Friday, July 31, 2015

eBook Deals for July 31st

Sucking in San Francisco by Jessica McBrayer
$0.99

Award Winning Series and Amazon's top 100 listings.

Working at a Suicide Prevention Center in San Francisco, Lily Goodwill thinks she’s heard it all—then she gets a call from a man about to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. Something about the caller, maybe his yummy British accent or Lily’s ability to understand his crushing ennui, makes her break all the rules and rush to meet him. After all, she is a vampire and if she can’t talk him down she can glamour him.

But things don’t go according to plan. Her caller glows with blue fire and turns out to be a vampire-hating Djinn. Suddenly, for the first time in centuries he’s found something intriguing. Is Lily really a vampire with a conscience and an obsessive-compulsive disorder, involving Handi-wipes and Lysol, or is she just another bloodsucker?

Add in another vampire, with a history of female lovers stretching over three centuries, who swears he’s reformed and declares his undying love for Lily. Stir in a mean pair of witches and a vicious warlock, who are staking vampires around the city and you have a recipe for riotous adventure of supernatural proportions.

Lily Goodwill is a quick thinking, smart-talking vampire who’s still figuring out how she feels about dining al fresco in the City by the Bay.


Just in Time for Christmas by Kim Boykin
$0.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Nobody does Christmas like Miranda Hamilton, and now that she finally has her chance to chair Magnolia Bay's tree lighting and the cotillion, which benefits her late mother’s breast cancer foundation, this Christmas is shaping up to be the best ever. That is until her childhood nemesis Logan Mauldin buys his way on her committee and starts making plans of his own.

Logan Mauldin loves to get under Miranda's very sexy skin, and it's only fair. She's been getting under his since long before their first kiss at 13. Logan’s the last man interested in co-chairing a Christmas committee or participating in a sexy bachelor auction, but since that night he interrupted Miranda on a date and cornered her under the mistletoe, he can't stop thinking about her. Or vying for her attention and bugging the hell out of her.

Christmas cheer isn’t the only thing that heats up between the Miranda and Logan, but, thanks to a lie that is as much her fault as it is his, he loses the woman he’s loved since forever. Logan will need a Christmas miracle for Miranda to forgive him. A grand gesture to melt her heart and win her back just in time for Christmas. 


Clear As Glass by Lynn Kellan
$0.99

Poised to become her overbearing father's right-hand man, Jaye Davis is tired of being a faceless drone, writing software. She’d rather help real people—like her clients who own a struggling glassblowing factory. While she’s there, she might even discover who she really is.

Mitch Blake and his father keep butting heads about expanding Blake Glassware, and now Mitch has to deal with his father’s consultant, Jaye. She claims online marketing will boost sales, but Mitch insists broadening their product line will increase revenue. Arguing with this doe-eyed woman makes one thing perfectly clear: she has the power to shatter his safe but lonely life.

Jaye is caught between the father counting on her to run their business in the future, an ex-boyfriend who understands her past, and the solemn glassblower who wants her now, just as she is. Is she strong
enough to be honest about what she really wants?


Curious by R.G. Alexander
$2.99


#1 Amazon Bestseller!


Are you Curious?

Jeremy Porter is. Though the bisexual comic book artist has known Owen Finn for most of his life—long enough to know that he is terminally straight—he can’t help but imagine what things would be like if he weren’t.

Owen is far from vanilla—as a dominant in the local fetish community, he sees as much action as Jeremy does. Lately even more.

Since Jeremy isn’t into collars and Owen isn’t into men, it seems like his fantasies will remain just that forever…until one night when Owen gets curious.

Warning: Contains explicit m/m nookie. A lot of it. Very detailed. Two men getting kinky, talking dirty and doing the horizontal mambo. Are you reading this? Do you see them on the cover? Guy parts will touch. You have been warned.


Teen Life, Soul Being Soul by Carrie Louise
$6.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

A Unique, Simple, and Friendly book that provides easy access for enhancing the whole you. If you have ever read words that seemed meant just for you, and you wanted to keep them close to you, Teen Life, Soul Being Soul makes this experience possible on a daily basis.

What do you find yourself worrying about? Everyone has worries. We spend a part of our day tossing around a worry, often without finding an answer. It's rather like playing a sport where all the players are throwing around several balls and rarely making points.

Sometimes we want and need to practice focusing.

This book provides each reader with a unique, simple, and friendly way to add daily focus to his or her life.

A proven way to make your book effective is for you to randomly choose one word each day. And, although you may not realize it, by turning your attention to that word a few short times during the day, you will experience less worry and be more focused.

You'll now find that you are officially involved in your life, and that the process has probably happened rather easily.

Life will soon change from hours of randomly tossing around a ball (worrying) into days with a greater possibility of scoring points (being happier).

Aegis Incursion by S. S. Segran

$3.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon


#1 Hot New Release - Worlds Collide . Heroes Arise (read as a standalone)


"An electrifying thrill-ride over Hunger Games, Maze Runner & Percy Jackson territory." ~Amazon Reviewer~

 

On a bright July morning in 1948, a B-29 Superfortress flying a top-secret research mission over Nevada crashes into the calm waters of Lake Mead and sinks, remaining lost for half a century.
It has been nearly a year since five friends - Jag, Kody, Mariah, Tegan and Aari - mysteriously reappeared in a small town in Yukon several weeks after their small plane went down in Northern Canada. All were found unharmed but with no recollection of what happened to them after the accident.

A baffling contagion is spreading across the bread-basket of North America destroying vital crops. As this dark shadow marches across the globe, widespread famine and riots bring desperate nations to the brink of war.

These seemingly unrelated events set the stage for a battle between the forces of darkness and those destined to become the 'bearers of light'. From ravaged fields in the Great Plains to clandestine installations around the world, the Aegis League must race against time to save humanity.

Praise for the Aegis League Series

 

  • What a blast! A roller coaster ride filled with heart-pounding action and a gripping plot that leaves the reader devouring every page...” ~ John Kirk, As Seen on TV~
  • "Astonishingly imaginative and thoughtful..." ~Samuel F Pickering - Professor Emeritus of English, University of Connecticut and inspiration for the movie Dead Poets Society~
  • Relentless action and gravity-defying twists and turns hold the reader in a tight grip till the last page.” ~ Honore Gbedze ”" The SAGE Foundation ~
  • "Unique and compelling! Aegis Incursion is well-positioned to win over fans of Maze Runner, Divergent, Percy Jackson and Hunger Games." ~Michael Beas - Bestselling Author of 'Strump: A World of Shadows' ~

˃˃˃ Awards & Recognition for Aegis League

 

> Winner of the READERS' FAVORITE INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS
> Winner of the PINNACLE BOOK AWARDS
> Winner of the FEATHERED QUILL 'BEST DEBUT AUTHOR' Award
> Recipient of the coveted B.R.A.G. MEDALLION
> #1 Amazon Kindle BESTSELLER - Teen/YA, Action-Adventure, Sci-Fi.

˃˃˃ Sign-up as an AEGIS INSIDER today at www.aegisnovel.com and get Book Three, AEGIS EVOLUTION for FREE when released!


*** For a limited time - Purchase AEGIS INCURSION and get Book Three, AEGIS EVOLUTION, for FREE when released.***

Other Exclusive Specials for Aegis Insiders:
> UPDATES - News on latest releases from the author
> UNPUBLISHED MATERIAL - Excursions into the hidden world of Aegis
> SHORT STORIES - Exploring the background of the characters in the Aegis League Series
> EXCLUSIVE ARTWORK - Cover art, posters & other Insider-only souvenirs
> BEHIND THE SCENES - Insights and information on the creation the Aegis universe
> INVITATION to participate as a Street Team Member and receive signed copies of S.S.segran's books and other gifts.
> INVITATION to become a part of the Aegis Advance Reader team and received Advance Readers Copies (ARCs) to read and review


http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/91181bf937/?

Free eBooks for July 31st

Chop, Chop by L. N. Cronk

Contemporary Christian Fiction.

It seems to David that both Greg and Laci are a bit . . . out there. Between each of them constantly chopping off their hair for charity and Greg's clandestine hand signals, neither of them seem likely to develop friendships with reserved young David. Despite their differences, however, all three grow closer to each other and - as they do - David grows closer to God as well. Nearing adulthood, David finds himself content in every way . . . but when tragedy strikes, David must struggle to find his way back to God.

Best-selling and top-rated, Chop, Chop was the winner of an Honorable Mention at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.


Finding Home by Roxanne Snopek

Second chance? Or a gamble she can't afford to take?

Logan Stafford never forgot the lonely girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Fourteen years and much heartache later, Samara Davis is back, as irresistible as ever, with a delightfully odd little girl that has him wrapped around her finger in no time. Too bad the converted heritage house she's moving into is nowhere near ready - and he's the contractor responsible.

This single mother has one priority and she'll do anything, make any sacrifice, to give her mildly autistic child a happy home and a secure future. Getting distracted by a long-lost boyfriend is not on the agenda.

Logan's determined to pull out all the stops to prove to them both that he's a guy they can count on. But will it be enough?


Paradox - The Angels Are Here by Patti Roberts

Two mysterious strangers arrive just in time to help Grace Connors as she struggles to cope with the death of her father. But are the intentions of these strangers as innocent as they first seem, or is something far more sinister on their agenda?

Meanwhile, in a faraway realm, a race of fallen Angels clash with a ruling house of Angels. Their battle changes events in the Ancient World and the New World forever. A realm where a year can last centuries and an ancient, magical people still rule... A realm where even the immortals face danger.

A story that will indeed leave you asking... Who, When, Where? WHAT!

My name is Juliette. Nine hundred years ago, I died. Today, I am alive... This is my story.

Stars to Lead Me Home: Love and Marriage (A Novel) by Peggy Webb Excerpt

$2.99

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

If you’ve ever tried to pick up the pieces after a marriage goes up in smoke, you’ll know Maggie. If you’ve ever thought your daughter might not speak to you again or a life-threatening illness would claim your best friend, you’ll understand Maggie’s heart. And if you’ve ever wished on a star, you’ll cheer for her throughout this book. “It’s the kind you can’t wait to share with your best friend! The Must Read book of the year!”




Chapter 1

I know my marriage is in shambles, had known long before Lillian called.
“I’m coming over,” she says. “With Jean. Break out the wine and throw some blankets in the boat. I have something very important to tell both of you and I want to be on the lake under the stars when I tell it.”
The minute I put the phone down, my husband pounces. “What was that all about?”
“Lillian and Jean are coming.”
“Those troublemakers would have to ruin a peaceful Saturday night!” The way he says this makes his face turn red. He knows more about stealing joy than any person I ever met.
“Don’t worry. You won’t even have to see them. We’ll be at the lake.”
“In this cold? Are you crazy?”
I don’t bother to defend my sanity. I don’t even bother to point out that Mississippi is having one of the mildest winters on record, that he went golfing this morning wearing nothing more than a sweater.
I start grabbing blankets and wine, cheese straws and Hershey’s kisses, three big hunks of the German chocolate cake I baked this morning, linen napkins and real silver forks. Who cares if the boat tilts and I lose all of this in the lake? Lillian and Jean are worth it. These friends are worth any price, even Dick’s rage, which is sure to come again later tonight when we’re lying in bed as far apart as possible, him ranting and me wishing he’d just shut up, wishing there was an easy way to deal with the wrenching loneliness of being a couple but living a lie.
It’s already dark when I race into my back yard, the sky a deep navy that makes a perfect backdrop for the constellations spread across the Milky Way. Lillian will love this. Like me, she identifies with the stars, credits them with magical powers that can heal the hurts of your heart and guide you to your perfect home.
Wrapping my sweater against the chill, I stand under the glow of constellations, trying not to think about the hurts in my heart and the twenty years they’d been accumulating.
The roar of Lillian’s battered Thunderbird convertible pulls me out of my stargazing. I stash the supplies by the edge of the lake, its water already turning silvery and mysterious, then dash toward the driveway with my arms wide open.
Even if I saw Lillian and Jean only yesterday at school where all of us teach, seeing them again is an occasion for hugs and squeals and jumping up and down. Some people might frown on women our age carrying on like teenagers, but what do we care? As long as we have each other, everything will be all right.
“Lillian, I can’t wait to hear your news? Is it a new baby?” She has two children, but she’s only thirty-six, plenty young enough to have another.
“There’s no need to ask, Maggie.” Jean makes a face at Lillian then trots beside us toward the back yard on her short legs, barely keeping up. “I pestered her to death in the car, and she wouldn’t tell me a thing. But if it’s another kid, I’m going to strangle her. Who needs a little person in diapers?”
That’s Jean for you. She has opinions about everything, and she’s not shy about sharing them.
“I wouldn’t mind a little person in diapers.” My two daughters are grown and gone, and I miss the unexpected pleasures, playing with a rubber ducky at bath time, watching spit bubbles form when a baby first yearns toward the beautiful art of language, sitting in my rocking chair late at night, the only person awake in the house except for the tiny bundle in my arms. A girl, I think. But not with Dick. Which presents a whole other line of thought.
“Forty is not too old, Maggie,” Jean says, “but I’m going to whip your butt if you get pregnant by Dick.”
“Who else would it be, Jean?” Lillian has reached the water before us and is already climbing into the boat. “Somebody toss me the blankets and the picnic basket.”
I hand them in to her then turn to Jean. “Go ahead and hop in.”
“What about you?”
“Somebody has to push us off.”
“I can help you with that.” Jean stands on the edge of the lake with her hands on her hips. She’s as stubborn as she is opinionated, two qualities I covet but probably won’t ever learn. I’m a peacemaker, a woman who hates controversy and will go to any lengths to avoid it.
“Jean, get in this boat and let Maggie push off.”
“I don’t see why I can’t help.”
“Because your legs are too short and you’ll dump me in the water, like the last time, and I don’t want to be soaking wet and have frogs in my hair when I tell you my news.”
By the time Jean has clambered in and I’ve managed to shove off then hop into the boat without soaking my tennis shoes, they’ve already wrapped themselves in blankets and are digging in the basket for food.
I row us toward the center of the lake, which sounds like a Herculean feat but isn’t. This is a small private lake, easily navigated and totally non-threatening, no fear of getting lost or running aground or getting snared in a tangle of fallen trees hidden by dark water.
This lake is one of the many reasons I find it hard to think about leaving. What would I do in a kitchen where I couldn’t stand at the window and watch the sunset over the water? How would I remember all those summer days when the girls were small and we’d picnic by the lake?
The only sounds are the rustle of chocolate wrappers (Jean), the barely audible snatches of somebody humming “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (Lillian), and water lapping against the boat. This is the kind of mild winter evening I love, in the silent dark under the stars with friends who would walk through fire for you.
“I need a new heart.”
Lillian drops this bomb without preamble, five little words, spoken with dignity and purpose, words neither Jean nor I want to understand.
“Who doesn’t?” Jean says. “Bill claims mine is pickled.”
All three of us laugh, but there’s a nervous edge to it, a sick feeling that we’ve missed the point. The last echoes of laughter fade, and we wait for what will happen next.
For a while nothing does.
I tip my head back to study the stars. I’m looking for answers, buying time, praying Lillian didn’t mean what she said.
“It’s the weirdest thing how you can go along thinking you’ll be around to see your children graduate, to plan their weddings. And then the doctor says your heart won’t make it. He says he has to take your old diseased heart out of your chest and replace it with the heart of a perfect stranger.”
“Oh, my God. Lillian.” I grab her hand, hold on tight as if the very act will anchor her to the earth, prevent her from flying off into the unknown and leaving us behind. “If I could, I’d give you mine.”
“If hearts grew back, I’d give you half of mine and half of Maggie’s.” Jean takes both our hands, completing the circle. She’s crying, making no bones about it, crying so hard her speech is garbled. “We would, wouldn’t we, Maggie?”
I nod, too full to speak. Lillian is too young to die. What will her family do without her? What will Jean and I do?
“There must be something else you can do. Some medicine you can take to fix it.”
“There’s nothing, Maggie. Only a transplant. I’m on the list. All I can do now is wait.”
“We’ll be with you every step of the way, Lillian.” Jean gives her face a savage swipe with her shirt tail. “We’ll do your laundry and watch your kids and fix your meals.”
“You don’t cook, Jean,” I tell her.
“That’s why God made Betty Crocker.” She says this with asperity, and I’m glad to see Jean is already moving away from shock and grief to the real task: we will be the wind beneath Lillian’s wings until she gets a borrowed heart and can fly again.
“I don’t want you two hovering over me.” Did Lillian read my mind? “I want to go on living in the normal way. I don’t want to be constantly reminded that my heart’s not good enough. I don’t want to think about a getting a new one, I don’t want to talk about it, and I absolutely forbid either of you to pray for a donor heart.”
Now I’m the one reading minds. Somebody will have to die so she can live. That’s what Lillian knows, what she can’t bear to think about.
“No more talk about this.” Lillian grabs the wine bottle. “Where’s the corkscrew? Let’s celebrate.”
“I’d like to know what in the world we have to celebrate?” Jean hands her the corkscrew.
For a moment I agree with Jean, and then all of a sudden, I know. What if I were the one who needed a new heart? What if I could drop dead any minute unless I got a new one? I’d have Jean and Lillian, of course, but I’d be stuck in this cold-hearted house, dying in a bed where not a word of love has been spoken in so many years I don’t even want to think about it.
For too many years I’ve been on the fence. Should I leave or should I stay? How will the children handle it? How will I make it on my own, on a school teacher’s salary? How can I bear to leave the house, a place I’ve called home for twenty years?
Those excuses no longer hold. I’ve figured the money so many ways I dream in dollar signs. The girls are now grown and gone, and the house no longer feels like home.
“I’ll tell you what we have to celebrate. I’m leaving Dick.”
“Hear, hear!” Jean takes a swig from the bottle and passes it to Lillian. “It’s about time, Maggie!”
“I’ll drink to that.” Lillian upends the bottle and is grinning when she hands it to me. “Make a toast, Maggie.”
I lift the bottle high and moonlight catches the glass, reflecting a shower of stars across our faces.
“To us! Friends forever!”
Jean and Lillian send up a cheer and I join in, but it’s not the toast I’m thinking about. It’s the possibility that the path we’re on will repair two hearts, one diseased and one shattered by neglect and relentless chipping.
Lillian and I glance upward at the same time. Though the stars are light years away, I feel as if I can reach out and touch Sirius, the brightest star in the winter sky.
Usually the Dog Star, or as I prefer to think of him, the Sparkling One, shines white with a tinge of blue. But when the air is unsteady, he undergoes a miraculous change.
If ever the air was unsteady, it’s tonight. Lillian’s news has disturbed us in ways that spill over into the atmosphere, and my news adds to the shock waves. The Sparkling One flickers in the winter sky, its brightness spreading across the water until that the three of us are sitting in a rainbow colored circle of starlight.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Comdey & Cozy Bundle by Kathy Carmichael

$0.99

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Four complete stories: Sweet Romance and Cozy Mystery Reads from USA Today bestseller Kathy Carmichael. This boxed set features the first two titles from Kathy's Texas Two-Step Series and her Skullduggery Inn Cozy Reads Series. "For charming romantic comedies, Kathy Carmichael never disappoints." ~ Debra Webb

Western Pleasure — The Texas Two-Step Series —Novella — Book 0

Jim Turner has always loved Ellen Murphy. But Ellen was already happily married.

Following the death of Ellen’s husband, Jim was right by her side, helping her. Now, more than friendly support and business advice seems possible, but what will her friends and family think?

While Jim works to find the courage to step out of the ‘friend zone,’ Ellen worries she’s about to lose a friendship of a lifetime.

Chasing Charlie — The Texas Two-Step Series — Book 1

Raised in a family of rodeo champions on a South Texas cattle ranch, Charlie wants only one thing: to avoid thrill-seeking cowboys.

Davis Murphy, cowboy wannabe and one of Dallas’s most eligible bachelors, needs a pretty and witty faux fiancee so his widowed mother will marry her longtime gentleman friend.

Charlie, his local librarian, seems the prefect choice.

Charlie’s first reaction is to run, but she’s promised herself to step out of her plain-jane routine.

When Charlie accepts, Davis’s plan is set. But now Charlie’s sweet ways are challenging his bachelor heart.

My Favorite Corpse, a Skullduggery Inn Cozy Read — Novella — #1

My Favorite Corpse centers around Ashley Sands, the owner of the mystery-themed Skullduggery Inn located on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. An amateur sleuth, Ashley finds a corpse washed to shore at her inn's private beach. She must learn what happened before her guests begin checking out. While Ashley’s mystery weekend guests usually enjoy the occasional dead body, they prefer the never-previously-animated kind.

Mayhem on the Winterland Express, a Skullduggery Inn Cozy Read — Short Story — #2

A valuable necklace disappears, and Ashley Sands, owner of the mystery-themed Skullduggery Inn located on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay, must discover who-dun-it or the fundraiser to build a no-kill animal shelter will be terminated.

About Chasing Charlie: "One word, charming! Second word, delightful. ... A refreshingly written book and would make a great movie." ~ Diane Russel, New Book Reviews

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

eBook Deals for July 29th

Alice in Deadland Trilogy by Mainak Dhar
$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Alice in Deadland was released in November 2011 and quickly became an Amazon.com bestseller, selling more than 50,000 copies in its first three months. It was followed by its sequel, ‘Through The Looking Glass’ and ‘Off With Their Heads’, the prequel to Alice in Deadland. Now, get all three novels in the Alice in Deadland Trilogy in one single omnibus edition and immerse yourself in this bestselling adventure.

Alice in Deadland

Civilization as we know it ended more than fifteen years ago, leaving as it's legacy barren wastelands called the Deadland and a new terror for the humans who survived- hordes of undead Biters.

Fifteen year-old Alice has spent her entire life in the Deadland, her education consisting of how best to use guns and knives in the ongoing war for survival against the Biters. One day, Alice spots a Biter disappearing into a hole in the ground and follows it, in search of fabled underground Biter bases.

What Alice discovers there propels her into an action-packed adventure that changes her life and that of all humans in the Deadland forever. An adventure where she learns the terrible conspiracy behind the ruin of humanity, the truth behind the origin of the Biters, and the prophecy the mysterious Biter Queen believes Alice is destined to fulfill.

A prophecy based on the charred remains of the last book in the Deadland- a book called Alice in Wonderland.

Through The Looking Glass: Alice in Deadland Book II

More than two years have passed since Alice followed a Biter with bunny ears down a hole, triggering events that forever changed her life and that of everyone in the Deadland. The Red Guards have been fought to a standstill; Alice has restored some measure of peace between humans and Biters; and under Alice, humans have laid the foundations of the first large, organized community since The Rising- a city called Wonderland.

That peace is shattered in a series of vicious Biter attacks and Alice finds herself shunned by the very people she helped liberate. Now she must re-enter the Deadland to unravel this new conspiracy that threatens Wonderland. Doing so will mean coming face to face with her most deadly adversary ever- the Red Queen.

Off With Their Heads: The Prequel to Alice in Deadland

A few months before Alice was born and fifteen years before the dramatic events depicted in Alice in Deadland, there was The Rising. A few days that destroyed human civilization as we know it, reducing much of the world to a radioactive wasteland teeming with hordes of undead Biters and controlled by a shadowy Central Committee.

Off With Their Heads brings to life the final harrowing days of The Rising through four shorts, each depicting events through the eyes of one pivotal character in the Alice in Deadland series. See how Dr. Protima became the Queen of the Biters; feel the pain of a young man’s sacrifice as he becomes the bunny-eared Biter whom Alice later follows down a hole; follow the rise of Chen from a conflicted young Chinese Army officer to a General in the Red Guards; and finally share in the dramatic escape of Alice’s parents from a city overrun by Biters.


The Conqueror by Mary Gillgannon
$2.99

When Norman knight Jobert de Brevrienne claims Oxbury in the name of William the Conqueror, he discovers that one of the Saxon defenders is the daughter of the eorle who ruled the settlement. Realizing he needs her skills as a chatelaine and her rapport with the villagers so Oxbury will continue to prosper, Jobert makes peace with Edeva. But as they work together to restore order and prepare for winter, he worries the blond “hellcat” will betray him to the rebels as soon as his back is turned. Even more troubling is the realization he’s falling in love with her.

Edeva vows to kill the Norman monster who has overrun her family’s lands and stolen her heritage. But when he shows himself to be reasonable and just, her animosity begins to ease. She finds herself torn between aiding her brothers, who seek vengeance against the usurper, and her longing for the handsome knight, who has conquered her heart even as he takes control of her homeland.


Dare to Rock by Carly Phillips - Coming August 4th
$3.99

Avery Dare lives a quiet life in Miami as an online fashion/makeup video blogger. She has good friends, a close, large family and if her love life is lacking, she likes it that way. But when she receives an invitation to one of her ex's concerts along with an invitation to meet him back stage, she decides to take the risk… and comes face to face with the reality of his rock star lifestyle - the press, the crowds, and the half naked groupies.

At eighteen, Grey Kingston left everything he knew and loved behind to seek fame and fortune as a rock star, and he found it as the lead guitarist and singer for the band, Tangled Royal. Fans adore him, women throw themselves at him, and he can afford everything he couldn’t growing up. Yet at the height of his career, he’s ready to walk away and return home to a simpler life… and the woman he left behind, if he can convince her to give him another chance.

Except moving on isn’t as easy as Grey would like. When Avery is threatened by a stalker, it becomes evident Grey’s fans not only don’t want him to retire, they don’t want Avery in his life either. And Avery isn’t sure she wants the pressures that are part of Grey’s life… but she doesn’t want to lose him again, either. Can their recently renewed love survive the fallout? 

July 2015 Book Spotlight Post from V.R. Marks: Heroes for the Holidays

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

Who doesn’t love a little “Christmas in July” to take the edge off hot summer days? The Heroes for the Holidays collection includes two short romantic suspense stories set in Haleswood: The Sheriff’s Proposal and Saving Christmas Day. Both stories feature characters you meet along the way in my other books.

In The Sheriff’s Proposal, the annual Thanksgiving feast in Haleswood will be more than memorable when Sheriff Cochran won't take no for an answer. And in Saving Christmas Day, Special Agent Dale Nichols (The Suit) needs an assist from Ross Carpenter, leader of the RC Investigations team, to save a child and an important witness on Christmas Day.

You won’t want to miss the other two titles in the holiday collection, In the Interest of Security and Sandman by Regan Black!

You can find a full list of my books, collections, and short stories at my Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/V.R.-Marks/e/B009KLZKEG

Free eBooks for July 29th

Forager (Forager - A Dystopian Trilogy - Book 1) by Peter R Stone

Forager's Twists & Turns Will Keep You Guessing Until the Very End

The dull drudgery of twenty-year-old Ethan's life is shattered when he rescues a mysterious Japanese girl from Skel savages while out foraging in the post-apocalyptic ruins of 2122AD Melbourne.

When he takes the girl back to Newhome, she breaks the town's rigid conventions in her attempts to get to know him, risking the dire wrath of the Custodians.

And though he knows the rules - that no man is permitted to be alone with an unmarried woman - there is something about the girl that completely captivates him.

Meanwhile, the Skel are ramping up their attacks on Newhome's foraging teams and infesting Melbourne's ruins in ever-greater numbers. Is this part of a larger plan that could spell the town's doom?



Tempt Me, Cowboy by Megan Crane

Too much temptation…

Chelsea Collier wants nothing more than to save the old depot built by her railway baron ancestor and turn it into a museum—until it’s sold out from under her!

Jasper Flint made himself filthy rich in the Texas oil business by the age of 35. Now he wants a quieter life and building a microbrewery in Marietta, Montana is the perfect project.

Neither one of them knows what to do with the passion that explodes between them! But Chelsea knows a man like Jasper will never stay in one place for too long. Can he convince her that this time, he means to stay?






Witchwood Estate - Going Home by Patti Roberts


There is something very evil lurking in the woods surrounding Witchwood Estate... Witches, spells, ghosts, sprites, shape-shifters, wolves and more... For all those young at heart... Equal measure of both Magic and Evil.

Alexandria Santorini learns as a child that she comes from a long line of Harvey witches. Now, as a teenager, Alexandria must say goodbye to Catnip Cottage and the Barnabys, her loving guardians for the last twelve years, and go home to Ferntree Falls to claim her inheritance. Witchwood Estate. The home where she was born and her parents were murdered. Her journey home becomes somewhat sinister, however, when she discovers that there are those who have other plans for her and her new friends…

Grab your broomstick/dustbuster out of the closet and come along for the ride!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Overture: A Vampire Romance by Kallysten - FREEBIE!

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~ Part 1/5 of the Serenade Serial, a supernatural vampire story ~

For six centuries, the vampire Irene has hunted human prey to feed from their necks, sometimes taking them to her bed, too.

For almost as long, she has preserved her memories in music notes, composing on her piano but never sharing except with her offspring.

So when, during a trip to Paris, she stumbles onto a bar in which a pianist plays her music for the patrons, she’s flabbergasted that anyone might be enjoying her compositions and just as outraged that they’ve been stolen from her.

Her first instinct is to take the pianist’s life as retribution, but a few words exchanged with the talented, intriguing and insolent Rachid might change her mind…


Excerpt:

Stopping the pointless meandering of my mind, I focused on the music and how smoothly, how flawlessly it rose under Rachid’s touch.
“Nice choice,” I said, leaning a little more against him. I rested one hand on the keyboard and accompanied him, the way he had accompanied me, with just a few notes in counterpoint to the melody.
“I have pieces for four hands,” I murmured. “If you’d care to really play with me.”
“I’d like that, yes,” he replied, smiling as he tilted his head toward me.
I think he only realized at that moment how close I now was to him, and he licked his lips as his gaze dropped to my mouth. Distracted, he lost his rhythm and missed a couple of notes. I clucked my tongue.
“Come on, pay attention to what you’re doing. I thought you were worried about playing badly for me?”
Say what you will, but it is my long-held belief that there are few things quite as endearing as a grown man blushing. On Rachid’s caramel complexion, it was simply lovely to watch all that blood color his cheeks, the tips of his ears, his neck, and the triangle of skin exposed by the open collar of his shirt. I wondered how far down all that beautiful color went. I wondered enough, actually, that I decided to find out.
Removing my hand from the keys, I reached for the first button of his shirt. It easily came undone, as did the next one. Rachid faltered a little in his playing, losing his rhythm again, but another cluck of my tongue was enough to get him back on track.
For a second, I wondered if it was worry that had caused that slight misstep, but there was no trace of fear in his scent. Good. Earlier, I’d all but threatened him, but that had been before he brought back to life a melody I’d been unable to finish for so long. Did he understand I wouldn’t hurt him, or was it his familiarity with vampires that kept him calm? I hoped it was the former.
To the sound of chords not so much played as they were caressed into existence, I slid a hand inside the opening I’d created in his shirt and pressed it, palm down and fingers spread, against the skin of his upper chest. He was warm, warmer than he should have felt, even as devoid of heat as my hand was. Short of stripping him down—and while I fully intended to get there at some point, there was no rush—it was confirmation enough that his blush extended further south.
All that blood roused just for me…
I didn’t withdraw my hand right away. Instead, I moved it to the left until my palm rested over his heart. It was beating faster than the tempo of the music, but as soon as I found it, I forgot all about it, having discovered something much more interesting: the tips of my fingers were brushing against his nipple—and against the metal ring attached to it.
With a hum of surprise, I pushed at the ring with a fingertip, causing Rachid to shiver, although he didn’t miss a note this time. My hand moved to the right, but his other nipple, while it tightened against my questing fingers, was free of adornments. I pinched it gently once before returning to the left to tug at the ring and play with it. In a moment, I’d get a good look at it, but for now I enjoyed exploring the metal, warmed up by his skin, with nothing more than my fingertips.
It was a full circle, smooth, not very thick, wide enough that I could slip my thumb through it—then again, I have small hands, so that didn’t mean the ring was particularly wide. As I flicked the ring back and forth and ran my fingers along it, delicate shivers coursed through Rachid’s body. His nipple was a tight peak against the ring, and I imagined flicking my tongue against it and through the metal. I’d had lovers with piercings before, and they always were marvelously responsive to the smallest sensations.
They also rarely limited themselves to a single piercing…
“Where else are you pierced?” I asked, intrigued.
Still playing—though I admit I’d lost the thread of the composition—he turned a tiny smile toward me.
“I guess that’s for me to know and for you to find out.”

Spotlight Bulletproof Bodyguards Collection by Regan Black

$4.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

The first four Unknown Identities adventures in one killer collection! 

Unknown Identities is an alternative for elite soldiers and spies facing criminal charges... if they can survive the program.

Bulletproof: A soldier is nothing without his honor... 
To avoid a dishonorable end to his decorated military career, John Noble made a deal with the devil. He gave up his name, endured harrowing training, and accepted every mission thrown at him for one purpose: redemption.

Double Vision: A disavowed spy has his long-awaited vengeance in sight... 
Framed as a traitor, Adam Maxwell opted to lend his expertise to Unknown Identities, with the understanding that someday he'd get a chance to get even with the man who set him up. An orphan, giving up his past proved easier than surrendering his normal vision to the UI research scientists.

Sandman: A Marine sniper has one final shot at love... 
Wrongly accused of an unsanctioned kill on a secret desert mission, Matthew Horn took his only option and let a shadow agency declare him dead. In the years since, he's become a trusted operative, but now they want him to kill an innocent woman... a woman from his past.

Death-Trap Date: In this short adventure, Amelia Bennett hopes a blind date on Valentine's Day will become a deeper lead into the Unknown Identities system, but John Noble must decide if it’s jealousy or something far more sinister putting him on edge. 

Look for Last Strike, coming in August!


Live the adventure!
Regan

Tempt Me, Cowboy (Montana Millionaires Book 1) by Megan Crane - FREE

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Too much temptation…

Chelsea Collier wants nothing more than to save the old depot built by her railway baron ancestor and turn it into a museum—until it’s sold out from under her!

Jasper Flint made himself filthy rich in the Texas oil business by the age of 35. Now he wants a quieter life and building a microbrewery in Marietta, Montana is the perfect project.

Neither one of them knows what to do with the passion that explodes between them! But Chelsea knows a man like Jasper will never stay in one place for too long. Can he convince her that this time, he means to stay?

Excerpt:

“I make you nervous,” Jasper said.
Chelsea frowned. “Of course you don’t.”
He clearly did, and that, perversely, made him feel as relaxed as if he’d just had a full body massage from someone very curvy and morally questionable. He felt lazy and something far darker, far more intent, as he studied her.
“Is it this bar? Doesn’t look like you come in here much.”
“For all you know I dance naked on the tables every night of the week,” she snapped at him, and he wasn’t the only one who noticed how the word naked seemed to sit there and spin on the dark wood tabletop between them. She swallowed, hard, like she couldn’t think about anything else. He knew he couldn’t.
“Every night except the last two, then.”
“You spent your first two nights in town at the saloon?”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing. I consider it my own, personal welcome wagon. Only without cookies.”
There was something about the way strands of her blonde hair kept falling out of that twist of hers that made him… edgy. Hungry, maybe, like he wanted to reach over and pull the whole mess of it down just to see it swirl around her shoulders, thick and bright.
“I wouldn’t dream of judging you,” she said, and then her lips twitched as the tone she’d used—the very definition of judgmental¬¬—echoed there between them. “Not too openly, anyway.”
He raised his shot glass and waited. She picked up her own shot glass and he watched her chin rise and her shoulders go back, like she was talking herself into it.
“To history,” he said.
Her blue eyes narrowed.
“To history,” she replied, and then held her shot glass still while he gently tapped his to the side.
Jasper tossed the whiskey back, then had the pleasure of watching her do the same. Her eyes watered, her face reddened.
“Do that a lot, do you?”
He was mocking her, and she obviously knew it. She blinked until her eyes lost that hectic glitter, then glared at him.
“I love nothing more than a shot of whiskey at the end of a long school day, thank you,” she retorted.
“Tell me, Triple C,” he murmured, leaning in close, feeling daggers in his back from across the room but unable to care about anything but that frankly carnal mouth of hers and the way it parted slightly as he took up too much of the space between them. “Is this your big rebellion? Tossing back shots in the middle of town with a stranger?”
He didn’t know what he expected. Her to laugh, maybe. Or to suggest a more satisfying form of rebellion the way his usual sort of woman would. “It sounds so pitiful when you say it.”
“Not at all, darlin’,” he heard himself say, more drawl than sense. “I’m an excellent way to start a downward spiral. We’ll have you table dancing within the week.”

Tess & The Demon, Short Seductions, Story Three by Jordan K. Rose

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Welcome to Seductions. Step into the most popular bar in New England and enter a world where Others live side-by-side with unsuspecting humans. At Seductions the drinks are always tasty, the romance is always hot, and the patrons aren’t always human.

The Short Seductions Series is a collection of ten spicy paranormal romance short stories, each of roughly 8,000 words in length. These hot little love stories are short enough to enjoy on your lunch break, but long enough to satisfy any romance reader. Each sensual tale tells the romantic journey of a different hero and heroine.

Come on in. Have a drink. Enjoy a quickie happily-ever-after.

Stories in the Short Seductions Series

Shana & The Vampire, Story One- release date July 10, 2015
Delia & The Werewolf, Story Two- release date July 17, 2015
Tess & The Demon, Story Three- release date July 24, 2015
Jenna & The Telepath, Story Four- release date July 31, 2015
Liza & The Dragon, Story Five- release date August 7, 2015
Beatrice & The Shifter, Story Six- release date September 4, 2015
Maria & The Angel, Story Seven- release date November 6, 2015
Raquel & The Necromancer, Story Eight- release date December 4, 2015
Abigail & The Warlock, Story Nine-release date February 5, 2016
Lilith & The Human, Story Ten- release date March 4, 2016

Tess & The Demon

Thanks to him, Tessa Harper’s heart is shattered. Cracked into a million little pieces. She might be bitter. But what woman who woke up to find a note giving her the heave-hoe wouldn’t be hurt and angry and humiliated?

With time hearts heal, and one moves on and forgets. Well, maybe she doesn’t forget, but she moves on, or maybe she doesn’t do that either.

The point is she doesn’t practice slinging zingers at him for four months only to be tongue-tied when he returns and professes his literally undying love. Will she once again fall for the demon who ripped her heart to shreds?

Review:

My God what is it about demons that's so damn sexy?!? They have to be my top pick of sexiest of the paranormal beings. This was such a great addition to the series and my favorite so far. On a side note, I MUST remember to buy some strawberries. Once you read this, you'll be adding the juicy berry to you list as well ;)

Friday, July 24, 2015

eBook Deals for July 24th

Scandalous by R. G. Alexander
$0.99

Will it be Scandalous?

If Natasha Rivera is involved, the answer is usually yes. The owner of The Twisted Tart bakery has never been shy about expressing her opinions or her desires. The only secret she ever kept had to do with her feelings for a certain Finn and the details of their unusual relationship.

When reformed bad boy Senator Stephen Finn asks Natasha to join him for a week of political intrigue and kink, there’s no way she can say no. Nothing has changed. His star is still on the rise and she is still too wild to be tamed. Once they get their hands on each other they’re bound to cause a scandal…but it might just be worth it.

Recipe of Warning: Take one outspoken, sexually confident woman and a repressed former bad boy. Combine until sparks fly. Add voyeurism, exhibitionism, spanking, excessive quantities of explicit sex, a kinky house party and whatever pervertible you have on hand…thoroughly shake the mixture until your wrists hurt or your batteries run low. Mmmm. Yummy warning.


Masque: Choices by Caridad Martin
$0.99

Erik is dying. Not once in his life has anyone ever loved him, not even his mother. Every day, his heart fails him more, and he is desperate not to die alone. He hides his face and past sins behind a mask. Erik is dying and has fallen desperately, obsessively in love.

Christine Daa√©, a rising star in the Paris opera, is kidnapped by Erik, her voice tutor. When her childhood sweetheart attempts to rescue her, he gets trapped in Erik’s torture chamber. Erik gives her a choice: marry him or watch her lover die an agonizing death. Defeated, she agrees to the marriage in name only.

The Persian has intimate knowledge of Erik’s bloody past. He followed him across continents to keep a check on Erik’s sanity. Erik asks for his help to marry Christine.

Erik doesn’t ask for much:

“A living wife, a companion for a short while before I die – a few months at most. We both know I am at the end. How long can my heart hold out? Pain grips my heart, threatening to shred it to bits. Even I,” he said after a slow, reflective pause, “even I deserve a little joy before my wretched life comes to a close. The desolation alone is killing me.”

The Persian's soft heart drives him to agree to support Erik’s last chance for love. Alone with Christine for a few moments, he feels he must warn her: “If he ever comes to believe that you have betrayed him, he will hurt you, Christine. If you ever need my help, wear red, as much red as you can find.”

Erik finally has the companion he has always dreamed of. He cannot hope for more, but he does. His heart, though failing, dreams of romance and love. With her soft caresses and innocent brushes against his body, he thinks she desires the marriage bed as well as the marriage. Is he reading more than he should into her actions? Though he yearns for her love and lusts after her body, Erik knows they’re forbidden fruit for someone like him.

Christine is determined to honor her marriage vows, though she’ll love Raoul forever and has promised herself to remain faithful to him. But the more time she spends with her husband, the more she’s drawn to him, falling under the spell of his music and the tender, wounded soul he desperately tries to hide behind his mask. An orphan for years, she longs to have a home of her own. Could she come to consider the house by the lake her home? Although she gave Raoul her heart and soul, can she put aside her past with Raoul and give her tormented husband the compassion he needs?

Vicomte Raoul de Chagny has loved Christine for years and refuses to let his title stand in the way of their happiness. He is even willing to defy his older brother to be with her. Despite his love, Raoul fails to save her from Erik. When Raoul meets Christine again, he tries to free her from the bonds of marriage. Raoul, dashing and impetuous, will not give up his quest to save his fiancé. He is determined to fight the phantom himself in order to be with Christine.

Erik finds that his mask cannot protect his heart from the anguish of unrequited love and explodes in a jealous rage, his obsession spiraling out of control. His passion for Christine has brought him to the brink of insanity and threatens to destroy them both.

Christine is bound to both men for different reasons, setting off a personal crisis, but she must choose: fight for her husband’s sanity, her marriage, and the life they have made together in the dark or go with the handsome Raoul to live in the light.

This love story is a gothic thriller that explores the resilience of true love as well as the dignity of the human spirit and challenges our perception of sanity and beauty. 


The Millionaire Daddy Project by Roxanne Snopek
$2.99

Sign: Leo 

Pleasure beyond measure... if you can tame him.

With one shocking announcement, successful restaurateur Dane Bergman has gone from millionaire playboy to daddy. Now the sole guardian of an adorable and willful four-year-old child, he's counting on his executive assistant, Pamela Atwater, to save his ass. Even if it means bringing her along on a month-long ocean-side retreat.

Pamela Atwater prides herself on being the perfect assistant. Whatever Dane wants or needs, she's there - pretending to ignore his golden charm and drop-dead gorgeousness. With his daughter, however, Pamela sees a new side to her powerful boss. Private. Vulnerable. A man who tempts her to cross the line from professional... to personal.

But is one month long enough to convince Dane that his perfect assistant might just be his perfect match?


Life, Soul Being Soul without Drama by Carrie Louise
$6.50 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Releasing Drama and Moving into Authenticity

We, as humans being human, are living in a world of self-created drama. Because we are alive, and because we have our own personal histories, it is a given that the beliefs spawned by our histories are playing out during our present day.

As children, we learned about family, religious, neighborhood, societal, and peer beliefs and associated drama roles. We assimilated and tried out the roles we thought might help us feel important, be loved, and keep us safe.

As adults, it would be wise for us to explore our day-to-day beliefs, thoughts, and the resulting scripts in which we perform on a regular basis.

When intuitively choosing one page per day, "Life, Soul Being Soul without Drama" will help each reader identify many causes and effects of drama and offer possible solutions for ridding ourselves of drama patterns that no longer serve the adult life of a seeker of peace and happiness. We can then live our authentic "Life, Soul Being Soul".

Ring of Truth by Susan Vaughan - $0.99!

$0.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

DEVLIN SECURITY FORCE, Protecting Priceless Treasures

A man in the shadows… As the infamous thief known as the Jeweler lay dying, he gave his son, Cortez Jones, a puzzle piece that will lead to a cache of crown jewels. Recovering the loot could finally get the FBI off Cort’s back, but the only person who can help him is a DSF researcher who blames the Jeweler for destroying her family. Forming an uneasy alliance with her, Cort finds her courage and tender heart make him want more than riches or redemption.

A woman in the light… When Mara Marton’s insurance investigator father was accused of conspiring with the Jeweler, the scandal ruined him and led to his death. Now the jewel thief’s son wants her help. Although sharing her research expertise and her father’s files with this sexy ex-con could prove her father’s innocence, how can she trust that Cort doesn’t want the treasure for himself?

Time is running out… The puzzle piece brings Cort and Mara together, but danger and secrets threaten to tear them apart. Sparks fly as they struggle to trust one another and recover the jewels before they are claimed by the deadly black-market syndicate Centaur. But with their lives—and their hearts—on the line, there’s no turning back.



Chapter 1


Infamous jewel thief dies in prison
By Rona Laughton
WASHINGTON DAILY NEWS
An international jewel thief who eluded law enforcement for five decades and stole a small nation’s crown jewels from a national U.S. museum has died. Leon Jones, known as the Jeweler, died on April 16 at the age of 68 of complications from cancer, in the Devens, Massachusetts, Federal Medical Center.
Jones pulled off his last and biggest theft twelve years ago at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. He made off with the crown jewels of the principality of Gramornia, including a scepter, the royal crown, swords, and rings.
Mistakes during the break-in led to the Jeweler’s arrest and conviction. His son, Cortez Jones, was also convicted of the theft and served a short sentence. The Gramornian crown jewels have never been recovered, according to the FBI and Global Insurance.
For five decades, the Jeweler’s heists from museums and mansions confounded law enforcement agencies from the Riviera to San Francisco and...
***
Two weeks later
Cortez Jones waited behind a pillar where he had a clear view of the parking garage’s level-two elevator.
The Marton woman wouldn’t answer his phone calls, so here he was. His father’s attorney had given him her license plate number and work address in Crystal City, Virginia. Less intrusive and a whole lot less threatening than approaching her at her apartment.
Cort had made an effort to look respectable. Even wore a long-sleeved polo to cover the prison tats. No luck. The guard at the security desk took one look and showed him the damn door. On impulse, he ducked into the garage as somebody drove out. Once inside, spotting her car was a cinch. No missing that bright red Nissan Versa.
He needed to be careful. Diplomatic, low-key, so she didn’t freak and call security. Scaring her was the last thing he wanted.
He needed her help.
If she would listen to the ex-con son of the Jeweler. But if Leon’s deathbed story panned out, he had a way to get the FBI off his back. Once and for all.
If Leon had conned him—wouldn’t be the first time—he’d go on with his backwoods life. Shit. A half life. No life. Now that an ember of hope ignited, the possibility flamed into a need that burned in his soul. He wanted more. He wanted out from under FBI and Gramornia pressure. He wanted to hold up his head.
He wanted a life.
News dating from the Gramornia crown jewels theft investigation, said that Quincy Marton’s widow was Korean. Cort had figured spotting the daughter would be easy.
But he didn’t count on the building’s employees being the United Nations. Several women about the right age with dark hair and vaguely Asian features exited the elevator while he waited. None of them went to the Nissan Versa.
The elevator bell dinged and the doors opened. Another young woman stepped out into a halo of light. About his age. Black hair to her shoulders, high cheekbones, eyes with an exotic slant, but that could be makeup. If she was Mara Marton, she’d inherited her father’s height—five-eight or so. Dark pants. Bright blue sweater with glittery stuff swirling across breasts that begged for male attention.
Cort shook his head, banished the inconvenient sexual awareness. Had to keep focused on business and not on a hot female. For luck, he fingered the ring in his pocket. Leon hadn’t lied about that much. As for the rest, he would see.
Mouth tight, the woman scanned the open lanes and the parked vehicles. She clutched her bulky orange purse beneath her arm. And headed directly for the red Versa.
Another female, a redhead in a blue jacket and khaki pants, stepped from behind a panel van and intercepted the brunette.
Uncertain, he stayed put to observe.
Ms. Marton. Mara,” said the redhead, holding up an ID and a small digital recorder. “Rona Laughton, Washington Daily News. Please give me a few minutes of your time.”
Marton wheeled. Anger flashed in her dark eyes. “I told you on the phone I have nothing to say to the media. No comment means no comment. Leave me alone.”
Cort hunched his shoulders, backed deeper into the shadows.
Your father, an investigator for Global Insurance,” the reporter went on, undaunted, “was implicated in the Gramornia crown jewels theft from the Smithsonian. My paper would like to review that case, a sort of where-are-they-now story. What’s your reaction now that Jones is dead? How do you feel?”
When crimson highlighted Mara Marton’s cheeks, Cort clenched his hands into fists. How the hell did this cold bitch think she felt? The attacks in the news media and accusations by the FBI had broken Quincy Marton. He died of a heart attack in the middle of the investigation. Not unlike Leon Jones. Fitting. Ironic.
Tears glistening, Marton headed for her car. Laughton stopped her with a hand on her forearm. Marton was taller but the reporter had twenty pounds on her. And more nerve than a high-wire walker.
Cort should stay light years away from the media but he couldn’t stand by. He slipped from behind his pillar and hustled over. Held his arms loose at his sides, hands open so both women could see he meant no physical threat. His height and build made him intimidating enough. “The lady said she doesn’t want to talk.”
The reporter stepped back, her mouth set in lines of frustration, showing her age, on the hard side of forty. Her gaze skewered him. “Who the hell are you?”
Just making sure everything’s all right.” He turned to Marton. “This chick bothering you?”
She stared, eyes wide and round as hubcaps, then blinked as she took in his question. After a breath, she said, “She was just leaving.”
Cort gave Laughton his patented hard-case look, the one prison dawgs called the Murder-One stare.
She fired a death stare of her own. Then, face scrunched and red at seeing a story slip from her grasp, she stalked away. Her heels clicked on the cement leading to the stairway exit.
Softening his expression for the woman standing nervously before him, he scratched his nape. “Where’s security when you need them?”
Her shoulders relaxed but she eyed him with suspicion. Why wouldn’t she? They were alone in that section of the cavernous garage. She held her keys like a weapon between her knuckles. “Thank you for your help.”
Ms. Marton, I’d like to talk to you too. It’s important. I’m Cortez Jones. Leon Jo—“
I know. You’re the Jeweler’s son.” A frown formed a line between her dark brows. “I’m surprised that reporter didn’t recognize you.”
After she thinks about it, she will. The media haven’t tracked me down yet. Only a couple people know where I am.” His boss and the attorney. “The name Jones makes staying incognito easier. Thanks for not outing me to the Daily News.”
She flushed, apparently just realizing she could’ve escaped by siccing the press babe on Cort. “How did you find me?”
Leon’s attorney said you might be able to help. I got rid of Lois Lane for you. I figure you owe me a little time.”
Lips pursed, she seemed to consider. Her mouth looked clean of lipstick, soft, natural. He dragged his attention up to her eyes.
Curiosity warred with fear in those tilted cat-eyes. She kept the keys in defensive mode. “He did phone me, but forget it. I owe you nothing.” Her chin trembled. “Your father could have cleared my father. All he had to do was speak up. But for eleven years he told nothing but lies. Dad died trying to recover the crown jewels. He had nothing to do with the theft or hiding the stolen property.”
She edged toward her car.
His pulse raced. He had to grab her interest now. “I can help you clear your father.”
She stopped, a foot from her car, eyes narrowed. “For all I know you’re as much a liar as your father.”
I’m sorry Leon didn’t confess. Hear me out. Please.
She stared at him, speculation in that exotic gaze. More people exited the building into the garage. In the next aisle, a car door slammed. An engine coughed to life.
Okay,” she said, her gaze as wary as a frightened fawn. “I’m listening. You have five minutes.”
Deal.” He had to talk fast before she bolted. “Leon’s death leaves issues about the Gramornia crown jewels case.”
I’d offer my sympathies on your loss, but I can’t say I’m sorry he’s dead.”
No sympathy needed or wanted.” No tears from him. That man he’d seen two weeks ago in the prison hospital was a stranger. His only reason for regretting Leon’s death was that it came a few days too soon. “The FBI and Global Insurance won’t talk to me, let alone help. Your father’s working files could have key answers.”
I hold your father partly responsible for the death of mine. Why should I help you?”
The Feds have never been able to prove the identities of Leon’s accomplices, including yea or nay on your father. I have information that could ID the accomplices.” Showing too much of his hand was a bad idea. Maybe this much would satisfy her.
Her eyes narrowed. “You were one of the thieves. You don’t know the others?”
Leon dragged me into the job at the last minute because his other guy broke a leg in a car accident. He kept me in the dark. I knew only my part of the job, nothing about other accomplices. I stayed on the roof. Never saw anybody but Leon.”
Yeah, yeah, that’s what you said eleven years ago. This is about finding the jewels, isn’t it?” She flung the last words like a dagger and speared him with an accusing look for extra measure.
He stiffened, his hands curling into fists before he forced them to relax. Dammit, he didn’t want to scare her. “Partly. I did my time. Paid for my mistake. The FBI came to the furniture school in Maine where I work to grill me and threaten to keep harassing me. I could lose my job. But the Feds won’t let me off the hook.”
She bumped up against her car. “They think you know where he hid the jewels?”
Shit, he was scaring her. He held out his hands, palms up like the damn beggar he was. “If I can help return the loot, I can live my life without that sword hanging over me. I need your help.”
She looked down her slim nose at him. “Return the jewels? Ha! I suppose you have a bridge to sell me too.”
I’m not surprised you don’t believe me. But what I say is true.” As far as I know.
She clicked her key fob and opened the door. “I don’t believe you. Not for a nanosecond. And I won’t help you.” Mashing her bag against her chest, she dove inside and punched down the door lock.
Cort grasped the door handle as she started the engine. “Don’t you want to clear your father?” he yelled over the car engine’s noise.
The car accelerated backward so fast he had to scramble out of the way. He watched, fists clenched, as the Versa sped off. Its tires squealed as Mara Marton accelerated up the out ramp.

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