Thursday, December 14, 2017

Book Blitz & #Giveaway for Ice Kingdom by Tiana Warner



Welcome to my stop on the Book Blitz, presented by Xpresso Book Tours, for Ice Kingdom by Tiana Warner.  Please leave a comment or question for Tiana to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!

Ice Kingdom
Tiana Warner
(Mermaids of Eriana Kwai, #3)
Publication date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
The final adventure in the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy …
Meela and Lysi have unleashed Sisiutl, legendary two-headed serpent of the Pacific Northwest. It was supposed to be an ally that would help them win the war. Instead, it has fallen under the control of King Adaro, ruler of the Pacific Ocean. If Meela and Lysi can’t stop him, Adaro will use the deadly serpent to rid the oceans of mankind.
With the American military using catastrophic weapons of their own to retaliate, Meela and Lysi must make peace between humans and merpeople before one race destroys the other. The journey will risk their lives and put their relationship to the test—but the vengeance that has been consuming Meela’s thoughts, day and night, might prove even more dangerous.

**Read the first book in the trilogy for FREE: download at http://bit.ly/siandmeela until Dec 25th!**

EXCERPT

Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean

The young man aimed his crossbow at the water, ready to fire a bolt of solid iron at the first glimpse of flesh beneath the surface.

“Sir,” he said, “shouldn’t we have seen one by now?”

The captain turned his back to the salty wind, jaw tight. “They know we’re here.”

“So what are they doing?”

He followed the captain’s gaze. Blackness merged with the empty grey horizon in every direction. A long silence passed, filled only by gentle swells lapping against the ship.

The captain drew his own crossbow.

“Forming a plan.”

All twenty men aboard the ship readied their weapons, reacting in a chain until the last man at the stern took steady aim at the waves.

“Make ready your iron, men,” shouted the captain. “We have ripples approaching off the port side.”

A handful of places in the water puckered, as if something lingered just below the surface. The sea was too black to tell.

Then it happened. Fifty, maybe sixty sea demons burst from the water and slammed against the ship.

The men wasted no time. They reacted with trained speed and agility as the demons thrust stones and jagged shells into the wood, both to break holes in the ship and to scale the sides. The men picked them off with bolts of iron and watched them fall one by one back into the sea.

But they were outnumbered. Soon the demons were upon the ship, pulling themselves across the deck with bony arms.

The young man had already shot a dozen and the water reddened with each passing second.

Slow scraping sounds threatened him from behind. He whirled around, crossbow ready. Burning eyes met his, and sharp teeth, bared to rip into his flesh. He gripped the trigger, felt the bow tighten—
And the demon was gone. The young man stared into the wide gaze of a girl his own age. With a startled cry, he jerked his aim so the bolt barely missed her.

She held a black shell in her hand, sharp at the edges and ready to use as a club. But she didn’t raise it. She just looked at him.

He lowered his crossbow.

Her blonde hair fell heavily over her shoulders, dripping beads of water down her naked chest and stomach, pooling where her torso joined her tail.

He blinked, but made no other motion—where her torso joined her tail. Scales faded into flesh like some sort of beautiful, green and tan sunset.

She pulled herself closer.

“Stay back,” said the young man, unsure what prompted him to hesitate.

He looked into her eyes—emeralds surrounded by pearl white—where moments ago they had burned red. Her sharp teeth had retracted behind rosy lips. The seaweed-coloured flesh of her upper body was now olive and raised with goose bumps from the icy wind.

“Hanu aii,” she whispered. Do not fear. She spoke his language.

He loosened his grip on the crossbow, studying her. She lifted a frail arm and pushed the hair from her eyes, then motioned him forwards.

His pulse quickened as he stared at the beautiful girl.

“Hanu aii,” she said again, her voice resonating sweetly, as if she sang without singing.

Suddenly, he was kneeling in front of her, level with her luminous eyes. The sounds around him faded but for the soft purr in the base of her throat.

She reached up and held an icy hand to his cheek, not for a moment breaking eye contact. The hand slid behind his head and pulled his face towards hers, slowly but firmly. He inhaled her sweet breath.

“No!”

He flinched. He turned to see the captain racing towards them, aiming his crossbow at the maiden.

The young man grasped the scene around him. The ship was empty. A few stray weapons and barrels bobbed serenely in the water. Blood soaked the deck in places, and even the main mast had a splatter across the bottom.

The captain fired wide. Before he could reload and aim again, the sea demon put a hand on the young man’s chin and pulled his gaze back to hers.

Her eyes blazed red. Her skin rippled into the rotten colour of seaweed. Her ears grew pointed and long like sprouting coral. She opened her mouth to reveal a row of deadly teeth.

The young man screamed.

The demon pulled him against her with more strength than three men combined, and they dove headfirst off the side of the ship.

They disappeared into the blood-red water.


Author Bio:
Tiana Warner is the best selling author of the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. Her books have been acclaimed by Writer’s Digest, Foreword Reviews, and the Dante Rossetti Awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.



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Release blitz & #Giveaway for The Lost Macaw by B.L. Blair


Welcome to my stop on the Release Blitz, presented by RABT Book Tours, for The Lost Macaw by B.L. Blair.  Please leave a comment or question for B.L. to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!


The Lost Macaw
By B.L. Blair
A Lost and Found Pets Mystery, Book 4

Publisher: B.L. Blair
Release Date: December 14, 2017
Genre: Mystery

Length: 94 Pages

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

The Lost Macaw is the fourth novella in the Lost and Found Pets series.

Alexandra Prescott is a licensed private investigator specializing in finding missing animals. Reuniting pet and owner is more than just a job.


A former client hires Alex to find her lost parrot. The bright colored bird has flown away before, but this time there is evidence that Molly was kidnapped. The demand is simple—the bird for the pictures.


When her client suffers a stroke, Alex is left with a ransom note, a missing bird, and some very incriminating photos. She is in a race against time to solve the mystery of the lost Macaw.


Excerpt



“Your little old lady is quite interesting, Alex,” Halie said.

“What do you mean?”

“She didn’t exist until about thirty years ago.”

“What?!”

“I did a preliminary background search on her. In general, she is clean. No debt. The house is paid off as is her car. The one thing that jumped out at me was the fact that she had a safe deposit box at four different banks.”

Luke raised one eyebrow. I got a sinking feeling. I had noted the bank accounts but hadn’t really given them much thought.

“Yeah,” I said, “I saw those.”

“So why does an eighty-year-old woman need four safe deposit boxes?”


“Why does she need more than one?” Luke muttered.

“Exactly,” Halie said. “So I dug a little deeper.”

“What did you find?”

“About thirty years ago, Joseph and Trudy Kearns purchased the house on Carriage. Back then, it was a new neighborhood, and the prices were cheap. They paid cash. They also opened a bank account, and Joe got a job working for the city. Those are the first records I can find for either one of them.”

“Trudy would have been fifty at that time. Her husband probably a few years older. What about birth certificates? Social security cards?”

“They had them, but conveniently, they were issued from a small county in Virginia where a massive flood destroyed all their records. The county office was in the process of moving the old paper records to electronic when the flood hit.”

“Let me guess. The Kearns’s records did not survive the flood.”

“Nope.”

“So the only records for them are the ones they had in their possession.” I paused a moment. “Do they look real?”

“Yes,” Halie replied.

“So they could be authentic.”

“Or really good forgeries. In some ways, it was easier back then.”

“Anything else?” I asked.

“Not really. Like I said, she’s pretty clean. Lives on a fixed income of social security and a small pension from her husband’s job. It isn’t much because he only worked for the city for twelve years before he had to retire.”

“This isn’t looking good.”

“I’ll keep digging. See if anything else turns up.”

“Okay, thanks Halie.”

After ending the call, I looked a Luke. He had a perplexed look on his face that I had a feeling mirrored mine.

“Who the hell is Trudy Kearns?”



About the Author



B. L. Blair writes mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.

She is the author of the Holton Romance Series, the Leah Norwood Mysteries, and the Lost and Found Pets Mystery Series. She enjoys reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.




Contact Links

Twitter  

Purchase Links

Kobo 




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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Book Blast & #Giveaway for Murder She Slopes by Rachael Stapleton





Welcome to my stop on the Book Blast, presented by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, for Murder She Slopes by Rachael Stapleton.  Please leave a comment or question for Rachael to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  My review will post soon, I’m in the middle of changing internet providers and have very limited access at this time.  

Murder, She Slopes 
by Rachael Stapleton
A Penning Trouble Mystery, Book 2


Publisher: Rachel Stapleton
 Release Date: November 26, 2017 
Genre: Cozy Mystery 
Length: 214 Pages 
ASIN: B075CTKP2B

GET YOUR COPY TODAY!


Sirens ring. Are you listening? Near Candy Cane Lane. A Body is glistening. A murderous sight. Trubble's investigating tonight. Walking through this winter wonderland.
It's the week before Christmas and Investigative Journalist Penelope Trubble has reluctantly agreed to investigate the death of a woman at the Sleighs & Slopes Adventure Resort in the hopes of exonerating her her husband—who just happens to be Penny’s ex. But with so many suspicious characters lurking in the trees, Penelope risks being strangled by clues,
Christmas lights, conjecture, and catastrophe. It doesn’t help that Penny's still a little frosty with the man accused of icing his bride, and she must prove he's no cold-blooded killer. At least there’s candy-cane cocoa, a roaring fire, and the Laurentian Mountains to savor—not to mention the hunky detective dashing through the snow after her. Helping an ex is a slippery slope, and things are going downhill fast for Penelope Trubble.

About The Author

Rachael Stapleton lives in a Second Empire Victorian home with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers.


Author Links







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Book Tour & #Giveaway for Secrets? by Christer Tholin


Welcome to my stop on the Book Tour, presented by Silver Dagger Book Tours, for Secrets? by Christer Tholin.  Please leave a comment or question for Christer below to let him know you stopped by.  You may enter his tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  Good Luck!

Secrets?
by Christer Tholin
Stockholm Sleuth Series, Book 2
Genre: Mystery Crime Thriller
Release Date: October 30, 2017


"Dammit! She’d made a huge mistake. She’d never make it out of here - they were going to kill her."


In the crime novella SECRETS?, fledgling private investigator Elin Bohlander takes on what looks like an easy assignment — at first: to determine if her client’s boyfriend is having an affair with another woman. To do this, Elin follows him to a secluded cabin in the woods, where she soon discovers that what’s actually transpiring is stranger than anyone thought. Having ventured too far, she’s stumbled upon a hornet’s nest and put her life at risk. But it’s too late. Can Elin win the unequal fight against a gang of brutal child molesters?

SECRETS? is the second, standalone book from Christer Tholin’s Stockholm Sleuth Series. In the previous novel VANISHED?, Elin and her colleague Lars solve their first case together.

If you like fast-paced action and surprising twists and turns, then you will love Christer Tholin's sleuth series.



Another day at the office went by with nothing special going on. But Elin was now on fire, and she constantly checked her mail in the hope of finding a new request, but there was nothing. It was enough to drive her insane! She so wanted another assignment, one that would truly challenge her—one that was even more interesting than Helena’s. Elin had driven to the cabin a third time and seen the men there, but since nothing new had come of it, she decided she was done with it.

Now back at her apartment, she had changed into something comfortable and eaten a snack. She was standing in the bathroom washing her hands when Maja came home.

“Elin!” Maja was screaming. The door to the apartment slammed shut. Maja’s bag made a loud noise as it landed in a corner, and her rapid footsteps could be heard crossing the living room floor. Elin hurriedly dried her hands. This was not at all like Maja, who was usually the image of calm itself. Something must have happened. Elin opened the door to see Maja standing before her, her hands on her hips. Her face was red; her breathing, quick and shallow. She stared at Elin, furious: “What have you done? Where did you go with my car?”

“Maja, calm down! What happened?”

“I will not calm down! I want to know where you went with my car. Damn it!” Her dark eyes flashed at Elin.

“Fine, no problem. I’ll tell you. Come on, let’s sit down.” Elin stepped toward Maja and tried to take her in her arms, but Maja pushed her away.

“What? I haven’t done anything to you. Whatever it is, I didn’t do it intentionally. What’s going on with the car? Is something broken?” Elin looked at her, distraught. She had never seen Maja like this before. Usually, it was Maja who had to calm Elin, not the other way around.

“Come on, let me hold you in my arms. I love you.”

That seemed to work. Maja lowered her eyes, and her shoulders dropped. Elin put her arm around her and drew her close. What was going on? Maja was sobbing. She embraced Elin and held her tight. Her shoulders jerked, and she was howling like a hyena. God Almighty, this must really be bad. Maja seldom cried, and never this hard. Elin was getting seriously worried. What had happened here? After all, she had parked the car in the courtyard, and everything had been fine. Unless someone had tried to break in, but that would have happened later. And why did Maja think Elin was to blame? That wasn’t like her at all. 

Gradually, the sobbing subsided. Elin led Maja into the living room and sat her down on the couch. Squatting down before her, she looked into her tear-filled eyes.

“Now tell me everything, and if I’m to blame, I’ll admit it right away. Promise! And I’ll formally apologize. But I honestly have no idea what could be wrong with your car. I borrowed it again the day before yesterday, but then I parked it in the courtyard, as usual. Everything was still fine at that point. I swear!” Elin raised her right hand.

The corner of Maja’s mouth twitched briefly into an unsuccessful smile. She dug around in her pants pocket, produced a tissue, and blew her nose. Then she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. Luckily, she wasn’t wearing any makeup, or she would have looked even worse.

“I was attacked,” she finally gasped.

“What? Are you hurt?” Elin couldn’t believe it. Maja was extremely well trained—she could perform any self-defense move in her sleep. And what did this have to do with the car?

“No. They only threatened me.”

“That’s lucky.” Elin breathed a sigh of relief. At least, Maja was unharmed. “But who threatened you? Now please! Tell me the whole story from the beginning.” Elin gave her a penetrating look. “All right, Maja?”

Maja blew her nose once more and leaned back. “Yeah, OK. So I was walking out of the studio on my way to the underground. Since it was still so light out, I took the shortcut through the park. There was no one in sight other than that guy who’s been following me for the past few days. He was sitting on a bench in the middle of the park. I was trying to decide whether to turn around. But then I thought, ‘This is my chance to find out what this is all about,’ and I walked right up to him. 

He immediately stood up, and it was only then that I noticed he was wearing a mask. I wanted to go back right away, but when I turned around, there were three other guys standing before me, all with masks as well. I tried to escape to the right, but these guys already had a knife at my throat, and they were restraining me on all sides. Then they pulled me off the path and down into the bushes, and one of them whispered that I should keep my trap shut. 

I was sure they were going to rape me, and I was desperately trying to figure out how to break free. But then one of them—a tall guy, definitely over six feet—said that they just wanted to talk to me. I didn’t really believe that, but I waited to see what they would say.”

Elin stared at her, spellbound.

“I need something to drink,” Maja said.

Elin rose and went to the kitchen. She had an uneasy feeling for some reason. Four guys, of all things, and one of them very tall. That was surely no coincidence. But why?

Elin handed Maja a glass of water. Maja drank eagerly. “And what did they want?” asked Elin.

“They claimed I’d followed them in my car. And that they didn’t like having someone sneaking around behind them. This would be their first and final warning. If they saw either me or the car nearby again, our next meeting would proceed without a lot of talking. They said they’d make short shrift of me.” Maja had tears in her eyes again, and she let out several sobs. “I had to confirm that I understood. I obviously said yes. After that, one of them hit me in the stomach full force, and I blacked out. When I came to again, the four of them were gone.”

“God, how awful! I’m so sorry—I’m sure they were the same guys I was observing. I just don’t understand why they reacted so viciously. I’ve already put the whole thing to rest. Honestly, Maja, I didn’t want to pull you in. I’m sure it was me they were after.”

“Yeah, that much was clear to me by then. But did you go back to the cabin another time? You only told me about two surveillances. And the men didn’t see you at all, did they?”

“Well, yes, they did. The second time, they stopped briefly next to my—I mean, your car. I ducked right away, but they might have written down or photographed the license plate number. I’m sorry—that was my mistake. The first time, I did better and parked around the corner. I’m sure they didn’t see the car that time. Then the day before yesterday, I was there again for the third and last time because I just couldn’t get the whole business out of my head. I wanted to get through the surveillance quickly, so I drove the car down the dirt road to the fork where it turns off to the cabin. On their way back, they obviously drove by your car, but I was hoping they didn’t see it.”

Maja sighed. “But they did. Did you find anything out?”

“No, that’s why I put the whole thing to rest. The assignment is done. I just wanted to make sure one more time that nothing new had come up. But it was the same game as the other times: working together on their computers, four guys in two cars—nothing more.”

Maja was calmer now. Her breathing was steady again. “I’m sorry I lit into you earlier. It’s clear that it wasn’t your fault. I just needed to vent my frustrations on someone.”

“No problem. I probably deserved it, anyway. When I think of how they could have attacked me instead, then I know that I got off lightly with your tirade. But that should be a lesson to me: I’ll no longer use your car for detective work. I see now what comes of that. But tell me, can you describe these guys at all?”

Maja shook her head. “No. They all had on black masks, hoodies, jeans, and sneakers. The one who was following me earlier was wearing a brown parka, as usual—otherwise, I’m sure I never would have recognized him. And as I said, one of the other three guys was very tall. Aside from that, I didn’t notice anything special.”

Elin thought it over. “It fits in any case. I mean, who else could it be? I just don’t understand why they would make such a big deal out of it. If all they’re doing is playing harmless computer games, they wouldn’t have had such a violent reaction. Something about the whole thing stinks—I’ve had that feeling from the very beginning. Four guys who meet in secret in a secluded place several times a week ... that can’t possibly be harmless.”

Maja sat up. “You’re not really thinking of pursuing this further, are you? To be honest, I’ve had enough. I can usually put up a good fight, but four men armed with knives—I’d rather not risk that again. And I can tell you: they meant what they said.”

Elin raised both hands in defense. “Stop worrying! Under no circumstances do I want anything to happen to you. But it bothers the hell out of me that they could get away with this intimidation act so easily. In my view, our best move would be to bring in the police. They’d definitely find something interesting here—if only I knew what it was.”

“Thanks, but I really have no interest in dealing with the police. You know how overworked they are. And since nothing serious happened to me, I can imagine what priority they would give this incident. Also, if these guys ever caught wind that the police were involved, they’d get in their heads to make good on their threat. I really don’t need that, thank you very much.”

“Yeah, I know. But this situation doesn’t exactly feel safe, either. I mean, how do we know that they’ll leave us in peace, even if we just lay low? Think about it. You run across one of these guys by chance. You don’t even recognize him, but he alerts the others, and there you are again with a knife at your throat.”

Maja looked at Elin in horror. “Do you have to be so graphic? I’ve got chills running down my spine.”

“Sorry.”

“You’re right, though. It’s still a risk. Let me see how I cope with it. Ask me again in a few days—maybe I’ll change my mind. But please do not do anything without my consent! This thing concerns me now, too. You can’t make the decisions on your own.”

“All right, Scout’s Honor. I’ll discuss everything with you beforehand.” Elin could easily understand Maja’s point. And she would keep her promise. On the other hand, her detective instincts had been aroused, and she wondered what lay behind this thing. Just what sort of plot were they hatching in that cabin? Elin rose and walked to the window. She looked down at the entryway to the house on the other side of the street. There was no one there.
“At least, they seem to have called off their surveillance. I don’t see anyone there.”

“Sounds good. That’s something, anyway.” Maja made no effort to check Elin’s observation but instead went straight to the kitchen. “I need to eat something now. And a glass of wine would also be good. Now that I think about it, more like several glasses.”

That was something Elin could fully endorse. Right now, a little normalcy and relaxation were just what they both needed.


Vanished?
Stockholm Sleuth Series, Book 1
Release Date: April 29, 2017




“He could only hope he’d get out of here in one piece.”


To come to terms with his recent divorce, Martin, an attorney in Berlin, plans a peaceful vacation, two weeks in a Swedish summer house seem to be the solution. It won’t be peaceful, however, and those two weeks will change his life forever. He takes a liking to Liv, a Swedish woman whom he meets in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, they don’t get to have their first date – Liv disappears under mysterious circumstances. Martin begins his search but soon realizes he can’t find Liv in a foreign country by himself. He hires two private investigators, and their discoveries make everything seem even stranger.

The complexities in this suspenseful criminal case lead to a hunt across Sweden. Martin comes close to finding answers, but his search lands him in very real danger, eventually leading to the first deaths. Soon he‘s wondering if he can get Liv and himself out of this situation alive.





The author grew up in the North of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein. Today, he lives together with his family in Stockholm, Sweden, where he works as management consultant.

Already for ages he has been a great fan of crime stories and therefore, had the desire to write his own crime story with the characters acting in Sweden. This crime-fiction is now available under the title "Vanished?".

The crime novel starts at a slower pace - like Martin's holidays, but the tension goes up more and more. It comes to a number of surprising turns giving new impulses to the story. Apart from that, the lovely country Sweden is described with the view of a foreigner.




Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!



Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for Honey Baked Homicide by Gayle Leeson

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Tour, presented by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, for Honey Baked Homicide by Gayle Leeson.  Please leave a comment or question for Gayle to let her know you stopped by.  You may enter the tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You may follow all of the stops on the tour by clicking on the banner above.  Good Luck!

Honey Baked Homicide
By Gayle Leeson
Down South Café Mystery, Book 3

Publisher:  Berkley Publishing
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: 288 Pages
ISBN: 978-1101990827
ASIN: B06XJM6VGH




About the book:

The owner of a delightful Southern cafe tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery . . .

It's fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers' Down South Cafe has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she's happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon's body outside the cafe early one morning.

 As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects--and they're all buzzing mad. She'll have to use all of her skills--and her Southern charm--to find her way out of this sticky situation... 


Excerpt from HONEY-BAKED HOMICIDE by Gayle Leeson. Copyright ©  2017 by Gayle Leeson.  Reprinted by permission of Berkley Publishing.

We were on our way back home when we saw an old pickup truck speeding in the direction of Landon’s Farm. In fact, it appeared to be Mr. Landon’s truck, but neither Ryan nor I could see well enough in the dark to determine if it was.

Ryan drove until there was a wide enough space on the shoulder of the road to pull over. Then he took out his cell phone and called the police station.

“Hi, it’s Ryan. I’m out on Route 11 just outside of Winter Garden. What appeared to be an antique Chevy truck just passed me going in the opposite direction. The vehicle is speeding, and I’d like for you to alert the officer on call—maybe contact the county dispatch as well.”

He ended the call and placed the phone back in the car’s center console.

“I’d hate for Mr. Landon to get a speeding ticket,” I said.

“We’re not sure that was Mr. Landon . . . or even if that was his truck. If it was, whoever was driving it took the expression drive it like you stole it to heart and deserves a ticket.”

“I hadn’t thought of that—that it could be his truck but not him driving. Maybe someone did steal Mr. Landon’s truck. How awful.”
Ryan picked up my hand and kissed it. “We don’t know anything for sure right now. Given what we know about Mr. Landon, I doubt that was him or his truck.”

“But we don’t know for sure. There could be something wrong. Let’s turn around and drive out to Mr. Landon’s place to see if we can help.”

“We can’t. I’m off duty, and we’ve already sent help his way. If anything’s wrong, the police will get Mr. Landon the help he needs.”

“I hope so,” I said. “I’ve got a really bad feeling about this. I can’t imagine Mr. Landon ever speeding down the road like that.”

“Would it make you feel better to call the man?”

“No. He might think I was crazy to call him at this time of night to ask him if he was speeding down the road. And like you said, it probably wasn’t him . . . or his truck.”

When I arrived at the café the next morning, I was surprised to see Stu Landon’s truck haphazardly parked at the far right corner of the lot. I took my usual spot in the parking space farthest away from the front door to the left of the building. Gathering my keys and purse and stepping out of the car, I could see Mr. Landon sitting in the driver’s seat of his truck. I gave him a smile and a wave, wishing he’d have let me know he’d planned on being here this early so I wouldn’t have kept him waiting.

He didn’t wave back, and I wondered if he was angry. Or maybe he hadn’t seen me. Then again, he could simply be preoccupied.

I unlocked the door, put my purse under the counter, and waited for Mr. Landon to bring in the honey I’d requested yesterday. When he hadn’t come inside after a couple of minutes, I went to check on him. Maybe he really hadn’t seen me arrive . . . or noticed my car in the parking lot. Unlikely, but I guess it was possible.

I walked over to Mr. Landon’s truck. No wonder he hadn’t seen me. His straw hat had slid down over his eyes. Had he been waiting on me for so long he’d fallen asleep?

I rapped my knuckles lightly on the window. “Mr. Landon?”

When he didn’t respond, I knocked a little harder. Still, no response. I was getting concerned. What if Mr. Landon had suffered a stroke or something?

I heard a car pull into the lot. I glanced over my shoulder and was glad to see Luis parking beside my Beetle. Luis was our busboy and dishwasher. He could help me get Mr. Landon out of the truck and inside the café if need be.

After knocking on the window again and still getting no response from Mr. Landon, I carefully opened the door of the truck. Mr. Landon began sliding out onto the pavement. Was that blood on his shirt?

“Luis! Can you help me?”

I heard Luis’s feet pounding the pavement as he ran to us. “What’s going on?” He gasped. “Amy, he’s bleeding.”

“I see that. And right now, he’s falling out of the truck. Could you help me get him?”

“I don’t think we should. Let’s put him back inside the truck and call for help.” He stepped between the door and Mr. Landon and gently pushed the man toward the passenger side of the truck.
Mr. Landon fell over and I could see that his throat had been cut. I was barely aware that I was screaming until I felt Luis’s hands on my shoulders.

“I don’t think there’s anything we can do for him,” he said. “Let’s get you inside.”

“No. No, we have to stay with him. We have to wait here until help comes.”

I heard Luis talking, but it wasn’t to me. He’d called 9-1-1.

“Thank you,” I said as he returned his phone to his pocket.

“You shouldn’t be looking at this.” He gently turned me away from Mr. Landon’s truck. “The man is dead.”

We walked a few feet away from the truck.

“You’re shaking,” he said. “You need to sit down.”

He needed to sit as badly as I did. Still, I wasn’t about to leave Mr. Landon until after the paramedics arrived.

“I’m fine,” I told him, knowing fully well that neither of us was fine. I was relieved when I heard sirens approaching. Poor Mr. Landon was almost out of my incapable care.

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The heroine, Daphne, has returned to her hometown of Brea Ridge to open a cake baking and decorating business and is wrestling with the question of whether or not one can go home again. She enjoys spending time with her sister, nephew, and niece, but she and her mother have a complicated relationship that isn’t always pleasant. Daphne has also reconnected with her high school sweetheart and is pursuing a rekindled romance while desperately trying to put her past behind her.

Kerry Vincent, Hall of Fame Sugar Artist, Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show Director, and Television Personality says the series is “a must read for cake bakers and anyone who has ever spent creative time in the kitchen!”

Says Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author, “One day I found myself happily reading . . . mysteries by Gayle Trent. If she can win me over . . . she’s got a great future.”\

The Embroidery Mystery series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. Marcy Singer left her home in San Francisco, along with the humiliation of being left at the altar, in order to move to Tallulah Falls and realize her dream of owning her own shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back.
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Publishers Weekly says, “Fans of the genre will take kindly to Marcy, her Irish wolfhound, Angus O’Ruff, and Tallulah Falls. This is a fast, pleasant read with prose full of pop culture references and, of course, sharp needlework puns.”

Pat Cooper of RT Book Reviews says, “If her debut here is any indication, Lee’s new series is going to be fun, spunky and educational. She smoothly interweaves plot with her character’s personality and charm, while dropping tantalizing hints of stitching projects and their history. Marcy Singer is young, fun, sharp and likable. Readers will be looking forward to her future adventures.” (RT Book Reviews nominated The Quick and the Thread for a 2010 Book Reviewers’ Choice Award in the Amateur Sleuth category).

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!











 
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