Sunday, January 29, 2012

Running With Choas (Excerpt) by Elicia Clegg


The organic reality of the situation was grim.  Sam was back more than three years.  The concept of times colliding made her head spin and gave her a sinking feeling in her stomach which gurgled and clenched in pain.  She popped her neck and spun around to find another campsite.  Anyone at all would be better than a family she should not meet for another three years.  She was an unruffled individual, taking all this in stride, yet deep inside she felt herself slipping up   a bit.  She rationalized a great need to contact someone soon, get some kind of help, and learn the truth of the situation. 
            She was however, at a loss, she did not know whom she should contact.  Her eyes shifted up and to the left as she turned and spied a different group of people in another camping site.  The campgrounds as a whole had many different and very private campsites blocked by large trees sprouting out from the ground, creating circles and natural enclosures.   It was secure enough to get help without Erin seeing or hearing, thus keeping their meeting safely intact for the future.
She approached cautiously, eager for help. “Hi, hey, my friends   played a cruel joke on me; do you care if I borrow your cell so I can call my mom?”  She asked in the nicest of tones.
            “Are you sure it was your friend’s darling?”  One woman said as another man stood up and threw his phone at her saying, “Sure thing kid.”         
Sam smiled, wanting to keep up the ruse she replied, “Not after today, and thank you sir, I appreciate it, I am going to call my mom real quick.”  
            She caught the cellphone with her left hand while she moved to the right.   She blinked; her eyes had caught hold of Erin’s in the distance.  Sam turned her head, not wanting to cause any more rifts; she could not have Erin recognize her in three years from now.  She opened the cellphone to dial the first number coming to mind; which was Chaos’s.  She cursed at herself, though he wasn’t her least favorite person, he surely wasn’t her favorite.  She went to press the buttons.  Frustration rose up; the phone must have not been one she had seen before because there were no buttons.
            “Umm, how do I dial out?”
            “You okay honey?”
“Yes I’m fine.”
“You dial like any other phone.” The lady said as the others slightly laughed.
  She felt herself cracking more on the inside, crying was not far off.  She looked up at them, perplexed by the phone when she noticed they were all slowly beginning to fade from sight.  Isolation surrounded her; everything in sight was fading away.  Everything was becoming more and more blurry, all evaporating right before her.  Her brain began to ruminate, the gears kicking in, and all at once she knew it wasn’t they who were fading into the backdrop of nothingness, it was her who would soon be no more.  She dropped the phone, her hands disappearing more rapidly; her world began to go black.
She went to let out a scream, but could not as her mouth began filling and became inundated with pond water.  Her eyes jutted open, tiny bubbles of air surrounded her.  Her hair flowed softly in front of her and fanned out like a wave of ocean mist colliding with the rocks.  She flailed her arms, kicking with all her might as she burst out of the water, gasping and coughing for air.  It wasn’t the same kind of confusion as before, yet she was shaken all the same.   She was right back where she had begun.  She quickly twisted her body, kicking herself around until she could see the old rope swing.  She gazed, her eyes squinting to block the sun, seeing the same boy who had jumped before was in the water, and was occupied with another friend, they were cheering on yet another boy who stood shakily on the top platform.  She took a moment, her mind took a step back; she smiled at herself, the wisdom coming slowly, the puzzle pieces coming together.
            ‘”It would seem dear Sam time has moved forward, but you have not, wonderful.”  She said to fish which swam in and around her, she gazed longingly at each of them, they would never have to put up with something like this.

***

Elicia Clegg, who was born in the small town of Spanish Fork Utah, affectionately known as happy-valley, moved, at age four, to Ogden Utah; a town riddled with a dark past of opium dens, brothels, and business with underground tunnels constructed for criminals’ and prostitutes to escape police raids.  Not only was Elicia’s environment surrounded in historical intrigue her family has long whispered about a Curse as many have died in strange events. To name but a few: her grandfather was thrown off a building in New York City, her great-grandfather “fell” off the historic Radisson in Ogden, her father was shot in the head, her brother died in a work explosion, her great-uncle had a truck load of lumber crush him to death, her maternal great-grandfather was hit by car and died, a cousin who served two tours in Vietnam died on route home from his heart bursting, her maternal great-great-grandfather disappeared without a trace, and her grandmother, while volunteering, was stabbed to death at the State Mental Health Institute.
             It is no wonder she grew up with an over active imagination and soon released her first psychologically-thrilling suspense novel Vexation in March 2010, which has been followed up by three more titles.  Find out more information by visiting her website: www.EliciaClegg.com  


Monday, January 23, 2012

Indian Summer (Excerpt) by Dellani Oakes


Indian Summer by Dellani Oakes is an historical adventure/ romance/ mystery set in St. Augustine FL in 1739. The main character is Gabriella Deza, the daughter of the Spanish governor. Her fiance, Manuel Enriques, works for her father as his confidential aid. James Stevens, the town doctor, is a British spy. This excerpt is taken from slightly past halfway through the book. James has arranged an attack on the town & fort (Castillo de San Marcos). Manuel has set a trap to catch James in the act.

EXCERPT
There was a nagging feeling of dread rising in my mind. I felt hot then cold all over as if I were taking sick again. I had the feeling that Manuel needed me, something was horribly, terribly wrong. I couldn't suppress it, for it seared my soul. My dreams nagged my thoughts, causing shivers of dread down my spine.

Without saying a word to anyone, I wended my way as quickly and quietly to the door as I could. It was hardly more than three minutes after Manuel left, and yet he was nowhere in sight. He must have taken his buggy. Having no such vehicle available to me, I ran to the fortress with as much speed as I could muster. I was grateful to Grand-mère for the dress as it provided more mobility than any of my other outfits would have.

The hair rose on my arms as if I were cold, my breath came in shuddering gasps and yet I ran until I thought my lungs would burst. It was then I saw it, a flicker, a flame and suddenly the entire southeast bastion of the fort seemed to be on fire!

Silhouetted against it, I saw a man. My dream came rushing back of an instant and I knew it to be James the spy! I couldn't contain my anger. It drove me onward, compelling me to be hasty, chiding my slowness. Anger burned within me, hot and fierce as the signal fire before me, filling me with a fury driving away my fear.

I finally reached the gate, passing the ladies and the buggy without fully noticing. I saw no sign of Manuel, James or anyone else. In fact, the postern gate was open and unguarded, just as in my dream! I stifled the shriek I felt rising in my throat. Fear gripped me, cold unreasoning fear. Dread of ghosts of dead soldiers floated through my mind, making me shiver again.

For the first time in my life, I didn't know what to do. I couldn't think or make any decision. I stood there stupidly, gaping at the sight in front of me, riveted to the spot. That was my undoing. Stealthily out of the shadows, James was upon me. He grabbed me in his strong arms, holding me to him, using me as a shield, a gun pointed at my head!

An involuntary scream ripped from my throat! James chided me, goaded me on, pulling my hair, waving the gun before me!

"Go ahead and scream, lass. Scream for all you're worth! It will bring him to me. I've waited, plotted, planned for this moment. Before the sun rises, he'll be dead and you, my lass, you will be mine!"

He planted a rough, brutal kiss on my cheek, nipping my ear, causing me to scream again. I writhed away from him, but he held me fast. He shifted his hold upon me, crushing me against his pelvis. I could feel the lust in him. It disgusted and terrified me. He seemed to feed off my fear, growing more bold.

"That's it, that's it! He'll be here any minute that upstart Spanish bastard!"

He was turning around from side to side, holding me in front of him, pulling my hair to keep me on my feet, for I was near to fainting. A shadow moved stealthily toward us. I hoped James had not seen. Perhaps I only hoped so much that it was Manuel, I imagined it. But no, I heard a pistol being cocked and knew James heard it to. From our left, Manuel emerged quietly from the shadows, pistol in hand.

The light from the signal fire threw wavering shadows and highlights over his face, making him look demonic, his handsome face contorted into an unyielding mask of cold rage and hatred. His hand was steady, pointing the gun at James, who tried in vain to keep me in front of him. Manuel lifted his chin standing still.

"Let her go, James, or I shall drop you where you stand."

"If you shoot me, she's dead." He put the gun up against my head.

"Don't be so sure of that, Doctor."

I could hear panic rising in James' voice. His breath coming in fast gulps, hot on my neck. "Drop your gun. I'll let her go if you drop your gun!"

"Do you take me for a complete fool? You drop your gun and I'll give you a head start to the gate to run like the cowardly cur you are. Stand away from her now."

James' hand holding the weapon was beginning to falter. I summoned all my resolve and slammed my elbow into his ribs, stamped on his foot and hit him in his private parts as hard as I could with both my fists together.

He gasped for breath, falling to the ground, dropping his gun. Manuel kept him covered while I jumped out of reach. All I could think of was getting away, returning to the safety of my home, of Manuel's arms. I was in a panic, terrified! Then I saw the man behind Manuel, musket raised like a club, the sailor who had met James.

Manuel couldn't get a shot off in time, but caught the blow of the musket with his pistol stock, forcing the man away from him. They grappled for what seemed hours, but was only a few seconds. Unfortunately, neither of us watched James. He lunged for his pistol, grabbing it before I could warn Manuel. I could do nothing to stop him. I was too far away. I tried to scream, to alert Manuel in some way, but the sound caught in my throat.

Manuel and the sailor turned just as James raised his gun to shoot. James' shot caught the other man in the back, the bullet slamming through him as if he were jelly. The echo in the stone courtyard was deafening. Then they fell!

“Manuel! Dear God, he's been shot!" I screamed to no one.

The other fellow was dead, but Manuel was still moving. I ran to be by his side, but James grabbed my hair again and dragged me away! The last I saw, Manuel was lying in a pool of blood, his life draining from him and I could do nothing!


***

For more info on books from Dellani Oaks visit:

http://dellanioakes.wordpress.com/

http://writersanctuary.blogspot.com/

http://dellanischoice.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

FREE For a Limited Time: A Hint of Murder

A Hint of Murder: The Anthology is currently free though Amazon Prime. It compiles all three A Hint of Murder stories in one book:

A Hint of Murder: The Writer

Alicia Fairfield didn’t plan on being famous. Now a bestselling author with millions of fans, Alicia also has the attention of a killer. Someone has been recreating the murders from her books and the suspects are piling up; her mentally ill son, a disgruntled associate, and possibly even her loyal literary agent. The pressure of public recognition along with the guilt over these senseless killings could be enough to drive Alicia over the edge. Can she hold it together long enough to uncover a killer? (Story length 9,000 words)

A Hint of Murder: The Doctor

Russell Morgan had it all; good looks, the perfect woman and a rewarding career as a well-respected physician. When the doctor’s patients start turning up dead, his world comes crashing down. Second in the “A Hint of Murder” series, this short story brings Detective John Lewis back in action to track down the killer. (Story length: 12,000 words)

A Hint of Murder: The Bouncer

Bobby Crane was tired of being a bouncer and a glorified errand boy. He longed to be a professional singer and was just about to get his big break. Then Allen Schaffer is found murdered and Bobby’s car was spotted at the victim’s home. Third in the A Hint of Murder series, this story has detective John Lewis returning with a new partner to uncover a murderer. (Story length: 10,400 words)

* You'll also get a bonus mystery and samples from other great thriller and mystery writers.

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The Anthology is available on
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Friday, January 13, 2012

Madness and Murder (an Excerpt) by Jenny Hilborne


 With the body count at five, and the blade marks left on the latest victim determined to be have been made by an eight-inch blade, Mac Jackson had little doubt in his mind that they had all died at the hands of the same killer. Another serial killer on the streets of San Francisco, but this one left no cryptic clues or taunting letters, made no demands to the police or the general public. He didn't appear to want attention or recognition. Jackson suspected he had a particular grudge, or some type of personal vendetta, only he hadn't been able to figure out what.
Exhausted from working through the night–even with a little extra civilian help to which he'd consented–he rubbed at his eyes, and took a slurp of coffee that had already turned cold. He'd been making notes and sifting through the scant evidence left behind since the young woman's body had been found by a lonesome jogger, during the early hours of Tuesday morning. What the hell is your motive? He set the mug down, sighed, and looked at the photo of the deceased. If he'd been called to the scene half an hour sooner, he might have been able to ask the killer that question. Her body had still been warm.
"She was just a kid," he said to Red. "Twenty-four. Only two years older than Bryce."
Red shook his head, no more enlightened than Jackson. "I know. There's no pattern. He butchers men, women, old, young, but never rapes them or robs them. What's the motive? What the hell does this bastard want?"
"I wish I knew," Jackson said, grimacing at another mouthful of cold coffee, "but one thing's becoming clear; he's getting careless or cocky. Thirty minutes sooner and we'd have had him."
"Doubt it. That was deliberate, Jackson. The bastard knows what he's doing. He doesn't want to get caught until he's ready."
"Well, so far he doesn't have to worry about that. We've got extra cops patrolling the streets, and he still manages to leave us a warm, dead body and no witnesses. There's something we're missing." He pressed his hands and finger-tips together, hooked his thumbs under his weary chin, and closed his eyes, trying to get inside a killer's head.
"This is his arena, man, his stage," Red said. "He's killing right under our noses like there's not a damn thing we can do about it. And the warm body?…he's performing. That's arrogance."
"Or anger." Jackson opened his eyes. "Or maybe he's bored."
"He's not bored," Red said, shaking his head. He strode around his desk to sit on the front edge of it, facing Jackson. "He thinks he's superior. He stays one step ahead, but barely, he leaves virtually no clues, and he seems to murder at random."
"And always in a busy location." Jackson drummed his long fingers impatiently on his desk. "Why do you think he makes no effort to conceal the bodies?"
"He wants them to be found. He wants us to know he's killed again, and we've failed again."
"Failed?"
"To protect the city. To do our jobs. He's not just satisfying some sick thrill, you know, he's making fools of all of us, of law enforcement."
"So, maybe that's his message. There's a reason for the killings, I'm sure of that, but the real anger is against the law. And he wants us to figure out why."
"I'm going out on a limb here," Red said. "Call it one of your hunches, but I'd say he's never done time. He's not going to be in the database."
"What makes you say that?" Jackson looked at his partner with interest.
"Something tells me he hasn't reached his zenith. He's leading up to something, and until we figure out what it is, he's not going to get caught. He wants to get caught, but not just yet, not until he's ready. And another thing…I don't believe he kills at random. He picks his victims."
Jackson nodded, thinking, pinched the bridge of his nose while he contemplated. Finally he looked back at Red, still perched on the edge of his desk and looking as beat as Jackson felt.
"You know," he began, "I can't stop thinking about the tongue. He'd already slit her throat, so she'd have been dead already, bled out, so why cut it out? And why didn't we find it?"
A thorough search of the area where the body had been found had not turned up the missing muscle.
"I'd say she pissed him off," Red suggested. "Maybe she said something he didn't like."
"You think he knew her?"
Red shrugged. "Maybe, probably not. But I'd say he'd been in close proximity the night he killed her, maybe listening to her conversation."
Jackson picked up the report on his desk and reread the notes about the young woman's last night. "She'd been out with friends," he read aloud, "celebrating a promotion, according to her friends." He searched Red's face. "They work in finance."
"Jealousy?" Red suggested.
"Possible. Except her friends state they were all doing well."
"Yeah, well maybe one of them thought she wasn't deserving, thought she got promoted out of turn. She was considerably younger. They were in their forties. Hell, I'd probably be pissed if I got overtaken by a kid in her twenties."
"But if they're all hot shots, I'd say it's unlikely," Jackson said. "Anyway, they all checked out. They all left together, without her, and went straight home. She'd had too much to drink, apparently wanted to walk it off."
"Some friends."
Jackson shrugged. "It happens. None of the other diners remember anyone suspicious. Nothing we could use."
"What about credit cards?"
Jackson shook his head. "Slow night, only a few transactions and they checked out."
"So he paid cash."
"Maybe. No one remembers a lone diner. No one paid her group any attention."
"Well, someone did." Red pursed his lips, removed his legs from the desk, and walked round to the other side to sit down. "If the guy was there, he looked like a regular. He fitted in. No one noticed him."
"And a regular guy can fly under the radar, mingle easily. That's how he does it." Jackson slapped a hand down on his desk. "We're looking for someone who fits into society. Someone with a job, maybe even a few friends. On the one hand he kills, has an aversion to the law, but he also lives a part of his life normally, like everyone else."
"Could have been someone she worked with. One of the group. Or a schizophrenic."
"Not a schizophrenic. I don't believe there's any distortion of reality for this guy. I believe he knows exactly what he's doing."
Red nodded. "You're right about him being local."
Jackson pulled up a fresh sheet in his notepad and began to scribble. "Here's what we've got," he said to Red, "I think he's a white male, probably late twenties to early thirties, strong, agile, social to an extent but really a loner."
"Family?"
"Little or none."
"Think he killed 'em?"
"His family? No. If he's local we'd have gotten something on that. He's from this area, so they're either dead already, or they've moved away."
"Why d'you think that?"
"Hunch. Plus, he can go about his business more easily with no one keeping tabs on his hours, his comings and goings. My gut tells me this guy is a loner, not one of her group."
"Good enough for me." Red yawned behind his hand, and rubbed his eyes, ran a hand through his hair, and stretched in his seat. "I'm beat." He laced his fingers together behind his head and leaned back, putting his feet up on his desk. "Still think it's a thrill killer?"
Jackson sighed. "I don't know. Yes…and no. There's an underlying motive, but he's a sadistic bastard. He enjoys the violence."
"The tongue?"
"That, the genitals, and the fact he mutilates them after they're dead. The two back in ninety-five…I believe it's the same guy." He locked eyes with Red, saw his furrowed brow, and could almost hear the cogs turning in his partners head. "What is it?"
"The fact her body was still warm."
"What about it?"
Red unlaced his fingers, removed his feet from his desk, and leaned forward in his seat, his face taut with concentration. "The jogger found her at four-thirty, Tuesday morning."
"Right." Jackson watched his expression with interest.
"If he'd been inside the restaurant and followed her out, killing her on her way home, her body would have been cold by the time the jogger found her. We know the jogger didn't do it because he'd only left the house ten minutes earlier, confirmed by his wife, and he had no blood on his clothes."
"Ok." They'd been through this already, but Jackson didn't mind going over it again. Maybe they'd missed something the first time.
"We know she'd been dead for only about thirty minutes, so, if time of death was four in the morning, we've got six hours to account for from the time she left the restaurant to when she died."
"Well, we know she went for a walk, she was drunk, and she was alone. Maybe she fell asleep somewhere, and maybe he didn't follow her. He might not have been in the bar at all; no one remembers a lone guy, so maybe it was purely random and he stumbled upon her sleeping it off."
"It's possible," Red said, "but it doesn't fit with the tongue. That kind of violence had to be provoked. It wasn't random. She said something to piss him off. He was in that bar, and he followed her out. Know what I think?" He didn't wait to be asked. "I think he tortured her for a while."
Jackson sighed. "No marks on her body to suggest it, no ligature on her wrists or feet."
"Mental torture. I think she felt comfortable with him, trusted him. She went with him willingly."
"She was drunk," Jackson reminded him, a headache beginning to kick around at the back of his eyeballs. "She wouldn't have had the same fear she might have had sober."
"That's true, too, but…if he was mad enough to hack off her tongue, he wouldn't waste six hours idly chatting. Somehow, he gained her trust before he killed her, and he took six hours to do it. There's a reason for that, and I want to know what it is."
Jackson scratched his head. "We've been over this. I don't know."
"Jackson," Red shot him a dry look, "you're the master of hunches, and maybe it's rubbing off. My hunch: he's testing himself."
"Red." Jackson stared at him in astonishment, his headache suddenly vanishing. "That's it. You're brilliant." He punched the air.
"What did I do?" Red stared back in surprise.
"You hit the nail on the head, that's what you did." Jackson smacked his hands together triumphantly. "He is testing himself, not us." He laughed out loud. "Why didn't I see it before?"
"See what?"
Jackson grinned at Red's puzzled expression. "You see how the murders have been escalating? Both in frequency and violence?" He didn't wait for Red to comment. "I figured he's been working his way up to something." He pulled open the file on his desk with the old notes from the earlier murders. "The ones in ninety-five…those were homeless, nobodies…their bodies could drift about for days, months, and no one would miss them. He was warming up, getting a taste for murder. He didn't care if anyone found them."
"And these latest ones?"
"These victims have families. He knew they'd be missed. He wanted them to be found. He wanted to know he could walk into a crowded area, somewhere like the Embarcadero, choose a victim, and kill them without getting caught, and then watch how the case unraveled. See what he could learn from the moves made by police."
"If we don't believe the victims were chosen at random," Red said, Jackson's sudden enthusiasm rubbing off on him, "then there's a common link, something that makes him snap, something that ties them all together."
"Yes." Jackson smacked his desk again. "We need to find that link." He grinned across at Red. "We're finally making progress."
Red seemed to be on a roll. "And if the victims were chosen by something they said or did, he upped the stakes each time, increased the violence, let us get closer. He tested himself to see how far he could go before we start closing in."
"And that tells me something else. Red, when he abducts his final victim, he's going to do it in a public place. He's been training for it, building up to it. He's going to try to snatch him or her from right under our noses."
"Think he's following the reports on the news?"
"I don't doubt it. The vicious bastard has enjoyed destroying those families."
"That's it." Red leapt from his chair, wide-eyed and without a trace of exhaustion.
"What?" Startled, Jackson stared at him as if he'd gone mad.
"Jackson, you're fucking brilliant." Red grinned.
"Piss off, Dennis."
"Don't you get it?" Red flicked a paperclip that hit Jackson on the nose. "You just figured out the motive."

***
Madness and Murder is Jenny Hilborne’s first novel, set in San Francisco. Her second suspense novel, No Alibi, is also set in San Francisco, featuring homicide inspector, John Doucette; an experienced inspector plagued by personal betrayal. Jenny is working on her third and fourth mysteries; the fourth being a break from the norm and set in England.





Friday, January 6, 2012

E-Force by James D. Kellogg


E-Force (Excerpt from Chapter Five)


      Tempers were flaring at the manager’s meeting. Colt was certain that the Salem Witch Trials couldn’t have been more chilling. With the suddenness of an ocean squall, the forum had degenerated into a hostile volley of accusations and defenses. The handwriting on the wall was plain for Colt to see. The days of EcoFriends were numbered.
      A female manager turned on the other five women. “I’m not paying the price for the bitch that ratted on us! Everybody knows I’ve put my heart and soul into this organization.”
      “You’d sell us out in a heartbeat if you could profit!”One fiery vixen charged at the haughty accuser. “How much is the FBI paying you?”
      “That’s right. Fight it out!” A man pumped his fist.
      “Let’s make them all take polygraph tests.” One board member stepped between the two potential combatants.
      “There’re better ways to get a confession than that,” another person said.
      “Enough of this!” Howard Anderson finally took control. “We’re tearing ourselves apart because of one traitor. If we’re going to survive, we’ve got to stick together. The truth is going to come out. Whoever is guilty has one last chance for redemption. I’ll give you until the end of the week to come to me and confess. Then we’ll figure out how to make things right again.”
      Adjournment was an armistice in an escalating war. At the reprieve, people scattered. Colt looked for Deb, but she was gone. The air in the building seemed poisoned. He hurried outside where he could breathe.
      “Damned horde of barbarians,” Colt muttered on the sidewalk, shaking his head with disgust for the behavior his colleagues had exhibited. The organization was supposedly founded on trust and loyalty, yet every leader was bent on crucifying one of their own.
      Anderson has lost his mind. Colt stormed toward the street. It was insane to prop up the terrorist group E-Force as a means to stabilize EcoFriends. It’s like skydiving without a parachute so you didn’t risk getting tangled in the lines. Everybody’s following him into the sea like a bunch of damned lemmings.
      Without a doubt, Colt regretted his involvement with EcoFriends. Foolishly, he’d been a complacent passenger in his life and work. It was time to move behind the wheel and take command. EcoFriends was going to be part of the past, not the future.
      “Colt, wait for me!” a familiar voice said.
      Colt turned to see Deb dart across the street. A car braked to avoid running her down. She drew alongside Colt, ignoring the blaring horn as the vehicle resumed course.
      “You almost got killed!” Colt was alarmed by Deb’s reckless action.
      “What does it matter?”
      “I don’t understand why you would ask that.” Colt evaluated his friend’s pale sickly appearance. “What’s going on? Where’ve you been?”
      “Vomiting in the restroom.” Deb’s voice wavered. “We need to have that talk.”
      “Let’s get away from the street.” Colt grabbed her by the arm. “I’ll walk you to your car.”
      The pair didn’t speak during the brisk trip to a parking lot at the end of the block. When they reached Deb’s vehicle, she couldn’t contain herself any longer.
      “Colt, can I trust you to keep a secret?” Deb asked in a hushed tone.
      “Of course you can trust me,” Colt said, frowning. “What’s going on Deb?”
      “I’m the one who went to the FBI. I told them about the money laundering.”
      “So it was you.” Colt’s pulse quickened. “Holy shit. The meeting must have been a nightmare for you.”
      “I can’t believe what’s happening.” Tears welled up in Deb’s eyes. “When I called from a payphone, the FBI agent promised my statements were confidential. I don’t know how Anderson found out. Colt, I’m scared.”
      “It’s going to be okay.” Colt dabbed a tear from her cheek. “Nobody can pin the leak on you.”
      “There’s more to the story.” Deb’s eyes were hollow. “All the dirty money went to E-Force.”
      Colt’s heart skipped a beat at the assertion. Deb had uncovered the truth. Months ago, Colt had discovered that tens of thousands were going to E-Force. But he had done nothing. Like a fool, he continued to divert funds from his chapter, knowing the money was being laundered and funneled to E-Force.
      “Is that what you told the Feds?” Colt sputtered. “How do you even know that?”
      “I overheard a conversation between Anderson and Cain. And, yes, I told the FBI!”
      “Deb, keep your voice down.” Colt cast a nervous glance around. “Maybe we should talk inside your car.”
      “I haven’t told you the worst part,” Deb said after they were seated in the vehicle with the doors shut. “I’m not sure if I should.”
      “What could be worse?” Colt felt as if he was about to be sentenced by a judge.
      “Zed Cain is part of E-Force.” Deb was trembling. “If he finds out I know the truth, he’ll do something terrible. Colt, I don’t know what to do.”
      “Just calm down.” A shiver rippled through Colt’s body. “This is bad, but I won’t let anyone hurt you. Did you tell the FBI about Cain?”
      “Not yet.” Deb was obviously struggling to retain her composure. “But I’m going to. It’s the only way to stop these crimes.”
      “But you don’t know who tipped off Anderson.” A light bulb went off in Colt’s head. “Maybe he’s got somebody inside the FBI.”
      Deb shook her head with doubt. “We’re talking about Howard Anderson, not some foreign government.”
      “Then how did he find out?” Colt’s unease was growing. “That’s a serious question, and we’ve got to find an answer.”
      “Once Cain and Anderson are behind bars, it won’t matter. Then I’ll be safe.”
      “It’s not going to be that simple.” Colt gripped Deb’s shoulder and looked her in the eye. “Something’s not right. There’s a hidden trap waiting to snare anyone who decides to be a hero.”
      “Then what am I supposed to do?” Deb thumped a fist against the steering wheel. Another tear rolled down her cheek.
      Colt suddenly felt conspicuous. “I don’t know yet, but we need to continue this conversation at a different time and place.”
      “Okay, you’re right.” Deb nodded and reached for a tissue. “I’ll call you when I get back to Boise.”
      They hugged for a few seconds before Colt stepped out onto the pavement. Deb ventured a weak smile and waved goodbye. Feeling lost and lonely, Colt looked after her car until it was swallowed in the traffic.
      With eyes cast downward, Colt turned and walked away. Before he traveled twenty paces, a shadow crossed his path. Colt looked up to find Zed Cain standing in front of him. The man’s tall figure was imposing. With long black hair, he resembled a fierce Comanche warrior from days of old. Colt stopped dead in his tracks.
      “Are you lost?” Cain asked without an ember of warmth.
      A chill went down Colt’s spine. Did the alleged E-Force member suspect something? Maybe he overheard part of the conversation with Deb.
      Colt managed a dismissive air. “I forgot where I parked. My vehicle’s over there. See you at the next meeting.”
      Colt moved past Cain and retreated toward his Land Cruiser. He maintained a casual stride and resisted the urge to cast a backward glance.

***

James D. Kellogg holds a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Civil Engineering, both from Virginia Tech. His professional engineering experience encompasses ski area development and water resource management in western Colorado. Passion for adventure and imagination was the impetus for his thriller novel, E-Force. James’ life experiences served as catalysts for conception of protagonist, Colt Kelley. An outdoor enthusiast, James enjoys skiing, mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing, and kayaking. He and his wife Kristen are raising their four kids near Glenwood Springs. Contact James at jameskellogg@comcast.net or visit http://jamesdkellogg.com.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Diana Rivers and “The Surgeon’s Blade”


Mystery-suspense-thriller writer, Faith Mortimer is delighted to add book three to her best-selling Diana Rivers mystery thriller series. This latest novel, “The Surgeon’s blade” is more chilling, tense and is described as a ‘real corker of a read’.
When nursing sister, Libby Hunter wakes up in hospital following a traumatic sailing accident she discovers two deeply disturbing things. One - she has lost her memory and two – the stranger, (Nigel) whom she finds sitting by her bedside when she awakes claims to be her fiancé.
During her hospital stay, Libby regains most of her memory, except the bizarre thing is she cannot remember ever being engaged to surgeon, Nigel. Against her will Nigel persuades Libby into agreeing to move in with him.  Working on instinct she finds excuses to put him off until she is completely sure of her true feelings.
During a series of attacks on nurses in London and Southampton, Libby finds herself in great danger when her home is broken into one night. Who is the intruder and does he plan on harming her? And is this connected in any way to the recent attacks on nursing staff. Will Libby be the attacker’s latest targeted victim?
Distressed Libby turns to pilot, Robert for help and understanding, but is he as respectable and kind as he appears to be? Is her fiancé, Nigel trustworthy, especially when his ex-wife, Stella enters the scene and Libby suspects them of rekindling their relationship?
The night time intrusion to Libby’s house sets in motion a downwards spiral of cataclysmic and terrifying events, culminating in our favourite sleuth, Diana Rivers stepping in to help solve the case in this chilling mystery thriller.
For a glimpse of early reviews please go to: Amazon Customer 5 Star Reviews

About the author:
Faith Mortimer was born in Manchester and educated in Singapore, Malaya and Hampshire, England. She qualified as a Registered nurse and after some years changed careers to oversee a number of travel and sport related companies.

Faith is thrilled with, The Surgeon’s Blade, book number three in her mystery thriller series and sincerely hopes you will be too. Please note any of the books of the series can be read in any order.

For updates on Faith’s books and regular blog posts please go to: http://www.faithmortimerauthor.com

Thank you for taking the time to read through this and a huge thank you to my dedicated readers and followers to whom I owe so much.