Posted in Midweek Tease

Midweek Tease: Another Taste of Fire Angel

MWTease15Good morning. Happy Fourth of July to all of those celebrating today. Welcome to this week’s Midweek Tease, made possible by Angelica Dawson. As I prepare to take a couple of weeks off, I leave you with the rest of the opening scene from Fire Angel, Book Two of the Vengeance Is Mine Series.

All of the books in the series are now available from all Amazon stores. 

Cracking open a third bottle of beer, he sipped it, alternating with drags on the cigarette, letting the smoke fill his lungs and the nicotine and alcohol add to the calming effects of the drug he’d taken. His two-pack a day habit was becoming problematic, especially with all the laws against smoking in public places. Hell, soon a man would have nowhere to smoke … not even in his own damn house. The worst taste in the universe—even worse than his mother’s cooking—had to be that nicotine gum he was forced to chew at work to keep his cravings in check.

As the fire burned, the tension within him slowly seeped away. Exhausted, he finished his beer and placed the empty in the back seat with the other two. Taking one last look at what was left of the cabin, he noted the fire beginning to shrink in on itself now that there was nothing new to consume. It would burn a while longer, but he was sated. Drops of rain splattered on the hood of the van. Right on time.

“Soon, darling, soon,” he spoke to the dying flames. “I’ll let you out to play again.”

Putting on his rubber gloves once more, he pulled the cellphone he’d used to set up the buy out of his jacket pocket along with Bandit’s, tossed them on the floor of the jerk’s van, then got in and started the engine. The smoke hung like fog in the darkness. It clung to his hair and to his clothes. He would dump the vehicle, go home, shave, shower, and do a load of laundry. He had to be at work early tomorrow.

* * *

Jake McKenzie dropped onto the sofa. Having the opportunity to prove to himself and others that he was as good as he’d ever been might be rewarding, but it was exhausting, too. After three weeks in a hotel, he was glad to be home, even if home was an apartment attached to an inn.

The flight from Regina to Toronto had been a long one, but the roughest part had been the commuter plane from Toronto to North Bay. The alternative, a flight to Ottawa, wasn’t practical since his sister-in-law would insist on picking him up. Making her drive the more than six hours to the city and back again was a bad idea, especially at this time of the year when the deer and moose were more active. Thank goodness his niece was spending the night at her friend’s house. He couldn’t deal with an exuberant five-year-old right now. The phone rang disturbing the silence of the room.

“Jake,” Minette called from the kitchen. “It’s for you.”

Picking up the receiver on the end table, he frowned. He’d barely been home an hour. Who could possibly be calling on a Thursday night at this time? It was almost nine.

“Hello?” he asked, leaning back on the sofa and propping his leg on the ottoman.

“Jake, it’s Ev Lewis. Sorry to intrude so soon after your arrival. How was Regina?”

Everett Lewis was Paradise’s Chief of Police. He’d been after him for months now to consider doing some freelance profiling for them.

“It was good. With my help, the RCMP arrested a man and closed three files. There are still far too many First Nation’s women missing, and that barely touched the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a start. They offered me a job. I turned them down. Maybe after David gets home and can take care of his family, I’ll consider it, but for now, I’m staying put.”

“That’s good. Listen, I know we’ve been down this road before, and you keep telling me it’s not something you can handle right now, but I really need your help. How much do you know about pyromania and arson?”

He frowned. “As much as any profiler, maybe a little more since arson often goes hand in hand with terrorist attacks.” He’d seen a few examples of that in Afghanistan.

“I think we’ve got one on our hands here, and he’s escalating. There’ve been six fires in a little over a year. The first three could just be coincidence, but my gut says the last three aren’t. Of those, the first one took place June third and the last one between August twenty-third and September fifth. Jake, I’ve tried to keep the wraps on this but there was a body found at that one.”

Damn. That could mean anything from an accidental death to premeditated murder.

“How did you keep Lynette from spreading that little tidbit?” he asked. The feisty redheaded dynamo who ruled the detachment with an iron fist and boxes of homemade cookies kept everyone on their toes, especially the chief. If there was something you wanted to know, all you had to do was ask Lynette. The only thing she couldn’t do was keep a secret, so if you wanted everyone to know something, you told her, and she would take care of the rest. She would’ve made one hell of a town crier.

“She was in Florida visiting her parents when it happened, and I’ve kept most of the information quiet, but others are privy to the news now. Did you see Willard’s article in yesterday’s In the Know?”

Ralph Willard was a self-proclaimed editor whose newspaper was devoted to what he claimed was exposing the truth.

“No. I don’t usually read that crap.” Min probably had one somewhere. Willard made sure to send a few copies to the inn whenever he published a new edition. “Save me the trouble. What’s he got to say this time?”

“He claims these fires are the work of the devil. Not blaming witches and warlocks exactly, and he’s careful not to name names, but he might as well. Apparently, the night of the fire, August thirty-first according to him, there was a rare celestial event—a blue moon. When I asked him where he got his info, he claimed it was an anonymous source, and went on and on about freedom of the press. Jake, the coroner couldn’t be that specific about the date, how could he?”

“Relax, Ev. You don’t know he’s right, do you?” Jake asked, trying to calm the man whose blood pressure had to be way up there. “What difference does knowing the exact date make? It doesn’t change the facts any. There was a fire and a man is dead.”

“I suppose, but you know Willard. Every damn thing he prints has a kernel of truth in it. Other than the son of a bitch who set the fire, who could be his source?”

“I don’t know,” Jake admitted, puzzled by the idea. “Maybe some Good Samaritan saw the fire, but doesn’t want to get personally involved. Think about it. Why would the arsonist want everyone to know the exact date? What’s the point?”

“To prove how dangerous he is? To create fear? Panic? You choose. I checked the calendar. If we accept he’s right and that fire occurred on the thirty-first, then two of the previous ones were on the night of the full moon, too,” Ev continued. “If you have an out-of-the-way place, you could be the next target. I sure as hell don’t believe witches and warlocks are involved, but if the moon means something in all this, then we’ve got just over a week to stop him. He’s got everyone in the department on tenterhooks. I don’t want to find another corpse next weekend when the moon shines bright. I need to know who I’m looking for, and I need to know yesterday.”

Fire Angel is available for only 99 cents USD or can be read free with KU.

Don’t forget to check out the other great teasers.

#MidWeekTease July 4, 2018


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Posted in Midweek Tease

Midweek Tease: More From the Revised Fire Angel.

MWTease15Happy middle of the week. The cool-cold weather we’ve been having this week is supposed to turn hot, and I can’t wait. There’s something wrong with heating in late June.

Welcome to the Midweek Tease, made possible each week by Angelica Dawson. These past few weeks, I’ve been sharing snippets from my romantic thrillers, and this week, I continue with the opening chapter of Fire Angel, Book Two of the Vengeance Is mine Series.

Blurb:

Fire AngelEverything happens for a reason.
Criminal profiler Jake McKenzie returned from Afghanistan minus a leg, determined never to let anyone get close enough to hurt him again. When his old friend asks him to help with a serial arsonist case, he jumps at the chance to prove his worth, but as the bodies pile up, he realizes he needs help. He convinces the chief to bring in a fire investigator, stunned to discover that the woman is none other than the girl who vanished from his life twenty years ago.
Alexis Michaels fled Paradise and an abusive uncle only to almost die in a fire that left her scarred not only on the outside, but on the inside, leaving her with psychic abilities. With that gift, she’s climbed to the top of her profession. Her abilities may be the only thing that can find and stop the Fire Angel, a pyromaniac turned revenge arsonist serial killer who’s slowly turning a peaceful town into Hell on Earth. The problem is, to do the job, she has to return to the one place where she swore she would never set foot again.
Faced with confusing emotions and a killer who’s made it clear he wants her to stay out of his business, Alexis must deal with the past before she can move on. But things may get too hot even for her as the Fire Angel moves toward the final act in his revenge drama.

This Week’s Tease:

The young man snorted and patted his large beer belly. “No, but I can always make time for what’s important. But I can only have one.”

He chortled. “One’s all it’ll take,” he muttered, his heart pounding with anticipation.

Entering the cabin, he cracked open two bottles of beer, emptied the small vial into one of them, and handed it to the dealer.

“To your health,” he toasted, clanking his bottle against Bandit’s.

“Millhouse Organic. I’ve never tried that,” the dealer said, guzzling half the bottle in one gulp. “Not bad. You must be richer than I thought. Should’ve charged you more.” He tossed the paper bag he’d carried in on the table. “Here’s your stuff. Where’s my money?” He raised the bottle to his lips once more.

“Right over here.”

Before he could take a step, Bandit dropped like a stone.

Stepping over to the fallen man, he kicked him in the ribs as hard as he could.

“That’s for killing my dog,” he said.

Striking the match on the cover, he lit the small angel-shaped candle—there were only six left in the box his wife had purchased for the birthday party that never happened—settled it onto the Styrofoam plate in the center of the tinder he’d placed in the old fireplace, the sulfur filling his nostrils, and dropped the rest of the book of matches on the pile of sticks on the floor in front of it. Like the image on that poster his mother had kept in her room, he was the avenging archangel, his sword aflame, ridding this world of unnecessary vermin.

The candle burned quickly and soon the paper under it caught and then the tinder. The rest of the matches in the book ignited as one. Glancing over his shoulder, he saluted the body on the bed, and moved over to the safe spot he’d created near the door. He wanted to watch the action as long as he could.

“Don’t worry, asshole, you won’t find it cold in here tonight.” He laughed at his own joke. “And your boss won’t lay a hand on you either.”

Wrapping him in the turpentine-soaked blanket and pulling him up onto the bed had been a chore. Would anyone even see the poetic justice of it? A drug dealer, wrapped in a drug-soaked cloth, set alight?

The crackling of the growing blaze filled his ears as the infant fire moved through its tinder. As the flames and smoke increased, it didn’t take long before he heard the sizzle, crackle, and pop from the blaze—music to his ears. The only thing better was the whoosh as the conflagration grabbed the accelerant and lit him up like a torch. It wouldn’t take long before he would be able to hear the boiling of the sap inside the pine logs he’d brought in to help the blaze, but he would have to be outside by then.

It wasn’t only the killing and the sound of the fire that appealed to him. He enjoyed the various scents and aromas from the caustic ones created by the chemicals released as it burned man-made items, to the unmistakable, unforgettable perfume of burning hair and flesh, and finally to the familiar, friendly, nostalgic aroma of apple wood or pine. Each was an aphrodisiac in its own right, but it was the second odor that had him almost creaming his jeans—so much better than animal fur. Man, that bastard’s hair had been long, and he was close enough to get a good whiff of the pungent perfume before it was just a memory.

“Made you nice and comfortable for your trip to hell,” he muttered. “No one’s going to miss your sorry ass. Time for me to go.”

Carrying the beer bottles—he’d poured out what was left of Bandit’s on the floor—he exited the building and walked around it to make sure everything was good. Tonight, he would be the only witness, but soon others could enjoy his handiwork, too.

He pulled a joint out of the paper bag, flicked his Bic to set it alight, and took a deep satisfying pull. He was going to miss this shit when it ran out, but who knew how long that would take? There were several packages of the stuff in the back of Bandit’s vehicle, all of it his for the taking now. There would be some antsy customers and furious suppliers out there, but they weren’t his problem. Let them search for the elusive Mack Holden. They wouldn’t locate him—after all, he didn’t exist anymore—had barely existed back then, but he’d finally come in useful. Finding more of the date rape drug in the stash had been an unexpected bonus. He’d been afraid he would have to drive to Ottawa to score more, and finding a source had been a pain in the ass the last time he’d done it.

Leaning against the hood of the van, left hand tucked into his pants’ pocket, he let the joint dangle from his right as he watched the cabin burn.

The fire raged, and it was hungry. The more it ate, the more it wanted. Too bad Bandit hadn’t felt the bite of the flames as they devoured him. Maybe next time, he would use less of the drug and see what happened.

The roof collapsed as the blaze consumed the shack and its unholy contents. He smiled before taking another deep drag, holding the drug in his lungs as long as possible before exhaling. The blaze mesmerized him with the constant shifting of its multifaceted flames. He appreciated that color and temperature were codependent and knew just how hot things had to get to suit his purposes.

Fire fascinated him. He’d been burned a time or two, but wasn’t that the way with pets? Didn’t they always bite until they were firmly under control? Over the years, after that initial blaze, he’d learned to release its energy in a variety of ways—slowly like a serpent slithering and coiling itself around a branch, waiting for its unsuspecting victim to come within range before crushing the life from it, or quickly, striking like a cobra and claiming its prey swiftly and smoothly. Each method brought its own level of satisfaction. His creation, the essence of what he’d become, of what they’d forced him to become, molded in the image he chose—no rules, no overseers, nothing to hinder him in any way.

Fire was his mistress, a beautiful dancer writhing and gyrating just for him. Every single day, he went through the motions at work waiting until he could be alone with his one true love. She had a mind and personality of her own. Depending on her mood, she could be kind and helpful. At other times, she offered companionship and security, but when unleashed like tonight, she sterilized and destroyed at his command.

He dropped the end of the joint on the ground and reached up to rub the muscles at the back of his neck no longer as tense as they’d been earlier. While he’d like another, he would wait until he got home. He still had work to do. He had to get rid of the vehicle before any one saw it. The bog was the perfect place.

He pulled out his pack of cigarettes and took out another cancer stick as his mother had called them. What the hell did she know? She’d bitched his father into an early grave and blamed him for it, just as she’d blamed Mack’s accident on him, before she’d complained herself into a grave of her own. Too bad he hadn’t been able to build a pyre like this for her. Instead, after a little slicing and dicing, he’d placed her in a trash bag in the ground, under her precious petunias, flowers he made sure he “watered” regularly. Knowing the insects would ravage her was satisfaction enough. She’d always been Polly Perfect, complaining about this and that, threatening to tell people about what she called his illness. Let her go ahead. The worms and beetles wouldn’t listen to her either.

Want to read more? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DLK8J6Q

In Plain Sight, Book Three of the Vengeance Is Mine Series will be available next week!

Now check out the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease June 27, 2018

Posted in Midweek Tease

Midweek Tease: Opening Scene from Fire Angel, Book Two of the Vengeance Is Mine Series.

MWTease15Good morning. Welcome to the Midweek tease, made possible by Angelica Dawson. Each week, a group of talented authors share their work with you. I’m honored to be considered good enough to be part of this amazing group. The group is eclectic and there’s something for everyone.

This week, I’m sharing the revised Fire Angel, Book Two of the Vengeance is Mine Series, now, quite clearly a psychological thriller with a touch of romance. Today, I’m inviting you into the sick mind of the man behind the crime. When I had the opportunity to redo this novel, I knew I wanted to take my readers inside the mind of the killer. Enjoy–if you can!

Fire Angel“Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. Well, not tonight, Buddy,” he said, knowing no one could hear him, but loving the sound of his words. “It’s my turn to mete out justice.”

Never had he felt so strong, so powerful, so alive. He’d been trapped inside a chrysalis, waiting to become what he’d always been meant to be. Each of his senses was more attuned than it had ever been. He could hear the wings of the owl flapping as he chased his prey, see the chipmunk scurrying to get out of the clearing before the predator found it, even smell the tiny animal’s fear. His taste buds feasted on the heady, grass-like flavor of the joint, the smoke filling his lungs. Rubbing his chin, the tips of his fingers recognized the sandpaper grit on his cheeks from the five o’clock shadow there.

It had taken months to plot his revenge and weeks to decide on his methodology. He’d tested it when he had to, but for the most part, he’d hidden his true nature behind the façade society had given him. Now it was time to reveal himself.

He’d chosen his victims carefully. Each and every one of them had offended him in some way, and they would pay and pay dearly, none more so than the man who’d hit his dog and had driven off. He’d recognized the car. The son of a bitch hadn’t bothered to get the bumper fixed.

That night, with the merciless rain bearing down on him, he’d fallen to his knees and wept, until the sky had cleared, and the light of the full moon had turned him into living silver. He’d picked up the broken body of the only one left who’d loved him and under that silvered glow, he’d evolved, drawing strength from heaven itself. Vengeance was his for the taking, and take it he would. But he needed to do it right. Each and every death had to be planned and executed carefully.

No one had used this shack since old man Simmons had died in a supposed hunting accident four months ago. It appeared he’d shot himself when he tripped near a trapped raccoon. Who’d stunk the most? The dead man or the animal beside him? The scavengers must’ve had a field day. There was a lot of money to be made trapping animals and selling the pelts. That old man had no business criticizing others with his “holier than thou attitude” about humane methods and snapping traps before the animals could step in them. If he wanted to listen to a damn lecture, he would go back to school. It was amazing no one had killed the old bastard months earlier and saved him the trouble.

The place belonged to Simmons’s grandson now, and the man had put it up for sale last month forcing his hand, but the time was right. Everything was ready inside. He’d dropped off the supplies earlier, driven home, and then hiked back late this afternoon to set things in motion.

“Perfect night to die,” he mumbled, waiting for his prey to arrive.

Tonight, the blue moon, the second full moon in a month, the source of his power and energy, had risen right on time, refueling him. The sky was still clear and not a single leaf trembled, but dark clouds crowded the horizon. It would be at least a couple of hours before the rain came.

The sound of an engine in the distance told him the play was about to start. Tossing the butt next to the large rock where he’d been sitting, he ground the remnant into the earth with the heel of his boot and waited, watching the vehicle approach. The van stopped, and the driver got out.

“You must be Mack,” he said. “Nice to finally meet you. Why did you pick this place for a delivery? I damn near didn’t find it, and my boss would’ve been pissed. He’s got a thing about extending credit—prefers to be paid up front, you know?” He got out of the van.

“Bandit, relax. I’m good for it. This won’t take long. I told you. It’s nice and private. We don’t want anyone stumbling in on our deal.” He indicated the right bumper. “Have a run in with something?” he asked.

The young punk chuckled, sealing his fate.

“Hit something over on River Road last year. Could’ve been a dog or a cat. Stupid thing was sitting there just asking for it.” He shook his head. “Been meaning to have it fixed. It’s drivable, so I guess it doesn’t matter.” He shrugged. “Speaking of money, you got mine? I’m on the clock here. I’ve got half a dozen deliveries to make tonight, and if I’m not back with the cash by ten, my ass is grass and my boss is the lawnmower. Get it?”

He chuckled. “Oh yes. I know exactly what you mean, pun and all. Come on inside. The place isn’t much, but I’ve got your money in there. Got time for a beer?”

The young man snorted and patted his large beer belly. “No, but I can always make time for what’s important. But I can only have one.”

He chortled. “One’s all it’ll take,” he muttered, his heart pounding with anticipation.

Fire Angel is available for only 99 cents USD from Amazon, or read free on KU.

 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s teasers. 

#MidWeekTease June 20, 2018


Posted in Midweek Tease

Midweek Tease: The Scope of the Crime from On His Watch

MWTease15Welcome to this week’s midweek tease. This is the last post from On His Watch, Book One of the Vengeance Is Mine Series and picks up where last week ended, finishing the opening chapter of the book.

Midweek Tease is made possible through the efforts of Angelica Dawson and the authors who share a peek at their work with you. We are a diverse group.

This week’s content contains graphic descriptions.

Thoughts of the child in her belly, the child who’d never nuzzle at her breast, filled her with sadness. Danny would never hit a grand slam. Mandy would never attend the sleepover. Tears of hopelessness trickled down her cheeks, and her eyes closed. The sound of the door opening roused her, and she forced her eyelids open once more.

On His Watch“Good job.” Another man closed the door to the garage and stepped farther into the kitchen. “Our employer is pleased.” He nodded his head at something on the wall behind her. “It’s what we were told to print. We probably should have written it at the clinic, too, but it’s too late to go back. Everything we need is in the safe in the den. The good doctor was most accommodating when we promised to spare his wife and children.” He laughed. “The man was a fool.”

He spoke with an accent Nikki couldn’t place, and when he walked toward her, she closed her eyes, hoping he’d think her dead and leave her alone. A bone-chilling cold had invaded her body, increasing her agony, and it was almost impossible to keep from trembling. She prayed it would be over soon.

The unmistakable crunch of someone taking a bite out of one of the apples she kept in a bowl on the counter echoed in the room. Unexpectedly, a boot caught her in the ribs, and flipped her over onto her back. Instinctively, she gripped the phone tighter. She swallowed a groan, kept her eyes closed, and held onto consciousness by the thinnest of threads. It was difficult to concentrate on what the men were saying.

“Boss, there’s no one upstairs. The little girl’s room is empty, the bed made. She’s not here. I tossed the master bedroom while I was up there, picked up some jewelry and a little money. For a rich man, he didn’t live very high off the hog. Are you sure we got the right guy?”

Joy filled her, and she fought not to react to the news. They hadn’t found Mandy. Her beautiful little girl would survive.

The man Leroy had called “Boss” cursed. “Of course we have the right man, you moron. We were told to kill everyone in the house. Since she’s not here … The safe is in the den behind the family portrait. Rather fitting, don’t you think? Go and get what we came for.”

Fading footsteps indicated the two men had left. Thinking herself alone, Nikki released the breath she’d been holding and moaned softly. Sudden pain in her hand forced her eyes open, and she yelped. The man’s boot crushed the fingers of her left hand beneath it.

“Not dead yet, I see. Too bad. This might hurt a bit, sweetheart, but orders are orders.”

The pain in her hand eased slightly as he moved his foot and knelt down beside her. His lips twisted into a cruel smile. Nikki looked directly into the man’s eyes—gray eyes, cold and dead like a shark’s. He lifted what she was sure was a broken hand and tried to remove her diamond ring from her swollen finger. Excruciating pain filled her, and she saw black.

When she opened her eyes again, she was lying on her right side, staring at a finger on the floor inches from her face. Its manicured nail seemed strangely familiar. Numbness warred with cold and pain. Why was she still conscious, why wasn’t she dead—dead like her husband, her son, and her unborn baby? The man still knelt beside her.

“Still not dead? I admire a woman with stamina. The owner of this pretty little bauble wants it back. I’ll admit the bastard had taste. You’re certainly worth dying for. How about a last kiss, pretty one? A little blood doesn’t bother me.”

He bent forward and took her mouth in a cruel, punishing kiss, biting her lip, forcing his tongue inside, and her stomach roiled, filling her mouth with bile.

“Son of a bitch!” he cried, pulling away from her and spitting the offending liquid onto her face where it mixed with Danny’s blood and her tears. “You’ll pay for that!”

With her right hand trapped under the weight of her body, she instinctively rolled herself into the fetal position, but the heavy boots found their targets—her abdomen, her chest, and her face. Agony filled her and one powerful blow flipped her onto her left side. As she spiraled down a deep hole, the world went black.

Will Nikki survive? of course she will. There’s no story without her, but who will find those who assaulted her and figure out why it was done?

On His Watch is available for Amazon for only 99 cents or is free to read with KU.

Now, please visit the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease June 13, 2018


Posted in Midweek Tease

Midweek Tease: The Plot Thickens for On His Watch

MWTease15Welcome to the Midweek tease. In the past week we’ve had spring, summer,and fall weather here. Life in Canada is never boring. As I sit in my office with the heater on, it occurs to me that a lot of my books are set in the winter. We do have summer here; it just happens to be unpredictable, but you can always count of winter.

Thanks to Angelica Dawson for making this blog hop possible.

Today, I’m bringing you the last snippet from On His Watch as next week I introduce the revised version of Fire Angel.

THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC MATERIAL.

Enjoy–if you can!

On His WatchShe reached Danny’s room and opened the door. When she saw his bed was empty, she relaxed and shook her head in resignation. As much as it annoyed her to admit it, this time Sam was right. Her imagination did tend to look for boogeymen where there weren’t any. Clearly her eight-year-old and his bottomless pit of a stomach had decided to have another bedtime snack. No doubt he was the culprit. She left the room and placed the flashlight on the hall table where it usually sat in case of a power outage.

“What did you break this time?” she called as she headed down the stairs. “I swear, you’re like a bull in a china shop.”

The sound of the garage door opening indicated Sam’s arrival. Although the clinic was nearby, since he carried major opiate drugs back and forth, Sam always took his car to work. He would enter the house through the garage, leaving his lab coat and shoes out there and washing his hands at the sink he’d had installed for that purpose.

“Let’s get this cleaned up before your father comes in.” She turned the corner into the kitchen and stopped cold.

The fridge door was open, the pitcher of orange juice shattered on the floor beside what was left of her crystal vase full of roses, the red petals vanishing in her son’s blood. So much blood! Danny lay there, his head at an awkward angle, his eyes open, looking into the face of death. A scream froze in her throat as arms grabbed her from behind, and the sting of the knife bit into her upper back.

Her upper body was on fire. Danny! Mandy! She swallowed her cries and slid to the floor, trying to stop herself from placing the full weight of her body on her abdomen, her right hand slipping into her pocket and silently pressing nine-one-one on the phone. She kept her hand over the small screen to hide its glow. Breathing was agonizing.

With what little strength she could muster, she pulled herself across the glass and juice-covered ceramic floor until she was close enough to touch her son’s lifeless hand, tears of pain and sorrow running down her cheeks. She reached out her left hand, stretching to touch his face but couldn’t manage it. She groaned.

“What the hell? Leroy, I told you to kill her, not just cut her. She won’t bleed out from that wound. Can’t you do anything right? The boss said no survivors. Now, there should be another kid in the house, a girl. Go and look upstairs and find her and for God’s sake get it right. I’ll take care of this.”

She tried to turn her head to look at the man speaking, see if she recognized him, but he placed his boot on her head, forcing her face into the blood-covered floor.

“It’s nothing personal, Mrs. Hart. For some reason you need to suffer, or I’d cut your throat, too, and make it quick. Everyone has to die sometime, and today’s your day.”

Something pierced her lower back, sending wave after wave of excruciating pain through her body, and her unborn daughter kicked in protest. Nikki fought to suppress the scream of agony for Mandy’s sake. Blackness edged around her.

Please God, don’t let him look for her under the guest room bed. If she doesn’t wake up, she’ll be safe under there, won’t she? Sam! Oh God, Sam.

As if the sound were coming from far away, she forced herself to open her eyes and turned her head to face the door. Heavy boots entered the kitchen. She looked up. Instead of Sam, a man dressed in camouflage pants and matching jacket—the kind of thing a hunter might wear—stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. He had blood on his blue, latex-gloved hands. Sam wouldn’t be able to save them.

She forced her eyes to stay open and stared at the third man. He was bald, with thick, black eyebrows, and a diamond earring in his left ear. His face and head were badly scarred. His lips were thin, and he smiled cruelly. That face had to belong to Satan.

The demon moved to the counter, grabbed her cooking shears, and rooted through the drawers until he found her plastic bags. He walked over and stared down at her. Hatred burned in the monster’s eyes. After a swift kick at her ribs, the man turned away, and walked back through the door leading into the garage.

It was getting harder and harder to breathe. Nikki struggled against the intense pain, willing herself to stay awake, but she could feel life slowly slipping away from her. She wanted to scream, to rant at the injustice of it all. Where was her hero angel, the man who’d rescued them last spring, when she needed him most?

Want to read what happens next? You can do so for free with Amazon’s KU program. or buy a copy for 99 cents USD.

Now, please visit the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease June 6, 2018


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Midweek Tease: On His Watch

MWTease15OOPS! Ever have one of those days? Started this and forgot to finish it. LOL  Welcome to this week’s Midweek Tease.  Thanks for hanging in there and visiting each week and a special word of thanks to Angelica Dawson who makes it all possible.

This week, I’m continuing with my revised version of my romantic thriller, On His Watch. Things start out normally enough, but…

“You’ve grown at least three inches taller this summer. Grandma won’t recognize you when she sees you at Christmas.” Nikki Hart smiled down at her daughter, Mandy, all arms and legs, reminding her of a new foal who had yet to adjust to its body. She pulled the pink princess nightgown over the child’s head. The sleeves didn’t reach her wrists. Something else she’d outgrown. Sam wasn’t going to be happy about it, but the child would need new clothes—again.

On His WatchStarting kindergarten tomorrow. Where had the time gone?

They’d moved from San Francisco to Larosa, this small town in the mountains on the edge of wine country, almost six months ago. She still missed the hustle and bustle of the big city and her friends, as did the children, but for their sake and the sake of her marriage—such as it was—she was doing her best to adapt.

Mandy’s shoulder-length, sun-bleached tresses gleamed in the soft bedroom light, their strawberry scent filling the room with freshness. Since she’d turned five two weeks ago, her daughter had grown an independent streak a mile long; if anyone tried to take away the strawberry-scented shampoo and body wash named after her favorite doll, they’d be in for a battle. She might have given up her blanket, but some things were sacrosanct.

“I’m older now. I’m supposed to get bigger,” Mandy replied seriously, staring at her with her father’s dark brown eyes. She reached out and patted Nikki’s belly. “I’m going to be a big sister, not just a little one. Daddy said only babies are afraid of the dark. I’m not a baby. I can do this.”

Mandy took a deep breath and stared down at the child-size sleeping bag on the guest room floor beside the bed covered with a navy and white handmade quilt.

“Are you sure you want to do this tonight? There isn’t any hurry. You have a big day tomorrow.”

The stubborn set of her daughter’s shoulders was all the answer she needed. With her arms crossed over her chest, she looked so much like her father in one of his moods, Nikki couldn’t help but laugh. She shook her head.

“Do you have everything you need?”

Mandy nodded and crawled into the sleeping bag, pulling her doll in beside her and picking up the flashlight she’d set on the pillow earlier. “I have the big flashlight and Benji.” She indicated the baby doll.

“Tell me when you’re ready, and I’ll push you under the bed. I still don’t understand why you have to sleep under this bed.”

“Because it’s the darkest place in the house, Mommy. I checked everywhere, even the basement. There are too many spiders and yucky bugs down there. I don’t want Lily, Megan, and Sally to think I’m a baby. That’s why I have to practice, so I won’t be scared.”

She should have guessed. Only the power of a sleepover invitation could have pushed her daughter this far out of her comfort zone.

Nikki could empathize. At thirty-eight, she was still uncomfortable in dark, unfamiliar places and wasn’t immune to the nightmares that had plagued her for years. Maybe such fears were hereditary.

“You’ll be fine, sweetie. I doubt Lily’s living room will be completely dark anyway, and you won’t be alone.”

“Joey says the puppies can leave their mother soon. Please can you ask Daddy again if we can have one? Joey says it’ll be free. I wouldn’t need any other birthday presents—not even a party. Danny and I will take care of it, I promise. Daddy isn’t home much. We could keep the puppy out of his way.”

Nikki shook her head. “You know, honey, just because you want something doesn’t mean that you can have it. Even a free puppy is a lot of work…” She stopped as the joy faded from her daughter’s eyes.

She was starting to sound more and more like Sam. Would it really be that bad? God knows she’d always wanted a dog of her own, one of those cute little Shetland sheepdogs, a miniature version of Lassie … Maybe for once, she should put her foot down. What was the worst he could do? Rubbing the bruise on her upper arm, she sighed.

“I know, Mommy.” Mandy echoed her sigh. Nikki bent down and gave her daughter a loud, smacking kiss.

“Let me talk to Daddy. I’m not promising anything.”

Mandy jumped out of the sleeping bag and showered her face with kisses.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’re the bestest mommy in the whole world. I’ll take really good care of the puppy.”

“I didn’t say we’d get one for sure,” Nikki continued, knowing full well that now that she’d committed to this, she would advocate for her daughter and the sheltie pup she wanted. “Pleasant dreams. I love you.”

She pushed the sleeping bag full of child under the double bed and dropped the bed skirt.

ON HIS WATCH is now available through Amazon and KU.  Only 99 cents to buy or read for free on Kindle Unlimited  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D3RKDLK.

  Please check out the other teasers this week.

#MidWeekTease May 23, 2018

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Midweek Tease: On His Watch

MWTease15Welcome to this week’s Midweek tease made possible by the lovely and talented Angelica Dawson. Well, we’re in countdown mode for the re-release of On His Watch. I heard someone refer to books being revised and released like this as the “Author’s Cut” and I love it.

More thriller than romance, it uses the revenge trope as does the other two soon to be released books.

The book now has a prologue and an epilogue and all of the loose ends have been tied together, the thrill and suspense amped up for your enjoyment. This picks up where we left off last week.

Enjoy!

Jason hung up, praying the driver had abandoned the car and he wouldn’t find anyone inside. Grabbing the flashlight out of his bag on the backseat, he opened the door, only to have it yanked out of his hand. Thanks to the wind, the cold rain soaked through his clothes in an instant. Moving around to the back, he opened the tailgate and reached for the tow rope Rick had asked him to pick up. Talk about a lucky coincidence.

Fighting the wind, he walked around to the front of the truck and secured one end of the rope to the truck’s bumper, holding onto the line as he walked toward the vehicle.

On His WatchThe tree’s lighter top branches had landed on a newer model luxury sedan. He caught glimpses of the car through the branches and saw that the light was on inside and its windows were fogged. There was definitely someone in the car.

Once he slipped under the branches, the rain barely touched him. He pushed his way through the budding foliage until he reached the driver’s side door. He tapped on the window, and jumped back when a woman screamed, and the piercing, shrieking cry of a frightened child erupted from the vehicle.

“Lady, it’s okay.” He yelled to be heard above the wails of the wind and the child. “Open the window. I’m an FBI agent.” Where had he put his damn credentials? “Is anyone injured in there?” The child’s cries continued to echo and actually got louder as the window slowly slid down, proof that the battery was on its last legs.

The first thing he saw was a Padres’ cap under which was the most incredible red hair imaginable. Reaching past her shoulders, it reminded him of fine copper wire. Frightened almond-shaped hazel eyes stared at him out of a pale face, the only color provided by a smattering of freckles across her nose. She reminded him of one of the paintings he’d seen at that gallery he’d visited last month in Washington. Almost too beautiful to be real.

“You’re an answer to prayer,” she said. “If I ever needed an angel it’s now.”

“Believe me, I’m no angel, but I’m here to help.”

“I was beginning to think no one could. I’ve tried to call my husband, but there’s no answer on his cellphone, at the clinic, or at the house. With the children, I didn’t dare leave the car and try to walk in this mess.”

He glanced into the car and saw the sullen boy sitting in the back seat, his hands over his ears trying to block out the sound of his sister’s crying. He could sympathize. Did all little girls cry in that high-pitched voice?

“Mandy, it’s okay, honey,” she said, trying to soothe the child whose face was buried in her teddy bear—at least he thought it was a bear. “This man is going to help us. We’ll be home soon.”

Jason smiled. “Leaving a vehicle in weather like this is never a good idea. My brother’s the sheriff and helps on its way. I called as soon as I saw the tree. Is anyone hurt?” He noted the bruise on her upper arm, but it didn’t seem like a new one.

“We’re fine. Just a little scared.” She smiled.

Sirens in the distance grew louder as they neared, cutting off abruptly.

“Jason? Where are you?” Rick yelled, the sound of leaves rustling and twigs snapping announcing his arrival.

“Over here,” he called.

Rick came out of the foliage, his campaign hat askew, and looked over the front of the car, his eyes widening as he took in the damage.

“Is everyone okay?” he asked. “That’s not going to be easy to fix.”

“Yeah,” he answered. “There’s a woman and two kids inside. They’re cold and scared, but fine otherwise.”

“Paramedics are on the way just in case. Bud needs help tying the tree to pull it off the road. Can you go help him? I’ve got this.”

Jason turned to the woman. Those gray-green eyes imprinted themselves on his soul.

“You’re in good hands,” he said to her. “Your husband will be glad to see you all home safe. He looked at the car, realizing how much worse it could’ve been.

“Thanks.” White teeth bit into her lower lip before a smile brightened her face. “If I ever need rescuing again, I’ll ask for the same hero angel.”

Jason chuckled. “Believe me, as I said, I’m no angel, but you’re welcome. Glad I could help.”

That’s it for now. Want to read more?

As always, thanks for your comments and support.

Now, please check out the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease May 16, 2018