Loving Again Series

LOVING AGAIN SERIES BLOG TOUR

 

January 25, 2019 – A World Apart

February 22, 2019 – A New Life

March 22, 2019 – A Broken Promise

 

NEW RELEASE

Book Title: A New Life (Loving Again Series, Book 2)

Author: Mel Gough

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Black Jazz Design

Genre/s: Contemporary romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 49,000 words/188 pages

Release Date: February 22, 2019

Add on Goodreads

 

Blurb

New apartment, new job, new love – Ben and Donnie’s life in Atlanta is everything they dared to hope for. And when Zac, a baby in need of a home, comes to live with them, their family is complete.

But caring for a little one is hard work, and Donnie’s fragile health soon suffers. And then certain criminal elements from Donnie’s past turn up again. Ben and Donnie fight hard to preserve their little piece of heaven, but the destructive forces are determined to pull their happiness to pieces.

Can the two men prevail, or will they lose their baby son and everything they’ve fought for?

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal link

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Excerpt – Chapter 1

A drowsy post-lunch hush hung over the large, comfortable room. Small clusters of kids sat around low tables, drawing pictures or building models with brightly-colored Legos. Late fall sunlight dappled little faces and danced over the playful wall murals the community center volunteers kept adding to, whenever someone with a smidgen of artistic talent joined the team.

Donnie glanced through the glass doors into the courtyard. It was a beautiful day, mild for so late in the year. He planned to go outside with the kids for some sandbox playtime soon. He wondered if he could sneak into the staffroom and put the coffeemaker on for an afternoon cup before that, but just then, a small, dark-haired girl at a table near the back looked up from her drawing. “Donnie, can you help me?” she called in a stage whisper that made Donnie smile.

“Sure, Padma.” He wended his way through the other tables and kneeled next to the girl’s child-sized chair. “What’re we doing?”

She held out an orange crayon for him. “Can you draw a lion?”

Donnie glanced down at her paper. “Course. Where d’you want him?”

“There.” Padma pointed at a gray box with bars across the front. “Into the lion cage.”

The girl had drawn a zoo. There were cages for the animals, and enclosures with green grass and landscaping. A big red house had a stick figure outside. Donnie pointed at it. “Who’s that?”

Padma said proudly, “That’s the zookeeper.”

“But where are the animals?” Donnie asked. “Did they all run away?”

Padma shook her head and gave a tragic sigh. “I can’t draw animals.” Her big, dark eyes shone. “Can you do it for me?” she wheedled.

“All right, let’s see.” Donnie settled down on his haunches and pointed at a patch of gray and blue on the paper. “What’s that?”

“That’s the Arctic enclosure, where the penguins go, and the polar bear,” Padma said.

Donnie nodded, keeping his expression serious. This would take a while, but he didn’t mind. “Makes sense. Right, lion first.”

They had drawn the lion and four penguins, and were just getting started on a zebra, when Arthur came into the daycare. Arthur was the community center’s director, a retired high school teacher who had come from England to Atlanta with his wife almost forty years ago. After Bess’s death, Arthur had decided to stay. Donnie couldn’t imagine the center, and his own life, without the old man.

Arthur was accompanied by a young woman Donnie had never seen before. Arthur looked around, and when he spotted Donnie, he and the woman started to make their way to him and Padma. The woman carried a baby in her arms. They stopped in front of Padma’s table. Arthur leaned down to admire Padma’s drawing. “That’s a very nice zoo,” he said kindly. “Well done!”

“Donnie did the animals,” the girl informed him.

“Well, he did a jolly good job, too,” Arthur said, nodding.

Donnie smiled gratefully. Arthur was good with people, and he always took time with the kids, even though running the community center kept him busy. He treated the children as if they mattered as much as the adults, and Donnie tried his best to emulate him.

Arthur addressed Padma again. “I need to borrow Donnie for a little while, is that okay?”

The girl nodded, pleased to be asked for permission.

Donnie got up, shaking the pins and needles from his legs. He loved being with the kids, but maybe he was getting too old to crouch on the floor so much.

The woman by Arthur’s side gave Donnie a quick, nervous smile, and Arthur said, “Donnie, this is Celia.” He indicated the baby. “And this is her son Zac.”

Donnie gave Celia a nod and a smile. Small-boned and no taller than five-two, she seemed to be barely twenty. Donnie had worked at the center for long enough to know that her slenderness and pallor were due to drug abuse. But her eyes were clear, and she seemed alert. She clutched her child to her like a shield. The little boy watched Donnie with big brown eyes for a moment and gave a happy chuckle. Donnie estimated her son to be about six months old.

“Celia has a new job,” Arthur explained. “She’s starting at JFK High tomorrow, with the school lunch team. Zac will be with us when she’s at work.” Arthur took hold of Zac’s foot and jiggled it. The baby grinned at him with toothless gums.

“Thanks, Arthur,” Celia said in a quiet, musical voice. “I’m so grateful. This’ll work out, I promise.”

“Of course it will, my dear,” Arthur said.

So Celia was another one of Arthur’s foundlings. Whenever the old man wasn’t at the center, keeping an eye on things and leading the AA meetings, he walked the streets of downtown Atlanta, talking to homeless young people, junkies and anyone looking as if they might be in need of a square meal and a bed. He would find them a shelter place and then, once they were willing and able, a spot in a detox program or a job, depending on their wishes. Arthur had the biggest heart of anyone Donnie had ever met. He had saved Donnie’s life in more ways than one, and Donnie would be forever grateful.

“Now, then,” Arthur said, turning to Donnie. “Can you show Celia around the daycare? And explain to her about the medication protocol, too. Zac’s positive.”

The protocol held details of all the medication and healthcare needs of the kids at the center. The daycare had been established as a safe place for the children of drug users, rough sleepers and low-income single mothers, and many kids brought their very specific challenges. Several were HIV positive, or suffered from developmental problems related to fetal alcohol syndrome, or showed severe signs of ADHD. No child was ever refused a place, if they had room.

“Sure thing,” Donnie said, and beckoned to Celia. “C’mon, I’ll show you the place.”

“Thanks, Donnie, I appreciate it,” Arthur said. “I’ll leave you to it.” He nodded at Celia, patted Padma on the head, then left.

Donnie showed them around the large main space first. He pointed out the play areas, the row of cots where the smaller kids and the toddlers slept after lunch, and the outside yard with its playsets and swings. He introduced the other volunteers by name, and everyone exclaimed over Zac, who smiled at everyone and babbled away happily.

Only when they went into the quiet staff room and stopped before the medicine cabinet did the little boy begin to fuss. He seemed to miss the attention from the other volunteers already. Donnie held out a finger. Zac took it and put it into his mouth. A warm feeling flooded Donnie as the tiny, wet mouth closed around his knuckle. “He’s a cutie, all right,” he said to Celia.

“He’s my heart,” she said very quietly, more to herself. “I have to make it, for him. He needs a better life than what I can give him right now. The shelter…well…”

She wouldn’t meet Donnie’s eyes, and her face crumpled as if she might start crying. Donnie felt uneasy. He didn’t have a lot of experience with women, or people he didn’t know well. He had no problem relating to kids, but adults were a different matter. He would’ve liked to say something nice, but nothing appropriate came to mind.

“Err, right…this is where we store the meds,” he said, hoping Celia would be okay. He pointed to the locked cabinet. “I’ll add Zac onto the protocol. When you bring him in tomorrow, bring all his meds along, all right? I’ll help you figure out which ones we need to keep here. Then I’ll give you a receipt. At the pharmacy down the street they’ll give you extra refills with that.” That arrangement was another of Arthur’s triumphs. He was amazing at finding donors for the center children’s particular needs.

Celia nodded, back in control. “Thanks, Donnie. You and Arthur, you’re real nice. Do you,” she hesitated. “Do you get a lot of kids with HIV?”

“We got a couple at the moment,” Donnie said. He was about to tell Celia not to worry, that the volunteers were all trained to handle kids with special health needs, and that he was positive himself. But Arthur stuck his head through the door.

“Celia, the AA meeting’s about to start. Do you want to come upstairs and attend?” He nodded at Zac in her arms. “You can leave the little guy with Donnie for an hour. Like a trial run?”

Celia glanced up at Donnie, uncertain. “That okay with you?”

“Course,” Donnie said. “Me and Zac, we’ll get to know each other, and he can meet some new friends, too.”

“Okay,” Celia said, still hesitant. But then she squared her shoulders and handed Zac to Donnie. “He’s had his lunch, he shouldn’t need anything, really. Oh, except this…” She dug in her bag for a moment and pulled out a purple stuffed dinosaur toy. “It’s his favorite. If he gets grizzly, that’ll calm him right down.” She also pulled out a small baby bottle with water and handed that to Donnie, together with the toy.

Donnie held the dinosaur out to Zac, who grinned happily and put the toy’s head into his mouth right away.

“He sure is precious,” Arthur said, smiling.

Donnie nodded. “Yeah, he is.”

Arthur beckoned to Celia. “Let’s go up. Zac’s in safe hands.” Celia took one last, nervous glance at the baby, then let Arthur lead her away.

Donnie watched Zac’s expression as his mom disappeared from sight. The little guy seemed unperturbed, and looked around with interest. It was a nice feeling, holding him. Donnie liked babies. The daycare didn’t often have the very small ones, and Zac was cute. Donnie stroked his back. “D’you wanna meet your new friends, huh?”

He walked back into the main room. One of the volunteers, a bright, bubbly woman called Sonia, was gathering the kids for story time. They clustered around her chair on the floor, fidgeting and nudging each other. Donnie sat in a threadbare armchair to one side. Some of the kids observed Zac with curiosity, but it was Padma again who spoke up. “Who’s that, Donnie?”

Donnie turned his upper body, so Zac could see the children. “This is Zac, everyone. Say hello!”

Many of the kids called, “Hello Zac!”, a few waved, and one of the older girls said, “Aww, he’s so cute!”

Zac grinned at them for a moment, but then twisted in Donnie’s arms and, suddenly shy, buried his face against Donnie’s shoulder. Donnie rocked him, and stroked his soft curls. He could smell baby powder. The little body relaxed.

“All right, everyone,” Sonia called, and the children’s attention returned to her. “Who wants to hear the story of Toothless the dragon?”

Donnie settled down to listen. Zac had snuggled up against his shoulder and seemed very content there, sucking on his purple dinosaur.

It was peaceful, sitting in the sunlit room and listening to Sonia’s cheerful voice as she read the story. When Arthur and Celia returned after the AA meeting, Donnie was amazed to find that an hour had passed. He found it hard to let Zac go, and had to remind himself that it was a very short separation. The little guy would be back the next day, and every day after that.

 

About the Author

Mel was born in Germany, where she spent the first twenty-six years of her life (with a one-year stint in Los Angeles). She has always been fascinated by cultures and human interaction, and got a Masters in Social Anthropology. After finishing university she moved to London, where she has now lived for ten years.

If you were to ask her parents what Mel enjoyed the most since the age of six, they would undoubtedly say “Reading!” She would take fifteen books on a three-week beach holiday, and then read all her mom’s books once she’d devoured her own midway through week two.

Back home in her mom’s attic there’s a box full of journals with stories Mel wrote when she was in her early teens. None of the stories are finished, or any good. She has told herself bedtime stories as far back as she can remember.

In her day job, Mel works as PA and office manager. No other city is quite like London, and Mel loves her city. The hustle and bustle still amaze and thrill her even after all these years. When not reading, writing or going to the theater, Mel spends her time with her long-time boyfriend, discussing science or poking fun at each other.

 

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Newsletter

 

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE FOR

A NEW LIFE

 

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Advertisements

Twisted Love

Title: Twisted Love
Author: R. Linda
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Editor: Spell Bound Editing Services
Cover Designer: Pink Ink Designs
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb:
Running.
It’s what I do. What I’ve always done.
For fitness. For fun.
And now for fear.
He took me. Trapped me. Destroyed me.
Broke me down, little by little.
His captive.
His slave.
His pet.
But…something unleashes.
Something forbidden. The passion. The pleasure.
It’s wrong. Unforgiving, and I should do what I do.
Run like Hell.
From this Twisted Love.

Buy Link:

R. Linda drinks wine and writes books.
A coffee addicted, tattoo enthusiastic fangirl with a slight obsession for a particular British boy band and solo artist, she is a writer of Contemporary YA/NA Romance and Suspense, sometimes dabbling in Paranormal as well.
Renee lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two sons. When not writing she can often be found reading books to her children and cuddling up with them on the couch to watch their favourite movies.
Author Links:
Get up close and personal with R.Linda, as well as sneak peeks, awesome giveaways and exclusive content in her reader groups on:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/697362-read-between-the-wines

Buy Link:

I didn’t even realise that I had reached for him, until Hendrix flinched at my touch. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay.” He shook his head.
“Do you want me to stop?” I asked as I touched the small round cigarette burns.
“No.”
There were hundreds of them, dotting his. I traced my fingers over each one, feeling his pain. My heart clenched.
Hendrix’s breathing increased and I wondered if I was pushing him too far, but he still didn’t stop me.
My hand drifted down to a large triangular scar on his lower back. I traced the slightly curved edges and winced in pain as I thought about what could have caused such a bad scar.
“What did he do to you?” I whispered so soft I wasn’t sure Hendrix heard.
“Hot iron. My shirt was wrinkled and I looked like a slob.”
“Oh, Hendrix.”
“I was eleven.”
If it were possible for my heart to break any more, it did, right then.
Shattered.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as images of an eleven-year-old Hendrix being held down by Ray flashed through my mind.
“I’m so sorry,” I whispered into his back, wrapping my arms around his waist until they came to rest on his stomach. His hands found mine, covering them completely. His body trembled, and I had no idea how to comfort him. How to take away the pain, torment, torture.
I pressed my lips to a scar on his shoulder and he tensed, tightened his fingers around mine. I wanted to make him feel better, make him forget the pain of his past for just a little while.
Throwing caution to the wind, I turned him to face me.
“Lucy.” His voice was low, gravelly. “Stop.”
“No.” I cupped his cheek with my hand and pressed my lips together in a small smile. “Kiss me.”
He froze. Conflict warred in his eyes as he lowered his gaze and dragged it leisurely over my body.
I just wanted a moment for us to both forget. For Hendrix to lose himself in me and forget his past. I wanted to forget where I was, forget that my life was hell. I wanted to feel something other than hatred, and Hendrix’s kisses and fingers on my skin always sparked something in me; a fire, a desire that I constantly had to extinguish. But right then, maybe it was the fact he was trying so hard to be noble and do the right thing, I just wanted to give into the flames and burn with him.
As if following my train of thought, Hendrix’s eyes flashed to life, a low growl erupted from his throat and he slammed his mouth down on mine. My hands were in his hair, my lips moulded to his, a small whimper escaped. And I really didn’t know if it was me or him. Or if it was out of pleasure, comfort, or fear. It didn’t matter. It just was.
His hands cupped my face as he stepped back. Breathing hard, he closed his eyes and rested his forehead against mine. “Can I tell you something?” he whispered against my lips.
“Yes.”
“I’m scared, Lucy. I’m scared I can’t fix this.” His voice was full of pain, anguish.
“Me too.” I pressed myself closer to him, needing the comfort and needing to comfort him.
“I won’t let him touch you, Lucy. At all. He’ll have to kill me first, okay? I promise you, you will be safe.”
I kissed him again.
Gave in to the flames

Outliers

Title: The Outliers Saga
Author: Kate L Mary
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian
Publisher: Twisted Press
Editor: Lori Whitwam
Publication Date: February 22nd, 2019
Blurb:
“Fear is normal, Indra, it is what you do with that fear that determines if you are strong or weak.”
One set, three books! Get the entire emotionally gripping and action-packed Outliers Saga in one set!
Book One, Outliers, was a first place Winner in the 2018 Kindle Books Awards for Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction
Two worlds collide when Indra, a lowly Outlier, and Asa, a Fortis guard working in Sovereign city, embark on a friendship that defies everything their world is built around. With vile characters, brutal conditions, and vicious creatures, the Outliers Saga will take readers on an unforgettable journey. Follow Asa and Indra as they fight for justice in a brutal world while facing impossible choices that will test their limits and show them what sacrifice, forgiveness, and love really means.
Buy Link:
Kate L. Mary is an award-winning author of Adult, New Adult, and Young Adult fiction, ranging from Post-apocalyptic tales of the undead to Speculative Fiction and Contemporary Romance! Her YA book, When We Were Human, was a 2015 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards Silver Medal winner for Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fiction, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal winner for Young Adult Science Fiction. Her book, Outliers, was a Top 10 Finalist in the 2018 Author Academy Awards for Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction, and a First Place Winner in the 2018 Kindle Book Awards for Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction.
Author Links:
Buy Link:

Depraved

 
 
Presents : New Release
 
Depraved
by Eva Charles
 
AMAZON
US | UK | CA | AU
 
Genre: Dark Romance / Romantic Suspense
Series: The Devil’s Duet; Book 1
 
GOODREADS
 
 
I’m J.D. Wilder, and it takes a lot to shame me, but we’re about to see where you draw the line.
 
Gabrielle Duval once belonged to me. And like it or not, she’ll be mine again. In a world where money, power and corruption rule, I’m prepared to do whatever it takes.
 
Although nothing with that woman is ever easy.
 
But believe me when I tell you, I’ll enjoy every minute of the fight.
 
 
Cover Design: Letitia Hasser, RBA Designs
Cover Photography: Wander Aguiar
Cover Model: Zack Salaun
 



Follow the Author
 
 
About the Author
 
A confirmed city-girl, Eva moved to rural Western Massachusetts in 2014. She found herself living in the woods with no job, no friends (unless you count the turkey, deer, and coyote roaming the backyard), and no children underfoot, wondering what on earth she had been thinking. But as it turned out, it was the perfect setting to take all those yarns spinning in her head and weave them into steamy love stories.
 
A romantic at heart, Eva looks forward to date night all week. The perfect evening includes well-crafted cocktails, a fabulous perfume, Cherry Garcia ice cream, and her husband, of course. If you add good friends, live jazz, and impossible shoes, she will follow you anywhere.
 
Eva holds a BA from Boston College, and a JD from a Washington College of Law. She spent a career working in domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and civil rights. Aspects of this work often find their way into her books.
 
When she’s not writing sexy stories, trying to squeeze information out of her tight-lipped sons, or playing with the two cutest dogs you’ve ever seen, Eva’s creating chapters in her own love story.
 
 
Hosted by
 
RRR Promotion
 
Read Review Repeat

His Fake Temptation

99c BOOK BLAST

Book Title: His Fake Temptation

Author: B. Blake

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Genre/s: Gay Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 50,000 words/183 pages

Add on Goodreads

 

Blurb

Eric, my most cocky student, loves to flirt and thinks that every man wants him.

Not me.

I’m his professor, a widow and most importantly of all, a single dad. Besides, I’ve never been attracted to men. I’ve only ever dated women. I even married one. So, why does Eric think that he has a chance with the likes of me?

Everything about Eric is so exasperating. He wears clothes too tight and does sultry things with his lips — things that keep me awake at night. He offered me an opportunity to be my fake boyfriend. But, the more time we spent together…things started to change.

No more, was I the confident professor, I became weak at the knees as I realized that I didn’t want us to be fake, I wanted us to be something more.

His Fake Temptation is a student-teacher romance. It is a standalone gay romance about an older man and his student who are complete opposites, but when it comes to matters of the heart, they become a perfect match.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

and for 99c for a limited time

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Amazon AU

 

Excerpt

“What?”

It almost felt as if time stood still as soon as I heard the word escape from my lips.

Focus.

I was in the middle of class, but I was hardly paying attention. There was just one problem, I was supposed to be teaching not. Not a nerdy student as I was a few decades ago looking up at my professor as if he was Einstein and I could learn everything about him. He was before my time and I wondered for a split second if I’d ever been so inspirational to any of my students that they felt that way about me.

Fuck it!

I was here to teach, and I wasn’t here to build a fan base. I tapped on the keyboard and let the next slide appear and before I could even open my mouth to explain it, someone shouted out.

“This is the same slide again!”

“What?”

Then it hit me like a flash of lightning, this is what someone had said, before I murmured, reading over the content again. I couldn’t figure out if we had gone through it or not. The way I structured my notes for class, I had bullet points on the projector, but lectured the full lesson from beginning to end. I was currently in the middle of lecturing through a case study. It had only been about half an hour and the class would take three hours. I wasn’t even close to done with my class and I was already distracted.

“Any questions?” I asked trying to make it seem as if I was in control as I smoothed down my forever growing dark hair behind my ears. No hands went up once again, proving that the students didn’t listen. They hardly asked, I was even surprised that someone noticed that the same slide had been up more than once. I pressed on the computer for the next slide, and then read over the points to remind myself what I wanted to say.

“Next, we’ll be looking at our patient’s behavior…”

I went on with the lecture, explaining the points on the new slide, and there was the sound of rustling as the students took notes. I had to remind myself not to go too fast as they jotted down my notes, but it wasn’t easy. I was trying to remain focused, but my mind was too far away.

It was so frustrating. It had been two whole years since my wife’s death, and it wasn’t like I’d lost my job, or anything, but I couldn’t help feeling like such a failure. I wasn’t completely over her death, either, and I knew it wasn’t healthy, but after two years, when I found myself still thinking about her, I didn’t know how to get over it. Especially since, I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that I’d failed her in some way or failed her memory.

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebooks from B. Blake’s backlist

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Songs of the Heart


Presents : New Release


Songs of the Heart
by Charli B. Rose


Amazon
US | UK | CA | AU


Genre: New Adult Romance
Series: Lyrical Odyssey Rock Star; Book 3


GOODREADS

Sometimes love’s song needs rewinding.


Izzy


Best friends to soul mates to … nothing. Since we are six, Dawson was the most important person in my life. He was my first everything. First friend, first boyfriend, first kiss, first love, first heartbreak. For years our love was a masterpiece. Then two years ago, he ghosted me. Now my world is grey. I’m finally trying to start over, to add muted colors back. Beckett has helped let the light back in. And he’s ready to paint our future. But I’m not sure if I can give it to him, even if I owe him. Every time I consider moving forward my heart starts singing a familiar tune.


Dawson


Now I know why they call it falling in love. The splat at the end. I should’ve known better than to fall for my best friend. Because now I’ve lost my love, my friend and the inspiration for every song I ever wrote. I know the truth now about how it all ended, and I long to fix it. But there’s a new man in her life. A good man. One who hasn’t broken her heart and doesn’t put her at risk by just being around. My head says I should love her enough to walk away. Too bad we don’t love with our brains.


Best friends to lovers to heartbreak. To a second chance?

NOTE: This is PART THREE of Dawson and Izzy’s epic love story. It is the conclusion. It can NOT be read without first reading Beats of the Heart and Notes of the Heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow the Author


FACEBOOK | FB GROUP | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | AMAZON | GOODREADS | NEWSLETTER

 

Hosted by

RRR Promotion
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Read Review Repeat
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

The Dead Girl’s Stilettos

 

Title: The Dead Girl’s Stiletto
Author: Quinn Avery
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Cover Designer: Najla Qamber
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
 
Blurb:
Nearly a decade after moving across the country, journalist Bexley Squires returns home when one of Hollywood’s brightest stars makes her an offer she can’t refuse. After all, it’ll take more than the chump change in her bank account to find her missing sister.
But the elite seaside community of Papaya Springs has become more corrupt than she imagined, and she soon stumbles into a web of twisted games played by the rich and famous. With time running out, can she save her sister before it’s game over?
Buy Links:
QUINN AVERY is a bestselling and award winning author from the Midwest with 27 novels published under various pen names. The Bexley Squires Mystery series is the first mystery/thriller novel under the Quinn Avery pseudonym.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Prologue
She knew the game was over—she was about to die. She could feel it in her bones. The young woman wept as she staggered across the main deck of a super yacht near Papaya Springs, playground for the filthy rich and famous. A crisp breeze sent a violent chill racing through her body. She was naked apart from a pair of high heels. She was also badly bruised, and utterly baffled. The moonlight cast a sinister glow on the dark water surrounding the vessel. The boat gently rocked beneath her with the ocean’s swells. Where was she? How did she get there?
Her chest heaved as she continued to stumble ahead. Pain radiated through her skull, and her forehead was covered with something warm that also saturated her eyes and blurred her vision. She swiped the sticky substance with a trembling hand. Blood coated her fingertips. Had someone hurt her? Did she have an accident? She remembered a fight…
Nausea sloshed through her stomach. She knew she should yell for help. In the deepest depths of her cloudy memory, she also knew no one would come to her rescue. They were after her. Her throat filled with bile.
She didn’t understand why her thoughts were so muddled. Had she taken something? Heart pounding an erratic beat, she continued to scurry across the teak wood. Her lungs burned. Panic set in. There was nowhere to hide.
Then she saw him emerging from the shadows. She limped into his open arms.
“I’m scared!” she cried. “What’s happening?”
Gentle hands caressed her back. Warm lips swept over her shoulder. His familiar scent instantly put her at ease.
But there was something off. The woman sensed it with every nerve in her body.
“Shhh…there’s no need to cry,” he cooed. “Everything’s going to be okay.” The words were a contradiction to the sorrow wavering in his voice.
“Noooo,” she slurred with a sob. She backed away until something was pressed against her shoulder blades. A railing. There was nowhere else to go. She was trapped. “Please…don’t let them do this.”
The woman’s cries came in agonizing howls. She wanted her mom and dad. She wanted to go home.
She knew his face was the last thing she would ever see.
* * *
Twenty-year-old Eric O’Neil sprinted across the sandy shore, his feet leaving deep indentations in the fine powder. Multimillion dollar yachts skimmed across the glittering Pacific Ocean less than a mile away. Hulls sparkled like diamonds in the sweltering sun. Crisp masts snapped in the warm wind. Speakers blasted whatever gangster rap was currently dominating the charts. Even on an early holiday afternoon, it was an opportunity for the wealthy to play in SoCal, exposing their sun kissed shoulders without a care in the world. A moderate amount of sunbathers dotted the majestic shoreline, generally those too poor to be among those playing in vessels on the water.
Generally only two types were known to be residents of the swanky community: those with unfathomable wealth, and those paid to serve them. It was common knowledge to locals that illegal drugs ran rampant, and everyone went out of their way to keep their secret, fearing their source of income would disappear along with their customers. It was rumored some establishments even had secret rooms where they could relax amongst luxurious amenities while ingesting white powder and popping pills. Eric had hoped he’d come across one of those places, but he was merely stoked he’d scored primo weed from a high-end dispensary using his fake ID. They didn’t have anything like it back in Detroit. He was higher than the blue skies above his head.
He yelled over his shoulder to his girlfriend, “Try to keep up!” He was slated to be Papaya Springs College’s best baller this season, having broken his state’s high school records two seasons in a row for most points scored by one player. The moment he stepped on the basketball court he was a true god, destined for a pro team after college. There had already been a handful of recruiters vying for his attention with under-the-table bribes of trips involving drugs and hordes of female companions.
It gave him an even greater sense of pride when Tehya Jensen—unquestionably the hottest and richest chick he knew—literally chased after him. Her parents owned a string of hotels all over the world, and they had invited Eric to spend Thanksgiving at their $20 million condo. He never imagined he’d be privileged to that kind of lifestyle. His parents had teetered on the edge of poverty ever since the automotive plants began to shut down. He’d only been able to afford college because of the athletic scholarship.
“Seriously, my limbs are too heavy for this!” Teyha whined from far away. “Slow down!”
Laughing manically, Eric rounded the corner, stumbling across a sand dune. He lost his footing, long limbs sprawled around him as he face-planted onto the beach. With a long grunt, he flipped around to his back and started to move his hands and legs at his sides.
“Look at me…I’m a sand angel,” he muttered before releasing a nasally chuckle.
Then the back of his arm connected with something firm, wet, and exceptionally clammy. Eric rolled to his side, blinking heavily at the sight before him. A naked woman with giant knockers was fast asleep where the tide had recently gone down in the sand. Dark, wet hair covered her face, and her arms and legs were spread out around her like she had just made angels in the sand too. In fact, one of her legs was crooked at an unusual angle. Wait, Eric thought to himself, she’s not naked. She’s wearing heels.
They weren’t just any pair of heels, either. They were a luminescent gold with rhinestones—hell, maybe even diamonds. If the water hadn’t ruined them, they could be outrageously expensive. Since Eric didn’t have two spare pennies to rub together after covering expenses not included in his scholarship, he would have to get creative in finding someone as rich as Tehya an impressive Christmas present. He didn’t want to screw up the chance of getting invited back to her parents’ condo.
Eric peered over his shoulder, ensuring Tehya wasn’t close before he went to work in removing the woman’s shoes. The suction of her wet skin made removing them more difficult than he had anticipated. Either that or he was still seriously tripping from his last hit of the primo joint. Tongue trapped between his teeth, Eric pulled and pulled until the unconscious woman’s feet gave up the fight.
Just as he was contemplating copping a quick feel of the woman’s perfect tits (he was dying to find out if they were real), Tehya’s muffled scream pierced the warm air. He twisted around to find his girlfriend holding both hands over her mouth, eyes as wide as a cartoon character’s. She wore a skimpy little dress that made her father’s face as red as a cherry when they came down from her room after a heated make out session. Warmth spread through Eric’s groin when he recalled how many times he had violated that sweet little body in the condo with her parents nearby.
“Ohmygod! Eric, what are you doing?”
All at once remembering he was holding the woman’s shoes—Tehya’s present—he clumsily moved them behind his back. “It’s fine, babe. She’s sleeping.”
A funny little noise slipped from Tehya’s throat. “She does not look like she’s sleeping. Look at her head!”
Eric stretched back to the woman. Now that he paid a little closer attention, it did seem like there was something terribly wrong. Was that her brain peering back at him? He crawled backwards on his hands and feet in the sand like the crab they’d tried to give a hit to earlier while getting high. Eric laughed at the memory as he climbed back up to his feet.
“This isn’t funny!” Tehya scolded, her voice becoming even more annoying with every syllable. “Were you stealing her shoes?”
“If she’s really dead, she’s not gonna need them anymore,” he insisted, lifting them in the air for emphasis. “They’d look hotter on you anyway.”
“No way I’m wearing shoes you stole off a corpse!”
Eric rolled his eyes. Women were never satisfied. He tossed them back by his feet. “Happy now?”
“You can’t leave them here! We have to call the police, and they’ll think we were somehow involved if they find your fingerprints! Ohmygod we’re totally going to jail! Our lives are over! You’re going to get kicked off the team, and—”
“Babe, stop!” Eric demanded, bracing a hand over her warm lips. “The weed is making you paranoid. We’re not going to jail, and they’re not kicking me off the team. We’ll take the shoes with us, then we’ll call the cops from somewhere far away from here.”
Eric scooped the incriminating evidence off the sand before taking his girlfriend’s hand and leading her away. He wasn’t going to prison because of some stupid shoes. Besides, if they were really as valuable as he suspected, then maybe there was a way they could bring in some money.

Previous Older Entries