Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Greco's Game by James Houstin Turner


Thriller / Suspense / Action / Romance
Date Published: November 1, 2017
Publisher: Regis Books

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Colonel Aleksandr Talanov – the “ice man” – is married to a woman he wishes he could love. But he can’t, and it’s an ugly consequence of his training with the KGB. Even so, no one should have to experience what Talanov experiences: the brutal murder of his wife in front of his eyes.

Wracked with guilt and suspected of plotting her death, Talanov spirals downward on a path of self-destruction. He should have been killed, not her. He was the one whose violent past would not leave them alone. Months tick by and Talanov hits rock bottom on the mean streets of Los Angeles, where he meets a hooker named Larisa, who drugs and robs him.

But in the seedy world of human trafficking ruled by the Russian mafia, Larisa made the mistake of stealing the ice man’s wallet. In it was Talanov’s sole possession of value: his wedding photo. Talanov tracks Larisa down to get that photo because it reminds him of everything that should have been but never was, and never would be because an assassin’s bullet had mistakenly killed his wife. Or was it a mistake?


The answer lies in Greco’s Game, a chess match played in 1619 that is famous for its queen sacrifice and checkmate in only eight moves. In an unusual alliance, Talanov and Larisa team up to begin unraveling the mystery of what Talanov’s old KGB chess instructor regarded as the most brilliant example of how to trap and kill an opponent. The question is: who was the target?


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

TALANOV slowly opened his eyes to the sound of canned laughter. You stupid idiot, he thought, fumbling for the remote. After switching off the TV, he swung his feet down onto the floor and sat hunched over for a long moment. Finally, he stood and looked around the bedroom for his clothes. In the wash of light coming in through the window, he could see them strewn across the floor. He remembered kicking them in various directions when he and “Tash” had giggled their way into the hotel room earlier that night.
Tash sure knew the routine. With legs like a sprinter and hair the  color  of  honey,  the  twenty-something  Ukrainian  had moved up and down him like a pole dancer while slow- waltzing him into bed. Talanov knew it was a set-up long before his head began to spin from whatever it was someone had slipped him back in the nightclub. Even so, he didn’t care. He had quit caring long ago.
He picked up his underwear from a tangle of covers at the foot of the bed. A remnant of what would never be a memorable night of lovemaking. He could still see Tash jumping from the bed in her hot pink g-string, contemptuous at his inability to “do it.” It was always the same, whether with Tash or any of the other hookers he had picked up over the last few months in an effort to try and forget. But try as he did, he could not get Andrea out of his mind.
Memories of that night were still embedded in him like shrapnel. On stage for the award. Waves of applause. Andrea’s sudden urge to lean over and kiss him. Suddenly a shot. An explosion of blood. The brilliant red spatter floating before him like a nightmarish special effect in a movie. And in that split second before his wife hit the stage, Talanov saw movement high on the catwalk. A fleeting shadow making an escape. Then came the shrieks. People scattering. Andrea’s fingers desperately reaching out for him while she lay quivering in a spreading pool of red.
In all his years with the KGB, Talanov had never felt panic.
But he felt it then. Diving to her side, he placed his hands over the gaping holes in her neck. He screamed for help while Andrea’s life continued to squirt through his fingers.  He looked down and saw Andrea’s eyes smiling up at him. She tried to speak.
“Save your strength, help’s on the way,” he instructed, his eyes betraying the confidence he tried to portray.
“Love … you,” Andrea whispered as her eyelids sagged closed.
“Stay with me!” Talanov shouted as the tears streaked down his cheeks. He screamed again for help.
Sitting in the ambulance minutes later, Talanov strained to breathe. But the coils around his chest were crushing, relentless, and cruel. The hope once visible in his eyes had melted into dark puddles of despair. Suddenly, a high-pitched squeal sounded and the paramedics sprang into action. Readings were shouted, drugs were administered, heart massage was commenced. Then came the paddles.
“Clear!” one of them shouted an instant before a jolt of electricity convulsed Andrea’s ghostly white body. The high- pitched squeal did not waver. The paddles were charged again. Talanov did not know how many attempts were made to save his wife before she was finally pronounced dead. He did not remember the hospital waiting room or the questions asked by police, or the young female officer who finally drove him home. Numbness was all that he felt as he lay curled up on the side of the bed where Andrea had fallen asleep on countless nights, wrapped in his arms. 
And numbness was all that he felt now as he stood at the hotel room window, buttoning his shirt.
After staring absently at the lights of West Hollywood for several minutes, he looked toward the nightstand for his watch.
It was nowhere to be seen. With a sarcastic snort, he walked over and picked up his slacks. A wrinkle of worry then creased his brow. My wallet, he thought. It’s gone. He felt his pockets, then turned a full circle, hoping to see it on the floor. He then dropped down onto all fours and searched under the bed.
You little bitch.
Jumping up, Talanov yanked on his slacks, pulled on his shoes and stormed out of the room. Outside, he paused on the sidewalk and tried to remember which way he and Tash had come. He looked right and saw a darkened stretch of asphalt lined with apartment blocks and parked cars. Half a block to his left was an intersection with a traffic light. I remember that light, he thought. He ran to the corner and paused. Which way now? Both sides of the boulevard in both directions were lined with cafés and clubs. Think, he told himself. How far had they walked? A few minutes at most was his recollection. That meant the club was not far away. He remembered its green awning, long and narrow. The kind that stretched out over the sidewalk. With bushes on each side. And black walls, half a block wide, like a warehouse.
He looked right and saw it, a hundred yards or so on the other side of the street. He waited for a break in the traffic and crossed against the light. When the next wave of cars rushed past, he felt a blast of exhaust fumes.
Guarding the front door were two bouncers dressed in black slacks and t-shirts. Flirting with them were several girls in micro skirts. Everyone was laughing. The more muscular bouncer, Gunner, was taller and bald, while the other one, Daz, had a ponytail to the middle of his back. Talanov ignored them and headed straight for the door. Gunner stopped him.
“I need to see some ID,” Gunner said. “You’re kidding. I’m over fifty.”
“Fifty?” blurted one of the girls named Tracy. “I thought you were, like, thirty-something.”  
“Shut up,” snarled Gunner, glaring at Tracy. To Talanov:
“Do I look like I’m kidding?” “Someone inside has my wallet.”
“Not my problem.”
Talanov took a calming breath. He was furious. Tash, or whatever her name was, had stolen his wallet and he wanted it back, assuming, of course, that Tash was inside, which was entirely doubtful. “Ten minutes, that’s all I ask,” he said. “I go in. I look around. I get my wallet and leave. If she’s not there, I leave, anyway. You never see me again.”
“And I’m telling you that’s not going to happen.”
Talanov took another calming breath. This one was not as effective. “I’m not looking for trouble,” he began.
“Then get the hell out of here. Or trouble is going to find you.” According to Gunner, the choice was simple. Leave voluntarily or leave forcibly. And it didn’t seem to matter to Gunner which choice Talanov made. For Talanov the choice was like- wise simple. Was his wallet worth a fight? Logic told him to either forget the wallet or try and work things out peacefully.
He opted for option number two. After all, Gunner was a big guy. He was also twenty, maybe twenty-five years younger. Besides, what were the odds that Tash was inside? His wallet had had nearly two thousand dollars in it. More than likely, Tash was partying someplace else.
Talanov looked at the other bouncer, who was staring at him with unfriendly eyes. The groupies were also watching. Everybody was waiting to see what the old guy was going to do. “Don’t make this worse than it is,” he said. “Ten minutes.
Then I’m gone.”
There was a long moment of silence, almost like a vacuum. Nobody seemed to breathe. Then Gunner’s arms shot forward, the heels of his hands like battering rams aimed straight for Talanov’s chest.  It was a preemptive two-handed blow designed to knock the wind out of Talanov and send him flying into the bushes. A lesson about who was boss.
But Gunner had made the mistake of broadcasting his intentions with a number of subliminal signals. Flaring of the nostrils, tightening of the lips, setting of the jaw, the drawing in of a breath and holding it. So when Gunner’s hands shot out, Talanov stepped to the side, grabbed Gunner’s wrist and twisted it down and back. This forced Gunner to compensate by straightening his arm and bending left in an effort to pull away. That allowed Talanov to twist the outstretched arm behind Gunner. He then used Gunner’s momentum to drive him facedown to the sidewalk in one smooth motion. The whole maneuver took less than four seconds.
Kneeling on Gunner’s back, Talanov lifted the arm in a direction that could easily pop it from the socket. Gunner cried out and Talanov eased off.
“I asked you not to make this worse than it is,” Talanov said, glancing at Gunner then up at Daz. “What’s it going to be?” Daz glared angrily down at Talanov but knew better than to try anything with Gunner’s arms bent backward like that.
Talanov raised an eyebrow expectantly. “Ten minutes,” growled Daz. “But if you cause anyone any trouble – and I mean, anyone – I guarantee you won’t be leaving in one piece.”
Releasing Gunner’s arm, Talanov glanced at Tracy and stood. And with a hint of a smile, he disappeared inside.
“Did you see the way he took Gunner down?” Tracy whispered excitedly to her friends. “Man, he’s like friggin McDangerous! C’mon, let’s go and meet him.”
“What is wrong with you, Decker?” a friend responded, giving Tracy a slap on the arm. “You don’t even know that dude. Know anything about him!”
“Yeah, but he’s, like, totally hot.”
The inside of the nightclub had a high ceiling, exposed truss beams and flexible ductwork, all painted black. On the dance floor, a churning mass of young people gyrated wildly to a deafening blast of music played by a DJ with dreadlocks and sunglasses. Mounted above the dance floor were numerous tracks of colored stage lights that kept time to the music.
There’s got to be three or four hundred people out there, thought Talanov, squinting through the noise at the waves of arms bending back and forth. But he had to start somewhere and the dance floor was the logical place.
Finding Tash, however, was not his only problem. She also had a partner: the person who’d spiked his drink. He’d been in enough nightclubs to know one should never leave a drink unattended. And he had not. So who had spiked his drink? The waitress? One of the bartenders? Someone watching him from the service area? Whoever it was, it was imperative that he spotted Tash before she or her partner spotted him. Which meant he had to work fast.
Threading his way through the crowd, Talanov was grabbed by several laughing girls. Lost in the rhythm of the music, they whirled and swayed enticingly around him while motioning him to join in. Talanov pushed past them and made his way to the end of the bar, where he stationed himself unobtrusively in the slashes of spinning lights. There, he allowed his eyes to systematically comb the dance floor. There were lots of blondes, but none of them was Tash.
Suddenly, on the far side of the nightclub, Talanov saw Daz and Gunner enter the club. Daz spoke into a filament mike positioned near his mouth. Within seconds a large man in a suit approached. Standing a full head taller than either of them, the man looked like a Sumo wrestler, with a buzz cut and folds of flesh creasing the back of his neck. The two bouncers spoke to him briefly, then fanned out to begin sifting their way through the crowd.
So much for getting ten minutes.
To his left was a short flight of steps that led to a mezzanine full of café tables and booths. Talanov waited for a group of young people to climb the stairs and fell in behind them. At the top he stepped to one side and surveyed the room. People were everywhere. At tables, in booths, standing in the aisles. Most were laughing and drinking. Many were sending text messages or talking on their cell phones. Again, lots of blondes but none of them was Tash.
Talanov started back down the stairs, then abruptly reversed direction and excused his way to the top. You’re angry and in a hurry. This time, do it right. Thus, calling on skills learned more than thirty years ago at the Balashikha training center near Moscow, former KGB colonel Aleksandr Talanov stood in a darkened corner and methodically double-checked each face in the room. In less than a minute he saw her, seated with a businessman in a darkened booth.
“We go to quieter place now, yes?” Tash asked the businessman in broken English. “Get comfortable. Have some fun.” With a seductive smile, she kissed his ear and began stroking his thigh.
“I don’t normally do this,” the businessman replied nervously. He was a florid-faced man in his fifties, with fleshy jowls and thinning hair.
“Me, too,” Tash replied, scooting closer.
“Where are you from, anyway?” the businessman asked, staring into her gothically-shadowed eyes.
“Wherever you want,” answered Tash. Her hand suddenly went higher and the businessman’s eyes widened. “Hurry. Finish drink,” she cooed.
The businessman was gulping the remainder of his mojito when Talanov slid into the booth. “Zdravstvuy te, Tash,” said Talanov in Ukrainian. Tash’s mouth fell open.
“Who are you?” the businessman asked, blinking several times.
“I came for my wallet,” answered Talanov, his eyes on Tash.
“You know, the one you stole?”
The businessman looked at Tash, who shook her head emphatically.
“I think you’ve got the wrong table,” the businessman said.
“Oh, I’ve got the correct table, all right,” answered Talanov. “Tash here slipped something into my drink a few hours ago. And by the look on her face, I can tell she wasn’t expecting me to wake up anytime soon.”
“He is lying, Tom!” cried Tash. “I don’t know who this man is. Or what he is talking about.”
“It’s Todd,” muttered the businessman, glancing at his empty glass.
“Let me out,” demanded Tash.
“Not until you hand over my wallet,” said Talanov.
“She said she doesn’t know you,” responded Todd. “Then how did I know her name?”
Todd started to respond then looked at Tash with a wrinkle of doubt. “How did he know your name?”
Tash replied with a disdainful huff. “I told you, I am model! He see me somewhere.”
 Todd gave Tash a dubious scowl. “Whatever,” said Tash. “Let me out.”
“As soon as I get my wallet,” declared Talanov.
“How many times do I have to tell you? I don’t have your stupid wallet.”
“Let’s just see about that,” said Talanov, grabbing Tash’s tiny pink leather purse.
“Give that back!” cried Tash, lunging for it.
Blocking her hand, Talanov opened the purse and turned it upside down. A tube of lipstick, mascara, two condoms, and a folded wad of cash landed on the table.
Talanov stared at what was not there.
“See, I don’t have wallet,” said Tash, snatching back her purse. “Now, get out of here. Leave me alone.”
A petite Asian waitress named Jade came up the stairs with a tray of drinks. She had blue streaks in her hair and wore bright red lipstick. When she saw Talanov, she placed the drinks on a table, ran back down, and pushed her way through the crowd.
She found Gunner and grabbed him by the arm.
“Not now,” Gunner replied, shaking off her hand while continuing to scan faces in the crowd.
“Upstairs. The Russian guy that was here earlier with Tash. He’s back and he’s causing trouble.”
Gunner stared at Jade for a moment then touched the micro- phone near his mouth. “On the mezzanine. We’ve got him.”
Sliding out of the booth, Todd stood. “I’m calling the police,” he said, fumbling clumsily with his cell phone.
“Go for it,” said Talanov. “When they get here, tell them to run a drug test on your glass. Provided you’re still conscious by then.”
Tash tried scooting out of the booth. Talanov grabbed her by the wrist.
“Hey, wut’re you doing?” said Todd, fumbling his words as much as his phone. “I think you’d bedder leave.”
“You’ve got ten, maybe fifteen minutes before you pass out,”said Talanov while Todd wobbled in front of him. “If I were you, I’d get some help.”
Todd blinked several times but did not move. “Go!” commanded Talanov.
Todd nodded and hurried off.
“Okay, where is it?” Talanov asked Tash, turning to face her. Tash folded her arms and looked defiantly away. Talanov grabbed her by the chin and forced her to look at him. “For the last time, where’s my wallet?”
Talanov and Tash locked eyes.
“Out back. In dumpster,” she said quietly. Talanov let go and settled back in the booth.
A long moment of silence passed while Tash rubbed her chin. “I want to go now,” she said.
“No driver’s license. No credit cards. No keys.” “What are you talking about?”
“You’re carrying no driver’s license, no credit card, and no keys.”
“So what? Why do you care?”
“That tells me you’re part of something you probably don’t want to be a part of,” Talanov said. “That maybe someone’s holding you against your will. Making you do things against your will.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” “I think you do.”
Tash stared at Talanov for a long moment then looked away. Talanov watched her for a moment. Tash – or whatever her name was – was a pretty girl. A pretty girl with a look of fear in her eyes.
“Sorry for getting so rough,” he said.
Tash gathered her lipstick and mascara and slid them into her purse. She placed her hand on the cash but paused when she saw Talanov watching her. “Here,” she said, sliding the money toward him. “It is all there. Count, if you wish.”
“It was never about the money,” Talanov replied, ignoring the cash and sliding out of the booth.
“Then what is this about?”
“Her photo. It’s all I’ve got left.”
“You do this for picture?” Tash asked incredulously.
“I wouldn’t expect you to understand.”
The next few seconds were one of those rare moments when time seemed to linger.  And in that moment, Tash saw Talanov’s anguish. She remembered the photo – a wedding shot – in a plastic window where a driver’s license should have been. The picture was of Talanov and his bride, happy and smiling, holding flutes of champagne on a beach. Tash studied him more closely and saw desperation and a certain “lostness” reflected in his eyes. Her photo. It’s all I’ve got left. No divorced man thinks that way. My God, she’s dead, you’re in mourning, Tash realized. No wonder you couldn’t do it.
By now, Talanov’s thoughts had drifted back to happier times, what few there had been, mainly because he had been unable to love his wife the way she deserved. Transparency and love – qualities that defined a good marriage – were contrary to what had been hammered into him at Balashikha. Love would get you killed. Or worse: those you loved.
Then the world changed. But Talanov could not change with it. And just when he was beginning to learn how— Talanov noticed Tash’s eyes widen an instant before the room flipped upside down as he crashed hard on top of a table before tumbling head-over-heels to the floor.  Around him, people shouted and ran.
For a long moment, Talanov lay stunned and motionless. What the hell just happened? He opened his eyes and saw Gunner standing over him like an angry bull. Gunner grabbed Talanov and pulled him effortlessly to his feet. When Gunner drew back his fist, Talanov closed his eyes. Do what you want. I’m already dead.
The blow hit Talanov like a freight train and sent white spots exploding through his brain. He floated limp for an instant, then landed on another table before rolling down onto the floor.  In the distance he heard Tash screaming.  Talanov groaned and rolled onto his back. His head was pounding and it hurt to breathe. He saw Gunner push an overturned table out of his way and bear down on him, teeth bared, hands like claws, his neck muscles taut and veined. Gunner took a quick half-step and swung his foot at Talanov’s head. Talanov rolled away and Gunner missed “Leave him alone!” cried Tash. She grabbed Gunner and tried to stop him but he brushed her aside and kicked again. Gunner’s kick was comparable to an extra-point kick in a football game. Full-force after a quick hop, aimed straight at
Talanov’s head. That meant one foot was in motion while the other foot supported all of his weight. Talanov swung his leg like a scythe and caught Gunner in the back of his ankle. Gunner’s leg flew out from under him and Gunner hit the floor hard. When he did, the crowd of young onlookers cheered.
Gunner immediately scrambled to his feet just as a winded Talanov struggled to his, one hand holding his ribs, one hand waving back and forth, an indication that he wanted to stop.
“I’m leaving! I got what I wanted!” gasped Talanov.
“You’re leaving, but not in one piece,” growled Gunner just as Daz pushed his way through the circle of spectators, many of whom were recording the action with cell phone cameras.
“There’s no need for this!” said Talanov, looking back and forth between the two bouncers.
“Stop it, Gunner!” yelled Tash. “He got what he wanted. Leave him alone.”
“Shut up, you worthless whore!” shouted Gunner.  He clamped a meaty hand across Tash’s face and shoved. Tash crashed into a table and back-flipped down onto the floor, where she lay crying, legs sprawled, her short skirt hiked up to her waist. Her blonde hair was tangled and her lipstick was smeared. Her cheeks were streaked with mascara.
Talanov saw the crowd laughing as Tash rolled slowly onto her side and looked helplessly over at him. She tried to get up but Gunner pushed her back down and kicked her. Tash tried crawling away but Gunner grabbed her by the hair.
Five minutes ago, Talanov would have been happy to let Tash get what was coming to her. She had drugged and rolled him. She had taken the only item that meant anything to him. She had left him passed out in a hotel room in order to fleece some other guy. And now, here she was, trying to defend him.
 A thieving whore. Why couldn’t she have left well-enough alone?
Gunner lifted Tash to her feet by the hair and drew back a fist just as Talanov slammed one of the aluminum café chairs on the floor. Gunner paused when he heard the noise and saw Talanov fall into the chair. With his head lowered, Talanov sat motionless against the pulsating reflections of light keeping time with the music. Surprised by this apparent act of surrender, Gunner let go of Tash and looked over at Daz. An instant later, they both rushed forward.
Sensing their decision to attack milliseconds before any movement occurred, Talanov grabbed the leg of his chair and sprang left, slinging it straight at Daz, who stumbled backward while trying to wrestle it away from his face. Continuing his pivot, Talanov sank a roundhouse kick into Gunner’s kidney. With a bellow, Gunner stumbled forward. Talanov stepped behind him, seized Gunner by the back of the neck and hammered his forehead onto a table to the crazed delight of the crowd. He then whirled to face Daz while Gunner slid limp to the floor.
Daz picked up a chair and threw it. Talanov grabbed one of the café tables and used it to deflect the chair. Daz hurled another chair, then another, but Talanov used the lightweight table like a shield and sent each of them tumbling to the floor. Daz turned to flee but was stopped by the wall of spectators. Cut off, he turned and charged. Talanov blocked several wild punches, stepped inside and smashed Daz in the jaw with an elbow. He then grabbed Daz by the shirt, twisted inward and flipped him over his shoulder. When Daz landed on his stomach, Talanov grabbed him by the ponytail and slammed his face on the floor.
“I told you not to make this worse than it is,” Talanov said, leaning close.
With his nose dripping blood, Daz swallowed and coughed. Talanov leaned closer. “So I’ll ask you one more time. Are you ready to call this off?”
Daz coughed again.
“Are you?” Talanov demanded.
With his attention focused on Daz, Talanov did not see the big Sumo move in from behind. He did not hear the collective gasps as Sumo’s hand came down like an axe. All he felt was an explosion of pain. An instant later, everything went black.



About the Author


James Houston Turner is the bestselling author of the Aleksandr Talanov thriller series, as well as numerous other books and articles. Talanov the fictional character was inspired by the actual KGB agent who once leaked word out of Moscow that James was on a KGB watch-list for his smuggling activities behind the old Iron Curtain. James Houston Turner’s debut thriller, Department Thirteen, was voted “Best Thriller” by USA Book News, after which it won gold medals in the Independent Publisher (“IPPY”) Book Awards and the Indie Book Awards. His novel, Greco’s Game, has just been optioned for film. A cancer survivor of more than twenty-five years, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Baker University and a master’s degree from the University of Houston (Clear Lake). After twenty years in Australia, he and his wife, Wendy, author of The Recipe Gal Cookbook, now live in Austin, Texas.

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Monday, 30 October 2017

Hacienda Moon Kasonndra Leigh



Gothic Romance
Date Published: 10/31/17

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Centuries ago, his ancestor fell in love with a woman cursed by a jealous witch. No one believed him until it was too late. Eric Fontalvo was determined to prove one thing... that a family curse didn't cause his father's death.

The plan was working until the day he found her...again. Suddenly his life changes forever, and he is forced to question everything he believes.

Moving into an old plantation house was just what Tandie Harrison needed to recover from tragedy. So she writes a book, a story based on a man in her dreams. There's only one problem though... the characters from her novel keep showing up on her doorstep.

And then she finds a diary written hundreds of years ago.

As if that isn't strange enough, she meets him...the man from her dream, someone who reawakens her psychic power along with something else from long ago.

Can Eric and Tandie's love destroy the force keeping them apart? Or will darkness win again?

Hacienda Moon is a new classic tale of two lovers crossing time. A seductive tale of one woman's journey to confront the demons of her past and to find the courage to face her future. It is a mesmerizing novel that explores the deepest depths of human nature, and the characters will hold and haunt you long after you have read the final chapter.


About the Author


Author of the Bestelling Lost Immortals Saga, Pathseekers and Musical Interlude Series, KaSonndra Leigh is also a mother, blogazine owner, reader, gardener, home renovator, and a slayer of undead Egyptian mummies in Tomb Raider. She believes in karma, coffee, and seriously wish that the producers of Xena would bring her favorite show ever back.

Strange things about KaSonndra: Everything. She’s weird, odd, unusual, and generally tends to make people think she swooped down from another planet. Maybe she did. Who knows? She’s also a member of the #zombiesurvivalcrew on twitter. So if you need protection from the upcoming apocalypse, don’t hesitate to call on KayLeigh and crew!

KaSonndra was born in the race-car city of Charlotte, NC, and now live in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, NC, when she’s not hanging out in Bardonia (Lost Immortals Saga setting). Most of her characters are based on people that she has met throughout her travels and adventures. People tend to stop and start conversations with KaSonndra as if she has known them her entire life. Does this freak her out? Not really. Her mom says that one day she’ll get kidnapped by one of these folks. KaSonndra’s response? She told her mom that if it weren’t for these lovely people, then she wouldn’t be able to create such fabulously romantic stories.

A few other tidbits about KaSonndra… She has watched the movie Under the Tuscan Sun almost 200 times. This is her explanation regarding her obsession. She figures that if she keeps watching the film enough times, then suddenly the house that Diane Lane lives in will magically appear in her backyard. Yes! KaSonndra has a huge imagination!


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Saturday, 28 October 2017

Gestation Seven by J.Stewart Willis



Medical Thriller
Publisher: Xlibris
Date Published: March 2017

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When an experiment to reduce the gestation period of humans goes horribly wrong, three government scientists are entangled in the murder of two babies.  A young reporter stumbles onto the scene and begins to investigate, unraveling all the all the secrets behind the experiment.

This in turn leads to a congressional hearing to find out why government oversight failed.  Turmoil ensues, leaving one man holding the bag in a story that has readers glued to their seats.

About the Author

J. Stewart Willis, a graduate of West Point and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has had a varied life as from time in Vietnam with the173rd Airborne Brigade, sixteen years as a professor of physics at West Point, a manager with the TRW for communications projects and the Nuclear Waste Project at Yucca Mountain in Nevada and as Mayor, for nine years, of the Town of Washington, Virginia.  Now he is pursuing a lifetime dream of writing fiction.

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Friday, 27 October 2017

Uncle Polecat Goes To Hollywood by Samuel Laguna



Children's Book

Date Published: 9/1/17
Publisher: ITService-Excellence.Com


An action-packed, do-gooders, interactive adventure story loaded with audio narration, cool music, video and 3D animation, pop-up widgets, maps, and review questions that allow the reader to foretell what happens next in the story. Your children will think they’re watching an exciting play on your iPad. If your child is into skateboards, airplanes, technology and being a good friend, then this is the iBook for them. Uncle PoleCat goes to Hollywood is total interactive fun for the whole family.
Three young friends win a science contest and a trip to Hollywood, Ca. Things are going great during their vacation until their dog, Freckles is dognapped by evil villains and their guardian is hospitalized. The kids have no one to turn to and call Uncle PoleCat to get Freckles back and get them out of a terrible jam.

Uncle PoleCat, an amazing ferret with super powers and his best pal Snake travel from the magical town of Mount McHenry all the way to Hollywood. He and Snake meet up with the kids and check in on Mr. McHenry. After visiting McHenry, Uncle PoleCat and the kids orgnize a search for Freckles. The clues lead to the desert hideout where freckles is being fattened up for a feast by Rudi The Rat.
Uncle PoleCat and Snake outsmart Rudi and his henchmen and win back Freckles but not before two other kids are captured by Rudi. All ends well, as the kids are reunited with Old Man McHenry and they finish their vacation in Hollywood and Uncle PoleCat and Snake go back home to finish their vacation.


About the Author


A family man, Samuel Laguna was a leader of an elite troubleshooting team that served The Best Beverages Company executives for 35 years. He was dropped into volatile situations all over the world like a power ranger to resolve cyber attacks, technology issues, and expose corporate espionage. Retired now, Sam spends his time writing fiction stories that range from corporate life and politics to children's adventure storybooks. No matter what book Sam writes, you can count on his storytelling to provide life-lessons and make you laugh out loud.

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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Vegas Tabloid by P. Moss


Crime Thriller
Date Published: October 2017

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Sex, greed and cold-blooded murder highlight this crime fiction thriller about a wisecracking con man and his sideshow troupe of small time criminals, who accidentally become the most popular performers on the Las Vegas Strip. Suddenly rich and famous, it is life in the fast lane for the fire-eating beauty, sex-crazed midget Elvis, safecracking swami and the rest of this neo-noir cast of social delinquents, until they find themselves in the crosshairs of a serial killer. Armed with little more than street smarts, this band of misfits fight an uphill battle against a bloodthirsty billionaire, a perverted cop and betrayal from within, racing the clock not only to save themselves, but prevent the biggest mass murder in American history.





About the Author


P Moss, a member of the Mystery Writers of America, is a Las Vegas author whose fiction has appeared in several magazines and anthologies. A writer whose gritty style is often compared to bestselling crime fiction masters James Ellroy and Jim Thompson, Vegas Tabloid is the final book of his Las Vegas trilogy.

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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Superhero Syndrome by Caryn Larrinaga



Urban Fantasy
Date Published: September 2017

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Tess McBray was dying. The Solstice Syndrome had no cure, and she resigned herself to an early grave. But just when she gave up on survival, all her symptoms mysteriously disappeared.

All but one symptom, anyway. Something is wrong with Tess's hands. They absorb any material they touch, and her skin turns to wood, or steel, or concrete. It doesn't take this comic-book obsessed 21-year-old long to figure out what's going on: somehow, she's developed super powers. And she's not the only one; across the country, people are coming forward and sharing their gifts with the world. In her own city, where the police are battling a human trafficking operation, a masked vigilante called The Fox is saving lives and stopping criminals.

Tess doesn't know where she fits into this new, super-powered world. But when people around her start disappearing, she can't just sit on the sidelines. Teaming up with The Fox to create the world's first superhero duo might be the only way to rid her city of evil and save the people she loves most.


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Excerpt

I wish I’d been with the people I loved on the day the world changed. Then again, if someone had said, “Hey Tess, reality as you know it is about to be turned upside-down. You should probably witness this moment with someone you care about. Anybody fit that bill?” I would’ve barked out a bitter laugh and told them I’d rather be alone. Which, as it turns out, I was.
The meteor shower was all over the news. CNN covered it nonstop in the hours before it was visible, bringing on astronomers and astrophysicists to explain why it was such a big deal for a meteor shower of this size to be happening in the middle of January. Apparently, our scientists were supposed to be able to predict this kind of thing. The fact that one had snuck up on our collective set of observatories and satellites was—to quote one NASA representative—“extraordinary.”
I didn’t care if it was unprecedented. I didn’t care if people around the world were calling it a sign or a portent of the Second Coming or whatever. I just knew it was beautiful, and I wanted to see one more beautiful thing before I died.
The trick was explaining that to the floor nurse.
“Miss McBray, please go back to your room.” Nurse Davies crossed her beefy arms over her chest and planted her white-sneakered feet to the floor. “We’ve been over this before. You’re in no condition to leave.”
“How do you know?” I growled. “Nobody here can even tell me what my condition is.”
I shifted the weight of my duffle bag on my shoulder and leaned to the left, craning my neck to gauge the distance between Davies and the elevators. Only a few dozen yards. Sure, she towered over me. Sure, in the month I’d been in the hospital my body had wasted away to little more than a skin-wrapped skeleton. But I might be able to make a run for it.
Davies shook her head. “Do you think you’re going to find the answers out there?”
“Maybe. I don’t really care.”
She glared at me, and I knew exactly what she was thinking. It was the same thing she’d spat at me every time I’d fought against the IV, or questioned the contents of the murky soup they forced me to eat, or requested—and then repeatedly demanded—to have my comic book collection brought into the hospital. And just when I began to worry she’d disappoint me by refusing to lean on her catchphrase, she said it.
“Stop being so melodramatic.”


About the Author


Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery, horror, and urban fantasy writer living in Utah with her husband and cats. Her debut novel Donn’s Hill (March 2017, Immortal Works Press) was a 2017 Dragon Award finalist.

Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. She lives in a 90-year-old house with a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs from her basement. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed.

When her fingers aren't glued to her laptop keyboard, Caryn also enjoys binge-watching Netflix with her husband, reading, playing video games, and filling up her phone's flash memory with pictures of her cats. She loves music and plays the bass guitar.

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Black Snow by Lena North



Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: FAB Publishing
Release Date: October 24, 2017

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Snow’s best friend is a bird. An osprey, to be specific.
Everyone knows Snow’s parents died a long time ago, and she has perfected her happy smile and girly giggle so no one suspects that she hides a darker side of herself deep inside. No one, except her bird – and Nick, who always seems to know how she feels.

Then Hawker Johns blackmails her into joining his covert group of protectors. The imposing sheriff from Norton sends Snow to the Islands to investigate Jamie Jamieson, one of her friends and a man she dates casually, and once the first fury has passed, she’s eager to go. Mostly so that she can come back and shove Hawker’s suspicions down his throat.

Things are not what they seem on the Islands, though, and when Snow has been shot at, almost drowned and fallen through the roof of a cave, she starts thinking about her life, and her past.
Then she suddenly finds herself in a situation where she has a tough choice to make. Will she follow her heart or the pull from her family and friends? And will she ever find peace with her past?
Black Snow is the fourth book in the Birds of a Feather series, a young adult/coming of age series with paranormal elements, full of laughter, mystery, and romance.


Other Books in the Birds of a Feather Series

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Wilder
Birds of a Feather, Book 1
Publisher: FAB Publishing
Release Date: December 14, 2016
Wilder’s wonderful grandfather is dead, and so is her mother, but Grandpa Willy gives her one final gift in his will – the knowledge that her father is only her step-father.
Once she meets Hawker, the scary man who turns out to be her real dad, her life takes an unexpected turn. She finds out about a heritage she never knew she had, and secrets from the past are uncovered as she fights to save her part of the world from destruction.
And then there’s Mac, with his green eyes and a soft voice that flows through her like sweet honey. He’s there to help Wilder when she needs it the most, and as she struggles with how to fit into the group of people around her dad – having Mac in her life becomes more important with every bad thing that happens.
“Wilder” is the first in the Birds of a Feather series and a spin-off from the Dreughan trilogy. It’s set in modern time and can be read stand-alone.


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Sweet Water
Birds of a Feather, Book 2
Publisher: FAB Publishing
Published: March 2017

Jiminella “Jinx” Sweetwater is a genius. She’s a scholar, an inventor, hardworking and loyal, and well known in the scientific circles around the University in Prosper City.
Being smarter than everyone else might seem like a good thing, but it isn’t. At least, it isn’t to Jinx who has two friends, a small condo, and no life.
After a fight with her best friend Wilder, it just gets worse. Someone breaks into her home and when her parents show up in all their hippie-like glory, Jinx has had enough and escapes to a small village by the sea.
Suddenly, Jinx finds herself involved in village life, living with the unpleasant Mrs. Fratinelli and trying her best to juggle all the things that seem to end up on her plate. And then there’s calm, cool and gorgeous Dante – Snow’s boyfriend, who seems to see right through the shields Jinx has put up around herself, straight into her mind.


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Picture This
Birds of a Feather, Book 3
Publisher: FAB Publishing
Release Date: June 29, 2017

Life just keeps slapping Mary in the face.
She had it rough growing up, and when it finally looks like she’s getting her life firmly back on track, breaking up with her boyfriend starts a string of events that threatens to bring Mary to her knees.
Fortunately, there are good people in her life who will do everything in their powers to help her when she needs it. Mary’s girlfriends, Jinx and Wilder are there for her, and after she’s rescued from being kidnapped, Carson and Bo take her into their home, becoming the family she always wanted but never seemed to get to keep.
As the group around Hawker Johns hunt the men who wanted to trade Mary for the valuable crystal from the mountains, she slowly recovers. Then life throws her another few curveballs, and it looks like she’ll lose everything yet again.
Mary is resilient and used to restarting her life from nothing, but when it looks like she’ll also lose the man she loves, maybe the happy girl has just had enough?
Picture this is the third book in the Birds of a Feather series, a young adult/coming of age series with paranormal elements, full of laughter, mystery, and romance.


Excerpt

I found the ledge, and it was barely wide enough for my toes so I couldn’t stand on it for long. The arm holding me up started to burn, and I looked around frantically for somewhere to go.
“Snow,” my bird said. “Big rock. Have to jump, one arm’s length to the right, one head up.”
I looked and thought I saw the outline of the overhang she was talking about. The rock had hit my shoulder, but the numbness had subsided, and I clenched the hand a few times. It seemed to be working. Then my left foot slipped, and for a few seconds, I thought I’d fall, but I managed to hold on and find the ledge with both my feet again.
“Almost there,” Nick said.
Was he crazy? He was coming up right underneath me, something that was against all common sense.
“Get out of the way, Nick,” I repeated. “If I fall I’ll crash right into you.”
He didn’t stop, and my body was screaming at me to do something, so I made up my mind. Then I made sure my safety rope was loose enough, bent my knees as much as I could, tightened all my muscles, and jumped straight into the darkness.
My hands gripped the overhang firmly, and I held on.
“Twist legs right. Another rock,” the osprey said calmly.
I did, and felt my knee hit a rock, bent the leg upward and over it, and heaved myself up over the edge.
“I’m secure,” I called out to Nick and was met with a resounding silence. “Nicky?” I shouted.
He couldn’t have fallen because I would have heard, so why wasn’t he answering?
“Good,” he suddenly rumbled out of nowhere. “Is there an anchor there somewhere?”
My hands slid along the cold, hard rock and found another rusty piece of metal. I yanked it a few times, and it seemed to be safe, so I secured my rope to it.
“Yeah,” I said. “Do you want my rope?
“Yeah,” he echoed.
The overhang was big enough for both of us to sit on. I leaned my back against the mountainside and tilted my head a little to nudge his broad shoulder.
“That was fun,” I murmured.
He snorted out something unintelligible, and I giggled. It wasn’t my fake giggle, it was a real one, from happiness and adrenaline.


About the Author 


The proper way to put it here would probably be to describe how I love to play with our two big dogs, adore my fantastic daughters and how much I love to read.

Another way would be to use my imagination and then I would be a super powerful warrior woman, think Xena the warrior princess (though with less tacky clothes). Or when I think of it, maybe I’m actually more of a Hercule Poirot (sans the suit and moustache). Or maybe I’m like Aragorn, strong and cool and then I might get to meet Gandalf! Or I could be Bella’s pretty cousin and snap Jacob up in a second (yeah, I’m so not team Edward), or wait, maybe I could be like one of them heroines in historical novels who swoon all the time. I’ve always wanted to swoon…

Well, I guess you get how my mind is working (or not working, some say).
Anyways, I like to write. Stories, adventures, romantic and happy stuff mixed up with sorrow and hardship, and bit of laughter here and there because the way I see it – life is way too short to go around feeling grumpy.

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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Summer Springsteen's Songs Saved Me by Barbara Quinn



Women's Fiction
Date Published: October 24, 2017

Coming home to catch her husband with his face between the long, silky legs of another woman is the last thing Sofia expects—and on today of all days. So, after scratching an expletive into his Porsche and setting the cheating bastard’s clothes on fire, she cranks up her beloved Bruce and flees, vowing never to look back.

Seeking solace in the peaceful beachside town of Bradley Beach, NJ, Sof is determined to start over. And, with the help of best friends, new acquaintances, a sexy neighbor, and the powerful songs of Springsteen, this may be the place where her wounds can heal. But, as if she hasn’t faced her share of life’s challenges, a final flurry of obstacles awaits.

In order to head courageously toward the future, Sofia must first let go of her past, find freedom, and mend her broken soul.

Excerpt

The sighs from my supposed-to-be-empty bedroom grow into moans, and my pulse thuds in my temples. I know the dark place might suck me in if I’m not careful, but I can’t stop myself from looking.
 I peer through the half-open door. My husband crouches naked on the bed with his face buried between long, shapely legs. Gorgeous, oddly-familiar legs.
“Oooh, oooh,” groans the owner of the silky limbs.
“Mmm, mmmmm,” answers Jerome. His rear wags from side to side. The two bald spots in the center of his butt cheeks stare at me, and my skin tingles the way it did when I drew too close to the sparklers little Benjamin played with on the fourth of July.
The bed creaks. After twenty-six years the thing still makes the same noise. A chill winds its way up my back, and pain sears beneath my ribcage. My breaths rush in and out.
How can he? What the hell? In our bed. Today of all days.
Darkness grows, and flames erupt behind my eyelids. In a red fury, I howl and charge. I whoop again and bear down on the startled couple.
With a jolt, the name of the owner of the legs explodes into my mind.
Mandy.
I know Mandy. Sort of.
Jerome’s personal trainer. Mandy Malone.
I slip on the area rug and lose my balance. Oh, yes. I know Mandy. At the gym Christmas party Mandy’s hips sported a short, pink thing that appeared to be more like a headband than a skirt. The Christmas party was where I saw those legs before.
Mandy jumps out of bed and pulls the covers around her. She cowers in the corner. 
I’m not proud of what I do next. 
I grab a red high heel from the floor and climb to my feet. Taking aim, I hurl the shoe, but Jerome rolls away and the stiletto lands on the pillow. I reach for one of Jerome’s wing tips resting annoyingly on the floor beside a pair of red panties and matching bustier.  I launch the shoe, and the ever-athletic creep dodges and leaps from the bed. A pink rubber phallus lands with a thunk, and a yowl bursts from deep within me. “Sex toys. You’re using sex toys.” My hands grasp the floor lamp and level it like a spear.
“Sof, cut it out.” Jerome’s voice quavers, and he holds his hands over his privates.
Yanking the plug from the wall, I swing the lamp in a circle with no idea of what I’m doing, acting on instinct. I run towards him, but Jerome darts out of the way. The lamp smashes into the headboard, shattering bulbs and sending the pole flying from my hands. Shards of glass cover the bed and floor.
A tiny red mini-skirt and pink tank top catch my attention. My God, she must shop in the children’s department. And what an awful color combination.
 “Sof, this isn’t doing anyone any good. Can we talk?” He’s bobbing and weaving now, waiting for the next assault.
“Talk? Talk? What’s there to talk about?” My brain sizzles, and my thoughts stab mercilessly. I seize his belt from the floor and hurl it, grazing the top of his head. “Do you remember when we bought this bed?”
No answer leaves his lips.
“I do.” I snatch up his other wingtip, and this one catches him in the back. “We couldn’t afford it, but you wouldn’t take no for an answer. You said it would last a lifetime.” I rip at the all-cotton sheets, yanking them off the mattress. “I just bought these at Macy’s. I changed the bed yesterday. You told me polyester blends make you sweat. So does she!” I yell, jerking my arm towards the cowering blonde and fighting the fury twisting inside my gut.
Jerome approaches the closet. His hairy bare rear with its Orphan Annie blank orbs shines in the morning light. I tug on the curtains, and as the metal rod falls we both reach for it. He twists hard, and I let go causing him to lose his balance and send the pole clattering against the oak flooring. I swoop up the rod in a death grip and connect with the back of his knees. He falls to the rug and writhes in agony.
“Stop,” he shouts.
“Sure,” I say, launching myself on top of him and boxing his ears. “How’s this?”
He rolls to the side throwing me off, and my face plants onto the carpet. I scramble to my feet and collect the scattered clothing, stumbling down the hallway to the spare bedroom.





About the Author


Barbara Quinn is an award-winning short story writer and author of a variety of novels.

Her travels have taken her to forty-seven states and five continents where she’s encountered fascinating settings and inspiring people that populate her work.

Her many past jobs include lawyer, record shop owner, reporter, process server, lingerie sales clerk, waitress, and postal worker. She’s a native New Yorker with roots in the Bronx, Long Island, and Westchester. She currently resides with her husband in Bradley Beach, NJ and Holmes Beach, FL. She enjoys spending time with her son and his family and planning her next adventure. She wants to remind everyone that when you meet her, SHE’S NOT SHOUTING, SHE’S ITALIAN.

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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Work & Wagers by Sherrie Sushko



Murder Mystery, Cozy Mystery

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Meet David Wagers, a cool, collected and incredibly handsome Private Investigator in the New York City area. David is hired to investigate the unsolved murder case of Courtney Tabbin, a popular, young woman with a promising future. Along the way, David encounters some interesting and suspicious characters and a complex office drama. Was Courtney’s murder just a random act of violence, or something more personal?

While digging deeper for answers, David also manages to juggle an understaffed office and even forms an alluring, new friendship with Victoria under the unlikeliest of circumstances. With impeccable skills of observation, deduction and razor-sharp instincts, David moves steadily towards solving the case but not without a few twists and turns, and managing to turn a few heads along the way.
Work & Wagers (David Wagers Case #1), a cozy murder mystery, is the first book in the new and exciting David Wagers detective series.


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

David could already hear the phone ringing as he unlocked his office door. “I guess I really need to get someone in here,” he acknowledged to himself, knowing that he should have hired an assistant a good month ago. Business was beginning to pick up and no longer consisted of just background checks and unfaithful spouses.
His office suite was in a mid-rise building and consisted of two rooms; a small waiting room and his even smaller private office. It really wasn’t a bad trade off considering he had a view – or a snippet of a view – of the New York City skyline.
Sitting at his desk, David snapped his laptop into its docking station and turned it on. He would need to weed through his voicemail messages but that would have to wait for the time being.
One call that he had received the evening before was from Walter Huffs, a respected local attorney. Walter’s niece had been murdered and the crime remained unsolved. Concerned for his sister’s mental health and not wanting the case to go cold, Walter had hired him to investigate further. It was a case that David really wanted to handle, for a number of reasons.
“Courtney Tabbin,” he typed into the search engine on his sluggish computer. Page after page of search results came up. David began to comb through each and every one of them.
He remembered the incident very well. No more than a year ago, Courtney Tabbin’s body had been found in a secluded wooded area in Northern New Jersey, savagely beaten and left in a nearby stream. There had been no sign of sexual assault. Stolen items including a necklace and a wallet containing cash suggested a robbery, but the nature of the wounds suggested something more.
“I will have to speak to your sister, Joanne, about your niece,” David had said to Walter at the time, “and in doing so she will have to relive the crime and the loss of her daughter all over again. Will she be up for it?”
“Yes,” Walter had replied. “I discussed this with my sister before contacting you. It will be hard for her but not as hard as not having closure.”
According to past news articles, the night that Courtney disappeared she was supposed to meet with some co-workers for dinner. At first, when it appeared that Courtney was running late, a couple of the girls had tried to reach her on her cell phone. When she completely failed to show up, one of her co-workers had called Courtney’s house and had spoken to her mother. Her car had eventually been discovered on a desolate road, not far from where her remains had been found.
David’s concentration was broken into to when the phone rang. “David Wagers,” he quickly answered.
“Hi, David, did you get any of my messages?” It was Penny Irvines, a spousal surveillance client. Penny was in her mid-forties and well preserved, but was not the teeny bopper that she thought herself to be.
“Hello, Penny. Yes, I did,” David replied. Penny had left a message yesterday evening. “I just got into the office a few minutes ago.”
“Did you find anything out last night?” she asked sweetly. He could almost hear her batting her eyelashes.
“No,” David admitted. “I didn’t. It seems as if Troy was just working late.”
“Ohhh, how could that be?!” Penny exclaimed. “Are you sure about that?’
“There hasn’t been any evidence of infidelity so far,” he stated.
“You know he still has that business meeting outside of the office at the end of the week,” Penny continued.
“Yes, I’m prepared for his meeting on Friday,” David answered.
“David, dear, I didn’t mean to suggest that you weren’t prepared,” Penny said innocently. “It’s just so hard for me to be home alone all the time when I know he’s out gallivanting.”
“We’ll see what his meeting on Friday turns up. I’ll give you a call at the end of the week,” David said, eager to get her off the phone.
“Thank you, David,” Penny purred. “I’ll be waiting.”
David was getting the distinct impression that Penny just wanted an excuse to get out of her marriage, but he didn’t want to jump to any conclusions.
Picking up the phone, he dialed in his voicemail passcode. Now was as good a time as any to go through the rest of his calls.
***
After picking up records on the Tabbin case graciously supplied by Detective Woods at the local police department, David was on his way to meet with Joanne Tabbin.
Joanne resided in a prestigious area in Northern New Jersey with her husband, a senior accountant and owner of his own CPA firm. Courtney had been their only child, which had made their loss that much harder to bear.
Arriving right on time, David pulled into the driveway of the attached, oversized two-car garage, as Joanne had advised. As he made his way up the front walk, the sun shined down brightly in the quiet, serene neighborhood, attempting to conceal the anguish that he could feel lingering underneath.
David rang the bell and waited for just a couple of minutes, hearing soft footsteps on the other side of the door.
Joanne answered the door looking haggard. In her early fifties she appeared older, with her salt and pepper hair and deep, dark circles beneath her eyes. She quickly extended her hand.
“So nice to meet you, Mr. Wagers,” she said, her gaze meeting his with unexpected determination. “Please, come in.”
“Nice to meet you, too, Mrs. Tabbin,” David responded. “Your home is lovely.” The center hall colonial opened to a two story entry foyer which delivered a dramatic first impression.
“Thank you so much,” Joanne said. “Come, make yourself comfortable.” She led David to a formal living room where he took a seat on a small sofa. A framed picture of Courtney, a pretty brunette, sat on a nearby end table.
“Would you like anything?” she asked.
“No, thank you,” David said.
Joanne sat down in an armchair across from him. “So, where do we begin?”
“Well,” David said, taking a pad and pen from out of his briefcase, “We could start with that night.”
“Yes, a night I will never forget,” she stated.
Joanne then proceeded to rehash the events of that fateful evening. How Courtney had come home right after work and changed to go out to dinner for a girls’ night out with her co-workers. They were set to meet at the restaurant at seven thirty that evening, and Courtney had left at approximately five forty-five.
“Why did she leave so early?” David asked as he jotted down notes.
“She was probably taking into consideration the rush hour traffic,” Joanne speculated. “I know she was planning to stop for gas and the bank before it closed.”
“Could she have been planning to meet up with someone else before going to dinner?” David questioned.
“Courtney never mentioned that, but I supposed it’s not out of the question,” Joanne said.
“What about boyfriends? Was she seeing anyone at the time?” he continued.
“She did have one boyfriend but he was away in Connecticut for his last year of college,” Joanne answered.
“I’m sure you’ve been asked all of this before, but I need to ask again,” David commented.
“I understand that,” she nodded.
David hesitated for a moment. “Did Courtney have any enemies that you know of, any jealousies or dramas occurring in her life at that time?”
“Not that I know of,” Joanne stated. “Courtney was a popular girl and always had a lot of friends. She was beautiful and outgoing so, yes, there were some jealousies from time to time but nothing drastic.”
“I understand that Courtney was working at a major corporation in the area,” David said, “What was her role in the company?”
“Courtney was working for Well Metro, a health insurance company,” Joanne said, “She worked as a paralegal in their legal department. She was considering going further and becoming an attorney.”
“How long was she working at Well Metro?” David asked.
“She had just started. Maybe six months,” she recalled.
Tapping the pad with his pen, David asked, “Was Courtney having any problems at work?”
“No, not at all,” Joanne answered. “She loved the work she was doing. Her co-workers seemed like a nice group of girls. They were very concerned for her the night she went missing. I actually still talk to one of the girls. She’s very upset about Courtney’s murder and has been very supportive.”
“Could I have her name?” David asked.
“Pam Jobley,” she said. “She’s a very nice girl. In fact, I know she’s looking to move and I was actually considering offering her our lower level suite. It’s been so quiet in the house since Courtney has been gone. Pam is very cooperative and I’m sure she would answer any questions you might have about Courtney should you want to speak with her.”
“Maybe I will,” David said, looking up from his notes.
***
After speaking with Joanne for a little while longer, David left with a list of names of friends, classmates and co-workers of Courtney’s. Although none of the information he obtained was anything new from what was already on record, he was hoping that a different approach would bring forward different results.
It was obvious that Joanne leaned toward the idea that the murder was the result of a robbery gone wrong, some random person that, hopefully, someone would remember seeing Courtney cross paths with that night. David wasn’t so sure, however, and planned to leave no stone unturned.


About the Author


Sherrie Sushko is the author of three books, Remain, Lost Love, and Work & Wagers. When not writing or reading, Sherrie enjoys spending time outdoors with her dog. Sherrie currently resides in the United States.

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The Hidden Children (The Lost Grimoire #1) by Reshma K.Barshikar

~ Release Day Blitz ~ The Hidden Children (The Lost Grimoire #1) by Reshma K.Barshikar 13th November 2018 About the Book: ‘...