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Romantic & Western headerbarSuspense Novels

Category: #MFRWhooks

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

“Ohmigawd,” Diane groaned. “I had no idea you guys were all nuts. You see people’s past, see ghosts and talk to ghosts. This is all a big hoax. I didn’t realize I signed on with a bunch of nut cases. Let me out of here.”

“Diane, please sit down. It may be difficult for you, but please respect your teammates.”

Diane slouched back in her chair.

“So you can hear the ghosts talk?” Mr. Mogee asked.

“Like I said, sometimes. I don’t hear anything right now.”

“You’ll need to work on being more open and receptive so the ghosts can find you easier. How often do you see them?”

“It depends. I didn’t used to see them at all. Then occasionally, maybe every few months or more one would come up to me. I see them more often now.”

“Ah, it means your gift is becoming stronger. Do you sense anything, like Sara?”

“Nope, suddenly they’re there, in a room or on the street. They come up to me and usually ask me to help them get a message to a friend or family member.”

“That’s good. Stay open and continue to help them. The more you help them the stronger you will become. Now Diane, let’s see what talent you have.”

“I don’t have any stupid talents and seeing ghosts or reading palms isn’t a talent. It’s a damn freak show.”

“Nothing?”

“No,” Diane snapped.

“Ah, what are you feeling right now?’

“What do you mean? Diane glared at him.

Mr. Mogee smiled. “In your gut, what are you feeling right now?”

Diane stared at him. “Nothing.”

“Diane?”

Diane crossed her arms over her chest, sank her chin down and glared at the man. “Something’s upsetting Sara. She’s afraid for someone.”

“Good, very good Diane. Sara?”

Diane continued to glare at the man. “Big deal, it’s a gut reaction,” she mumbled. “Anybody can tell when a person’s worried. Read their damn body language.”

Sara stared at Diane. She wanted to deny it, but if they were a team, honesty was important. “You’re right, Diane. I’m worried about my daughter. I’m afraid she might be in danger.”

“Thank you, Sara. You see Diane, you sense what people are feeling or seeing. We’ll work on it so you understand it better. What about the other thing?”

“What other thing?” Diane shot him an angry look.

“I understand you’re a witch.”

“Aw, shit.” Diane tried to slide farther down in her chair.

“You’re a witch? I mean a real honest to gosh witch?” Sara stared at her.

“Okay, I’m a witch. I can cast spells, big friggin’ deal.”

Mr. Mogee smiled. “Yes, Diane, it is a big deal. It could come in very helpful for your friends. Maybe you can explain to them how it works over dinner tonight. You know how you don’t wear the hat and use a broomstick?”

“Okay, I get it. I don’t understand any of this, but I’ll try and explain how spells work and that there really are witches out there.”

“Good and don’t forget to get in touch with your gut as well. We’ll work on that. Diane comes from a long line of witches. You might get her to talk about her family. Okay ladies, your assignment is to work on your talents by taking these items. See if you get any message or information from them. Share them, pass them around. Do you have any questions?” Mr. Mogee handed each woman an item.

They glanced at what they had received.

“This looks like a man’s glove.” Sara looked up.

Mr. Mogee had disappeared.

“We’ll figure it out.” Maggie stared around the room.

“Sometimes you can use a spell. It causes people to see, or not see, what is really there. I’ll check it out.” Diane offered.

 

 

 

 

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 and on the track of a serial killer.Mac is 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.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

The office said he’d had a heart attack. Was he alive? Did she want him to be?

The taxi jerked to a stop in front of the hospital emergency entrance.

Sara fumbled through her purse and counted out her meager number of dollar bills. Gordon didn’t allow her to have a credit card and he only allowed her to have a small amount of cash. She didn’t have enough money to pay the taxi.

“I’m so sorry. I left home without any cash. I...I ... Would you take a check?” Tears spilled over and trickled down her flushed cheeks.

The driver spun around. A short stubby finger waved at the sign over the rearview mirror. “Look lady, it says right there - No Checks.”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry. My husbands had a heart attack and I ... I don’t know what to do.” Sara ran her fingers through her hair and scrunched the tight bun at her neck.

The driver shook his head. “Aw, shit. Go ahead, lady. Write the check.”

Sara pulled the single crumpled check Gordon allowed her carry for emergencies out of her purse. When she touched the check a vision of Gordon floated in front of her.

She froze and rapidly blinked her eyes. She only saw the ghosts of dead people. Gordon didn’t believe her and forbid her to ever mention it.

Could he really be dead?

“Gordon?” she whispered.

“Lady, are you writing that check or not?”

“Yes, sorry.” Sara scribbled her signature on the bottom of the check. “Please, fill it in, and give yourself a generous tip. Thank you, thank you so much.” She clutched her worn purse to her chest, slid out of the cab, and scurried through the emergency room doors.

What if he was dead? She didn’t have any money. Gordon did all the finances and never shared anything with her. How would she manage?

Twenty years ago she could have handled it. Could she do it again? But he couldn’t be dead. Gordon would never allow that to happen.

His face flitted in front of her, fixed in an angry glare.

He had to be dead or she wouldn’t be seeing him. He didn’t want to be dead. He didn’t want her to be free. If he knew she could see him he’d be furious.

Sara shuffled toward the reception desk. She glanced over her shoulder, searching for some sign of Gordon, listening for his voice, waiting for him to yell at her. She couldn’t believe he was really dead, even though she had seen him. She clung to the edge of the transition counter, her head down, chewed on her lower lip and waited to be noticed.

Finally a brusque voice snapped, “Can I help you?”

Sara looked up to see a heavy set, older woman in a loose blue top. The woman’s thick dark brows met in a v in the middle of her forehead.

“I’m sorry, I ...I’m looking for my husband. His office phoned to say he’d been brought

here.” Sara shrunk into her body.

“Name?” the woman commanded.

“Gordon, Gordon Peters.” Sara stared at her worn black oxfords, then at the scuffed, gray linoleum with the red, blue and yellow lines that led to different areas. Maybe she shouldn’t have come. Maybe she should have waited for Gordon to call and tell her whether she should be here or not. But if he was dead, she would have to make her own decisions. Her pulse raced. Her heart pounded. For the last nineteen years she had never made a decision. Gordon made all of them for her.

“When was he admitted?” The woman reminded Sara of a sergeant major.

“I’m not sure, less than an hour ago. They told me to meet him here. Maybe he’s been discharged already?” She chewed her thumbnail. If Gordon had been discharged, he’d be furious at her for spending all that money on a taxi.

But she’d seen his ghost.

Tension twisted her stomach into knots. The pain caused her to clutch her purse even tighter against her abdomen. She needed to get home and start dinner. She’d have to take a bus. Did she have enough money? She opened her purse.

The woman moved to a second pile of folders and pulled one out. “You’re his wife?”

Sara nodded. “Yes. Can I see him?”

A sob slipped out. If she didn’t find see him soon, he’d be furious. He’d think she was too stupid to even find him in a hospital and he’d be right.

His ghost floated in front of her. This time confusion mixed with his anger.

“Have a seat, Mrs. Peters. I’ll have the doctor speak to you.”

 

 

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?

Buy links:

Coming Soon!

 

Excerpt

Death Southern Style Excerpt 2

After Julie paid the taxis she stood on the street and stared at the small sign tacked over the door of the old wooden house, Chez Voodoo.

She sauntered out into the courtyard. It was empty. She turned to her left and stepped through the next door into the church.

A tall black woman wearing a long white dress with a white apron and a white scarf tied around her head, turned around when Julie Ann entered the room.

“Julie Ann Dupré, child, welcome. I’m sorry I wasn’t out front to welcome you.”

She hurried across and wrapped her arms around Julie Ann. “I am so sorry to hear about your mother.”

“Thank you.” Julie Ann returned the hug and felt the energy flow from Priestess Ava. She soaked it in before she finally pulled back. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Your mother’s death? Of course, although I’m not sure how I can help. Shall we go and sit in the courtyard?”

“That would be nice.” Julie murmured.

She liked it out there. Riots of red, orange, yellow, purple and coral colors filled the flower beds, attracting butterflies, birds and bees. Street noises never entered the area. It was an area of serenity and peace. And it always felt cool, despite the temperature.

“Do you think Perrine’s death was voodoo related?”

“Goodness no, I don’t think so. Why would it be?”

“I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out, make some sense of it. So far, I have few pieces, but nothing fits. The police say it was a robbery gone bad, but there’s nothing missing. And I had a vision. She knew she was about to die. She didn’t enter the house but ran away. She was shot her three times, in the back.”

“You saw this?”

“Yes, but it doesn’t make sense. I’m trying to come up with other possible motives. I know a lot of people feel threatened when you mention voodoo.”

“True, but I don’t think Perrine would have been killed because of it. There are a lot of people in the Quarter that belong to the voodoo church. Besides, why would they target your mother? Why not me? I’m the High Priestess now.”

“It was a thought. Also, I found this in my hotel room this morning.” Julie Ann handed the voodoo doll to Ava.

Ava regarded it carefully before she touched it.

“This was in your hotel room?”

Julie Ann nodded.

“How did it get there?”

“I don’t know. The door and the window were both locked. When I touched it, I could see a group, not one person, but several and all very blurry.”

“I see. This is a voodoo doll, but not one of mine. Someone could have bought it from any of the local shops. It’s one made for tourists and then they added the blood. It’s a warning and meant to scare you.”

“It does scare me. I guess if I left all this alone, accepted the police report and went back to New York maybe I’d be safe. But I might not be safe there either.”

“Have you made any plans for the funeral yet?”

“No, I haven’t talked to her friends yet. Savannah mentioned Charlie wants to do it up in style and have an old-fashioned funeral with a band and a parade from the church to the cemetery.”

“That sounds wonderful. Perrine deserves it and the neighborhood will get a chance to mourn her in style. Good for Charlie.”

“I need to talk to him. Would you speak?”

“I’d be honored. Let me know when and where. Now I’m going to give you a special packet of mine. I want you to keep it on you at all times. It is to protect you against unknown threats and danger.”

“Why? Do you think I need it?”

“I don’t know, but if you’re staying in New Orleans and looking into Perrine’s death it won’t hurt to make sure you have a little extra protection.” Ava slipped into the church and came back a few minutes later with a small ball wrapped in cotton muslin tied tightly at the top.

She held it over Julie Ann’s palm and mumbled a few words before she handed it to her. “Now put it in your pocket and keep it there. Keep it on you at all times, day or night. Promise me.”

“I will.” Julie Ann obeyed and stuffed it in her pocket. “Thanks, Ava. I don’t know that I need any protection, but I’ll be careful.”

“Perrine didn’t think she needed protection either. I wish I’d given her something to protect her when she was here.”

“Okay, okay. I’m convinced. It stays with me at all times. Thank you.”

“You take care now.” Ava gave Julie Ann a hug.

“I will. I promise.” Julie Ann smiled and headed back out the way she came in.

Ava stood and watched her go.

Maybe I should have made the potion stronger. There’s an aura around her that says she’s going to have to face some life-threatening challenges.

 

 

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?

Buy links:

Coming Soon!

 

Excerpt

Death Southern Style Excerpt 2

After Julie paid the taxis she stood on the street and stared at the small sign tacked over the door of the old wooden house, Chez Voodoo.

She sauntered out into the courtyard. It was empty. She turned to her left and stepped through the next door into the church.

A tall black woman wearing a long white dress with a white apron and a white scarf tied around her head, turned around when Julie Ann entered the room.

“Julie Ann Dupré, child, welcome. I’m sorry I wasn’t out front to welcome you.”

She hurried across and wrapped her arms around Julie Ann. “I am so sorry to hear about your mother.”

“Thank you.” Julie Ann returned the hug and felt the energy flow from Priestess Ava. She soaked it in before she finally pulled back. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”

“Your mother’s death? Of course, although I’m not sure how I can help. Shall we go and sit in the courtyard?”

“That would be nice.” Julie murmured.

She liked it out there. Riots of red, orange, yellow, purple and coral colors filled the flower beds, attracting butterflies, birds and bees. Street noises never entered the area. It was an area of serenity and peace. And it always felt cool, despite the temperature.

“Do you think Perrine’s death was voodoo related?”

“Goodness no, I don’t think so. Why would it be?”

“I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out, make some sense of it. So far, I have few pieces, but nothing fits. The police say it was a robbery gone bad, but there’s nothing missing. And I had a vision. She knew she was about to die. She didn’t enter the house but ran away. She was shot her three times, in the back.”

“You saw this?”

“Yes, but it doesn’t make sense. I’m trying to come up with other possible motives. I know a lot of people feel threatened when you mention voodoo.”

“True, but I don’t think Perrine would have been killed because of it. There are a lot of people in the Quarter that belong to the voodoo church. Besides, why would they target your mother? Why not me? I’m the High Priestess now.”

“It was a thought. Also, I found this in my hotel room this morning.” Julie Ann handed the voodoo doll to Ava.

Ava regarded it carefully before she touched it.

“This was in your hotel room?”

Julie Ann nodded.

“How did it get there?”

“I don’t know. The door and the window were both locked. When I touched it, I could see a group, not one person, but several and all very blurry.”

“I see. This is a voodoo doll, but not one of mine. Someone could have bought it from any of the local shops. It’s one made for tourists and then they added the blood. It’s a warning and meant to scare you.”

“It does scare me. I guess if I left all this alone, accepted the police report and went back to New York maybe I’d be safe. But I might not be safe there either.”

“Have you made any plans for the funeral yet?”

“No, I haven’t talked to her friends yet. Savannah mentioned Charlie wants to do it up in style and have an old-fashioned funeral with a band and a parade from the church to the cemetery.”

“That sounds wonderful. Perrine deserves it and the neighborhood will get a chance to mourn her in style. Good for Charlie.”

“I need to talk to him. Would you speak?”

“I’d be honored. Let me know when and where. Now I’m going to give you a special packet of mine. I want you to keep it on you at all times. It is to protect you against unknown threats and danger.”

“Why? Do you think I need it?”

“I don’t know, but if you’re staying in New Orleans and looking into Perrine’s death it won’t hurt to make sure you have a little extra protection.” Ava slipped into the church and came back a few minutes later with a small ball wrapped in cotton muslin tied tightly at the top.

She held it over Julie Ann’s palm and mumbled a few words before she handed it to her. “Now put it in your pocket and keep it there. Keep it on you at all times, day or night. Promise me.”

“I will.” Julie Ann obeyed and stuffed it in her pocket. “Thanks, Ava. I don’t know that I need any protection, but I’ll be careful.”

“Perrine didn’t think she needed protection either. I wish I’d given her something to protect her when she was here.”

“Okay, okay. I’m convinced. It stays with me at all times. Thank you.”

“You take care now.” Ava gave Julie Ann a hug.

“I will. I promise.” Julie Ann smiled and headed back out the way she came in.

Ava stood and watched her go.

Maybe I should have made the potion stronger. There’s an aura around her that says she’s going to have to face some life-threatening challenges.

 

 

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?

Buy links:

Coming Soon!

 

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.

 

 

An amnesia victim found by the side of the road is befriended by Lillian, an older woman with early Alzheimer's. Lillian takes the victim, who they call Hallie, with her as a companion on a Caribbean cruise. Eric is an Interpol agent working on catching an international jewelry theft ring. He's undercover as the ship's doctor on the Caribbean cruise ship. Sparks fly when Hallie and Eric meet, but as the cruise progresses Eric’s thinking Hallie might be the thief stealing from the passengers. His reasoning is Hallie’s amnesia and Lillian’s Alzheimer's make a good cover. What’s the chance of two people traveling together having amnesia and Alzheimer’s? And then Lillian keeps coming up with pieces of jewelry passengers have dropped or lost.

 

To complicate everything someone is trying to kill Hallie and she has no idea why. Lillian finds an older cowboy who she's interested in and then there's the sleazy man who keeps hitting on Hallie. As the cruise progresses Hallie gradually starts to regain her memory. Eric decides she's not a thief, but has to find the real one and keep Hallie safe while their romance heats up.

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Excerpt

Jack yanked her roughly against his chest and shoved her into a corner.

“No.” Hallie yanked one arm free and shot it at his jaw.

A shocked expression slashed across Jack’s face.

“There you are. I thought you promised to meet me for a drink?”

Jack dropped his hands. He spun around to face the speaker who approached them.

“What the hell...?”

Eric stretched his hand toward Hallie. “I don’t like being stood up. Shall we?”

“Yes, of-of course.” Hallie took his hand.

Eric slipped his hand around her waist and led her away.

Jack watched them depart, his eyes smoldered with anger, his chin jutted forward. “We’ll finish this later,” he hissed after her.

“Did we have a date, Dr. Peterson?” Hallie asked.

“No and call me Eric. I saw what he was doing. You didn’t appear to be enjoying it. My God, woman, don’t you have any idea how to handle a situation like that? And how the hell did you get yourself into that position in the first place? I didn’t take you for a stupid person.”

“I’m not stupid,” Hallie sniffed. “But you’re right. I feel pretty dumb right now. Jack out maneuvered me. It didn’t matter what I did, he wouldn’t give up.”

Hallie trembled.

“I suggest you stay away from him in the future. I might not be around to save you next time. Are you sure you’re all right?” Eric stopped and looked down at her.

“Yes, I think so. Don’t worry. I don’t plan to let him anywhere near me again.”

“Good.”

“I kicked, scratched and even yelled at him to leave me alone. Nothing worked and no one paid any attention when I yelled. I-I think he was going to try and make love to me right here on the deck. Thank you for rescuing me.”

“You looked terrified. I couldn’t believe you’d let him grope you like that.” Eric snapped.

“I couldn’t stop him. I did punch him. I even managed to draw blood at one point,” she said.

“You need to learn to throw a better punch than that if you want to do any damage.”

“Maybe you could teach me?”

Eric shook his head, “We’ll saw you had no idea how to handle him--so Eric to the rescue. By the way, he wanted sex, he didn’t want to make love to you, trust me. There is a difference. Don’t you remember anything about relationships? Or appropriate behavior between men and women?”

“Nope.”

“You can’t remember anything about how you reacted in the past?”

“How could I? I don’t remember my past. How would I know how I reacted? And maybe no one has ever tried to rape me before. I don’t know. Give me a break. I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

“Good. I hope so. You have no knowledge at all about what happens on a date?”

“No, not really; conversation, eating, maybe a movie, I guess. I’m going to have to learn that process all over again, except, it’s going to be harder because when you’re an adult you’re supposed to know what it’s all about. People expect that you know the games and the rules. Jack certainly thought I did. I feel like a child trying to play grown up games.”

“I guess I am going to have to give you lessons.” Eric warmed her with his smile. “Can I buy you a drink?”

“You don’t have to. I’m fine now.”

“You’re still shaking. Come on over here where it’s quiet.” Eric found a sheltered corner, away from most of the passengers. “Sit down, doctors’ orders. I’ll be right back with two drinks. You could use something to relax you. They have special sail-away drinks. You okay with that you?”

He slipped his uniform jacket off and draped it around her shoulders, over her shawl.

“Sounds great, but it’s not necessary.” She felt warmer in the jacket and his musky male scent enveloped her. It was pleasant and sexual. She knew didn’t react to all men’s scent this way. She looked up and noticed his lip curled slightly as he smiled.

“Yeah, it is. Keep the jacket on to help warm you up. I’ll be right back.”

Hallie sat on the edge of the chair. She forced herself to take deep, calming breaths. She relaxed slightly and leaned back. Eric’s jacket slipped from her shoulders to the deck. She bent to

pick it up when she felt rather than heard a buzzing sound, something like a mosquito, past her left ear.

Strange.

She sat back up and twisted around to adjust Eric’s jacket. There was a hole in the back of the deck chair.

Funny, I don’t remember it being there before I picked up the jacket.

She ran her finger over the hole.

“Here we go.” Eric carried a couple of tall, red, orange and yellowed colored drinks topped off with parasols.

“What were you doing?” he asked.

“I’m not sure. There was a funny sound, like a mosquito, and I think this hole just appeared.”

“What the hell...?” Eric placed the drinks onto a nearby table. He ran his finger over the hole.

“It’s a bloody bullet hole.”

“A what? You’re kidding?”

“No, I’m not. Where were you when it happened?” Eric looked at the hole. He squinted back in the direction it would have come from.

“I guess that’s when I bent down to pick up your jacket.”

“My God, you could have been killed.” Eric pulled Hallie into his arms and squeezed her against his chest. “You’re sure you’re all right?”

“I think so. I mean, I wasn’t hit or anything. I can’t figure out what’s happening. This has to be one of the worst nights of my life.”

 

 

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

The office said he’d had a heart attack. Was he alive? Did she want him to be? What if her husband had to stay home for a few weeks to recuperate? Palms sweating, Sara’s breath came in short, shallow bursts at the thought.

The taxi jerked to a stop in front of the hospital emergency entrance.

Sara fumbled through her purse and counted out her meager number of dollar bills. Gordon didn’t allow her to have a credit card and he only allowed her to have a small amount of cash. She didn’t have enough money to pay the taxi.

“I’m so sorry. I left home without any cash. I...I ... Would you take a check?” Tears spilled over and trickled down her flushed cheeks.

The driver spun around. A short stubby finger waved at the sign over the rearview mirror. “Look lady, it says right there - No Checks.”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry. My husband has had a heart attack and I ... I don’t know what to do.” Sara ran her fingers through her hair and scrunched the tight bun at her neck.

The driver shook his head. “Aw, shit. Go ahead, lady. Write the check.”

Sara pulled the single crumpled check Gordon allowed her carry for emergencies out of her purse. When she touched the check a vision of Gordon floated in front of her.

She froze and rapidly blinked her eyes. She only saw the ghosts of dead people. Gordon didn’t believe her and forbid her to ever mention it.

Could he really be dead?

“Gordon?” she whispered.

“Lady, are you writing that check or not?”

“Yes, sorry.” Sara scribbled her signature on the bottom of the check. “Please, fill it in, and give yourself a generous tip. Thank you, thank you so much.” She clutched her worn purse to her chest, slid out of the cab, and scurried through the emergency room doors.

What if he was dead? She didn’t have any money. Gordon did all the finances and never shared anything with her.  How would she manage?

Twenty years ago, she could have handled it. Could she do it again? But he couldn’t be dead. Gordon would never allow that to happen.

His face flitted in front of her, fixed in an angry glare.

He had to be dead or she wouldn’t be seeing him. He didn’t want to be dead. He didn’t want her to be free. If he thought she could see him he’d be furious.

Sara shuffled toward the reception desk. She glanced over her shoulder, searching for some sign of Gordon, listening for his voice, waiting for him to yell at her. She couldn’t believe he was really dead, even though she had seen him. She clung to the edge of the transition counter, her head down, chewed on her lower lip and waited to be noticed.

Finally a brusque voice snapped, “Can I help you?”

Sara looked up to see a heavy set, older woman in a loose blue top. The woman’s thick dark brows met in a v in the middle of her forehead.

“I’m sorry, I ...I’m looking for my husband. His office phoned to say he’d been brought here.” Sara shrunk into her body.

“Name?” the woman commanded.

“Gordon, Gordon Peters.” Sara stared at her worn black oxfords, then at the scuffed, gray linoleum with the red, blue and yellow lines that led to different areas.  Maybe she shouldn’t have come. Maybe she should have waited for Gordon to call and tell her whether she should be here or not. But if he was dead she would have to make her own decisions. Her pulse raced. Her head pounded. For the last nineteen years she had never made a decision. Gordon made all of them for her.

“When was he admitted?” The woman reminded Sara of a sergeant major.

“I’m not sure, less than an hour ago. They told me to meet him here. Maybe he’s been discharged already?” She chewed her thumbnail. If Gordon had been discharged, he’d be furious at her for spending all that money on a taxi.  But she’d seen his ghost.

Tension twisted her stomach into knots. The pain caused her to clutch her purse tightly against her abdomen. She needed to get home and start dinner. She’d have to take a bus. Did she have enough money? She opened her purse.

The woman moved to a second pile of folders and pulled one out. “You’re his wife?”

Sara nodded. “Yes. Can I see him?”

A sob slipped out. If she didn’t find see him soon, he’d be furious. He’d think she was too stupid to even find him in a hospital and he’d be right.

His ghost floated in front of her. This time confusion mixed with his anger

“Have a seat, Mrs. Peters. I’ll have the doctor speak to you.” The sergeant major’s voice softened. She indicated a chair near the desk.

“No, please, I need to see him right away. He’ll be upset if I’m late.”

The woman rounded the desk and laid her hand on Sara’s shoulder. She squeezed gently for a second. “It’ll be okay, honey. You just sit down for a minute. The doctor will be right out.”

 

 

 

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.”

Hunted by Beverley Bateman

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

“Why would anyone want to kill you?”

“Like I said, it’s a long story.”

“Well, darlin’, you asked me here. It was a long drive from Montana, so go ahead and let’s hear the whole story.”

“I was a witness to a murder. Maybe we should talk after dinner, when Matt is asleep. Will you be staying at the hotel tonight?”

“I wasn’t sure where I would spend the night. Hadn’t planned on staying in this expensive tourist trap, but if what you’re telling me is true, then, yes, I’m staying here tonight.”
“I’ll call down to the desk and book you a room.”

“No, if I’m going to protect you, I’ll be sleepin’ here, in your room tonight.”

She squirmed in her chair and he forced himself not to smile. He could only imagine what she was thinking about the two of them spending the night together in this small hotel room.

“If someone wants you dead, I need to be here, in this room, to keep you both safe. Now that’s settled, why would someone want to kill you?”

“Six years ago, I witnessed a mafia shooting in Chicago. I’ve been in the witness protection plan ever since. It looks like they finally found me.” She glanced across at Matt.

A cracking sound pierced the room. A jagged pattern cut across the window, scattering shards of glass on the floor.

Maggie screamed.

Cody threw himself at her, pushing her to the ground. Another bullet embedded itself in the wall, inches above where she’d sat minutes before.

“Mommy,” Matt yelled.

“It’s okay, honey. Lie still. Don’t move.”

Using his elbows, Cody cautiously raised himself. Sliding off Maggie, he crawled across the floor to the bed where he reached up and pulled Matt into his arms. Clutching the boy tightly against his chest, he could feel the little heart pound wildly.

“Hey, buddy, it’s going to be okay. What were you watching?”

“The Roadrunner, Wile E. Coyote is going to drop a rock on him.”

“Think he’ll get him?”

“No. of course not,” Matt laughed. “The bad guy never wins.”

Cody smiled. If only life was that simple. The bad guy never wins.

“How about you watch it from down here?”

“Why? Why are you and Mommy on the floor? What was that loud noise?”

“It’s sort of a game. We want you to play, too, so you have to watch TV down with us.”

“Okay.” Matt slipped from Cody’s arms to lie on the plush hotel carpet. He stared up at the cartoon still playing on the TV and became mesmerized by the colorful action on the screen.

“Are you all right?” Cody flashed a look at Maggie.

“I’m fine. Take care of Matt.” She clenched her upper arm, but the red continued to trickle down to her elbow and drip onto her jeans.

“We’re doing great, aren’t we, buddy?” He patted Matt on the head.

Another crash filled the room as a third shot shattered the mirror. The glass sprayed across the bed and floor like pebbles spread across the shore by ocean waves.

Matt and Maggie screamed.

Cody tightened his arms around Matt and glanced at Maggie.

Any color left had fled her face, her body shook, and the blood continued to ooze between the fingers she had clamped around her arm.

“You’ve been shot. You’re bleeding.”

“Brilliant diagnosis, Sherlock, like they say in the movies, it’s just a flesh wound. I’m fine.” She pulled herself to a sitting position and leaned back against the chair, pasting a smile on her face. Her body shook hard enough to rock the chair.

“It’s not that serious. It just burns like I’ve been branded.”
“Keep the pressure on and stay down.”

“Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.”

“Matt, go stay with your mother.”
Matt crawled to his mother’s side. “Are you okay, Mommy?”
“I’m fine, honey.” Maggie attempted a smile. “Shouldn’t we get out of here?”
“Hang on. We don’t know if anyone is out in the hall. There could be a second person waiting to get you if you survive the shooter and try to escape.”
“I didn’t think of that.” Maggie dropped her chin to Matt’s head. “Now you know why I want you to take him away from here.”
It had been a few minutes since the last shot, so Cody inched his way to the window on his knees, carefully avoiding shattered glass and mirror. When he reached the wide windowsill, he pulled himself up by his arms, cautiously peering out over the ledge. A turret blocked part of the view of the harbor, but there would be a clear view into Maggie`s room from the higher floors in the tower. Using his finger, he drew an imaginary line from the bullet hole in the wall, to the middle of shattered area of the window, attempting to gauge where the shots had come from. It looked like the fifth floor of the tower. He double-checked but couldn’t see anyone moving around over there.
Reaching for the cord, he closed the thick heavy curtains. Then he stood and edged to the hotel room door. He carefully unlocked it and opened it a crack.
He waited a second, then opened it a little more and slipped into the hallway.
A few minutes later, he reappeared.
“I think it’s okay now. Let’s check the damage.” He dialed the front desk to get a doctor.
He hadn’t expected any of this when he came here; someone shooting at them, a six- year old who wanted to come to his ranch and Maggie with a bullet in her arm.
What the hell had she gotten herself into? And how the hell could he protect her and her son?

Missing by Beverley Bateman

Running from a disastrous engagement, and an over-powering father, Dr. Allie Parsons agrees to help out an old friend and travels to Duster, Montana. She’s agreed to help the local doctor for a brief period of time until he can find a permanent new doctor. Raised her whole life in New York city, Allie is greeted with culture shock when she finds out how small Duster is, but she also finds a warm, friendly community. And the doctor turns out to be young, tall, dark and handsome. He sends her emotions shooting sky high. She’s welcomed into the Hawkins family and develops a relationship with his daughter. A mysterious stranger leaves notes at the clinic and Allie fears they are a warning he’s going to kidnap the doctor’s daughter.

 

Luke Hawkins, one of the Hawkins’ brothers is looking for a doctor to take over half the practice from the retiring doctor. He’s not expecting his temporary replacement to be a young, sexy, single woman from New York. He knows she’s the woman he’s been searching for all his life, but he also knows she won’t stay in Duster. He doesn’t believe the notes are meant for him until his daughter is kidnapped. Now he has to save his daughter and convince the woman he loves that she really is a small town doctor at heart.

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Excerpt

A few feet from the counter, she stopped. His electric blue eyes locked on her. She couldn’t look away. Sensuality oozed across the space between them. Her breath hitched into an irregular rhythm, kicking her pulse up a notch.
 

 

“Good, you finally got here. I thought Jean would send someone a little faster.” His rich, smooth voice rolled over her. “Look, we’re backed up. Patients’ files are over there and the appointment book is on the desk. Check them in, pull their file, and put the file in the slot by the examining room door.”

 

“Excuse me?” She stared up at the man snapping orders at her. She’d run away from one tyrant and had no intention of putting up with another overbearing one, even if he was knock-down gorgeous. His firm abs, linebacker-type shoulders and muscular body did not compensate for his attitude.

 

Who did this jerk think he was?

 

Her back stiffened. She assumed he was the doctor, but his manners confused her. If staff and working partners were expected to put up with this, no wonder they hadn’t been able to find another doctor.

 

“You’re not going to make me repeat all that are you? I have a room full of patients. When I asked Jean to send a temp over from the hospital, I thought she’d send someone with training and at least a vague idea of what they were doing.” A sigh slipped through his lips and he rolled his eyes. The look he gave her placed her one step above an idiot.

 

He pointed to a huge pile of folders. “The patients’ files are...”

 

Allie pulled her shoulders back, raised her chin and tightened her lips together. “Excuse me. I believe you’ve made a mistake. First of all, I’m not stupid. Second, I’m not your damn temp. I’m a doctor, Alexandra Parsons, M.D. I understood you were expecting me.”

 

“You’re the new doc? Shoot. I didn’t expect you today.” The heart-stopping man stared down at her. His full lips drooped in apparent disappointment.

 

The disappointment could be her or the fact he still didn’t have a temp. She couldn’t tell.