Alone by S.M. Ford

ALONE
by SM Ford

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

 

Ready for adventure in the snowy Colorado mountains, Cecelia Gage is thrilled to be employed as the live-in housekeeper for her favorite bestselling author. The twenty-five-year old doesn’t count on Mark Andrews being so prickly, nor becoming part of the small town gossip centering on the celebrity. Neither does she expect to become involved in Andrews family drama and a relationship with Simon Lindley, Mark’s oh so good-looking best friend. And certainly, Cecelia has no idea she’ll be mixed up in a murder investigation because of this job.
Will Cecelia’s faith in God get her through all the trouble that lies ahead?

 

Prologue
I know I should go to bed. But how can I? Instead I want to cry or scream or have some feminine fit to protest the reality of this evening and have someone sympathize with me or hold my hand or hold me in their arms . . . But I’m alone. Alone, as I’m afraid I’ll be the rest of my life. And there is no one to call. Simon is out of town and Mark . . . Mark is in jail.
Remembering the town’s small police station with its two cramped cells, I shudder. Each stark chamber is only six by eight feet. The bed, a concrete shelf covered by a thin plastic mattress. No chairs. In the corner behind a half wall are a lidless toilet and a miniature sink. The cells are only meant to be temporary holding tanks for drunks or lawbreakers of minor crimes. Not for an accused murderer. Not for Mark!
The clock strikes the hour: two in the morning. I’m pacing again. I force myself to stop. With a shaking hand I push an escaped strand of hair out of my eyes. The room is as cold as the snow falling outside. Maybe a cup of hot chocolate would help. I can’t go to sleep the way I am and I don’t know how to pray anymore.
I switch off the living room lamps and make my way to the kitchen. I’d forgotten what a disaster it is. The stove’s center island is littered with dirty coffee cups, a pile of limp tea bags on a saucer, crumpled napkins, spoons resting in untidy brown circles on the shiny surface. Mark had been hospitable to the men who’d taken him away. Fighting tears, I put the lid back on the instant coffee and screw it down tight.
I throw away the garbage, load the dishwasher, and put coffee and tea back in the cupboard. The dishrag is cold and soggy in the bottom of the sink. I rinse it with warm water and go to work on the stains on the cream-colored counter top. Maybe the harder I scrub, the better I’ll be able to block out the images in my mind of the body in its pool of blood in the study . . . and of Mark put in handcuffs and marched out to the waiting police car.


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SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too.

When she was 13 she got hooked on Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense books, although she has been a reader as long as she can remember, and is an eclectic reader. Inspirational authors she enjoys include: Francine Rivers, Bodie Thoene, Dee Henderson, Jan Karon, and many more.
SM Ford is a Pacific Northwest gal, but has also lived in the midwest (Colorado and Kansas) and on the east coast (New Jersey). She and her husband have two daughters and two sons-in-law and three grandsons. She can’t figure out how she got to be old enough for all that, however.
She loves assisting other writers on their journeys.

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Friendly Fire by Claudia Hall Christian


FRIENDLY FIRE

a Seth and Ava Mystery (Book 3)

by Claudia Hall Christian
Genre: Romantic Suspense Mystery

 

Friendly Fire begins with a phone call in the middle of the night. Seth’s father figure and personal Lucifer is acting crazy. A day later, Seth learns that his mother wants him to find something that his biological father left at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital.
Standing in the lobby of the place that had restored him after two tours through the blood and muck of tunnels of Vietnam, Seth is drawn into a mystery that will take him through the meltdown of Reactor Four at Chernobyl to meet Russian Olympic marksmen and discover that a familiar demon is covering its tracks.
In the end, Seth learns the most important kind of friendly fire from a man who had suffered horrific trauma and a woman who’d lived through the worst life can dish out.
If you like Seth O’Malley, Friendly Fire is the book for you.
Friendly Fire is filled with memorable characters, romance, and intrigue readers have come to expect from Claudia Hall Christian. Friendly Fire is the third in the Seth and Ava Mystery series.

“Dad?”

Seth felt a small hand touch his shoulder. Curled up on his right side, Seth opened his eyes and saw no one. Sleep tugged at him, and he closed his eyes again.
“Dad? It’s Lizzie.”
Seth sat up in bed. Lizzie was his eldest daughter, from his crazy first marriage. She reentered Seth’s life when she was six months pregnant with her stepfather’s child. Seth blinked. Even in the dim light, he could tell that she was well. He smiled at her.
“What?” Lizzie asked.
“In this light . . .,” Seth said. “You look like my mother.”
“Is that a good thing?” Lizzie asked. Self-conscious, she tucked a piece of perfectly coifed blond hair behind her ear.
“A very good thing,” Seth said. He realized he was naked. “I’m sorry, Lizzie. Would you mind . . .”
Lizzie nodded and turned around. Seth went to the closet and pulled on jeans.
“Okay,” Seth said.
He pulled a white undershirt over his head. She helped him get the shirt over his bandaged arm.
“What’s going on?” Seth asked.
“It’s Julie Ann,” Lizzie said. Tears appeared in her eyes.
“What’s Julie Ann?” Seth asked about his second daughter from his crazy first marriage.
Julie Ann was on active duty with the US Marine Corps. Seth grabbed a collared shirt. With Lizzie’s help, he put it on over the T-shirt.
“Her team was overcome by the Taliban,” Lizzie said. “They’ve taken heavy casualties. She’s been injured. According to the phone call, she’s expected to reach Kabul by nightfall. She’ll be evacuated to Germany.”
“Did they say how bad it was?” Seth asked as he threaded a belt through the loops in his jeans.
“They don’t know,” Lizzie said. “Bad, I guess. I tried to look it up online but . . .”
“Who called you?” Seth asked.
“Oh, Dad, I don’t know,” Lizzie said. “I can never keep track of that stuff — some military something or another — and when he told me about Jules, I . . . He said that he couldn’t find you, so he called me. Schmidty and I took the first plane to Denver to be here to tell you in person. The man said it would be a miracle if Julie Ann survived. I thought you’d want to go there.”
Lizzie came to him, and he put his arms around her. Over her shoulder, he tried to work it out. He felt moisture from her tears through his shirt.
“Where’s your husband?” Seth asked. “Where’s Schmidty?”
“He had some business with that R and B guy,” Lizzie said. “He dropped me off here so we could have some time alone.”
Lizzie looked at him with hurt eyes.
“Don’t you want to share this with me?” Lizzie asked. “Julie Ann . . .”
Lizzie’s eyes traveled over Seth’s face.
“What is it?” Lizzie asked. Her soft, sad voice shifted to steel. “What did I do?”
“Nothing,” Seth said, with a shake of his head.
“Dad?” Lizzie asked.
“Julie Ann isn’t in Afghanistan,” Seth said. “I talked to her last weekend. She’s learning to fly UAVs at a base in North Dakota. Grand Rapids, I think, but she wasn’t able to tell me.”
“Why didn’t she tell me?” Lizzie asked.
“It’s classified,” Seth said.
“What the fuck is going on?” Lizzie asked, and then she gasped. “They wanted to know where you were!”
✯✯✯✯✯Love! Love! Love!
By angelhwk68 Verified Purchase
Once again Claudia Hall Christian has kept me enthralled from page one. Family, love, mystery and a great ride! Seth has some surprises and revelations. Wow! As always I will wait patiently for the next one!
✯✯✯✯✯Heartwarming story weaved into a fast paced suspense
By Anna Denton Verified Purchase
This story is a mystery interwoven around a heartfelt family saga. Beautifully crafted with fast paced drama, keeps you turning the pages. The only negative was that I ran out of book to read.


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The Tax AssassinThe Carving Knife

 

Claudia Hall Christian is a consummate storyteller. Whether she’s writing the long running Denver Cereal or a short blurb for her neighborhood newsletter, she tells heartwarming stories that leaves people longing for more. These skills make writing traditional serial fiction — long-form stories that are published as they are written — a natural for Claudia. Her lifelong writing goal is to write a serial fiction set in every state in the United States. So far, she’s brought her brand of addictive, heartwarming fiction to Fort Worth, Texas, in the Queen of Cool, to Denver for the Denver Cereal, and now to Boston for Suffer a Witch. Last year, Claudia released the first of the Jornada del Muerto novellas set in Santa Fe.
A prolific author, Claudia also writes the Amazon bestselling the Alex the Fey thrillers, as well as the Seth and Ava Mysteries. She currently has 22 published works. In order to keep up with her storytelling capacity, she co-founded a publishing house, Cook Street Publishing, with a group of friends.

Goodreads ✯ Twitter ✯ Facebook ✯ Amazon ✯ Website ✯ Instagram ✯ Linkedin ✯ Stories by Claudia 

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One More Time is Not Enough by Belle Ami

 

ONE MORE TIME IS NOT ENOUGH

Release of Book 3 of The Only One seriesby

Belle Ami
GENRE: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Adelia Lindstrom Bremen seems to have it all: wealth, beauty, perfect twin children, two men in love with her, and a career she loves. But, beneath the veneer of success and prosperity lies disappointment, tragedy, and unending lies. Her parents were murdered, her marriage ended in a custody battle, and she is swept up in a love triangle. Now she has discovered the existence of a half-sister who wants nothing to do with her.
Someone is killing scientists that deny man-made climate change, and Adelia is about to find out that putting her life back together and opening herself to love may be the least of her worries. Can she find her true love and survive being the prey of a serial killer? Can the two men who love her rescue her in time? The clock is ticking.
When they returned to the cliff house, it was late. Adelia suggested they take a Jacuzzi and have a nightcap. While David changed into his swimsuit, she ordered a bottle of champagne and fresh strawberries. By the time he finished in the bathroom, she was in the hot tub, immersed in a cloud of steam, sipping champagne and nibbling on fruit.
“Come on, slowpoke, the water feels like heaven.” She eyed David’s muscled body. “The FBI Academy seems to have agreed with you. You’re a treat for the eyes, Agent Weiss.”
David sighed. “What am I going to do with you?” He slipped into the water.
“I don’t know. What are you going to do with me?” she goaded, handing him a glass of champagne.
Enjoying their playful repartee, she placed her feet in his lap. “This is bliss.” The intimacy of the hot tub was having its desired effect, she could feel the sexual tension mounting.
“You know I’m not going to make love to you.”
“Really.” She furrowed her brows annoyed. “Why not?”
“Because, Adelia, even all of this”—he spread his arms wide—“can’t make the reality of our lives go away. You have an ex-husband who wants you back, children who’d be better off with both their parents. I can’t compete with that.”
She could sense his goading her into a confrontation. “You’re not going to spoil this perfect evening. I won’t let you.”
“Do you know what it’s going to be like for me, when this is over? Poor David, too bad his girlfriend went back to her husband.”
“It’s not true, you could stop it if you wanted to.”
“We’re fighting destiny, Adelia.”
Doubt plagued her, but it wasn’t within her power to stop what she was feeling. She stood and placed her glass on the side table. With determination, she reached out and took the champagne glass from him. Then, grabbing a strawberry, she sat on his lap, facing him.
He started to protest. “Adelia, stop . . .”
Without a thought, she placed the strawberry seductively between her teeth and brought her lips close to his.
He stared into her eyes. “Please, don’t do this.”
“Why? Don’t you like strawberries?” She could feel his erection beneath her bikini bottom. “Or, is it just me you don’t care for?”
He growled, then bit half of the strawberry off, his lips brushing hers. He tried to pull away, but her arms encircled his neck, and she deepened the kiss.
“If you keep this up . . . you might get more than you bargained for.”
“Is that a threat or a promise?” she whispered, her lips inches from his.
“You’re killing me.”
“Funny, am I the only one here who knows what they want?”
“What I want isn’t in question.”
“Oh, but I think it is. If you were honest with yourself, you wouldn’t pull away. It’s been such a perfect evening. What’s wrong with two people who care for each other, exploring their feelings? I dare you to tell me you don’t want this. That you don’t want me.”
“I’m trying to protect you . . . me . . . both of us . . . from making a mistake.” He smiled. “But you’re not cooperating. I don’t know how much more I can take.”
“Then surrender and let me win. I’m a big girl. If this is a mistake, it’s my mistake.” She pressed her lips on his, her tongue darting against his.
He rose with her in his arms. “I won’t blame you for what’s about to happen. You know how much I want you. I just hope we don’t live to regret it.”
He kissed her with a lust that turned her blood to fire.
“No regrets. I want this. Let’s take a shower,” she teased, kicking her legs playfully in the air.
Tema Merback, writing as Belle Ami, couldn’t be more excited to be given the opportunity to be published by Soul Mate Publishing: “Dreams do come true”. As a mother and wife, she dedicated herself to her family and loved every minute of it. One day, like Sleeping Beauty, she awoke to find gourmet cooking and being a classical pianist wasn’t enough, she needed to reinvent herself. So, she brushed away the cobwebs and locked herself in a room and spent a year writing a historical novel which, low and behold, was a Finalist for a national book award. Her first author incarnation was born.
When she read Fifty Shades of Grey, her world tilted. Like a laser beam focusing on a target, she had found her passion: Sexy, steamy, romantic suspense. Hence came a second incarnation and a fitting nom de plume, Belle Ami. A quote that Belle considers her mantra is by Wilferd Peterson, “Success is focusing the full power of all you are on what you have a burning desire to achieve.”
She is a Kathryn McBride scholar of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She lives in California with her husband, two children, three dogs, and horse.
She is the author of The Only One series, The One (#1), and The One & More (#2). Her third in the series titled One More Time is Not Enough release date July 13, 2016

Cyber Crime Series by Angela Ford

 
CYBER-CRIME SERIES by ANGELA FORD

Awesome Review by Romance Reviews Magazine!
This is an American FBI based romantic suspense. We’re given a female agent – a complex stalker, and a classic covert romance budding between fellow agents. Thankfully that’s not all the author has given the reader. The heroine, Jess, has emotional problems linked to her past. Her love interest, Tom, similarly has a past he would rather forget. Neither reveals their covert feelings for one another, and I rather liked the way the author enlightens the reader to their innermost thoughts. This could easily have turned into a tired old cliché plot of agents shooting their way through crisis after crisis, then falling in love and straight off to bed. Ms Ford, though, luckily spins a little magic into her story with a dead agent brought back to life. And so the plot thickens. But who is watching Jess besides a dead agent, and who is stalking her? The more Jess puzzles over gathered evidence the more she fears the outcome. What is worse, the killer knows her name. Ordered off the case, Jess retreats to a safe haven. Jess is far from safe. Tom is far from safe. And the hero of the day is far from the expected hero. Well done Ms Ford for putting a jolly good twist in this tale. As a debut novelist I sense Ms Ford’s writing will grow with each new book she undertakes to write.

CLOSURE (Book 1)
An elite FBI task force tracks online predators while they hunt their prey. A series of murders in Presario Heights has forced Special Agent Jessica Resario to follow her gut instinct to save the next victim. Supervisory Special Agent Tom Erickson removes her from the case. The only place to escape the danger is her family beach home. She hadn’t been there since her parents were murdered. The level of intensity climbs higher with her discovery of postcards marked “I Crave You”. Old ghosts, secrets, imminent threats and an inevitable attraction to Tom send her on an emotional roller coaster. If that wasn’t enough, she opens the door to a man she thought was dead. Tom is stabbed and his case files go missing…high emotions put Jess at the killer’s mercy.

Jess opened the file that held copies of the postcards. They were simple postcards of scenic views which could be found in any shop in the Vineyard. The backs of the postcards showed Jess’s name printed very neatly, and beside it was written, “I Crave You.” All three cards had the same quote, her name, no address and no postage stamp. They would have been placed under the door in person.
A cold chill ran up her spine. It was definitely not a prank from one of her friends; they had more class than that! She couldn’t recall anyone around her who was shy or might have a crush on her. Sandy and Billy, her closest summer friends, would definitely have told her if someone had a crush on her. She never even dated anyone from the village in the summers. It was a small village and everyone around her age had gone steady since they were about ten years old.
There was a boy she had dated in Washington her senior year, but it was never serious. They only dated for a few months before graduation and Jess ended it before she left for the beach home. He wanted to continue their relationship, but she was headed west and he was attending college in the east.
The three words, “I Crave You,” struck a nerve. Where had she heard those words? Jess couldn’t recollect if the words were used in the existing case, or if they were from her past.
FORBIDDEN (Book 2)


In this sequel to Closure, Agent Jessica Resario continues to deliver spine-chilling seminars about internet predators. A seminar one night introduces her to the Bennetts’. They believe their teenage daughter has a stalker and is in danger.
One desperate man forbids Jess to love another man. Another desperate man preys on a naïve teen. Both put Jess back in the line of fire and once again her life is put into the hands of a serial killer.
Startled from her thoughts, Jess turned and saw Tom in the doorway with a concerned look on his face. He walked closer to her and set a cup of tea on her desk.
“I thought you might need this.”
“Thanks Tom. You always know what I need. I love you so much.” She smiled and reached for his hand. Just his presence in the room warmed her from the cold chill she’d felt.
“I love you too.” He leaned down and kissed the top of her head. “Now spill it Jess. I know that look.”
She laughed at his remark. He knows me so well.
“I feel like I’m reading about Trevor stalking me. This girl is in trouble, Tom. She’s being stalked. I feel it in my gut.” Jess took a sip of her tea. The warmth and sweetness of that Earl Grey Cream was exactly what she needed to calm her.
“That look worries the heck out of me. But I learned a long time ago I can’t stop you.” Tom picked up her phone from the desk and handed it to her. “Call Mr. Bennett.”
“At this time of the night?” Jess looked at her watch.
“If he’s as concerned as you believe, Jess, he’ll be awake.” Tom kissed her forehead and smiled.
OBSESSED (Book 3)


The FBI cybercrime series continues after Jess shoots Trevor Marshall in her kitchen. The man responsible for three murdered teens in the Bay area, her parents and her adopted daughter’s parents. Ten years before he stalked her without her knowledge. Her father kept it from her to protect her and sent her to the west coast for college. Marshall murdered her parents in his attempt to find her. Ten years later he’s successful but Jess is a compelled FBI profiler who hunts internet predators.
SSA Jessica Resario thought her life had settled; now there’s more at stake. She stepped down as the team’s leader to be with her family and SA Mike Turner is promoted. A postcard shows up on her doorstep with the same three words used by Marshall – I Crave You. Mike promises to discover how it was leaked from the sealed case. When another postcard turns up at Jess’s beach house, Mike takes the team to the east coast. Only half the team makes it to the beach house. Old ghosts, secrets and with more at stake; Jess is determined to end this obsession and protect her family.
Jess looked in that direction and something caught her attention. She tip-toed toward the door and discovered a postcard on the floor just inside the front door. Memories of the postcards crossed her mind as she bent down to pick it up. Her hand trembled as she read her name on the front of the post card. She turned it over slowly. A tear formed and hit her cheek as she read the words written on it. I Crave You.
The sudden jolt of shock that hit her at the front door led her to scream Tom’s name. The postcard fell from her hand. Tom came running from the bedroom. Jess’s scream woke everyone and they all met at the front door. Jess couldn’t speak but pointed to the welcome mat where the postcard lay. Those three words “I Crave You” could be read as plain as day. Tom reached for the postcard with horror; one of Vineyard Haven addressed to Jess with those three words just like the ones she’d received in the past.
Angela Ford originates from Nova Scotia…Canada’s Ocean Playground!
DSC_0447 - Copy - CopyHer love of the ocean and sunsets are always in her heart and give her inspiration. Her love for words keeps her turning the page. She is never without a book, whether she’s reading or writing. Now residing in Ontario, Angela works in Finance – numbers by day – words by night. Her dedication to volunteer and involvement with cyber safety seminars gave her an Award of Distinction and sparked the idea for her first book Closure – suspense with a dash of romance that hit the best- selling Action/Adventure and Women’s Fiction. Angela continued this FBI suspense with Forbidden and will deliver the final of the series in 2015. She also writes contemporary romance, sometimes sweet…sometimes spicy and sometimes with a dash of suspense. Unforgettable Kiss delivers a spicy romance with a dash of suspense. Blind Tasting of The Love List series and The Christmas Wreath of the Forever Christmas series are sweet reads. 2015 kicked off with a new Romantic Suspense Surrender.Between two jobs, being a mom with a home always filled with young adults and rather interesting stories; she is lucky to have one very patient and understanding man. But it is the furry family members who rule the house – a Puggle (Pug/Beagle), a new Chug puppy (Pug/Chihuahua) and two loveable cats. Every possible quiet moment she finds, she treasures and just writes about the moments to come. Angela is an avid reader of romance, a member of the RWA, KOD (Kiss of Death – Suspense Chapter) and Mississauga Writers Group. You can follow her at BTGN www.bookstogonow.com or visit her website/blog Romantic Escapes at http://www.angelafordauthor.com to connect with her on her social network sites. She loves to hear from her readers – they keep her smiling!

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Young Ladies of Mystery Series by Stacy Juba

YOUNG LADIES OF MYSTERY series
Books for when Nancy Drew fans grow up
by
Stacy Juba


Twenty-Five Years Ago Today
Official genre of book: Cozy Mystery/Romantic Suspense
Should we dig for the truth when Pandora’s Box is a coffin of buried secrets? When obit writer and aspiring reporter Kris Langley investigates the 25-year-old unsolved murder of Diana Ferguson, a young artist obsessed with Greek mythology, not only does she fall in love with Diana’s nephew, but she must also fight to stay off the obituary page herself.
“Kris? Kris?”
Her eyes snapped open, the scream ripping from her throat. She glanced around the dark room, shapes foreign, distorted by shadows. “No. I’m sorry Nicole …”
“Kris? Kris?” Someone shook her shoulder. She gasped.
“Kris.” Eric hugged her. Warm. He felt so warm. He stroked her hair, whispering in her ear. “It’s okay. Everything’s gonna be okay.”
Reality rushed back to her. She hadn’t lasted through the movie. She had turned off the television and slipped into unconsciousness. Eric’s face fuzzed in and out of focus.
He switched on the lamp. “Want a glass of water?”
“No.”
“What were you dreaming?”
“I don’t remember.”
“You screamed out ‘Nicole.’ You woke me up.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. Nicole was your cousin, right? Tell me about her.” Eric rubbed her hair again, the gentle strokes calming her.
“We were the same age,” Kris said. “Our families were close. We lived in the same neighborhood.”
“That must’ve been fun.”
“It was. Lots of fun.” Tears spilled down her cheeks. Eric traced one with his fingertip.
“My mother told me your cousin was the girl who was killed by a neighbor,” he said in a hushed voice. “I remember hearing about it when I was a kid. She went to a different school, but it still shook up all my friends. It was awful.”
He wasn’t wearing a shirt, just sweatpants. She must’ve scared the hell out of him.
“I’d rather not discuss it,” Kris said.
“I want to help.”
Kris felt the words surging to her throat, but she couldn’t tell him. Not now. Not ever. “You are helping, just by being here. I don’t want to be alone.”
She pressed her lips to Eric’s, first softly then more urgent. He responded without hesitation, crushing his mouth against hers. Kris dug her nails into his shoulders and the smooth contoured muscles of his chest. He gently laid her back and nibbled her ear, working a sensuous trail down her neck.
He glided down the zipper of her hooded sweatshirt and skimmed his thumb across her belly. She closed her eyes, arching as his hand slipped upward with agonizing slowness. Her stomach rose and fell as his fingers splayed over her heart. Kris’s breathing quickened into a pant, every nerve ending igniting.
His eyes moved up to her, communicating desire. “I care about you, Kris. I was happy when you showed up tonight. I was afraid you didn’t feel the same way about me.”
“I do.”
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yes,” she whispered. “Stop talking.”
Kris reached behind his head and pulled him down. Her thoughts scattered as she banished Nicole’s disapproving ghost to the dim recesses of her mind. 

Sink or Swim

Official genre of book: Cozy Mystery/Romantic Suspense
Personal trainer Cassidy Novak garners popularity and fame while starring in a hit reality show. She catches the attention of an obsessive stalker that turns her well-ordered life topsy-turvy. As Cassidy’s competitors disappear in a string of murders, she teams up with Zach Gallagher, the photographer tasked to record her personal moments for a local newspaper. Is Zach trustworthy? He shadows her as easily as the stalker. Cassidy hates the bizarre rules in this guessing game, but when her stalker forces a showdown, she plays to win.
Cassidy sat poised in her chair as former contestants filed onto the soundstage at WBC in New York. Together, the studio audience and television viewers had watched the recorded footage of her walking the plank. Gabriel would now interview the competitors from the inaugural season one final time.
More importantly, he would announce her prize. If it erased most of her debts, then it would at least make this whole embarrassing experience worthwhile. Cassidy’s heart kicked in her chest and sweat moistened her brow.
As one of her old teammates entered, her heart rate skyrocketed for a different reason. Josh Sanchioni slid into a bucket seat, carrying himself stiffer than normal in his sharp gray suit. Studio lights caught his sunbleached strawberry blonde waves, brightening the reddish gold tints.
Cassidy slipped her gaze to his leather shoes. If Josh hadn’t been engaged, they could have been an item. Instead, they’d been good friends until that one evening when the cameras were off and they almost kissed. They’d both realized their mistake and backed away. Things were strained until Josh walked the plank a week later.
Tonight, not only did Cassidy have to face Josh, she would probably meet his fiancée.
Her cheeks heating, Cassidy focused on the competitor beside Josh as a distraction. Adam Horton sat erect, hands folded in the lap of his olive green khakis. He wasn’t military, but he dressed like an Army wannabe. His reptilian eyes drilled into Cassidy, his angular face revealing the shape of bones underneath. A blond goatee darkened his pointy chin.
Cassidy shuddered involuntarily. Adam never said much, but he made her uncomfortable just the same. 

Dark Before Dawn
Official genre of book: Paranormal YA Suspense

If you could control minds…would you? It’s hard enough for Dawn hiding that she’s a teen psychic from her new classmates and new step-family, but it gets even tougher when she learns that ESP spells D-A-N-G-E-R. When Dawn gets involved with a fortuneteller mentor and two girls who share her mysterious talents, she finally belongs after years of being a misfit. When she learns her new friends may be tied to freak “accidents” in town, Dawn has an important choice to make – continue developing the talent that makes her special or challenge the only people who have ever accepted her.
Dawn gave an involuntary shudder as they drove past the beach. The gray tide pitched forward, swallowing the slick mirror of sand. She gazed down at her knuckles, fisted in her lap. Her mother and Jeff worshipped the ocean, but to her it was a mysterious monster foaming at the mouth.
She heard Ken’s voice rambling about some girl, Renee, and how he planned to approach her at her locker. Renee had a boyfriend, but Ken had seen them fighting a couple times over the summer. Maybe if he started saying hi to her, he’d have a chance. After all, she’d smiled his way at the movies last weekend. At least, Ken was pretty sure the smile was meant for him. All his friends were getting hooked up and he wanted to find someone special.
Dawn turned away from the beach, surprised and a little flattered that Ken was confiding in her. “What’s she’s like?”
“Who?”
“Renee.”
“You listened to me talk to Billy last night, didn’t you?” he demanded. “I don’t believe this. I don’t get any privacy.”
Hot numbness swept over Dawn’s face. Oh, no. Ken hadn’t been speaking aloud just now. She’d picked up on his thoughts. Every once in awhile, that happened and Dawn couldn’t control it. Sometimes she caught on and managed to avoid making a fool out of herself. Other times, she blurted out something dumb. You idiot, you’ve got to think before talking, Dawn chastised herself.
“What were you doing, standing outside the door?” Ken asked.
“I walked by your door when you were on the phone. Sorry, I didn’t mean to overhear.”
“Yeah, I’ll bet.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose.” Dawn swallowed as he tightened his grip around the steering wheel. What an awful day, and it was only 7:15 a.m.
“Why’d you bring up Renee now?”
“I don’t know. I … I thought maybe I could help.”
“I doubt it. Just forget it, okay?”
That was exactly what Dawn wanted to do.
“Sure.” She let out her breath as Ken fixed his attention on the road.
This curse had haunted her since she was seven. Dawn never confided in anyone that she was psychic, but whenever she slipped, other kids shrank away from her. Like last year, with Samantha, a transfer student Dawn tutored in math. She and Samantha hit it off until Dawn asked why Sam’s father was in prison. Samantha’s eyes narrowed and she asked how Dawn knew that. No one knew that. Soon, Samantha found a new best friend.
At least Ken had accepted her apology and his own explanation, even though it made her look nosy.
Something made her turn her head. A weather-beaten cream cottage rose on a bluff, stunted and defiant against the broad swath of sky. Shades blocked the windows and silver wind chimes swayed from an overhang on the white-painted porch.
Iciness dripped over her body. A word detonated in her mind.
Evil. 

 
Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her new Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that spin and exotic hamburgers), or writing about them, Stacy helps writers to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service. She is currently writing the next books in the Storybook Valley Series, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty and The Cinderella Curse.
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Cover Reveal – Corralling Kenzie by Joanne Jaytani

CORRALLING KENZIE
The Winter Sisters series Book 4
by
Joanne Jaytanie


Official genre of book: Romantic Suspense with paranormal elements 

Will Kenzie ever find peace and security inside the corrals of her ranch again?
Kenzie Vaughn is lucky to have a big-city, big-paycheck position. But her great job serves as nothing more than the path to her dream: a horse boarding and training ranch outside the big city. Kenzie is a horsewoman who loves Dobermans and peaceful country living. Now she’s found the perfect ranch, right next door to a lovely campus that houses the Winters Corporation. Her luck is holding, for the Corporation is run by the Winters’ sisters, wonderful women who could easily grow to become great friends.
One night her peace was shattered by a gunshot that wounded her horse, Boone. Good thing for Kenzie, Victory Winters is a veterinarian. Still the gunshot was no accident, and Kenzie’s past and the Winters’ present are dangerously intertwined. Kenzie is sucked into a vortex of rogue scientists who only want her for her DNA. Fortunately, the Winters Corporation can help. Even better, a Special Ops team member, Logan Mendoza, is assigned to watch her ranch. He isn’t interested in Kenzie’s DNA; he wants her for much more. Logan takes Kenzie’s personal security personally.
Will corralling Kenzie become Logan’s full-time mission?
As she spoke gently to him, she began inspecting his body. His blanket was securely strapped around him. She left the blanket in place as she ran one hand over him. At the same time, she searched the ranch with sweeping beams of the flashlight. As her hand worked its way down his flank, she felt something warm and wet. He snorted and his muscles rippled under her touch. There was a tear in his heavy, brown blanket. Surrounding the tear was a dinner-plate size spot. Carefully Kenzie loosened the strap closest to the tear and lifted the blanket. Underneath, she found a long, deep, gouge that oozed blood. She followed the blood path and discovered deep red spatters and a pool on the pristine white ground.
“Boone. Oh Boone, you’re hurt!”
She examined the snow and spotted two sets of large boot prints. The prints crisscrossed and headed to the backside of the paddock. She gasped as it dawned on her that someone else could be near.
Smearing blood everywhere, she patted herself down frantically, hoping her phone was still in a pocket. Yanking it out, she murmured, “come on, come on,” as she impatiently waited for the phone to come to life. She punched in the number she knew by heart. The phone call went directly to voice mail.
“The doctor had a family emergency and will be out of town until next week. If this is an emergency please contact—”
“That vet is ninety minutes away,” she said as she disconnected the call. By the time she loaded Boone up in the horse trailer and drove him out to the vet, he could bleed out. The same thing could happen if she waited for the vet to arrive. She had one other option, except she told herself she would never use it. She scrolled through the phone numbers until she found it. The phone rang and rang, but Kenzie refused to disconnect the call.
“Hello?” came a sleepy female voice.
“Hello, is this Victory Winters?”
“Yes, who’s this?”
“I’m terribly sorry to call you so late. Normally I would never do such a thing. I tried to reach my vet, but he’s out of town and this is an emergency. My name is Kenzie; I own the ranch south of your campus. Todd gave me your number. He told me to call you if I ever had a problem with my animals. He said you can work on all types of animals. My horse, Boone has been injured. He’s bleeding—can you please help me?”
“What?” Now Victory’s voice sounded alert and worried. “What did you say?”
“Boone. My horse. He’s been shot, and I just found boot prints in the snow. They came from the direction of your campus. Is there someone shooting there?”
“Kenzie, is it? I haven’t heard any gunshots. I will come out and help you. Try and keep Boone quiet. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”
“I’m going to stay with Boone. I’ll be in the barn when you get here, right past the house. Thank you, Victory.” 

Catch up with The Winters Sisters before Kenzie makes her worldwide appearance.

Joanne was born and raised in Sherburne, New York, a quaint village surrounded by dairy farms and rolling hills. From the moment she could read she wanted to explore the world. During her college years she slowly crept across the country, stopping along the way in Oklahoma, California, and finally Washington State, which she now proudly calls home. She lives with her husband and Dobermans, in their home located on the Kitsap Peninsula with a panoramic view of the Olympic Mountains.

Joanne writes romantic suspense, paranormal, and contemporary romance. She loves to submerge herself in the world of her characters, to live and breathe their lives and marvel at their decisions and predicaments. She enjoys a wide variety of books including paranormal, suspense, thriller, and of course romance.
Joanne is a member of Romance Writers of America, and past President of Peninsula Romance Writers, which was Debbie Macomber’s home chapter.