Blind Betrayal* Book #3 Defenders of Justice

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Deputy U.S. Marshal Casey Sloane has worked at the St. Louis Marshals office for two years and is given a routine assignment to help transport a reporter to D.C. to testify before a grand jury. Valerie, the reporter, was writing a story about an up-and-coming environmentalist who suddenly disappeared and, she later discovered, whose backers purportedly have ties to a terrorist.

When the seemingly ordinary assignment suddenly takes a shocking turn, Casey is forced to put aside her own feelings about the unexpected reappearance of a man from her past as she and two other Marshals take Valerie on the run. And as it becomes dangerously clear Valerie’s testimony has even bigger implications than they knew, they’ll do whatever it takes to make it out alive.

Net Galley Review : Defender of Justice book #3.  Is the 3rd novel about U.S. Marshals service & perhaps a less known part of federal law enforcement. Casey and another marshal are tasked with guarding and transporting a woman who is to be a witness at a grand jury. The testimony would help give the FBI enough evidence to convict a terrorist with a dangerous cell near St. Louis. The terrorist has undercover operatives everywhere. A routine transporting assignment becomes deadly for Casey.This books has it all excitement,terrorist and yes a little romance a perfect book for any fans of this genre.  

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ARC What are you Afraid Of ? Alexandra Ivy

The newest book in  : The Agency Series

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SHE’S LEARNED ALL ABOUT KILLERS
They aren’t the kind of women anyone misses. Truck-stop hookers, runaways . . . no one would even notice they’d disappeared if the killer didn’t photograph their lifeless bodies, posed in the back of a semi-trailer. Exactly like the infamous Trucker murders. But this isn’t just a copycat. It’s a vendetta.

NOW HE’LL TEACH HER
Carmen Jacobs interviewed the world’s most terrifying serial killers for her bestselling book, The Heart of a Predator. The police might not believe her, but she knows there’s a monster out there, paying homage to other murderers. The only person who can predict where he’ll strike next is Griffin Archer—a reclusive software millionaire with ample reason not to help her.
 
HOW TO DIE . . .
Carmen has charmed her way past Griffin’s defenses before. He didn’t intend to let it happen again. But with a psycho sending her trophies of his kills, he has no choice but to get involved. The clues point to a killer obsessed with Carmen—someone who knows her work, her past, her secrets. Someone who won’t be satisfied until he has made all her deepest fears come true . . .

Praise for Pretend You’re Safe

 “Alexandra Ivy gives readers a nice balance of romance and suspense in her fast-paced, well-plotted novel.”
—Kat Martin, New York Times bestselling author  

 

Net Galley Review – Carmen Jacobs, a well renowned author who’d interviewed the most terrifying serial killers for her book . In the mail she  receives  a package that contains  pictures of The Trucker’s victims.With the police not taking her serious she turns to Griffin for help . But he finds that the killer may have Carmen in his site in the thrilling suspense book. A wonderful book filled with friendship and love and protection from the evil outside .  Lisa 

ARC Covert Games * Christine Feehan

I going to start my Net Galley Reviews with one of my favorite series :

 

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Treason, torture and temptation haunt the GhostWalkers in their most dangerous adventure yet, as Christine Feehan’s #1 New York Times bestselling series hits an explosive new high.

Rescuing an industrial spy from the hands of a criminal mastermind is a suicide mission for the GhostWalkers. And there’s no one more up to the task than Gino Mazza. He’s the perfect killing machine–a man driven by demons so dark and destructive that his blighted soul has given up trying to find solace. But his laser-sharp focus on his target has transformed into something nearing desire.

A treasonous senator dangled top secret GhostWalker data in front of a Chinese crime lord, and he bit. Zara Hightower, one of the world’s leading experts on artificial intelligence, was sent in to psychically wipe the crime lord’s computer network. She succeeded, but at a huge cost. Now she’s the captive of a man who has descended into paranoid madness. Torture and death await her…

But GhostWalkers never leave one of their own in enemy territory. And it’s up to Gino to save Zara, or kill her if it turns out she’s led them into a trap. Either way, heaven or hell won’t stop him…

Net Galley Review: Gino and the crew are ask to rescue Zara by Whitney and there government contact. But Gino knows something more is going on – Zara his and Whitney wants her back. As we go back to the swamp with the team they have another women to protect from Whitney and the Chinese mob boss that wants her. As in the other books it runs true to form – Gino is controlling & alpha : Zara is hurt and brilliant with a  death threat hanging over her head . But not only is Whitney wanting  her back  for her secrets The Chinese mob boss who captured   want her back. Fighting two fronts with time is not on your side makes another exciting story. I would suggest reading these books in order (especially) start when they move to the bayou to get the full experience of this series.  Lisa

 

 

Blind Justice * Blog Tour

Blind Justice
by Nathan Burrows
Genre: Legal Thriller
Gareth Dawson is an innocent man. Not a murderer. His main problem is that
the British justice system doesn’t agree with him.
He might be a reformed thief guilty of many things in his past, but not
murder. In the space of a few short months, he’s gone from being
married to the woman of his dreams to facing a life sentence.
Inside Her Majesty’s Prison Whitemoor, a Category A prison in
Cambridgeshire, Gareth’s got all the time in the world to go over
the events that led to the guilty verdict. The guilty verdict which
cost him everything in the world that he loved.
His dignity. His freedom. His wife.
Gareth is approached by a lawyer, Paul Dewar, who claims to have information
that will vindicate Gareth. But is it enough to set him free? As
threats against Gareth increase on the inside, Paul Dewar’s
challenge, and Gareth’s fight for freedom, begins.
Nathan Burrows is a writer based in Norfolk in the United Kingdom. His debut
novel, Blind Justice, was published in March 2018.
Nathan’s a keen reader as well as a writer. He occasionally runs marathons,
has a Norwich City football club season ticket, and is the proud
part-owner of a Daschund puppy called Bertie.
His current work in progress is tentatively called ‘Meat’, and is a
dark post-Brexit comedy. It’s currently scheduled to be released in
the autumn.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

 

Beyond Danger * Kat Martin

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New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin brings page-turning suspense to a tale of secrets and passions turned deadly . . .
 
Texas mogul Beau Reese is furious. All six feet three obscenely wealthy, good-looking inches of him. His sixty-year-old father, Stewart, a former state senator no less, has impregnated a teenager. Barely able to contain his anger, Beau is in for another surprise. It appears that Stewart has moved an entirely different woman into the house . . .

Beau assumes that stunning Cassidy Jones is his father’s mistress. At least she’s of age. But those concerns take a sudden backseat when he finds Stewart in a pool of blood on the floor of his study—and Cassidy walks in to find Beau with his hand on the murder weapon.

The shocks just keep coming. Someone was following Stewart, and Cassidy is the detective hired to find out who and why. Now she’ll have to find his killer instead. Her gut tells her it wasn’t Beau. And Beau’s instincts tell him it wasn’t Cassidy. Determined to track down the truth, they form an uneasy alliance—one that will bring them closer to each other—closer to danger and beyond . . .

Net Galley book -The Texas Trilogy book 2 in this romantic suspense book. Beau is found with his father body but Cassidy (PI hired by his Dad) doesnt think he committed the murder in this thrilling book of politics,murder & romance. Beau & Cassidy must piece together the clues & find out who is after them in the thrilling book.  Lisa

The Study of Silence

THE STUDY OF SILENCE by Malia Zaidi, Historical Mystery, 448 pp., $18.49 (Paperback) $8.99
(Kindle edition)

 

Title: THE STUDY OF SILENCE

Author: Malia Zaidi

Publisher: Bookbaby

Pages: 448

Genre: Historical Mystery

Lady Evelyn Carlisle has returned home to England, where she is
completing her degree at St. Hugh’s, a women’s college in Oxford. Her
days are spent poring over ancient texts and rushing to tutorials. All
is well until a fateful morning, when her peaceful student life is
turned on its head. Stumbling upon the gruesome killing of someone she
thought she knew, Evelyn is plunged into a murder investigation once
more, much to the chagrin of her friends and family, as well as the
intriguing Detective Lucas Stanton. The dreaming spires of Oxford begin
to appear decidedly less romantic as she gathers clues, and learns far
more than she ever wished to know about the darkness lurking beyond the
polished veneer. Can she solve the crime before the killer strikes once
more, this time to Evelyn’s own detriment?

Order Your Copy!

https://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Suffragette-Diana-Forbes-ebook/dp/B06XG3G2TF

 

 

My
hair is tangled, a loose knot at the nape of my neck, where my head rests
against the cool stone wall. I close my eyes and see it all swimming like a
dream beneath my lids. And him, always him. I open my eyes, still here. Still here. The thought echoes in my
mind as if I have spoken it aloud, and it is bouncing from the uncaring walls
of this chamber.
            Suddenly, from somewhere above and
beyond comes the sound of clanging metal. A door opens and with a screech is
shut again. Closed. Secured. Barred. Steps follow. Slow, reluctant steps. One,
two, three . . . I want to lose myself in the monotony of the rhythm. I grow
used to it, even enjoy it, when the steps suddenly cease once more. Silence.
Then nearby, another metallic cry. A key is turned in a rusty lock. A door is
opened. A door. My door. Steps again. Two this time. Only a small space to
cross. I notice his shoes first. They gleam in the low light. Attached to the
shoes, a man in a dour black suit. I look up at his face, but perceive only
shadow, dark lines. Squinting, I make no effort to get to my feet. There is no
pretending we are equals now. He has no choice, but to crouch to my level. I
have brought him down with me. To me.
            “Do you have anything to
say?”
            His face is close, and I am shocked
by his youth. I had expected gray temples and furrowed brows. He is younger
than I, not by much perhaps, but nonetheless. His eyes meet mine. Can I speak
to him? Should I tell him the truth, my
truth? A sudden bang from a place beyond these walls makes him flinch and he
tears his gaze from mine, only for a moment, but it is decisive.
            His voice is quiet, calm . . . kind? “My child, speak.”
            A warbled laugh escapes my dry
throat. My child. I am no one’s child
any longer. The words are ludicrous coming from this man, this frightened boy
in an adult’s body. He wants to be here nearly as little as I, and fights with
himself not to recoil at the sudden sound erupting from my mouth. I frighten
him. I, a helpless creature sitting at his feet, frighten him. Another choked
laugh.
            “Shall I get you some
water.”
            Water.  I shake my head.
            “Will you not let me hear
you?” I am struck by his earnest expression, nothing like the permanent
mask of stern reprimand, the looks of disgust I have received these past weeks.
Could I tell him? Might he understand? It would not change my fate. But someone
else would know the truth. Before I can think of reasons to stay silent, before
I can begin to understand the consequences, my words pour out. The last words I
will ever speak find compassionate ears. Once spoken, they cannot be unspoken,
and when I complete my tale, my truth, I am empty. There is nothing more and I
am nothing more.
            The light is so bad I cannot tell
whether he has paled at my confession. Our eyes meet in the gloom, glowing
embers. He watches me for another moment, then gets to his feet, brushes his
trousers and walks the few steps back to the door. I hear him rap the thick
wood twice. Then the lock is turned.
            He speaks once more, his words run
through me like flour through a sieve. Nothing sticks. Nothing stays. I am water
and he is oil. The door clatters shut and his steps fade away.
            I am alone.

 

Malia Zaidi is a writer and painter, who grew up in Germany and lives
in the US. An avid reader and traveler, she decided to combine these
passions, and turn her long-time ambition of writing into a reality. The Study of Silence is the third book of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

 

 

 

 

Hidden Truth Series * Book Tour

Convenient Lies
Hidden Truth Book 1
by Robin Patchen
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense
420 pages
Of course, no matter where in the world she was, she could never have
stayed hidden, not as long as he was willing to kill innocent people
until he found her. The question was, had he stopped killing people,
or was she next on his list?”
She married her enemy…
When investigative journalist Reagan McAdams discovers her new husband is
part of an international crime family, she flees Paris with their
newborn and returns to her childhood home in New Hampshire, where
she’ll gather her inheritance before she disappears forever. She’ll
do whatever it takes to protect her son from his criminal father.
He never quit loving her.
Detective
Brady Thomas discovers Rae is back and in trouble, and he plans to
protect her and her son, whether she wants his help or not.
The death toll rises.
But when Rae’s husband starts killing people to smoke her out, she has to
decide what—and who—she’ll have to sacrifice to save her son.
Twisted Lies
Hidden Truth Book 2
398 pages
Marisa peered down the stairs, toward the street, at the sidewalk. Her
sister and her daughter had been there just a moment before. They
should have been staring back up at her, waving, smiling. But they
were gone.”

She thought they’d never find her…

Marisa Vega’s life as an adoptive mom in a tiny Mexican village isn’t
what she’d dreamed while growing up in New York, but as the target
of a man who’s convinced she stole millions from him, Marisa
believes hiding is her only way to stay alive. When her daughter is
snatched and held for ransom, Marisa must discover who really stole
the money in order to rescue her.

He swore he’d never play the hero again.

Months after being kidnapped, tortured, and left with PTSD, Nate Boyle is
ready to live a quiet life in rural New Hampshire. When the source of
his breakout newspaper article—and the woman who haunts his
dreams—begs for help, he gets pulled into a riddle that’s proved
unsolvable for nearly a decade.

Can Nate and Marisa unravel the years-old mystery and bring her daughter
home?

Romance, suspense, and a darling four-year-old girl you’ll fall in love
with.
Generous Lies
Hidden Truth Book 3
390 pages
A pistol pressed against his son’s temple. A dark hand came into
view, then an arm. Then a man came from behind the door and lifted
his finger to his lips.”
He had no idea it was so bad.
Former FBI agent Garrison Kopp suspected his teenage son was in trouble, but
a midnight summons to the ER reveals the drug problem is more
serious than he thought. Desperate to get his son away from negative
influences, he asks a beautiful and kind new friend who owns rental
properties for a place to stay.
She’ll help, as long as she doesn’t have to risk anything.
Vacation homeowner Samantha Messenger is happy to provide Garrison and his son
a lake cabin where they can regroup. She helps him search for a good
rehab facility and tries not to hope for more than friendship. After
what she’s been through, more isn’t an option, no matter what her
heart wants.
Big trouble comes in tiny packages.
Sparks fly between them as Sam and Garrison work together to help the
resistant teen.
But that becomes the least of their problems when a package planted in
Garrison’s car lures enemies to the idyllic cabin on the lake. With
their lives—and love—on the line, can they protect all they hold
dear?
Innocent Lies
Hidden Truth Book 4
“Kelsey didn’t want to reach for Carlos. Didn’t want to willingly walk to
him. But she had to do what she could for Eric. Maybe Carlos would
let her see him one last time. She took Carlos’s hand, swallowed a
sob, and stepped into the house.”

A lost little boy steals his heart.

When Eric finds eight-year-old Daniel alone in the woods, he has no idea
where the boy came from or how he’s survived the wintery New
Hampshire weather. He figures once he hands the boy off to child
services, his part in Daniel’s drama will be over. He couldn’t be
more wrong.

She’ll do anything to keep her son safe.

Kelsey sneaks into Nutfield with a goal and a secret, but when she’s
arrested and sees Eric, her first and only love, all her plans to
expose her enemy fall apart.

The past catches up with them.

Together, Eric and Kelsey fight to protect Daniel, an innocent child caught in
a dangerous game. Can Eric help Kelsey bring down her enemies without
risking his heart…again? Will Kelsey have to walk away from the
only man she’s ever loved…again?
Robin Patchen writes contemporary Christian suspense, romance, and romantic
suspense. Her books are often set in New England, where she grew up.
She creates strong, protective heroes and intelligent, courageous heroines.
Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing
and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time
sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and
beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire
world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about
her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin
to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to
go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she
can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the
power and magic of story.
     Guest Post : from Robin

From Small Seeds, Magic Grows

About this time last year, I had decided the Hidden Truth series would have three books. Convenient Lies, Twisted Lies, and Generous Lies felt like enough lies in the series, so to speak. I was telling my friends that I was ready to start working on something new when one of them said, “But you should write one and title it Innocent Lies.” I loved the title but had no idea what the story should be about.
My writers’ mind got to brainstorming that title, and by the end of the day, I had an image. A little boy alone in the snowy woods. I had no idea why the boy was all alone or what had happened to his parents, but it was the seed. And from that seed grew a story.
I added a mother on the run from her former captor, a hero who’d been waiting a decade for the love of his life to return. I added a villain who was also a victim and another who deserved much worse than I gave him. I researched human trafficking and foster kids in New Hampshire and missing persons and a lot of other weird and random facts that, coupled with all the other weird and random research I’ve done over the years, has probably landed me on a few law enforcement watch lists. A few months and a few hundred pages later, Innocent Lies was born.
Isn’t it funny how that can happen? How one tiny idea can lead to novels, or businesses, or non-profits, or any number of things? How our minds can fill in such huge blanks based on nothing but one compelling image?
I’ve had it happen before. The first book in the series, Convenient Lies, was inspired by a similar picture—a woman in her hometown with an infant. I knew the woman was alone and hiding, but I knew nothing else. Where did the rest of the details come from? The arms dealer, the ex-boyfriend, the former best friend? I don’t know, and I doubt I ever will. Creativity is a mystery I’ll never solve. (If you’d like to sample my writing, you can download Convenient Lies for free here.)
Maybe it’s good I’ll never solve the mystery of creativity. Because there’s nothing like that moment when all the gaps are filled in, when suddenly symbolic elements wave at you from the pages, elements you hadn’t even realized you’d put there. When plotlines come together in ways you never saw coming. Writing, and maybe all creativity, is magic. Sometimes, I like to pretend I’m like Harry Pottery, wielding my wand and controlling all that power. Most of the time I admit I’m just a powerless muggle benefitting from the magic all around.
I’m inspired by the magic in the world, by the amazing Creator who spins it into being, who creates the writers and the readers and all the rest of us so we can enjoy that creation. So that someone like me can take one tiny seed of a suggestion and grow it into a story readers will love

About Innocent Lies:

“Kelsey huddled in the corner, tried to make herself invisible. Outside, she heard a muffled voice, a shout, and the pounding of footsteps across the porch. Then, the unmistakable jingle of keys. The lock turned. The door opened. And her last chance for escape melted like snow.”

–Robin Patchen, award winning author of Finding Amanda and Convenient Lies.

A lost little boy steals his heart.

When Eric finds eight-year-old Daniel alone in the woods, he has no idea where the boy came from or how he’s survived the wintery New Hampshire weather. He figures once he hands the boy off to child services, his part in Daniel’s drama will be over. He couldn’t be more wrong.

She’ll do anything to keep her son safe.

Kelsey sneaks into Nutfield with a goal and a secret, but when she’s arrested and sees Eric, her first and only love, all her plans to expose her enemy fall apart.

The past catches up with them.

Together, Eric and Kelsey fight to protect Daniel, an innocent child caught in a dangerous game. Can Eric help Kelsey bring down her enemies without risking his heart…again? Will Kelsey have to walk away from the only man she’s ever loved…again?

Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

 

Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries

Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries Book 1
by Amy Metz
Genre: Cozy Mystery
253 pages
When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple
Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old
murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern
speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright,
and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle.
A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of
the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the
truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a
new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready.
Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction
Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries Book 2
299 pages
Goose Pimple Junction is just recovering from a kidnapping and a murder,
its first major crimes in years, when trouble begins anew. Life is
turned upside down in the quirky little southern town with the
arrival of several shifty hooligans: A philandering husband intent on
getting his wife back, another murderer loose in town, a stalker
intent on frightening Martha Maye, and a thief who’s stealing the
town blind of their pumpkins, pies, and peace. Together, they’re
scaring the living daylights out of the residents and keeping the new
police chief busier than a set of jumper cables at a redneck picnic.
Suddenly, he has his hands full trying to apprehend a killer, stop a
stalker, and fight his feelings for the damsel in distress.

Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction
Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries Book 3
127 pages
This is not your average Southern town. With a hint of mystery and a lot
of laughs, you’ll catch a glimpse of everyday life in Goose Pimple
Junction in this short story compilation. Five short stories, one
novella, and three recipes will give you more of the unique charm of
Goose Pimple Junction, make you laugh, and have your mouth watering.
If you want a feel-good read, you’ve come to the right place. Grab
some sweet tea and escape to Goose Pimple Junction.

Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction
Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries Book 4
246 pages
Sweet Southern belle Caledonia Culpepper and hit woman in training Wynona
Baxter come up against crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenage
hoodlum . . . it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you
look in Goose Pimple Junction. When their paths cross, they prove
there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama
always said there’d be days like this . . .
Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She
is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not
writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Pinterest, Amy can usually
be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass
of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky and
loves a good Southern phrase.
Guest Post : 

One word Interview

  1. Where is your cell phone? Pocket.
  2. Your hair? Unmanageable.
  3. Your dad? Alabama.
  4. Your other half? Tom.
  5. Your favorite food? Donuts.
  6. Your dream last night? None.
  7. Your favorite drink? Sweet tea.
  8. Fear? Spiders.
  9. Favorite shoes? Flats.
  10. Favorite way to relax? Needlepoint.
  11. Your mood? Happy.
  12. Your home away from home? Stockbridge.
  13. Where were you last night? Home.
  14. Something that you aren’t? Mean.
  15. Muffins? Lemon.
  16. Wish list item? Health.
  17. Where you grew up? Louisville.
  18. Last thing you did? Lunch.
  19. What are wearing now? Jeans.
  20. Your TV? Netflix.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

 

Peanut Butter Fudge Murder

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*This is Book 30 in the Donut Hole Cozy Mystery Series**

When Heather Shepherd attends a gingerbread workshop on a Sunday afternoon, the last thing she expects to stumble upon is a dead body and yet another murder mystery.

But that’s exactly what happens – Heather is cast into another case, and to make matters worse, the victim is a well-loved businesswoman without family or any close friends. Heather has to put on her thinking cap for this one, but she won’t let a case slip through her fingers. She sets off on yet another sleuthin’ journey, armed with a box of Peanut Butter Fudge donuts, a little help from her ambitious bestie and lot of determination, she snoops her way through Hillside. But suspects and physical evidence are few and far in between in this case.

Heather’s only Christmas wish this year, is to bring another Hillside murderer to justice. If only she can do it before the killer strikes again.

A River of Silence * Release Blitz

Mystery
Date Published: January 24, 2018
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
 
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When Detective Winston Radhauser is awakened by a call from dispatch at 12:45a.m., it can mean only one thing—something terrible awaits him. He races to the Pine Street address. In the kitchen, Caleb Bryce, nearly deaf from a childhood accident, is frantically giving CPR to 19-month-old Skyler Sterling. Less than an hour later, Skyler is dead.
The ME calls it a murder and the entire town of Ashland, Oregon is outraged. Someone must be held accountable. The police captain is under a lot of pressure and anxious to make an arrest. Despite Radhauser’s doubts about Bryce’s guilt, he is arrested and charged with first degree murder. Neither Radhauser nor Bryce’s young public defender believe he is guilty. Winston Radhauser will fight for justice, even if it means losing his job.
 

 

Excerpt
Prologue
1988
In only eleven minutes, Detective Winston Radhauser’s world would flip on its axis and a permanent line would be drawn—forever dividing his life into before and after. He drove toward the Pima County Sheriff’s office in Catalina, a small town in the Sonoran Desert just twelve miles north of Tucson. Through the CD speakers, Alabama sang You’ve Got the Touch. He hummed along.
He was working a domestic violence case with Officer Alison Finney, his partner for nearly seven years. They’d made the arrest—their collar was sleeping off a binge in the back of the squad car. It was just after 10 p.m. As always, Finney wore spider earrings—tonight’s selection was a pair of black widows he hadn’t seen before.
“You know, Finn, you’d have better luck with men if you wore sunflowers in your earlobes.”
She laughed. “Any guy intimidated by a couple 14-carat web spinners isn’t man enough for me.”
He never missed an opportunity to tease her. “Good thing you like being single.”
The radio released some static.
Radhauser turned off the CD.
Dispatch announced an automobile accident on Interstate 10 near the Orange Grove Road exit. Radhauser and Finney were too far east to respond.
Her mobile phone rang. She answered, listened for a few seconds. “Copy that. I’ll get him there.” Finney hung up, then placed the phone back into the charger mounted beneath the dashboard.
“Copy what?” he said. “Get who where?”
She eyed him. “Pull over. I need to drive now.”
His grip on the steering wheel tightened. “What the hell for?”
Finney turned on the flashing lights. “Trust me and do what I ask.”
The unusual snap in her voice raised a bubble of anxiety in his chest. He pulled over and parked the patrol car on the shoulder of Sunrise Road.
She slipped out of the passenger seat and stood by the door waiting for him.
He jogged around the back of the cruiser.
Finney pushed him into the passenger seat. As if he were a child, she ordered him to fasten his seatbelt, then closed the car door and headed around the vehicle to get behind the wheel.
“Are you planning to tell me what’s going on?” he asked once she’d settled into the driver’s seat.
She opened her mouth, then closed it. Her unblinking eyes never wavered from his. “Your wife and son have been taken by ambulance to Tucson Medical Center.”
The bubble of anxiety inside him burst. “What happened? Are they all right?”
Finney turned on the siren, flipped a U-turn, then raced toward the hospital on the corner of Craycroft and Grant. “I don’t know any details.”
TMC was a designated Trauma 1 Center and most serious accident victims were taken there. That realization both comforted and terrified him. “Didn’t they say the accident happened near the Orange Grove exit?”
“I know what you’re thinking. It must be bad or they’d be taken to the closest hospital and that would be Northwest.” She stared at him with the look of a woman who knew him almost as well as Laura did. “Don’t imagine the worst. They may not have been in a car accident. Didn’t you tell me Lucas had an equestrian meet?”
Laura had driven their son to a competition in south Tucson. Maybe Lucas got thrown. He imagined the horse rearing, his son’s lanky body sliding off the saddle and landing with a thump on the arena floor. Thank God for sawdust. Laura must have ridden in the ambulance with him.
But Orange Grove was the exit Laura would have taken on her drive home. The meet ended at 9:00 p.m. Lucas always stayed to unsaddle the horse, wipe the gelding down, and help Coach Thomas load him into his trailer. About a half hour job. That would put his family near the Orange Grove exit around ten.
The moon slipped behind a cloud and the sudden darkness seemed alive and a little menacing as it pressed against the car windows.
Less than ten minutes later, Finney pulled into the ER entrance and parked in the lot. “I’m coming with you,” she said.
He shot her a you-know-better look, then glanced toward the back seat where their collar was snoring against the door, his mouth open and saliva dribbling down his chin. It was against policy to leave an unguarded suspect in the car.
“I don’t give a damn about policy,” she said.
“What if he wakes up, hitches a ride home and takes out his wife and kids? Put him in the drunk tank. I’ll call you as soon as I know anything.” He ran across the parking lot. The ER doors opened automatically and he didn’t stop running until he reached the desk. “I’m Winston Radhauser. My wife and son were brought in by ambulance.”
The young nurse’s face paled and her gaze moved from his eyes to somewhere over his head.
With the change in her expression, his hope dropped into his shoes. He looked behind her down a short corridor where a set of swinging doors blocked any further view. “Where are they?”
It was one of those moments he would remember for a lifetime, where everything happened in slow motion.
She told him to wait while she found a doctor to talk to him, and nodded toward one of the vinyl chairs that lined the waiting room walls.
He sat. Tried to give himself an attitude adjustment. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as he thought. Laura or Lucas could be in surgery and the nurse, obviously just out of nursing school, didn’t know how to tell him.
He stood.
Paced.
Sat again. The hospital might have a policy where only a physician could relate a patient’s condition to his family.
His heart worked overtime, pumping and pounding.
When he looked up, a young woman in a lab coat with a stethoscope around her neck stood in front of him. She had pale skin and was thin as a sapling, her light brown hair tied back with a yellow rubber band. Her eyes echoed the color of a Tucson sky with storm clouds brewing. “Are you Mr. Radhauser?”
He nodded.
“Please come with me.”
He expected to be taken to his wife and son, but instead she led him into a small room about eight feet square. It had a round table with a clear glass vase of red tulips in the center, and two chairs. Though she didn’t look old enough to have graduated from medical school, she introduced herself as Dr. Silvia Waterford, an ER physician.
They sat.
“Tell me what happened to my wife and son.”
“I’m so sorry,” she said. “It was an automobile accident on Interstate 10.”
The thread of hope he held started to unravel. “Are Laura and Lucas all right? I want to see them.”
Her throat rippled as she swallowed. “There is no easy way to say this, Mr. Radhauser. I’m so sorry for your loss. But there was nothing we could do for them.”
All at once the scene bleached out. The tulips faded to gray as if a giant flashbulb had gone off in his face. The doctor was rimmed in white light. He stared at her in disbelief for a moment, praying for a mistake, a miracle, anything except what he just heard. “What do you mean there was nothing you could do? This is a Level 1 Trauma Center, isn’t it? One of the best in the state.”
“Yes. But unfortunately, medical science has its limits and we can’t save everyone. Your wife and son were both dead on arrival.”
His body crumpled in on itself, folding over like paper, all the air forced from his chest. This was his fault. Laura asked him to take the night off and go with them. Radhauser would have avoided the freeway and driven the back way home from the fairgrounds. And everything would have ended differently.
He looked up at Dr. Waterford. What was he demanding of her? Even the best trauma center in the world couldn’t bring back the dead.
There was sadness in her eyes. “I’m sure it’s not any comfort, but we think they died on impact.”
He hung his head. “Comfort,” he said. Even the word seemed horrific and out of place here. Your wife and son were both dead on arrival. Nine words that changed his life in the most drastic way he had ever imagined.
“May I call someone for you? We have clergy on staff if you’d like to talk with someone.”
A long moment passed before he raised his head and took in a series of deep breaths, trying to collect himself enough to speak. “No clergy, unless they can bring my family back. Just tell me where my wife and son are.” His voice sounded different, deeper—not the same man who went to work that evening.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “But when deaths occur in the ER, we have to move them down to the morgue.”
Radhauser stood. Beneath his anguish, a festering anger simmered. Laura was a good driver. He was willing to bet she wasn’t at fault. More than anything now, he needed someone aside from himself to blame.
Outside, a siren wailed, then came to an abrupt stop. The sound panicked Radhauser as he headed for the elevator, waited for the door to open, then got inside. He pushed the button to the basement floor. He’d visited this hospital morgue once before to identify a fellow police officer shot in a robbery arrest gone bad. The door opened and he lumbered down the empty hallway.
As he neared the stainless steel door to the morgue, a tall, dark-haired man in a suit exited. At first Radhauser thought he was a hospital administrator. The man cleared his throat, flipped open a leather case and showed his badge. “I’m Sergeant Dunlop with the Tucson Police Department. Are you Mr. Radhauser?”
“Detective Radhauser. Pima County Sheriff’s Department.”
Dunlop had a handshake Radhauser felt in every bone in his right hand. “I’m so sorry for your loss, Detective.”
“Are you investigating the accident involving my wife and son?” Radhauser looked him over. Dunlop wore a pin-striped brown suit with a yellow shirt and a solid brown tie—the conservative uniform of a newly-promoted sergeant. The air around them smelled like antiseptic and the industrial solvent used to wash floors. “Have you determined who was at fault?”
Dunlop hesitated for an instant. “Yes, I’m the investigating officer. From the eyewitness reports, your wife was not to blame. A Dodge pickup was headed south in the northbound lane of Interstate 10 near the Orange Grove exit. No lights. He hit her head-on.”
Radhauser cringed. The image cut deep. “Was he drunk?”
“I need to wait for the blood alcohol test results to come back.”
The anger building inside Radhauser got closer to the surface every second. Silence hung between them like glass. He shattered it. “Don’t give me that bullshit. You were on the scene. What did you see? What did the breathalyzer read?”
Dunlop’s silence told Radhauser everything he needed to know. “Did the bastard die at least?”
“He was miraculously uninjured. But his twin boys weren’t so lucky.” Dunlop’s voice turned flat. “They didn’t make it.” He winced, and a tide of something bitter and hopeless washed over his face. “The idiot let them ride in the pickup bed. Five fucking years old.”
“What’s the idiot’s name?”
“You don’t need to know that right now.”
Biting his lip, Radhauser fought against the surge of rage threatening to flood over him. “Who are you to tell me what I need to know? It’s not your wife and kid in there. Besides, I can easily access the information.”
Dunlop handed him a card. “I know you can. But you have something more important to do right now. We can talk tomorrow.” He draped his arm over Radhauser’s shoulder the way a brother or a friend might do.
The touch opened a hole in Radhauser’s chest.
“Say goodbye to your wife and son,” Dunlop said, then turned and walked away.
In the morgue, after Radhauser introduced himself, a male attendant pulled back the sheet covering their faces. There was no mistake.
“Do you mind if I sit here for a while?” Radhauser asked.
“No problem,” the attendant said. “Stay as long as you want.” He went back to a small alcove where he entered data into a computer. The morgue smelled like the hallway had, disinfectant and cleaning solution, with an added hint of formaldehyde.
Radhauser sat between the stainless steel gurneys that held Laura and Lucas. Of all the possible scenarios Radhauser imagined, none ended like this.
Across the room, two small body bags lay, side by side, on a wider gurney. The twin sons of the man who killed his family.
The clock on the morgue wall kept ticking and when Radhauser finally looked up at it, four hours had passed. He tried, but couldn’t understand how Laura and Lucas could be in the world one minute and gone the next. How could he give them up? It was as if a big piece of him had been cut out. And he didn’t know how to go on living without his heart.
###
For an entire year afterwards, Radhauser operated in a daze. He spent the late evening hours playing For the Good Times on Laura’s old upright piano. It was the first song they ever slow danced to and over their fourteen years together, it became their own.
He played it again and again. The neighbors complained, but he couldn’t stop. It was the only way he could remember the apricot scent of her skin and how it felt to hold her in his arms on the dance floor.
Night after night, he played until he finally collapsed into a fitful sleep, his head resting on the keyboard. The simple acts of waking up, showering, making coffee, and heading to work became a cruel pretense acted out in the cavernous absence of his wife and son.
 
About the Author

Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She has been writing poems and short stories since she could hold a pencil and was so in love with writing that she was a creative writing major in college.


Prior to an early retirement which enabled her to write full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. It was there she met her husband, Andreas, one of the deans in the University of Arizona’s Medical School. About five years after their marriage, they left Tucson to pursue their dreams in 1991–purchasing a 35-acres horse ranch in the Williams Valley in Oregon. They spent a decade there. Andy road, trained and bred Arabian horses and coached a high school equestrian team, while Susan got serious about her writing career. 
Through the writing process, Susan has learned that she must be obsessed with the reinvention of self, of finding a way back to something lost, and the process of forgiveness and redemption. These are the recurrent themes in her work.
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