Thursday, March 27, 2014


On the 10th anniversary of 9/11 the media replays the videos of that day’s devastation, and a national hero’s life begins to unravel.

When the first responder–already struggling with delayed PTSD and addiction–is accused of murdering his former drug dealer, psychotherapist Kate Huntington finds herself going above and beyond to help him. As she and her P.I. husband set out to clear him of the charges, they are thrust into a deadly world of drugs, prostitutes and hired killers, and end up questioning who they are and what it means to be brave.

Pete doesn't view himself as a hero; he was just doing what he was trained to do even though he wasn't on duty, and he still couldn't save everyone.  He holds it together but then the flashbacks and memories take hold.  He turns to alcohol and drugs and is put on administrative leave.  He is making his way back, he's clean, and dealing with his PTSD. Then he's framed for his friend's murder, or so he says.  

There's something about Pete, his actions on 9/11, and although Kate isn't an addiction counselor, at Rob's request, they both get involved.  Are they crossing their professional boundaries, getting too involved with a client?  Then Skip gets pulled in as well.  But Skip isn't so sure this case is a great idea as he is faced with his own fears and weaknesses.  Not to mention, the case takes on some definite twists and turns as Kate and her friends work to exonerate Pete while keeping him on the road to recovery. Kate and her group of conspirators are likable, but complex characters with depth and surprises.  This is a fast paced read that will keep you reading and keep you guessing. Better plan for an early start and a late night!  
This is the 6th in the Kate Huntington Series.  It is intended and definitely can be read as a stand-alone.  As a Kate Huntington fan, I'd recommend you read the others - though you don't have to read them in order:

Multiple Motives (#1)
Ill-timed Entanglements (#2)
Family Fallacies (#3)
Celebrity Status (#4) 
Collateral Casualties (#5)
Zero Hero (#6)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Skye Sullivan knows that someone is watching her. Not just watching—stalking her. Months ago, Skye was involved in a dangerous car accident. The accident ended her dancing career and sent her fleeing back to Chicago. Skye is convinced that her stalker caused the crash, and she fears that he won’t stop pursuing her, not until she’s dead.

When someone breaks into her apartment in Chicago, Skye turns to the one man she believes can protect her—Trace Weston. Once, Trace was her lover. Two lost souls, they’d come together in a firestorm of need and desire. But then Trace had pushed her away. He’d joined the military, vanishing from her life. She’d put all of her emotion into dancing, and she’d tried to forget him. Now Trace is one of the most successful men in the United States. Rich, driven, and carrying dark secrets, he agrees to help Skye. He’ll protect her from the danger that lurks in the darkness, but Trace wants more than to just be a guard for Skye.

He wants her. And he’ll take her. The years have changed him, hardened him. He’s not just a poor kid from the streets any longer. Now, he can have anything—or anyone—that he wants. And the one woman he has always wanted has just come back into his life. He won’t let her go again. But with the threats mounting against Skye, she suspects that her stalker may be intimately close. He’s a man who knows her too well. As his attacks grow ever more dangerous, she realizes that if she trusts the wrong man, she could be making a fatal mistake.

Lust. Love. Obsession. Just how far would you go in order to possess the one person you want the most?

Author's Note: MINE TO TAKE is a sexy romantic suspense novella—it contains approximately 41,000 words. MINE TO TAKE is intended for adults. Sexy situations and adult language will be found within the pages of this story—please consider yourself warned.

This is a compelling story, a quick moving story of romance and suspense. The characters are likable, but have dark sides that are not fully exposed. Is someone really stalking Skye or is it her imagination?  If it is real, he or she is very good at not being caught.  Is it a crazed fan or someone she knows, someone she trusts?  I'm looking forward to the next in the series MINE TO KEEP as well as the third, MINE TO HOLD.

Author Pages:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Review: STUDS AND STILETTOS by Bev Pettersen


Her dreams of stardom are jeopardized by a hot trainer...and a ruthless murderer.

Emily Murphy isn't afraid to swap her fancy wardrobe for a borrowed pair of barn boots. Working on the set of a Kentucky movie might be just the ticket to landing a real acting job and proving to her sister she can accomplish something worthwhile.

Dan Barrett knows a lot about hard work and even more about horses. And while he's drawn by Emily's beauty and pluck, he wants a stay-at-home ranch girl. But fighting their attraction is difficult, and soon they both realize that what they thought they wanted isn't what they really need.

Unfortunately, Dan isn't the only person watching Emily. And the other one is a ruthless killer determined to keep a secret buried.

There are truly only a few books that I have trouble putting down, even as I am falling asleep and I have a fair idea of who the culprit is, but this is one of them.  Pettersen has choreographed a compelling story of a missing groom and the filming of a movie of the horse who went crazy. The characters - Dan, Em, Judith, Anthony, Lizzie, Billy, and the Hamiltons - all have depth and substance.  The story captures the problems of work situations that are briefly intense and then end, the baggage from the past, and the potential for change. For the horse lovers, lots of horse action and compassion for animals.  

STUDS AND STILETTOS is one of a series of books about race horses and the third one I've read. THOROUGHBREDS AND TRAILER TRASH looks to be the most recent...  Others include FILLIES AND FEMALES,  HORSES AND HEROIN, JOCKEYS AND JEWELS, and COLOR MY HORSE.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: LABELED FOR DEATH by Michele Drier

Vineyards around Monroe are being harvested, the ripe grape bunches sliced off the vines and trucked to wineries, where they’ll be crushed to make some of California’s finest wines. 

Amy Hobbes, managing editor of the Monroe Press has other stories in mind, until Clarice Stamms, her cops reporter blows in with news about another harvest, two bodies tucked up under the vines. The field workers were stabbed and their throats sliced. Are they just victims of a worker’s anger?
When the town’s most popular and well-known hooker turns up at the vineyard’s labor camp, sliced and stabbed as well, Amy and Clarice are on the hunt again, the adrenaline tingling down their nerve endings.
Who’s the killer stalking the vineyards and why?

Murder and wine make a perfect pairing! Amy Hobbes is really the editor and Clarice is the police beat reporter, but Amy is helping Clarice as the "bad luck" of the DiFazio/Govicche vineyards.  It all seems a bit too coincidental. In order to figure out a motive and possibly solve the mystery, Amy has to research the history of the vineyards.  Drier provides an informative history, going back to prohibition.  At the same time, she moves the story forward at a steady pace. 

This is the second in the series and there is sufficient back story on Amy that she is a likable character and this story can be read as a stand-alone.  That said, I suspect as in most series, it would be a good idea to read EDITED FOR DEATH and get to know Amy and Clarice even better!  I plan to go back and read that one...


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Review: STEAMED (A MAID IN LA MYSTERY) by Holly Jacobs

Quincy Mac is a maid in LA--a maid who's accidentally cleaned a murder scene.  Now she's a murder suspect with only one option--find the real murderer before she ends up in jail for a crime she didn't commit.  Quincy came to LA looking for fame and fortune. What she's found is infamy and misfortune. There's a killer out there, and Quincy's going to find him or her...or die trying.

Quincy Mac is co-owner of a cleaning company and a divorced mother of three boys. The sons are on vacation with their father, but call frequently, encouraging their mother to do something exciting. Quincy is thinking maybe she might want to do something else with her life at the same time.  When she has to fill in for one of her employees, the last house is a real mess. She cleans the downstairs before going upstairs and discovering the body of the owner.  She becomes a person of interest (in more ways than one) to the detective.  A tv mystery fan, Quincy decides to solve the murder both to clear her name and to help out her friend. Quincy bumbles her way to the end in a very amateur fashion. The story has humor, quirky characters, family dysfunction and murder. This is not a serious mystery, sometimes is very predictable, but is a quick read.  There appear to be four in the series so far.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blog Tour: BIG MONEY by Jack Getze

In this jaunty follow-up to Big Numbers, a scruffy stockbroker returns to tangle with mobsters, women and his own big mouth. The good news, as the story opens, is that the hero is in the company of a gorgeous naked lady. The bad news is that she’s pointing a shotgun at him. It’s a typical predicament for Austin Carr, a semi-shady New Jersey financial professional temporarily in charge of Shore Securities…He’s being extorted into opening a money-laundering account for local crime boss Bluefish; an auditor who was investigating his company has turned up murdered; a fetching state police captain figures he’s the key to her organized-crime probe; and his boss’s mother has been picked up for fixing her church bingo game.

BIG MONEY is everything it says it will be.  Austin Carr continues to find trouble where ever he goes regardless of what his intentions may be.  In this sequel to BIG NUMBERS, he has finally established himself in a business and is sufficiently respectable to have regular visitations with his two children.  Little does he know that Vic left him in charge of Shore Securities so he could take the heat and be the fall guy.  The story moves along as Austin tries to do what he thinks is best - at least when he's not lusting after the lady he sees in a bar and later finds out she's not what she seemed.  A little humor, a lot of action, and a quick read. I'm looking forward to BIG MOJO!

About the Author, Jack Getze:
Former Los Angeles Times reporter Jack Getze is Fiction Editor for Anthony nominated Spinetingler Magazine, one of the internet’s oldest websites for noir, crime, and horror short stories. Through the Los Angeles Times/Washington Post News Syndicate, his news and feature stories were published in over five-hundred newspapers and periodicals worldwide. His two screwball mysteries, BIG NUMBERS and BIG MONEY, are being reissued by DOWN & OUT BOOKS, with the new BIG MOJO to follow. His short stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir and Beat to a Pulp. Getze is an Active Member of Mystery Writers of America’s New York Chapter.

Author Links:

Giveaways!!!!  Everyone leaving a comment will be eligible to win a free copy (eBook). Be sure to leave a comment with your preferred format and contact information.  Also enter the rafflecopter drawing here and at the other stops on this tour (Tour Schedule for BIG MONEY)

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Sunday, March 9, 2014


After twenty-four years in the U.S. Marines, recently retired Mac McClellan is happy to be a civilian again. He is enjoying a leisurely fishing vacation in the Florida panhandle when he hooks a badly decomposed body.

Then, when a bag of rare marijuana is discovered stashed aboard his rental boat, he realizes someone is setting him up to take the fall for murder and drug smuggling. Mac’s plans for a more laid-back life must be put on hold while he works to clear his name as the number one suspect.

Mac launches an investigation with the help of Kate Bell, a feisty saleslady at the local marina with whom he has struck up a promising relationship. Along the way he must butt heads and match wits with local law enforcement officials, shady politicians, and strong-armed thugs from the Eastern Seaboard to sniff out and bring the real smuggler and killer to justice.

This is the first in what promises to be a great series.  Mac is still recovering from his divorce and trying to find himself after retiring from the military,  He lands in a vacation area a buddy told him about to do some fishing.  As noted in the first line of the story, what you catch can certainly change the tenor of a vacation.  Not only does he find the Maddie's body, but he is being framed and then targeted by persons unknown.  The action is well-paced and the story well constructed so the ending makes sense.  Mac is a strong male protagonist, determined to find the truth. The romance between Kate and Mac progresses slowly; on a positive note, Kate is a strong female character who works well with Mac. If you are into fishing, that is still another layer, but it is not overdone for those of us who don't fish.  I strongly recommend this book and I'll be looking for the next one in this series! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Blog Tour: A Life Less Ordinary by Victoria Bernadine

Today is a break from mystery and into chick lit/contemporary fiction.  I'd like to welcome Victoria Bernadine who has provided a guest post on editing and how hard it is for an author...

The Cutting Room Floor

Good morning!  Thanks for hosting me today!

One of the hardest things I have to do is edit a book I’ve written.  Other people’s work – no problem!  I love telling other people what to do – LOL.  My own work, though?  A wee bit of a struggle.

Of course, the editing I’m talking about here isn’t the basic stuff:  spelling, punctuation, and grammar.  I’m talking about that edit where you read the book as a reader and not as a creator.

This is the point in the process when I read the book with an extremely critical eye, and assess each scene and character to determine if they actually serve a purpose in the story.  It’s the point where I have to determine the story I really want to tell, and let everything else go.

The end result is, I hope, a better story, but the number of things I’ve had to leave on the cutting room floor over the years is rather heartbreaking, and proof I’m far too easily distracted by shiny things.

A Life Less Ordinary is a prime example of this.

In my first (still incomplete) draft of the book, every person Manny and Zeke meet on their trip had a backstory that was explored in some depth.  They all had their own hopes, dreams and purposes in life.  I was passionately in love with all of them.  They made me laugh, they made me cry, and they made me want to hug them and tell them everything was going to be okay.

But then I put on my Reader Hat, and realized the story I really wanted to tell came to a screeching halt every time I delved too deeply into these minor characters.

I struggled against it, but in the end, I had no choice but to take out my editing scissors and leave these mini-plots on the cutting room floor.  I know the story is better for it, and the characters are still in the book, although not as extensively, and I continue to love them passionately…but I do still mourn those scenes.  Just a little.

How about you and your readers?  Are there scenes or characters you wish you’d kept?  Are there books you’ve read where a Reader Hat edit would have been helpful?

About Victoria:
Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a “woman of a certain age”. After twenty-something years of writer’s block, she began writing again in 2008. Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody’s guess. She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.

This is Bernadine's first book and she is off to a great start.  A story of a woman deciding to change her life, Bernadine has created complicated characters with unique personalities.  Manny is likable, a little naive, and the road trip she designs is definitely outside her comfort zone.  Zeke, the blogger who forgets to mention to Manny that he is blogging the whole trip and her reactions, is quite the opposite. While they are the focus of the trip, along with Harvey, many other subplots add to the story.

Be sure to enter the Giveaway!!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blog Tour: FOREVER DOOMED by MaryAnn Kempher

It's not wise to wander the cruise ship Forever alone at night. You might not live to see daylight.
Detective Jack Harney agrees to do an old Army buddy a favor. Curt Noble had some personal business to attend to, he didn’t say what. What he did say was he needed someone to temporarily take over his duties as head of security on the struggling cruise ship Forever. Jack hesitates, but he owes Curt his life so agrees. He’s told the worst mischief he can expect to encounter will be the occasional shoplifter, or drunk. Instead, one week into the cruise, a beautiful red head and a member of the crew are ruthlessly murdered. Are the two murders connected? It’s up to Jack to find out. He must find the killer before the ship returns to Tampa’s port, or worse, before another dead body is found. This won't be easy. The ship is old, it's security systems outdated, and clues are few, or so it seems at first
It’s not just a sense of obligation that motivates Jack to agree to Curt's request; Jack moved thousands of miles, started over, and still can't get Amy O'Brian out of his heart or mind. When she shows up on the ship, as part of a large wedding party, Jack must fight to stay focused. To make matters worse, Amy isn't his only distraction; a sexy and mysterious woman has made it her mission to seduce Jack.
As the body count rises, and time slips away, Jack has to ask himself, “Did someone commit the perfect crime?”
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The woman wore a long grey overcoat, and next to nothing underneath it. She was relieved when the elevator she entered was empty and thankful for the costume ball that was going on; it meant the employee cafeteria would be empty. She’d heard that most of the staff would be working the party, and that they’d be allowed to eat there, so the cafeteria was closed. She was still nervous. She’d been told in no uncertain terms to not enter the cafeteria once it closed, but she’d gotten sidetracked and hadn’t gotten down there earlier. Now, she’d need to sneak.
When she arrived at the second floor, it was very quiet and empty. Just as she’d expected. She couldn’t help wondering what the big deal was? She’d go in, get the cake, and be gone. She realized the problem once she’d pushed through the cafeteria doors; it was very dark. They probably were worried she’d trip or something. The kitchen lights were on, she used them to guide her across the room. If someone was in there, she’d just take her overcoat off; one look at her nearly naked body would get her out of any trouble she might be in. However, she hoped the room was empty and luckily it was. She looked around, her cake would likely be in the pantry, since it wasn’t a real cake. Then again, she had done gigs where the cake had actually been kept in the refrigerators alongside real cakes. Go figure.
Just as she was about to open the pantry, she heard someone at the back door. She had just a second to decide what to do; hide in the pantry or stay and prepare to explain why she was there. Being a stripper paid the bills, but it wasn’t something she was proud of. When she danced in front of drunk men, she felt detached. They didn’t know her, and she didn’t know them. But, standing there in the kitchen, she didn’t really relish the thought of having to either talk her way out of trouble or flash her way out. She’d also had one or two unpleasant experiences, it was never a really good idea for a stripper to find herself alone with a man she didn’t know.
She quickly opened the pantry door and stepped inside. Oh, look there’s my cake. By the sound of the wind, rain and even the occasional thunder outside, she could tell the back door had finally been opened. She opened the pantry door an inch and peeked out. A tall, thick man was there, he was making a sandwich. She’d just wait him out. The lights in the kitchen flickered on and off, then on again. Suddenly, another man came into the kitchen. Jeez, I’m never gonna get out of here. The tone of his voice concerned her, he seemed annoyed, maybe even angry.
“What are you doing in here?” she heard him ask.
At least I’m not the only person in the kitchen that’s not supposed to be here.
The other man didn’t answer, he just picked up a rolling pin and hit the guy on the side of the head, hard. The man fell to the floor with a thud. His head lay just outside where she was hidden, she could see through the crack in the door blood on the side of his head, and his eyes wide open and vacant. She swallowed hard, and willed herself not to freak out. She’d need all her composure so she didn’t give herself away. She watched, shocked, as the big man picked up the dead guy like he was a sack of potatoes, and walk outside.
She wasn’t thinking straight. Should she wait, see if he was coming back? Should she run like hell and hope he didn’t see? She did what any good stripper would do. She went to the other side of her cake, bent down, and with all her strength pushed that cake out of the pantry, through the kitchen, and out of the cafeteria. She pulled the hood up on her overcoat and kept it there until she arrived at her destination.
Author picture
MaryAnn Kempher's writing is infused with mystery and romance. She spent her teen years spent living in Reno NV where her first book, Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder is set. The setting for her second book, Forever Doomed, was inspired by her love of the ocean. Her writing influences include favorite authors Agatha Christie, Jane Austen and Janet Evanovich. Her guilty pleasures include any and all sweets, including a good cup of Mocha. She is married with two children.

This is the second book by Kempher, a sequel to MOCHA, MOONLIGHT, AND MURDER. It is not necessary to read the first book, however, to appreciate FOREVER DOOMED. Forever is the name of the cruise ship and Jack is working security; this is how he ends up being the "detective". In addition to the mystery, there is the romantic tension between Jack and the woman he recently broke up, who coincidentally happens to take this cruise. Add a few laughs with wedding hassles and some of the other characters, and this is a fun read. I like Jack and Amy, so I plan on going back and reading the first one in the series, and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
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