Saturday, September 21, 2019

August and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Excerpt


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OFFICE ROMANCE OR SOMETHING ELSE COMPLETELY?

Theresa Solano is a beautiful, decisive and brilliant woman who is devoted to her family, even when they don’t deserve it. Her father places her in charge of the family business and she finds herself hated by the women, disrespected by the men and engaged in a search for someone she can trust. She holds the Coin of Luck in life and love and finds it will have to work overtime to resolve her dilemma. As she maneuvers through a labyrinth of twists and turns, she continues her search for love but finds the only thing more elusive…is the truth.

Excerpt:

“My turn. You said we were going to talk business. So my question is, would you like me to tell the honest truth about what the employees think of you?”
Theresa hesitated. Sometimes knowing the real truth hurts too much. She nodded yes anyway.
“OK.” Gus took another sip of wine before launching in. “When you first came in there was a ton of grumbling. From everyone. People didn’t like the nepotism factor. They figured you were there to keep an eye on them. Business had been soft and there were a lot of worries that your father might be wanting to shut it down.
“However, most people were unhappy that someone young, who hadn’t paid her dues in the industry, was suddenly in charge. You really didn’t know a waybill from a declaration form and they were used to being led by someone who had been in the industry for a long time. Besides that, you are stunningly beautiful, so the ladies hated you for that and the guys dismissed you.
“Want me to continue or have you had enough?”
Theresa was up to the task. “Keep going. I liked the stunningly beautiful part.”
Again, for just a second, she thought she saw a hint of a smile on Gus’s face.
He picked up where he left off. “So, pretty much everyone disliked you for one reason or another and no one trusted you. But a funny thing happened during the next few months. The women started liking you more and not holding your beauty against you as you held your own against the men. They particularly liked it when you asked the questions and fended off their advances so deftly.
“Every time you made a decision about personnel or marketing or customer relations, you started setting the tone and creating de facto policy, and people started seeing you display some strong common sense. They started trusting you more.
“Anyway, generally speaking, the jury is still out. But you’ve gained a slew of converts and even more respect. Turns out you’re not just another pretty face.” Gus took a sip of wine and added, “And that is the truth.”
Theresa felt a slight shiver go down her spine as he made the last comment. He said it in a way that made her believe everything he said truly had been the truth. Suddenly, she realized how infrequently she had heard it before.
“You value the truth, don’t you?”
“Is that your question or just a sad commentary on the world we live in?”
Theresa shook her head. “I don’t want to trade questions anymore. I’m just trying to understand what makes you tick. The other night at the Grill, you talked about numbers as though they were your religion. You have a thing for certainty, for absolutes, for, well, I guess for truth. Math gives you that, but I wonder if anything else in your life does.”
If it were possible for a straight-faced man like August Tomasi to appear even more serious, she felt she was seeing it now.
Slowly, Gus finished his sip of wine and fixed his eyes on Theresa’s. “Life is a quest for truth. Sometimes we find it and don’t recognize it. Sometimes we find it and don’t like it. And sometimes we miss it completely and don’t know it. And, just as in math, the sum product of our life is about those rare little bits of truth we did find and what good we did with them.”
Theresa stared back at Gus, and for one short moment, felt that she had just been handed a sneak preview into his soul. She took another sip of her wine without breaking eye contact. Then, slowly, she responded, “And when you are all done, when you lay on your deathbed and contemplate the end, the only real question to answer is ‘did I make a difference?’ And my best guess is August Tomasi will be able to say yes. And my fervent prayer—is that I will too.”
Both of them broke eye contact at the same time. Sometimes too much truth did hurt too much.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Maestra Rising: Project Enterprise 8 by Pauline Baird Jones

$6.99

Amazon

She’s a gifted scientist. He’s a robot with a human mind. Can they save their lost ship to find love among the stars?

Nivi awakes from cryosleep plagued by guilt. The scientific genius had hoped her people would avoid war if she went into cold sleep, but she learns her sacrifice was in vain. And now a vicious enemy approaches a stranded Earth spaceship. Desperate to reactivate the technology she needs for the rescue, Nivi enlists the help of an attractive robot with a human consciousness and wisdom beyond his years…

Moose survived slavery but never forgot the feeling of worthlessness it forced upon him. After living in the body of a robot for years, he sees an opportunity to help the brilliant Nivi if he becomes human once again. In a new body with new dangers, he worries that the genius scientist will never see him as more than the robot he once was. 

Outnumbered by a relentless foe, Nivi and Moose attempt to put their desires on hold to ensure humanity’s survival. 

With time running out, can they defeat the enemy and enjoy a future filled with love?
Maestra Rising is the eighth novel in the epic Project Enterprise sci-fi romance series. If you like gripping adventures, captivating characters, and emotional out-of-this-world encounters, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ thrilling saga.

Buy Maestra Rising to take an interstellar adventure today!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Rachel After Midnight by Linda Wisdom

$3.99

Amazon

Sardonic homicide detective Jared Stryker didn’t believe in fairy tales or ghost stories. Only monsters of the human persuasion. Things change when he inherits an old ranch and surrounding land with less than law abiding neighbors – and a haunting link to his past …

Savagely murdered by her cruel husband a black magic curse doomed Rachel Bingham to be trapped within the house for eternity, but when the sexy streetwise cop came into her bleak world and showed her glimpses of the outside world, Rachel yearned to find a way to break the curse and become mortal again.

Jared never wanted to be tied down, yet he found himself captivated by the ghostly beauty. But to be together they had to break the curse that imprisoned her – and escape the deadly danger that threatened to take his life.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

July and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall

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Amazon

The Coin of Luck lands between a rock and a hard place.



29 year old, July Harris, has the entire fortunes of her conniving family riding on her. In order to fulfill her grandfather’s will, she must select a husband from among five strangers in less than two months. With the clock ticking, she makes a decision at the last moment that rocks her family’s world. And nothing turns out as she expected.

Excerpt:

William made a strong impression on her. At one point, they were discussing marketing for a small business like the restaurant they were at that evening. He said, “The wonderful aspect of helping a small company market itself is the process of helping them understand who they are. I mean, you should see their eyes light up when we talk with them and suddenly they begin to realize what they look like to other people. Some of them have never even thought about what their own USP is and when we help them identify it, well, it’s really something.”

July was hanging on every word. “USP? I’m sorry, I should probably know that, but what is it?”

William smiled gently. “USP is their essence. It’s who they are—their Unique Selling Proposition. Every business, and for that matter every person, has one. You just have to figure it out, and then, when you do, well, you build your ad campaign around it.”

“I’m still not sure I understand. I mean, for example, what is the USP for this restaurant?”

William answered immediately, “Well, they specialize in Ethiopian food, served just as they do in Africa. That is very unique and they should push that to the hilt. And I realize that probably sounds obvious but many businesses try too hard to appeal to a broad market and end up missing the mark altogether. Companies need to have a laser-like focus on their USP.”

“That…that is fascinating. I have to admit, I don’t say that very often, but I love to learn new things and I find that very interesting.”

William looked at her closely and smiled at her. “You know, you have a USP too. Everyone does, really. Would you like to know what I think it is?”

Slightly skeptical, July ventured, “Is this the part where you flatter me and I love it?”

William laughed. “Well, the cool part about USP’s is that they are always flattering. After all, you aren’t going to promote yourself by talking about something uncomplimentary, right?”

It was July’s turn to laugh. “True. So what is my USP?”

William looked at her and softly, with almost a conspiratorial tone, whispered, “You are inquisitive. And you take great joy in learning new things. I think that makes you unique and very attractive. Too many people have blinders on, and as they grow older, they quit seeking the new and start gravitating back toward the old. You, July, are different.”

That moment felt almost like magic to her. She moved William up to the top of the ‘no-cut’ list.

 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Lost Valyr: Project Enterprise 7 by Pauline Baird Jones

$5.99

Amazon


She’s a scientist in the wrong galaxy. He’s an alien in the wrong century. Can their love reset a terrifying future? 
 Dr. Rachel Grant knows her way around the Garradian tech on the Kikk Outpost. But the technology she encounters in an alien medical lab stumps even her brilliant mind. With a little help from her scheming parrot sidekick, she manages to push the right buttons and transport them to an uncharted planet…where they find a recently defrosted alien, who heats up Rachel.

Valyr wasn’t going to warm up to the bright-eyed scientist anytime soon…not after she pried centuries of cryosleep from his cold fingers. But waking up in the wrong century is nothing compared to the robots targeting his still-frozen team. And their situation only gets worse when he discovers the spiderweb of destruction trailing in the robots’ wake. With their backs against the wall, Valyr is blown away by Rachel’s determined passion in the face of impossible odds… but they’ll need more than a chemical reaction to survive what is headed their way.

Lost Valyr is the seventh standalone book in the explosive Project Enterprise sci-fi romance series. If you like heart-pounding chemistry, ragtag bands of misfits, and action-packed space battles, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ rollicking romance.

Buy Lost Valyr to defrost a fast-paced interstellar love story today!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

June and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall

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Amazon

SOMETIMES GOOD LUCK ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK IT SHOULD BE…

June Navarro, toils daily in a dead-end job. Her only ‘family’ are her co-workers and a ne’er-do-well brother. But she is committed to them as she strives to find her way in the world. On one work day, she comes into possession of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love and the next six months are filled with a series of events she could never imagine. The man she once loved returns to her and good fortune smiles. But trouble looms ahead and June’s ability to deal with adversity is put to the test. She learns that not all is good in paradise and sometimes you have to make your own luck.

This romantic novella, the sixth in the Single Heart series, tells the tale of a young Latina woman with a big heart. That heart is tested after she scores a huge win and then must live with the consequences of her decisions. Faced with impossible choices, June stumbles as she bravely stands up to meet adversity head on. Set in Seattle, June strives to find her way and, perhaps, to find her love as well.

Vi Zetterwall’s Single Heart series explores the very nature of a woman and a man’s relationship. Each book is a stand-alone story—a short novel that pays homage to the verbal foreplay that goes on early in a relationship. Vi’s novels feature unique characters facing everyday problems—and sometimes, not-so-everyday. Although the characters and plotlines are all different, there is a connecting thread: In each book, the leading lady comes into possession of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love. In ways, sometimes small, sometimes great, the coin affects her actions and all subsequent events.

In your life, you have probably experienced an event that seemed inconsequential at the time but had far-reaching results. Vi’s books explore the magic that occurs when serendipity strikes and some chance meeting, a misunderstanding, an unexpected job offer or a missed phone call leads to two people finding each other and falling in love. Vi writes about relationships and the drama that comes from every conversation. The steam that rises from her books is not due to an abundance of love scenes. You won’t see many phrases discussing the male anatomy or torrid moments in the bedroom. But you will feel your blood pressure rise during the dialogue-heavy scenes between potential lovers. Your heart will ache when the leading lady’s does and you will gain the same insights about life and love as she has.

Follow the travels of one coin and the lives it touches. As each book concludes, the protagonist passes on the Coin of Luck to another random woman—sort of a sneak preview to the next tale in the series. And everything seems to change after that. Is the coin magic or is it merely a catalyst that pushes love in the right direction? Every reader will have to decide for themselves. Vi Zetterwall weaves feel-good stories of love, suspense, mystery, and always a twist or two at the end. She loves a happy ending and never fails to deliver.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Do Wah Diddy Delete: Three Short Stories of Love and Mayhem by Pauline Baird Jones

$3.99

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When you need a little murder, a little mayhem and maybe a little romance in your life, you need Do Wah Diddy Delete. And there’s a baby. A totally safe baby. But everyone else has a lot of trouble in these three short stories.

Do Wah Diddy Dead

If Miss Weena can put off dying to solve Miss Gracie's murder, then Luci can't play the pregnancy card to get out of playing side-kick. It's not like it will be dangerous. Miss Gracie has been dead for decades…

Do Wah Diddy Die Already

Luci Seymour is out of the murder business and in the mom/wife/B&B business. Until the morning she sees a body in the new freezer. But when she goes to call in her homicide detective husband, she sees the dead guy walk in the front door. Not dead. Not even chilly…

Deleting Dennis

Capri Hinkenlooper thought her name—and Monday mornings—were the worst things in her life, but then her fellow editor and all around slimy guy gets deleted with her letter opener. On the upside, the two homicide detectives investigating the murder are seriously cute…

All three of these short stories were written for anthologies that are now out of print. Technically, of course, they are still out of print, since these are digital, but they are available once more for those who want more Mickey, Luci and her aunts. Deleting Dennis is a stand alone short, written for my daughter who was once an editor in crazy town.

For more mystery, suspense, romance and comedy in Perilous Pauline style, you can look for Do Wah Diddy Die and The Spy Who Kissed Me.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Under His Spell by Linda Wisdom

$3.99

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One summer solstice, luminous black-clad Jack Montgomery materialized out of the mist in a meadow. He claimed a vacant Victorian lair for his haunt. Then, with all the smooth moves of Dracula, he swiftly began to lure sweet Holly Bennett.

Holly didn't know her kids had cast an ancient spell for a dad. She only knew she was wooed with candlelight, dreamy nights and the fathomless depths of those witchy dark eyes. She hardly cared who Jack really was...not after she tasted his love elixir and reveled in the abracadabra of his secret touch. She just hoped--as All Hallows' Eve drew near--that this magic man would never disappear.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

May and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall Excerpt

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

Rachel Connor is a brilliant 34-year old writer with an optimistic attitude about life. She loses her job, lives with a port wine birthmark on her face and has a pile of manuscript rejection slips on her desk. Still she hopes for better times. An opportunity to write the biography of a rich software entrepreneur appears to change her love life and fortunes around but Rachel doesn’t see the storm coming and finds herself in a no-win situation. The coin of luck falls into her hands and a very quiet man steps in to turn the tide. But can she trust him anymore than the last man who did her wrong?

This is the fifth book in Vi Zetterwall's feel-good Single Heart Series. It is a stand-alone story independent of previous or later stories in the series.

Excerpt:

Several hours later, Rachel reached her arms up above her head, stretching both her back and her neck at the same time. The article was finished. Somehow, the article had gone from what gave her hope to what caused people to spend money buying lottery tickets and back to her again. She mused that hope was far too complicated to explain in one 800 word column. But she knew her boss, Nick, wouldn’t care about limitations like that so she did it anyway. She was about to attach it and send it on to him but decided it would be more prudent to read through one more time.

She leaned back in her chair and read silently to herself.



ON THE NATURE OF HOPE

By Rachel Connor

The mailman flashed a smile at me as I approached him in the lobby. I opened my box and pulled out a handful of envelopes. Two bills, three advertisements and one letter from a publisher. I tore open the last one and read the same words I have read so often: ‘We regret to inform you that we are unable to accept your manuscript for publication at this time.’

I’m never surprised when I read that sentence. Over the last eight years I have read that same line too many times to count. Disappointed? Yes. Surprised? No. What truly surprises me is how rapidly my hope that the next publisher will shower me with money and fame, is reignited. Hundreds of consecutive rejections and yet, before I am up the stairs to my apartment, I am already mentally spending my earnings that I will make when the first publisher says YES.

So, what is up with this thing called Hope? From where does it sprout? How can it be slayed on the business field so many times and yet rise again stronger than ever? What does this Hope eat for breakfast? And how do I get my hands on that?

Last week, the Powerball lotto rose to over $200 million. The little mom and pop convenience store near my apartment had lines out the door at 5 o’clock. I am happy for them because I know they make a nickel off of each sale. And more importantly, if someone wins on a ticket bought at their store, they get a split of the winnings—really big bucks! Hey, what’s going on here? I’m hoping they win. Am I wasting some of my own hope on the other guys? On a longshot? What if I have a finite amount of hope left in me? Now, I’ve just spent some of it on someone else. Yikes, I better rethink this.

Last week, I could look out of my corner window and see the lines of ticket buyers at the store. People like you and me, lined up in the drizzle, suffering the Seattle weather’s version of raining on their parade. ‘So you want to win the big one, huh? Well, try a little of this liquid sunshine.’ The Seattle weather gods seem to take peculiar delight in punishing those who eagerly spend their hope on a 250-million-to-one longshot. They lose, of course. Every one of them. No one from Seattle has ever won a Powerball drawing. The odds are enormously stacked against every person standing in line in the rain and yet they do it gleefully.

Why? What power is so mighty that nearly certain defeat does not dissuade millions of people from trying anyway? What marketing wizardry drives people to hand over their cash for a ticket destined for the waste bin? What supernatural force compels sane, rational beings to smile as they wait in long lines for one modest snowball of a chance?

Joseph Addison said, “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.”

Humans need something to hope for. All those people braving the rain as they stand in line are there to buy a little piece of hope. If you don’t play, you can’t win. So they play and then they imagine a life of riches and mentally they spend it all between that purchase and the day of the drawing. I know, because I do it too. Sometimes with a lotto ticket, more often with my publishing submissions. And I find that when I imagine myself as a winner, I become a better person. I’m more giving, I’m more generous, I judge less and I laugh more. I become the person that I hope I can be. Without a financial care in the world, I morph into the person I know I should be anyway.

And in my quiet moments, I muse about hope and its nature. And I know in my heart that without hope, I would be rudderless, impotent, powerless to see a sunrise and smile, or view a sunset and marvel. Tomorrow is another day and I trust that resilient hope will swell in me again one more time, yet I worry that each person only has a limited amount of hope to expend. I can’t help but wonder if some day my spirit will be crushed as no new hope arises. Someone said that hope springs eternal. I hope that is true. But for now, I’ll go on hoping for the mom and pop store, or for my brother or for my mom or for all those people standing in line in the rain. I don’t know if hope is truly infinite, so all I can do is try to believe that I will continue to hope. After all, the mailman comes again tomorrow.



Not my best work, but waxing philosophical has never been my strong point, she thought. Joseph Addison, whoever he was, was correct. People need something to do. I write. It may not be what I want to write at this particular moment in time, but I’m still writing.








Monday, September 9, 2019

Found Girl: Project Enterprise 6 by Pauline Baird Jones

$5.99

Amazon

She’s an alien farm girl. He’s a hotshot soldier. Can their love save an alien sanctuary from destruction?

Arian Teraz refuses to waste her life on a loveless arranged marriage and a rocky plot of farmland. So when a mysterious ship lands in front of her and invites her to take a chance on something else, she doesn’t hesitate. Fleeing her planet, hostile forces open fire on her ship, and she has no choice but to send the ship through a wormhole. Clinging to life, she rockets out the other side… and plummets into the strong arms of a handsome soldier.
After months of staring into empty space, Captain Jackson “Coop” Cooper is itching for some action. He gets it when a wormhole delivers an alien ship into their path. He volunteers to make first contact, rescuing the ship with its injured alien beauty and her unusual shipmate. Before they can get acquainted, new threats send them on a wild ride through the cosmos and into a mysterious sanctuary with no means of escape. With little time to sort out enemies and allies, Arian and Coop must work together to uncover the secret behind her hidden destiny if they stand any chance of surviving their future.
Found Girl is the sixth standalone book in the spectacular Project Enterprise sci-fi romance series. If you like cosmic battles, human-alien love stories, and imaginative future worlds, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ high-adrenaline adventure.

Buy Found Girl to beam into a sexy interstellar romance today!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

April and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE

April McKenzie has a serious problem: she needs to be needed. She needs to be needed so badly that she’s becoming a regular attraction at all the bars within stumbling distance—everybody knows April and her short skirts and easy demeanor. Sadly, the men she’s been going home with seem to only need her for one thing—and after that, they don’t need her at all.

With the help of her best friend Gail, April sets out to find the answer: what will finally fulfill that never-ending need to be needed? In perhaps the naughtiest book in the Single Heart series, our daytime nurse and nighttime bar-hopper, April sets out on her own course, trying to find answers. Along the way, she comes into possession of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love and she adjusts her plans. Will good fortune smile upon her or will she be forever doomed to futilely wander the Seattle bar scene?

This fourth romantic novella in Vi Zetterwall’s Single Heart series explores the very nature of a woman and a man’s relationship. Each book is a stand-alone story—a short novel that pays homage to the verbal foreplay that goes on early in a relationship. Vi’s novels feature unique characters facing everyday problems—and sometimes, not-so-everyday. Although the characters and plotlines are all different, there is a connecting thread: In each book, the leading lady comes into possession of the Coin of Luck in Life and Love. In ways, sometimes small, sometimes great, the coin affects her actions and all subsequent events.

In your life, you have probably experienced an event that seemed inconsequential at the time but had far-reaching results. Vi’s books explore the magic that occurs when serendipity strikes and some chance meeting, a misunderstanding, an unexpected job offer or missing a bus leads to two people finding each other and falling in love. Vi writes about relationships and the drama that comes from every conversation. The steam that rises from her books is not due to an abundance of love scenes. You don’t normally see many phrases discussing the male anatomy or torrid moments in the bedroom, however the April book is a bit of an exception. And, as always you will feel your blood pressure rise during the dialogue-heavy scenes between potential lovers. Your heart will ache when the leading lady’s does and you will gain the same insights about life and love as she has.

Follow the travels of one coin and the lives it touches. As each book concludes, the protagonist passes on the Coin of Luck to another random woman—sort of a sneak preview to the next tale in the series. And everything seems to change after that. Is the coin magic or is it merely a catalyst that pushes love in the right direction? Every reader will have to decide for themselves. Vi Zetterwall weaves feel-good stories of love, suspense, mystery, and always a twist or two at the end. She loves a happy ending and never fails to deliver.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Do Wah Diddy Die by Pauline Baird Jones

$4.99

Amazon

A free spirit in search of answers. A by-the-book detective. It’s hard to stay alive in The Big Easy…

Free-spirited Luci Seymour has returned home for a rare occasion in her family — a wedding. While the Seymours don’t believe in love or marriage, they do believe in secrets. Luci thinks the wedding may be her last chance to uncover the true identity of her father, but her crazy aunts are sworn to secrecy…

Mickey Ross is predictable to a fault. The New Orleans detective arrives with time to spare to pick up his soon-to-be in-law from the airport. What he didn’t plan for was the barrage of bullets waiting for his alluring passenger…

Before he knows it, Luci has entangled Mickey in a race against time to track down the gunmen. The duo realizes the attack may have something to do with Luci’s hidden past. But finding out the truth could get them both killed…

Do Wah Diddy Die is a sexy, entertaining suspense novel. If you like shocking mysteries, eccentric casts of characters, and the vibrant streets of New Orleans, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ tale of murder and mayhem on the bayou.

Buy Do Wah Diddie Die today for fast-paced fun in The Big Easy!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Read an Excerpt from Apples and Alibis by Gayle Leeson

$3.99

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That's the last time Amy agrees to do a favor for a stranger...

Down South Cafe owner, Amy Flowers is in over her head. Operating a cafe while hosting the first Farmers' Market in Winter Garden has her swimming in apples. And when an elderly woman calls the cafe, pleading for a delivery for her upcoming party, Amy relents, feeling compelled to help the desperate customer.

But when she arrives, the woman is slumped over her kitchen table, and Amy is catapulted into the middle of a small-town crime. Guilt-ridden for not arriving earlier to save the woman, she sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding her death. Now, between running the cafe and dealing with the chaos of the farmers' market, Amy is squeezing in a murder investigation, a run-in with her boyfriend's mom, and her own mother's quirky life decisions. Life can't get any worse...or can it? This cafe owner needs a break--in the case.

Excerpt:

At the end of the day, I looked around at my weary staff. Anyone would’ve been able to tell we were bone tired. Even sixteen-year-old Oscar, who’d tackled his first day at work with gusto, was stifling a yawn.
“Everyone did a wonderful job today,” I said. “May I count on all of you to be back next Saturday?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Oscar said. “I had fun.”
“I’m glad. Could I ask one more thing of you before you go?”
He nodded.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Luis try to hide a grin. He knew what was coming—it was our usual Saturday routine.
“Would you help me divvy up the desserts in the display case?” I asked. “New employees get to choose first.”
Oscar’s brown eyes danced as he hurried over to the display counter and chose chocolate chip cookies and brownies.
“Anything else?” I asked.
He glanced at Luis for approval. I could see that Luis was shaking his head, so I cleared my throat.
“Just this once,” Luis said.
“May I please have two pieces of the caramel apple pie for my parents?”
“Sorry, you’re going to have to take the whole half pie.” I shrugged. “We don’t do slices at the end of the day on Saturday. Whatever’s left has to go.”
“Thank you, Ms. Flowers.”
“Please call me Amy.”
The boys said their goodbyes and left, Luis with his arm around his brother’s shoulders. I smiled at their retreating backs.
“They’re sweet, aren’t they?” Shelly asked.
“They sure are.” I turned to her. “Shelly, won’t you please take this banana pudding home with you?”
“Honey, if I did, I’d have it eaten by tomorrow morning, and I’d be sick as a dog. Besides, I’ve got my figure to watch. Grandma always did warn me about the middle-age spread.” She waved as she headed for the door.
“Donna?”
Donna was our part-time waitress. “I’d love to take a few slices of that chocolate cake to Bill and the kids.”
I boxed up what was left of the chocolate cake and handed it to Donna. “Anything else?”
She shook her head. “This is more than enough. Thanks, Amy.”
“Thanks for coming in today,” I said.
“Glad to help.”
I turned to Jackie. “It’s just you and me. What are you taking?”
She blew out a breath. “We can’t eat all that. The boys should’ve taken more. I think Oscar was too shy, and Luis was trying to set a good example.”
“Well, I’m taking food out to Ms. Pridemore, so I’ll include the banana pudding with her order free of charge. It’ll be a bonus.”
“What’s up with that? Since when did we start a delivery service?”
“We didn’t.” I shook my head. “I wish she’d have talked with you, and then I wouldn’t be driving out there.”
“You’re darn right you wouldn’t. How’d she rope you into doing it?”
I lifted and dropped my shoulders.
“Let me guess,” Jackie said. “Guilt trip?”
“Pretty much. I could just imagine it being Aunt Bess.”
“Wait a minute…Pridemore…” Jackie raised her eyes to the ceiling as she wracked her brain. “Pridemore…” She brought her eyes down to meet mine and then hurried out to the parking lot.
“What is it?” I hurried behind her.
“I was checking to see if the Ostermanns were still here. If so, they could’ve taken the food to Ms. Pridemore. They live in a mobile home on her property.”
“That’s right. I’d forgotten about that. Their farm is actually her farm, isn’t it?”
Jackie nodded. “I heard they have some kind of lease-to-own deal, or that they get the farm after Ms. Pridemore dies or something. But, yeah, they could’ve taken the food.”
“Maybe she didn’t know about the farmers’ market…or didn’t realize it was in our parking lot. Still, how weird is that? The first time she ever calls us for food—and begs me to deliver it—her tenants are here.”
“Yeah, that sounds fishy to me. Want me to go with you?”
“No. I’m sure it’s all right. She’s probably just old and stubborn,” I said.
“Still, you’ve never met this woman before. And what if she has a big mean dog or something?”
“I told her I would call when I got there. If nothing else, maybe she can come out to meet me.”
“I still don’t like it,” Jackie said.
“Fine. You can come along.”


After we dropped the rest of the desserts off at my house, I drove Jackie to the Pridemore house. Before we got to the property, we saw signs directing people to the corn maze. It reminded me to make this a quick visit so that Jackie and I didn’t get blocked in or caught up in the traffic.
The large, white farmhouse set about a hundred and fifty yards off the road. I couldn’t see a mobile home or the corn maze from Ms. Pridemore’s driveway, so I guessed the woman must have quite a bit of acreage.
I requested my Bluetooth device call Ms. Pridemore as we neared the house. There was no answer.
“Oh, well…I don’t see any dogs around,” I said. “Do you?”
“No. And surely we’re close enough that they’d be running out barking by now.”
“We’ll just go to the front door then.”
After getting no response from Ms. Pridemore at the front door, we decided to go around back. From the back of the house, we could see the corn maze, the apple orchard, the garden, the barn, the mobile home, and other small buildings on the Pridemore property.
I knocked on the back door. Again, no answer.
“Let’s just go,” Jackie said.
“But all this food…” I shook my head and tried the door. It was unlocked and opened easily. “Ms. Pridemore! It’s Amy and Jackie from Down South CafĂ©!”
There was a strong, almost overpowering musty odor in the room. I pushed the door open farther and saw Ms. Pridemore slumped onto the kitchen table, an overturned coffee cup by her left hand.
I thrust the box toward Jackie and hurried into the room. “Ms. Pridemore!” I kept calling her name as I patted her arm and tried to rouse her. I noticed that her fingernails and lips had a bluish tinge. “Jackie, call 9-1-1.”
“Already on it,” Jackie said.
I looked around to try to figure out what had caused Ms. Pridemore to collapse. My head was starting to ache, and given the odor in the house, I thought maybe there was some sort of gas leak. I noticed that the stove was on. There was a Dutch oven on one burner, and it was on low. The pot must’ve contained only water, however, because it had evaporated. That or Ms. Pridemore hadn’t put anything in the pot. I wondered if she suffered from dementia.
I turned the oven off and moved the pot to the kitchen sink. There were no other dishes in the sink, and the room was tidy. I didn’t hear any hissing, and since the stove appeared to be electric instead of gas, I didn’t think that was the problem.
“The paramedics are on their way,” Jackie said.
“I sure hope they hurry.”

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Hotel Hex by Linda Wisdom - $0.99 Goodie!

$0.99

Amazon

One Hex of a Weekend

Clue meets Bewitched and Nancy Drew with a touch of Hex!

It was all planned. A weekend away at an exclusive hotel in the Hollywood Hills where vampire PI Nick planned to have some alone time with his hexy honey, Jazz.

Except Stonegate Manor isn’t what it appears to be.

Jazz isn’t impressed. The hotel doesn’t boast spa facilities that seriously upset magick bunny slippers Fluff and Puff. A celebutante psychic is seriously ticking her off. Not to mention the old-fashioned bellhop is a zombie.

Where’s the romance with a kitchen that doubles as a slaughterhouse, guests turning into dry husks, and rooms that change in the wink of an eye. And what exactly is going on with the hotel manager?

There’s no relaxation this hellish weekend for Jazz and Nick as they search for clues on what’s going on at Stonegate Manor. And Jazz goes up against an ancient evil that just might be more than this hexy witch can handle.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Good Morning, Bellingham by Marina Raydun Review

Title: Good Morning, Bellingham
Author: Marina Raydun
Genre: Women's Fiction
Pages: 292
Release Date: September 9, 2019
Price: $2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers
Buy Link - Amazon

Description:

When Peta goes missing, a two-decade old secret threatens to rip at the seams and come out in the open. Relationships are tested as one dysfunctional family comes together in search of their daughter, sister, and wife. What they find instead will change each one of them forever.

Review:

I love books where all the characters are connected, though the connections aren't obvious. It's nice to see the story told from different angles. Good Morning, Bellingham tells the story of the disappearance of Peta from the view of not only her husband, mother, and sister, but also her therapist, her sister's boyfriend, her therapists son, and her therapist's ex-husband. Of course, everyone in town is interested in the disappearance due to Peta's celebrity status as the small town's beloved weather woman. The more you read, the closer you get to discovering how everyone in the story is connected. It was a good read that kept me turning the pages. The author does a great job at creating characters that evoke the desired feelings. There are characters you'll love, those you'll hate, and those that will remain a bit mysterious until the very end. All and all, it's an enjoyable read.

Read an Excerpt From March and the Single Heart by Vi Zetterwall

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers

Amazon

LIFE AT THE INTERSECTION OF LUCK AND LOVE

In a downtrodden and forgotten section of Seattle, Marci Ramirez labors daily toward her secret goal. She has a burden and a pain she carries inside her but she promised herself that nothing will get in the way of achieving her dream; not her crippled leg, not the local gang who threatens her, not the unrequited love she holds for the boy she grew up beside. But promises are sometimes broken and just as a bloody end looms as inescapable, a stranger passes the Coin of Luck her way. Too bad she doesn’t really believe in luck …

This is the third book in Vi Zetterwall's feel-good Single Heart Series. It is a stand-alone story independent of previous or later stories in the series.

Excerpt:

A flashback that Marci Ramirez, the lead character, has about a day seven years ago:

They left the park and walked south back to Rose Street, taking a left when they got there. As they walked, they talked about school and had some good laughs about some of the crazy things they had done or seen there. When they reached halfway past Tenth, Marci pointed out her house. “We live there. The white house with the cyclone fence around it.” They both stopped at the gate. Something special was happening between them. She had never had a one-on-one conversation with a boy this long before. There was something deliciously exciting about it.
Kyle fidgeted a bit. It didn’t seem like there was much more to say. But then he said those simple words that filled her heart with a joy she had never experienced before. Looking back at it, they really weren’t that special, but at that moment, they were a wonderment. “Hey, I didn’t show you my house. C’mon, you got time? I live just over on Elmgrove.”
Yes, yes! I have time. I’d like to know where the future cancer specialist grew up.” She elbowed him playfully in the side. “Then I can tell people I knew you when you were just fourteen like me.”
Kyle laughed. “Actually I’m fifteen. So I am way, way, way older than you.”
Right! She elbowed him again.
Doesn’t matter,” Kyle said, “you’re probably the coolest fourteen year old girl I know.”
Marci laughed, “Just because I can swing the bat, right?” She accepted the additional compliment greedily. Her failure on the diamond was already a distant memory. Now this was the new moment she wanted to live in forever.
Elmgrove was only two blocks north and they were there in no time. They walked half way up the street and there, on the north side, was his home. A very fine two story house, painted yellow, with a wrought iron fence in the front encompassing a small but finely groomed yard with a tree for shade. On the roof were solar panels. Compared to Marci’s house, it looked beautiful. Most of the houses in this neighborhood were run down a bit, but Kyle’s stood out. She complimented him on his abode and tried to suppress the envy she felt. She loved the feelings she had and nothing was going to ruin it for her.
They took the opportunity to sit on a bench on the front porch and talk some more. The fact that he wanted to talk to her more was what excited her the most. She was not a popular person at school. She had no real friends, just acquaintances that were better at tolerating her than others. They talked for forty more minutes about the neighborhood, school and the future. She had never talked to anyone about her own future before and it was exhilarating.
Finally, they both grew a bit quiet and Marci knew the moment was all but over. She stood up and said, “Well, I’d better get back. It must be late and I’m supposed to fix dinner tonight.” Barrio
Kyle, with all his manners, stood as well and said, “Well, it’s been really nice talking to you. You can play on my team anytime. You really can hit the ball!”
Marci beamed. Is that a metaphor? Play on my team anytime? I don’t know, but I like the sound of it.
Thanks, Kyle. I enjoyed talking to you too. Maybe I’ll see you at the park tomorrow…or sometime.”
OK. Or maybe I’ll just come by your house and see if you want to go walking around again.”
Did he just say that? Like a date? Are you kidding me?
Her stomach was churning but she composed herself and simply replied, “Cool. That’d be fun.”
As she turned to leave his porch, he asked one more question. “Marci, you never told me. What happened to your leg?”
No one had ever asked her that before. It seemed most kids pretended not to notice. Usually they pretended so hard that she became uncomfortable around them. But Kyle seemed very different. She liked that he put it right out there.
Oh, I had a bad fall when I was a kid. About four. It didn’t heal right and I had to start wearing a brace to give my leg enough strength to help hold me up. “
Wow. Does it hurt?”
Every minute of every day.
She shook her head. “Nah. I’ve gotten used to it. My mom bought me a new brace last year and it fits better and doesn’t hurt as much as the other two did. I guess I’ll have to get maybe one more and then I probably won’t outgrow the next one. It’s no big deal, really.”
Kyle smiled that great smile of his. “That’s good. I mean, it wouldn’t be good to go walking if every step hurt.”
Marci smiled back. “It doesn’t hurt at all,” she lied again.
I’ll go anywhere with you.




Monday, September 2, 2019

Kicking Ashe: Project Enterprise: Book 5 by Pauline Baird Jones

$5.99

Amazon

He’s an alien warrior. She fights for time. Can their love hold together a galaxy on the verge of collapse?

Time Agent Ashe fixes temporal emergencies for a living. But when she gets kicked through a time vortex onto an alien planet, she finds herself on the other side of a search and rescue. At her crash site, she finds a wary ally in a warrior with a magnetic energy that tugs on her heartstrings… and the very fabric of history.
Vidor Shan has lost track of time while searching for his missing brother. When a mysterious woman crash-lands into his life, he finds himself wishing for what he can’t have. On a quest to find his brother, Shan can’t afford any distractions, not even those of a beautiful woman. But when time and gravity begins to destabilize in his wake, he realizes only the beautiful Ashe has the power to ground him.

Deep in strange and deadly territory, the unlikely pair must wrestle control from unseen forces toying with Shan’s timeline to claim their happily ever after.
Kicking Ashe is the fifth standalone book in the enthralling Project Enterprise sci-fi romance series. If you like fast-paced action, snarky sidekicks, and pulse-pounding sexual tension, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ high-spirited adventure.

Buy Kicking Ashe to jump through the vortex for a sexy alien encounter today!

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