Back to Top


Romantic & Western headerbarSuspense Novels

Monthly Archives: July 2020

Val studied general arts at the University of Waterloo, then went to DeVry Toronto to get a diploma in Computer Information Systems. She worked in the computer industry as a software and Web developer for over ten years, during which she got serious about energy work and studying the paranormal.

In October 2004, Val became a certified Reiki Master/Teacher. She gained ATP® certification in March 2008, in Kona, Hawaii, from Doreen Virtue, Ph.D.

Val started work on a Bachelor of Science in parapsychic science from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in March 2007 and received her degree in September 2010. After obtaining her master’s degree in parapsychology at AIHT, Val has set her sights on a Ph.D., which she’ll pursue as time and finances permit.

At the end of October 2008, Val returned to Kona, Hawaii to complete the Advanced ATP® training and in April 2010 to take the Spiritual Writing workshop and the Mediumship Certification class. Val wrote freelance for online magazine Suite101 and was topic editor for Paganism/Wicca and Webmaster Resources at Suite.

A published author, she contributed a story to Doreen Virtue’s Hay House book Angel Words . Her novels are available on Smashwords, Amazon, and from other retailers in both e-book and paperback.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?

Val: I write in a variety of genres, but if you examine my stories, you’ll notice a romance/relationships theme. However, even when romance drives the story, it always couples with something else: paranormal, murder mystery, thriller, suspense, etc.

Relationships have always fascinated me: how they form, how they evolve, and what holds them together or tears them apart. Even if the primary genre for the story is something else, relationships, whether romantic or not, figure prominently.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Val: Writers I loved to read influenced me the most, starting with Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, and other authors whose stories I read a child, and then J. R. R. Tolkien, Margaret Mitchell, Richard Adams, and Piers Anthony when I was a teenager, and Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Lee Child, and many others later on.

Their wonderful stories not only got me addicted to reading but also inspired me to start writing. Stephen King’s On Writing and Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem! prompted me to take action and go for it.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Val: Reading. Nothing motivates me to write more than reading a great story—or even a not-so-great story.

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

Val: Brian Griffin from Family Guy . He’s a writer, an intellectual, and a dog.

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet ‘in person’ and why?

Val: Jesus. I’ve got questions for him.

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

Val: Well, I’d like to say something exciting such as skydiving or bungee jumping, but honestly, I’d read and relax with a drink by the lake.

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Val: One of my current projects started as research on the after-effects of near-death experience (NDE) for my Master of Parapsychology degree. Changed for Life: The After-Effects of Near-Death Experience explores what happens to those who’ve had a near-death experience after they return to life. As one might expect, their lives are altered.

Researchers, such as Dr. Raymond Moody, Dr. Kenneth Ring, and P. M. H. Atwater, have found that subjects experience a host of similar after-effects from an NDE. As well, non-experiencers can benefit from the NDE phenomenon if, according to Ring, they are exposed to NDE research and stories, or if they consciously work to emulate NDEr beliefs and values. Dr. Raymond Moody has found similar effects on non-experiencers through the process of mirror-gazing.

Moody reports in his book The Light Beyond that people change after such an experience, not because a being ordered them to, but “because they are in the presence of the standard of goodness, which makes them want to change their behavior radically” (39). This distinction is important because it illustrates that the alterations to behavior are internally driven. Experiencers act differently because they believe differently and not because they think they’ve been given some kind of Divine directive.

Another project on which I’m working is a new series called Tales from the Unmasqued World . The first book will be The Fool: New Beginnings .

An avid oracle card reader, I also played around with tarot cards. While I’ve always preferred the positive messages and focus on solutions oracle cards exhibit, I was fascinated by the symbolism found in tarot cards.

The idea for Tales from the Unmasqued World came about after I bought a new tarot deck to add to my collection. This deck is Ellen Dugan’s Witches Tarot , and the cards have the most gorgeous illustrations I’ve seen in years. When I do readings with them, they are more accurate and relevant than readings I’ve done with any other deck, including the angel tarot decks I have that echo the positive slant found in oracle cards.

Every time I use the cards in the Witches Tarot , I wonder what stories might be behind the pictures. I contemplated ideas for stories based on the illustrations and symbolism of the major arcana cards in the deck. The first major arcana card I’m working with is “The Fool.”

The story revolves around a recently divorced woman going through a midlife crisis who gets drawn into a search for a missing half-vampire girl. It’s set in a future world where supernatural beings have come out of the closet to mix with humans after a pandemic decimated the human population. This draws on the unmasqued world trope , hence the name for the series.

Blurb for You Again:

The man she never wanted to see again has returned…

After a three-year struggle with a shattered heart and a stalled career, Ellen Haddigan once more feels as if her life is on track. She’s two-years settled into a new job at an accounting company and considers getting back into the dating scene.

Then Gabriel Duncan, the man who stole her heart and abandoned her after one night of passion, appears. He’s still handsome, charming, and stirs in her a powerful attraction. He’s also assigned as her new client.

Things get more complicated when Ellen learns her predecessor on the account was murdered. Is Gabriel a killer or the victim of an elaborate conspiracy?

Can Ellen give Gabriel a second chance without risking her heart or losing her life?

A stand-alone novel, You Again mixes suspense with passion in the Forever Young series.

  Excerpt from You Again:

Her day was already ruined, and it was still only 8:45 in the morning. Ellen barely made it to her desk with enough time to grab a coffee from the kitchen and organize for the meeting with Carol. Still a bit breathless, she carried a tablet with her to the meeting.

Carol’s assistant told Ellen to go on in. “They’re waiting for you.”

They? She struggled to keep the surprise off her face and out of her voice as she said thank you to the assistant. Ellen rapped on the door before opening it and striding into the office. And almost collided with Gabriel Duncan, who stood near the door.

His expression flashed surprise rather than the shock and dismay that registered on Ellen’s face. She instantly took a step back while he sidestepped to the chair he’d been sitting in.

“Ellen, it’s you.” His soothing baritone voice caressed her. “I didn’t know you worked here.”

Or you’d have gone somewhere else? Aloud, she said, “For almost three years now.”

Carol, an athletic redhead who had landed the management position four years before, spoke in a cheerful voice, drawing Ellen’s gaze in her direction. “You two know each other? Excellent. Then no need for introductions.” She stood. “Ellen, Duncan Technologies has acquired a new company.”

“I heard on the news.” Ellen returned her gaze to Gabriel’s face, focusing on his eyes. She refused to play shy. He had some nerve looking so delectable and together when the very sight of him wiped her brain of coherent thoughts. She’d have to rectify that right now. Anger replaced agony. In a steady voice, she said, “Congratulations. That’s quite a coup.”

“Thank you.” He waited while she set her tablet on Carol’s desk and settled into the chair beside him before taking his seat. They faced Carol, who sat at her desk once more, and let her take the controls.

“Ellen, obviously you’re here because I want to assign you to take charge of BRI’s financials. I know it’s unusual to meet with the client in my office, but there are extenuating circumstances I want to discuss before you dig into their files. Before the buyout, BRI struggled to stay afloat. Expenses weren’t keeping up with income, and in the few weeks before the buyout, they came close to declaring bankruptcy.”

Turning to Gabriel, Ellen asked, “Then why buy them out? Aren’t you just buying their problems?”

“I can turn them around,” he replied smoothly. “When I did my due diligence, I discovered a lot of waste. They should’ve been doing well. It’ll be easy to pull them out of the hole with the backing I have. Snapping them up now allowed me to get them at a bargain and saved the owners from personal bankruptcy. They appreciated the timing.”

“Okay.” She could accept that, but the company’s financial downturn since she’d left continued to astound her. “But they were doing so well. What happened?”

“That’s what you’ll help me figure out. I want to identify every area of waste. They appeared to spend an awful lot of money on consultant fees for a shop that had a full contingent of programmers in-house. They never did that when you worked there. It’s fortunate you’re here.” He paused, then said softly, “I didn’t expect to find you here.”

Captivated by the puzzle before her, Ellen pushed aside the million questions she wanted to ask him and contemplated everything he’d said before the pause. Finally, she spoke. “They never needed to hire overload workers from outside the company. They preferred to hire enough developers so they wouldn’t have to contract out work. Finding experienced software developers is challenging. Getting them up to speed on your software and standards takes time in training. Did they get a sudden influx of projects that required extra hands?”

“Not that I could see.” He shifted in his chair, angling his body toward her. “The extra expenses cropped up shortly after you left.”

She frowned. “You think something’s fishy with the books?”

“That’s what you’ll help me discover.” He smiled, and her heart constricted.

She allowed the anger and bitterness of the last three years to quell her rising desire. “Of course, Mr. Duncan. I’ll do everything I can to get to the bottom of it. Who’s the current controller?”

His brows had risen at “Mr. Duncan,” followed immediately by a smirk he squelched so quickly she almost missed it. When he spoke, it wasn’t to suggest she call him Gabriel—or Gabe, as she used to do. “I let her go. I got rid of extraneous staff as one way to save money.”

When Ellen’s face showed concern, he hurriedly said, “I gave her a more than fair severance package—well above what the law requires. She’d worked there less than three years, and I’m suspicious of the books. I couldn’t keep her on. I need someone objective to review everything and clean up whatever needs cleaning up. The company should focus on development, not worry about accounting. That’s your company’s specialty. I prefer to turn that kind of thing over to experts.”

She nodded. “I understand. When did you want to get started?”

“As soon as possible. I can have a login account set up for you today.” He rose. “Thank you, Carol, for your time this morning. I’m sure I’ll be more than pleased with the work your company does. If it’s okay, I’ll escort Miss Haddigan”—he squinted at Ellen as he said her name, and when he continued, he spoke directly to her—“to her desk so we can chat about the work she’ll do.”

Ellen ignored the formal use of her name. After all, she’d started it with that Mr. Duncan crack. She was willing to act civil if he was. With a glance at Carol, Ellen said, “I have a bit of time this morning.” She stood.

Carol rose as well and held her hand out to Gabriel. As he clasped and shook it, she said, “That’ll be fine. Ellen has other clients she’s handling, but most of it is routine. She should be able to focus for the next while on your account. I’m sure she’ll help you sort everything out.” She smiled. “Ellen does excellent work. We’re lucky to have her.”

“Yes, I’m sure she’ll do a great job.”

Ellen examined his expression and tone for any sign of sarcasm and found none. She seethed.

Did I mean so little to him he doesn’t care how I feel about what he did to me? Her hands curled into fists, and she had to control the urge to punch him in the gut.

She had to turn this account over to someone else. How could she work with him? But she didn’t want to say anything in front of him. She’d go along with the assignment, remain professional and cool, and then talk to Carol about reassignment after he left.

Settled in her mind that this was the best course of action, Ellen picked up her tablet and calmly led him from Carol’s office and down the hall to her cubicle.

Buy links:

Social media links for Val:

Like Val on Facebook

Follow Val on Twitter

Check out Val’s blog

Connect on Lin kedIn

Follow Val on Boo kBub

View Val’s profile page on ALLi

Check out Val’s website , where you can sign up to receive her newsletter.

Hunted by Beverley Bateman

HUNTED is the first in the series about the Hawkins ranch and the Hawkins men. It’s a romantic suspense set in Duster, a fictional, small town in Montana.


Staying alive wasn’t Maggie McGonagall’s first concern.


Could she convince the man she hadn’t planned on ever seeing again, to accept and protect, a son he didn’t know about? Once she managed that, she’d figure out how to keep herself from getting killed.


Cody Hawkins came running when the woman he wanted to forget called him for help. Could he help her, and walk away?


The Hawkins ranch was Maggie’s second home growing up. She’d been in love with Cody ever since she met him when she was ten years old. Until her late teens Cody never showed interest in her as a person.


One night, caught in a cabin in a thunder storm they had made love. Maggie thought Cody finally realized he loved her. He had to leave on a cattle drive the next day and was gone for several weeks.

While he was gone Maggie found out she was pregnant. She planned to tell cod, but when he returned home she found him in the arms of another woman. To prevent embarrassing her family as an unwed mother she left Duster.


Moving to Chicago she worked as a receptionist in an accountant’s office. One night she forgot a book she’d been reading. Returning to the office she opened the door just as shots were fired and the accountant fell to the floor. Two men trained their guns on her. She ran and escaped.


It had been a mafia contract killing. The FBI found her and Maggie testified, sending everyone involved to prison.


After delivering a healthy baby boy, they are both put into the witness protection plan. She’s been living in Seattle, under an assumed name, with her son ever since.


Cody returned from the cattle drive after a disastrous mistake on his part, expecting to find Maggie waiting for him. Instead, she had left town. No one would tell him where she went. He tracked her to Great Falls but then she completely disappeared off the face of the earth. He’s been angry with her for running out on him, ever since.


After seven years someone is trying to kill Maggie. She’s convinced the mafia has finally found her. She contacts Cody. She wants him to protect their son.


Buy links:




Cody flashed his heart-stopping grin at the blonde. She looked like she might faint right then and there.

The same warmth Maggie remembered from years ago spread inside her chest. It always happened to her when he’d looked at her like that and grinned. He’d made her feel special, even when she was a teenager.

His dark hair curled around the base of his neck when he removed his battered Stetson and laid it on the counter. She’d run her fingers through those curls that last night they were together.

He leaned in to talk to the girl. A shard of jealousy stabbed through Maggie. Come on, girl. He never really cared about you or he wouldn’t have been with another woman as soon as he got back from that cattle drive.

She wouldn’t have contacted him if the mafia hadn’t found her, but he had to meet Matt, get to know his son, and take him back to Duster. If Matt stayed with her, his life was in danger.

Cody glanced at the woman’s nametag. “Thank you, Louise. I’m looking for Miss Johnson, Jane Johnson.”

Maggie’s closed her eyes, letting the sound of his deep drawl float up and wrap around her. Most of the people moved past the reception desk allowing Maggie to hear the conversation.


Louise fluttered her eyelashes. “Certainly, let me check that for you.”

“Mr. Hawkins?”

Cody nodded.

“She left a message for you to meet her in the bar. It’s up one level on the mezzanine floor and around the corner to your right.”

“Thank you, Louise. I appreciate your help.”

“Anytime Mr. Hawkins, if you need anything else, let me know.”

Cody nodded before he strolled across the lobby.

When he turned toward the stairs, Maggie stood up and slipped out from behind the pillar. She didn’t want to be caught spying on him like a teenager. That would be a great way for him to find her. She brushed a few specks of dust off her jeans and straightened the camel jacket she’d worn over her t-shirt before scurrying toward the bar. She wanted to be sitting when he walked into the room. It would give her more control over the situation, and she needed all the control she could muster right now.

Inside the bar, she picked a chair facing the entrance. Her heart pounded like a jungle drum, her mouth felt parched.

Cody was here.


After all this time why did Maggie want to see him? And what the hell was she doing in Canada, fer chrissake?

Cody took the stairs to the mezzanine two at a time.

Damn her anyway. It had been seven years since she’d walked out on him. He’d searched everywhere, but she’d dropped out of sight. How could anyone manage that so completely? Not a word for years until now, and why here? This fancy hotel lobby was no place for a Montana cowboy. It was big, cold, and full of foreigners.

What was she up to? Would he even recognize her? And why the hell was he here?

But Cody would recognize her. He’d never forgotten her.

Where had she been all this time? Why had she left without a word? Those unanswered questions had filtered through his life for years, along with the pain. Now he would get answers.


Until that last night together, he’d tried to be like a big brother; there to protect her from accidents and mistakes and boy problems. That night he’d made a disastrous mistake, his second biggest one. He’d let his emotions override his common sense and made love to her.


He remembered her sweet vanilla scent. Her skin had been smooth, like a well-oiled saddle. No other woman, before or since, had stirred any of the emotions that surged through his body when he thought of Maggie McGonigal.

He’d planned to tell her he loved her and ask her to marry him when he got back from the cattle drive. Then he’d made his number one mistake. He had so totally screwed-up. When he sobered up, he had no idea what to tell Maggie when he got home. The biggest mistake of his life ripped his gut open.

But she’d been gone. Initially, his reaction had been relief. He’d have time to figure out how to resolve the situation before she returned. But she hadn’t come back. No one would tell him where she’d gone. Desperation clawed at him every minute. Even if he couldn’t marry her, he couldn’t live without her. Finally, he’d convinced her parents he had to find her. They’d shared the little information they had.


The next day, he’d driven to Great Falls. But she’d left there. No one, not even her parents, heard from her after that, until now.