Category Archives: New Release Mondays

New Release Mondays: The Art of Vanishing by Cynthia Kuhn

Author Name: Cynthia Kuhn

Book Title: The Art of Vanishing

Book Genre: academic mystery, campus cozy, amateur sleuth

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Synopsis: When Professor Lila Maclean is sent to interview celebrated author and notorious cad Damon Von Tussel, he disappears before her very eyes. The English department is thrown into chaos by the news, as Damon is supposed to headline Stonedale University’s upcoming Arts Week.

The chancellor makes it clear that he expects Lila to locate the writer and set events back on track immediately. But someone appears to have a different plan: strange warnings are received, valuable items go missing, and a series of dangerous incidents threaten the lives of Stonedale’s guests. After her beloved mother, who happens to be Damon’s ex, rushes onto campus and into harm’s way, Lila has even more reason to bring the culprit to light before anything—or anyone—else vanishes.

Excerpt: Francisco looked thoughtful. “Would you ask your mother to speak to him on our behalf? Make our case?”

“Wouldn’t it be better coming from the chancellor?” I ventured hopefully, not daring to look at the chancellor when I said it.

“Look,” Francisco said, not giving him an opportunity to respond. “Damon is extremely difficult to track down in the best of circumstances. If your mother knows how to contact him directly, we should go that route.”

I became aware of a strange energy in the room, like people were holding their breaths waiting for a response. Their heads swiveled between Francisco and me as if they were watching a fast-paced tennis match. Although he was an assistant professor, on the lowest rung of the hierarchy like I was, he already exuded an unmistakable aura of power. I wasn’t sure where it came from. Perhaps he was naturally confident. Or just plain arrogant. In any case, I wasn’t about to let him boss me around.

As I was deciding how to respond, the chancellor spoke. “The university would be most grateful, Dr. Maclean.”

Well, that clinched it.

“I would be happy to ask her,” I lied, the very picture of the cooperative tenure-track candidate.

Across the table, Simone smirked, clearly pleased I’d been obligated to do something I didn’t want to do, while Francisco glared, apparently annoyed that I was a few degrees of separation closer to “his” author than he was.

Ah, colleagues.

About the author: Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series, which includes The Semester of Our Discontent and The Art of Vanishing. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD, and other publications. She teaches English at Metropolitan State University of Denver and serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net.

 

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New Release Mondays: Lowcountry Crime: Four Novellas

Authors Names: Jonathan M. Bryant, Polly Iyer, James M. Jackson & Tina Whittle

Book Title: Lowcountry Crime: Four Novellas

Book Genre: Mystery (north of cozy, south of noir)

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Synopsis: These four novellas capture the unique aspects of the Lowcountry with stories incorporating Charleston high life and Savannah low life, island vacations and life on a boat. You’ll be treated to thieves doing good and rapscallions doing bad, loves won and loves lost, family relations providing wonderful support and life after divorce.

Excerpts:

From “Trouble Like a Freight Train Coming” – Tina Whittle

I jogged over to Rico. “What are you doing here?”

Rico looked nervous, like something was sneaking up on him. He didn’t enjoy cemeteries—his Geechee great-grandmother had seen to that. Thanks to her, he wouldn’t eat red food cooked by a stranger or give shoes to any guy he was dating. And he didn’t truck with the dead.

“Your boss has been trying to get you. He said you’re not answering your cell.”

I folded my arms. “The battery died, so I left the damn thing back on the bus to recharge. Just because he’s too cheap to upgrade—”

“Tai.”

There was something in his voice. “Uh oh. What’s happened?”

“It’s your cousin Derrick. He’s in the hospital.”

“You mean Derrick Burns?”

“Yeah. He’s in the ICU. And you have to go.”

I was a little dumbfounded. Derrick “Bolt” Burns was a distant cousin in some way I couldn’t track thanks to my mother’s pruning of the family tree. I hadn’t seen him in years, but I read the papers. He’d had trouble recently, the kind that ended in handcuffs, though I also knew the charges had been dropped. None of this explained why Rico was standing in front of me talking about hospitals.

I shook my head. “That doesn’t make any sense. Why me?”

“Apparently you’re his emergency contact, so it being an emergency, they tried to contact you. At the tour shop. And you weren’t there, so your boss called your cell, but you didn’t answer, so he called your roommate, what’s her name—”

“Hope.”

“Yeah. That girl is unstable. You need to ditch her and find a new roommate, like yesterday.”

“Rico. Focus.”

He glowered. “The misnamed Hope woke me up and yelled at me to go find you, like it was my fault you were unreachable.”

Rico and Hope had gotten along like struck matches and gasoline. This was entirely unsurprising. But I suddenly had a bigger problem.

From “The Last Heist” – Polly Iyer

He ordered a Sam Adams with the Friday special—meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans—then picked up the Post and Courier someone had left on the table. The photo of South American president Carlos Ramirez at a gala last night in New York covered the front page. But it was his wife’s diamond necklace that caught Paul’s attention. The center stone had to be close to twenty carats, and the surrounding diamonds were nothing to sneeze at. He’d seen photos of the exquisite gems before, but now they’d be in Charleston.

Diamonds were easily transportable, consistently valuable, and highly saleable if you knew how to steal them and where to sell them. Paul did.

What he wouldn’t give to get his hands on those stones.

He’d have them plucked from the setting and sold as soon as they cooled down.

Ramirez was coming to the city for a trade conference with state and local leadership. Politics sure made strange bedfellows. No surprise there. Paul read further. What a nerve. The guy was passing himself off as the savior of his country.

Savior, my foot.

Paul was basically apolitical, but it didn’t take a political junkie to know that Ramirez had padded his pockets with the profits from cocaine and oil production. His police forces—or gestapo might be a better word—suppressed any opposition at the many protests around his country. In recent weeks, scores had been hurt or killed.

Ramirez’s itinerary left little time to breathe. He and his party would arrive tomorrow morning for a two-day stay at the Oceanview Inn, the most exclusive hotel in the city. The agenda began with a twelve-thirty lunch at his country’s consulate, the conference at three, and in the evening, Charleston’s Chamber of Commerce was hosting a formal dinner at the Mills House. Sunday, some big business types had arranged a tour of the area with informal talks to discuss mutual trade opportunities. Clearly, it was okay to do business with tyrants these days.

A shiver of excitement passed through Paul. He’d never pulled any jewel heists locally or in the state, confining his activities mainly to Europe. But these diamonds were worth the risk of breaking his rules. Nothing like the thought of a heist to get the adrenaline surging.

From “Blue Nude” – Jonathan M. Bryant

He sat down and yanked off his cap, worried it in his hands.

“Can I buy you a beer?”

“Brad,” he said. “The police came by the marina.”

The waitress brought my next beer, and I pushed it over to Sam.

If he’d driven all the way down here, he must be worried. “You look like you need that,” I slapped him on the back to lighten the mood. “I can recommend a good lawyer, if you need one. What nonsense did you get yourself into now?”

“Listen, this is serious stuff.” He lifted the beer and took a sip, appraising me over the lip of the mug. “You’ve heard about Judy?”

“Judy? Police? What are you talking about?”

“She’s missing, Brad. Judy’s just plain missing, been gone since March. Almost four weeks. The police asked me all kinds of questions about her and you. Did you two still see each other? Did she cheat on you? Did you cheat on her? They especially wanted to know if you held any grudges.”

“Grudges?” I said. “Hell, every divorced man holds grudges against his ex-wife.”

“Yeah, but they were talking like you’d done something to her. You know, asking me if you were violent, did you own a gun, had I ever seen you lose your temper, ever known you to steal? Stuff like that.”

“Four weeks missing,” I mused. “That’s just about when I saw you last.”

“I’m sorry. I told them that before I knew what they were after. They asked where you were now. All I told ’em was you lived on a sailboat, and that your boat could be anywhere along the coast. You came and went, didn’t have a cell phone. You might even be in the Bahamas, I said. As soon as I could, I drove down to find you.”

From “Low Tide at Tybee” – James M. Jackson

The day we saw the thief was a Monday. Because it was March, Tybee wasn’t crowded even on a cloudless day with temperatures well into the seventies. Water temperature was still fifteen degrees cooler: not a problem for a kid Megan’s age, a month and a half past her sixth birthday, but darn nippy for an old fart like me. Megan and I had been wading for more than an hour through pools of water left behind after the tide pulled the ocean away from the shore. My feet had become so cold they were numb.

While Megan chased a group of sanderlings across the flats, mimicking both their frenetic steps and their halts to probe the sand for treasures, I used binoculars to spy on a dozen brown pelicans settled on a sandbar south of us. As though an unseen coach blew his whistle, they sprang into the air and glided north in a line, remaining no more than two feet above the water. An occasional lazy wingbeat propelled their glide.

Megan tugged at my shorts. I leaned down and caught the unique scent of suntan lotion.

“Grampa Seamus? I need to tinkle.”

I smiled at the lilt in her voice that put a question mark after my name. As a youngster, she had struggled to say it correctly, pronouncing it Say-mus. Now her perfect Shay-mus would make any Irishman proud, especially one like me, born and bred in Boston.

It had only been fifteen minutes since the last time she “really had to go,” and we were to meet my mother at the car in twenty minutes. If I could convince Megan to use a blue porta potty we’d pass on the way to the car, I could leave the cold water and warm my feet on the beach sand. “It’s time to leave anyway. Can you hold it until we walk back to the car, or—”

She vehemently shook her head and pointed to the ocean. “Now!” She dramatically crossed her legs to prove how desperate the situation was and contorted her face into a pout.

About the authors: 

Jonathan M. Bryant is an award-winning historian of American law. His most recent book, Dark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize. For more than forty years, Dr. Bryant has been fascinated by and enjoyed the Georgia coast. He lives near Savannah, Ga. Check out his work at jonathanmbryant.com

Polly Iyer is the Amazon bestselling author of eight books of suspense. A former illustrator, importer, and storeowner, she embarked on her fourth, and last, career as an author, giving her carte blanche to spin her fantasies into novels of excitement and romance. Her novels include Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, Kindle Scout winner Indiscretion, and three books in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series: Mind Games, Goddess of the Moon, and Backlash, with a fourth book coming in 2017. Visit Polly’s website at http://PollyIyer.com, and you can read her blogs monthly on  The Blood Red Pencil

James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree series: Ant Farm, Bad Policy, Cabin Fever, Doubtful Relations, and Empty Promises (2017). Jim has also published an acclaimed book on contract bridge, One Trick at a Time: How to start winning at bridge, as well as numerous short stories and essays. He splits his time between the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the open spaces of Georgia’s Lowcountry. You can find more information about Jim and his writing, read his blog My Two Cents Worth (Before Inflation), or sign up for his newsletter, at http://jamesmjackson.com.

Tina Whittle’s Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver mysteries—featuring intrepid gunshop owner Tai and her corporate security agent partner Trey—have garnered starred reviews in Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Published by Poisoned Pen Press, this Atlanta-based series debuted with The Dangerous Edge of Things in 2011; the fifth book—Reckoning and Ruin—was released in April 2016. A two-time nominee for Georgia Author of the Year, Tina enjoys boxing, sushi, tarot cards, and spending time with her family (one husband, one daughter, one neurotic Maltese and two bossy chickens). She is a proud member of Sisters in Crime and serves as both a chapter officer and national board member. Visit her website to follow her on social media, sign up for her newsletter, or read additional scenes and short stories.

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New Release Mondays: Border Run and Other Stories by Jennifer Leeper

Author Name: Jennifer Leeper

Book Title: Border Run and Other Stories

Book Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Release Date: February 7th, 2017

Synopsis: This collection of 14 stories dives headfirst into self-exploration through varying degrees of loss, from two sisters, one widowed, once divorced, who must find their way off a mountain South Korea at night as well as out of the darkness of their relationship with one another, to a boy who has lost his abuela and takes her final request to carefully distribute her house-sized hoard of shoes more seriously than the rest of his family.

Excerpt:  Wolf had grown up along Fremont, shepherded by the pimps, prostitutes and casino bosses who were the unorthodox clan of his mother, who in those days was the highest paid, bauble-eared and breasted, sequin-gowned call girl in all of Vegas, her doll-blank face above a sequined gown that barely contained her breasts. Her long hair was nearly black and her eyes flowering violets. She was tall, like her only child. At nearly six feet she was a pronounced exclamation of beauty and seduction. But this kind of beauty makes beasts of some men. Wolf’s father, Harper Grint, occasional Vegas interloper from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, was found next to Camille in her apartment, with their brains scattered by two bullets propelled by Harper’s jealousy.

A seventeen-year-old Wolf discovered his parents on a particularly bitter January afternoon. After that he was on-and-off the streets, in-and-out of prison, guilty of petty crimes unworthy of mention.

Wolf came to know every crease and contour of the city spat up by Beelzebub; where more than sixty years ago, Wolf Grint cut his baby teeth on the compressed clay of casino chips.

He was more knowledgeable than the pawn merchants, concierges, taxi drivers, and the savant-like hustlers who had cracked the code of every card table. Wolf walked down Fremont Street and saw the rarest of all Nevada desert creatures, the retired mobster who had survived to see an earthly afterlife of hardened arteries and bland food.

About the author: Jennifer Leeper is an award-winning fiction author who’s publications credits include Independent Ink Magazine, Notes Magazine, The Stone Hobo, Poiesis, Every Day Fiction, Aphelion Webzine, Heater magazine, Cowboy Jamboree, The New Engagement, and The Liguorian. She has had works published by J. Burrage Publications, Hen House Press, Alternating Current Press, Barking Rain Press, Whispering Prairie Press, and Spider Road Press. Find out more about Jennifer on her website.

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New Release Mondays: A Short Time to Die by Susan Alice Bickford

Author Name: Susan Alice Bickford

Book Title: A SHORT TIME TO DIE

Book Genre: Crime / Suspense

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Synopsis: Walking home on a foggy night, Marly Shaw stops in the glare of approaching headlights. Two men step out of a pickup truck. One of them is her stepfather. A sudden, desperate chase erupts in gunshots. Both men are left dead. And a terrified girl is on the run—for the rest of her life . . .

Excerpt: Marly Shaw peered into the night fog that crept in and settled around the Rock. She could see no sign of her stepfather’s truck in the parking lot.

Charon Springs might be a tiny town, but as the only drinking establishment within ten or more miles in any direction, the Rock easily qualified as its most thriving business. Pickled from the inside out by beer, booze, and nicotine, the sagging two-story structure oozed a sour stench that permeated the car, even with the windows closed.

“What do you want to do?” Claire asked.

Marly studied the mist outside, tinged alternating shades of red and blue by the blinking neon lights.

“I should drop you home,” Claire said with a sheepish glance at her passenger. “But we’re already late. I’m supposed to be home by ten thirty and it’s after eleven already. Straight to the dance, straight home.”

And no detours into Harris territory. In this town, nice people like Claire’s family avoided Marly’s family as much as possible.

“Not to worry,” Marly said. “Let me out down the road. It’s Friday night, so the bar is packed. He might have parked in the woods. If he’s not there, I can walk home. It’s not cold. Hard to believe it’s the end of October. Maybe global warming is a good thing for Central New York.”

“Yeah. A couple of times I had to trick-or-treat in a parka.”

“Kids these days have it easy,” Marly said. They both chuckled.

Marly rummaged in her large bag and pulled out a small flashlight and her tattered running shoes. She always came prepared to tramp across fields and down dirt roads, day or night.

“Great dance tonight,” Claire said. “I can’t believe we’ll never go to another Halloween Gala. Next year we’ll be in college.”

“Some of us will be.”

“You’re a really good student and everyone says you’ll do great. You might even get into one of the good New York state schools. That’s what my mom says.”

“Sure. Well, I hope so.”

About the author: Susan Alice Bickford was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in Central New York. After she discovered computer graphics and animation her passion for technology pulled her to Silicon Valley, where she became an executive at a leading technology company. She now works as an independent consultant, and continues to be fascinated by all things high tech. She splits her time between Silicon Valley and Vermont. A Short Time to Die is her first novel. Find out more about Susan at www.susanalicebickford.com

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New Release Mondays: Cold Heart by Karen Pullen

Author Name: Karen Pullen

Book Title: Cold Heart

Book Genre: Traditional mystery

Release Date: January 18, 2017

Synopsis:  Just when the physical risks of Stella Lavender’s assignment as undercover drug agent are getting to her, she gives a hitchhiking teenager a ride to a babysitting job where they discover the father’s lifeless body. Equally horrifying: his toddler is missing. When Stella recognizes dad as a small-time drug dealer, she joins the investigation, rummaging through every strata of society in a relentless pursuit of a cold-hearted murderer who won’t stop at just one victim.

Excerpt: Upstairs, in the child’s room, I found a tiny sock in a laundry bin. Pink with white ducks on the cuff.

Merle’s leather harness was in the trunk of my car. It was his signal to go to work. I buckled it around him and led him to the back of the house, to the patio. “Check,” I whispered, waving the sock under his nose and removing the lead. Nose down, he circled the patio, ignoring the puddled blood, pausing at the foot of the stairs, then charging into the scrubby woods. I could barely keep up and called him to slow. He looked up for an instant but he was a dog on a mission, a little-pink-sock mission. He paralleled the lakeshore for a hundred yards, through brambly underbrush that scratched my legs. I could only imagine what it had done to a toddler’s tender skin.

He paused in a clearing, over what he’d found: a disposable diaper, dry, recently dropped. A diaper? Why? He waited for me, then took off again, drawn by a scent that must have been strong. I pushed away dark thoughts and trampled after him, finally catching up at the rocky lakeshore where he trotted, nose down, one way, then another, then back. He’d lost the scent.

Shit. Shit shit shit.

A breeze rippled the lake’s surface, disturbing the reflection of whipped-cream clouds and bluer than blue sky. Blue, despondent, wretched, downcast—pick any or all, that’s how I felt.

Paige Mercer was probably in the lake.

About the author: Karen Pullen escaped a cubicle to seek her fortune as an innkeeper and fiction writer. Cold Heart is the second in the Stella Lavender series; Cold Feet was published in 2013, also by Five Star. She’s published several dozen short stories that will be collected into Restless Dreams by GusGus Press in September. She owns a B&B in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Updates on Karen and her writing can be found on her website, www.karenpullen.com.

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New Release Mondays: Scheduled to Death by Mary Feliz

Author Name: Mary Feliz

Book Title: Scheduled to Death

Book Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release Date: January 17, 2017

Synopsis: Professional organizer Maggie McDonald has a knack for cleaning up other people’s messes. So when the fiancée of her latest client turns up dead, it’s up to her to sort through the untidy list of suspects and identify the real killer. To do so, she’ll have to outmaneuver the suspicious, obnoxious police investigator she’s nicknamed “Detective Awful” before a shadowy figure can check off the first item on their personal to-do list—Kill Maggie McDonald.

Excerpt: Linc shifted from one foot to another, took off his glasses, and cleaned them with his shirttail. He looked around the room, blinking as if surprised to find he was no longer in his Stanford University lab. I flicked the light switch but the room remained dim. Last week I’d brought over a supply of bulbs to replace several that I’d found burnt out. I must have missed this one.

“Did you lose power in the storm?” I asked Linc.

He answered with a shrug. “I’m not sure. Maybe? I was at my lab working on my project.”

“Let’s get started upstairs,” I said. “I want to show Tess how much progress you’ve made.”

Linc turned toward the staircase that divided the kitchen and living room. I started up the steps behind him then stopped and called over my shoulder. “Tess, I’m going to show you Linc’s workroom first. He’s been working in there while I’ve been tackling the other rooms.” Linc hadn’t, actually, made all that much progress, but he had agreed on broad-based guidelines for culling the equipment and organizing some of his papers.

Newton nudged past us to lead the way up the stairs. When I reached the hall landing, it was dark. Right, I thought. The storm. No electricity.

Newton growled, low in his throat, then whimpered. Linc moved down the hall toward his office and workroom. In the doorway, he gasped and froze. His mouth dropped open. His eyes grew wide. He stepped back but leaned forward with his arm outstretched.

“Whatever it is, we can fix it,” I said, rushing toward him, terrified I’d tossed out something of great value. “Everything we moved out of here is still in the garage.”

Peering over Linc’s shaking shoulders, I bit my lip, swallowed hard, and grasped his arm as he tried to move forward into the room. We couldn’t fix it. Not this.

About the author: Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming. She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust. Visit Mary on Facebook at Mary Feliz Books or on her website at: maryfeliz.com

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New Release Mondays: Adrift by Micki Browning

Author Name: Micki Browning

Book Title: Adrift

Book Genre: Mystery & Suspense

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Synopsis: Marine scientist Meredith Cavallo thought adjusting to a laid-back life in the Florida Keys would be a breeze after life in the Arctic, but when a ghost-hunting documentary leader vanishes during a midnight dive, she’s caught in a storm of supernatural intrigue.

Determined to debunk paranormal explanations and salvage her reputation, Mer launches her own investigation. When someone tries to kill her, she knows the truth is about to surface. Maybe dead men do tell tales.

Excerpt: Mer fought to keep the unconscious diver on the surface, and they bobbed in the water just beyond the back of the LunaSea. She’d get only one chance to get him on the boat without injury.

She imagined carrying him like a sleepy child, his arms draped over her shoulders. Only she had to grab the ladder, find her footing and wedge her leg between his, or the force of the rocking boat would slam them back into the ocean.

“Here it comes, Cavallo,” Leroy, the captain, said. “Get ready.”

Mer inhaled and felt the power of the water swell beneath her. As the wave ebbed, she swam toward the boat, planted her foot, and drew her arms in to pin the diver against the ladder. Another wave hit, raising the LunaSea’s stern into the air. Gravity pulled at Mer, doing its best to drag her back into the sea. She gripped the ladder. Her biceps strained until Leroy seized the diver under the armpits and hauled him onto the deck like a gaffed fish.

Before Mer could readjust, the swim step plummeted and hit the water with a teeth-jarring thud. She held tight as the boat righted itself, and then clambered up the ladder.

Emergency equipment littered the deck like flotsam. Mer dropped her gear on the bench.

Leroy leaned over the now conscious diver. His tense face made Mer’s pulse race.

The diver clawed at the oxygen mask on his face. “Tell her!”

Mer brushed the man’s hand aside and resettled the mask. “Tell me what?” she asked her captain.

“He says he was diving the Spiegel Grove shipwreck.”

“Impossible,” she said. “We’re five miles away, and the current’s going in the wrong direction.”

“That he was diving the Spiegel and there was a—” Leroy struggled to find the right word. “Presence.”

“A presence? You mean like a ghost? Please.” She pursed her lips.

He shook his head. “I know. Except just after you went in the Sea Dragon radioed they’re missing a diver off the Spiegel.” He nodded toward the diver. “This one.”

About the author: Award-winning author Micki Browning worked in municipal law enforcement for over two decades and is an FBI National Academy graduate. She retired as a division commander – wonderful fodder for her current career as a full-time writer.

Her mystery, Adrift, set in the Florida Keys, won the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence and the Royal Palm Literary Award for best unpublished mystery and unpublished book of the year.

Micki resides in Southern Florida with her partner in crime and a vast array of scuba equipment. She’s currently working on Beached, the second Mer Cavallo Mystery. Learn more at www.MickiBrowning.com.

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New Release Mondays: A Fatal Twist by Tracy Weber

Author Name: Tracy Weber

Book Title: A Fatal Twist

Book Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release Date: January 8, 2017

Synopsis: Yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s life takes a chaotic turn when she agrees to be the doula for her pregnant best friend and foster two puppies. The chaos worsens when Kate finds the dead body of a philandering fertility doctor and Rachel, one of her yoga students, fleeing the scene. Kate is convinced her student is innocent, and she sets out to find the real killer before her testimony condemns Rachel to a life behind bars.

Excerpt: I peeked down the hall, toward the sound. Four doors away, a fiftyish man in a white doctor’s coat leaned over a woman wearing a black cocktail dress and red stilettos. The female, a mid-thirties Hispanic woman with heavily lined, deep cocoa eyes, gave him a sultry pout.

“If not here, where? I’ve been waiting in that hotel room for hours.” She nuzzled his neck. Her right hand lay flat against his chest. Her left explored significantly further south.

The man’s voice turned low and throaty. “You’re killing me.” He reluctantly pushed her away, exposing designer glasses, a handsome face, and perfectly tousled, George Clooney-like hair. “I told you I’d call as soon as I could leave, and I will. But we can’t be seen like this. Not here. Especially not now.”

She ran a burgundy fingernail down the center of his sternum. “So what if someone sees us? I’m tired of sneaking around. It’s time for you to get a divorce. Past time.”

The man flashed a conciliatory smile. “Patience, Mariella. Patience. I told you. As soon as the lawsuit is settled, I’ll leave her.”

She grabbed his lapels and pulled him closer. “In case you haven’t noticed, patience isn’t my strong suit.”

This time, he didn’t resist her. Their show zoomed right past PG on the fast track to R.

And they were blocking my way back to Rhonda’s birthing suite.

Fabulous.

What was I supposed to do now? I considered tiptoeing past the two lovers, hoping they wouldn’t notice me. I considered announcing myself loudly, in hopes that they’d scurry away. I even considered spraying them both with the nearest fire extinguisher, in an attempt to cool them down before the building ignited.

Their show was that hot.

About the author: Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series. The first book in the series, Murder Strikes a Pose, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any way possible. Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their crazy German shepherd pup, Ana. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, trying to corral Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

For more information on Tracy, visit her author website

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