Monday, 23 November 2015

Available Now: Murder in Mornington by Kemberlee Shortland

A Sassy O'Brien Mystery, #1
Kemberlee Shortland

ISBN: 9781310765162

Length: Novella
Genre: Cozy Irish Mystery
Digtial Price: $2.99

Buy Here: Tirgearr Publishing

The last thing hair stylist Sassy O’Brien expects to find on her morning run on her local beach is a dead body. An addict of TV crime programs, she thinks, “What would Beckett do?” After ringing the police, she takes several crime scene photos on her mobile phone, as you do.

Much to Detective Donnelly’s consternation, Sassy’s involvement becomes instrumental in his investigation, especially as clues are overlooked by his team.

How will Sassy cope when all the clues point to her?

• • •

The last thing she expected to find while jogging with her dog on Mornington Beach was a body.

A human body.

But there it was. Her breath caught and her stomach tightened.

To be fair, the body wasn’t actually on the beach, but on the stony bank along the River Boyne near where it opened into the Irish Sea at Mornington Beach. The river had been an active shipping lane since medieval times for the port town of Drogheda just four miles upriver.

Was he alive? The large man lay on his side with his back to her, so she couldn’t tell.

Taking a deep breath, she pulled Bracken to her side and inched closer to the body. The wolfhound strained at the lead, trying to get a sniff between yelps and whines.

The man had shaggy, dark hair and wore a black-wool coat, well-worn, blue denims, and black boots. It seemed to her untrained eye that he could have worked on a ship. Could this man have fallen overboard from one of the ships catching the last high tide? With his damp hair and wet clothes, if he hadn’t fallen off a ship, he’d at least been out here since last night’s rain.

“Hello?” Her voice squeaked. She took deep breaths, forcing herself to relax. “Are you all right?”

Silence was his only reply.

Her heart pounded in earnest now. The dog’s barking didn’t help matters, especially where Sassy’s shoulders were concerned. Wolfhounds were strong, so even though Bracken was a well-trained dog, it was still a struggle keeping her at heel.

“Whisht. Quiet.” She tugged on the lead, and the dog fell in beside her, resorting to soft guttural growls.

Keeping Bracken close, Sassy made a wide arc around the body. The man wasn’t moving, so she inched closer and touched his booted foot with her runner-clad toe. “Hey.” Still nothing.

She scanned the area for help, but at this hour of the morning, she and Bracken were the only ones about.

Cautiously, she moved in front of him and knelt onto one knee to see if she recognized him beneath the strands of damp hair partially obscuring his face. He didn’t look familiar, but he did look pale. Really pale. His lips were grey. She noticed the side of his face was discolored where it rested near the ground, but the rest of him was deathly pale.

Then his lips moved.

He’s alive.

She leaned in closer. “I can’t hear you. What are you saying? Are you all right?”

Just as she reached out to move aside the hair from his eyes, his mouth opened. What she’d thought was his tongue emerged as a small crab when it spilled onto the ground and skittered away toward the river.

“Oh, dear God!”

Sassy quickly fell back. Bracken’s sharp, startled yip meant the dog was behind her, which caused Sassy to lose her balance. She twisted her body, hoping not to crush the poor dog when she landed. Rough stones bit into her hip as she came to a crushing stop, her elbow and shoulder taking the rest of her weight.

Without considering her injuries, she spun onto her back and used her feet to push herself through the stones and away from the dead man. Bracken’s lead had wrapped around Sassy’s wrist, forcing the dog even closer to her as they moved.

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” Her heart felt like it was going to explode from her chest.

Once more, she gazed around her. This is what she got for running so early in the morning.

She turned her gaze back to the corpse.

She admitted it now. He was a corpse.

Her stomach tensed. She swallowed hard to keep her morning’s tea and toast in place.

Buck up. It’s just a body. He can’t hurt you. It’s not like you haven’t seen dead people before. Good God, this is Ireland. A good, old-fashioned Irish wake put paid to the fear of seeing dead people. Lots of them. She’d just never seen one on the beach before.

Taking long, deep breaths, Sassy got hold of herself. She pulled her mobile from her coat pocket and dialed 999.

• • •

Kemberlee is a native Northern Californian who grew up in a community founded by artists and writers, including John Steinbeck, George Sterling, and Jack London.

She studied law and graphic art in school but went onto earn dual diplomas in canine and feline nutrition, and hotel and restaurant management. At one time she also ran a private part time canine obedience business, and also showed English Bull Terriers.

Over the years, Kemberlee has worked with several Carmel notables, including Doris Day, Kim Novak, and Joan Fontaine. It was in 1997, she left the employ of Clint Eastwood to live in Ireland for six months. It was there she met the man she would marry, and permanently relocated to live in Ireland.

While always writing since a very young age, Kemberlee earned her keep as one of Ireland's foremost travel consultants, and also wrote travel articles about Ireland.

In 2005, Kemberlee saw her first romance sell, and to date, she has thirteen published titles to her name.

Kemberlee enjoys her two Border Collies, who feature on the cover of A Piece of My Heart. She's also an avid knitter and crocheter, adult coloring, gardening, photography, music, travel, and tacos!

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Friday, 20 November 2015

Available Now: A Portrait of My Love by Jennifer Young

Lake Garda Series, #1
Jennifer Young

ISBN: 9781310836015

Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Price: $4.99

Buy Here: Tirgearr Publishing

Terrified of commitment, Skye Ashton ditches her artist boyfriend, Zack, and disappears off to Italy with her best friend, the fascinating and fabulously wealthy Leona Castellano. When Zack turns up, Skye realises how much she really cares for him. But she has a fight on her hands, because Leona has taken an instant fancy to him, and she’s used to getting what she wants.

When Leona sets out to uncover the true story behind an old family feud, she puts herself in danger, and Zack finds himself drawn into an attempt to save her.

Will his intervention in Leona’s life lead to him losing Skye, the girl he really loves?

• • •

I had a problem.

Me. Skye Ashton. Just-turned twenty-one, a student approaching my last year at university, with the richness of life spread in front of me like a confusing patchwork counterpane, its acres of patterns and textures waiting for me to make my mark on them, to forge my own path through their knotted maze of colour, their swirls of emotion. Balanced on the edge of everything and a little bit scared to step off. Dreaming all the dreams that girls of my age do, of a career. Running my own business. Turning the tedious studies of the business management classroom into a real-life adventure. Running my own marketing consultancy. Being a serious player.
In love.

No, not in love. Afraid I was in love.

That was the problem.

I sat in the window of the Edinburgh flat I shared with my older sister, River, balancing my phone on the palm of my hand and weighing up my options as I watched the comings and goings two floors below—the elderly couple with their groceries, the summer visitors pointing their cameras to catch the sharpness of the city skyline against the clear blue sky, the children bowling along to the play park.

Should I call Zack or Leona? It was Leona’s birthday and although I’d already texted, she could be needy and liked attention so perhaps we should speak. She’d give my mood an instant injection of some feel-good chemical that few people were able to produce—a zest for living, for doing, one of the things that attracted me to her.

That was the case for phoning Leona.

Phoning Zack, by contrast, was a bad idea. Whenever I spoke to him my heart pounded in my chest and my blood pulsed much more quickly round my body. And if that was a feel-good drug in itself, its side effects sent me accelerating towards a crazy lack of control; and I hated being out of control.

Zack or Leona? Holding the phone out into a pool of sunlight, I counted to three. I wasn’t normally so indecisive. If River had been there she’d have stood no nonsense. Call Zack, her voice instructed me in my head. You’re in love with him. But River was out who-knew-where in theory at work, but she hadn’t made it back to the flat from the night before and I had no idea where she might be. And no matter how sensible, someone else’s wise words are no good when you say them to yourself.

Zack or Leona? Leona or Zack?

I took the easy option, flashing a finger across the screen until Leona’s number appeared in front of me like magic. ‘Call Leona’ urged the screen. But still I hesitated.

Zack’s was the voice I yearned to hear, even though he was at work and the chances were that all I’d get would be the businesslike message on his voicemail. That would be enough, for now; that fix of feel-good folly.

In the end my indecision paid off and I was ridiculously relieved when the phone rang and spared me the wrong choice.

• • •

Jennifer Young is an Edinburgh-based writer, editor and copywriter. She is interested in a wide range of subjects and writing media, perhaps reflecting the fact that she has both arts and science degrees. Jennifer has been writing fiction, including romantic fiction, for a number of years with several short stories already published. Thanks You For The Music, which is set on the Balearic island of Majorca, is her first published novel.

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Available Now: One Night in Cleveland by Megan Morgan

City Nights, #18
Megan Morgan

ISBN: 9781311060938

Length: Novella
Genre: Erotic Romance
Price: $2.99

Buy here: Tirgearr Publishing

Chef Matt Fattore lives a clean and lawful life—so he doesn't expect to meet the woman of his wet dreams by being arrested by her. When Lieutenant Caylee Benton of the Cleveland PD mistakes him for a wanted burglar, Matt finds out fantasies sometimes land right in your lap—and frisk you.

Sparks fly despite the misunderstanding and Matt decides to take a chance and ask her out—and maybe, coax her into bed. But Caylee is more than just a beautiful woman with a badge and a gun. While Matt is falling in lust with her, she'll become his hero, too.

Matt is about to spend the wildest twenty-four hours of his life in Cleveland, and if he’s lucky, he’ll be in handcuffs by the end of the night.

• • •

“Damn it,” Lieutenant Caylee Benton sighed.

In her right hand, she held a mug shot of Benjamin Tyler: thief and general all-around cop-evading thug. In her left hand, she held Matthew Fattore’s driver’s license. Seeing them side-by-side they obviously weren’t the same person. Benjamin Tyler was older and wasn’t nearly as handsome.

Subjectively, anyway.

“They look so much alike,” she muttered. “Like I need another report to write.”

Caylee ran a background check on Matthew Fattore. Apart from a couple public disturbance incidents nearly a decade before, he was clean. He did work at Fondant. The man who’d brought his license, José Rodriguez, worked with Matt.

She’d screwed up, big time.

She walked into the booking room, hiding her chagrin behind a poker face. Mistaken identity happened, but it had never happened on her watch. Her sergeants were more meticulous than that.

Apparently, she wasn’t.

Matt sat in a chair, hands still cuffed behind his back. He was scowling, but his outrage didn’t take away from his handsomeness.

His body was sculpted, from finely hewn muscle, plainly visible through his tight gray T-shirt—broad shoulders, a firm chest, tight abs. Tattoos wound around both of his beefy arms. A thick coif of jet-black hair graced his head and enhanced the beauty of his chiseled face. He definitely looked like the type of guy who worked in Tremont, Cleveland’s hipster enclave—bike and all.

“Mr. Fattore,” Caylee said.

He lifted his chin with a smirk. “Finally figured that out, did you?”

She urged him to his feet. “I’m very sorry about this.” She circled around him. “You unfortunately fit the description of a suspect we’re pursuing.”

She undid the cuffs, and Matt pulled his arms around in front of him. He worked his shoulders and they strained at his shirt. “I should sue the crap out of you.” He sounded like he was only half-joking.

“Mr. Fattore,” she spoke patiently. “I would advise you not to pursue such a costly and time-consuming endeavor. Intention counts in mistaken identity cases. We followed the letter of the law.”

“You didn’t even read me my Miranda Rights.”

Caylee wouldn’t mock him for his lack of knowledge. He had every right to be mad. “That’s…just TV. We don’t have to read those unless we’re going to interrogate you.” She held his license out to him.

Matt took it. “Thanks.” He pushed it into his hip pocket. “Glad I could stop by.”

“In the future, Mr. Fattore, I would suggest you keep your ID on you at all times. I’m truly sorry about this. Is there any way I can make this up to you?”

He gazed at her a moment then smiled widely. He had nice teeth, cutely crooked in the front. “Have lunch with me.”

• • •

Megan Morgan is an urban fantasy, romance, and erotica author from Cleveland, Ohio—a bartender by day and purveyor of things that go bump at night.

She’s a member of the RWA and trying to turn writing into her day job, so she can be on the other side of the bar for a change.

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Saturday, 14 November 2015

Available Now: Spirit of the Island by Joan Fleming

Magic of Mull, #2
Joan Fleming

ISBN: 9781311063670

Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Price: $3.99

Buy here: Tirgearr Publishing

Scarred physically and emotionally after a car accident, Kirsty Mitchell fears that her two-year-old marriage may be falling apart. Her husband Adam has cancelled their planned holiday cruise to the Caribbean, as he has to work in London. After a blazing row, the couple part on seriously bad terms.

As Kirsty approaches her thirtieth birthday, she is looking ahead to six weeks’ holiday from her job as a classroom assistant in a primary school in Glasgow. She is facing a long, lonely summer in her city-centre flat.

Encouraged by her friend Freda, Kirsty decides to spend some time on the Isle of Mull, the Scottish island of which she has happy memories of visiting her late grandmother. She finds accommodation in a small guest house run by the Fergusons, a couple she knew from her younger days. Another friend she first met on the island as a teenager, Amy Wilson, now also lives on Mull, and Kirsty plans to make contact with her.

At the guest house, she comes into contact with Finn, a charismatic diver, who makes it clear he finds her attractive in spite of her scar, and they spend some time together.

Kirsty is facing an uncertain future. Will her stay on the island help her to recover from the accident? She is tempted to respond to the attentions of Finn, but should she make an effort to patch up her marriage to Adam?

• • •

You’ve dropped something.’ Kirsty Mitchell’s friend, Freda, bent to pick up the handwritten sheet of paper. ‘Is it important?’

‘Read it,’ Kirsty said. ‘It’s from Elsa, a woman I know in Mull. I didn’t go past the first paragraph.’

‘We’re having a party to celebrate our Silver Wedding next month,’ Freda read out. ‘Why don’t you come and bring that young man of yours? It’s about time we met him. How long have you been married now?’

While Freda was reading, Kirsty walked over to the window. Looking down onto the busy to-ing and fro-ing of the Glasgow city centre traffic, she could hear the noise of cars and buses–engines revving, brakes squealing–as they responded to the traffic lights at the crossroads. This hive of activity represented the lives of people going places, people in a hurry with appointments to attend, deadlines to meet, business to conduct.

Thinking about the days and weeks ahead, Kirsty had a leaden feeling in her stomach. Six weeks–possibly longer–stretched before her; about forty days with no appointments, no deadlines, a diary which was free of any engagements. How she envied the people in the street below.

It was good of Freda, one of her oldest friends, to come through from Edinburgh for the weekend, responding to her SOS. Amid tears of anger and disappointment, Kirsty had issued a cry for help.

‘Adam’s just left… I told him not to come back… I think our marriage is over… I don’t know what to do…’ she’d said, her voice muffled by her tears.

‘So you’re on your own?’ Freda asked.


‘I’ll be with you in a couple of hours.’

* * *

The argument had started when Kirsty’s husband, Adam, announced at short notice that he would be away from home for two months.

‘I’m sure you’ll find plenty to do,’ he’d said. ‘I might be back sooner than expected, but you have friends here…’

‘All my friends have made plans for the summer. If you’d given me more warning…’

‘I only heard two days ago. It’s too good an opportunity to miss, Kirsty. You do understand that, don’t you?’ He had taken hold of her hands, pulling her round, trying to make her look into his eyes. ‘You’ll be all right, won’t you?’

‘Of course, I’ll be all right.’ Her clipped tone could not have left her husband in any doubt about her reaction to his news. ‘Sensible, capable Kirsty. She’ll always make the best of things.’

‘Don’t be like that, darling. Sarcasm doesn’t help. We can plan the cruise for next year and, with the firm landing this contract, it could be bigger and better…’

‘I don’t need bigger and better, Adam. I’ve been looking forward to going on the cruise this year…’

‘You can still go. Take one of your friends with you,’ Adam said.

‘I’ve told you, they’re all booked up for their holidays. Besides, it wouldn’t be the same. I wanted to go with you.’

‘And I wanted to go with you, darling. But I really have no choice…’

You always have a choice, she’d thought.

• • •

Joan Fleming was born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland. After university there, she became a teacher of French and German for a short period in the London area, then in the West of Scotland.

Since leaving education, she now concentrates on creative writing. She has had short stories and articles published in magazines in both the UK and America, and has won a number of awards for her writing.

Joan is a member of Erskine Writers, the Scottish Association of Writers, the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors.

Her interests include: reading, walking, travel, islands (anywhere!) and the life and work of Robert Burns.

She now lives in a flat on the outskirts of Glasgow overlooking the West Highland Way.

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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Available Now: Marred by Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta

ISBN: 9781311566508

Length: Novel
Genre: Thriller
Price: $4.99

Buy Here: Tirgearr Publishing

When a serial killer breaks into the home of bestselling author, Sage Quintano, she barely escapes with her life. Her husband, Niko, a homicide detective, insists they move to rural New Hampshire, where he accepts a position as Grafton County Sheriff. Sage buries secrets from that night—secrets she swears to take to her deathbed.

Three years of anguish and painful memories pass, and a grisly murder case lands on Niko’s desk. A strange caller begins tormenting Sage—she can’t outrun the past.

When Sage’s twin sister suddenly goes missing, Sage searches Niko’s case files and discovers similarities to the Boston killer. A sadistic psychopath is preying on innocent women, marring their bodies in unspeakable ways. And now, he has her sister.

Cryptic clues. Hidden messages. Is the killer hinting at his identity? Or is he trying to lure Sage into a deadly trap to end his reign of terror with a matching set of corpses?

• • •

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Even the weather betrayed me. Aqua-blue sky, not a cloud in sight. Niko and I sat in silence during the two-and-a-half hour trip north. Next week offered a new beginning, a chance to leave Boston and never look back.

I lowered the back passenger window. A light breeze ruffled farmland acres, and a full, round sun shined, burned, blazed as though this was an ordinary day. The limousine tires hit cracked asphalt, the road worn from a brutal New Hampshire winter. Birds whistled serenades. Preteens played basketball within the confines of school grounds. Young, adolescent voices carried in the crisp morning air, rustling hues of burnt orange, scarlet, and burgundy through autumn leaves. Mountains stood proudly as if they could protect us. Here, perhaps, but not in Boston, where my nightmare began eight days and six hours ago.

We drove by the Minot Sleeper Library, and my gaze narrowed on the patrons. A middle-aged woman clutched my latest novel close to her heart like a coveted treasure. Scorching heat jagged up my chest. Soon she’d enjoy my words while I endured the harshest committal.

Didn’t she know? Couldn’t she feel my pain, my anguish? Pure evil enveloped my life and then spit me out like bitterness on a delicate palate, leaving me reeling in torment.

The hearse carrying our dreams, our endless devotion, veered right through tall, iron gates and followed a winding road to the back of the cemetery.

My fingers curled around the armrest, and I shifted my sight to Niko.

Splayed hands on his knees, he turned only his head and offered a weak, faint smile. “You okay?” His voice was barely above a whisper.

To demonstrate what I thought of his stupid question, I shot him a cutting glare.

Palms up, Niko opened his arms. “What? I only asked if you were okay.”

“Seriously?” I said. “How could anyone be okay with this?”

Two funeral employees in dark suits dragged a tiny coffin from the back of the hearse. Stark white, the casket rode in their hands as the men marched over burnt, dead grass. Lowering the coffin onto two bands, they stepped away. My baby lingered above the mouth of an awaiting grave—displaying my shame, announcing my cowardice.

“We’ve gotta go.” Niko’s words churned the sickening feeling deep in my gut.

I peered through the side window, the cemetery dark and gloomy through tinted glass. The world now appeared as it should, mourning along with me.
Niko said, “Babe?”

The limo driver opened my door and startled me. He reminded me of a prison guard, hands clasped behind his back, eyes focused straight ahead. Behind him, rows and rows of ghosts, shattered lives buried deep with nothing left but a headstone to mark their existence. In the distance, an emerging sea of blue soldiered toward the grave—Niko’s fellow detectives, the ones who did nothing.

I twisted toward my husband, and a stabbing pain stole my breath. I bit my upper lip, waiting for the pang to subside. “Why are they here?”

“To pay their respects, Sage. Look, if you wanna blame someone—”

“Don’t,” I warned.

My crutches in hand, he dashed around the back of the limo to my door. Jaw clenched, I sneered at my new mode of transportation and steadied my balance with the toe of my splinted leg. I dropped my chin to my chest. Dammit. Why didn’t I fight? Why didn’t I do something, anything?

With a supportive arm around my waist, Niko coaxed me toward the gravesite. I passed him one of the crutches and rested my head against his strong chest. If only he could sweep me away, so I didn’t have to face this devastation.

I squeezed my eyes closed. I couldn’t look, couldn’t witness the finality. It wasn’t fair. I had no memories to savor. No first touch, no tiny fist gripping my finger. No first steps, first word. I never had the chance to admire a newborn’s searching eyes, gazing at the world as a wondrous place. Instead, I had the harsh reality that wicked men roamed free, leaving destruction in their wake.

I had nothing, except the faint recall of precious feet kicking my insides, yearning to break free and experience life. My baby’s lungs never had the chance to expand with oxygen-infused air. He would never know the magic of Christmas, or admire glorious lights dancing on tree limbs. My boy would not have the honor of placing a brilliant star on the top branch as his daddy lifted him so his delicate hands could reach.

For God sake, he didn’t even have a name. The headstone was marked only with, “Baby Quintano.” This was so cruel. Why did we have to endure such torture? There wasn’t much I wouldn’t do for my unborn son. But this? Dear God, not this.

Bob Jordan, the funeral director, recited the opening remarks. I cocked an ear, my grip tightening around the crutch. I slid my gaze toward Niko. Did he notice slight nuances in Bob’s pitch, the unspoken truth I insisted he conceal?

Beneath gauze bandages, sweat seeped through the multitude of stitches zigzagging across my forearms. Pain throbbed from a dislocated knee, and broken ribs labored my breath—my injuries refusing to allow a moment of repose. Thanks to a mass murderer who slipped through Niko’s grasp, tranquility no longer existed.

Tears brimmed in my husband’s red-rimmed eyes and he offered me a reassuring squeeze. “It’s almost over, babe.”

I swallowed, averted my gaze. I didn’t deserve his kindness, his love.

We huddled together opposite six Boston detectives in department dress blues. Cold stares in my direction, foreheads rippled in accusation.

Bob Jordan asked if we wanted to speak. Niko swept my hair out of my face, but I kept my head down, staring at the ground.

“I think we’re all set,” he said, tears hitching his voice.

Bob gave a slight nod and cranked a handle that lowered our child into the maw of nevermore. Hot tears slipped down the sides of my face, salt biting jagged wounds on my cheek, upper lip, and neck. The cemetery became eerily quiet. Soft gasps and muffled cries from my heart fracturing beyond repair pierced a cool September wind.

Inside I screamed, “No! Don’t take our baby! Please, stop! I can’t survive this!” Verbally, as usual, I remained silent.

As we rode through the cemetery gates, I swiveled to peer out the back windshield, a piercing ache deep in my empty womb. If only, somehow, this was just a bad dream.

• • •

Sue Coletta is a member of Mystery Writers Of America and Sisters In Crime. She lives in northern New Hampshire with her husband and four-legged baby. If you catch her strolling on the beach or roaming the rural backroads don't be surprised if she stops to chat with you about her books or her two beautiful granddaughters. Just don't ever call her Grandma.

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Friday, 6 November 2015

Available Now: Crime at Christmas by Noreen Wainwright

An Edith Horton Mystery, #3
Noreen Wainwright

ISBN: 9781311568892

Length: Novel
Genre: Mystery
Price: $3.99

Buy Here: Tirgearr Publishing

Jeremiah Arkwright’s death was sudden and violent. He was a domestic tyrant and uses his strict religious beliefs to control his family. He also had fraught relationships with his farming neighbours. There was another side to Jeremiah, however – a secret life. Has somebody discovered his secret or has someone close to him sought revenge? Edith Horton is drawn into the dark secrets of Pear Tree Farm.

• • •

At the shriek, she jolted back, and her heart jumped into her throat. She held tightly to Max’s lead. The hairs on his back stood up, and the phrase about hackles rising came to mind.

Edith wanted to run. There was evil in this place. All her instincts told her to get as far away as fast as she could. Her hand gripped Max’s collar as he stood stock still for a few seconds. The dog’s hackles stayed up and he strained against her hold. He was a dog that rarely barked, but now he emitted a low growl.

She couldn’t just leave, and as far as she could remember, there was no other house in the vicinity.

“Come on, Max,” She was probably mad, but she couldn’t walk away. She pulled the dog’s lead and went up the drive. Her hands and feet were like blocks of ice, despite her boots and gloves; her face was hot, and her stomach roiled as though she were on a fair ground ride.

The farmhouse at the top of the drive was built of stone like all others in these parts, but unlike other farmsteads, no attempt had been made to brighten the place. It looked as dour and forbidding as the moors a few miles away.

“Hello?” Edith’s voice to her own ears sounded tentative and weak. She was a fool. But there was no point in second thoughts at this stage. She’d come this far.

“Who’re you?” The voice was male, but she couldn’t see anyone straight away. Then he stood in front of her, having come out of a building at the side of the yard.

“I’m sorry. I’m Miss Horton from Ellbeck, just out walking with my dog. I thought I heard someone call out. It sounded like someone in distress, in trouble.”

“No trouble here, miss.”

His tone was sly, and Edith’s skin crawled as though a spider walked up her back.

Then, came another shriek. “No, mother, no, let me out, let me go.”

Courage, Edith told herself and fought against weak legs and a racing mind to appear calm. She called out, “Something’s obviously wrong. Can I help?”

The man didn’t answer, but the sound of a door opening came from the house and a woman emerged. “Get in here, Reuben,” she said. “Who’re ye talking to?”

The woman continued, “Oh, I know you, from village, doctor’s sister. Isn’t it? You’d best be coming in. ‘Appen, we need go fetch your brother.” She wiped her hands on a rough apron.

Edith swallowed, wished her mouth wasn’t so dry.

“Father’s dead,” the woman said. Her voice was flat, out of kilter with the words.

The man came up close to Edith, too close for comfort. What choice did she have but to go into the house? She gripped Max’s lead tightly, tried to send a silent message to the dog to protect her. Pretty stupid. Max was a Labrador, noted more for friendliness and eating everything in sight than fierceness. Maybe he would though…would protect her. Please God, he wouldn’t have to.

• • •

Photo of Noreen WainwrightNoreen is Irish and now lives in the Staffordshire Moorlands with her husband, a dairy farmer. She works part-time as a mentor at Staffordshire University and the rest of her time is spent writing. Many of her articles and short stories have been published and she has co-written a non-fiction book.

She loves crime fiction, particularly that of the “golden age” and that is what she wants to recreate with Edith Horton’s world.

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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Available Now: Mistletoe Medium by Elizabeth Delisi

A Lottie Baldwin Mystery, #3
Elizabeth Delisi

ISBN: 9781310044779

Length: Novelette
Genre: Mystery
Price: $1.99

Buy Here: Tirgearr Publishing

No sooner does psychic Lottie Baldwin pull up stakes and move to Cheyenne, North Dakota, than she finds herself up to her neck in a series of mysterious robberies. Can Lottie and the handsome new man in her life, deputy sheriff Harlan Erikson, solve the crime spree before Lottie becomes the next victim?

• • •

Lottie Baldwin glanced in her rearview mirror and frowned. Why hadn’t her tarot cards foreseen this? Red flashing lights reflected from the revolving dome atop a sheriff’s car, trailing directly behind her. After driving four hundred miles, the final hundred with the afternoon sun glaring in her eyes, the last thing she needed was a speeding ticket. She eased off the accelerator and pulled into the breakdown lane of the small, two-lane highway.

The sheriff’s car stopped behind her and a tall, muscular man in a black uniform got out. Lottie watched him in the mirror, absentmindedly patting her tousled blond curls into place, fascinated by the lithe way he moved. She’d never been interested in the law-and-order type, but this man might be the one who could change her mind. She opened her window, letting in the unseasonably mild early-December air.

He leaned down and removed his sunglasses. “May I see your license and registration, please?”

“Of course, Sheriff,” Lottie said, smiling briefly to bring her dimples into view as she read his badge—Lake County, North Dakota Sheriff’s Department. He was even more gorgeous up close, with dark blue eyes and broad shoulders that strained the top buttons of his shirt. The setting sun tinged his blond hair coppery-gold, and a light breeze brought the subtle scent of his spicy aftershave to her nostrils. His proximity made her light-headed. “What’s the problem? Was I speeding?” she asked innocently as she rummaged in the bottom of her purse for her driver’s license.

“You were going sixty-eight in a fifty-five zone, ma’am,” he said, accepting her license and registration.

“I’m sorry, Sheriff. I’ve been on the road since six this morning. I guess I was anxious for the trip to be over.” She smiled again, more intimately this time.

“Lottie Baldwin,” he read from her driver’s license. “Blond hair, gray eyes. From New York?”

“Not anymore.” She shook her head. “I’m moving to Cheyenne and I’m so sorry to make such a poor first impression on the local law enforcement. Can we start over?” She extended her hand.

The officer studied her for a minute then grasped her hand in his. “Pleased to meet you, ma’am. My name is Harlan Erikson. I’m a deputy sheriff here and, as lovely as you are, I’m afraid I’m going to have to write you a ticket.”

As their hands touched, tingles shot up Lottie’s arm. Lovely, was she? The man had good taste! “You just do what you have to do,” she purred. “I respect a man who does his job.” She made no move to withdraw her hand, letting it lie trustingly in his.

• • •

Elizabeth Delisi wanted to be a writer since she was in first grade, and probably would have written in the womb if she could have convinced her mother to swallow a pencil. But life hasn't always gone the way she planned, and on her road to publication she worked as a motel maid, waitress, secretary, administrative aide, substitute teacher, and newspaper reporter.

Elizabeth is a multi-published, award-winning author of romance, mystery and suspense. Her time-travel romance set in ancient Egypt, Lady of the Two Lands, won a Bloody Dagger Award and was a Golden Rose Award nominee. Her romantic suspense novel, Since All is Passing, was an EPPIE Award finalist and Bloody Dagger Award finalist. Fatal Fortune was a Word Museum Reviewer’s Choice Masterpiece. Elizabeth's contemporary romance novella The Heart of the Matter is featured in the Valentine's Day-themed anthology Cupid's Capers and was an EPPIE Award finalist. A Carol of Love is part of Holiday Hearts anthology and an EPPIE Award finalist. A Cup of Christmas Charm is part of Holiday Hearts 2 anthology and was also an EPPIE Award finalist. Elizabeth is also the author of the newly released speculative short fiction collection, The Midnight Zone.

Elizabeth is an instructor for Writer’s Digest University. She has taught Creative Writing at the community college level, has worked as a copyeditor for several small publishers, and edits for individuals. She holds a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing major from St. Leo University.

Elizabeth is currently at work on Deadly Destiny and Perilous Prediction, the sequels to Fatal Fortune, and Knit A Spell, a paranormal romance.

Elizabeth lives in New Hampshire with her husband and feisty parakeet. She enjoys hearing from her readers.

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