Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Available Now: One Knight in Muiden by Elizabeth Coldwell

City Knights, #2
Elizabeth Coldwell



(99c/99p through Sunday 2 December)
Cautious of being given in marriage to a man with a reputation for coldness and cruelty, Lady Swaneke agrees to swap places with her maid, Mette for the night. In disguise, she can watch her potential husband from a distance, and learn more about him.

Count Reynold is not what Swaneke expected, and neither is his man-at-arms, Sir Alwin. What started as a simple game of deception turns to unforgettable passion as finds herself falling for the handsome, brooding knight.

What will happen if Sir Alwin discovers her true identity?

• • •

Muiden, The Netherlands, 1388

Sometimes, the nicest part of living in a castle was stepping outside its gates. For the last couple of days, high winds and heavy rain had kept Swaneke within the thick stone walls. At last, the storm had blown itself out, and she had ventured from the great hall that smelled of wood smoke, roasting meat, and dirty straw to walk in the woods and breathe clean, fresh air.

Ahead of her, Jop snuffled in the undergrowth, wagging his tail at something he’d discovered. Although her father was no longer able to hunt, he couldn’t bear to get rid of his beloved hounds, and Jop had always been his favourite.

She stopped in her tracks and turned around to look at the castle, its conical turrets silhouetted against the cloudless sky. Her home, her sanctuary, and her father’s, too. But so many things had changed since his accident, not least her father himself. He had grown increasingly shrunken and frail and had all but lost the sight in one eye. Swaneke’s heart ached for the man he had once been—tall and well built, with a booming voice that commanded the respect of everyone in Muiden. He still ruled the city, and the lands around it, and his people remained loyal to him. But for how much longer?

In the last few months, he’d grown anxious to ensure Swaneke was settled with a husband before he died. He wanted a marriage for her that would be a strategic alliance, strengthening his fading grip on power. It was no accident that Muiden Castle had been built at the mouth of the Vecht, where it flowed out into the sea surrounding North Holland. Whoever controlled the river controlled the trade route down to the great city of Utrecht. They could charge tolls and set the conditions under which merchants might pass by. Those tolls had made her father a rich man, albeit one resented by many of those who were forced to pay to travel through his fiefdom, and he didn’t want to see that wealth fall into the wrong hands.

In his mind, the ideal suitor for his daughter was Count Reynold of Utrecht. Reynold had lost his first wife to a fever before she could give him an heir, and by all accounts was keen to marry again. Even now he was on his way to Muiden to make the arrangements for the betrothal. Given the improvement in the weather, he should arrive before nightfall.

• • •

Elizabeth Coldwell is the former editor of Forum magazine in the UK and a multi-published author with writing credits for imprints including Black Lace, Headline Liaison, Xcite Books, Totally Bound and Cleis Press.

She has also worked as a senior editor for Xcite Books, winning an International Leather Award for the anthology Lipstick Lovers.

In her spare time, she’s an avid supporter of Rotherham United, and bakes the best brownies in East London.

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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Available Now: Between Magic and Mayhem by JM Robison

The Last Wizard Series, #2
J.M. Robison


(99c through Sunday, 25 November)
Freed from his three-century-long incarceration, Zadicayn hopes to merge himself and his magic back into society. But the Church is still on the hunt to stop him, and the three families want him locked back up.

Jaicom Whaerin—whose ancestors originally incarcerated the wizard—is working in the background trying to keep Zadicayn and Brynn safe. But when his father starts suspecting him, Jaicom must also find ways to keep himself safe.

When the three families and the church both get hold of the wizard, will everything Jaicom has done be in vain?

• • •


I hang a clean sock in my window, hoping to summon the thief like Joseara promised it would.

It does. While I lay in bed the window whispers open so silently I don’t know the thief has entered until the black mass blocks out the moonlight.

“Good evening.” Joseara closes the window. “To the lucky girl getting married to the richest, most handsome man in Valemorren, I hear.”

I sit up and toss the covers off my legs, changing topics in haste with, “Zadicayn needs help recovering his amulet.” I’ve been betrothed two days so far, yet I have not decided how I should feel about that. A small voice of reason forced into a dank, dark, avoided corner of my brain says it’s not up to me how I should feel, that feelings just are and all you need to do is feel them. So, if it’s not excitement I’m feeling about this betrothal, what is it?

The thief sits at my vanity. “I’m listening.”

I fish Zadicayn’s note out of my secret box and hand it over. Her pretty eyes scan it.

“I’m going to do it,” I say. “I would ask for your help so we have more eyes I trust looking for it. And in case we have to . . . pick a lock or something.”

Joseara hands the note back. “Glad to hear our friendship is linked purely by my usefulness.” Her tone balances between sarcasm and seriousness, so I have no idea how to respond. “When?”

I wanted to see Zadicayn right after the ball, but he vanished sometime during Jaicom’s proposal to me which shows too clearly that the proposal upset Zadicayn. I have one, massive, suspicious guess why, and, I think, that is the sticky feeling in my chest occupying the space where my excitement over my betrothal should be. The note Zadicayn left: . . . I shall tarry at the edge of the roade where the animal trail takes ye to the big rock 2 days from now at moon rise. i shall be at that spot for 3 days in a row . . . prevented me from seeing him sooner.

“Can we do it right now?” I ask her.

Despite her mask, I know she’s raised one eyebrow. “That sounded like a plea.”

I know it sounded like a plea. Because my secret life with Zadicayn is screwing up my soon-to-be-new-life with Jaicom and my heart going through constant epileptic episodes over it all tears at my wall separating both. Joseara’s constant analytical gaze on my face tears it down further.

I inhale deeply to retain control. “I’m just not sure what to do with Zadicayn now that I’m betrothed to his enemy. Has my emotions kind of . . . whacked.”

“Uh huh.”

“You sound like you don’t care whether or not you meet him.”

“Oh, I want to meet the reason my family felt they needed to die for it, it’s just . . .” She blinks slowly at me and looks away. “I forget you’ve met with Zadicayn many times already and have developed a relationship I know nothing about yet, so I’m making judgments I have no business making. Will he know I’m coming along?”

I have a good guess about the judgment she’s making. My jaw locks tight when I think about setting her straight. “No. But I’ve explained to him how you helped find the pieces of the key which is what freed him. I know he won’t mind.”

“All right, we can go tonight. It’s not like I have any other illegal activities pending right now.”

I want to hug her. Instead, I rifle through my wardrobe and find my canary yellow, un-tiable dress with white bird patterns. It’s atrocious. I put it on. Minus the corset and petticoats, it hangs limply off my hips.


My voice matches narrowed eyes. “I don’t get the option of choosing what utensil to eat my bread pudding with. What makes you think I get to choose what dresses I own?”

She makes a face I see despite the mask. “At least take off your nightcap. Your brown hair doesn’t glow as badly as the white. And I suppose I can’t blame you. Sometimes I wish I could participate in society and wear nice dresses, to share dinner with family and friends, to be betrothed to a rich man. But then I look at you and think . . . bloody hell no!”

“Help me tie sheets together,” I snip, chaffed by her statement, “so I can get out of the window.”


“Unless you can teach me how to fly, I have no other way to get out of my room.”

She must have taken my tone of irritation for urgency because she climbs off the sill and tosses the blankets off my bed. I assist in tying my sheets together, and only when I’m certain I’m going to fall this time do we bless them done and throw them out the window as if tossing an anchor off a ship.

She bows elaborately to me, indicating I’m to go first.

• • •

Born in small town Bennington, Idaho, J.M. wanted to be just like her big, story writer sister. Big sister paints now, but that initial role model was all the springboard J.M. needed to fearlessly leap into writing the novels of her heart. Getting around the world as a soldier has helped broaden J.M.'s views on cultures and personalities, and settling down as a Deputy Sheriff in Nevada for a time has helped her maintain all the fine intricacies humans are capable of which has helped define her characters into something realistic and believable. Without any prior claims to fame, J.M. is proud to showcase that hard work, even from rock bottom, DOES pay off.

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Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Available Now: Slaughtered by KA Lugo

A Jack Slaughter Thriller
K.A. Lugo



99c through 16 October
The Texter

Fallen homicide detective, Jack Slaughter, closes the door on the home where his perfect family has been brutally snatched from him. Moving across the city, he works as a private investigator to fund his own investigation into what happened to his family—who killed his little girl, Zoë, and where is his wife, Leah?

Every three month for the last three years, Jack receives a simple text telling him where he can find his missing wife. There’s a body at each location, but none of them are Leah.

Jack hates missing person’s cases, but they’re his bread and butter. He only takes the case to find Carl Boyd's missing wife because the details of her disappearance closely match Leah’s. He hopes by finding Bonnie Boyd, he'll find his own wife.

The Butcher

Following the leads in the Bonnie Boyd case, Jack discovers someone has been killing women all over the city for the last three years, a fact Jack’s ex-partner and still best friend, Ray Navarro, has neglected to tell him. The city has a serial killer and officials haven’t been able to find a single lead on the person they’ve dubbed The Butcher.

Could Bonnie Boyd’s disappearance be linked to The Butcher? More important, was Leah one of The Butcher’s victims? Could he have gone so far as to murder a child? With every clue Jack weaves together, his own life unravels even more.

• • •

San Francisco, California


“Is it her? Is it Leah?”

Jack Slaughter’s heart hammered a hole in his chest as he watched the rail-thin form of the newly-made detective, Paul Travers, stride toward him. If he could read the man’s expression and body language, Travers seemed more amused by Jack’s presence than annoyed.

When Jack started lifting the crime scene tape to duck under it, Travers pushed him back with a firm hand on his shoulder.

“You gotta stop turning up like this, Jackie.” Travers’ flippant voice grated on Jack, almost as much as the man’s ruddy complexion and brassy hair. His voice edged on being just a bit too high and too nasal to want to listen to for long. Jack didn’t know how his best friend and former partner, Ray Navarro, could stand it.

With a hand still on his shoulder, Travers nudged Jack back. He made a shooing motion with his other hand. “Why don’t you just go on home and let the professionals do their jobs?”

Travers’ condescending tone made Jack want to punch him in the throat.

“Where’s Ray?” He followed Travers’ gaze over the man’s shoulder and saw Ray standing over the victim’s body several yards away. It appeared to have been positioned at the foot of a tall pine at the dead-end of the road. “I want to talk to him.”

Travers caught his gaze and looked back. “Go home, Jackie. You don’t belong here.” He emphasized the word you. They both knew why Jack was no longer Ray’s partner, nor on the force.

Ignoring the little pissant, Jack shouted over the man’s shoulder. “Ray!” His friend looked up and gave a quick wave to acknowledge he’d seen Jack. He finished up with a CSI, then made his way over.

“What are you doing here, Jack?” When Ray reached up to shake hands, Jack palmed his cell phone into Ray’s.

“I told him to go home . . . partner.”

In Jack’s opinion, Travers seemed to take every opportunity to rub it in that he now occupied Jack’s former position. It didn’t escape his notice that Ray also cringed at the word partner. Jack knew his leaving the force had been a blow to his friend too.

He gazed directly into Ray’s eyes, trying to keep the anxiety he felt from his voice. “I got another one.”

“Jack—” Ray sighed, gazing down at the phone’s screen to the open text—Spreckels Lake.

Since the very first text he’d received—You’ll find your wife in the Panhandle—there had never been anything more than the next location. The texts came every three months, as if on schedule. Every one of them led Jack to a body, but none of them were Leah. If the texter was trying to drive him crazy, it was working. But he couldn’t risk that the guy was crying wolf. Even after three years, Jack still showed up . . . just in case.

Ray handed back the phone then threw his hands onto his hips. Jack could almost hear the gears working in his friend’s head as he gazed around Spreckels Lake with obvious concentration.

This was a beautiful location. Jack remembered bringing his family here, but pushed the memory from his mind. He gazed away from the water, trying to breathe. He knew the answer, but he had to ask it anyway. “Is it her?” Even he heard the waver in his voice.

“You gotta let me do my job, man. You gotta trust me. If this was Leah, you know I’d tell you.”

“I know, but—”

“No buts, Jackie,” Travers cut in, edging up closer to him as if posturing. “You’re not a cop anymore. You don’t belong here. Go home.”

Jack starred at Travers with a look he hoped said, go ahead and touch me again, pissant, I dare you. He must have got his point across because Travers hesitated before stepping away, his back noticeably erect.

“I’m sorry. Paul’s right. You don’t need to be here. It’s not her.” Ray’s voice remained calm. Jack knew the tone, as he often used it to try defusing situations with suspects and distraught families.

“You’re just a distraction, Jackie.”

“Paul!” Ray’s warning tone made Travers jump, as it did those around them.

In his heart, Jack knew when a victim’s family turned up on a crime scene, or tried insinuating themselves into an investigation, it only disrupted the process. More times than he could count, the time he’d spent dealing with the family would have been better served on the investigation.

Jack shrank away from the crime scene tape, his energy evaporating. “You’re right, Ray. I’m sorry. I just can’t risk that the one time I don’t respond to the text, it really will be Leah.”

“I know, Jack. I know.” Ray put his hand on Jack’s shoulder this time, drawing Jack’s attention. “But this isn’t her. Go ho—” Ray stopped short, both knowing Jack hadn’t been home since that night three years ago. “Go back to your place. I’ll stop by after my shift. We’ll talk then, okay?”

Jack looked past Ray’s shoulder to the lifeless body. He watched as technicians carefully placed a protective tarp over the victim, telling him the CSIs had retrieved all the scene evidence they needed and now waited for the coroner’s removal.

Dumping the body at the lake had been a bold move. Even at this dead-end in the road, Golden Gate Park attracted a huge number of people, homeless and visitors alike. Someone had to have seen something.

“Can you use an extra hand?”

“Sorry, Jack. You know I can’t. I gotta get back. I’ll see you later, at your place.”

“Don’t bother.” Jack didn’t have to look back to know Ray watched to make sure he was leaving.

From behind him, he heard Travers ask, “What’s with that guy?”

“Lay off, Paul,” Ray said. “You’d react the same way if your daughter had been murdered and your wife was still missing.”

• • •

K.A Lugo is a native of Northern California who grew up on the Central Coast, with San Francisco just a stone's throw away. Llike most writers, Kem has been writing from a young age, sampling many genres before falling into thrillers, mystery, and suspense.

Kem. loves hearing from readers and promises to reply to each message. Please visit Kem's socials to stay up-to-date on this exciting new series.

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Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Available Now: Saving Maggie by Glenys O'Connell

Maggie is just the sort of person Detective Joshua Tyler hates the most. He’s been hounded by reporters and fake psychics for two years, since his emotionally disturbed wife disappeared. When he meets Maggie, he can’t help being attracted to her, but becomes distrustful when she claims to have a message from his wife.

Her ability incites a serial killer to play games with her; he sends her an invitation in a pink envelope every time he kills, daring her to find his victims. The killer believes Maggie is that one special person he’s been searching for—someone who can read his mind. And only her death can bind them together forever.

When the body of brutally murdered victim is identified as a reporter who wants to write a "Whatever Happened To..." piece about her, Maggie’s name jumps to the top of the suspect list.

How can she make Tyler believe her when he discovers her entire identity is a lie?

Will finding his wife prove once and for all that she’s who she claims to be, and innocent of murder?

And will he join her in a race against an experienced and determined killer if he’s to save her life?

• • •

The woman in the sexy little red convertible looked perky from behind. Her glossy long hair was pulled up in a careless pony tail and swayed from side to side like a cobra charmed by an Indian flute, as she bopped to the music from the car radio.

Even at a car's length away, the driver behind her thought this was the sort of hair a man could run his fingers through and grasp playfully… He wished now he was piloting his own expensive roadster, rather than the sedate brown sedan he'd rented especially for this trip. His own car was the sort that would impress the kind of girl who drove a bright red convertible with the top down on a windy spring day.

He imagined himself overtaking her, seeing her look over at him, her eyes widening in admiration as she took in his expensive ride and wealthy, groomed good looks.

Then she'd remember him and smile…

He gunned the accelerator, and with a disdainful purr the rental spurted forward, pulling alongside her. He glanced over, hoping to catch her eye. But she stared straight ahead, singing along to some mindless muzak and oblivious to his look of longing.

He didn't matter to her. She didn't remember. She didn't smile.

Irritated now, he jabbed the accelerator and zoomed past her. He knew that soon they'd meet again.

Then he'd refresh her memory.

* * *

Maggie Kendall was just leaving Fried Heaven, two cups of the café’s delicious coffee balanced in her hands, when a tall, dark-haired stranger pushed open the door so suddenly that it caught her and hot coffee sloshed wetly down the front of her white silk shirt.

“I am so sorry!” His handsome face flushed with embarrassment as he grabbed a wad of paper napkins from a dispenser on the nearest table and began to mop at the spill. His touch on her upper breasts was electric—it sizzled all the way down to her toes, leaving her breathless.

Brushing his hands away, she snapped, “It's okay, really, I'm fine. My office is just across the road and I can clean up there.”

The man snatched back his hand as he realised the inappropriate intimacy of his touch. Blushing, he jammed the offending hands into his suit pants pockets. “I—at least let me pay for your dry cleaning,” he stammered, but Maggie was already halfway out the door.

“It's nothing, don’t worry about it,” she muttered, avoiding his gaze. A second later, she was gone.

* * *

Josh Tyler blinked, staring as the door slammed behind her. He'd been intent on cleaning up the spilled coffee mess and had acted without thinking. Now his fingers telegraphed the sensation of the warm, soft femininity, and his embarrassment deepened. He hadn't felt this awkward since high school.

“Don't pay any attention to her,” a plump teenager behind the counter said. “That's Maggie Kendall, she's from the city.” She made the words sound like an accusation rather than a statement, and Tyler bit back a smile.

“Now, Alicia, Ms. Kendall's a nice enough woman and she's worked wonders with The Gazette since she bought out old Dan Warrington,” an older woman sitting by the electronic till said in a warning voice.

“Yes, but she's strange. People say she sees things…like, a second sight.”

“Alicia! That's enough. Now, serve the gentleman and then get back into the kitchen and help Sam with the clean-up.”

Tyler wanted to ask more questions but was pretty sure the eagle-eyed cashier would slap him down, so he ordered coffee and a Danish to go, paid, and left the store.

Outside on the broad sidewalk, his eye was caught by the large sign on one of the offices across the road: The Woeful Creek Gazette. Maggie Kendall was an attractive woman, even if maybe a bit highly strung. But he'd no wish to get close to any member of the Press—and certainly not to someone with a reputation for 'seeing things'.

Reporters and psychics were, in his experience, about equal in the charlatan stakes.

• • •

Picture of Glenys O'Connell
Glenys O'Connell writes romantic suspense and comedy. She became interested in crime & criminal psychology when covering the crime beat as a journalist for a large daily newspaper. This led to a degree in psychology and qualifications as a counselor - but writing is her first love and she says romantic suspense satisfies her cravings for both romance and crime! She is also the author of two books on mental health issues, several childrens’ books, and is an award winning playwright. She was born in Lancashire, England, and has lived and worked in the UK, Ireland, and currently in rural Canada.

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