Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Available Now: Silent Mayhem by Sue Coletta

SILENT MAYHEM
The Mayhem Series, #3
Sue Coletta

$4.99

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FREE on Kindle Unlimited

(99c through Sunday 28 April)
Some things in life defy comprehension, but that doesn’t make them any less real. Or deadly.

When a familiar crow drops a cryptic scroll at Shawnee Daniels’ feet, she’s compelled to open it, even though everything in her power warns her not to. Mr. Mayhem—the most prolific serial killer the North Shore has ever known—claims her life is in danger. He “claims” he wants to help her, but just last year he threatened to murder everyone she loves.

While Mayhem taunts her with oddly-placed feathers, like The Creator left at his crime scenes, an interstate killing spree rocks Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A madman is decapitating men and women, dumping their headless corpses on two area beaches. But what Shawnee soon uncovers shatters all she’s ever known, her memories shredded, the whispers of the past in shambles on the ground.

Can she find the strength to move forward, or will the truth destroy her?

• • •

Monday
Midnight

“As you take your final breath, let the tears rain down from the heavens, a silent mayhem whispering the sins of the past.” In the bunker, an ornate lair several feet below ground, Mr. Mayhem leaned toward Mary Rowlandson’s face, her bloody nose an inch away from his. Gazing into her watery eyes, he listed his head to one side. “Will you scream for me? Oh, how I miss the sound of raw emotion.”

She screeched, “Why are you doing this?”

“You don’t know?” He jerked away from her, laying splayed gloved-fingers to his chest. “My apologies. I was under the impression that you’d been fully informed.” His gaze fled over his shoulder to Chayton, his protégé. “Is there some reason you withheld the truth from Ms. Rowlandson?”

Chayton bowed his head, staring at the concrete floor.

“By doing so, you’ve missed the mark, my dear boy. Look at me.” He waited for the young executioner to look up. “This message is important. She needs to know…to understand…she must feel her shame.”

With an intent stare into Chayton’s eyes, he strode toward him. “Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart…”

“It knows,” replied Chayton.

“Indeed, it does.”

He gave a knowing nod, and young Chayton swung the sword.

In one swift motion, Mayhem snagged a fistful of Ms. Rowlandson’s fair hair before her decapitated body crumpled to the concrete. Raising the severed head toward the dome ceiling, he proclaimed, “With this one brave act, the tears shall fall. Your reign has begun, my son. Make us proud.”

• • •


Sue Coletta is a Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Grafton County Series and the Mayhem Series, which won the Best Mystery/Thriller/Heist Award and Readers’ Choice Award in Mystery/Thriller. Sue also writes in the Kindle Worlds, where she hit #1 in Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense. Sue’s had short stories and flash fiction published in Out of the Gutter Flash Fiction Offensive magazine and numerous anthologies, and InSinC Quarterly featured her forensic articles.

In 2017 & 2018, her Murder Blog won Feedspot’s Top 50 Crime Blog Award. She’s also the communications manager for Forensic Science and the Serial Killer Project, both groups founded by cold case expert, Detective Sergeant (Ret.) Joe Giacalone. As a way to help fellow crime writers, Sue created a team of crime experts (detectives, coroners, police captains, etc.) and founded #ACrimeChat on Twitter.

Sue lives in northern New Hampshire with her husband/best friend. When she’s not writing or reading, you might catch her feeding circus peanuts to her beloved pet crows, who live free.


Find Sue Online:

Website - http://www.suecoletta.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SueColetta1
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/SueColetta1
Blog - https://suecoletta.com/murder-blog
Blog - https://killzoneblog.com
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Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/suecoletta1
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/pub/sue-coletta/a0/1b9/161
Tirgearr Publishing - http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Coletta_Sue




Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Available Now: Missing Pieces by Susan Clayton-Goldner

MISSING PIECES
Susan Clayton-Goldner

$4.99

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99c/p through Sunday 21 April
Lillianna Ferguson has spent the last twenty years pretending her father is dead. She moved to Oregon—far away from her childhood home in Delaware—changed her name from Emma to Lillianna and vowed never to go back.

When her brother, Greg, phones, begging her to come home to care for their father who has been diagnosed with a dangerous, aortic aneurysm, she is adamant in her refusal. When did he ever take care of her?

But Greg is equally stubborn in his arguments that she return, as the surgeon at Johns Hopkins won’t repair the aneurysm without first amputating their father’s infected leg.

Calvin Miller, a disabled WWII veteran, survived a grenade that killed his best friend. It took off most of his right hand and left him with osteomyelitis in his leg, a bone-destroying infection, that refuses to heal. His surgeon believes his only chance for survival is amputation. The irony that his body is about to experience another explosion does not escape Lilianna.

Calvin, who has fought more than fifty years to save this leg, is adamant he will die the same way he lived—with both legs. Greg believes, if anyone can convince their father to have the amputation, it will be Lillianna.

Will she leave her safe life and reenter the minefield of her childhood?

• • •

Williams, Oregon
Thursday, September 21, 1995

“You know he’s fought hard for more than fifty years to keep his leg.”

Lillianna Ferguson paced across the kitchen of her Oregon ranch house, stretching the coiled phone cord to its limits. But she couldn’t escape the slam of guilt her brother’s words brought. Their mother had told her about the way, against all the odds, her father had learned to walk again in the corridors of Valley Forge Military Hospital.

“Can’t you find someone else? A nurse or caregiver? Maybe the Veterans Administration can help.”

“Doctor Willingham claims he can’t fix the aneurysm without amputating. And the way it is now, Pop won’t agree to the surgery. With the size of that bubble, it’s just a matter of weeks before his aorta blows. The VA is paying his bills at Johns Hopkins. Come on, Em—”

“The name is Lillianna, Greg. It’s only been eighteen years since I changed it.” She sighed. Why couldn’t her brother or anyone in her extended family accept the fact she was no longer Emma Miller? That name was a constant reminder of everything she wanted to forget. “The VA has rehab facilities.”

“I checked out a couple, and they’re pretty depressing. Besides, they bring

back things. Things he’d rather forget. You’re his daughter, and he hasn’t seen you for years.”

A dose of guilt she refused to swallow. “Since when does he care if he—?”

“For crying out loud. Let it go. He’s an old man, and he needs you. He… He…” Greg’s voice broke.

Lillianna swallowed. Greg, though three years older, had always been the soft-hearted one, the caretaker, the boy who’d tightened her roller skates with a key he kept on a string around his neck.

“He what? He needs me to take care of him? Is that what you’re saying? Well, when did he ever take care of me?” Despite her attempts at control, her voice cracked, and she gripped the phone receiver in her sweaty hand. She glanced at the clock on the microwave. Her husband, Steve, would be back from feeding the horses soon and dinner was almost ready. She didn’t want to be in the middle of an argument with her brother when her husband returned.

“Hell… he didn’t take care of me either,” Greg finally admitted. “But he’s our father. And he’s been through a hell of a lot. He’s not the man you remember. Pop stopped drinking after Mom died. I’ve tried to put the past behind me and be there for him in spite of…”

She dragged her left hand through her hair and clutched the phone a little tighter with her right. “And I haven’t? Is that what you’re saying? Don’t you ever get sick and tired of seeing his side? Don’t you want to stand up and tell the truth about him for once?” She bit the inside of her cheek. Tears stung her eyes. Her brother was right. She hadn’t been there for their father. But that didn’t mean she had to start now.

“No,” Greg answered softly, then sighed. “I’m not even sure I understand what the truth is anymore. And even if I did, it doesn’t matter.”

“You’re a saint, all right. I acknowledge it. Shall I Federal Express you a halo?” She laughed bitterly.
“Forget the halo. Just tell me you’ll come. Agree to help me out, if not him. He’ll be in the hospital for weeks. I can’t take that much time away from the business. It’s my busiest season. Besides, this may be your last chance.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel guilty?”

“It’s a fact. Somebody has to convince him to have the amputation. I tried. He won’t listen to me. Please, Sis, help him see there’s no choice. His doctor isn’t the one to do it.”

“He’s a stubborn old fool,” Lillianna said, her voice almost a hiss. “What makes you think he’ll listen to me?”

“Because he really wants to see you. Whenever I talk with you on the phone, he questions me. How is she doing? Does she sound happy? Did she say anything about coming back home? If anyone can convince him, it’s you. Come on. I’ll pick you up at the airport in Baltimore. There’s a hotel right next to the hospital. I’ll even pay the bill, for God’s sake. I’ll be there on weekends to give you a break. Please. It would mean a lot to him. And to me.”

“I have a life, too, you know. Ranching is hard work. And I’m not sure Steve can manage twenty-six horses on his own. Besides, even if I don’t go into an office every day, I’ve got deadlines to meet.”

“I’ve thought about that. You can bring your laptop. And I can hook you up with a printer if you need one. Don’t let your writing be an excuse not to see him. If you do…” He paused, and his voice grew faint. “I’m afraid you might regret it once he’s gone.”

After agreeing she’d think about it and get back with him in the morning, they said their goodbyes and hung up. Lillianna stared vacantly out the window at a gray squirrel as it sifted through the needles, bark, and pine cones under the conifers. A late September sun lingered over the trees and left a bright shadow on the ceiling.

There was something about autumn that roused her affection and sadness—the way the pastures turned golden and the apples along the drive dropped to the ground in fermenting mounds. She wanted to talk to Steve, but already knew what he’d say. He’d tell her to go, her father wouldn’t be around forever, and someday she’d be sorry. And maybe he’d be right.

Without any warning, young Emma floated up inside her until she was back in Mrs. Ward’s first-grade classroom on the early June day they’d invited dads to their Father’s Day play.

• • •

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona's Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers' Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count.

Find Susan Online:

Website - http://susanclaytongoldner.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/susan.claytongoldner
Twitter - https://twitter.com/SusanCGoldner
Blog - http://susanclaytongoldner.com/my-blog---writing-the-life.html
Tirgearr Publishing - http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/ClaytonGoldner_Susan





Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Available Now: Bones by Ainsley Cole

BONES
Black Dove Security seies, #1
Ainsey Cole

$3.99

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99c/p through 7 April
FREE on Kindle Unlimited
Braedon “Bones” Roberts is used to getting his own way. As leader of Black Dove Security, he runs an efficient and often deadly team of operatives who specialize in keeping the rich and famous safe. There isn't a situation in the world he can’t tackle and come out on top of...until he meets Witty and smart Doctor Abigail Baker, the lead scientist who's tasked with discovering the cause of mass bleeding deaths in the Kenyan desert.

Abigail grinds on Bones’ nerves with her forthright honesty, but he can’t keep her out of his mind and his dirty fantasies, and before long, they're closing in on becoming more than colleagues in a dangerous realm.

When the local militia find out who Abigail is, the hunt is on, and the Black Dove Security team leap into action. Their primary goal is keeping Abigail on the move and away from the militia is going to be harder than they hoped.

Bones has a decision to make—keep Abigail in Kenya to find out what is causing the disease, or flee from the militia and protect her life.

Either way, he’s playing with fire, and at the center of it all, she's a woman he’d lay down his life for.

• • •

Inhaling, he closed the door, shutting off the sight of the women getting intimate. Following the hunkering man down the hallway of the hotel, he skipped a little, trying to keep up with him. “Hey, has Wolf told you anything?”

“No.”

“Do you know where we’re going?” The man didn’t answer, and Bones frowned, stepping up next to him, waiting for the elevator. Reaper didn’t look at him. “Is everyone else getting the VIP pick-up, too?”

“No.”

“Is it because I’m the boss?” Bones asked, chuckling, doing the belt up on his jeans.

Reaper turned his head, raising an eyebrow. “No, it’s because you’re the only one who won’t show up unless someone comes to get you.”

The doors to the elevator pinged and he stepped inside, leaving Bones on the landing.

“Not true. What about Queenie?” Bones stepped into the elevator, the doors slid closed behind them, and he looked at the big man.

“He’s already waiting in the car.”

Pushing his hands through his hair, Bones screwed his nose up. Damn the Greek for being on time for once.

The trip down the six floors was silent, the whir the only sound.

Heading out of the elevator, a dark Humvee waited at the front of the hotel for the pair.

It would be full of the rest of his team.

Ethan ‘Wolf’ Whitefeather.

Bastian ‘Apollo’ Phoenix.

Milo ‘Queenie’ Price.

They’d all be sitting in the vehicle, chuckling to each other, as he did the walk of shame. While they were all prone to their moments of passion with the fairer sex, Bones seemed to be the only one who hooked up with the wrong type of woman.

Usually, ones who liked to take off with his wallet.

Stepping out into the chilly air, he opened the door of the car.

Reaper took up his customary position in the front and Bones climbed into the back.

“Bones.”

Shifting his gaze to the driver, he nodded to the blond. The man's blue eyes flashed with amusement in the rear-view mirror.

“Apollo.”

The Humvee started off, taking them away from the hotel and the two women Bones had been with. Pity. He had been enjoying himself.

“So, what’s the mission?” he asked, turning his attention to the man by his side.

Wolf turned his head. Dark chocolate brown eyes staring at him.

Wolf handed him a folder, close to the thickness of his little finger.

Taking the folder, Bones looked at the cover. “Waterford Bio Medical? Who the hell are they?”

“They’re a small medical research company out of London,” Wolf explained. “We have to take three doctors into a small village and bring them back out. Alive.”

“Why just three?” Opening the folder, Bones flipped through the contents.

Documents of incidence. Infection reports. Photos of the victims. Group bios.

“They will only be there to seek out the incident of infection and report back to the WHO if they deem it necessary.”

Bones flipped over the bio sheets, coming face to face with a pair of doe brown eyes. “Oh, hello there, beautiful.”

“Doctor Abigail Baker. She is the one who is assigned to be the leader of the group, and the woman you have to deal with.” Wolf took the file and placed it on his lap. “Try to keep it in your pants.”

Bones acted offended, screwing his nose up at the man beside him. “Hey. When I am working, I happen to be a very professional man.”

“It’s only when you’re not working, you become an animal,” Queenie quipped, looking around Wolf to his boss. “How many did you leave back there?”

Bones’ face heated, and Reaper held up his hand, two fingers wiggling in the air.

“Only two? Wow. Why not more?”

“I have one dick and one mouth, Queenie. I can only do so much.”

The whole car erupted in laughter. Once it had died down, Bones tipped his head back, looking up at the roof lining of the vehicle. “So, when do we leave?”

“Now.”

Bones had a feeling it would have been the case. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have come and gotten him. He would have been left to have fun with the women and called later in the day. “My things packed?”

“Of course. Apollo saw to it,” Wolf replied.

“Thanks, Baz,” Bones said, earning a wink from the driver. They were more than team-mates. They were adopted into the same family as kids. Bastian was the only one who had a key to his house, knew how he lived. He would have only had to walk in a couple of feet and picked up the bag from the last mission and walk out. Bones was like that.

Didn’t even like to live in his own house. “And the gear?”

“Reaper’s already seen to it. It’s all waiting at the base.”

“Good.” The scenery flashed by, the vehicle’s occupants falling silent. “So, where we off to?”

No-one answered, and Bones turned his head. “Wolf?”

The Native American by his side blinked, turning his head, lips pursing. “Kenya.”

The pit of Bones’ stomach rebelled, and he gripped the handle on the car door. The scar which ran from the middle of his forehead, down around his right eye, ending at the corner of his mouth—itched. Burning as memories flashed through his brain.

“How much are they paying?”

“Waterford?”

“Yes,” Bones replied through clenched teeth. They wanted him to go halfway across the world. To a place which brought back bad memories. There’d want to be fucking good compensation.

“One million.”

One million.

After paying for the trip and equipment, flights and other costs—each member would pocket $150,000. A few days in Kenya to make more than what most people could in a year? He could deal with that if he had to. He’d gone to hell and back for less.

“One million to take a group of doctors to Kenya and back?”

“Yep.”

Bones’ eyebrows scrunched together as he looked out the window and the vehicle fell silent again.

Now he knew why Reaper hadn’t told him where they were going.

Everyone knew why Bones hated that country so much.

The scar on his face itched again, and he lifted his hand, rubbing at it.

Kenya.

One of the last places on earth he wanted to revisit.

But he had a company to run and a reputation to uphold. There wasn’t a place they wouldn’t go or a person they wouldn’t protect—for the right price.

Grinding his teeth together until his jaw ached, Bones’ day went from bad to worse.

He didn’t want to go to Africa.

• • •

Ainsley Cole lives in a tiny coal mining town in Australia. She lives with her soul-mate and the four little beings they made together. Writing since she was only 11, she has a few books under her belt under different names. In her spare time, (when not being a busy mummy) Ainsley likes to garden, play video games and marathon Marvel movies.

Find Ainsley Online:

Website - https://www.ainsleycole.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Author-Ainsley-Cole-1943547795729141
Tirgearr Publishing - http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Cole_Ainsley



Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Available Now: The Sins of the Father by Emily Royal

THE SINS OF THE SIRE
Dark Highland Passions Series, #1
Emily Royal

$5.99

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99c/9 through 17 March
FREE on Kindle Unlimited
Two years ago, English noblewoman, Elyssia De Montford, risked her life to free the Highlander held prisoner by her sadistic fiancé. She cannot forget the man who first stirred her heart–a memory that burns anew when she finds herself once more on the road to Scotland.

Tavish MacLean has sworn vengeance. It’s been six years since his beloved sister was raped and murdered by an English lord, a tragedy which almost destroyed his family. On his deathbed, his father demanded retribution and Tavish pledged before his clan to enslave the lord’s daughter then send her back to her father, pregnant with a Scottish bastard. When he learns that she is travelling north, he seizes his opportunity and orders her abduction.

But when his men fling the prisoner before him, Tavish recognises Elyssia, the woman who once saved his life. Loyalty to his clan trumps the debt he owes her and he claims Elyssia as his captive. Though she’s one of the hated English, her willing body ignites passion in him at night, though she fights him at every turn during the day. As time passes, he questions his loyalty, finding himself increasingly enthralled by his fiery captive.

Treachery surrounds Clan MacLean. When long-buried secrets come to light, Tavish must risk his life and his clan, or all that he holds dear will be destroyed.

• • •

The hiss of the whip cut through the silence before a sharp crack made Elyssia look up. Unwilling to watch, she had cast her eyes down, but a morbid fascination pulled her gaze toward the prisoner in the yard.

Standing erect against the whipping post, he radiated strength and defiance. He was not one to surrender. Where others screamed and pleaded for mercy, his only reaction was a slight tensing in his shoulders, a ripple of muscle just before the lash struck, leaving an ugly criss-cross pattern–an English soldier’s handiwork on the body of another Highlander. He tightened his hands into fists, and his arm muscles bulged with tension, yet still, he made no sound. Iron clinked against iron as he strained against the manacles on his wrists which were chained to the post.

A low chuckle to her side gave her enough warning to suppress the shudder of revulsion at her betrothed’s touch before a smooth hand grasped her own. Edward Morland, Earl of Allendyne. Though gallant and chivalrous during his courtship, his sadistic nature had emerged since their betrothal. Once married he would no longer be honour-bound not to violate her. She would cease to exist, other than as his possession to do with as he pleased, as much a prisoner as the man being lashed in the courtyard now.

“What say you, my dear? This one shows unusual strength, even for these animals. I think I may have found my champion. He would provide me with much coin and entertainment back at Allendyne.”

“I know not, my lord. I have no interest in such forms of entertainment.”

Though she spoke quietly, the prisoner turned his head in her direction. Her skin tightened as two eyes the colour of summer grass fixed their gaze upon her. Even at a distance, their intensity made her skin tighten and a warmth of guilt spread through her. A spark of hatred flashed in their green depths before another crack snapped across the air, and the whip struck again. But this time he let out a grunt of pain. He closed his eyes and bit his lip. A crimson droplet bloomed on his mouth.

Mirroring his gesture, she licked her own lips, dry with anticipation. He opened his eyes again. Bright with pain, they focused on her, calling to her; twin souls connecting across a dark chasm. Her consciousness circled inwards, magnifying her heartbeat which pulsed in her ears.

Though she tried, she could not avert her eyes. Palms slick with sweat, her body weakened as the heat of his gaze coursed through her; not the lustful gazes of Edward or his men, but a call from beyond the physical which stirred something deep within her–passion, a burning need. He stared at her like a man dying of thirst stares at a winecup, as if only she could quench his thirst.

Lifting a hand to her chest, she found herself trembling and heard a low voice cry out before she recognised it as her own. Edward tightened his grip, asserting his ownership of her.

“Come, my dear, ‘tis time for you to retire.” He led her out of the courtyard, not speaking until he reached her chamber–an office in the garrison in which a small cot had been placed with her belongings.

Withdrawing her hand, she moved towards the cot. The door slammed behind her, and she flinched at the hands which touched her shoulders. How would she survive her wedding night?

“Does my lady have a weak stomach?” The smooth, cultured voice held a note of warning, but anger conquered her self-control.

“No, she does not,” she retorted, “neither does she have a weak enough mind to take pleasure in such treatment of an unarmed man.”

Edward scoffed. “These men who defy the king are traitors. Longshanks requires loyal subjects to rout them out. These Highlanders are naught but animals and must be treated as such.”

Longshanks. Edward I. Elyssia had yet to meet the king; the man determined to conquer Scotland. Though Papa was a staunch ally and had met him often, Longshanks rarely ventured this close to the border between England and Scotland.

“They’re not animals,” she said, “they’re men and women, with homes, families, and loyalties, just as we are.”

“They are savages, my dear,” Edward said quietly. Ignoring the danger in his voice, she shook her head.

“I saw only one savage in the courtyard.”

He pulled her towards him, his fingers digging into her arms. “It seems my lady is in need of some instruction. Your father warned me of your childish sensibilities towards these Highlanders.”

He thrust his face close and forced his mouth against hers, his thick tongue probing, fighting to gain entrance.

“No!” She pulled her head away.

“Nobody denies me,” he hissed, his expression contorting with anger. A slight movement to her left was her only warning, and she flinched, but too slow–a sharp crack and pain exploded in her face where he struck her, and she fell onto the bed.

Before she could move, his weight bore down on her. Hands tore at her skirts, a shock of cold on her legs, and she squirmed away from him.

“Stay still, woman!” he roared and forced her thighs apart.

“Edward, have mercy!” she cried. “We’re not wed yet. Papa would have you disembowelled for dishonouring the name of de Montford.”

Letting her go, he stood back, his eyes bright with lust, the sour stench of wine on his breath. A slow smile slithered across his face. She lay still, paralysed with fear, legs still akimbo where he had parted them, her face throbbing with pain.

“Very well,” he said quietly. “I can wait, for the sake of honour, but rest assured, I’ll have you. When you are mine, you’ll pay for your defiance.”

After the door slammed behind him, female shrieks echoed in the passageway outside. Edward had found one of the whores servicing the men at the garrison. With luck, he would take a mistress after they married and leave Elyssia alone; the thought of his hands on her made her flesh itch.

Undressing and slipping under the blanket, she closed her eyes, but sleep eluded her. Pained green eyes penetrated her dreams. Who was the man in the courtyard? How might it feel to have his hands on her? Her mind’s eye conjured images of strong muscles straining against the chain, beads of sweat running along the bronzed skin of the Highlander who in one brief instant had touched her heart more deeply than she had ever experienced.

But she belonged to Edward. In a matter of days, he would be able to do what he wished with her.

• • •

Emily is a mathematics geek who grew up in Sussex, UK and has always had a passion for romance and strong alpha heroes. After graduating from Oxford and enjoying a brief dream of becoming an airline pilot, she started a career in financial services in order to indulge her love of mathematics.
She now lives in rural Scotland with her husband, two daughters, and a menagerie of pets including Twinkle, an attention-seeking boa constrictor. She reignited her passion for romance when she joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association under their New Writers’ Scheme.

When not working on algebra or writing, Emily enjoys cooking, painting, target sports, and playing the piano. She can often be found wandering about the hills of Scotland looking for inspiration.

Find Emily Online:

Website - http://www.emroyal.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/eroyalauthor
Twitter - https://twitter.com/eroyalauthor
Blog - http://www.emroyal.com/blog
Tirgearr Publishing - http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Royal_Emily




Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Available Now: Age of Saints by Christy Nicholas

AGE OF SAINTS
Druid's Brooch series, #7
Christy Nicholas

$5.99

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99c/p through 10 March
FREE on Kindle Unlimited
On his deathbed, Conall’s father makes him promise to always take care of his little sister, Lainn. With her laughter, she can sing the bees from their hives and make the morning sun sparkle in the winter. He loves Lainn with all his heart, and will do anything to protect her, even without a promise to his father.

He failed.

Between an abusive step-father, a powerful Faerie Queen, and a maddened Fae Lord, every decision Conall makes seems to be the wrong one. Starvation, imprisonment, madness, and disfigurement plagues them. Even when he tries following his heart, it turns to disaster.

Can Conall correct his mistakes and save Lainn’s life and soul?

Will it cost him his own?

• • •

The freshly-sharpened chisel and small hammer offered no tricks or shortcuts, so he spent the next hour carving the stone and refining the edge to fit into the wall. His sweat had become coated with stone dust, making his skin gritty and itchy.

Once he’d dressed the stone, he brushed the stone dust away and surveyed his success. Then, after a quick glance around, he lightly lifted it into place with his magic, taking a moment to wipe down his face and hands. With a long-suffering sigh, he sat at the fourth stone.

Before he finished the last stone, the sun had dipped considerably lower in the sky, behind the dappled canopy of autumn trees. He ran his fingers along the fine cracks as Sétna had, marveling at the fine work he’d finally achieved. For two years, he’d practiced under his stepfather’s exacting tutelage. While Sétna remained a tough taskmaster, he taught well. Conall brushed away another coating of dust and smiled, proud of his work.

With a quick glance at the lowering sun, he gathered his mason tools and wrapped them in the leather-strapped bag. He’d better hurry if he wanted to meet Lainn at the crossroads.

The half-hour walk along the edge of the bog offered him little challenge, as he’d been exploring this area for many years. They hadn’t been born here but had moved when his father found the great fishing in An Bhóinn, the river which ran past the ancient bogland. Conall didn’t remember why they’d left his previous home, as he’d been too young to know much beyond their move. His sister, Lainn, had only been a baby.

While she’d been a merry, laughing child, his little sister grew more annoying with each year. He had been heartily grateful when the druids had accorded her the signal honor of studying with them. Every day, she spent time in their oak grove, learning histories, songs, and chants. She’d used this new knowledge to torment him often, though he wouldn’t let on how interesting he found the tales. If she realized he actually enjoyed them, she’d instantly stop.

He spied her dark auburn curls bouncing as she jumped, trying to reach a yellow apple which hung from a low branch. He chuckled at her predicament and reached above her, calmly plucking the prize and taking a big bite. The last two years of growth meant he towered a full foot over his younger sister. He’d seen seventeen winters, but she’d only had sixteen.

“That’s my apple, Conall! You’ve no right!”

He shrugged. “T-t-taller people get the better apples, Mouse. Height is right!”

“You know I hate that name! Give it!”

When she kicked at his shin, he skipped back, holding the apple above his head and out of her reach. “You can’t catch me!”

She growled and charged him as he laughed and ran. He spied another apple and picked it as he skipped by so she’d have a treat when she tired of chasing him.

Lainn came close to grabbing his Maelblatha, so he put on a burst of speed. It would do no good to let her win. He wove through the trees, zig-zagging until even he panted for breath. When he finally stopped near a small stream, she limped up, her freckled face red and sweating.

Conall offered the second apple as a peace offering with a wide grin. His sister growled at him before snatching it from his hand. They crunched the sweet fruit in silence as the trickling brook sang in the evening air. Bees buzzed around them, making Conall swat one away from his face.

“Don’t hurt him!”

He blinked at his sister. “Him? Blood and bones, Lainn. It’s a bee, not a p-p-person.”

“You should be kind to bees. Adhna says so.”

“Adhna’s madder than a drunken hare, Lainn.”

She shrugged and took a final bite of her apple. “That doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Are you done yet?”

He tossed his core into the stream. “Sure. Ready to go home?”

She gave him a sly smile. “Not yet. I made a promise. Follow me!”

As she ran off to the north—the opposite direction from their home—he rolled his eyes and ran after her. He’d worked hard all day and had little energy or patience for his sister’s antics. He realized her education with the druids must be less physically demanding than his own training as a mason, and she still had the endless energy of youth. With a groan and a protest from his aching leg muscles, he felt every one of his seventeen winters as she led him on a merry chase through the glades.

• • •

Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon, has her hands in many crafts, including digital art, beaded jewelry, writing, and photography. In real life, she's a CPA, but having grown up with art all around her (her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected her, as it were. She loves to draw and to create things. She says it's more of an obsession than a hobby. She likes looking up into the sky and seeing a beautiful sunset, or seeing a fragrant blossom or a dramatic seaside. She takes a picture or creates a piece of jewelry as her way of sharing this serenity, this joy, this beauty with others. Sometimes this sharing requires explanation – and thus she writes. Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. She does local art and craft shows, as well as sending her art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad.

Find Christy Online:

Website - http://www.greendragonartist.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/greendragon9
Facebook-GreenDragonAuthor - https://www.facebook.com/greendragonauthor
LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/in/greendragon9
Tirgearr Publishing - http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Nicholas_Christy






Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Available Now: Moment of Truth by Joan Fleming

MOMENT OF TRUTH
The Rowanbrae Series
Joan Fleming

$4.99

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99c/p through 17 February
FREE on Kindle Unlimited
Local Rowanbrae school teacher and lady captain of the golf club, Mandy Campbell strives for equal status in a male-dominated club. She knows it won't be an easy task, but to succeed, she must work with local businessman and gents' captain, Gavin Simpson.

Despite their rivalry, Mandy finds herself softening toward Gavin. At times, he seems to return her attention and she feels there might be something special between them. But suddenly and for no apparent reason, Gavin withdraws from her.

Her troubles increase as Mandy feels responsible when her mother turns to alcohol to cope with the loss of her husband. And when Roxanne Sutherland, mother of a sixteen-year-old student, Tessa, threatens to take legal action against the school, accusing the staff of encouraging Tessa to leave school to marry her boyfriend, Mandy considers leaving Rowanbrae to regain the peace in her life.

Can Mandy grow her relationship with Gavin, and will things settle in Rowanbrae, or will she have to leave to find the peace she craves?

• • •

‘Come on then, Mandy. Show us how it’s done.’

The mocking tone made it clear that Gavin Simpson was expecting Mandy’s first stroke in the golf match to be less than spectacular. Looking around at the crowd gathered at the first tee at Shieling Golf Club, he smiled. Clearly, he wasn’t the only man who felt that way.

Normally, Mandy Campbell would have responded to the challenge with gusto, confident in her ability to play the game well. Today, however, her stomach churned. For the twenty-nine-year-old Lady Captain of the club–one of the youngest in its history–this was the single moment she dreaded most in her period of office: the Captains’ demonstration game on Centenary Saturday. What if she made a fool of herself in front of the crowds of members and guests who had gathered for the celebration marking the 100th birthday of the club?

Mandy knew Gents Captain Gavin Simpson would be playing to the gallery, convinced of his ability to shine at her expense.
‘Well, we’ll see,’ she muttered.

‘What was that?’ Gavin asked.

‘Nothing. Just my mantra for a successful round.’ She knew her broad smile would fail to reach her eyes.

‘Good game,’ she said, loud enough for the spectators to hear.

‘Er… good game,’ he replied.

In the Central Scotland village of Rowanbrae, some thirty miles from Glasgow, the golf club provided first-class facilities, but was also a venue for social activities. Members and guests met there to attend dinners, dances, and meetings of all descriptions. Many in Rowanbrae had held their breath as the local council, at their last meeting, had considered a proposal to purchase the golf course and build much-needed houses on the site for the expanding population of the community. The golf club members had breathed a sigh of relief when the council rejected the application.

On this important day, they could not have wished for better weather: the thin mist obscuring the distant hills would evaporate soon in the heat of the day. The course looked as if an artist had painted it–the long fairways, undulating like low sand dunes, their green made more intense by the heavy rainfall of the area. In places shadowed from the sun, a light dew lingered, silvering the surface of the grass, adding contrast to the picture.

The golf course was in perfect condition, thanks to the dedication of the head greenkeeper. All Mandy had to do now was send the ball as far as she could down the centre of the first fairway. She’d done it hundreds of times before, so why worry? It was Gavin Simpson’s remark that had raised her tension level. Gavin–the Captain. The Captain. Mandy was the Lady Captain–and was reminded of her inferior status at every opportunity.

She swung her club. The ball arced straight down the middle of the fairway, high and fast, to land in a perfect position for her second shot. With a gesture of exaggerated courtesy, she invited Gavin onto the first tee.

‘Your turn,’ she said.

As expected, Gavin’s ball went further than Mandy’s, but veered to the right and slithered into the rough–the long grass at the edge of the fairway. Good. You’ll have some difficulty getting your ball out from there, she thought.

‘Well done!’ Mandy said, smiling smugly as she joined in the applause. ‘Could be a bit tricky to get out of the rough, though,’ she added for his ears only. Had she injected a little too much syrup into her tone? She didn’t really want to humiliate Gavin on this of all days; on the other hand, she wasn’t prepared to allow him to belittle her. Since embarking on her captaincy, she had been striving to rid the club of its gender bias. Now in her second year, she knew that time was running out. Perhaps male chauvinism would not disappear from Shieling Golf Club, but she would continue to do her level best to fight it.

• • •

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.

Find Joan Online:

Website - http://www.joanflemingwriter.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joan-Fleming-Writer/1506269719602197
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Joan_Fleming
Blog - http://joanfleming-writing.blogspot.co.uk
Tirgearr Publishing - http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Fleming_Joan



Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Available Now: Unspoken by Dianne Noble

UNSPOKEN
Dianne Noble

$5.99

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99c/p through 10 February
FREE on Kindle Unlimited
While on holiday in Sri Lanka, Sarah Latimer meets the charismatic Greg. When he rescues her from a fire, she is unsure if her growing attachment to him is love or indebtedness.

Sarah befriends Ruth and takes a room in her dilapidated guesthouse, and quickly becomes aware of the brutality Ruth suffers at the hands of her husband. Sarah decides to help, ignorant of the dark secrets which have long been simmering beneath the surface of her own life.

When Sarah receives devastating news from England about her son, Tom, she agonises over whether or not to fly home, but a shocking act of violence eclipses everything and she finds herself driven to take action in a way that horrifies her.

• • •

November 9th. The day the central heating broke. The day Sarah Latimer decided to leave Lyme Regis behind and spend the winter in Sri Lanka.

She watched sheets of water sluice down the window—hated November, when daylight battled to find space between the nights. After the children left home, she and William always flew somewhere hot at this time of year. Her heart twisted as she remembered. For the first five years after he’d gone, the bricks and mortar were so saturated with memories of him she almost sold the house. She was glad now she hadn’t, even though she still felt like an untethered boat drifting and bumping aimlessly about.

She contacted the central heating engineer, then phoned her son, Tom, and told him of her plans.

There was a long pause. ‘Mum…have you thought this through? It might stop raining soon.’

‘It’s not just that, Tom. It’s time I did something. Next year’s the big five-oh and…’

‘You’re not going on your own?’ He sounded alarmed. ‘I know you’ve been all over India, but that was with Dad.’

‘I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.’

‘Where will you stay?’

‘I don’t know. I’ve only just decided to go.’

‘What did Jen say?’

‘She doesn’t know yet. Everything all right with you, Tom?’

There was a pause. He swallowed. ‘Yes, I’m fine, thanks. Got to go, Mum, sorry. Keep me posted.’

Frowning, she put the phone down. What wasn’t he saying? She wrapped her cardigan more tightly around herself, her confidence beginning to ebb. Maybe her plans were a bit ambitious, after all—she’d never travelled anywhere on her own before.

There was no reply from Jen’s phone so she left a message asking her to call back, then set up her laptop on the kitchen table. While she waited for a connection—always slow here—she considered where to head for. The capital, Colombo? Or Galle with its Dutch buildings? What about one of the hill stations amid the tea plantations? A ripple of excitement ran through her.

The door flew open and a small body swathed in yellow oilskins came into the kitchen in a burst of wind and raindrops. Lily. A warm glow filled her. Whatever would she have done without her these past few years?

‘Morning, best friend.’ Lily beamed at her as she struggled out of her waterproofs then left them in a sodden heap on the doormat. ‘What’s new?’ She tested the temperature of the kettle with the back of her hand and reached up to take two mugs from the shelf.

‘Funny you should ask. I’m thinking of going to Sri Lanka for the winter.’

‘Where?’ She stopped, hand and mugs in mid-air. ‘Why?’

‘Well the boiler’s playing up and—’

‘A buggered boiler is not a reason to—’

‘And it’s rained every day for the last seventeen.’

‘You’re serious.’

She made the coffee and brought it over. ‘Yes. Well…I think so.’ The chair screeched as she pulled it out and sat down.

‘Good for you.’ Lily squeezed her hand. ‘About time you started living again.’

‘I’m a bit scared,’ she whispered.

‘You’ll be fine.’

‘I wish you could come with me.’

‘I wish I could, too. What bliss that would be—but you know what it’s like in my place, never more than two steps away from financial disaster.’

‘You don’t think I’m mad?’

‘I do not.’ She pulled her chair closer. ‘Right, show me where you’re going.’

Sarah clicked on a tourism site and Lily squealed, clutched her arm. ‘Will you just look at that sand, those palm trees?’

She pursed her lips. ‘I’m not really a beach person.’

Lily sat back and stared at her. ‘Aren’t you? I thought everyone was. Imagine stretching out on a sunbed sipping a rum punch—or whatever they drink in Sri Lanka.’

Heat blazed in her cheeks. ‘I’m just…I’m not too comfortable getting my kit off…’

‘Are you mad? Bet you look sensational. Wish I had half your chest—I’ve got no tits at all. What did the kids say?’

‘I couldn’t get hold of Jen. I told Tom and he sounded worried.’

‘He’ll get over it. You staying in a hotel or will you rent somewhere?’

‘Don’t know…’

‘What about flights? Let’s look at flights.’

After almost an hour of poring over one site after another, Lily heaved herself to her feet with obvious reluctance. ‘Got to go. Beds to make, rooms to clean.’ Zipping herself into her waterproofs, she pulled a face. ‘Hate to ask you again, but any chance you could help me with breakfast tomorrow?’

‘Don’t be daft, it’s my pleasure. I enjoy it.’

‘Seem to be asking you quite a lot recently.’

Sarah hugged her, felt her thinness under the cold, damp of the oilskins. ‘It’s not a problem, really it’s not. Anyhow, if…when I go shooting off, I’ll need you to keep an eye on the house for me.’

The wind fought Lily for the door, and after it had slammed behind her the room echoed with silence. Sarah watched her friend run up the path then switched on the kettle for more coffee, shivering a little. She looked around the kitchen, absorbing its familiarity: the blue, checked curtains, the white enamel jug containing utensils, the potato masher with its split wooden handle. Did she really want to leave all this to travel halfway across the world? She knew her limitations, liked routines, not surprises.

• • •

Dianne Noble was on a troopship sailing for Singapore at the age of seven and hasn’t stopped travelling since. Her last trip was to Moscow but her favourite place remains India. The atmospheric settings of her novels reflect her experiences.

Find Dianne Online:

Website - http://www.dianneanoble.site
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/dianneanoble
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/dianneanoble1
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/dianne-noble-183a143a
Tirgearr Publishing - http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Noble_Dianne






Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Available Now: Changing the Future by Paula Martin

CHANGING THE FUTURE
Paula Martin

$4.99

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99c/p through 27 January
Single parent, Lisa Marshall, loves her teaching job and living in the English Lake District. It had been a struggle, but she's finally happy again. But when volcano expert turned TV celebrity Paul Hamilton arrives at the school, everything she'd worked hard for crashes down around her. Years ago, she'd been madly in love with Paul and thought nothing could tear them apart. She'd been wrong.

Paul had thought Lisa was the love of his life; he'd wanted to spend his life with her. When he suspected she'd cheated on him with her boss, everything they'd worked toward shattered in an instant. Had he known she was teaching at the same college, he never would have accepted a short-term contract in the geology department. It was painfully obvious Lisa wasn't happy about his appearance either.

Now, forced to work together, they must find common ground to keep the peace. As memories of what they'd once had resurface, is it worth try finding their way back to each other? Is there anything left to rekindle? Or will their new-found trust be completely destroyed when Paul learns that Lisa is still keeping secrets from him?

• • •

Still with plenty of time once she’d parked her car, she headed for the Old House, the Victorian mansion in the centre of the college campus. It now served as the college administration centre, and she spent a few minutes chatting to Beth Andrews, one of the admin. assistants, before collecting her final schedule for the summer term.

As she left the office, a voice hailed her. ‘Hey, Lisa, had a good Easter?’

She turned to greet Millie Shepherd, her colleague in the TV Journalism department. ‘Yes, great, thanks. I was about to come looking for you, actually. D’you have time for a coffee? We need to talk about the new schedule.’

Millie’s green eyes twinkled as she grinned. ‘You know I always have time for coffee.’

They set off along the covered walkway linking the Old House with the modern Charlton Building, named after the nineteenth century owner of the estate. Lisa was laughing at her friend’s account of her kayaking efforts during the Easter weekend when Millie said suddenly, ‘Hey, look, Fiona Hall’s found herself a new man.’

Lisa followed her glance to the two figures on the path leading diagonally across the lawn toward the Charlton. Even from a distance, their colleague Fiona Hall was unmistakable; immaculate as always, in a tight-fitting green skirt and jacket. Lisa had long since ceased to compare her own clothes–usually tailored trousers and a crisp cotton shirt–with Fiona’s designer outfits.

As her gaze moved to the man walking with Fiona, she frowned. There was something familiar about the tall, slim figure–the way he walked, and the way he tilted his head as he listened to Fiona.

Don’e, she told herself, but still couldn’t take her eyes off him. As the gap between them lessened, her blood started to run cold. It wasn’t…it couldn’t possibly be—

The man lifted his hand to flick back a stray strand of light brown hair from his forehead, and she knew it was Paul.

For an insane moment, she wanted to run towards him, be scooped up in his arms again, see the laughter in his blue eyes, feel his soft and sensual mouth against hers.

Stunned by her reaction, by feelings she thought she’d totally suppressed, she stopped abruptly. Another thirty seconds, and they’d come face-to-face. Total panic made her heart thump against her ribs.

‘I-I’ve just remembered–erm, I need some–some class lists.’ Without waiting for Millie to reply, she turned and quickened her pace back toward the Old House.

Dimly, she heard Millie call out something about coffees in the cafeteria. The whole world had receded, and she was aware only of the painful pounding in her chest. Shock mixed with incredulity. Paul here at Hillside? Her mind simply refused to believe what her eyes had seen.

When she reached the Old House, she went straight to the ladies’ room. To her relief, no-one else was there. She didn’t dare think, didn’t dare allow herself to feel anything. Not until she’d managed to control the trembling which shook her whole body.

She glanced at her reflection in the mirror. The blood had drained from her face, and her brown eyes looked back at her with shock and panic. ‘Oh God,’ she breathed. ‘Oh, dear God—’

Had she really seen Paul Hamilton again?

• • •

Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons. She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years.

She returned to writing fiction after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.

Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places and has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, USA and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.

Find Paula Online:




Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Available Now: Lake of the Dead by Susan Clayton-Goldner

LAKE OF THE DEAD
A Winston Radhauser Mystery, #5
Susan Clayton-Goldner

$5.99

99c through Sunday, 30th
FREE on Kindle Unlimited

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When Parker Collins, a gifted writing student at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, fails to show up for the first day of fall classes, his frantic girlfriend, Rishima Reynolds, files a missing person’s report. Though Parker has a history of alcohol abuse, disorderly conduct, and truancy, she insists he is committed to his writing classes, and is adamant something is very wrong.

Persuaded by the depth of her conviction, Radhauser drives up to a cabin at Sunset Lake where Parker spent the last month finishing a novel. It’s a manuscript his mentor, Professor Madison Hollingsworth, claims is brilliant. The Hollingsworth cabin has been trashed—the padlock on the liquor cabinet cut and empty bottles are strewn around the kitchen. It appears Parker has gone on a binge and disappeared with the Hollingsworth boat. Radhauser knows appearances are often deceiving. He returns to Ashland, hoping Parker is out on the lake and nursing a gigantic headache. But something about the cabin scene nags at Radhauser and won’t let him go.

The following morning, 72-year-old Homer "Sully" Sullivan, one of the lake's few year-round residents, finds a bloated body floating face-down near his cottage. He phones Radhauser, terrified it could be Parker Collins—the boy Sully befriended and has come to love. Will this missing person’s case become a murder investigation?

• • •

In his cramped office at the Ashland Police Station, Detective Winston Radhauser leaned back in his swivel chair and propped his feet, in their hand-tooled cowboy boots, on top of his desk. He stared out the window at the Plaza, where the maple trees turned gold and red.
There was no shortage of visitors in September as the Shakespeare Festival was still in full swing and students had returned for fall semester, frequenting local cafes and pubs. They spread their multi-colored blankets out on the lawn in nearby Lithia Park—there to study, or make out, or just sleep in the autumn sunshine with the lulling sound of water tumbling over the rocks in Ashland Creek.

He tossed a wadded-up ball of yellow-lined paper into the small basketball hoop attached to his trash can. It was a gift from his wife, Gracie, for quiet days like this one. He hadn’t had a big case since the murders of two high school kids back in January. The case cost Radhauser his best friend, Dillon Van Horn, who’d moved back east to avoid the shame of the murders his wife committed. And if that wasn’t bad enough, his partner for more than a decade, Detective Robert Vernon, had retired over the summer. Radhauser missed his sense of humor and the chess games they’d played when things got too quiet.

In truth, Radhauser was bored, and whenever that happened, he wondered if he’d made the right decision to leave Tucson and move to this quiet little Elizabethan town in the foothills of the Siskiyou mountains. He’d mostly done it for Gracie. She wanted to raise their children on a small horse ranch in the beautiful place where she’d grown up. And, if the truth be known, she’d also wanted to get Radhauser away from Tucson, where the memories of his first wife and son had loomed in the very air around them.

Gracie didn’t know when death happened with such swift and violent brutality, you carried it with you no matter how far away you moved. And idleness had a way of beckoning those two ghosts, who all too often refused to stay buried.

Hazel Hornby, the police station’s administrative assistant, interrupted his musings with a couple taps on his doorframe. Her gaze darted to the yellow balls of paper in his trash can. She chuckled. “I see Michael Jordan has been practicing his jump shot. There’s someone here to see you. Rishima Reynolds. She says you know her.”

He sat up straight, removed his feet from his desktop. Rishima was the young woman he’d met at the beginning of the year when the American Heritage Club, a white supremacist and anti-gay organization, still existed in Ashland. She was one of the three kids branded on their abdomens with homophobic slurs. He hoped something like that hadn’t happened to her again. “Tell her to come on in.”

Rishima was tall and reed slender with coffee-colored hair falling over her shoulders in loose waves. She seemed older and more confident as she stepped into his office and stuck out her right hand.

Radhauser stood and took her outstretched hand. It was a firm handshake, but there was still something fragile and vulnerable about her.

“I don’t know if you remember me or not. But I’m Rishima Reynolds.”

He nodded toward a chair in front of his desk. “You’re hard to forget.”

When she sat, he did the same. “Your name is Hindu and means moonbeam. How could I fail to remember something that beautiful?”

Rishima’s eyes sparkled and she gave him a huge smile, obviously pleased. Her teeth were even and very white. She was strikingly pretty with dark, soulful eyes and perfectly-applied makeup. Today, she wore a long black skirt that fell just above her ankles and a white satin blouse with pearl buttons. Her red leather boots had high, narrow heels and laced up the front like something from the Victorian era.

It was mid morning and a bright spot of sunlight through the east-facing window held her in its beam and gave a golden glow to her skin. She wore dangling rhinestone earrings. They caught the light and shimmered against her dark hair. A young girl like this could break some hearts if anyone was brave enough to let her inside.

“How’s your baby?” she asked. “You’d just had a son the last time I saw you.”

He smiled. “Jonathan is doing great. He’s nine months old now and pulling himself up. When he takes a few steps holding onto the coffee table, he looks up at me and grins like he just swam across the English Channel. And, of course, he’s into everything. But you aren’t here, with a worried look on your face, to ask about my son.”

She bit her bottom lip. “You’re right. I want to report a missing person.”

He pulled a pad of paper from his center drawer. “Okay, let’s start with a name.”

“Parker Collins.”

• • •

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona's Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers' Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count.

Find Susan Online

Website - http://susanclaytongoldner.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/susan.claytongoldner
Twitter - https://twitter.com/SusanCGoldner
Blog - http://susanclaytongoldner.com/my-blog---writing-the-life.html
Tirgearr Publishing - http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/ClaytonGoldner_Susan