Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

Title: Room 553
Author: Britney King
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Release Date: June 20, 2019

 

“𝘚𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘦𝘭𝘵 𝘯𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘥𝘳𝘢𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘥. 𝘐𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘹𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘱, 𝘪𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦.”
 
For Max and Laurel, nothing is off limits when they meet in room 553. Their illicit affair is exhilarating, passionate—and dangerous. 
 
Driven as much by compulsion as pleasure, Max can’t stop. His mistress is Jesus on the streets, and Satan in the sack. But when things take a sharp and sudden turn for the worse, he finds himself ensnared in a trap of his own making. 
 
Under heavy scrutiny by the police and the media, Max is hailed as a cold and evasive womanizer. He made mistakes, to be sure. But does that make him a killer?
 
Unnerving and addictive, Room 553 is a vivid and sensual psychological thriller that weaves a story of cruelty, reckless desire, and blind, bloody justice.
 

Britney King lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, children, two dogs, one ridiculous cat, and a partridge in a pear tree.
When she’s not wrangling the things mentioned above, she writes psychological, domestic and romantic thrillers set in suburbia.
 
Currently, she’s writing three series and several standalone novels.
 
The Bedrock Series features an unlikely heroine who should have known better. Turns out, she didn’t. Thus she finds herself tangled in a messy, dangerous, forbidden love story and face-to-face with a madman hell-bent on revenge. The series has been compared to Fatal Attraction, Single White Female, and Basic Instinct.
 
The Water Series follows the shady love story of an unconventional married couple—he’s an assassin—she kills for fun. It has been compared to a crazier book version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Also, Dexter.
 
Around The Bend is a heart-pounding standalone, which traces the journey of a well-to-do suburban housewife, and her life as it unravels, thanks to the secrets she keeps. If she were the only one with things she wanted to keep hidden, then maybe it wouldn’t have turned out so bad. But she wasn’t.
The With You Series at its core is a deep love story about unlikely friends who travel the world; trying to find themselves, together and apart. Packed with drama and adventure along with a heavy dose of suspense, it has been compared to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Love, Rosie.
The Social Affair is an intense standalone about a timeless couple who find themselves with a secret admirer they hadn’t bargained for. For fans of the anti-heroine and stories told in unorthodox ways, the novel explores what can happen when privacy is traded for convenience. It is reminiscent of films such as One Hour Photo and Play Misty For Me. 
 
Without a doubt, connecting with readers is the best part of this gig. You can find Britney online here: 
 
To get more– grab two books for free, by subscribing to her mailing list at britneyking.com or just copy and paste bit.ly/britneykingweb into your browser. 
Happy reading.

 

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Title: A Knife’s Edge           
Author: Eliot Parker
Genre: Thriller, LGBT
Cover Designer: Ashley Belote
Editors: Kat Mazurak and Rogena Mitchell-Jones
Publisher: Headline Books
Blurb:
Will her secrets put his life in danger?
Six months after a drug cartel infiltrated Charleston, Police Agent Ronan McCullough continues to fight the drug war that plagues the city. His investigations are halted when the body of a mutual acquaintance, Sarah Gilmore, is found in the trunk of a burning car.
In an investigation that takes him deep into the professional and personal life of the victim, McCullough discovers secrets lurking in her past, and a tangled web of personal and professional conflicts, suspicion, and betrayal.
Sarah’s life is connected to BTech, a new blood diagnostics company that has established a headquarters in Charleston, promising to revolutionize the way diseases are diagnosed and treated and aid the police in criminal investigations. Sarah’s work reveals details about BTech that the company doesn’t want anyone else to know.
Was Sarah killed for those reasons or something larger? As Ronan seeks answers, his life and the lives of those closest to him are used as pawns in a deadly game that has no ending.
Sequel to the Award-winning novel Fragile Brilliance.
Eliot Parker is the author of four novels, most recently A Knife’s Edge, which was an Honorable Mention in Thriller Writing at the London Book Festival, and is the sequel to the award-winning novel Fragile Brilliance. His novel Code for Murder was named a 2018 Finalist for Genre Fiction by American Book Fest. He is a recipient of the West Virginia Literary Merit Award and Fragile Brilliance was a finalist for the Southern Book Prize in Thriller Writing. He recently received with the Thriller Writing Award by the National Association of Book Editors (NABE) for his novels. Eliot is the host of the podcast program Now, Appalachia, which profiles authors and publishers living and writing in the Appalachian region and is heard on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network and Blog Talk Radio. A graduate of the Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University with his MFA in Creative Writing and Murray State University with his Doctorate in English, he teaches English at the University of Mississippi and lives in Oxford, Mississippi and Chesapeake, Ohio.
Author Links:
Ronan opened one eye. The thick haze of fractured debris made his eyes burn.
He spat, trying to clear the dust from his nose and throat. He wiped the back of his uniform sleeve across his eyes and blinked twice. When the scene became clearer, he found the room had been reduced to rubble by the impact. A smoldering, jagged hole had ruptured the skin of the building, like a busted pipe.
Ronan stared at the ceiling. The force of the collision had buckled the outer wall of Clay Center and the spiral metal staircase had collapsed when the roof partially caved in on it.
Sore, but generally unhurt, Ronan noted thin streams of blood on his hand. Instinctively, he drew it closer. He felt warm tingling on his forehead. With the other hand, Ronan touched the area. A fresh speck of blood coated his fingertips. He began quizzing himself silently. He was able to recall his name, where he lived, and his birthdate. Although not exact, the impromptu assessment told him he didn’t have a concussion.
Ronan pulled himself up to a seated position. The atrium smelled of sulfur. Flecks of ruptured electrical writing hung loose from the ceiling and surrounding walls. Ronan could hear the pained groans of people around him. From across the room, a woman screamed, causing others around her to start trying to move.
Then it clicked. Ty. Ronan called out his name. He heard nothing but the dull buzzing of a bent streetlight that had been plowed over by the collision and now hung at an odd angle like a bowed tree.
Ronan called out for Ty again. The screams from the woman across the room subsided and she begged for help.
In moments of chaos and disaster, Ronan knew to focus on one task at time. The first order he gave himself was finding Ty. Ronan pulled himself to his feet. His vision blurred for a moment as a wave of dizziness overcame him. He closed his eyes for a second, held his breath, and waited for the blood in his head to equalize. Luckily, it worked.
Now clear-headed, Ronan looked around him. The scene resembled a war-zone. Tables had been overturned, the dais at the front of the room had been pushed back and shattered into the wall. Bricks and mortar speckled the floor. Dust was everywhere, clouding the air. Many of the guests were seriously injured.
The buffet table that hugged the wall in front of Ronan before the collision had been smashed. Food lay scattered across the room in colored clumps. Ronan took inventory of the damage. Near the far end of the buffet line, Ronan saw the man that had pointed into the plaza outside. He lay on one side, bent at his waist, with a large column of bricks and steel piled onto him.
Ronan raced over and lifted some of the bricks from his body and pulled back what pieces of steel he could grab. Ronan winced as a jagged piece of steel cut his finger, trickling a new stream of blood over his hand. Despite Ronan’s removing the excessive weight, the man did not move. After a few more seconds, Ronan was able to see the man’s face. It was badly smashed and the bones in his face had shattered like glass. Ronan reached down and placed two fingers on his neck. There was no pulse and his skin felt cold. He was dead.
This was the first discovered casualty. There would be more.
Title: Invincible Heart
Author: Bryan Tann & Kindra Sowder
Genre: Dystopian Sci-fi/Political Thriller
Editor: Edd Sowder
Publisher: Burning Willow Press
Publication Date: June 15th, 2019
Blurb:
Invincible Heart: The John Baker Chronicles book 1
President Emerson King has been both publicly and privately embarrassed by the escape and open rebellion of known terrorist, Mila Hunter.
To combat the growing resistance of the Fallen Paradigm, he has enacted the Invincible Heart Project in the form of soldier John Baker with a simple mission; to capture or kill Hunter at all costs.
Unfortunately for the president, John’s HEART has other plans.
Buy Links:
Invincible Heart: https://amzn.to/2F8jgGW
Unbreakable Mind: https://amzn.to/2GGC83g
Kindra Sowder was born and raised in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA until the age of 12, when her family moved to Spartanburg, SC. She graduated from high school in 2006 with full honors and as a member of her high school Literary Club and the Spanish Honor Society. In January 2014, she graduated with her second degree in Criminal NeuroPsychology. She married her husband Edd Sowder in May 2014 and still lives in Spartanburg, SC where she is basing Burning Willow Press. Her works have earned multiple award nominations.
Author Links:
Hello, my name is Bryan A. Tann and welcome to my little section of Amazon!
I am the author of The Path of Redemption series. The first book, ‘The Enforcer’ is available now in Kindle (KU) and Print formats. ‘The Hunted’ is available now in Kindle (KU) format. Print coming soon.
The Path of Redemption tells the story of vampire Enforcer, Bryce Kreed, and his quest to save his soul while trying to protect Mistress Enya Blake from the hands of a vicious sect leader that wants to take her power for himself.
I am also the author of the spinoff of Kinda Sowder’s groundbreaking Permutation Archives series titled ‘The John Baker Chronicles’. This Permutation Archives Division’s first novel, ‘Invincible Heart’ is available now in Kindle (KU) and print formats. Book 2, Unbreakable Mind, coming December 22nd, 2018.
Author Links:
Buy Links:
Invincible Heart: https://amzn.to/2F8jgGW
Unbreakable Mind: https://amzn.to/2GGC83g

Title: Title: Drained

Author: G.K. Curry
Genre: Supernatural Crime Thriller
Publication Date: May 15th, 2019

Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR

Blurb:
Six gruesome murders.
Six crime scenes with no evidence.
And a killer who’s more than your typical monster.
When detectives Shaun Hawthorne and Danny Viviani are called to the scene of a homicide, they realize it’s the work of a serial killer. Just like the others, she’s been stabbed in the neck and drained of brain fluid.
To solve the case, they’ll have to peer into the mind of a murderer who is anything but human. As Shaun and Danny dive deeper into the mystery, they discover that there’s a darker side to the world. A side full of magic and monsters.
And now they’ve become the prey.
Can Shaun and Danny survive long enough to catch the killer, or will they become the next victims?

 

You’ll die over this paranormal crime mystery because of the non-stop action and the jaw dropping twists.

 

GK Curry is an actuary for health care benefits with his ASA. When he isn’t writing or working full-time, you can find him spending time with his wife, four daughters, and four pets.  He enjoys playing and coaching sports and watching crime dramas to spark his imagination. Drained is his first novel.
Author Links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GKCurryauthor
 
 
 
Title: Blonde Moxie
Author: C.R. Lemons
Genre: Noir Crime Thriller
Release Date: May 7, 2019
There is a fine line between an investigation turning obsessive, reality blurring into fantasy, and determination masked as courage…
 
Seasoned homicide detective Breck Nolan is within a week of retiring when he is called out to the horrific crime scene of missing person Camille Earhart. He quickly discovers she is a stunning blonde beauty with soul-capturing blue eyes and a singer at a local jazz lounge. The deeper he dives into his missing blonde’s life the more Detective Nolan becomes enamored with her, but he learns little about who she actually is. She is a mystery in which he is determined to solve in hopes to find her alive.
 
Through his investigation, he finds his missing blonde has left a trail of corrupt men in her wake. Each with a slightly different description of who she is and all with a motive in benefiting from her disappearance. The one that stands out the most is her married boss Sal Aiolfi, Jr., the son of mob boss, Sal, Sr., who Detective Nolan has a not-so-favorable history with.
 
When two bodies turn up along with the discovery of a handful of missing person cases all linked to the jazz club, Detective Nolan makes it a personal mission to get to the bottom, even if it means breaking in doors and kicking in knee caps to accomplish it. This causes a push back from his own department, leaving him to choose between his badge or his honor. Detective Nolan stubbornly decides there is a third option to keep both with the help of a few unlikely and interesting allies along the way.
 
In the end, will he ever find his missing blonde, or will she forever be an alluring enigma?

“I have such an active imagination and I truly enjoy transcribing it into words. As I am writing, the people, places, and things come to life before me and I completely lose myself. Writing is my meditation. I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them. Thank you and happy reading.”
C. R. Lemons is a native Texan who requires a cup of coffee to function, must have background music playing for concentration, and enjoys her life full of laughter. As a child, she would sneak her mom’s romance novels and lose herself in them. Her love of writing started through poetry in her teens. C. R. Lemons always had an active imagination and dreamt of sharing it through writing. This dream finally came true with her first novel, Getting Him Off Quickly (Getting Him Off Series, Book 1), and continues with her published catalog full of romance, thrillers, and poetry. As an award-winning erotic romance / thriller author and occasional naughty poet, she enjoys writing to stimulate the reader’s mind and body one word at a time. For the latest list of books by C. R. Lemons, please visit her website at http://www.crlemons.com.

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Book Title: On Hands and Knees

Author: Sai Fox

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Samantha Garrett

Release Date: June 1, 2018

Genre/s: Mystery, Thriller, BDSM

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 40 000 words/ 226 pages

It is the first book of a series, with additional books due to be released in the summer.

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Tagline

Valentino blood runs black.

Blurb

Nicolai Valentino is the almost perfect heir to the Valentino Family—impeccably dressed, devilishly handsome, impossibly cold, and absolutely dedicated to a family that scorns his very existence. Born to the infamous Boss and a Japanese woman of no consequence, Nico must fight for respect in a blood-thirsty world that would be much happier to see him with a hole in his head.

Blood runs thick in the Valentino Family. To them, Nico’s little better than water.

Gabriel Delatto is Nico’s right-hand man, his childhood friend, and under the darkness of their ruby red sheets, his lover. But more than that, Gabriel holds the secret to unlocking who Nico really is—the true Nico, not the mask beginning to crack around the edges.

But there is a pleasure in that pain, he knows. There is only ever pleasure when it comes to Nico, even if it comes from the crack of a whip or on the edge of a blade.

But there’s someone lurking in the darkness, something that neither Nico nor Gabriel truly understand. But there is one thing they do know—

It isn’t afraid to bite.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

About the Author

Sai Fox was born and raised in New York City, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that there’s an ever present coffee cup on her desk as she writes well into the night. A chronic insomniac, some of her best ideas come to her right before heading off to bed.

Currently residing in Tokyo, Sai finds most of her time spent writing, reading, and wandering the strange and intoxicating streets that tell thousands of stories… with a cup of coffee. There is always a cup of coffee.

Sai has been writing fiction for well over a decade, enjoying the ability to push boundaries of society and sexuality through her work.

 

Author Links

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Twitter

 

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Title: In Her Words
Author: J.S Ellis
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Cover Design: German Creative

While she seems to have it all, Sophie Knight is looking for more. When gorgeous and carefree Michael Frisk walks into her life, he offers the excitement and passion she desires.
 
Sophie is willing to risk everything she has. After all, she is used to concealing things from her husband—like her alcoholism, her unhappiness. But soon she has more to hide. She wakes up one morning in an alcoholic haze and finds bruises on her body, but has no recollection of what happened to her. Was she raped?
 
When unsettling notes and mysterious phone calls start, Sophie wonders whom she should turn to. Is Michael the cause of the frightening things happening in her life, or is he the answer to her problems? 
 

I took a long bath with Maria Callas playing in the background, emptying my mind. I put on a black long-sleeved skater dress, but as I inspected myself in the mirror, it seemed too provocative. I didn’t want to send the wrong message, so I changed into a different dress that wasn’t so short. I applied too much makeup which made me look like a tart, so I removed it and started again. My hands trembled as I drew on my eyeliner. I drank a glass of wine and took several drags of my cig to steady my nerves. 
I went outside and hailed a taxi. I must have been out of my mind. The cabbie kept looking at me through the rear view mirror. I bet he knew what I was up to, or maybe not. I probably looked like a corporate woman heading for a meeting with a client.

 

I almost told the cabbie to turn around, but when I opened my mouth, nothing came out. Mama by Phil Collins was playing on the radio. Here I was on my way to meet a kid, who had seen me at my worst, if not at my most degrading. It wasn’t too late to change my mind. However, I didn’t change my mind when I paid and tipped the cabbie. I didn’t change my mind when I scanned the block of flats and rang the bell. I didn’t change my mind as I plodded along the corridor adjusting the hem of my dress.

 

When I arrived, Michael was leaning against the doorframe, waiting for me looking flawless in black, with long earrings dangling from his ears. I like how well dressed he is, unlike those boys who wear jeans under their buttocks – they make me want to pull them up for them. He led the way. It was too late to change my mind now. 

 

He shut the door. I smiled, and he smiled back. With the back of my hand, I ran it across his cheek feeling the softness of his skin. A sexual wave built in my groin, I moved close enough that my lips almost brush against his. I was intoxicated by his beauty, his talent, his strangeness. It was so forbidden and sexy.

 

 
J.S Ellis is a thriller author. She’s currently working on an adult Dystopian series called the Chaperone. She’s also working on another thriller novel for now it’s called Opium, as it’s still a wip.
J.S always liked to scribble from a young age, but started writing by the age of sixteen. She spent all this time, enhancing and learning about the craft. Writing is her passion books are her obsession.
She has a degree in Creative Writing, English literature, and digital marketing. She works in an accountancy firm. She lives in Malta with her fiancé.
When she’s not writing or reading, she’s either cooking, eating cheese, and chocolate, or listening to good music and enjoying a glass of wine or two.

 

 

 

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Title: Innocent
Author: Jo Michaels
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Editor: Tia Silverthorne Bach with INDIE Books Gone Wild
Publication Date: March 26th, 2019
Blurb:
I’m as innocent as a newborn baby. I swear. I didn’t kill those men
They threw me in a mental hospital to cover up the real killer’s crimes. I have no idea why, but I have theories.
Let me tell you my story so you can decide if I’m guilty or innocent.
 
Get it Now FREE!!
Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | B&N | Smashwords
Jo Michaels loves writing novels that make readers gasp in horror, surprise, and disbelief.

While her browser search history has probably landed her on a list somewhere, she still dives into every plot with gusto, hoping “the man” will realize she’s a writer and not a psychopath about to go on a rampage. Her favorite pastimes are reading, watching Investigation Discovery, and helping other authors realize their true potential through mentoring. She’s penned the award-winning Pen Pals and Serial Killers series and the best-selling educational book for children, Writing Prompts for Kids, which has rocketed the kids that use it into several awards of their own.

Most of Jo’s books feature the places she’s lived: Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia. That’s given her a special amount of insight to what makes those locations tick. Her works are immersive and twisty, and she wouldn’t want it any other way.
Author Links:
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 Title: Crimson Cove Mysteries
Author: Tara Brown
Genre: YA romance, horror, mystery, and thriller
Blurb:
Can you keep a secret?
When a summer party turns into a crime scene, five girls are forced to keep the biggest secret of all.
One of them is a murderer, and only the killer knows who.
One corpse.
Five suspects.
And all six girls are from the wealthiest families in Crimson Cove.
Lindsey
Lainey
Sierra
Sage
Marguerite
Rachel
In order to prove their innocence, they must solve the crime.
But everyone in Crimson Cove has secrets.
The girls just need to figure out which ones are worth dying for.
Before it’s too late.
Welcome to Crimson Cove.
“Mix together the best aspects of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS & GOSSIP GIRL then add in Gillian Flynn psychological twists and you get Crimson Cove”
“Murder. Mystery. Mayhem. Crimson Cove has devilishly sharp twists and turns that will leave you dying—for more.”
Lovers of We Were Liars, Riverdale, and Gossip Girl need to get lost in this thriller with Hitchcockian twists. The completed series boxset is set against the backdrop of Crimson Cove, a dysfunctional yet mesmerizing community filled with wealthy elite, shady pasts, and ulterior motives.
The entire Crimson Cove Mystery is in this box set, all 5 volumes
Needless to say, mine saved me. After it got me into trouble first, that is. That’s the problem with a vivid imagination, all the lies you tell.
I am happily married with two daughters.
I have two giant dogs, two savage cats, and a penchant for a glass of red.
Also, I drag my bread through the sauce. I can’t help myself, bread is life.
According to my age, I am meant to be a responsible adult, but it isn’t going well at all. I would still head off to Hogwarts tomorrow and I suspect there isn’t a single wardrobe I haven’t crept into, hoping to find the door to Narnia. And don’t even get me started on the King’s Road, I get lost.
Fortunately, I am an international bestseller so I have wormed my way into a quirky or eccentric category.
Thank God for that.
I am represented by Natalie Lakosil from the Bradford Literary Agency and am published traditionally with Montlake Romance.
Excerpt from Second Nature: 
 

Halloween Scream
October 31, 2015
Sierra
The noise of the creaking stairs, the ones I had just crept up, sounded like it echoed in my ears. Someone had followed us here.
“Jake,” I whispered, hoping he was messing around. If he was, I would be angry. I lifted one leg after the other and slipped my high heels off, holding them both so I could tiptoe through the half-constructed mansion without making noise.
Jake didn’t answer, but the footsteps had stopped from the moment I whispered.
The scary movie marathon we’d had before Rachel died flashed through my head, bringing ideas and memories with it. I tiptoed around the corner, brushing my Frankenstein’s bride dress on the rough edge where the unfinished walls met. The drywall scraped against me, making me wince as I hurried along the corridor to the back deck. Whoever was in the house with me was either moving silently too or they were standing still, listening.
Either way, I had a terrible feeling this wasn’t a game.
That meant one thing: Jake was injured or hiding.
And I was alone.
My heart raced, my eyes burned from not blinking—fearful I would miss something—and my mouth was as dry as a mouthful of popcorn.
The floor creaked.
I froze.
“Sierra,” someone whispered into the dark.
My skin crawled when I realized it wasn’t Jake. It wasn’t his whisper. I’d heard that enough times, always in the dark, to know it wasn’t him.
“Sierra, don’t be scared.” It sounded like something it couldn’t be, but I didn’t believe. I stayed perfectly still, waiting for the moment I needed to run to the back deck and jump down onto the sandy beach.
What had the girls in the horror movies done wrong? What could I avoid? My mind raced, remembering the runners always got caught. They always got stabbed. Usually in the back. The thought of it made my skin burn where I imagined the knife would slice.
The hiders always got caught. They were the ones breathing too loudly or hiding in stupid places.
“Sierra, I won’t hurt you if you come to me.”
I squeezed my eyes shut for half a second and waited for the answer, the right choice, to pop into my head.
A dog barked, making me jump and open my eyes. The sound was joined by the creaking of the floorboards again.
With gentle breaths and controlled movements I crept along the hallway, entering the spot where the kitchen or master bedroom would likely go. The house was freshly sealed with windows and doors, but it was still in the drywall stage with plywood floors.
The massive back deck was through the white French doors, facing the beach and open ocean. The moon offered light, enough to make shadows move with me.
I hurried to an alcove I assumed would one day be a nook for a breakfast bar or maybe the ensuite soaker tub. I pressed my back against the wall and stared at the bright white French doors. If I could make it to them, I was free.
If only I had my cell phone, I could call the police or Jake or Vincent. Someone would come and help me. Even Ashton might answer.
But that wasn’t an option. I scolded myself for my weakness in me and forced my focus to be on the doors. They were my answer. They were my hope.
As I exhaled and plotted my moment to run and everything I would do from that point on, the floor creaked in the hallway behind me.
It was now or never.
Live or die.
I took one more breath and pushed off from the wall…

 

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?
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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:
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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.