Maggie Series

MAGGIE series

Maggie, Naomi, and Entangled Souls

by Mya O’Malley

 

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Mystery Thriller

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to share your home with an unearthly spirit who can’t find closure? Living on the edge of a cemetery with souls dating back to the 1700s would be enough to spook anyone, but Naomi finds it oddly romantic, and becomes inspired to write her next novel. Why not, when her muse, Maggie, calls to her from beyond her own window?

After all, the story couldn’t possibly be as complicated as Naomi’s own love life. Torn between Ryan, the mysterious and seemingly perfect man she just started dating, and Bryce, the sexy single dad who recently moved in next door, Naomi must navigate the tangled web of dating—all while trying to solve the mystery of Maggie’s death.

When things turn dangerous, Naomi quickly learns whom she can trust and, more importantly, whom she can’t. Will she be able to write Maggie’s story and finally give Maggie the peace she deserves?

Naomi sighed as she thought about the outcome of Maggie’s story. Her body had been found washed up near the river. Awful. What a horrible thing. The location of the body had been a place where people walked along a path by the river. Naomi herself had been close to the crime scene many times, unaware of the traumatic events that had taken place there.

No clues, other than it appeared to be a drowning. Evidence pointed to Maggie going out on a friend’s boat, perhaps, and falling overboard.

But how?

And where was the friend? It didn’t make sense. A piece of this puzzle was missing; a rather large piece.

A cold mystery was all that was left of Maggie’s story.

Come on, come on. Maggie. Talk to me. Tell me what happened to you. What kind of girl were you?

A sudden screech sounded from the window. Zelda. How was she supposed to concentrate on writing when Zelda kept intruding with her unpredictable behavior? She needed to write Maggie’s story. It was calling to her. If she didn’t write the story, she wouldn’t be able to write anything else.

Cries filled the air. This was ridiculous. Naomi wouldn’t even waste her time trying to figure out the cat’s problem. “You’re a piece of work, you know that?” Zelda cried out in response. Now the cat had broken her concentration.

Naomi needed to get out and clear her mind. She grabbed her notebook and her jacket from the hook in the entrance foyer.

Once she was out of the house and down the narrow path heading into the graveyard, she turned around. It wasn’t surprising to see Zelda pacing back and forth on the windowsill. Crazy.

After walking around for a few minutes, she was pulled toward Maggie’s grave once more.

“Maggie, tell me your story. I’m listening.” Naomi didn’t actually expect to hear a response, but she knelt down and listened. She strained to hear the slightest sound, anything at all that would open up this mystery.

Of course, she heard nothing.

Nothing but the faraway sound of cars passing down the one-way street adjacent to the cemetery, then the faint cry of a crow overhead. Lifting her head to the darkening sky above, Naomi could have sworn the crow was staring right at her. Was she in the middle of her own eerie dream? Brushing off the uneasy feeling, Naomi shook her head and sat in the grass.

“Was it your ex? Was it a stranger? Or was your death your own doing?” Naomi’s fingers touched the cold stone, running up and down the gravestone. A sharp crackling from behind caused Naomi to spin around. There was nobody there.

Naomi would have sworn she heard someone. Perhaps it had been a darting squirrel or other small animal. Her attention returned to Maggie’s grave once more. Call it a gut feeling, but Naomi was convinced there was foul play at work here. It could be her overactive writer’s imagination, but instinctively she knew Maggie had been killed by someone.

Most likely someone close to her. Wasn’t that usually the story?

More determined than ever to solve this crime, Naomi stood up and brushed her pants off. She leaned over and spoke directly to Maggie’s headstone.

“I will figure this out, girl. Just give me some time. I’ll find out who was responsible for this and you’ll give me my story. How does that sound? Fair?”

The sound came from the woods this time. Whatever was creating the sound remained hidden.

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Naomi has a knack for attracting attention from ethereal beings—whether she wants it or not. Newly engaged to her sexy neighbor, Bryce, she has little time to celebrate and plan for her upcoming wedding, because no sooner does she wrap up a heartbreaking cold case than she finds herself right back where she started, searching for answers alongside ghostly spirits.

This time, however, Naomi learns that things are not what they seem as a man from her past quickly becomes her worst nightmare. If she’s not careful, this man might crush her hopes and dreams forever as he proves to be her most difficult opponent yet.

Still, Naomi tries to focus on her relationship with Bryce. Can it withstand head games and cruel intentions? Naomi makes it her mission to keep Bryce and his daughter safe from harm, but will true love be tough enough to withstand her adversaries?

Naomi must keep her eyes wide open and question everything— and everyone—in order to survive.

She sensed it before she heard the news. She could feel it deep in her bones. All night long she had tossed and turned, unable to find sleep.

Nick.

“No,” Naomi wailed into her pillow, pounding her fists.

No. But, of course, she knew it was true. After all, she had a sixth sense about things such as this. Damn, Nick. Why? How?

It had been several months since she had taken in his disheveled form, those cowardly eyes scanning her face, pleading for forgiveness from the other side of the depressing, stained, plastic divider at the county jail.

Forgiveness that was difficult to give, although she had been working on it. Too late, Nick. It’s way too late for you now. Part of Naomi’s heart ached for Nick’s troubled soul. For the troubled child he had once been.

Another part turned cold as she conjured up his face in her mind. As she had woken from a fitful night’s sleep, the image of Nick crying out, lost in the empty dark place where challenged souls lacked peace and closure, was too overwhelming to dismiss as a bad dream.

“Bryce.” Naomi spoke his name aloud, even though her fiancé was most likely sound asleep at his house just up the dirt road.

She needed Bryce.

But Naomi knew Bryce would have to wait. Right after her first cup of coffee, she would have to call Officer Marty to confirm the facts of what she already knew to be true.

How had it happened? Possibilities swirled through her mind. Endless scenarios came forth. It could be anything. Nick had been doing time for his part in the cover-up of Maggie Field’s death. Prisons could be dangerous, particularly for someone like Nick, a man who struggled to keep his emotions in check and often had difficulty conforming to the rules.

One with a dark, menacing presence.

One with attitude.

Memories of the not so distant past slammed Naomi. Images of Ryan and Maggie . . .

Maggie.

The ghost that had all but consumed her. Maggie had reached out to Naomi, demanding peace. Naomi admitted to herself that she had become obsessed at that time in her life. Preoccupied with putting both Maggie and Ryan to rest. Luckily, Bryce was loyal and patient to the core during the first hectic months of their new relationship.

What would he say now, knowing that a spirit was back? Knowing that this time it wasn’t the sweet spirit of a girl named Maggie or a quirky, kindhearted man that needed her help?

This time it was worse, far worse.

This time the spirit was unsettled, tortured—and to make matters even more daunting . . .

He was her ex-boyfriend.

Would Bryce be as understanding about Nick as he had been with Maggie and Ryan? Hopping up out of her bed to make her cup of coffee, Naomi figured she was about to find out.

***

Moments after she hung up the phone with her friend, Officer Miriam Marty, Naomi reached for her coffee mug but then placed it back on the counter with a gentle thud.

Damn, Nick.

Miriam had confirmed Naomi’s worst suspicions and provided the bare facts surrounding Nick’s death.

He was, indeed, dead. But the strange thing about it was that it appeared to have been intentional on his part. It was too early to say, but Miriam suspected that traces of drugs would be found in his system.

An overdose? Could he have intentionally taken his own life? No, that didn’t sound right. Then again, how well did Naomi even know Nick anymore? For that matter, how well had she ever known him? Naomi supposed it was easy enough for an inmate to have the means to obtain drugs. And, let’s face it, prison life could be grueling.

No, no. Something didn’t feel right about this. Nick’s sentence was only to last just a few more weeks, why would he purposely harm himself? As Naomi tried to make sense of the news, she paced the floor. Zelda, her loyal feline companion, weaved in and out of her legs as Naomi stopped and grabbed her coffee mug from the table.

Sharp rapping on the door startled Naomi, causing her to spill her coffee on her blouse. “Shoot!”

Voicing her own displeasure at nearly being stepped on, Zelda screeched as she tore into the living room. Naomi snatched a napkin, wiping at her top as she made her way to the door.

“Are you ready?” Bryce raised an eyebrow as Naomi stepped to the side to allow him through the front door. He leaned over and placed a quick kiss on her forehead.

“Ready?”

“Ah, yes. Remember? We were going to grab a bite and then head over to the trail for a walk?”

Yes. That’s right. She and Bryce had plans this morning. With everything going on, she had clearly forgotten.

“I . . . I’m so sorry. Give me a minute to change my shirt. Sit, I’ll be right back.” She scurried up the stairs to her bedroom to change. This could be a good thing, the time alone with Bryce. His young daughter, Holly, was in school, and she could have Bryce’s full attention.

Dressed in a clean shirt, Naomi sprinted down the stairs and grabbed her sneakers. She attempted her best smile as she tied the laces. “Almost ready,” Naomi managed.

“What’s with you? Why are you out of breath?” Bryce cocked his head as he studied Naomi.

“Just excited to spend the morning with you,” she offered a bit too cheerily, glancing up at him as she felt nagging guilt rise in her throat. He wouldn’t be happy about the news regarding Nick, and that was putting it mildly. He simply couldn’t even begin to understand. He would tell her to leave it alone, not to get caught up in somebody else’s problems.

Naomi swallowed hard and gripped Bryce’s warm hand as they made their way to his truck. Once inside, Naomi glanced at her fiancé and then gazed down at her lap.

“Bryce?” she whispered.

Concern etched his handsome face. “What is it? What’s wrong?” He reached for her hands.

“We need to talk.”

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coming soon

ENTANGLED SOULS

coming late 2018

If Naomi thought solving three murders was going to earn her a respite from the spirits who flock to her for guidance and resolution, she couldn’t have been more wrong. This time around, helping her friend, Officer Miriam Marty, solve a particularly daunting case is just the beginning.

Newly married to her soul mate, Bryce, Naomi figured she could settle in and enjoy the first few months of marriage without the all-consuming task of helping the spirits around her find the closure they so desperately seek. She should have known there was no chance of normalcy, though – even her stepdaughter Holly’s quirky friend, Lillie, adds to the confusion.

This time, Naomi’s challenge is unique. Not only does she have to put her heart and soul into helping an intricate, beautiful ghost, but this precious soul soon teaches Naomi that her path in life, her fate, has led her to precisely where she needs to be.

Everything about Naomi’s past experiences with the paranormal crashes together as Naomi becomes entwined in the entangled plot that has become her life, alongside the unique souls that complete her destiny.

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Mya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and step-daughters. The family also consists of a boxer named Destiny and a ragdoll cat named Colby. Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy. She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.

Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child. Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters. Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica. Mya is currently working on her eleventh novel.

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The House that Adelia Built

THE HOUSE THAT ADELIA BUILT

by Mya O’Malley

 

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Thriller

It all started with a woman and a lighthouse. The House that Adelia Built spins a tale full of love, lies, and betrayal at the hands of a man Adelia calls Augustus—her own husband.

In the late 1800s, Augustus finds a job as lighthouse keeper on a beautiful, but isolated island. He can’t wait to bring his new bride home to the lighthouse, set on majestic bluffs, which have laid claim to many shipwrecks.

Augustus soon suffers from the effects of self-induced isolation, as Adelia watches him slowly lose his grip on reality until he turns mad, bringing forth dire consequences.

Meet Hope, a modern day quiet, quirky young woman with a case of agoraphobia—or so it would seem. She feels an inexplicable pull toward the lighthouse and the bluffs beyond. Hope struggles with her internal battle and seeks to find the truth about her unsettling, recurring nightmares. Maybe then she can discover why she has always felt so alone and unusual.

Enter Clooney, a handsome, unassuming stranger who soon becomes so much more to Hope. The very woman who has guarded her heart in the past will soon find herself wrapped in a web of denial, leading to a heart-wrenching reality.

For every truth she exposes, more heartache is found. Hope must come face-to-face with her worst fears as she uncovers the mystery surrounding her spellbinding connection to the lighthouse.


Prologue

1876

It was an evening like any other, yet it was to be a night that she would never forget—for it was a crucial piece of the puzzle that would ignite the course of Adelia’s destiny.

Sharp, crisp wind bit at every inch of her exposed skin. Almost completely winded, Adelia spun her head once more, just to be sure she hadn’t been followed here to the towering cliffs. A darkened sky matched her desperate, dismal mood.

Augustus never disappointed in stealing any smidgen of brightness from her mind, but tonight he had pushed, until, she, too, had crossed the thin line over to the brink of madness.

Yes, her husband was going mad.

Insane.

Insane with rage, jealously, control, apparently sparked by boredom and gin. Adelia couldn’t imagine a worse possible combination. One could activate a fire sure to burn through and destroy any soul with those caustic ingredients.

Whenever Augustus would finally place his head on the pillow beside her, Adelia would wait out the thickness, the raw stench of alcohol and bitterness, until she could finally allow herself to breathe once Augustus began to snore. It was only then that her hands would grip the quilt which rested upon her body. Then she would cautiously count to fifty. Fifty usually did the trick, but at times she had added a few seconds more, just to be sure.

Tonight, she had run for her life before his head had hit the pillow.

Now safely outside, her fists unclenched and her breathing slowed until she could release the soft wail that fought to escape. As if she couldn’t control it, her neck craned to spy behind her once more. Augustus had been at the gin for hours today, starting much earlier than ever before; she could only hope he wouldn’t give chase, that he would pass out cold.

Recently, she had fooled herself into thinking that if only she could try hard enough, perhaps they could get back to that sunny place where they had first fallen deeply for one another.

Was there such a spell? She frowned, knowing such a spell ceased to exist. Her trick no longer worked; she couldn’t fool herself into thinking everything would be okay.

Not now.

Not anymore.

Months of self-reflection had consumed Adelia. She could hardly think of anything else. At first, she wondered if their downfall could have possibly been partly her own fault—Adelia may have played a hand at her heart’s demise. But, no, she had yet to find one shred of proof that argued against the fact that Augustus had been the one who had changed. Oh, it had been ever so slightly at first. An offbeat comment here and there, a sideways look. But then, as surely as the dark tides shifted, it seemed that once they made the lighthouse on the cliffs their home for more than several months, the very beacon which served to steer ships to safety in these treacherous waters diminished her own brightness and replaced it with a gradual shift to darkness.

She clung to the small sliver of a chance that she could fix this. Yes, she could throw her shoulders back and help this stranger her husband had shifted into, before it was too late.

Surely some came back from the brink of madness, right? But then the horrifying image that haunted her dreams plagued her mind once more. She shut her eyes tight, pushing the vision out of her head.

Tonight her husband had sunk to a new low, even for him.

Before the hole proved too expansive to dig out of, she told herself she needed to act—now.

Was that a shadow lurking in the distance? Was it Devon, arriving early, or had Augustus found her?

Her heart leapt with fear. No, nobody was there. It must have been the wind or possibly her mind playing tricks, for once she focused her gaze on the spot, she could see nothing but the trees close behind her.

Adelia purposely slowed her breathing. She would need to put her plan in place quickly, but for that, she would need to speak with Devon. He should be here any minute.

But, there was the sound again. This time, she was sure she heard footsteps, and when she called out, nobody responded. Now she stood, hands clenched in tight fists, determined to face the unidentifiable figure approaching from beyond.

There was nowhere to go, of course. No choice but to face the unknown. Adelia turned her head, her vision lit by the full moon above. She judged the distance from the edge of the cliff. There was no place else to go but down.

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Mya O’Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and step-daughters. The family also consists of a boxer named Destiny and a ragdoll cat named Colby. Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy. She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.

Mya’s passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child. Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters. Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica. Mya is currently working on her eleventh novel.

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The Unwilling Recruit

THE UNWILLING RECRUIT

A John Hunt Novel

by John Evans

 

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Journalist John Hunt is known for taking any risk necessary to get the story. That is until his careless ambition leads to a hefty price. Reporting in Syria, John leads his cameraman Andrew three miles out of the safe zone. An explosion strikes. No one should have survived. But John did. After six months of rehabilitation, John is finally out of the hospital, he’s also out of work, and a horrific disfigurement is a constant reminder of that day. Already skating the edge of sanity, he is pushed further when his deceased cameraman pays him a visit. Both men should have died that day, yet one survived. Why, and to what end?

Hunt fearfully watched as Carl proceeded to withdraw a long, straight blade from within the folds of his jacket. It had twin edges which glinted wickedly in the pale light that came into the alley and it’s total length was a little more than a foot, easily enough for the job in hand. Carl’s face clearly showed what he intended to do next, however, he never got the chance.

Without warning Hunt heard a strangled grunt from the assailant holding him. The mans’ grip released and Hunt dropped, surprised, to one knee while the big bruiser collapsed like a felled tree, flailing futilely at his own neck.

Hunt had no time to ponder this development as, before he could move, he felt, rather than saw, a figure pass swiftly over his head, rebounding lightly off the wall where he had been restrained. Before he could look up Hunt heard three more grunts of pain swiftly followed by heavy thumps. By the time he could view his surroundings there was only one of his attackers left standing. Carl was in a fighting stance, his blade held low in his right hand, face firmly fixed on the figure facing him.

It was this figure that also drew Hunts’ attention, it belonged to a female. She was crouched low in a wide fighting stance with most of her weight balanced onto her right leg. Dressed in a figure hugging, one-piece black cat-suit which zipped up the front, calf-length military style boots and black leather gloves she looked both incredibly sexy while at the same time being extremely dangerous. She held a small curved blade in her left hand which reminded Hunt of an eagles’ talon. Hunt was transfixed. He knew this woman, he’d met her once before under very different circumstances. The jet black, waist length hair, the strong, prominent cheekbones and aquiline nose. This was Jane, his nurse from the hospital.

Carl and Jane were facing each other with respectful wariness, both poised like coiled springs. Hunt held his breath in rapt fascination. In the end it was Jane who moved first. She lunged forward, obviously hoping to catch Carl off guard, but he had been expecting this and immediately moved to parry with his own blade, only realizing too late that the entire move had been a subtle feint. At the last moment Jane ducked to the side and spun on one foot, bringing her tiny blade in a wide arc towards Carl’s now exposed side. With a speed that belied his bulk Carl altered his direction just enough to bring his blade around and block the strike, but now he was off balance, and he knew it.

A breathtaking flurry of strike and counter strikes erupted as Jane inexorably forced the larger, slower man back, their blades igniting sparks as they connected.

Carl cried out in pain, his blade slipping from nerveless fingers to clatter uselessly on the cobbled ground. Carl grabbed at his right forearm and Hunt could see blood flowing freely to the ground from his hand. Realizing he had lost this battle Carl cast a last, hateful glance towards Hunt, before turning and fleeing. Jane followed him as far as the entrance to the side alley before stopping to watch him make his getaway.

Hunt sat in silence, his back against the wall of the alley as he watched Jane return, her movements now casual and relaxed. She reached the first of the four prone figures and placed two fingers to his neck, checking for any signs of life. Satisfied, she wiped her blade on his shirt and placed it back in her scabbard, then moved quickly to the next figure. The silence in the alleyway was quickly becoming oppressive.

“Are they…….?” Hunt couldn’t muster the word.

“Dead?” Jane finished.

Hunt nodded.

Jane took a hard look at Hunt. “They were here to kill you. This seemed like a better option to me.”

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Having spent ten years working as an actor and film-maker John was forced to give that career up five years ago in order to look after his mother following a debilitating stroke.

Today, John works from his home in Northern England, exploring new ways to bring out his creative nature. The Unwilling Recruit begins a long running series of novels that John hopes will keep readers entertained for many years.

Bound by Shadows

BOUND BY SHADOWS

The McAllister Justice Series, book 2

by Reily Garrett

Genre: Romantic Thriller

The architect of fear employs many forms.

Kidnapping and murder never crossed Kaylee’s mind when seeking a fresh start in Portland, a new beginning to shed the remnants of tragedy dogging her steps. After escaping from an underground cage, she fights to stay one step ahead of the killer bent on silencing his only witness. Kaylee.

Two months after dodging a sociopathic murderer’s best efforts, Caden McAllister flounders within a social sink hole, unable to move forward, too stubborn to step back. Guarded and wary, the private investigator’s stagnant lifestyle detonates into chaos when a battered and bloody young waif stumbles into his care.

Framed for a murdering a past lover, Caden must clear his name and overcome his charge’s doubts while keeping her out of the sex-slave trade. When betrayal ends with Kaylee’s re-capture, Caden must conquer his past and risk all or lose the one he has come to love.

Murder, mystery, underground tunnels, and romance are intertwined in this standalone romantic thriller, the second installment of the McAllister Justice Series.

Confusion and pain intertwined to delay Kaylee’s escape from the depths of a nightmare. Her subconscious’ attempt to alert her to some horror or another had been common the past two years, but this time the warning came with physical characteristics she couldn’t ignore.

The pain was an unwelcome element for which she could not account.

Cozy flannel sheets had never felt so rough under her cheek, nor had her head ached from a glass of wine. Despite the tomboy tag since adolescence, she appreciated certain creature comforts. The rough material scratching her face didn’t number among them.

A quiet foreboding swelled within that fuzzy twilight between the dream state and the hazy stages of surfing to consciousness. Sleep would be welcome if not for the musty odor and an undefined menace crowding her mind. Her brow furrowed as her pulse increased, awareness mounting with each painful throb.

Why is there dirt in my bed and what the hell is wrong with this mattress?

With each erratic contraction of her heart, the tension in her head increased, ratcheting like the shell around a drumhead until pain reverberated along every nerve. In grim anticipation, she reached to touch her temple. A crusty line of fibrous, threadlike strands crumbled in her brow line and snaked down to her ear.

Blood? What the hell?

Moving back to Portland had entailed a certain degree of compromise, yet shouldn’t include a cotton-mouth morning. This was too much. A light finger-comb revealed a large tangled knot and a painful lump over her ear.

Did I fall off the mattress and hit my head?

“Hey, kid. Wake up, damn it. Hurry.”

The harsh whisper embodied urgency and desperation that replicated and swelled within her chest.

What the fuck? The voice in her head wasn’t her own. Enlightenment would come after punching through the suffocating fog and fully emerging in the suddenly hostile world. Stabbing pain accompanied the dingy light spearing her eyes after cautiously lifting one lid.

A blur of flashbacks included sitting in an outdoor riverfront café enjoying the sunset with her favorite camera nestled in her lap. Snapping the riot of colors slipping into the ocean had equaled the day’s highpoint, nature’s way of assuring her she’d made the right decision in moving to Portland.

Now, for reasons evading memory, her gaze soft-focused on a scene defying logic.

“Kid, open your eyes before it’s too late. Grab the small rock by your head. Hide it behind you.”

Okaaay, evil mini me is crazy, and I will never drink wine again.

Five minutes of silence would help her collect her thoughts and allow time to search her virtual portfolio for whatever was causing the nausea-producing pests in her brain and stomach. Each vied for the position of top party host. Intuition whispered taking that time would be her undoing.

Instead of the distant hustle and bustle of city life swarming her senses, Kaylee found the intense quiet more disturbing than the harsh whisper. “Wait…what rock?”

Fragments of her surroundings wavered in and out of focus. Brick walls smeared with dirt were partially visible through the horizontal bars.

Horizontal bars?

She reached with shaking fingers to touch the rusted metal cylinders then tried to rattle them. They didn’t budge. A cramp in her thigh from resting in a semi-fetal position grew in intensity while her feet crowded against hard, cylindrical surfaces and prevented her from stretching out.

More bars.

She didn’t have the strength to yell.

The quick, indrawn breath was also not her own. “C’mon you stupid kid. Knock that off, or we’re both dead.”

A shower of dirt sprinkling her face and hair made her cough, the resultant sandy inhalation perpetuating the cycle.

The collaborative dream, having taken a southern turn into hell, brought another wave of anxiety along with nausea. Each of her senses plunged deeper into a dark abyss, taking logic and rational thought through a twisted, interactive roller-coaster ride.

Disorientation, chaos, and the first stirrings of panic took root like a well-fertilized seed that sent its growing tendrils sliding deep within the earth.

Loose dirt and small rocks covered the hard base and abraded her shoulder as she moved to a cramped position on her back. The changed perspective brought enlightenment.

That’s why the bars were horizontal.

“Fuck.” Details assimilated sluggishly. Dirt-covered metal comprised a bed, but it wasn’t in her apartment. Walls of brick as seen through her cage, lack of windows, and stale, dank air, pointed to an underground zip code.

Micro currents ferried a thick, putrid scent and muffled the faint, eerie groans of venting tunnels.

“What’s your name?” Again, a whisper twisted with annoyance and despair saturated the air.

Halting breaths and extreme concentration staved off the blind terror threatening her sanity.

“Kaylee. My name is Kaylee.” Slowly, she searched for the irritating heckler.

“Listen up, Kaylee. The bastard who took you is gonna be back soon, probably looking for a bit of afternoon delight. And he won’t be asking. He kidnapped you, too. I don’t know why.”

Kaylee’s befuddled mind took in more of her surroundings, low ceiling, dirt floor, cramped, cave-like room, and the caged, bedraggled woman three feet away. Purple and black surrounded her right eye and busted lip. Her shirt front hung in tatters, the ripped flannel exposing a large bruise above her breast.

“How long have we been here?” A torch along the wall cast flickering shadows over the adjoining cage, just short of her own.

Flickering—indicates an air current.

“The last thing I remember is shopping.” Tears trailed down the petite blonde’s mud-streaked alabaster cheeks which sharply contrasted the bruises marring her face.

“There’s a slight breeze coming from—that way.” Kaylee strained to see where the tunnel led. Pitch black. Some apparitional entity scuttled in the darkness beyond the seedy illumination and left the impression of ghostly stalkers. Stalkers that chittered in the dark. I’d rather see the boogeyman than rats. “We seem to be in an underground room?”

“Yeah. I think so. I woke up just like you, but the bastard tied my hands before my head cleared.” A sob choked further words as the victim’s wide eyes flickered around the room.

A cursory exploration of the small perimeter marked the filthy, tight confines, then the small, sharp-edged rock which fit in her palm. Instinct saw her sliding it behind her. Mud covered her jeans and colored her T-shirt and jacket. Bathing was the least of her worries.

“Someone slipped us a roofie.” Bruises, tattered flannel, and bound wrists conveyed the woman’s recent past.

Kaylee’s continued scrutiny yielded no clues of how to escape her dilemma. Even if she could squeeze her hand and arm through the bars’ two-inch gaps, she didn’t have the strength or leverage to break the heavy-duty padlock securing her prison.

“Yes. Yes. But at least you’re not tied up, yet.” The girl lifted her hands to reveal a double loop, plastic cuff. “See if you can break out.”

Release Date: Nov 12

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TENDER ECHOES

A Dark Prequel to Digital Velocity

Theft of spirit is no one’s birthright.

A quirk of her X chromosome furnished Alexis with an edge few others enjoyed. After fate plunged her into orphan status and an intolerable foster home forced her to the streets, a group of prostitutes sheltered her from their vicious pimp. Seeing something special within, they nurtured and shielded her from their harsh reality until she could forge her own path in life.

Destiny frequently takes us back to our roots. Lexi’s return journey begins when a serial killer attacks one of her adopted sisters. Relying on courage and wit, she must stay a step ahead and secure evidence to free her family from a psychopathic murderer.

DIGITAL VELOCITY

Book 1

The deadliest weapons are the ones we never see.

Keyboard prodigy, Lexi Donovan has risen from teenage orphan of the streets to complete independence with little help along the way. When a pervert threatens her friend, she sends an anonymous message to police, leading to a firefight that leaves a cop wounded.

Detective Ethan McAllister’s well-ordered life turned upside down the day an obscure text message led to a sexual predator’s identity and arrest. Since then, Callouston PD’s finest can’t trace the elusive hacker. The latest tip leads him to a brutal mutilation and a riddle indicating the identity of the next murder victim.

The dark net houses a playground for the morally depleted and criminally insane. When Lexi discovers the killer’s digital betting arena, she finds herself centered in a cyber stalker’s crosshairs, a psychopath bearing equal talent.

Street life strengthened Lexi while toughening her protective shell, but nothing could shield her from the shrewd detective forging a path to her heart.

Reily’s employment as an ICU nurse, private investigator, and work in the military police has given her countless experiences in a host of different environments to add a real world feel to her fiction.

Though her kids are her life, writing is Reily’s life after. The one enjoyed…after the kids are in bed or after they’re in school and the house is quiet. This is the time she kicks back with laptop and lapdog to give her imagination free rein.

In life, hobbies can come and go according to our physical abilities, but you can always enjoy a good book. Life isn’t perfect, but our imaginations can be. Relax, whether it’s in front of a fire or in your own personal dungeon. Take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee with your best friend (even if he’s four legged). Life is short. Cherish your time.

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The Solitary Apocalypse

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The Solitary Apocalypse by Jeff Haws

standalone
Genre: suspense/dystopian/thriller
Release date: October 21st, 2017add-to-goodreads

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Synopsis

Surrounded by people, Michael is alone.

Along with the rest of a North Georgia town that survived a deadly worldwide plague, Michael’s forced to wear a steel ring around his waist wherever he goes. He’s seen cohabitation banned. Marriages dissolved. Families torn apart.

But he’s a good soldier, supporting the leader’s draconian policies — until he learns an explosive secret about her that threatens to destroy the delicate balance they’ve achieved between safety and order.

Now, Michael must enlist help to confront the awful truth about the town of Alessandra, and the fate of what may be the last human colony on Earth.

Sneak peek

Within two months of the virus taking hold, whole cities started going dark; within four months, federal and local governments had lost control of what populace was left. By the six-month mark from the first mentions of the plague in the media, that same media was mostly blacked out around the world; in Alessandra, they were either alone or forgotten by the rest of civilization.

It was at this point that Dr. Richard Giles told her he completed his research, and determined that the virus was spread via physical touch. He said he thought other doctors were missing this because they were probably too overwhelmed to study touch in a comprehensive manner. He also said his study determined there was reason to believe the virus could lay dormant for some period of time, so people could be asymptomatic but still contagious. Audrey hailed this as a major breakthrough but, by this time, they had no way to communicate with anyone else. Still, the information had the potential to save Alessandra. She determined that keeping people from touching each other might keep the town safe. With cities and towns throughout the world being decimated and abandoned, anything was worth a shot.

She found, though, that this was an impossible policy to enforce. How do you tell people they can’t touch the ones they love? Even if you tell them, what do you do to prevent it from happening? She knew almost immediately it would require a series of changes that would be received harshly by the citizens, and could crush whatever mandate to leadership she had. But she also knew it was absolutely necessary, and she could be a hero if she could sell them on that idea.

“I know this isn’t what you all want to hear,” she said from a podium in the town square one chilly January evening, as the plague’s progress brought it closer and closer to their isolated town. “But I’m tasked with maintaining order in this town and protecting its citizens from threats, and sometimes that means telling you difficult truths. The fact is we’re still here right now, and that’s more than most of the world can say as I stand before you today. Remaining here is going to be trying on even the strongest of us. It’s going to take collective sacrifice. It’s going to take cooperation and brotherhood. Determination and grit. You’re going to have to want a life more than you want this particular life, for the time being. You’re going to have to accept changes you never thought you’d have to accept, and be part of something greater than yourself, greater than your family, greater than everything you already know. That’s the price to be part of a rebirth. I want you all to follow me there.

“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. My friends, I believe that’s true, today more than ever. I stand before you today to bear witness that we can do this. We can live. We can fight another day, and come out the other side of this nightmare stronger, more together than ever before. Will you follow me? Will you be a part of this?”

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Make sure you join Jeff’s Launch Team so you don’t miss out on his week of celebrations!

Jeff Haws

Author bio

Jeff Haws is a long-time journalist who has turned his writing eye to fiction. This is his second published novel and fourth published book. His first novel, “Killing the Immortals,” was published in 2016, along with the novellas “Tomorrow’s News Today” and “The Slingshot.” Over the past 20 years, his writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Miami Herald, Arizona Republic, New Orleans Times-Picayune, and many other publications. He lives with his wife in Atlanta, Georgia.

Author links

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The Mother-In-Law

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW

by Judy Moore

 

Genre: Thriller Suspense

After a whirlwind romance, a young woman from California makes a rash decision and marries a handsome Floridian after knowing him for only one month.

She gives up everything she knows to move cross country to live with her new husband, a widower, and his five-year-old son.

Everything seems idyllic until they arrive at her husband’s oceanfront home, and she meets her mother-in-law. There’s something strange about the woman and the mother/son relationship.

It’s not long before her suspicions begin to overwhelm her as she becomes ensnared in the secrets and lies of her new family.

Victoria stepped out onto the patio, ambled around the pool, and stood at the gate, gazing out at the moonlit beach and listening to the waves crash against the shore. She inhaled the moist sea air and basked in the soft touch of the salty air against her skin.

The cool night air felt refreshing until she realized goose bumps had begun to appear on her arms and then across her entire body. Something was off, and it was giving her chills. She had a feeling that she wasn’t alone. A sixth sense told her that someone was watching her.

Her body tensed, and she squinted out into the darkness. Scanning the patio, she slowly turned around toward the house. Then she saw her, saw her silhouette, standing in the window staring down at her. Her mother-in-law didn’t move away from the window, didn’t wave, but just stood and stared down at Victoria. Victoria held her gaze for what seemed like at least a minute. Then, finally, the drape slid across the window, and her mother-in-law was gone.

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Judy Moore writes primarily mysteries and thrillers, as well as lighter family fiction. A longtime news writer, editor, and magazine feature writer, her fiction and nonfiction work has been published in numerous national publications. Her novels are published by BTGN publishers. A lifelong Florida resident, she is a former tennis pro and sports writer, so her stories sometimes have a sports backdrop. Her novel “Somebody Killed the Cart Girl” is a golf mystery, and her “Murder in Vail” is set on the ski slopes of Colorado. Her Christmas anthology “Christmas Interrupted,” contains three popular novellas: “Airport Christmas,” “The Holiday House Sitter,” and “The Hitchhiker on Christmas Eve.” An earlier novella, “Birds of Prey,” and her new novelette “Football Blues,” are also available on Amazon.

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Tunnel Rat

 

Title: Tunnel Rat
Author: John M. Ward
Genre: Fiction – Thrillers/Suspense, Action/Adventure
Formats: Paperback & eBook
Published by: CreateSpace
ISBN-13: 9781546942382
Pub. Date: July 18, 2017
Number of pages: 339
Content Warning: N/A
Purchase at: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Smashwords and Barnes&Noble.com

 

Author Bio: John Morris Ward is a professional architect and author. He also loves anything that has to do with water and the ocean, including sailing, scuba diving, fishing, and spearfishing. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

Book Synopsis: When former US Army captain Eric Tucker decided to visit Old City in Jerusalem with his daughter and granddaughter, he thought it would be a chance to get some family time with his girls and enjoy his retirement. But when a terrorist organization threatens his family’s safety, Captain Tucker must reach into his past in order to survive. Can he do so without becoming the cold-blooded killer he once was?

Emir Farouk is falling on hard times, and the loyalty that once came so easily to him is dwindling. When an old man and a teenage girl from America appear in his sights, he believes it is a sign and orders his men to kidnap them. But things don’t go as planned…

What follows is an intense cat-and-mouse game between a powerful terrorist cell and one man who’s determined to protect his family, the woman he loves, and his ship. Captain Tucker can’t—and won’t—give in, even if it means returning to the man who led an elite unit of soldiers into claustrophobic tunnels after their enemies with nothing but flashlights, knives, and pistols: the infamous Tunnel Rats.

Find and follow John on his: website, Twitter and Facebook Page.

Book tour page so you readers can follow along: http://www.nurtureyourbooks.com/upcoming-nurture-book-tour-tunnel-rat-by-john-m-ward/