#BlogTour “Dead in a Week” by Andrea Kane

Dead In A Week by Andrea Kane Banner~~~

Dead In A Week by Andrea Kane

What would you do if your daughter was kidnapped and given only a week to live?

Lauren Pennington is celebrating her junior year abroad when life comes to a screeching halt. At Munich’s Hofbräuhaus, she engages in an innocent flirtation with a charming stranger for the length of a drink. Drink finished, Lauren leaves—only to be snatched from the streets and thrown into an unmarked van.

Officially, Aidan Deveraux is a communications expert for one of the largest financial firms in the world. In his secret life, the former Marine heads the Zermatt Group, a covert team of military and spy agency operatives that search the data stream for troubling events in an increasingly troubled world. When his artificial intelligence system detects Lauren’s kidnapping, Aidan immediately sees the bigger picture.

Silicon Valley: Lauren’s father, Vance Pennington, is about to launch a ground-breaking technology with his company NanoUSA—a technology that the Chinese are desperate for. No sooner does Aidan arrive on Vance’s doorstep to explain the situation than the father receives a chilling text message: hand over the technology or Lauren will be dead in a week.

In a globe-spanning chase, from the beer halls of Germany, to the tech gardens of California, to the skyscrapers of China, and finally the farmlands of Croatia, Aidan’s team cracks levels of high-tech security and complex human mystery with a dogged determination. Drawing in teammates from the Forensic Instincts team (introduced in The Girl Who Disappeared Twice), the Zermatt Group will uncover the Chinese businessmen responsible, find the traitors within NanoUSA who are helping them, and save Lauren from a brutal death.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense Thriller

Published by: Bonnie Meadow Publishing

Publication Date: March 19th 2019

Number of Pages: 384

ISBN: 1682320294 (ISBN13: 9781682320297)

Series: Forensic Instincts, Zermatt Group

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

Munich, Germany 20 February Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. local time Normally, Lauren Pennington loved the sound of her combat boots clomping across the cobblestone apron. But right now, all she could think about was the growling of her empty stomach, urging her to move faster. She was oblivious to everything else—the couple on the corner sharing a passionate, open-mouthed kiss, the guy puking up his over-consumption of beer into the storm sewer grating, and the man watching her every move as he talked into his cell phone in a language that Lauren wouldn’t have recognized had she been paying attention. She walked into Hofbräuhaus’ main hall, took a seat at one of the wooden tables, and placed her order. Minutes later, the waitress came over and brought Lauren’s food and drink. Barely uttering a perfunctory “Danke,” Lauren bit into a pretzel the size of her head and took a healthy gulp of Hofbräu. The semester had ended, and she was entitled to some carbs and a dose of people-watching at the historic Munich brewery. Pretzels and beer were addicting, but people-watching had always fascinated her. Despite a whole winter semester of her junior year abroad studying art history at the Ludwig Maximilian University at Munich, she still enjoyed playing the tourist. Not at school, but every time she strolled the streets, studied the architecture, chatted with the locals. Hofbräuhaus was less than a mile from campus, but the brewery’s main hall had a reputation all its own. With its old-world atmosphere of wooden tables, terra cotta floors, painted arches, and hanging lanterns, how could anyone not feel a sense of history just being within these walls? Maybe that’s why Europe called out to her, not just here, but from a million different places. Museums. Theaters. Cathedrals. She wanted to experience them all, and then some. She’d be going home to San Francisco in July, and she hadn’t been to Paris or London or Brussels. She’d gotten a mere taste of Munich and had yet to visit Berlin. When would she get another chance to do all that? Not for ages. And certainly not with the sense of freedom she had as a college student, with little or no responsibilities outside her schoolwork to claim her attention. On the flip side, she felt terribly guilty. Every February, her entire family traveled to Lake Tahoe together. It was a ritual and a very big deal, since her father rarely got a day, much less a week, off as a high-powered executive. Her mother usually began making arrangements for the trip right after the holidays. In her mind, it was like a second Christmas, with the whole family reuniting and sharing time and laughter together. This year was no different. Lauren’s brother, Andrew, and her sister, Jessica, were both taking time off from their busy careers to join their parents at Tahoe—no easy feat considering Andrew was an intellectual property attorney in Atlanta, and Jess was a corporate buyer for Neiman Marcus in Dallas. Lauren was the only holdout. Lauren. The college kid. The baby. The free spirit who always came home from Pomona College to nest, especially for family gatherings and rituals. Her parents had been very quiet when she’d told them about her plans. Lauren knew what that silence meant. After the phone call ended, her mother would have cried that she was losing her baby, and her father would have scowled and written off her decision as college rebellion. Neither was true. But no matter how she explained it, her parents didn’t understand. They’d traveled extensively in Europe, and to them, it was no big deal. But it was Lauren’s first time here, and to her, it was like discovering a whole new world—a world she felt an instant rapport with. It was like discovering a part of her soul she’d never known existed. And she had to immerse herself in it. She’d entertained the idea of flying to Lake Tahoe for the week and then returning to fulfill her dream. Her parents would definitely pay for that. But given the long international travel, the flight changes, the time differences, and the jet lag, Tahoe would put too much of a crimp in the many plans she had for her break between semesters. She’d had invitations from school friends who said she could stay with them during her travels—friends from Germany and so many other countries. The world was at her feet. No, despite how much she loved her family, she had to do things her way this time. There’d be other Februarys, other trips to Tahoe. But this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She was still drinking her beer and lamenting her situation when a masculine voice from behind her said, “Hallo. Kann ich mitmachen?” Turning, Lauren saw a handsome, rugged-featured guy, gazing at her with raised brows. He was asking if he could join her. “Sind Sie allein?” he asked, glancing to her right and to her left. “Yes, I’m alone,” she answered in German. “And, yes, please join me.” The man came around and slid onto the bench seat. He propped his elbow on the table, signalling to the waitress that he’d have the same as the lady. The waitress nodded, hurrying off to get his refreshment. He turned his gaze back to Lauren. “You’re American,” he noted, speaking English that was heavily accented. “Guilty as charged,” she responded in English. “Is it that obvious?” She gave him a rueful look. He smiled, idly playing with the gold chain around his neck. “Your German is quite good. But I picked up the American…what’s the word you use? Twang.” Lauren had to laugh. “It’s my turn to take a stab at it, then. You’re French? Slavic? A combination of both?” “The last.“ His smile widened. “You have a good ear, as well.” “Your German and your English are excellent. I guess I just got lucky.” “Speaking of getting lucky, what’s your name?” he asked. His boldness took her aback, but she answered anyway. “Lauren. What’s yours?” “Marko.” He held out his hand, which Lauren shook. “I’m in Munich on business. And you?” “I’m an exchange student. I’m on break, and I’m looking forward to enjoying some time exploring Europe.” Marko looked intrigued. “I can give you a few tips.” A mischievous glint lit his eyes. “Or I could travel with you for a few days and give you the best taste of Munich you’ll ever have.” Lauren felt flushed. She was twenty years old. She knew very well what Marko meant by “the best taste.” She should be offended. But she couldn’t help being flattered. He was older, good-looking, and charming. Nonetheless, she wasn’t stupid. And she wasn’t in the market for a hookup. “Thanks, but I’m tackling this trip on my own,” she replied. “I’m meeting up with friends later, but I’m good as planned.” “Pity.” The glint in his eyes faded with regret. “Then at least let me give you some pointers about the best sights to see and the best restaurants and places to visit.” “That would be fantastic.” Lauren rummaged in her purse for a pen and paper. Having found them, she set her bag on the floor between them. She spent the next twenty mesmerizing minutes listening to Marko detail the highlights of Munich and other parts of Bavaria, as she simultaneously scribbled down what he was saying. “Thank you so much,” she said when he was finished. “This is like a guided tour.” “Once again, I could do it in person.” “And once again, I’m flattered, but no thank you.” Lauren signaled for her check, reaching into her bag and retrieving a twenty euro bill when the waitress approached the table. “The rest is for you,” she told her. “I’ll take care of that,” Marko offered, stopping Lauren by catching her wrist and simultaneously fishing for his wallet. Evidently, he was still holding out hope that she would change her mind. “That’s okay. I’ve got it.” Lauren wriggled out of his grasp, leaned forward, and completed the transaction. “You’ve been a tremendous help,” she said to Marko as she rose. “I’m glad we met.” This time it was she who extended her hand. Reluctantly, he shook it. “I hope we meet again, Lauren. I’ll look for you the next time I’m in Munich.” Still smiling, Lauren left the café and walked through the wide cobblestone apron outside. There were little tables with umbrellas scattered about, with patrons chatting and eating. Sated by the beer and pretzel, she inhaled happily, and then, walking over to the sidewalk, began what she expected to be a thoughtful stroll. Maybe she’d text her parents this time, try explaining her position without all the drama of a phone call. She was halfway down the street when she heard a male voice call after her, “Lauren!” She turned to see Marko hurrying in her direction. “Here.” He extended his arm, a familiar iPhone in his hand. “You left this on the table.” “Oh, thank you.” How could she have been so careless? She protected her cell phone like a small child. “I’d be lost without that—“ As she spoke, a Mercedes van tore around the corner and came screeching up to them. The near doors were flung open, and a stocky man jumped out, his face concealed by a black hood. Before Lauren could so much as blink, he grabbed her, yanking a burlap sack over her head and tossing her over his shoulder. “Merr në makinë,” he said in a language Lauren didn’t understand. By this time, Lauren had recovered enough to struggle for her freedom. Her legs flailed in the air, kicking furiously, and she pounded on the man’s back as he carried her and flung her into the back of the van. Marko jumped in behind her, slamming the doors shut and barking out something in the same dialect as the other man—neither French nor Slavic—as the stocky barbarian held her down. Finally finding her voice, Lauren let out a scream, which was quickly muffled by the pressure of Marko’s hand over her mouth. She could taste the wool of the sack, and she inclined her head so she could breathe through her nose. A short-lived reprieve. Marko fumbled around, then shoved a handkerchief under the sack, covering her nose and mouth. Lauren thrashed her head from side to side, struggling to avoid it. The odor was sickeningly sweet and citrusy. Chloroform. Tears burned behind her eyes. Shock waves pulsed through her body. Oh God, she didn’t want to die. Marko clamped his other hand on the back of her head, holding it in place while he forced the handkerchief flush against her nose and mouth, making it impossible for her to escape. Dizziness. Nausea. Black specks. Nothing. “Shko,” Marko ordered his accomplice, shoving him toward the driver’s seat. The van screeched off, headed to hell. *** Excerpt from Dead In A Week by Andrea Kane. Copyright © 2019 by Andrea Kane. Reproduced with permission from Andrea Kane. All rights reserved.

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Andrea Kane

Andrea KaneAndrea Kane is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-nine novels, including fifteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles. With her signature style, Kane creates unforgettable characters and confronts them with life-threatening danger. As a master of suspense, she weaves them into exciting, carefully-researched stories, pushing them to the edge—and keeping her readers up all night.

Kane’s first contemporary suspense thriller, Run for Your Life, became an instant New York Times bestseller. She followed with a string of bestselling psychological thrillers including No Way Out, Twisted, and Drawn in Blood.

Her latest in the highly successful Forensic Instincts series, Dead in a Week, adds the Zermatt Group into the mix—a covert team of former military and spy agency operatives. With a week to save a young woman from ruthless kidnappers, this globe-spanning chase, from the beerhalls of Germany, to the tech gardens of California, to the skyscrapers of China, and finally the farmlands of Croatia will keep readers guessing until the very end. The first showcase of Forensic Instincts’ talents came with the New York Times bestseller, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, followed by The Line Between Here and Gone, The Stranger You Know, The Silence that Speaks, The Murder That Never Was, and A Face to Die For.

Kane’s beloved historical romantic suspense novels include My Heart’s Desire, Samantha, Echoes in the Mist, and Wishes in the Wind.

With a worldwide following of passionate readers, her books have been published in more than twenty languages.

Kane lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She’s an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan. Otherwise, she’s either writing or playing with her Pomeranian, Mischief, who does his best to keep her from writing.

Author Hometown – Warren, New Jersey

Catch Up With Our Author On:

AndreaKane.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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Enter To Win!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Andrea Kane. There will be 6 winners. One winner (1) will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and five (5) winners will receive an eBook copy of Dead In A Week. The giveaway begins on March 18, 2019 and runs through April 21, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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#Review “The Buried Girl” by Richard Montanari

The Buried Girl cover

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5/5 Stars!

When multiple young girls go missing and are eventually found murdered, law enforcement agencies don’t realize the cases are connected. There aren’t enough clues or evidence to solve one murder in the here-and-now with murders spanning weeks, months and even decades.

What about centuries?

Chief of Police Ivy Lee Holgrave has no idea how far her investigation will reach in the end. The murders take place in and around Ivy’s hometown of Abbeville, Ohio. Haunted by her own tragic connection to the murders, Ivy has been investigating the latest murdered girl’s case—with little headway—for several months when the body count starts to rise… and not just of young girls.

College Professor Will Hardy is aiming for tenure at New York University.

A consultant for television crime shows and a best-selling author, the forensic psychologist should be living his best life, but instead, he’s trying to repair his marriage and family, broken by his total absorption in his work.

Just as things are working out for Will and his family, he loses his wife at the hands of what he believes to be a deranged patient with a penchant for arson.

Guilt-ridden and direction-less, Will learns he’s inherited an estate from a relative he never met… in Abbeville, Ohio. With nothing holding him in New York, Will and his teenage daughter, Detta, head west.

Not only will their lives intersect with Ivy Holgrave’s, the forensic psychologist and police chief will work together to figure out a hidden mystery spanning generations and stop a madman who has Detta in his sights.

Deftly written, The Buried Girl is a slow-build page-turner.

From the beginning of the madness two hundred years in the past—over drawings which were two hundred years old at the time—to the diary entries of a teenage girl a century later, to modern-day text messages, four seemingly separate stories come together to show madness may be crazy, but it isn’t stupid. It’s intelligent, methodical, and patient, and will not be denied.

Likable and sympathetic characters navigate an intricate and sometimes gory plot, not realizing what they’re up against until it’s almost too late. With the heartbreaking pasts of both Ivy and Will, whiny and morose personalities would not be surprising, but the author nails these characterizations and delivers two smart leads who move forward and prevail in spite of their emotional pain.

Not all loose ends are neatly tied in a bow at this read’s conclusion. Not having read this author before, I don’t know if it’s his way of paving the way for a book two or if it’s just to torture readers, but I have sincere questions about Eli and Billy, and I really need to follow Ivy and Frankie into the woods. (HA!)

Readers of mysteries, suspense, police procedurals, and psychological thrillers will get lost in The Buried Girl after only a few pages.

I highly recommend it!

Enjoy!

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Synopsis:

 

A haunting, nerve-jangling psychological thriller from Sunday Times bestselling author Richard Montanari, set in a small town hiding a very dark secret

New York psychologist Will Hardy had it all—a loving family, a flourishing career, a bestselling book. Until the night it all ended in a tempest of fire and ash, leaving only Will and his fifteen-year-old daughter Bernadette to stand in the ruins.

Haunted and grief-stricken, Will accepts an enigmatic invitation from his family’s past to begin their lives anew in the small town of Abbeville, Ohio.

Meanwhile, Abbeville Chief of Police Ivy Holgrave is investigating the death of a local girl, convinced this may only be the latest in a long line of murders dating back decades—including her own long-missing sister.

But what place does Will’s new home have in the story of the missing girls? And what links the killings to the diary of a young woman written over a century earlier? The disappearances in Abbeville have happened before, and now Will’s own daughter might be next…

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Book Details

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Witness Impulse

Publication Date: January 8th 2019

Number of Pages: 400

ISBN: 0062467468 (ISBN13: 9780062467461)

Series: Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #10

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Richard Montanari and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) physical copy of The Echo Man by Richard Montanari. The giveaway begins on March 1, 2019 and runs through April 1, 2019. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

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#BookTour “The Buried Girl” by Richard Montanari

on Tour March 1-31, 2019

Synopsis:

The Buried Girl by Richard Montanari

A haunting, nerve-jangling psychological thriller from Sunday Times bestselling author Richard Montanari, set in a small town hiding a very dark secret

New York psychologist Will Hardy had it all—a loving family, a flourishing career, a bestselling book. Until the night it all ended in a tempest of fire and ash, leaving only Will and his fifteen-year-old daughter Bernadette to stand in the ruins.

Haunted and grief-stricken, Will accepts an enigmatic invitation from his family’s past to begin their lives anew in the small town of Abbeville, Ohio.

Meanwhile, Abbeville Chief of Police Ivy Holgrave is investigating the death of a local girl, convinced this may only be the latest in a long line of murders dating back decades—including her own long-missing sister.

But what place does Will’s new home have in the story of the missing girls? And what links the killings to the diary of a young woman written over a century earlier? The disappearances in Abbeville have happened before, and now Will’s own daughter might be next…

~~~

Book Details

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Witness Impulse

Publication Date: February 26th 2019

Number of Pages: 400

ISBN: 0062467468 (ISBN13: 9780062467461)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

Amsterdam March 22, 1819 On the third day of his madness Dr Rinus van Laar tasted the mouth of the devil. He stepped from the ruin of his home, into the courtyard where the body of his wife, dead these three days, had begun to soften and pigment. He remembered the first time he had seen Anna that day by the river. Her skin was now the color of dry bones. Anna’s killer lay scattered beside her in seven pieces. Six, Rinus amended. He could not remember where he had put the man’s head. He longed to look once more into those lifeless eyes. He pulled the dropper from the amber bottle, let six drops of mandragora onto his tongue. He closed his eyes to the fury of the onslaught. Some time later he carefully returned the drawings to the leather portfolio. Fourteen preliminary sketches by the master, already more than two centuries old. Seven vices. Seven virtues. It was this treasure the killer sought. It was in defense of this treasure that Anna had given her life. He placed the portfolio into the steamer trunk, latched it, secured the iron lock. As he prepared to leave he considered the aviary snare. The white bird studied him, its silver eyes watching, waiting, a thin leather strap tightly coiled around one leg. Rinus van Laar looked one last time at his wife, and saw the tiny tendril; a bright green leaf against the matte claret of Anna’s drying blood. In her virtue there was life. Six hours later, his infant son in his arms, Rinus van Laar left for America. *** BEING THE TRUE DIARY AND JOURNAL OF EVA CLAIRE LARSSEN October 21 1868 We left Midlothian before dawn. I am riding back wagon with Deirdre Samuelsson and her brother Jonah. Jonah is still small, and thinks of all this as an adventure. Deirdre is my age, just fourteen, and terribly shy due to her stammer. They say six hundred thousand died in the war. Imagine. Daddy was killed at Manassas. Mama also died from Yankee hellfire, but not right away. Not Sonja Larssen. She held ground three years, and breathed her last yesterday at noon. Our first day’s journey took us seven miles. The dead walk behind us. November 9, 1868 The rain is endless. We got stuck twice on the road out of Rowleton, where we picked up two weeks domestic work. Mr. Samuelsson had to ask some local boys and their mules to help pull the wagon from the culvert. My sweater got soaking wet, and as the wool dried by the fire last night it smelled of Mama. I cried myself to sleep again. April 9, 1869 We crossed the Ohio River at Wheeling this morning. Deidre and I went to the general store and bought nails and tobacco for Mr. Samuelsson. He let us buy some fruit, and I had the most delicious pear. Ohio looks like home before the war. April 16, 1869 I awoke to the sound of church bells. When I climbed down from the wagon I saw that we were stopped on the crest of a hill overlooking the most beautiful valley I have ever seen. When I stepped to the edge I saw them for the first time. Two grand houses facing each other across a field of green, houses so important they even have names. Veldhoeve and Godwin Hall. I will be working at one, and staying in the other. Imagine. April 24, 1869 All the buildings here are freshly painted and well cared for. The war did not come to this place. When we reached the town square I looked at the plaque. Abbeville, Ohio. Est. 1790 Sitting on top of the plaque was a beautiful white bird, its pearl feathers glossed with early morning rain. I sat on the bench across from it and took out my pencils and pad. This is my drawing. Although I am not taken by such notions, as I left the square, I could swear that bird was watching me. Tomorrow morning I will begin work at Godwin Hall. If you are reading this, if the sun now shines where you stand, it means I am long forgotten. If you are reading this, it means I never made it back home again. *** Excerpt from The Buried Girl by Richard Montanari. Copyright © 2019 by Richard Montanari. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

 

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Richard MontanriAuthor Bio:

RICHARD MONTANARI is the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Echo Man, The Devil’s Garden, Play Dead, The Rosary Girls, The Skin Gods and Broken Angels, as well as the internationally acclaimed thrillers Kiss of Evil, Don’t Look Now (previously published as Deviant Way) and The Violet Hour. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Catch Up With Our Richard On: Website, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=290001

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Richard Montanari and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) physical copy of The Echo Man by Richard Montanari. The giveaway begins on March 1, 2019 and runs through April 1, 2019. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

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“The Good Suicides: A Thriller” by Antonio Hill

Good Suicides cover

The Good Suicides: A Thriller

by Antonio Hill

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense/Crime/Murder/Police Procedural

1.99 at time of posting!

Unrelenting hero of The Summer of Dead Toys, Inspector Hector Salgado returns in another riveting crime thriller
 
After a company retreat in a remote country house, senior employees of Alemany Cosmetics return with a dark secret. They’ve each received an anonymous, menacing email of only two words: “Never forget”. What’s worse, the message is accompanied by a nightmarish photo attachment showing the bodies of dogs—hung to death from a tree—near the very same farm estate they just visited. When they begin killing themselves, one by one, the connection between the shocking photos and the suicides baffles Barcelona law enforcement and corporate think tanks alike, threatening a terrifying end for everyone involved.

Breaking through the insular power structures of these enigmatic executives isn’t easy, but Inspector Salgado has his own ways of making those still alive speak up.  As the clock is ticking before another suicide, Salgado is doing all he can to bring the terror to an end.  Meanwhile, his partner Leire, bored on her maternity leave, remains fixated on Salgado’s missing wife, Ruth.  She refuses to give up on a case many—including Salgado—fear is hopeless.

Antonio Hill deftly braids these two stories together for a richly layered and darkly chilling thriller about secrets, cover-ups, and devastating lies.

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“The Shelby Alexander Thriller Series: Books 1-4” by Craig A. Hart

Shelby Alexander 1-4 cover

The Shelby Alexander Thriller Series: Books 1-4 (The Shelby Alexander Thriller Series Boxset Book 1)

by Craig A. Hart

Genre: Thriller/Crime/Vigilante Justice/Pulp

99¢ at time of posting! (Reg. 5.99) Kindle Countdown!

You don’t lead a life full of action and close scrapes without making a few enemies.

This is the hard lesson ex-boxer and retired fixer Shelby Alexander learns when he travels to his boyhood town in northern Michigan to “settle down.”

As it happens, the bad guys have other ideas.

This explosive, four book collection is, as one reviewer puts it, “A roller coaster ride, filled with drama, innuendoes, twists and turns, secrets, and betrayal, and a bombshell ending that will leave you spinning.”

Throughout this pulse-pounding series, Shelby faces enemies both old and new, relying on the skills he’s learned over the years to stay alive and bring his own brand of vigilante justice to the bad guys.

Full of blazing action, close calls, and memorable characters, the Shelby Alexander series is one you’ll want to visit again and again.

About the Books:

SERENITY: A bullet slams into a wall just past Shelby’s head. A drug dealer offers him $10,000 for information regarding his dead sister. The local sheriff has Shelby in his sights. It’s just another day in the small town of Serenity.

SERENITY STALKED: A cold-blooded killer has blazed a trail of dead bodies across the country, with no one to stand in his way…until he starts killing on Shelby Alexander’s home turf: the small Michigan town of Serenity. The second book in the Shelby Alexander Thriller Series, Serenity Stalked takes readers inside the mind of a terrifying killer. The stakes have never been higher.

SERENITY AVENGED: A ruthless crime boss…a mansion with a chilling secret…a young man faced with the biggest decision of his life. Serenity Avengedtakes readers on a breath-taking ride through a hail of bullets, close calls, and betrayal.

SERENITY SUBMERGED: A mysterious woman knocks on Shelby’s door. A secret lies submerged at the bottom of a lake. And someone close to Shelby is going to die. Action drips from the page in Serenity Submerged, the fourth heart-pounding addition to the Shelby Alexander Thriller Series. Relationships are questioned, secrets are revealed, and no one is quite who they seem. Serenity will never be the same.

 

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“The Innocent (Ryan Lock #5): A Ryan Lock Crime Thriller” by Sean Black

The Innocent cover

The Innocent (Ryan Lock #5): A Ryan Lock Crime Thriller

by Sean Black

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense/Crime/Vigilante Justice/Hardboiled

99¢ at time of posting!

The series that’s perfect for fans of Robert Crais, Harlan Coben, Gregg Hurwitz, Lee Child and James Patterson’s Private series.
“It’s not the crime that kills you – it’s the cover-up.”
When college basketball coach Malik Shaw goes missing after a family tragedy, it looks like just another retired athlete gone off the rails. But Malik’s childhood friend, private security specialist Ty Johnson, quickly begins to suspect that there is more to it.
Chasing the truth, Ty, along with his business partner, Ryan Lock, begin to uncover a sinister conspiracy of silence in a sleepy Minnesota college town.

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#ChapterReveal “The Girl in the Closet (Southern Heroes #2)” by Michelle Heard

 

 

 

 

BIRDIE

Escaping an unthinkable nightmare, I’m given a second chance at life. Cole Trenton is the first person to look past the broken girl. But the moment I give him my heart he leaves.Secrets never stay buried, and mine returns with a vengeance.
Cole walks back into my life when I need him most. He shows me how to be strong, that monsters only have the power you give them.

But my biggest fear remains.
How do I silence the girl in the closet before I lose Cole again?


COLE

 
I always knew Birdie Liles was different, but that didn’t stop me from falling for her.
After years of being away, I return home to bury my best friend,
only to learn that Birdie’s in trouble.If I had known about the monster from her past, I never would’ve left.
I went to fight someone else’s war while I left the woman I love unprotected.

But I’m here now, and I’m ready to send Birdie’s demon right back to hell.

 

 

PROLOGUE

‘rattle them bones’


BIRDIE


Since grandma died Daddy’s been smoking more, and it’s stinking up the trailer we live in.
Knowing I’ll be in trouble if he finds out, I steal his lighter while he’s in the bathroom. I run outside and quickly bury the lighter in the patch of sand behind the trailer. With a pounding heart, I glance over my shoulder and hearing the toilet flush, I begin to panic. If Daddy finds out what I’ve done, he’ll give me a beating.
As fast as I can, I dig up the lighter, but when I try to make it work there’s not even a spark. Scared of how angry Daddy will be, I shove it back into the hole and cover it with dirt. Not wanting to be caught, I run back into the trailer and hearing him whistling in the bathroom, I quickly rush into the bedroom. Frantically, I look for a place to hide, and when I hear the bathroom door creak open, I duck under the bed. Dust motes tickle my nose, and I place a hand over my face so I won’t sneeze.
“Where the fuck’s my lighter?” Daddy roars, and it scares me so badly I crawl further under the bed until I press against the wall. Seeing an old suitcase, I pry it open and squeeze myself inside it. Curling into a small ball so I can close the lid, I try to slow my breaths so he won’t hear me.
As the minutes tick by, my fear grows. Daddy’s gonna be so mad.
After a long time of hiding, I drift off to sleep, but when the suitcase moves, it startles me awake. The lid gets thrown open, and Daddy glares down at me with a mean look.
“You little fuckin’ cunt,” he hisses angrily. Grabbing hold of my arm, he hauls me out of my hiding place. “’Cause you like small spaces you can live in the fuckin’ closet.”
I start to shake my head and pull back against Daddy’s hold on me. My heart’s beating hard in my chest, and it makes my body tremble.
“No, Daddy. I’m sorry.”
He yanks the closet door open and forcefully shoves me inside. The smell of old shoes and dirty clothes fill the air. He slams the door shut and locks it, leaving me in the tiny, dark closet.
“Fuckin’ stuck with the kid ’cause the ole’ bitch croaked,” Daddy grumbles from the other side of the door. He slams his hand against the closet, then growls, “I’m gonna make you a skeleton like your momma ’cause you killed her. Fuckin’ evil little bitch.”
The words are scary, and I crawl to the corner of the closet. Shoes dig into my body, but as I hear him moving outside the door, I’m too scared to shove them away from me.
“Yeah, the evil cunt deserves to stay in the closet,” he chuckles darkly.
There are a few minutes of silence, and I strain my ears to hear where Daddy is when music comes from somewhere in the house.
The song is creepy, and I pinch my eyes shut, wondering when Daddy’s gonna give me a beating for being naughty.
There are different shades to black. There’s normal black, then there’s the kind where it’s so dark you see things.
Things children shouldn’t see.
You see the Boogeyman. It’s the one Daddy whispers about through the door. “Here comes the Boogeyman. The Boogeyman’s comin’ to get you.”
It’s so dark you see monsters in every speck of dust.
The Boogeyman’s real.
The Boogeyman’s my daddy, and every day he sings to me, “I’ve got a skeleton in the closet and she ain’t ever comin’ out.”



CHAPTER 1

‘oh, rattle them bones’

BIRDIE

(17 years old.)
“You almost ready, dear?” Mom calls.
“Yeah, just a second.” Sitting on the floor with my back against the side of the bed, I don’t miss the flash of sadness as Mom takes in the sweater I’m wearing.
“You sure you wanna wear that? It’s hot out. Why don’t you wear one of those pretty t-shirts we got you last week?” she tries again.
I know she’s looking out for me, and I love her for it, but I wish she’d let it go. This is what I want to wear, and it makes me feel better knowing my scars aren’t visible for the whole world to see.
It’s been twelve years since I was rescued and adopted by Pastor and Mrs. Liles, and even though my father is currently serving a fifteen-year sentence, the memory of him still haunts me every night.
“Nope, I’m good,” I mumble while sticking a picture on the page I’m busy with. I have a weird hobby of writing out the lyrics to every song I like then surrounding them with matching pictures. Today’s song is Cross That Line by Joshua Radin, and I’ve just finished sticking a picture of Cole Trenton next to it.
Ever since the day Cole stood up for me, I’ve had a crush on him. Grayson Chambers was just being his usual mean self and had me cornered against my locker. Cole yanked him back and told him to leave me be.
Yeah, that was the day I knew for sure I was in love with Cole. One look at his icy blue eyes and chocolate brown hair, and I was a goner. He’s the only one who’s able to stir a happy feeling inside of me.
“Good, let’s go then. We don’t want to keep the people waitin’,” Mom says, yanking me out of my thoughts.
I slip the page into a plastic sleeve and place it on my desk before running after Mom.
Usually, Clay and I take turns accompanying Dad and Mom when they go to visit one of the families from the church. I know Clay hates it so most of the time I end up going along. I can’t let them down after everything they’ve done for me. They took me in without asking for anything in return.
Personally, I feel Clay should make more of an effort. When his father went to jail for selling drugs, the Liles’ took him in. He was only nine and had nowhere else to go. Clay’s momma died when he was still a baby, and apparently, they couldn’t find anybody on his momma’s side to take him. That’s how he ended up under the Liles’ care. It was the same with me. My momma died when I was still a baby, and there’s no one left on her side of the family.
As I step out onto the porch, Dad gives me an encouraging smile. He knows I don’t like going along for the visits, but he appreciates it.
“Thanks, Kiddo. I owe you one,” he says as we walk toward the car. The only thing keeping the station wagon together is a ton of rust.
“I get to choose the next movie,” I say while getting into the back.
“It’s a deal,” he laughs.
Most of the town calls him Pastor Doug and loves him. I know I got lucky when they adopted me.
A few minutes later when Dad turns up the street Cole lives on, my heart begins to beat faster. Automatically, I start counting down the houses until we reach his, but instead of driving by, the car slows down.
Oh my gosh, we’re visiting the Trenton’s?
I’m not sure whether I should be excited or anxious. The mixture of feelings makes me clench my hands on my lap as my stomach tightens with nerves.
Most of the time I see Cole at school. This will be the first time I’ll actually be inside his house.
“The Trenton’s? We’re comin’ to the Trenton’s?” I ask from the back.
“Yes, and the Mason’s will also be here. You know the boys, don’t you, dear? They’re seniors from your school,” Mom replies, unaware of the mini nervous breakdown I’m about to have in the backseat.
“Yeah, they’re friends with Clay. I hardly ever talk to Cole and Hunter.”
A simple ‘hi’ is the most I’ve ever said to either of the boys. But it’s one thing to admire Cole at school where we’re surrounded by other people. It’s a different ball game when I have to be around him with no one to hide behind.
It’s not that I’m scared of being around Cole. Not at all. It’s just… what would I even say to him?
Ugh, I’ll probably only make a fool of myself.
“You’ll have fun. The evenings you never plan are the ones you enjoy most,” Dad says.
I love his sayings, but tonight they’re not going to be of much help. Maybe I can slip away when no one’s watching?
The front door opens, and Mr. Trenton steps out onto the porch.
When we’re out of the car and walking toward the front door, I peek out from where I’m hiding behind Mom, but the second I see Cole standing next to his dad, I quickly duck back.
I can’t hear anything above the blood rushing through my ears. Sucking in deep breaths, I try to calm my racing heart.
“Pastor Doug, thank you so much for comin’,” Mr. Trenton greets warmly.
Mom and Dad walk inside the house, and I have to force my feet forward. Climbing the stairs to the porch, I glance up and lose my breath when I see Cole waiting to close the door behind me.
Breathe, Birdie. Act calm.
“Hi, Birdie.” Cole shuts the door, and as he turns back to me with a crooked smile on his face, my mouth dries up.
“Hi.” It pretty much sounds like I sucked on a balloon filled with helium.
Following everyone to the living room, I’m incredibly aware of Cole walking right behind me. Glancing around the room, I notice the Mason’s sitting on a comfy looking couch. Mrs. Tenton gets up to greet us.
Before I can go to Mom’s side, Mr. Trenton says, “Cole, why don’t you show Bridget the entertainment area?”
My lips part and I stand frozen like a deer in oncoming traffic.
“Sure,” Cole says, then he places his hand on my lower back and my heart all but stops beating. “This way, Birdie.”
It’s a miracle when I manage to take a step without falling flat on my face.
Cole’s touching me.
I immediately feel self-conscious about the scars on the right side of my body, even though I know he can’t see them. Folding my right arm around my waist, I cover it with my left.
A chaotic mess of emotions spreads through me. I’m elated that Cole is touching me, but at the same time, I feel on edge because of the scars.
So far, I’ve been lucky, and only Mom and Dad know about my scars, but I know the day will come when I won’t be able to keep my ugly secret buried beneath layers of clothes any longer.
Cole steers me into a room, which looks twice the size of the living room. A pool table stands in the middle, and a TV is mounted on the left wall. On the right side, there is a floor to ceiling window and a sliding door which opens onto a patio, looking out over a big swimming pool.
The entertainment area is right next to the living room which makes me feel a little better, knowing that Mom and Dad are close by.
I remain standing just inside the door as Cole walks to where Hunter is sitting at a bar area.
“Hey, Birdie,” Hunter says, giving me a friendly smile.
I give him a lame wave as I shyly whisper, “Hi.”
For a moment I think about how my best friend, Reece is going to freak out when she hears I spent the night visiting with Cole and Hunter. She’s had a crush on Hunter for the longest time.
With Cole and Hunter graduating soon, next year is going to be very boring at school without them there.
My eyes drift back to Cole’s face, and when our gazes lock, a blush creeps up my neck.
“Would you like somethin’ to drink?” Cole asks.
Feeling awkward, I just shake my head. Interacting with people is really hard, but when it comes to Cole, it’s near impossible.
I freeze when Mrs. Trenton’s voice drifts into the entertainment room. “Bridget’s become quite the beauty under your care.”
Yep, I’m officially dying.
“She was such a tiny thing when she came to Lyman,” Mrs. Mason says.
Knowing Cole and Hunter can also hear what their mothers are saying, makes me feel like I’m spiraling from embarrassment right into a pit of mortification.
It’s no secret the Lyles’ adopted me. It’s what happened before I came to live with them that petrifies me, and I don’t want people talking about it.
“Pastor Doug, I just want to let you know how grateful we are for what you’re doing for the boys,” Mr. Mason says. My shoulders sag with relief, glad that they’re stepping off the topic of my appearance.
I watch as Cole pours a glass of coke, but can’t keep myself from listening in on the adult’s conversation.
“Of course,” Dad says. “It’s nothin’ I wouldn’t do for any of the other kids in the congregation.”
“You’re really the pillar of Lyman,” Mr. Trenton compliments Dad. “If you have any problems with Trevor Slater again, you just say the word, and I’ll sort him out.”
My world stops at hearing my father’s name.
Trevor Slater.
The Boogeyman.
All the blood drains from my face as the walls close in on me.
“Birdie?” I hear Cole’s voice as I turn around and rush towards the front door.
I don’t want to hear anything about my biological father. I’ll never be able to deal with how he tortured me.
I just need to get outside so I can get some fresh air. With every step I take my breathing speeds up, bringing me closer to a panic attack. After all these years, I still haven’t learned how to control the crippling waves of panic. My therapist says it will get better with time. I hope so because these suffocating feelings are awful.
“Birdie,” Dad calls out as I race through the living room. “Let me explain.”
I manage to take a few more steps when Mr. Trenton stands up. “Bridget, you weren’t supposed to hear that. Where’s Cole?”
The fact that Mr. Trenton knows about my father creeps through the anxiety. Why was he talking about my father? What does he know?
My need to know what’s going on overshadows the dreaded fear. I stop and turn back to the adults. “Why were you talkin’ about him?” My voice sounds thin, and I try to breathe faster as the darkness begins to creep up on me.
I can’t have a panic attack here. Not in front of all these people.
Dad takes a step toward me, a concerned look on his face. “It’s nothin’ to worry about, Birdie. He just tried to send you a letter, but we stopped him.”
“He did what?” I whisper horrified. “He knows where I am?”
“He can’t hurt you.” Dad takes another step toward me as terror slams hard into my chest, ripping the air right from my lungs. I turn and run as if I’m running from the devil himself.
He knows where I am. He’ll come for me. He’ll finish what he started all those years back. He’ll kill me this time.
I pull open the front door and take the porch steps in one jump. I race across the lawn to get to the road but only make it half-way when an arm wraps around my waist, and I’m yanked off my feet.
The person swings me around, and I come face to face with Cole, as he jogs towards us.
“I’ll take her, Hunter,” he says just as Hunter sets me back down on my feet.
All the adults follow right behind Cole. They stand on the porch with similar looks of concern on their faces, which only makes me feel more claustrophobic.
Cole’s fingers wrap around my wrist and only then does Hunter let go of me.
I take a step away from them and try to pull my arm free, but Cole doesn’t let go. Instead, he steps right into my personal space, and placing his other arm around my shoulders, he pulls me against his chest. Feeling how muscular and steady Cole’s body is against mine, I realize how badly I’m trembling.
I’m terrified that my father knows where I am but not wanting to have a total meltdown in front of Cole, I close my eyes and suck in deep breaths in an attempt to calm myself.
“I’ll stay outside with Birdie,” Cole calls to the others. “She just needs some air.”
“Birdie, will you be okay?” I hear Mom call.
Just needing some space so I can gain control over my rampant emotions, I nod.
When I hear the front door close, I take a step back from Cole, hating that the first time I got to be in his arms is tainted by my past, even if he was just holding me to comfort me.
Instead of making me go back inside, he says, “Let’s go for that walk.”
Cole reaches for my hand, and when his fingers interlace with mine, a firecracker explodes somewhere between my left lung and my heart, leaving my insides a chaotic mess.

 

Michelle Heard is a Bestselling Romance Author who likes her books hot, dirty, and with a touch of darkness. She loves an alpha hero who is not scared to fight for his woman.

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