suspense novel

Get yourself a savage and stay warm!

It’s the time of year to get yourself a savage and stay warm. Grab a savage, a blanket, and some hot chocolate. You deserve the hottest, sweatiest stories you can imagine as winter sets in. You’ll shed your flannel pajamas for lace and leather when you meet the DeLucas.

Preorder the Savage Bloodline Boxset: https://books2read.com/SavageBloodlineBoxset

Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57656059-savage-bloodline

Download the prequel, Brutal Bloodline for FREE!

https://BookHip.com/PQVFCMB

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Deluca Family by joining the  Savage Bloodline Readers’ Group or by joining the Savage Bloodline Patreon.

Book Info

Release Date: 3/15/22

ASIN- B092D9RGRW

Taglines

In the streets and in the sheets, there’s one word that describes them best. SAVAGE.

The men of the DeLuca family are proof that the bigger the alpha, the harder they fall… in love.

Universal Buy Link – https://books2read.com/SavageBloodlineBoxset 

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B092D9RGRW/

Nook – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/savage-bloodline-kenya-wright/1139270630

Apple – https://books.apple.com/us/book/savage-bloodline/id1561989851

About the Series

Long Blurb

Darkness lurks behind their gazes. There’s something sinister about their smiles. Their name incites fear in their enemies. Their touch arouses passion in the women they love. They are the DeLucas. In the streets and in the sheets, there’s one word that describes them best. SAVAGE.

The men of the DeLuca family are proof that the bigger the alpha, the harder they fall… in love.

Download this exclusive anthology featuring 20+ BRAND NEW mafia romances to find out which DeLuca you will fall in love with. But first, you must ask yourself one question: Are you ready to give your heart and body to a savage?

Immerse yourself in this dangerously seductive collection that includes:

*Arranged Marriages.

*Billionaire.

*Enemies to lovers.

*Forced Proximity

*Friends to lovers.

*One Bed

*Second-chance.

*And more!

Short Blurb

They are an international organized crime family known for their lethality and chivalry. Only a fool will mistake their genteel ways for weakness. Cross any of them, and expect to spend the rest of your life watching your back and sleeping with one eye open!

Social Media Posts

Tags

#bwwm #mafiaromance #darkromance #anthologies #savagebloodlineboxset #romanceaddicts #romanticsupense #bookaholic

Excerpt

Tears or Rain?

 Someone was going to die tonight.

Someone’s life was going to end before the clock struck twelve. Midnight. Their death would be painful, brutal. No mercy would be shown to them. Anyone who tried to defend them, anyone who got in the way, they too would die. That was the promise Enzo DeLuca had made to his grandfather.

And it was a promise he intended to keep, even if he had to burn the entire city to the ground to do so. Before he could keep his pledge, he first had to bury their fallen. He had to say his final goodbye to the man who’d been more like a father than a grandfather to him. The man who’d raised him. The man who’d nurtured him. The man who’d shaped him into the person he was today.

To this man, he owed his life. For this man, tonight, he was going to take a life. Rain fell in sheets on that cold and dreary January day in Bari, Italy. It was as if even mother nature was mourning the loss of Ermanno Deluca. Unlike most of those around him, Enzo DeLuca refused to stand under the shield of an umbrella.

He wanted to feel the cold rain against his skin. He wanted it to drip down his face like tears. Tears he refused to shed. There would be no crying for him. Not yet. Not until he’d kept his promise to his grandfather. Not until he’d put a bullet in the heart of the bastard responsible for the pain the DeLuca family was feeling today.

Perhaps this rain was a parting gift from his grandfather, who knew Enzo would not feel worthy of crying over his death, not until the person responsible was dead too. Enzo refused to allow his grandfather’s body to grow cold in the earth while his killer lived life to the fullest, making money, eating, sleeping, fucking, living as if he hadn’t caused the death of a Don. As if he hadn’t taken the patriarch of the DeLuca family away from them.

He refused to allow the DeLuca name to be made weak by the actions of a coward. Though he’d yet to kill the person responsible, those who knew Enzo knew that the coward was a dead man walking. A zombie. He could see, he could feel, he could hear, but he was already dead. There was already a bullet chosen for him.

A bullet blessed by his grandfather before he’d taken his final breath and left Enzo to deal with the chaos the coward had created. Yes, the coward was still moving around in the world of the living, but he was on borrowed time. And that time would expire tonight. It had taken Enzo a few days, but he now knew who the killer was and where to find him.

A life for a life. That was the code they lived by. The bastard would pay for his sins with his life. Not only because of the promise Enzo had made his grandfather but also to prove to their enemies that the DeLuca family was still a family of savages. Under his grandfather’s rule, they’d been nicknamed savage gentleman by some.

They kept to themselves and handled their business as gentlemen, Men of Honor. But when fucked with, they revealed just how brutal their bloodline was, how ruthless their organization was. He knew other families were watching and waiting to see if they’d live up to that title. They were watching to see if they would fall apart or rise up now that Ermanno DeLuca was no longer around.

It wasn’t only their enemies who were watching them. Members of the family were also paying close attention. Today, family members from all around the world were attending the funeral of their Don. Yet, half of them hadn’t shown their faces in Italy in years. They’d moved away and only returned home for funerals and weddings.

Some didn’t even come for that. Yet, they’d come for the funeral of Don DeLuca. Not out of respect, love, or loyalty. They came to see if there would be drama and to see if the passing of the title would cause chaos amongst the organization. Already there was speculation of who the new Don would be.

Whispers of who some wanted it to be had already reached Enzo’s ears. Whispering and talking behind backs were actions of weak men. Enzo liked to handle things face to face. And those who were whispering behind his back would soon have to face him. There was another group of people who’d come to the funeral. His grandfather always referred to people like them as vultures.

They were the ones who’d shown up so they could sidle up to the new Leader and try to get on his good side early so they could make requests of him later. Then there were those who were happy the old Don was dead. They were there to verify it for themselves and to silently gloat that they’d outlived Ermanno DeLuca.

If Enzo could, he’d put a bullet in all those who felt that way. Then he’d bury them underneath his grandfather’s grave so that he could rest in peace the same way he’d lived, with his enemies beneath his feet. As Enzo stared around him, he noted that there was one last group of people present. The loyal.

They were the ones who’d truly come to pay their respects to their fallen Leader. Ermanno DeLuca had been hated by many but loved by more. He’d been a fair Don, who’d steered the organization away from wars and into alliances that benefited them. Some had been happy with the changes he’d made. Others had wanted to go back to the old ways.

They wanted to go back to the old days. The days when organizations fought against organizations regularly to prove who was the more ruthless, to prove who should be the king of the streets. Don DeLuca had won that war and claimed that title. He’d found no need to fight continuously.

However, there were some who’d enjoyed the wars, the chaos, the death, and destruction. It was true. The wars had led to the respect their organization and family enjoyed today. It led to them becoming the most feared family in Italy. The name, DeLuca, was feared and respected worldwide. Yet, the wars hadn’t only brought them glory.

It had brought death and destruction to so many of their people. A lot of blood and tears had been shed for them to hold the position they held today. The Don had taught Enzo to respect those who’d died so that he could stand where he stood. He’d told Enzo not to let those blood and tears be shed in vain.

Some of the family didn’t feel the same way. The problem was determining the motives of those around him. It was hard to tell who was for you and who was against you at a time like this. How was he to know who was crying and who wasn’t? Tears or rain? That was the guessing game he was playing. And he was losing.

The voice of his right-hand man, Stefano Masiello, sounded over the comm-link in his ear. “Enzo, after the funeral, you must go to the reception. You have to show your face there. We all do. As soon as the funeral is over, we can head there.”

Enzo was impatient. He didn’t give a damn about a reception. If he could, he’d skip the entire event. It would only be a bunch of motherfuckers, smiling in his face, telling him stories of the old days and things Don DeLuca had done. He’d heard those stories. He’d seen those smiles. Why the fuck did he need to see and hear them again?

“Nod if you agree, Enzo.”

His gaze darted to the other side of the burial site where Stefan stood. He knew Stefan was only looking out for him. He knew he needed to attend the reception to keep up appearances. However, there were more important things he needed to do. He wouldn’t be able to rest until his fingers were coated with the blood of his enemy.

He wouldn’t be able to rest until his grandfather was avenged and the entire world knew it. But the reception was not something he could skip. Therefore, he nodded. A shadow crept overhead, and the chill of the rain ceased descending upon him. From the corner of his eye, he saw his cousin, Vito DeLuca, stepping forward, holding an umbrella.

“The rain is getting harder,” Vito told him.

“I know.”

“But you don’t care, right?”

Enzo nodded. Vito sighed. Both men stood there, silent once more as they listened to the preacher.

“Sorry, I got here late,” Vito apologized.

“At least you came. Some did not. They will pay the penalty.”

“Not everyone was as close to Grandfather as you and I.”

“But we’re all of his blood. And we’re all supposed to come home when we’re called.”

“You’re right. Family is family. We’re bound together by blood. When needed, we must come.”

“You sound like Grandfather.”

“That’s because those are his words. I’m going to miss our monthly chats over the phone.”

“When did you last talk to him?”

“A week before he was shot. If I’d known then what I do now, I would’ve stayed on the phone with him longer.”

Like his cousin, he’d also been playing the ‘If I’d known game’. If he’d known what he knew now, he would’ve spent more time with his grandfather. He would’ve made time to travel with him.

Every time the Don mentioned taking a trip to the States, Enzo’s excuse was always that he was too busy. He’d give anything to take that trip with him now. Enzo swallowed the lump of aguish rising from within him. No tears. Not yet. It wasn’t time.

Facing Vito, he asked, “What were Grandfather’s last words to you?”

“He told me to always remain true to what I believe in. He told me that he trusted me to do what was right for the family, even if it wasn’t of popular opinion.”

“Grandfather talked about you a lot. He liked the road you’d chosen. He said we needed more men like you to keep us on the right path.”

For a while, neither of them said a word. Then Vito asked, “What were his last words to you?”

The Don’s last words to Enzo were much different from what he’d said to Vito. That was because he expected something different from Enzo. Though the weight of his Grandfather’s expectations of him was heavy, Enzo wouldn’t let him down, and he wouldn’t fold under the pressure.

He’d do exactly as he was told. His eyes were glued to the casket as it was lowered into the ground. Goodbye Grandfather. Rest in peace, Don Ermanno DeLuca. No crying. It still wasn’t time for that yet.

“Enzo,” Vito called to him. “What were Grandfather’s last words to you?”

As the casket disappeared, Enzo responded. “He told me to remind them of who we are.”

Savages.

Series Authors

Kenya Wright, Amarie Avant, Xavier Neal, Keta Kendric, Sonja B, Courtney Dean, L Loren, Sage Young, M’Renee Allen, Tiye, Shani Greene-Dowdell, Tamika Brown, Lyndell Williams, Imani Jay, Siera London, PE Kavanagh, Cassie Verano, Amaya Black, Theresa Hodge, Kasey Martin

Follow Savage Bloodline on Social Media

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Instagram: Savage Bloodline Box Set (@savagebloodlinemafiacollection) • Instagram photos and videos

You never know what’s hiding in your house: Kimberly Baer

My husband and I started our married life in a tiny, rustic house at the edge of a deep woods. Not surprisingly, we had many encounters with wildlife. Here’s the story of one of them.

Mice With Green Heads

One particularly snowy winter, our house was overrun by mice. We didn’t want to kill the little critters, so we put a big plastic garbage can in our utility closet and baited it with food scraps. Mice would scramble in to get the food, but the slick vertical sides prevented them from climbing back out. Every morning we would find five or more mice huddled at the bottom of the garbage can. We would drag the can three or four hundred yards into the woods (uphill, through deep snow) and release them.

Despite our efforts, the daily mouse counts never decreased. The situation was both perplexing and troubling. How many mice were living in our walls? Dozens? Hundreds? We wondered whether the mice we released in the woods were somehow finding their way back, but dismissed the idea. The distance was too great, the snow too deep.

Nonetheless, I decided to conduct an experiment. One morning I scooped one of the captured mice into a jar and painted the top of its head with green food coloring. The poor thing winced in misery the whole time (“Why is this HAPPENING to me???”). I murmured soothing words and then hiked up into the woods to release it.

The next morning, I found the usual five or six mice in the garbage can—including one with a green head! I repeated the experiment several more times—with the same incredible results. I recalled all those stories I’d heard about lost cats and dogs making their way home over impossible distances. Did mice have the same fortitude, the same mysterious homing instinct?

We moved on to Plan B: driving our wee captives to a wooded area about three miles from our house, on the far side of a creek. (Try to get back now, you little scamps!) We always left a handful of toasted-oats cereal to get them started on their new lives. That did the trick, though our mouse problem was never entirely resolved. Eventually we moved to the suburbs, where our house was occasionally infiltrated by lady bugs, spiders, and ants. But we never again saw a mouse—green-headed or otherwise!

New From The Wild Rose Press: Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams

Annie Barkley lives next to a forest but has worse things than wildlife to contend with. Read about her tribulations in the romantic suspense novella Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams, part of The Wild Rose Press’s Christmas Cookies series.

Check out the book trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giM9IljM448.

Blurb for Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams:

When Annie Barkley discovers a boy living in the attic of her cookie shop, she’s stunned—and oddly elated. She can almost believe the universe is giving her back the infant son she lost eleven years ago.

Annie senses that something bad happened to the boy, but he won’t talk. All she knows is that he’s terrified of being found. When her long-ago crush, police captain Sam Stern, stops by to inquire about a missing boy, Annie says she hasn’t seen him.

Big mistake. Because that lie might cost her more than a romance with Sam. It also leaves her vulnerable to a ruthless pursuer, one who’s determined to silence the boy for good.

Excerpt:

She was startled by a thump from above, followed by the muffled slide of the attic window, first up, then down. The groan of floorboards beneath traipsing feet.

Goosebumps prickled across her scalp. Why hadn’t she thought to grab something to use for self-defense? A knife or a fork or Gram’s old cast-iron baking pan, which maybe, just maybe, would deflect bullets. There might be a metal nail file in her purse, except she had no time to hunt for it, because the trap door was creaking open, and—oh, God!—someone was coming down the stairs.

Footfalls thudded across the floor, mere feet from where she was hunkered behind the island. Squinting through the grainy dimness, she peeked around the corner in time to glimpse a slight, dark figure creeping into the room out front. She got to her feet and followed.

She came to a halt just beyond the doorway. The big neon clock on the rear wall glowed blue, giving the room a bar-like ambience. The cookie burglar was standing behind the counter to her left, cramming snowdrop cookies into his mouth.

God in heaven, it was a boy. The cookie burglar was a boy. And he was eleven. She was sure of that, even though the light was dim and she was seeing him only in profile. Something about him seemed familiar—his slouched shoulders, perhaps, or the long, straight slope of his nose. He was slender like her, though a few inches shorter. His hair was matted and dark but with a good shampooing would probably be the same tawny shade as her own.

An eleven-year-old brown-haired boy, come down from above to burgle her cookie shop…

She stepped forward with a gasp. “Jonah?”

Purchase link:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Snowdrop-Thumbprint-Screams-Christmas-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09GXM27PR/

Social media links:

Website: www.kimberlybaer.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KimberlyBaer14

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimberlyBaer/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Kimberly-Baer/e/B08D3RVKCH/

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/kimberly_baer

About the Author:

Kimberly Baer wrote her first story at age six. It was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl’s Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. Sadly, she never managed to get that story published.

Nowadays, Kim writes in a variety of genres. Her paranormal young-adult novel The Haunted Purse was the third-place winner in the 2021 National Excellence in Story Telling Contest (YA category), sponsored by the Central Region Oklahoma Writers. Her middle-grade novel Mall Girl Meets the Shadow Vandal was the bronze medal winner in the 2021 Reader’s Favorite Book Award Contest, Children’s Mystery category. Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams is Kim’s first foray into adult romantic suspense.

In addition to being an author, Kim has worked as a professional editor for the past sixteen years. She lives in Virginia, where she likes to go power-walking on days when it’s not too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, or too windy. On indoor days, you might find her binge-watching one of her favorite TV shows: Gilmore Girls, Friends, The Office, or Breaking Bad.

C.J. Bahr brings her ‘cinematic’ writing to vibrant life

Thanks to C.J. Bahr for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.

Hi, everyone! Thanks for having me today. My name is C J Bahr. I live in sunny Southern California in the town of Tarzana, which was named after Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I’m still single and looking for my happily-ever-after. In the meantime I surround myself with awesome friends and live with two cats, Liam and Gerry. I love to visit California wineries, taking hikes and of course, curled up with my kindle to escape to new places.

Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?

I’m a tea drinker. A snobby tea drinker! I like the loose leaf tea in all flavors, none of the pressed flat tea bags for me! If I’m writing later, nice glass of wine might be seen next to my laptop.

Is your education relevant to your writing, or have you branched off in something entirely different to create? How would you best describe your books?

I have a BA in Communications with a Film/Television emphasis. Though I use this degree for my “day” music editing career, it has influenced my writing. Several of my readers and fellow authors have described my writing as cinematic. Or in other words, they can visualize my stories on screen easily. I write paranormal romance, supernatural suspense, and fantasy/sci-fi, so my novels have a magic and lots of action. You can escape with my writing. I’ll definitely take you on a journey.

Tell us about your most recent publication/whichever book you’d like to talk about today?

My newest release drops on September 20th, and it is “Redeemed By Fire”. It’s my third book of seven in my standalone Fire Chronicles series. You can jump into the fire at anytime, no reading order necessary! It’s a paranormal romance, set in New Orleans.

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

First, I knew my story would have a musical element which would play an important part to the plot. With that in mind, I couldn’t set it anywhere else but New Orleans! I’ve always wanted to visit. In fact I had the Airbnb  and plane tickets booked for June 2020, but than the pandemic hit. One day, I will get there. So, of course I researched New Orleans so the readers would feel like they were actually there. But the more fun research was for my villain. My killer (trying for no spoilers!) needs the pineal gland (located inside the brain and is also known as the “third-eye chakra”). So not only had I research the gland, but had to figure out how to remove it. If you want to know, it’s through the eye.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

Well, I finally gave one of my heroes a cat. There’s just something I love about a guy who likes cats. He named her, Catastrophe. Cat for short. She’s half Maine Coon and plays a pivotal roll in the plot.

The special in creating “Redeemed By Fire” is consciously making my characters more reflective of an inclusive society in order to diversify. My heroine is half Haitian. My Cajun detective’s partner is African American. My heroine’s best friend is gay. I want to grow as a writer and a person. As a writer I feel I should be stepping up to show all the colors and lifestyles in this world in which we live in.

What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I love creating stories people want to read. The actual writing, it’s a few things: banter dialogue, action scenes, and strong female leads. The least? It has to be when I reach the ¾ mark of a new novel. I always seem to jump to the end of the story and when I re-read the first draft I realize I’ve skipped a whole portion of my plot! I knew I wanted to be an author by my late teens and even manage to sell my first short story to one of my favorite fantasy author’s anthology in my twenties.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I use to belong to a couple of writing groups, but now I mostly write with one fellow author. Writing groups depend on honest helpful critiques and of course participation. It’s tough when you open yourself for critique but your other fellow authors stop submitting there own writing. Now I swap pages with trusted beta readers instead of groups.

One of my favorite websites is www.wordhippo.com. It’s great for finding perfect word or phrase. I use www.prowritingaid.com when I begin the editing process. And I absolutely love www.bookbrush.com when it comes time to create advertising memes, book trailers and covers.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

Music is a huge part of my life since I made a career around it. I listen to instrumental television and film scores. I cannot write while someone is singing! I get distracted by the lyrics. So instead, I “score” what I’m writing. For instance, if I’m writing an action sequence I might be listening to the “Italian Job” or music from one of the “Bourne Identity” movies. If I’m writing a comedic fun or a romantic scene, I’ll look for an appropriate movie or TV soundtrack to play in the background.

Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience?

As mentioned above, I no longer belong to a critique/writers’ group. I have a very select group of three beta readers I give my pages to. I found over time, I work better with a trusted few. One is a fellow author, who gets my way earlier stuff. She’s the bomb and doesn’t pull any punches. Another is an avid reader of the genres I write, who’s smart and again, will tell me like it is. My last reader is a copy editor who is one of the last set of eyes before I submit or self-publish. It is so valuable to have the right eyes on my pages, trusted individuals who will always tell me the truth of what is working and what isn’t. This input is invaluable as I continue to develop my writing.

To encourage those still on the path, tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one? What do you think was the key to selling that first book?

I made my first sale in my twenties to the first place I submitted. I was thrilled. Then, it took me another twenty years to publish again! It wasn’t until my late forties I sold my first full length novel. I went the contest route after trying for agents and directly with publishers and getting shut down. “Finish The Damn Book” contest where you enter your first and last chapter of your novel, I was placed second; however, the editor requested a full and then contracted me. I was careful on what contests I enter, making sure either an editor or agent was reading the finalists in hope of getting my work in front of them.

“Walking Through Fire” was actually my second complete novel, but it was the first to sell. I currently have four novels out, and two stories in two anthologies. The key to selling is have an original voice, a great tale and persistence! Never give up. It may have taken me twenty years to sell from my first, but now I have six books out. Hang in there.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?

Currently I’m writing two novels. The fourth fire book is in research/plotting mode while I’m writing a first book in a new urban fantasy about a kick-ass, female time cop.

I recently appeared on a vlog/podcast. You can find links to your media listening/viewing choice here: https://www.sheshedstudios.net/event/vloggingpod-interview-w-cj-bahr/

Anything else you would like to add?

Author Bio:

First published in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Sword & Sorceress” anthology, C J was bitten by the writer’s bug and hasn’t stopped since. The Wild Rose Press published her award-winning first novel, “Walking Through Fire”— a Scottish ghost romance. She is currently working on the fourth book in the interconnected standalone series, The Fire Chronicles, as well as a new Urban Fantasy starring a kick-ass Time Enforcer.

When her pen isn’t scribing, you can find her busily cutting and tracking music for film and television.  With over thirty years of music editing experience, her credits range from “Northern Exposure” and “The Muppets Christmas Carol”, to “The Kill Point”, “The Following”, and ABC’s hit comedy, “The Middle”.

In her downtime, you’ll find her curled up with a cup of tea, her cats and a great book in Tarzana, California.

Social Media Links:

Website/Newsletter:  https://cjbahr.com

Twitter: @cjbahr  https://twitter.com/cjbahr

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bahrcj

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cjbahr.author/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9828572.C_J_Bahr

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/c-j-bahr

Amazon Author: https://tinyurl.com/y7jmpqdg

Redeemed By Fire Specific Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CG6JX5T/

B&N: https://tinyurl.com/273fhhtc

iBooks: https://tinyurl.com/wctyc9xa

Goodreads: https://tinyurl.com/3v6mcsn7

BookBub: https://tinyurl.com/vrxs8nbp

Blurb:

New Orleans, hot sultry nights, and an ancient evil who makes the French Quarter home.

Cassanne Thomas returns to New Orleans to start her life over and becomes the target of a supernatural serial killer. Escaping her close call with death, Casi is the only witness to the crime and finds herself placed in protected custody by a handsome Cajun detective. But with her dark, troubled past, trusting the police is the last thing she wants to do.

Detective Lucas Avery, the top homicide detective in NOLA, is unaware of the supernatural world surrounding him. With the killer stalking the streets, he vows to shield the beautiful, enigmatic, Casi with his life while fighting his growing attraction to her. He’s been burned before.

Danger chases Lucas and Casi from the streets of the French Quarter to the wilds of the bayou. Will they be able to stop a monster, straight out of a nightmare or become victims themselves?

OFFICIAL EXCERPT:

Casi screamed and covered her ears, though too late. The loud boom made her ears ring. Who was shooting at them? She tried to see, but Luc’s weight had her effectively pinned. Squealing tires along with a string of Cajun curses from Luc, had Casi guessing the shooter had fled.

Luc holstered his weapon when Casi spotted the blood dripping off his arm.

“Oh my God!” She pushed at him. “Let me up. You’re hurt. You’re bleeding!”

Luc rolled off her and did as she asked, while gripping his thigh with both hands. Her gaze left his arm drawn to the blood oozing out between his fingers. The thigh wound appeared much more serious. She tugged her phone out and quickly dialed 911. But before it connected, Luc’s bloody fingers grabbed her phone and disconnected the call.

“We can’t call this in.” Luc exhaled harshly and gritted his teeth as once again, he applied pressure to his leg.

“You’re shot. You’re bleeding from multiple places. We need an ambulance!”

He shook his head. “Can’t. We need to leave. Now.”

Arresting Mason, Arresting Jeremiah on sale only $2.99!

For the first time ever, both Arresting Mason and Arresting Jeremiah are on sale for $2.99 each.

This romantic suspense series features smokin’ hot sex scenes, bad boy heroes, and badass heroines who fight their own battles and keep their men on their toes.

Now is the perfect time to catch up with these books since they’re half off! Find them on sale at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple/iBooks.

Limited Time Only – May 14 to May 28, 2021

Arresting Mason (Arresting Onyx book 1)

– Their chance encounter resulted in a steamy affair, but will his former gang and a parole officer tear them apart?

Blurb

Once you’re in a prison gang, you’re in it for life. That’s what Mason Harding thought until the boss accepted his resignation. After the State releases him on parole, a sexy divorcée behind the wheel of a car almost ends his life quicker than a shank. His chance encounter with Mia Eddison results in a night of passion, but her brother—his parole officer—catches them together and doesn’t approve.

Mia falls hard for the cocky ex-con, but not because of his chiseled body. She vows to break through his walls and discover his secrets, but never expects those secrets to threaten her life.

When members of an organized crime ring kidnap Mia to force Mason’s return to the gang, he goes up against an old friend to save the woman he loves. Will his sacrifice be enough or will everything fall apart in a blaze of gunfire?

Add to Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39005064-arresting-mason

Check it out on BookBubhttps://www.bookbub.com/books/arresting-mason-by-amber-daulton

Arresting Mason – Purchase Links

Amazon – http://amzn.to/2ppcmEJ

Barnes and Noble – https://bit.ly/2uOj90J

Apple/iBooks – https://apple.co/2FVAQMP

Universal link – https://books2read.com/u/m2vvY7

Arresting Jeremiah (Arresting Onyx book 2)

When threats escalate, will Jim and Calista succumb, or fight for a love they can’t deny?

Blurb

Injured Parole Officer Jeremiah “Jim” Borden never expected Calista Barlow, the sassy blonde waitress he’s craved for months, to ring his doorbell. She slips into his heart—and his bed—but he’s obsessed with a gangland investigation that threatens his career and maybe even his life.

Calista doesn’t trust easily, not with a daughter to protect and the stalker who keeps calling her. After her violent ex-boyfriend returns, she finds solace in Jim’s arms.

Jim may have to forego his need for answers to protect the ready-made family he adores, but how will he and Calista escape an unseen enemy that is always one step ahead of them?

Add to Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55223686-arresting-jeremiah

Check it out on BookBubhttps://www.bookbub.com/books/arresting-jeremiah-arresting-onyx-book-2-by-amber-daulton

Arresting Jeremiah – Purchase Links

Amazon – https://amzn.to/32vAlqu

Barnes and Noble – https://bit.ly/2E4eJYO

Apple/iBooks – https://apple.co/35BOuo1

Universal link – https://books2read.com/u/mVKvMP

About the Author

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

Social Media

Universal link – https://linktr.ee/AmberDaulton

For those who like older characters… #mfrwHooks

Family law attorney Suzanne Taylor understands her clients’ problems–her own husband left her with two babies to raise alone. Now that they’re teenagers, her life is full. The last thing she wants is the romantic attentions of a police lieutenant, no matter how good-looking.

Lt. Nick Sansone is juggling the demands of a new promotion and doesn’t need complications either. But when he sends a councilman’s battered wife to Suzanne for help, he realizes he wants to connect with the lovely, prickly lawyer on more than a professional level.

They are soon confronted with a different battle when the abused woman’s husband threatens retribution. The powerful, well-connected councilman can damage both their careers–not to mention hurt those they love. Can they bend enough to admit they need each other in a time of crisis? Or will a husband’s revenge take them down before they ever get a chance?

BUY HERE: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0089PTPAO/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i7

For more information on the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series: https://alana-lorens.com/the-pittsburgh-lady-lawyers/

Excerpt: (from the first date)

            “You went to Pitt? My alma mater, too.”

            “Not in the same class, I’m sure.” Nick was forty-five; he’d always thought of Suzanne as at least ten years younger.

            The fingers of her left hand ran lightly over the fork, cushioned in the folded white napkin on the table. “Well, I went for law school. We wouldn’t have seen each other anyway.”

            “Probably not. It was twenty years ago, before I joined the force.”

            She looked up, surprised. “I was just finishing up. But I was sure you were older than I am.” She hesitated, bit her lip. “I just turned forty.”

            “Not so much. I’m forty-five.” There, he said it.

            He hated thinking about the passing of the years. So many of them, so many alone. An awkward silence between them preceded the arrival of the wine, as well as hot bread with the strong aroma of garlic and cheese. He uncorked the bottle with a well-practiced hand, then poured them each half a glass. He suppressed the urge to ask about her love life. “Where’d you go for undergrad?” he asked instead.

            “Penn State.” She took a sip of the wine, holding the cool edge of the glass against her lip for a moment.

            “Business major?” he guessed.

            “Oh, no! Sociology. Headed for a career involving ‘Would you like fries with that?’” She laughed. “Graduate school was pretty much a given.”

            “So you’ve been bent on saving the world all along.”

            She shrugged. “Some of it, at least.”

            He could understand the sentiment. “I believe that’s what I do, too. God knows there isn’t much other reason to be on the street some days. I want to know I’m making a difference for some man, woman

or child every time I step out on the street.”

            He waited for her to mock him, as other women had over the years. Many women wanted to date a police officer. Some found it a ticket to an “E” ride, great benefits, good pay, the opportunity for them to hang out with the girls at the outlet malls all day and get their nails done. Some, with violent men in their pasts, thought being with a cop would protect them. Some just were cop groupies, taking the thrill and excitement of the profession by proxy. But most denigrated his genuine need to serve as corny and fake.

            Suzanne didn’t poke fun. She skewered him with a dissecting gaze. After a few silent moments, she ostensibly accepted him at face value. “Did you always want to be a cop?”

            “Sure. I mean, the family history and all. Guess I never wanted to be anything else. Except an astronaut.” He grinned.

            “You? Roger Ramjet? Hard to believe.” She laughed softly, and he thought the cool distance in her eyes mellowed. Maybe he had a chance with her.

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More from the scary world of Stephen B. King

One thing about Glimpse 4 I think readers will find interesting:

A character named Jolly appears in Glimpse, the Tender Killer as the evil alter-ego of the schizophrenic serial killer, Bobby Cornhill, whom the media nickname, The Biblical Killer, because of the religious quotes written in blood on the victim’s walls. I received a lot of emails from readers demanding not only to bring him back, but asking the question, was Jolly a real entity or just a figment of Cornhill’s very troubled mind. While I loved creating this character, I was stunned that readers wanted more, and in Glimpse, the Angel Shot, Jolly features a lot more. This time one of the main protagonists, Rick McCoy sees, and talks to Jolly. The question again is: Is Jolly real, or is Rick slowly going insane?

Who is Jolly?

I am genuinely staggered by the number of readers who wanted to know more about my character, Jolly. I wanted the reader to wonder, is Jolly real, or just a figment of a very troubled mind? And boy, did they.

I loved Jolly, and felt I was crossing the border into the supernatural, as if I was writing like my more famous namesake. I put a lot of effort into making Jolly feel real to not only the murderer, but make the reader ask that question, is he somehow real and chooses who he appears to?

I had so many requests, when I sat down to write Book 4, The Angel Shot, I knew I had to bring Jolly back, and, I did with a vengeance. The hairs on the back of my neck still tingle when I read about Jolly, and I know what happens next! I hope those readers who wanted to see him again are satisfied, and they can finally decide if he is just imaginary, or somehow, a sentient character who chooses who he will appear to, and influence. How could he appear to Bobby and make him murder liars in an internet chat room, yet confront Rick McCoy and offer a lifeline to save Juliet, his wife? And, then, when Jolly appears to Juliet and offers a way to find solace, and help to keep her sanity, is he helping, or hindering her recovery?

Suffice to say, my beta readers, my editor and narrator, enjoy the juxtaposition that Jolly creates. While Rick worries, he is losing his mind, supposedly, all Jolly wants to do is save his wife’s sanity, and life.

Could such a thing actually happen? As Pat says to Rick when he finally admits to her he is seeing Jolly: “We all need help at different times in our lives, sometimes more than others. Often, speaking about what is inside us helps our fears and anxieties dissipate by bringing them into the open and letting you examine them in the cold light of day. I can see Jolly seems real to you, which of course, he would, wouldn’t he? If it weren’t so real, you’d shrug it off and laugh. A psychosis, no matter how severe, is always real to the person experiencing it. It should never be shrugged off, laughed at, or ignored for that matter. You’ve been under more stress than anyone should have to bear, I’d be amazed if you didn’t come through it without some, shall we say, quirks. It doesn’t mean you’re mad or need locking up or can’t function as you are. But I think the first step for you is to understand why this is happening. Guilt is one of the most powerful motivators there is, and I think once you accept that, work with it instead of trying to fight it, you will see Jolly less and less.”

Will Jolly appear in a future story?

Hmm, I am honestly not sure. From my perspective, he is a wonderful, rich character to write for. Intelligent, deep, and he keeps quoting the bible to suit any given situation. So, maybe he will. I’m not saying Jolly is appearing to me, but I sometimes, in the still of the night, hear him whispering to: “Stephen, bring me back…”

One thing about me readers may find interesting:

I am fascinated by how the human mind can fracture and have a tremendous respect for psychologists, and psychiatrists who try to help patients put the pieces back together. A good friend, and his wife are both prominent psychologists, and my daughter has degrees in criminal psychology and justice. I often wish I had studied the subject myself, but at that age I was far more interested in rock music, free love, illegal substances, and telling stories. The Glimpse series is named that because in each book I try to offer the reader a look into the killer’s mind set, and offer an answer to the question most people want answering; why.

Glimpse, the Dinner Guest

Amazon buy link: https://amzn.to/3m1RaA8

I have been asked many times, will there be more Glimpse stories?

During writing Glimpse, The Angel Shot, I believed it was to be a standalone story, and a finale for my characters, Rick, Pat, and Juliet. But, I am frequently reminded of the James Bond quote, “Never say never!”

In fact, there is now a Glimpse 5, called Glimpse, The Dinner Guest, released 13th of November 2020. This is a special project I was invited to submit a story to, and I was humbled to be selected. Me? an ego? Nah, surely not.

The rules seemed simple and interesting enough. 13 authors each publishing a dark thriller, of only 13000 words. It must feature a broken mirror, and use the words, Friday the 13th. I jumped at the chance to make my favorite all time character, Patricia Holmes take a starring role in a scary, stand-alone story, without her protector Rick McCoy to ensure she doesn’t get hurt again.

Here is the blurb:

Detective Sargent and clinical psychologist, Patricia Holmes, has been invited to a murder mystery dinner party at a small luxury hotel located in Western Australia. The dinner is a reunion party for the psychologists and psychiatrists who work at Perth’s largest mental hospital, which treats the criminally insane.

But there is an uninvited guest–a former patient who is hungry for revenge. In fact, he is ravenous. He will stop at nothing until he murders the doctor who gave him painful, electroconvulsive therapy.

Detective Sargent Holmes must stop a frenzied killer on a vicious spree—but can she save the other guests, or will she be the last one left alive?

Here is a short excerpt:

Pat knocked on the door of number ten and hoped she had caught Ruth before she went downstairs to the bar. From inside, she heard a muffled woman’s voice. “Can you get that, Tony,” The next moment, the door was yanked open, and a tall distinguished looking man wearing a tuxedo performed a double take when he saw her.

“Jesus Christ, are you all right?” he said with concern in his voice, and Pat realized the effect her slashed and bloody top had on him.

Pat gave a small laugh, which, when she glanced again at his face, grew louder, and threatened to become hysterical. “I’m fine, thank you. Dress scary, the invite said, so I did. I’ve got to say; your tuxedo isn’t scary at all. I’m Patricia Holmes and would like to have a few words with Ruth, if I can, before festivities get underway.”

He grinned and stepped back, beckoning with his head for her to enter. “Yeah, we don’t do fancy dress-ups, sorry. We’re far too dull in our old age. Come in. Ruth is applying her make up with a trowel. I’m Tony. I don’t think we’ve met?”

“Thanks, Tony, please call me Pat, everyone does. I left Graylands quite a while ago now, and even when I was there, I was only part-time. I consulted to the criminally insane, the lifers, worst of the worst. By all means, call me morbid. These days, I’m with the police.”

He pointed to the chair by the desk for her to sit then turned his head to the bathroom. “Hon, it’s Patricia Holmes. She wants a word with you before we go downstairs. Do you want me to hang around, or can I go down and mingle?”

Ruth Hawthorne stuck her head around the doorway with a lipstick clutched in her right hand. “Hello, Pat, bloody long time no see, how are you doing?” She turned her glance to her husband, “You can leave us girls. We can go down together. Is that all right, Pat? My God, I love your outfit.”

“Thanks, Ruth. I thought I’d have a bit of fun. Going down together works for me. I need a private chat anyway…”

“Sounds ominous. You get off, Tony. Pat joined the dark side and is with the police now, but I don’t think she is here to arrest me.”

Pat shook her head and smiled as Ruth disappeared back into the bathroom. Pat sat down on the seat to wait, and Tony acted like most people do around detectives; nervous and in a hurry to get away.

“Righto, see you downstairs. Nice to meet you, Mrs. Holmes.” He scampered out the door quickly, eager to either get away from her, find a strong drink, or both.

My crazy world of irony:

I love some of the ironies and humor, I created in this short story. Pat, who used to consult with murderers attends a murder mystery dinner, dressed as a murder victim and is the only police officer in the remote location to try to stop a murderer kill all the attendees. I found it funny to write that she is the only guest to use fancy dress as the invite instructed her to do. This once happened to me, many moons ago when I dressed up as Count Dracula, but the other fifty or so guests at the party wore ‘normal’ clothes. I felt like an idiot all night, though I did meet a woman who became a playmate for a while…She thought I was interesting.

In Glimpse 4, Patricia was shocked to learn that most of the other detectives in the Major Crime squad don’t want to partner her because she had been badly injured in two previous cases. In Glimpse 5, she must face a man suffering extreme paranoid schizophrenia, intent on ridding the word of as many psychologists as he can, and Pat is a psychologist.

Why a short story in the Glimpse series?

I am reminded of the adage, less is more, and for writers, that means the less you say, the more impact it can have. So, the challenge for me was only writing 13000 words featuring a character I love writing for, when sometimes I could just write, and write and write… Then, before I know it, I’m approaching 100,000 novel limit. When I read through The Dinner Guest, as I have so many times now, I realize just how much I was able to say, with so few words, and I am thrilled with the result. I am tempted to perhaps write a few more short stories, or novellas for Pat, and Rick, in their own anthology. We shall see how Book 5 is received, and if there is a demand from my loyal reader.

Well, as I said earlier, never say never.

Taking on a serial killer

This week I’ll be featuring new stories from Australian author Stephen B. King. HEADS UP: They do tell stories with murder, rape and other subjects which would not always sit well with my usual heroines, but I know some people enjoy crime stories, and we want to appeal to everyone!

Glimpse, the Angel Shot

Book 4 in The Deadly Glimpses Series.

Amazon buy link: https://amzn.to/3n70Fif

Blurb:

Seven women have disappeared from bars only to be found murdered after asking for an Angel Shot. Detective Rick McCoy is handed the case after returning from leave following his wife’s horrific ordeal at the hands of the serial killer, PPP.

Criminal psychologist Patricia Holmes lost her husband to the same killer and when her current partner makes her life miserable she jumps at the chance to work with Rick again. When they determine a man currently jailed for the crimes could not have committed them the mystery deepens.

But that is the least of Rick’s worries. An imaginary alter ego appears warning him his wife is suicidal. Will they be able to solve the riddle of the Angel Shot before another victim loses her life and save his wife from taking hers? 

Two favorite passages:

“You have been busy, haven’t you? Thanks for interceding on my behalf. The thing is, I’ve been thinking of giving everything up and going back to lecturing. Besides, I won’t work with Pepperdick again, and apparently, all the other sergeants think I’m a liability and won’t partner with me.” She took another drink and looked back out of the window, blinking rapidly.

“Pat, you know as well as I do most cops are a superstitious lot. All you need is one more good investigation, one where you don’t get shot or stabbed, and there would be a long line of guys who would want you as their partner. Do you think if you had another chance, you could get through a whole case and not get wounded or slap your boss?”

She had been swallowing and choked as she laughed at his humor. “Depending who my boss would be, I could try,” she offered when she recovered, then turned her serious gaze on Rick’s.

****

“Yep. So, show me what you’ve got. Let’s say Brandon is not our killer. Have you got enough to profile who is?”

Pat made a pantomime of patting her pockets and looking around her, including under her chair. “What are you doing, Pat?” he asked, though he suspected what her answer would be.

“Oh, I was just looking for my magic wand; I thought I left it lying around here somewhere.”

They both laughed for a moment, and Rick’s heart swelled. They fitted together so perfectly. He shrugged, forcing the feelings down, which he had been doing with Pat for a long time.

“I don’t have much, Rick, but here are some thoughts.” She paused, composing her ideas. “People generally think rape is about having sex, yet we know often it’s not. That is the result, yes, but the cause is more about control, or even to some extent, sadism. Sometimes the rapist cannot achieve orgasm, which makes him more violent, so, we can postulate sex may not be a motivating factor; cruelty is. So, that’s the first point to consider. Second, not only was Ingrid Stapleton brutalized, but then strangled. Strangulation is a very hard, upfront, and personal way of murdering someone. Sometimes we see it in a case of domestic violence, where the killer is angry with someone else to the point of losing control. So, we can draw from that the man was angry with Ingrid, but why? On the face of it, Brandon O’Toole fits that description, he was rejected by her, and that could cause uncontrollable rage, rage enough to strangle, yes, but, in that case, not rape, do you see what I mean?”

Rick nodded slowly. “Yes, I think I do. If we are assuming O’Toole didn’t take Ingrid, then maybe the killer watched her in the bar, perhaps witnessed Ingrid’s altercation with O’Toole, and tried to rescue her. Possibly, he comforted Ingrid after O’Toole left and because he fancied her that could explain the Rohypnol and subsequent sexual assault. But why kill her by strangulation?”

Her brown-eyed gaze bored into his. “Rick, I think we are looking for someone in part with severe issues of anger and hatred toward women, yet in another way, he has a natural desire for them too. He couldn’t let her go because she would identify him. This man could have some sort of dissociative disorder, or dare I say even possible multiple disorder syndrome, and if that’s the case….”

“He’s killed before, or after. Jesus, Pat, you’re saying this could be a serial killer who got away with murder?”

****

Why did you write a Glimpse 4, wasn’t it meant to be a trilogy?

Well, yes, originally this was to be THREE deadly glimpses. I wanted to tell a story of inappropriate workplace desires and the effect on four people during three murder investigations of three different serial killers. I think in the same way good actors like a mini-series to be able to really portray a character, I wanted three books to tell the story with all the nuances two married people would feel who were attracted to each other. I believe I did tell that tale to the best of my ability, but after book 3, Glimpse, The Tender Killer was published, a groundswell of public and reader opinion made itself known by way of emails…..It seemed my readers, including my narrator, and editor wanted to know what happened to my characters next. Quite frankly, I was stunned by the response

I was genuinely flattered, but as a writer, I had ‘moved on’ and had other projects I was working on such as Winter at the Light, and a full re-write of Domin8, yet the calls for more continued. I truthfully never expected that, and was deeply moved that my characters struck such a chord with readers. But, still the ethos of the Glimpse series was to take the reader inside the minds of three separate serial killers and show why they were the they were, so to create a fourth instalment would require another killer, and that wasn’t so easy to do.

I am deeply fascinated by all things psychology, and in particular, what circumstances create the triggers which cause some people’s minds to fracture and create a serial killer. In Glimpse, The Angel Shot I use 3 quotes from one of America’s worst serial murderers, Ted Bundy, to give an indication how these types of people think:

“Murder is not about lust, and it’s not about violence. It’s about possession.”

“We serial killers are your sons; we are your husbands, we are everywhere. And there will be more of your children dead tomorrow.”

“What’s one less person on the face of the earth, anyway?”

For me, this is not only some of the most chilling words I have ever read, but deeply, and yes morbidly, interesting. So, for me to create another serial murderer for Patricia Holmes to profile, wasn’t easy, and it took some time to come up with the answer. My wife inadvertently came to my rescue when we were out one night at a social function and she said to me when she returned to the table, “You’ll never guess what is written on the back of the lady’s toilet door.” I looked up and joked, “Jeez, I hope it’s not my phone number advertising for a good time.”

Obviously, she is used to my warped sense of humor, and gave me a withering stare, until I asked her, “No, darling, what is on the back of the door?”

Her answer was like a bolt of lightning hitting me, and my two all-time favorite words came to mind: “What if…”

My loving wife gave me all I needed to create a man so troubled by his dysfunctional marriage he wants to rape and murder vulnerable women when they asked for help to be rescued from a troublesome date.

STAY TUNED—THE SECOND HALF OF THIS STORY WILL APPEAR HERE ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, for the release of Glimpse 5, called Glimpse, The Dinner Guest!!!!

Death by sandstorm? A terrifying prospect #MFRWHooks

Lily Pearl Evans
Gene Nicholas

After a run of bad relationships, Lily Pearl Evans has finally become an independent woman. In the New Mexico desert town of Chaparral, she works for herself, sets her own rules, and is determined no man will hold her back again.
Gene Nicholas worked for more than a decade to achieve his dream to be a doctor. Wanting to share his gifts with those less fortunate, he leaves south Florida to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders in Mexico.
When Gene provokes a showdown with the local Mexican drug cartel, he becomes a man with a price on his head. On the run, he ends up on Lily’s doorstep–a mystery man forced to conceal his past to protect them both. With the cartel’s dangerous web drawing tight around them, can Lily and Gene survive a drug lord’s revenge?

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U26_4t9yRA

EXCERPT:

A giant cloud spread across the horizon, reaching a quarter-mile into the sky. The ocher color of the desert sand, the cloud billowed forth in all directions, heading right for the pair of them. He’d never seen a sight so terrifying.

         “What is that?!”

         “What?” she asked, as she turned. Her face paled when she saw what he was looking at. She started off at a run for the truck.

         Unsure what to do, he hesitated. The oncoming cloud swelled and swirled, billowing outward toward them like parachute material filling with forced air, constantly moving, growing. Mesmerized at the monster’s progress, he stood, slack-jawed, until the first pecks of sand stung his bare cheeks, the pain bringing him back to very present danger.

         The air darkened around him as a hissing filled his ears. His hands came up automatically to cover his face, and he backed into his car door, inadvertently slamming it shut.

         “Come on!”

  Lily stood on the truck’s running board, yelling over the door. “Hurry!”
 The wind swallowed her voice, stole the words away, but her expression needed no explanation. He moved.

  He stumbled in the sand, three or four steps in before he got traction enough to run. The cloud came closer, enveloped him. Blinded, he held his arm across his face, fighting his way toward the place he believed the truck to be, where it used to be before the world shifted into chaos.

 He’d been working in Miami when Hurricane Andrew devastated the southern suburbs, and that was his only experience that even approached this in terms of terror. The wind roared around him, the sand continuing to assault his skin, even worse than the onslaught of wind and rain Andrew had been.

Just when he was sure he was lost, the lights of the truck flashed inches from his outstretched hand. He tucked his chin down into his jacket, grabbed the fender of the truck and pulled himself along till his fingers located the handle to the door. Counting to three, he blocked the door with his body the best he could, then jumped inside the cab of the truck and yanked the door closed in a cloud of dust.

         Coughing, he laid his head back against the rest.

         “Are you okay, honey?” she asked, brow furrowed with concern. She handed him a small bottle of water from a six-pack stashed under the seat.

         “I think so.” He coughed some more, trying to catch his breath. The swirl of nothingness outside the glass drew his frightened eyes. “Is that a sandstorm?” he gasped.

         “It is.”  She leaned forward to close the air vents as the tapping of sand against the window became a full-fledged, constant bombardment.

  The truck rocked in the vicious wind, but they were safe inside. Overhead, the sky became dark as night as the shifting sand obscured the faint rays of the winter sun.

         His heart raced. What if this had happened the night of his border crossing? He imagined being lost in such an event, the sand scraping away exposed skin, filling airways with dust, slowly choking a person to death…

Alana Lorens has been a published writer for more than forty years. Currently a  resident of Asheville, North Carolina, she loves her time in the smoky blue mountains. One of her novellas, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE,  is set in the city of Asheville during the old Bele Chere festival. She lives with her daughter, who is the youngest of her seven children, two crotchety old cats, and five kittens of various ages.

Website           https://alana-lorens.com

Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/AlanaLorens/

Goodreads   https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4829967.Alana_Lorens

Amazon Author Page  https://www.amazon.com/Alana-Lorens/e/B005GE0WBC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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