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Category: #MFRWhooks

Maggie McGonigal will protect her son at any cost, including her own life. After seven years in witness protection someone has found her and is trying to kill her. She contacts the man she never wanted to see again. Now to convince him to take a son he doesn’t know about back to his ranch in Montana, so she can disappear again.

 

Cody Hawkins comes running when the woman he wants to forget calls him for help. Someone is trying to kill her.

 

It’s been seven years since Maggie walked away. Why contact him now? Who would want to kill her? Can he help her and then walk away from her? Or can he convince her to return to Montana and let him protect her?

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Excerpt

Cody felt like he’d been sucker punched. 

Clutching his Stetson in front of him he glanced from Maggie to the bathroom. “What the hell are you talking about?” 

This dark haired boy with intense blue eyes, a missing front tooth and an infectious grin looked like a nice enough kid, but… “You want me to what?” 

Maggie lowered her voice. “Shh, not so loud, I need you to take Matt back to the ranch and keep him safe.” 

“Have you lost your mind? Why would you want me to do that?” 

“Because I need someone I trust to keep him safe. If Matt stays with me, he’s in danger and could be killed.” 

“You don’t just send your kid away with a stranger.” 

“Sometimes you do, but you’re not a stranger. You protected me growing up. I just need you to protect him, now. I’m sure my parents will help look after him.” 

“Protect him from what?” 

“Here, Mommy.” Matt handed her a glass. The water sloshed onto Maggie’s shoes and the carpet. 

“Thank you, honey.” She took the glass and gave him a squeeze. “Why don’t you turn the TV on? You can watch cartoons for a few minutes.” 

“Yippee.” He raced across the room to the bed, bouncing onto it.

Cody stared at her as she watched Matt grab the remote and turn on the TV. When the TV screen came into focus, Matt flopped down on his stomach and clicked until he found a cartoon channel. His chin on his hands, he stared intently on the program. 

“Okay, Maggie, give. What the hell is this all about?” Cody lowered his voice. 

5 Star Review

R. Courtright 

"Maggie is in witness protection with her six year old son, but someone is trying to kill her, probably the crime boss whose son is in prison due to Maggie's testimony. She contacts the man she once loved, Cody Hawkins, but when he betrayed her, she fled her home town in Montana pregnant with his child. Now she desperately needs his help. Cody takes Maggie and her son Matt home to his family's ranch. He isn't going to let Maggie run away again, and when he finds the boy he has already let beguile him is his son, quickly falls in love with him. Both Maggie and Cody have made serious mistakes in their past, but with killers hunting Maggie and another, persistent and vindictive woman hunting Cody, can he and Maggie find love? This story is full of great characters, and both alpha man Cody and strong woman Maggie can be ornery, but the story also circles around the very strong Hawkins family and the very loyal town's people, which adds an interesting dimension to it."

Targeted by Beverley Bateman

After and eleven year absence Janna Kincaid inherits a ranch and is forced to return to a town she only remembers with unhappiness, a man to whom she was briefly married and never wants to see again, and someone is trying to kill her.

 

Kye Hawkins has loved Janna since he first met her. They were married but a few weeks later she ran away, without an explanation. He still hasn't figured out why. Now she's coming back. Does she still love him? Can he rekindle the romance and also prevent her from being killed.

 

Janna doesn't want Kye's help in anyway, yet he always seems to be there when she's in trouble. Can they work together to find a killer, save the Native burial ground and home of the spirits, and find romance again?

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Excerpt

Someone had shot her back tire. Janna gripped the wheel to keep the vehicle on the road. She debated whether to try and outrun the shooter, wherever he was, or find cover. The windshield shattered as a third bullet entered the passenger side.

So much for outrunning the shooter.

She scanned the area and spotted an outcropping of rocks a few feet ahead on her right. She aimed the vehicle in that direction.

Two more shots, and both the back tires went down.

Definitely find cover.

Janna ducked low behind the steering wheel until the vehicle reached the rocks. When the car stopped, she grabbed the keys from the ignition and her purse and dove out the door. Bullets bounced off the rocks behind her as she scrambled for cover. Whoever was doing the shooting was serous. Anyone of the shots could have hit her.

She reached the rocks, keeping low until she got to the middle where she curled up as tightly as possible, her back against a rock. Her heart pounded in her ears, her breathing came in gasps. This was getting to be a habit. First someone tried to kill her in Seattle, and now, out in this god-forsaken country.

What the hell is going on? Why are they shooting at me? Was it the same person who shot at me in Seattle? That doesn’t seem likely, but who even knew I was coming here? Maybe it’s someone just trying to rob a stranger.

Yeah right, be honest, Janna, does this road look like many strangers came this way? And if they did, would they have a lot to steal? You really think this person selected a spot in the rocks where he would have a good shot at my vehicle. Coincidence? Not damn likely.

At least she’d worn boots and jeans—even if they were designer jeans. Now they were filthy, and so was her red sweater and jean jacket.

Another shot hit the rock behind her. She rolled over onto her stomach, shaded her eyes, and squinted into the sun. He must be up on the cliffs straight ahead. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she might have glimpsed a light, maybe a reflection off his scope.

Terrific! Now what? My gun is in my purse. I could fire back, but that would be a waste of bullets at this distance. 

She yanked out her cell and punched in 9-1-1.

Damn—no reception.

A pounding pulsed through the ground and came closer. Janna could feel the vibrations. It felt like horses. She glanced around, without raising her head, to see what was coming.

Suddenly there was a hand in front of her face.

“Grab it and jump on.”

The deep, rumbling voice was not asking. It was an order.

Janna grabbed the strong hand. In one smooth motion, she swung up behind a man on his horse. Seconds later, she had her hands wrapped around his well-developed, muscular chest, as the big chestnut thundered across the ground, out of the bullets’ range.

The man wore a leather jacket over a sweater. Her hands slid under the jacket for better grip. Even through the sweater she could feel sinewy muscles. She laid her head against his back and his braid. She took a breath in, inhaling the rich scent of leather, trying to calm her racing heart rate.

She glanced behind her. The cliffs were fading into the distance. The muscles of his well-developed shoulders bunched and relaxed as he led the horse at a gallop across the field. She felt safe for some unfathomable reason.

He had a familiar woodsy scent that made her think of sex under pine trees, not that she’d ever made love there. In fact, her sex life was pretty negligible these days.

They’d been riding for several minutes when Janna leaned forward. “You can put me down any place. I can manage now.”

“Really? And just what are you going to do out here, miles from town, by yourself, with someone shooting at you?”

The voice was deep, but soft, and rolled over her like warmed brandy. It triggered something in the back of her memory. The earthy scent, the sinewy body, the braid, the voice… She knew this person who had ridden up out of nowhere to save her.

“I have my cell. I’ve already called 9-1-1,” she snapped.

“And did you get an answer?”

Janna yanked her cell phone up where she could see the screen again and re-tapped in 9-1-1. And then there was that famous phrase—No Service.

There was a deep chuckle. “That’s what I thought. There’s no service in this area. The mountains block it.”

By Design by [Beverley Bateman]

Nurse Evie Dalton succumbs to the temptation of a lot of money and a chance to work with the attractive Dr. Adam Marsden. She accepts a position at an isolated hospital. On arrival she finds an onsite animal farm attached to the hospital and mysterious limos arriving in the dark. There are screams in the night. People disappear and turn up dead. There’s no way to leave the hospital and area once you start work there and no communication outside the small town. 

 

Dr. Adam Marsden left his past behind. Now he thinks has it all; a great job, money, and a chance to buy his own hospital. But he hadn't counted on Evie Dalton breaking through his tough emotionless shell. Now, because of him, she’s at risk and might be the next victim. Depending on his decisions, they could both be running for their lives. 

Chapter One

What the hell have I got myself into?

Evie Dalton pulled the soft green cotton uniform top over her head. She’d arrived in Preston last night, excited about her new job; looking forward to meeting new people, learning new things.

By the time she had reached Ophidian, the stark white hospital in the isolated northern woods of California, concern had replaced excitement. Besides the remoteness, her less than altruistic motive had her rethinking the decision as well.

In the room, classical music played quietly in the background. She’d tried to find the switch to turn if off last night, but there didn’t seem to be one; different stations but no off switch. She’d have to ask someone how you turned the bloody thing off before it drove her crazy.

She checked her blonde hair in the mirror, pushing it back behind her ears to make it look neater.

It had been almost two years since she’d been home. Suddenly she had an overwhelming desire to be there right now, close to her mother and father, and brothers. Jiggs, the family terrier would be racing around her, wanting Evie to pet her. That’s where she wanted to be, home, where she would be safe and loved, not in this desolate place.

Everything inside her screamed get out. She’d never really made a mistake before, not a big one. This felt like the big one. But then she’d never made a decision based purely on money before, either. She’d been raised in a small mid-west town where money hadn’t been an important part of her life.

Evie paused to stare out the only window of the tiny suite she would be calling home for the next six months, according to her contract. In front of her stood the sparkling white building where she would be working.

The architecture reminded her of something from the thirties or early forties that she’d seen on an episode of Poirot one time, not a hospital. It was squarish with kind of rounded corners, smaller than most hospitals and a brilliant white.

She could see a one-story wing up front and a two-story wing out the back that angled about forty-five degrees off from the front wing.

Last night when she had arrived it had looked like a white monolith. Today it just looked cold, sterile, and remote. A shiver climbed down her spine. She pulled her arms tightly around herself. Something didn’t feel right. She shook her head, turned from the window, and grabbed her white cardigan off the chair.

She’d never even heard of Preston, California before Dr. Marsden had told her about it. It took four different maps before she even found it. Now she would be living and working several miles outside of Preston in the bloody wilderness.

God, she was an idiot. On the positive side, there had to be a positive side. Maybe she’d learn something from the experience. She had never felt loneliness before but after only a few hours here she felt she was beginning to experience it.

Her supervisor at the crisis center where Evie volunteered had said Evie needed to learn compassion and understanding. Maybe working in this place, she might develop a better understanding of others. Her own feelings were likely going to go through some sort of metamorphosis here. Good had to come out of it somehow. Right?

 

She squared her shoulders. She’d make it work. Evie pulled on the cardigan, did a quick check of her room, locked the door and headed downstairs.

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Born and raised in New Orleans Julie Ann Dupré senses things other people don’t. She’s living in New York when she’s told her mother has been killed in an attempted robbery, which is odd because Perrine didn’t have anything valuable to steal. Julie Ann comes home to find the truth and discovers there’s a family secret, hidden for years. She searches to find the real reason for her mother’s death. Now someone is trying to kill her. Will her psychic senses, a little dog and a detective keep her safe?

 

Detective Connor O’Reilly, a native of New Orleans and comes from a family of police. He’s an honest cop but realizes there is corruption in the division. He meets Julie Ann at her mother’s house and is immediately attracted to her. After telling her about the attempted robbery he checks into the case and finds no one is investigating the death. Julie Ann deserves the truth and he wants to know what really happened. He starts a thorough investigation. He’s warned off the case and then he receives a death threat.

 

Julie Ann and Connor work together to unravel the real reason behind Perrine Dupré’s murder, Julie Ann’s mysterious past, and why people want her dead, while developing their challenging relationship. Can they both survive? And what about their relationship?

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Excerpt

Perrine Dupré hurried down the street. Dark New Orleans clouds hovered overhead. Thunder rolled through the skies. Large drops of late May rain pelted the streets of the French Quarter. It sounded like hail as the fat drops bounced off the pavement behind Perrine. The ozone mixed with the scent of magnolia and the smell of shrimp and fish cooking in the area.

The older African American woman struggled against the wind. It whipped her umbrella inside out. She clutched it tightly so not to lose it. Rain clouded her eyes. She stumbled up the three steps to her front door. Juggling her parcels, umbrella and the key Perrine jabbed it in the direction of the lock. Finally, the key found the opening and turned.

Her daughter was coming home for a visit. Perrine’s pulse increased and a smile sneaked out.

Perrine loved her New Orleans. She hated to travel, but two years ago she’d gone to New York to see Julie Ann and her new business. It was a mass of busy airports and crowded flights, but she’d enjoyed seeing New York and staying in her daughter’s apartment. Her daughter had showed off her interior design business, introduced to a few of her friends and dragged Perrine to some of the typical tourist activities. Julie Ann been getting her interior design business established then and had trouble finding time to leave it and come home. Recently she’d taken on a partner and now had a little more time. Tomorrow Julie Ann would be home in New Orleans and Perrine could give her a big hug. Thunder rumbled across the sky, sounding like pins crashing in a bowling alley.

Perrine turned the doorknob and froze.

A vision flashed in front of her. Her shoulders sagged. Her visions didn’t lie. She wasn’t going to see Julie Ann after all. And she'd miss their regular telephone call tonight, too.

She wasn’t prepared to die. A single tear shimmered down her cheek. Her heart pounded. She clutched her parcels to her chest. Why now? Lightning flashed. Thunder crashed.

He waited for her to come inside.

The vision showed her crumpled on the ground in front of the house. She’d run, but obviously she wasn’t going to get far. Even if her vision was wrong and she managed to escape tonight, they would kill her eventually. And after tonight Julie Ann would be home and she could be in danger. 

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Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
 
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
 
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

 

 

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Excerpt

“Until then you could use a watchdog. She may be small, but she looks like she’s doing a good job. Why Marie L.?”

“I don’t know. It just seemed to fit.”

“I see. That wouldn’t be short for Marie Laveau would it?”

“Well…yes.”

“You believe in voodoo?”

“Yes. Why? Do you have a problem with it? It’s not evil like people believe. It’s a religion.”

“So, I’ve heard.”

“You sound doubtful?”

“I’ve heard about the spells and the voodoo dolls.”

Julie slipped her hand inside her pocket and fingered the protection ball Ava had given her.

“That’s for the tourists. The spells are supposed to be used for good only. If someone uses them for evil, it comes back on them. And if you’ve done your research you know Perrine was a High Priestess in the voodoo temple until she retired.”

“Yes, I did find that. She wasn’t at the time she died.”

“No, she’d retired. Priestess Ava took over, but Perrine still attended the voodoo church.”

“I see, and you don’t think that had anything to do with her death?”

“No.”

“What about the voodoo doll?”

“It’s New Orleans. You can buy one of those at any of the shops in the French Quarter. Tourists love them. I’m guessing whoever bought it thought they might scare me into running back to New York. Or maybe the murderer wanted the death to look like it might be tied to voodoo to throw people off the real reason, whatever that is. But it does show it likely wasn’t anyone in the neighborhood and definitely not someone who actually knows anything about voodoo.”

“I’ll take your word on that for now.”

If Connor didn’t want to know about voodoo that was fine with her. It was another challenge to any kind of a relationship between them.

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
 
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
 
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

 

 

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Excerpt

Three hours later Connor rapped on Savannah’s door. He saw Julie Ann move the curtain to check and see who was there.

She opened the door.

“I came to take you back to your place, unless you’ve changed your mind.”

Julie Ann shook her head.

“Is Savannah still up?”

“Sort of, she fell asleep in the chair.”

Connor smiled. “Okay, flip the lock and we’ll let her sleep.”

He took her hand and led her across the street. He opened the door. “It’s clear. We’ve checked it out. There’s no one here.”

Inside he brushed her hair back from her face and ran a finger over her lips. “I have to go back to the office and write a report. Otherwise I’d spend the night.”

“I’ve told you I’ll be fine. It’s after midnight. I need to get some sleep.”

“I’ll be back in the morning to check on you, but if you need anything phone me.” He bent forward, kissed her gently on the lips and pulled her into his arms.

Julie Ann returned the kiss, but then pushed him away. “Don’t make it too early, I need my beauty sleep.”

“Okay but keep your phone with you at all times. Make sure I’m on speed dial and if you hear anything, anything at all, you call me.”

“Yes, sir,” She gave him a weak salute. “Now I’m going to bed.”

Connor opened the door. He hesitated.

“Go,” she gave him a gentle push, closed the door and locked it behind him.

Maybe she’d get a new lock tomorrow. Too many people seemed to be able to bypass this lock and get in the house whenever they wanted.

She crawled up the stairs. In her room she pulled off her clothes and fell into bed. Her bones ached from exhaustion. She yanked the cotton sheet over her, aware of the light pressure on her body. She closed her eyes. They burned, even when they were shut. She couldn’t remember feeling this exhausted.

Seconds after her head hit the pillow, she slept.

She sat bolt upright.

What was it?

What had wakened her?

She was shaking. Her nightgown was damp with perspiration. She sat quietly and listened. There was dead silence. She lay back and tried to fall back to sleep. Her pulse raced, her mind flitted from what Savannah had told her about her real mother, to her talk with Priestess Ava, to Mom, and back to Connor.

Don't Go by Beverley Bateman

Don’t Go is a dark romantic suspense that takes place predominantly in Reno. Sam is a Washoe Sheriff detective with a background of sexual abuse. Now she works in teen chatrooms to catch sexual predators.

 

A serial killer is targeting blonde teen girls in chatroms and one of the girls from Sam’s chatrooms is now missing.

 

Devlin is a Reno cop who like undercover work and doesn’t do missing kids – except they’re short staffed and he’s assigned a missing girl. He doesn’t believe in relationships and likes one night stands. Now he’s stuck working a case with a computer smart detective who obviously doesn’t do one night stands and has no use for Reno police.

 

Reluctantly, they must work together to solve this case. Can they resolve their personal issues and bring down a serial killer?

 

 
 
 

Excerpt

Hot anger burned a hole in his gut as he wrote. He shouldn’t be here with this desperate woman.

“When did you see her last?” he snapped.

Startled, the woman jerked back in her chair. Tears gushed down her hollow cheeks. “Like I said, this…this morning before she left for school, but she didn’t go to school. I don’t know why. She said she was going to school. They phoned and said she wasn’t in class. I didn’t know what to think. Why didn’t she go to school? She’s a good girl. She’s never been any trouble.”

At the woman’s reaction Dev took several deep breaths. It wasn’t her fault he was sitting here getting madder. It was the captain’s—and the flu season. He took a deep breath and slowly counted to ten. “Your husband, will he be coming down?”

“John?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I’m not sure.” Her eyes clouded over. “He’s…he’s at work today.”

“I see.” Dev shoved his folding metal chair back toward the wall, scraping the legs against the cheap tile covering the cement floor. The grating sound echoed through the room.

His fingers death-gripped the edge of the table, his lips clenched, he yanked himself to his feet. “Excuse me, Mrs. Morrison, I’ll be right back.”

He made it to the door in two strides. The door slammed behind him as he stomped into the corridor. His anger crashed through like a tidal wave. He pounded his fist against the wall, rattling the old photos of every bloody past Reno PD chief and city councilman since the twenties.

“What’re you doin’, O’Reilly? You ain’t finished with her.” Captain Drummond emerged from the room where he’d been watching the interrogation. The man stood over six feet, with a face like a bulldog, and a build to match. He didn’t need to raise his deep voice as it rumbled for several miles around.

No one messed with the captain.

“I couldn’t sit there with that pathetic woman any longer. I would have upset her more. I don’t do missing kids cases anymore, but I still know the drill, and the outcome. I know for a fact with younger kids, forty-four percent are dead within the first hour, seventy-five percent are dead within three hours.”

“So you know the stats. Good for you. Do you know how to work the case?”

“I know we’ve got about seventy-two hours max, to get her back alive. The mother didn’t even report her missing until now. We’ve already lost eight hours.”

“You’re right. So get going and make sure we don’t have another statistic.”

“Look captain, I need to be back in undercover, taking down some scumbag druggie in an alley, getting the information we need.”

“Right, using your gun in his mouth for persuasion? That’s not how we work. We have new ways of policing these days. You need to get with the program.”

“What? We put the criminal first and worrying about the perp’s rights instead of those of the victim. It bugs the hell out of me when some sewer scum bitch-slaps a ninety year old lady for her purse and walks because of a technicality.”

“I agree, so we have to make sure all those technicalities are covered. You need to take care of that attitude, lieutenant.”

Taller than the captain by an inch or two, and twenty years younger, Dev stared at the man parked in front of him.

“You need to get someone else to do this one, captain. I don’t do kids any more. After a few years, burnout gets to you. I do undercover now. Drug deals and murder are cases that actually bring down criminals and make a difference. Why are you assigning this woman to me?”

Don't Go by Beverley Bateman

Don’t Go is a dark romantic suspense that takes place predominantly in Reno. Sam is a Washoe Sheriff detective with a background of sexual abuse. Now she works in teen chatrooms to catch sexual predators.

 

A serial killer is targeting blonde teen girls in chatroms and one of the girls from Sam’s chatrooms is now missing.

 

Devlin is a Reno cop who like undercover work and doesn’t do missing kids – except they’re short staffed and he’s assigned a missing girl. He doesn’t believe in relationships and likes one night stands. Now he’s stuck working a case with a computer smart detective who obviously doesn’t do one night stands and has no use for Reno police.

 

Reluctantly, they must work together to solve this case. Can they resolve their personal issues and bring down a serial killer?

 

 
 
 

Excerpt

 

She leaned back in her chair. Her forehead squeezed against her skull, shooting barbs of pain to her eyes. The chocolate hadn’t helped the stress.

“How did I miss this one?” She punched her fist into her palm. Insidious memories crept from the dark corners of her subconscious, spun a cocoon around her and dragged her back into the dark, tangled web of her own past.

The sickening sweet smell of overpowering aftershave snaked up her nostrils; fat, sweaty palms grasped at her thighs. She knew what was going to happen. She was unable to scream, unable to escape…no one to help her.

The images crashed over her, scattering years of counseling like broken shells on a beach, covering her soul with the spray of desperation and anger.

Sam scrubbed at a tear drifting down her cheek, and forced the images back into the darkness, back into the locked box.

It’s not about me. It’s about this girl and another predator creep.

With clenched fists she white-knuckled the arms of the chair to keep from throwing the damn computer against the wall.

“Find anything?” Kerensa strolled back into the computer room, a partially eaten sugar donut in her fingers. A faint white trail drifted behind her. “They got a whole box of these out there if you want to grab one before the other detectives get back and scarf them all.”

“Damn it! I should have seen it coming. Where the hell are they?” Sam kicked her chair away from the computer and stood. “No thanks. Those things can kill you. I’d have to work out an extra hour tonight.”

“Hey, they’re no worse than that stash of chocolate you hide in your bottom drawer.”

“A girl has to have something to combat the frustration. Besides, dark chocolate is good for you.”

“Right, if you say so. You know, girlfriend, you need to learn to relax, enjoy life, and find a man who likes his woman well-padded.” Kerensa patted the green uniform shirt stretched across her protruding belly. A safety pin protected a button from popping off.

“Like Tim?” Sam allowed a faint smile to tug at the corners of her mouth. “You’re lucky. Chocolate is my replacement for men. Chocolate won’t screw with me.”

“Too bad, ’cause being a natural blonde with a great bod, you could probably get any man you wanted.”

“Yeah, right.” Sam shook her head and walked toward the door. “I’m taking a break, but not to get donuts. I need to think.”

“Take your time, girl. Hey, if there’s any of those donuts left, bring one back for me, will ya?”

Sam nodded. She rubbed her temples with her fingers, trying to exorcise the images of what the girl would go through if she met that damn creep. A sigh slithered out into the squad room as she headed toward the pot holding the day-old coffee.

“You okay?” Pete Sandusky nodded in her direction.

The acrid, slightly burnt odor of chicory and rancid coffee beans made her wrinkle her nose before she even reached the coffee maker.

She shook her head, poured a half cup of the sludge, and rested her butt against the table beside the box of sugar donuts. “No. Not really.”

With her mug clutched in both hands, she stared across at Pete. He was a good cop. He’d been there about twenty years and looked everyday of it. Gray fringe around a shiny pate; round, gold-rimmed glasses perched on a short, flat, boxer-type nose, and an inner tube that had settled around his waist under the dark green uniform.

“It’s a feeling I’ve got.” After a quick sip of the disgusting liquid she stuck out her tongue. “Yech. Why doesn’t someone throw this crap out?”

Pete shrugged. “What doesn’t feel right?”

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
 
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
 
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

 

 

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Excerpt

“Maybe I’ll stay for a few minutes.” Julie Ann sat down, closed her eyes and leaned back in the chair. She’d listened to that harmonica for a lot of years growing up. 

She drifted off. It had been a long day. 

Julie Ann jerked awake. “Sorry, guys, I’m almost asleep. I really have to get to bed. Thanks for dinner Savannah and the after-dinner music Charlie. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

“You be careful now. We still don’t know why Perrine was killed. You’re at risk too. You see or hear anything you high tail it over here.”

“I will.” She headed out the door and checked carefully before she crossed the street.

She opened the creaky gate and stopped. The curtains in Perrine’s living room moved. A shiver proceeded down Julie Ann’s spine. She should have left a light on.

Was there someone in the house? Was she in danger? Maybe it was Mom? 

 

* * * 

 

Julie Ann glanced over her shoulder to Savannah’s house. She debated going back but decided to go inside, carefully. She inserted the key in the lock and waited. Nothing. She turned the doorknob. No visions. 

Julie Ann cautiously stepped to one side and pushed open the door. It swung back. She stepped into the room, turned on the light and looked around. No one appeared to have been there. She closed the door, locked it and dropped the key into her bag. She checked that the back door was locked, then picked up the voodoo doll she’d brought back home and climbed up the stairs to her old room. 

Her bag still over her shoulder she opened the third bedroom door. It was her room. She scanned the room. The single wooden bed, with another homemade patchwork quilt, still stood against the wall. The battered, second-hand desk with the straight back wooden chair and the hand-painted yellow dresser all brought back memories. Memories of her and Mom painting the dresser sunshine yellow, Mom reading her bedtime stories every night and Mom trying to help her with her homework at the battered desk, bubbled up inside her. 

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
 
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
 
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

 

 

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Excerpt

Immediately he gave himself a mental slap and tightened his grip on her large suitcase. He followed her out the door reminding himself, one, she was family of a victim. And two, he only did no string relationships. She had strings written all over her. Back off O’Reilly.

“You’re looking better. Sleep well?”

Julie Ann nodded. “I went out like a light. Thanks.”

“Did you eat breakfast?”

Julie Ann nodded. “I’m usually not much of a breakfast person, but with a busy day in front of me I ordered room service and pigged out on bacon and eggs. No grits.”

“No grits?”

“I know I’m in New Orleans, but breakfast is bad enough, let alone with grits on the plate.”

“At least you got your protein for energy. My mother says breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’ll take the doll to forensics.”

“I want to keep the doll for now, if it’s okay. There’s someone I’d like to see it. Then I’ll turn it over to you.”

Connor hesitated. “Okay, as long as you turn it over soon.”

They headed for the elevator.

“Did they find anything voodoo at the crime scene?”

Connor shook his head. “Not that I’m aware of. Why?”

“I wondered, since someone put the doll in my room.”

The elevator slowed to a stop and Connor stepped to one side to let Julie Ann exit first. “The car’s parked out front.”

Julie Ann walked briskly through the lobby, unaware of the admiring glances from most of the men checking her out. Connor noticed though and fought the impulse to tell them to quit drooling.

On the street Julie Ann paused by his dark sedan. It was still early so the temperature was bearable, but the humidity immediately started to seep through her top. She waited for Connor to catch up so she could climb into air-conditioning. She glanced up and down the street.

Connor noticed her checking out the street. He dropped the luggage in the trunk. Someone must have followed them from the house yesterday. That’s the only way they’d know where she was. Was she checking to see if anyone was watching them today?

He needed to be aware of that possibility. He opened the passenger door and lightly touched her curls to make sure she didn’t bump her head when she slid into the seat. A warm sensation shot right to his groin.

He pulled his hand back and reminded himself again of the reasons he couldn’t get involved with a victim of a crime, especially this one.

“Slide in and I’ll get that air-conditioning going.”

“Thanks.”

Connor drove through the narrow streets, periodically checking his mirror. He found a parking spot halfway down the street from a restaurant he knew.

“Come on lady, you may not need food, but I need a coffee. It could be a rough day.” Connor took her arm as they headed to the restaurant.

Julie Ann nodded. “I could use another coffee. I’ll be okay today. Everything hasn’t really sunk in yet, except that I know it wasn’t a robbery.”

“What do you mean?”

“I just know.”

“Is there something you’re not telling me?”

“Not at the moment. I have no proof.” She hesitated. “I know my mother and I’m familiar with the area. Nothing makes any sense.”

He was a cop. He went with facts. He wouldn’t understand how some things felt right or wrong. He probably thought she was a little crazy.