perfunctory shake, and then fixed her with a glare. “You’re wasting your time,
Ms. Carpenter. And mine.”
Blue eyes narrowed. “Aha. So you did
get my emails.”
Those. The voicemails. The letters.
“Sure,” he said with a nod, shoving
his hands in his pockets. “Just like I suspect you got the message that I
didn’t want to be a part of your show.”
Charlie looked from the woman to Luke
and back again. “Show?”
Ryan ambled over, his shit-eating
grin telling Luke that this damn woman had already spilled the beans on why she
was here. “Luke’s gonna be a national heartthrob.”
“International,” said the blond guy
in the purple shirt.
Jordan Carpenter didn’t look at her
companion, but all three firefighters did.
The other man gave the sort of easy
smile that probably had him making friends easily. Luke didn’t want a new
friend.
Especially not one who wanted to use
his shitty romantic past for the sake of TV ratings.

 

 

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies.
She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

 

Two Gifted Ebook Copies of FROM THIS DAY FORWARD (Wedding Belles #0.5)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#NewRelease #Giveaway – CAN’T STOP LOVIN’ YOU by Lynnette Austin

Brawley
must find a way to convince Maggie 
that their one true home is with each other.
CAN’T STOP LOVIN’ YOU
Maverick Junction #3
Lynnette Austin
Forever

 

THERE’S
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
 
Maggie
Sullivan can’t wait to get out of Texas. Luckily, she just got the break she
needed to make her big-city dreams a reality. But then Brawley Odell swaggers
back into Maverick Junction, looking hotter than ever in his dusty cowboy boots
and well-worn jeans. He’s the guy she still dreams of at night. The guy who
broke her heart when he left her behind.
Fed up with
city life, Brawley jumps at the chance to return home and take over the local
vet’s practice—and get back to the smart, sassy woman he’s never been able
forget. He couldn’t be prouder of Maggie’s new wedding-dress business . . .
until he realizes it may mean losing her all over again. Determined to win her
back, Brawley must find a way to convince Maggie that their one true home is
with each other.


NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT!!

 

Lynnette Austin, a recovering middle school teacher, loves long rides with the top down and the music cranked up, the Gulf of Mexico when a storm is brewing, chocolate frozen custard, anything by Blake Shelton, Chris Young, and Thomas Rhett, and sitting in her local coffee shop reading and enjoying an iced coffee. She and her husband divide their time between Southwest Florida’s beaches and Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Having grown up in a small town, that’s where her heart takes her—to those quirky small towns where everybody knows everybody…and all their business, for better or worse. Writing for Grand Central and Sourcebooks, she’s published twelve novels and is at work on a new series.
 

 $25.00 Amazon eGift Cards
a Rafflecopter giveaway

#NewRelease #Giveaway – MONSTER AMONG THE ROSES by Linda Kage

Will you dare to gaze upon the monster among the roses?
MONSTER AMONG THE ROSES
Fairy Tale Quartet #1
Linda Kage
Releasing July 24, 2017

 

“Do you know how to
get to the rose garden?”
“No, you can’t go
there. A monster lives there.”
 
Shaw Hollander is desperate.
 
Broke, unemployed, and determined to help his ailing mother, he falls on the good graces of a wealthy benefactor who is willing to give Shaw a job at his mansion in order to pay off his mother’s debts. Suddenly finding himself surrounded by lavish riches, he has no idea what his duties truly entail until he’s sent to the rose garden and meets the tragically mutilated Isobel.
This Beauty and the Beast story holds true to the core of the fable while shaking off the element of fantasy and dragging it into present day reality. Shaw and Isobel are ready to let you climb into their four-wheel-drive pickup and take a ride with them into their version of happily ever after, but only if you first dare to gaze upon the monster among the roses.

 

I grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now I live in Kansas with my husband, two daughters, nine cuckoo clocks, and a cat named Holly. My life’s been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love.
Writing’s always been a major part my world, and I’m so happy to finally share some of my stories with other romance lovers.
I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, and I’ve been through a writing correspondence class in children’s literature from The Institute of Children’s Literarture, and then I continued my writing lessons by majoring in English with an emphasis in creative fiction writing from Pittsburg State University.

 

 

 $25.00 Amazon eGift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#NewRelease #Giveaway – ADJUNCT LOVERS by Liz Crowe

A brew that brings two lovers full circle.

ADJUNCT LOVERS
A Brewing Passion Novella
Liz Crowe
Releasing July 18, 2017
Totally Bound
When Ross and Elisa open their new business in Detroit, they believe they’ve embarked on a dream life, complete with their beloved, precocious daughter. But owning and running a restaurant is not for the faint of heart, and Elle quickly becomes laser-focused and obsessed, while Ross spends his days consulting, or concocting new beers on his pilot system—and wondering why she won’t agree to set a date for their wedding. When their restaurant—named “Komfort” for its focus on the comfort foods of various cultures—is featured on a nationally televised tour of hot new eateries, its popularity shoots into the
stratosphere, and Elle’s stress level reaches a breaking point.
 
Faced with a mutual inability to communicate beyond their robust sex life, Ross issues an ill-considered ultimatum: the restaurant or him. Stunned when she refuses to consider such a ridiculous demand, he’s forced to come to terms with his own selfish tendencies. Hoping to repair the damage he’s done, he concocts a new beer inspired by her, using a recipe for a classic German-style Kölch. He crafts the final product using a special ingredient designed to catch Elle’s attention. It does. But not necessarily the way he’d planned.
 

 

“Adjunct Lovers” fills in the story begun in LIGHTSTRUCK, and provides a closer look at Ross’s and Elle’s complex personalities as they make their sexy way toward happily ever after—with the help of a very special brew.

 

Catch up on ALL the 
Brewing Passion Romances

 

Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
 
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance: Worth the Risk,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).
 
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.

 

 

 $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and 2nd prize: 1 free signed copy of TAPPED, book 1 of Brewing Passion

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#PreOrder #Giveaway – READY TO RUN by Lauren Layne

A reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: 

a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

READY TO RUN
I Do, I Don’t #1
Lauren Layne
Releasing Aug 22, 2017
Loveswept

The Bachelor meets The Runaway Bride in this addictive romance novel about a reality TV producer falling for her would-be star: a Montana heartthrob who wants nothing to do with the show.

Jordan Carpenter thinks she’s finally found the perfect candidate for Jilted, a new dating show about runaway grooms: Luke Elliott, a playboy firefighter who’s left not one but three brides at the altar. The only problem? Luke refuses to answer Jordan’s emails or return her calls. Which is how she ends up on a flight to Montana to recruit him in person. It’s not Manhattan but at least the locals in Lucky Hollow seem friendly . . . except for Luke, who’s more intense—and way hotter—than the slick womanizer Jordan expected.

Eager to put the past behind him, Luke has zero intention of following this gorgeous, fast-talking city girl back to New York. But before he can send her packing, Jordan’s everywhere: at his favorite bar, the county fair, even his exes’ book club. Annoyingly, everyone in Lucky Hollow seems to like her—and deep down, she’s starting to grow on him too. But the more he fights her constant pestering, the more Luke finds himself wishing that Jordan would kick off her high heels and make herself comfortable in his arms.


PRE-ORDER TODAY!

 

 

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies.
She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

 

Two Exclusive Print Galley copies of I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE (Oxford #4)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#NewRelease #Giveaway – CONDITIONED by Liz Crowe

A man with nothing to left to lose. A woman hiding
behind her past. 
CONDITIONED
The Brewing Passion Series #3
Liz Crowe
Releasing July 11, 2017
Totally Bound
Trent Hettinger’s turbulent formative years transformed him into a cynic—and into a man who realized he required something outside himself to control his temper. Something he finds as a Dom—at least for a while. But he allowed himself to trust a woman once and was slapped back into reality with a vengeance and now devotes all his energy into building his real estate empire, raising his teenaged daughter…and avoiding anything resembling authentic attachments.
 
Melody Rodriguez kept her head down for years—working hard, making her own money, trying to get ahead with every deck stacked against her.  She’s determined to move beyond the ugliness that haunts her without anyone’s help. When a mutual friend sets her up with Trent, she’s determined to have some fun with him and move on.
 
A man with nothing to left to lose. A woman hiding behind her past. When two lives spent in emotional denial collide, it’s a perfect match—at least on the surface. But neither Trent nor Melody are prepared for the full force of their true feelings, once fate intervenes and blows a cold breeze into their white-hot relationship.

 

Now Available for Pre-Order
ADJUNCT LOVERS
Brewing Passions Novella

 

Amazon best-selling author, mom of three, Realtor, beer blogger, brewery marketing expert, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville currently living in Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.
 
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance: Worth the Risk,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).
 
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
Don’t ever ask her for anything “like a Budweiser” or risk bodily injury.

 

 

 1st prize: $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and 2nd prize: 1 free signed copy of TAPPED, book 1 of Brewing Passion

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#NewRelease #Giveaway – DIGITAL VELOCITY by Reily Garrett

The deadliest weapons are the ones we never see.
DIGITAL VELOCITY
McAllister Justice #1
Reily Garrett
Releasing July 10, 2017
The deadliest weapons are the ones we never see.
 
Keyboard prodigy, Lexi Donovan has risen from teenage orphan
of the streets to complete independence with little help along the way. When a
pervert threatens her friend, she sends an anonymous message to police, leading
to a firefight that leaves a cop wounded.
 
Detective Ethan McAllister’s well-ordered life turned upside
down the day an obscure text message led to a sexual predator’s identity and
arrest. Since then, Callouston PD’s finest can’t trace the elusive hacker. The
latest tip leads him to a brutal mutilation and a riddle  indicating the identity of the next murder
victim.
 
The dark net houses a playground for the morally depleted
and criminally insane. When Lexi discovers the killer’s digital betting arena,
she finds herself centered in a cyber stalker’s crosshairs, a psychopath
bearing equal talent.
 
Street life strengthened Lexi while toughening her
protective shell, but nothing could shield her from the shrewd detective
forging a path to her heart.
Digital
Velocity
 is a fast-paced
romantic suspense thriller that sophisticatedly weaves drama, excitement,
grit, raw emotions and mystery. Garrett takes her readers on a journey
where suspense and romance are taken up several notches as she unfolds and
reveals the identity of a murderer that is on the loose. With her vivid prose,
Garrett entices readers to see the bond that is brewing between Detective
Ethan McAllister and his unlikely informant.
” – RT
Book Reviews
 
tastytoursexcerpt

I move frequently—but gain no distance.

I am warm, moist, and dark but give no comfort.

I can stretch and shrink, giving or taking at will, bringing both pain and pleasure with each.

 “If God wanted you to tie the knot, he’d give you a near-death experience to better appreciate life, along with a craving for procreation. Then he’d smother your soul with the essence of venison, squirrel, frog legs, taters, or beer, to attract a likely counterpart from the sticks. No, wait. The latter has already happened, hasn’t it? Sorry.” Ethan narrowly kept his balance on the green-slicked, handmade bricks leading up the two-story, mauve-colored Victorian. If his 210-pound mass ended up sprawled on the steps, no doubt the picture would be splashed all over the precinct by noon with various unsavory captions.

“Maybe you should try it. The stick up your ass has to cause at least minor discomfort.” Larrick’s early-morning snark was a common greeting.

“Hey, I’m a normal guy.” Ethan glared over his shoulder.

Larrick snorted.

“Still wet from our early-morning storm. Watch your step, it’s slippery.” Scanning the myriad amorphous shadows lurking in the wood line, realization struck that he and his partner were sitting ducks if a sniper perched among the loblolly pine and oak trees lining the front and side yards.

Larrick’s reply came in equal measure of soft tones. “Either that or a large flock of birds dropped in recently to help her redecorate. Great detective work.”

“Bird droppings are—”

“Sought after for facials. Especially the Japanese Nightingale shit.” Larrick grinned.

“Only you would know that.” Ethan adjusted his tie, an acknowledgment of the apprehension filling his mind.

“Are we whispering because your paranoid gut can’t assimilate food well enough to distinguish indigestion from an outside threat? This woman lives alone, gonna think we’re a couple of perverts and liable to shoot us.”

“Word has it she’s a pacifist.”

“Fine. You’re one to talk about signs—dragging my ass to a stranger’s house at this ungodly morning hour. I love knocking on a stranger’s door and asking, ‘Lady, are you all right? We’re police detectives who received an anonymous tip that you might have a hangnail. Perhaps we could lend you a pair of nail clippers…’ then ask if she needs the gutters cleaned.” Derision and humor warred for dominance in Larrick’s tone, yet his sharp gaze continually scanned the perimeter in consideration of his partner’s unarticulated hunch. Yin and yang, they fit together, a clean-cut detective and his partner whose hair length had passed regulation specs weeks ago.

“You know this isn’t the first tip we’ve gotten, not to mention the fact that the other leads were solid and led to arrests. And while we’re at it, why don’t you step to the side? Standard police procedure when approaching an unknown situation.” Ethan turned sideways, standing by the door with his hand poised to knock on the solid oak. He hesitated. Moisture coated his palms, a rare occurrence. Scrutinizing the interior through the narrow sidelights yielded nothing more than expected. Elegantly upholstered furniture, gleaming hardwood floors, and delicate bric-a-brac adorning the thick mantle and each side table completed the sophisticated picture. “Don’t see any problem. Maybe she’s fallen and can’t get to a phone.”

“You expected an old lady brandishing her curling iron? As for leads, I get mine from three-dimensional people while you get yours from a bunch of ones and zeroes. Why can’t our IT department trace your anonymous texts further than the loony bin? Though that’s probably appropriate since your secret admirer’s last present consisted of a flower basket bigger than my TV along with fur-lined cuffs. I’ve never laughed so hard I pissed myself. I thought that was hogwash, a myth made up by old ladies.” Larrick leaned over the iron railing to peer through the window. “Can’t see squat, bottom sill’s too high.”

“As my partner, you’re supposed to have my back, not stab me in the back. You didn’t have to broadcast it through the whole department by hanging the cuffs from the sprinkler system with a bunch of roses twined in them. Now my brothers won’t let up, and I’ve been subscribed to every kinky magazine known to the publishing world. You think I should know why some whacko chose me for their personal marionette?” Ethan suppressed a shudder before his partner gained more verbal ammunition. If his suspicions were correct, his informant was in fact a beautiful enigma with waist-length, chestnut hair and an emerald gaze capable of melting steel.

“Maybe because you were the youngest to make detective? Rising star, golden boy, and all that shit.”

“No. Probably afraid your redneck ways would rub off on them, or maybe because I’m the biggest sap.” Ethan’s gut rumbled, more of a warning sign from a well-heeled intuition than hunger. “Larrick, this doesn’t feel right.” Behind him, the slide of metal on leather let him know his partner just palmed his Glock. Three years of working together circumvented the formality of dissecting gut reactions.

A creak of leather sole betrayed Larrick’s backtracking to scrutinize the surroundings. “Side windows are lower. I’ll take a look.”

“Hood of her BMW is cold. Didn’t go anywhere recently.” Larrick’s harsh whisper halted a nearby squirrel scampering up a tree, its head cocked to one side while studying the strange human interlopers.

Sunshine warmed the first spring buds on the low shrubbery bordering the walkway to complete the idyllic setting. Nothing but peace and serenity, yet Ethan’s heart hammered against his ribcage like an aggressive punk drummer. With his partner disappearing around the corner, he again scanned the perimeter while the morning’s corrupted equanimity formed a sour wad in his chest. A lazy March breeze combed its cool fingers through his short hair while the deep foreboding received with the initial text message blossomed into multiple horrific scenarios, leaving one of them a corpse, their life’s essence forming macabre shapes on gleaming hardwood floors.

“I see bare feet beyond the kitchen island. Toes up. Probably female.” Larrick’s disembodied whisper just provided probable cause. “Backup?”

 
Reily is a
West Coast girl transplanted to the opposite shore. When she’s not working with
her dogs, you can find her curled up with a book or writing her next story.
Past employment as an ICU nurse, private investigator, and work in the military
police has given her countless experiences in a host of different environments
to add a real world feel to her fiction.
 
Over time,
and several careers, many incidents have flavored the plots of her stories.
Man’s cruelty and ingenuity for torment and torture is boundless, not contained
by an infinite imagination. Witnessing the after-effects of a teenager mugged
at knifepoint for a pair of tennis shoes, or an elderly woman stabbed
repeatedly with a screwdriver for no apparent reason, left an indelible
impression that will forever haunt her subconscious. In counterpoint, she has
observed a woman stop her vehicle in severe, snowy weather to offer her own
winter coat to a stranger, a teenager wearing a threadbare hoodie. Life’s
diversities are endless.
 
Though her
kids are her life, writing is Reily’s life after. The one enjoyed after the
kids are in bed or after they’re in school and the house is quiet. This is the
time she kicks back with laptop and lapdog to give her imagination free rein.

 

In reading,
take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and
bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee
with your best friend (even if he’s four-legged). Life is short. Cherish your
time.
 

 

$25 Amazon eGift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway