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Sneak Peek Monday: A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce (light romantic suspense)

A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce Today’s Sneak Peek is A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce – a romantic suspense with a light touch. This is Book 1 in the Men in Uniform Series for Lachesis Publishing

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Prudence Hartley has the usual single mom problems: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day’s work done; oh, and don’t forget about dinner.

But Pru’s problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact. Suddenly, a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody. Pru has so many questions spinning through her brain she doesn’t know where to begin. How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are the spies after her? Oh, and there’s one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective?

EXCERPT:

Maybe he was just doing his job, but Sergeant Merrick was my hero. He coordinated the paramedics, police, ambulance attendants, and an intrepid reporter who came running when three ambulances, an EMT truck from the fire department and half a dozen police cruisers congregated at the hotel. More importantly, at least to me, he calmed Hope and Boone, assuring them that their mother was fine, even if she was sitting with her head between her knees, holding a bloody towel. He got them clear of the chaos and made sure they got safely to their father’s with a police escort.

“I’ll have a uniformed officer stay with them overnight.” he assured.

Once they were away, Merrick signalled the next set of ambulance attendants to help me onto a stretcher.

“We meet again.”

I focussed on the speaker. It took me a moment, but I connected the dots. He checked on us the night before.

“Bob,” he said, in case I forgot.

I nodded. “I remember.”

“It looks like you were wrong,” he said as he helped me onto the stretcher. “Bullet wounds are catching.”

Flashing his badge, Merrick managed to get to us shortly after we arrived at the hospital. He made sure Zeke and I were kept together and stayed with us, even after repeatedly being told by the attending nurses to leave. Then, when we were alone, Merrick asked the big question. “What happened?”

I knew what he was really asking.

“Why didn’t I hide in the bathroom with Hope and Boone? You think I didn’t lock the door properly, but I put the security bar on and everything. I called you as soon as I could. What took you so long?”

I took a dive off the edge of rationality into the deep end of guilt and second-guessing. I burst into tears. I hate it when that happens.

“Give her a break, Sarge,” said Zeke, raising himself up on his good elbow. “She saved my life.”

Merrick, who had taken my outburst calmly, raised an eyebrow.

“Well,” Zeke temporised, “she intended to save my life. She couldn’t know that I had moved out of the line of fire.” He tried to sit up. “I know, I never should have been in his line of fire in the first place . . . probably should stick to the backroom stuff . . .”

In the midst of my sobbing and Zeke’s self-flagellation, Merrick told us to calm down.

Big mistake. That might have worked on Zeke. Don’t know. Wasn’t paying attention. For me, it was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. All my fear and guilt transformed into anger directed at him. I grabbed him by the shirt-front and pulled myself up with the strength that comes with hysteria.

“I’m not a cop. I’m a mother,” I shouted, hopping bare footed onto the cold floor. “I didn’t hide with my children because I figured that whoever it was, they were looking for me. If they found me, they wouldn’t go looking for my kids too. I didn’t know if you’d get there in time to stop Hope and Boone from becoming hostages and I wasn’t going to risk it. I wasn’t going to risk Zeke dying either and I would have done the same for you.”

I spoke in a rush, losing volume and air as I went, losing momentum as I realized the attention I was drawing. Not one of my shining moments.

I started to collapse. I tried to steady myself using my handhold on Merrick’s shirt. He grabbed my shoulders to brace me. He didn’t lose his cool for an instant.

“Call a nurse,” he told Zeke. “She’s bleeding.”

I gave a choke of laughter. There were at least two nurses, an orderly, and three men in uniform ranged behind Merrick.

My vision got blurry. I blinked to clear it, refocused, and noticed that Merrick was wearing red and green plaid pyjamas. I let go of his top and smoothed out the soft material.

“Flannel,” I said, and passed out.

Like what you’ve read so far? You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

ABOUT ALISON BRUCE:

Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. In addition to writing, she is the Publication Manager of Crime Writers of Canada and part-time tech guru to the technology-impaired.

Alison writes mysteries, romantic suspense and historical romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations and to learn from adversity–traits she hopes to pass on to her children, Kate and Sam.

You can connect with Alison on her website and on facebook and twitter.

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Sneak Peek Monday: Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia (YA paranormal)

CROSSED-OUT-COVERToday’s Sneak Peek is from the YA paranormal Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia.

What it’s About:

Following the light can’t be that hard, right? So why don’t the dead just do it and leave Stephanie Stewart alone?

However nothing is ever as simple as it should be, as Stephanie learns when her hidden ‘gift’ becomes more than a nuisance, quickly turning unto a liability.

If she can’t learn to trust someone with her secret, the world as she knows it will go to hell. Literally. But if she doesn’t choose wisely, she might just end up learning firsthand how hard it is to follow that light.

Because she’s next on the list to be crossed out.

EXCERPT:

I couldn’t deal with Mom and her holier-than-thou attitude about decorating crosses. If she had any clue why I needed to do this, maybe she’d back off.

I pushed my hair aside and looked down at the wooden beams. My box of Sharpie pens lay close to my side. I had to get the design just right. Roses, or something plainer? It didn’t help that it was so cold in the garage.

Why was it so hard to help the dead go to the other side? It’d be a whole lot easier if they told me what they wanted on their crosses. Dead girl comes, asks for help, and tells me she’s into pink roses. Yes, that would make my job a lot easier.

But one thing I’ve learned is, life isn’t easy. Cliché, but true.

Figures, this was how I’d spend my time on a Saturday – sitting cross-legged on the floor in our garage, worrying about finishing a cross for some dead girl. In a few hours, Mom would drag me to Mrs. Swanson’s house for a sleepover. I didn’t really have time to decorate a cross.

And each time I tried to sketch, thoughts of the meeting drove any thought of the design out of my mind. I mean, how could I even think of helping others – albeit dead ones – when my own life was such a disaster?

I didn’t want to go. But Mom was using the whole sleepover as a way to get me to be around Hillary, whom she thought would be such a good example for me. But I couldn’t tell my mother the truth – I hated Hillary. Yes, we’d once been close, but it wasn’t as if we were BFFs anymore. No, Hillary made sure of that when I was stupid enough to trust her with my secret. A secret that was better left hidden. No one believed the dead could talk to you.

According to my last counselor, the only way that could happen is through serious Steven Spielberg special effects.

When I admitted to seeing one of my dead friends, he didn’t freak. No, he did something worse. He ended up suggesting to my parents that I needed to see a doctor – for serious psychological help. I mean, only crazy people see the dead.

And, I hate to say this, but the anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants don’t keep them away. Sometimes I wished the drug cocktail could just erase them. It sure would make my life a lot easier.

Sighing, I decided to go with pink roses. What girl didn’t like pink?

A sudden coldness permeated the garage. Jeez did Dad forget to close the back door again?

I pulled my hoodie tighter. Working in near darkness was bad enough without the drop in temperature.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

I dropped my black Sharpie.

Over in the corner of the garage loose papers and dust whirled around – a funnel growing larger and larger.

A light shone next to Mom’s holiday plastic boxes, illuminating some Christmas ornaments, tinsel, and wrapping paper.

“Stephanie…careful….”

The childish voice grew louder. A chill went up my back. I know that voice!

I blinked once and when I opened my eyes I saw the girl. Her long dirty blond hair was clumped into two pigtails, and her bikini top and cut-off Levis brought back memories of the YMCA pool three years ago where I‘d spent my summers.

Allison!

Omigod! I pushed the wooden cross aside. A tingling sensation burned through my whole body. Once I helped a dead person cross over, that was supposed to end the whole rescue scenario. The bright light appeared and poof! Well, not this time.

I scooted away, over the rough, cold pavement. This didn’t make sense. Though I was used to visits from the ―other‖ side, having Allison reappear scared me. I didn‘t know what to do.

“Allison, why are you here?” My voice broke.

She took a step toward me. Her lips trembled. “Careful…danger….”

Danger? Did that mean her murderer was out of prison? Just the thought of that perv touching or killing someone else made me want to hurl.

“No… another….”

Someone else?

“Allison, what are you trying to tell me?” I slowly got up off the ground. “Is the guy who killed you, out?”

Allison shook her head. It still freaked me out how much the dead looked like us, not fuzzy or semi- transparent like they show on TV. The ones I helped still looked the way they had when they‘d been killed, complete with all the blood and stuff.

Yet here was Allison. She should be in Heaven singing in one of those heavenly choirs Mom always talked about.

I bit my hangnail, ripping it off. I couldn‘t deal with this. Not now.

“Careful….”

The wind picked up, tossing loose papers everywhere. None of this affected Allison.

I had so many questions to ask her. I missed her. I knew she‘d understand me, even when others – including my mom – were clueless.

“Allison, what‘s it like to be…?”

The wind howled drowning out her answer. And just as quickly, Allison left.
I felt as if something had punched me in the stomach. I pushed back the sickness threatening to escape.

What was going on? But even worse, I didn’t know what to do. One thing had been made perfectly clear. The rules had all changed and no one bothered to give me the new players’ guide.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Crossed Out at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon, Barnes and NobleKobo, or iTunes.

Connect with Kim Baccellia on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

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Sneak Peek Monday: Death Gone Awry by J.M. Griffin (cozy mystery)

Death Gone AwryOur Sneak Peek Monday features Death Gone Awry, Book 6 of the Vinnie Esposito Series by J.M. Griffin. It’s a killer of a cozy mystery!

Get Death Gone Awry from Lachesis Publishing, or on amazon, BN Nookkobo, or iBooks.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

This is what Vinnie Esposito knows: When you see a guy floating in the water, you jump in and save him. You don’t stop to ask if he’s connected to the mob. Unfortunately for Vinnie, he is. And now she’s in trouble. Again.

Her boyfriend, hunky State Trooper Marcus Richmond, is fed up with Vinnie’s misadventures, not to mention that every mobster in town seems to know who she is. At least Vinnie knows she can rely on her best friend Lola Trapezi to whip up some delicious dinner at her deli. She also knows Lola is always ready to help, even if it means getting into some hot water herself.

Everything Vinnie knows and doesn’t know—including how she really feels about her sexy friend and upstairs tenant FBI Agent Aaron Grant, and whether her dad really is connected to the mob—is all up in the air. And what Vinnie doesn’t know, might just get her killed.

EXCERPT:

Please don’t be dead.

I peered at the floating body as I stripped off my jacket and ran toward the water. Frigid temperatures and freezing waist-deep water numbed my skin, leaving me with uncontrollable shakes as I hauled the body toward shore. Struggling against strong winds and soggy clothing that hugged my skin, I slogged on. His clothing drenched, he grew heavier and heavier as we drew closer to land.

Blood floated halo-like around his dark hair, leaving a trail behind us. While blood is my least favorite thing in the whole world, I doggedly ignored it in order to get this stranger ashore. My stomach hadn’t revolted from the sight of it, not yet anyway, and I guessed I was safe. In shallow water, he became heavier still, and my breathing labored at the strain of his weight. Land was within reach. So what if it just happened to be a cemetery, big deal.

In good physical shape, I stand just short of six feet, tall for a woman, but I take after my aunt Livvy. I’m not a weakling either, though my struggle to pull this inconsiderate fool ashore tested my strength. We finally reached dry ground. Shivering and puffing from exertion, I dragged him by his arms and flipped him onto his back.

Pale, cold skin stretched tight across his prominent features. He wasn’t dead pale, so I dropped down onto my knees and felt his neck for a carotid pulse. Pressing an ear against his chest, I listened for a heartbeat before I checked for breathing. With my cheek near his nose, I didn’t feel any warmth from his breath. I should have known better, I’m never that lucky.

My jacket lay on the ground where I’d flung it before wading into the bitter and still wintry water of the Scituate Reservoir. With fingers stiffened from my recent drenching, I fumbled in the dry jacket pocket for my cell phone. I dialed 9-1-1 and set the phone on speaker mode. In the time it took for the operator to answer, I had started CPR. I’m not trained as a professional life-saver, but I’m certified to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Besides, I figured the guy had nothing left to lose.

A distant male voice echoed as I counted chest compressions. His voice droned from the speaker as he asked what the problem was.

“I’m performing CPR on a guy who drowned in the Scituate Reservoir. Send me some help. I’m in the cemetery behind the church in Scituate village.”

“What church would that be, ma’am?”

“The only damned church with a full-on cemetery behind it.” I breathed into the man’s lungs and started counting compressions once again.

“Ma’am, that isn’t enough information. What is your name and present location?” The voice was calm. I was not.

“One and two and three and four and five and . . .” I counted and breathed, counted and breathed. Silently, I prayed this man wasn’t beyond help.

The cool, collected dispatcher waited for enlightenment. Of course he wasn’t soaked to the skin, freezing his ass off, performing CPR on a dead guy, and trying to talk all at the same time, either. I could have used a break here.

“Listen up,” I yelled toward the phone, “alert the freaking North Scituate Fire Station and tell them to help me, Vinnie Esposito. They’ll know who, and where, I am.” I ignored the man’s babbling and multi-tasked for another moment.

Seconds later, sirens blared as trucks left the station less than a quarter mile away. Sound carried in the small rural village, edged by the reservoir. Within those same seconds, my victim coughed, spewing water and saliva onto my clothes as I leaned over him.

How lucky could I get?

Turning him on his side, I watched the bedraggled man while blood continued to dribble from his head wound. Folding my legs beneath me, I leaned back and listened to him haul ragged gulps of air into his lungs. His breathing steadied as color flowed into his face. I huffed and puffed, shivered and shook, while watching the man become stronger with every breath.

Fire and rescue trucks halted at the top of the slope. I glanced over my shoulder. The rescue team was heading toward us at a run. Relief spread through me like warmth from a crackling fire.

Thank God.

Bill MacNert, an old timer at the fire station, approached. His lips always held a secret smile and I never could figure out what went on behind his twinkling eyes. I’d known him and his family for what seemed like forever. He drew closer, his eyes on me, while shaking his head back and forth.

Directing the younger men toward the victim on the ground, as though they didn’t already know what they were doing, I moved back and smiled at Bill.

“Leave it to you.” He smirked.

“Hey, I did my good deed for the day,” I said and took the emergency blanket a team member handed me.

The EMS crew knew their stuff. They worked on the floater and then loaded him into the rescue. A large bandage was wrapped around his head, heavy blankets were piled over him, and an oxygen mask covered his nose and mouth. I watched the rescue move away, figuring the stranger was fortunate indeed.

Eyeing me with a keen gaze, MacNert asked, “Ya know this fella?”

“Never laid eyes on him until today.” Shivering, I walked toward my coat where it lay in a jumbled pile on the ground. I glanced around and realized that I’d hardly visited with my dead aunt.

There’s always tomorrow, Livvy.

Visits to Aunt Livvy usually occurred when my life had turned to crap or I’d managed to stick my way too curious nose some place it didn’t belong. I would unload my woes onto her grave and feel better for having done so. Livvy isn’t a ghost or anything. Don’t get me wrong, she’s as dead as they come, but it just gives me comfort to know I can come here and talk. She had always been a great listener. I missed that the most now she was gone.

A local cop arrived on the scene. Slowly, I hiked up the slope toward the road, my feet squishing in soggy sneakers while drenched jeans chafed my skin. Dressed in winter attire, with a heavy jacket and husky boots to keep his dry feet warm, I envied the cop. Knowing full well that he would want a report, I sauntered forward. Gosh, I was cold, shivering so hard my teeth chattered nonstop. After all, it was only the beginning of March, and in Rhode Island, it’s a cold, wet month.

“Are you Lavinia Esposito?” The officer stared at me.

“The one and only.”

His narrowed eyes held a doubtful gleam, but I ignored it. Cops tend to be suspicious about everyone and everything. I know this for a fact, since I teach criminal justice at a local university to cops, or po-pos as they’re called, and to security personnel, nicknamed wannabes by the cops. Often, a few legal students take my classes as well, which, in turn, creates an interesting, yet kindergarten-like atmosphere. The egos alone are a challenge when it’s time for order in the classroom. I know they’re adults, but it doesn’t always seem as if they know it.

“Did you see the accident?”

“No, I heard a splash. Branches snapped, and I went to see what happened. The guy was floating face down in the water.”

His wary expression never left my face. “What were you doing here?”

Like what you’ve read? 

Get Death Gone Awry from Lachesis Publishing, or on amazon, BN Nookkobo, or iBooks.

Cheers! and Happy Reading.

J.M. Griffin. is the author of two cozy mystery series for Lachesis Publishing. The popular (and sexy) Vinnie Esposito series and the fun (and yummy) Deadly Bakery series.

Connect with J.M. Griffin on social media: twitter, web site, facebook

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Sneak Peek Monday: Ghosts of Glory by Morgan Chalfant (urban fantasy, paranormal)

Ghosts of Glory 453x680Today’s Sneak Peek is a brand new release from the urban fantasy/paranormal Ghosts of Glory by Morgan Chalfant.

What It’s About:

Jersey “The Brawler” Romero is dying. Slowly. Tediously. Not the way he thought he would go out on the savage streets of Glory, the Twilight City. But all of that is about to change when Jersey is granted his youth again by a messenger of the Twilight Goddess, the Spirit of Glory. He’s also given a mission: save Glory from the dark forces that are bent on destroying her.

Jersey’s been a fighter his whole life, whether it was on the streets where he struggled to survive, or in prison where he fought to stay alive. Glory never gave him anything without a battle, and that’s what he’s always loved about his beloved city. But nothing has prepared him for the war that’s coming. Monster-like creatures masked as humans are bent on exterminating him. Their leader is a mysterious man named Templar. He’s been amassing an underground army called The Black Crux. Templar wants to make Glory his, by laying waste to everyone who stands in his way. Possessing an almost otherworldly vision, Templar knows everything about Jersey, including an explosive secret that will blast away everything Jersey has ever believed.

But Jersey isn’t called “The Brawler” for nothing. He’s determined to fight Templar with everything he’s got. Because he’s not just fighting for his life, he’s fighting for Glory’s very soul.

READ AN EXCERPT:

We’re standing on the roof of Skript and Abigail hasn’t said a word in five minutes. She dragged me up here with such urgency, I figured the show would have started by now.

Sitting down in a damp lawn chair, I wait. Patience and I have nothing to say to each other, but Abigail has me intrigued so I let her have all the time she needs. It’s not easy opening up doors that have been locked for so long, especially to strangers. If that’s what we still were. Maybe strange acquaintance is a better term.

The view from the rooftop is actually quite beautiful. Rarely can the word beauty describe Glory. What little good happens to someone here, happens at the expense of someone else’s pain. Surprisingly, the night is peaceful. It’s never peaceful in Glory, so there’s obviously something off, but I don’t have the time nor the inclination to worry about it at the moment. It’s just the cone of silence. The calm before the storm. Strangely, I’m the calm. Abigail is the surging storm.

My eyes fall from the billions of firefly buildings to a sight more pleasing. Abigail stands looking up at the moon. It’s a waxing half-moon, but there’s still enough light for decent visibility. I watch her take off her leather jacket and pull off the gloves and drop them at her feet. Before my eyes, strange symbols begin to appear on her forearms and hands. The spaghetti strap top she’s wearing leaves much of her neck visible where more symbols begin to shimmer. Spiral patterns. They resemble some sort of tribal ink, but they begin to glow like lanterns in the dark. It’s an eerie, beautiful blue light. Cerulean, turquoise, and sapphire.

I stand up and move closer as Abigail turns around. I can see her face now. The incandescent markings have spiraled up her cheeks, climbing like staircases up to her eyes. Both her eyes shimmer inhumanly, one golden amber, the other a pool of twinkling emerald. Her breathing is erratic, she shakes, like she’s frightened I’m going to run away or grimace at the sight of her.

“Th-this . . . is me.” She stutters. “What . . . what I was talking about.”

Before I know it, she’s reaching for her jacket to cover herself. I spring forward and stop her, grasping her firmly by the shoulders. She looks up at me like she’s a monster that should be cowering in darkness. She won’t look at me. I can’t help but wonder who ever looked at her and cringed. Who made her feel so malformed? It’s perfectly clear to me she’s not the abomination she considers herself to be. She’s the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. It’s not every day a street devil like me gets to behold a shimmering angel.

I move my hands to her cheeks, rubbing my thumbs over the glittering markings. There’s no textural difference. Her skin is as soft as cashmere. Her radiance is overwhelming. Her glow envelops me.

“My God,” I whisper. “You’re beautiful.”

Like what you’ve read? You can purchase Ghosts of Glory by Morgan Chalfant at  Lachesis Publishing, Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

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Sneak Peek Monday: Hybrid by Greg Ballan (science fiction horror thriller)

hybridToday’s Sneak Peek is the science fiction/suspense thriller Hybrid by Lachesis Publishing author, Greg Ballan (Book 1 in the Hybrid series)

Where you can get Hybrid Lachesis Publishingamazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

What it’s about:

Erik Knight, a small time private investigator, always knew he was different from everybody else. Keener senses, heightened awareness and an enhanced physical strength that could be called upon by his sheer will.

Erik becomes involved with a team of high profile investigators and local police trying to locate a girl who was kidnapped in the middle of a playground amongst dozens of adults and children. None of the adults saw anything and what the children claim to have seen is too far fetched to be believed. The search evolves into a full-scale manhunt into the dark and desolate woodlands of the Hopedale Mountain.

After a lethal encounter and a fatality, Erik, the investigators and police realize that what they’re dealing with isn’t a man and possibly isn’t of this world. What they’re dealing with is a sentient evil that has an appetite for young children.

EXCERPT:

“Erik!” Shanda whispered in alarm. “Something’s here, stalking the girls. I can’t see it, but I can sense it.”

Erik looked throughout the park grounds, focusing his vision, but he couldn’t see anything. Fifty yards away, the children played unaware of anything but their innocent fun. Erik walked quickly over to where the party was, Shanda following close behind him. As he closed the distance he noticed that his daughter was staring at something and pointing. Erik looked in the direction she was pointing and saw a patch of darkness. His mind shrieked with panic and he ran toward his daughter, screaming for the other girls to leave the park area. The girls looked at the direction Brianna was pointing at and froze. They were terrified, frozen into inaction.

After a quick sprint, Erik was beside his daughter. Several of the other mothers had gone to their children as they all pointed out the closing patch of darkness.

“Get your children back!” Erik commanded. “It wants your children.”

Mothers and children were panicking. Children were crying with fright as the afternoon sun seemed to dim and the temperature in the park suddenly dropped twenty degrees. Brianna hadn’t moved since Erik came by her side.

“What do you see, honey?” he whispered.

Brianna’s eyes were transfixed on the corner of the park. Her finger still pointed in that direction. “It’s a tall man, I think. I can tell that it wants me. It’s calling to me, Daddy. I’m scared. Please don’t let it take me. I can tell it wants to take me.” She screamed in mindless terror.

Erik reached behind his back and pulled his Ruger from its place of concealment. He wrapped both arms protectively around his daughter, his gun pointing in the direction of her finger.

“Bri, point me in the right direction. I won’t let it hurt you. No one is taking you anywhere.”

She gently guided his hands so that the pistol was aiming at the heart of the dark anomaly.

“Daddy,” she whispered, “it’s coming right for us.”

“Go back with Shanda and the others, now!” he told her.

“Daddy, I don’t want to leave you.”

“Go, honey! Please,” he whispered. “Shanda!” Erik shouted, breaking the eerie silence. “Take Brianna.”

Shanda came up quickly and took Brianna. “I can just barely see it, Erik; it’s just like you described. It stopped when you pulled the gun. All the children can see it, but the parents can’t. All they can see is the darkness, and they can feel the cold.”

From behind them, the ponies were shrieking in panic.

“All right, you two, get back!” Erik stood up. He holstered his weapon and began walking toward the darkness.

“I know you’re there!” Erik called out to the inky darkness. “Maybe you can hide from them, but you can’t hide from me!” Erik focused his eyes; concentrating his extra senses on the darkness as he continued forward. Slowly he saw the man-like figure materialize. The figure had stopped its approach and assumed an aggressive stance. Erik paused a scant twenty feet from it and assumed a basic combat stance he used in Kung Fu.

“You can’t have the children!” he shouted, his voice booming above the silence, challenging the being of darkness. “You can’t have my daughter or any other child here.”

The thing responded with silence. Erik finally saw the blood-red eyes looking right through him. He could feel the hatred, the sheer malevolence; yet, now he also felt desperation, a hunger that was beyond his ability to define. The hostility threatened to overwhelm him. Erik fought his own emotions, fought down his own fear and doubt. He knew he couldn’t defeat this thing physically, but he would not let it have his daughter or any other child there, not while he drew breath.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Hybrid right here at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and kobo.

To read some of Greg’s musings visit his writing page on facebook, for several short stories and pithy takes on yard work and homelife.

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Sneak Peek Monday: The Spinster and the Earl by Beverly Adam (Free! Regency historical romance)

THE SPINSTER AND THE EARL COVERToday’s sneak peek is from the historical romance (Regency romance) The Spinster and the Earl by Beverly Adam, and it’s FREE!

You can download the The Spinster and the Earl for free at Lachesis Publishing, amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

What it’s about:

Book 1 in the Gentlemen of Honor series

She was known as The Spinster of Brightwood Manor, and that suited Lady Beatrice O’Brien just fine.

She was happy being a spinster; happy running her father’s estates while amassing a fortune of her own; happy tending to the needs of her community; and most of all, she was happy not having a man around to tell her what to do.

But when Beatrice accidentally shoots her new neighbor, the Earl of Drennan, her life turns upside-down. Suddenly, this very arrogant gentleman, who also happens to be charming and attractive, makes himself at home at Brightwood Manor, and proceeds to court her!

Beatrice knows one thing for certain. Marriage will complicate her life. But falling in love? That’s an entirely different matter.

EXCERPT:

Faith, he really was one of the handsomest specimens of manhood she’d clapped eyes upon since the war against Boney started, despite that nasty looking scar he wore. She had to admit, even if he were a bit of a tiresome bore, he was pleasant to look upon.

Distracting herself from the sight of his almost bare chest, she nervously recited by rote her planned introductions. “Sir, I am Lady Beatrice O’Brien, mistress of this house. And this delicate beauty standing beside me is our healer, Mistress Sarah Duncan. I must add she’s the same witch who had the kindness to sew your leg up for you.”

Wise Sarah gave a deep curtsy and smiled warmly at him. Her light blue eyes, the same shade as bluebonnets, sparkled down at him in warm welcome.

“Indeed,” he said looking in astonishment at the lovely vision. She didn’t appear to be someone who’d choose to seek out the more unsavory parts of life, let alone be seen boiling a cauldron of eye of newt under a full moon.

“Mistress Sarah, you must amuse our patient here sometime with tales of how you manage to stay aloft at night on your broom,” said the lady of the house with a bemused smile. “I must tell you your patient is vastly interested in such witchery and would be delighted to be instructed about your more unusual practices.”

“Now, Lady Beatrice.” The pretty healer laughed in feigned indignation. For most of her life Wise Sarah had lived under superstitious peasant eyes. She knew the numerous wild tales concerning her adopted mother and herself.

“I’ve told ye before that we modern day hexes don’t use those uncomfortable conveyances anymore. Why they proved to be far too drafty and terribly dangerous to ourselves. What with one good gust of wind there’s been many a good hex that’s gotten herself lost over the North Sea.” She laughed and winked impishly at the lady of the house, relishing the silliness of her own tale. She and her adopted mother had never touched a broom, let alone tried to make it fly, except to clean their plain plank floor.

“Nay, dear lady and lord, we modern sorceresses ride about in smart pony carts these days like the rest o’ ye mortals. It being far saner and safer. Though ’tis true, less romantic.”

The stranger smiled at her quaint explanation, flashing a row of healthy teeth. “But all the same, ma’am, despite your being a witch. Demme, if I’m not grateful for the service you’ve rendered me by tending to my leg.”

The pretty healer blushed under the handsome English stranger’s praise. “It was nothing, sir. Truth be told, it was mostly Lady Beatrice here who did the work, putting your leg back into place and binding it tight like she did. Aye, ’tis she you ought to be looking to when giving your thanks.”

His arctic blue eyes turned themselves upon his nemesis, the lady of the house, or the “vanithee” as he’d heard the servants refer respectfully of her in whispers. She stood proudly erect wrapping her title as lady of the manor about her like a protective cloak. Her bright green eyes the same shade as new leaves, carefully watching and observing his every word and gesture, her body rigid in anticipation to what he would say. It would be quite easy for him to slight her in front of the wise woman if he wished. But he did not.

“Tell me, is there no master of the house to greet me?” he asked, wondering if the lady was married, intrigued by her apparent aloofness. It was as if she had no one but herself to answer to for bringing home a stranger. Would not someone, her guardian or husband perhaps, wish to speak to him? To assure himself that such an unknown English stranger would not bring harm or scandal to his household? Surely there was someone?

“Aye, there be one,” the lady answered. “My father, Lord Patrick O’Brien. He is the master here. He’d like to have greeted you in person, but at present himself is suffering sorely from the gout and begs that you excuse him. In his absence, he requests that you accept his daughter’s welcome.” She then gave a short bob, in lieu of a proper deep curtsy of welcome, which was normally the due she gave to guests in her father’s house.

His eyes narrowed, he’d not missed the slight. “Ah . . . yes.” He nodded with understanding, his voice liquid cool, chilling the peat-heated room. “Considering that it was a member of his household who shot me off my mount that would be the least one could expect him to do. Don’t you agree, my lady?”

She gasped, stepping towards the ungrateful English dolt. She clenched her hands at her side, ready to give him a proper show of her famous spinster temper. “If ye’d only taken the time to look before ye leaped, we wouldn’t have had to put ye in this bed. And I’d not be saddled with the obliging care of ye!”

“Please, Lady Bea—,” intervened Wise Sarah, placing herself strategically between the attacking hostess and her wounded patient. “Behave yourself! Now what will your da say when he up and learns you tried to attack this wounded gentleman? And this time in pure aggression, if you please. One would think that you truly wished him harm.”

Chastised, Beatrice obediently took a step back. The last thing she desired was to have her father’s wrath fall upon her head. He’d warned her that if another one of her notorious escapades brought any disgrace upon the family name, he’d see to her punishment himself. A dire threat she knew he would follow through with if she were not careful.

She sighed audibly, her hands were tied. She could do nothing to dislodge this ingrate. And once more she regretted her part in acting the Good Samaritan to this English pudding-headed lout. She ought to have left him in the muck and mire where she’d found him, instead of seeing to it that he was brought here and properly tended.

Like what you’ve read? You can download the The Spinster and the Earl for free at Lachesis Publishing, amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Connect with Beverly Adam online on her blog and on facebook and on goodreads.

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Sneak Peek Monday: Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia (YA paranormal)

CROSSED-OUT-COVERToday’s Sneak Peek is from the YA paranormal Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia.

What it’s About:

Following the light can’t be that hard, right? So why don’t the dead just do it and leave Stephanie Stewart alone?

However nothing is ever as simple as it should be, as Stephanie learns when her hidden ‘gift’ becomes more than a nuisance, quickly turning unto a liability.

If she can’t learn to trust someone with her secret, the world as she knows it will go to hell. Literally. But if she doesn’t choose wisely, she might just end up learning firsthand how hard it is to follow that light.

Because she’s next on the list to be crossed out.

EXCERPT:

“Stephanie…careful….”

The childish voice grew louder. A chill went up my back. I know that voice!

I blinked once and when I opened my eyes I saw the girl. Her long dirty blond hair was clumped into two pigtails, and her bikini top and cut-off Levis brought back memories of the YMCA pool three years ago where I‘d spent my summers.

Allison!

Omigod! I pushed the wooden cross aside. A tingling sensation burned through my whole body. Once I helped a dead person cross over, that was supposed to end the whole rescue scenario. The bright light appeared and poof! Well, not this time.

I scooted away, over the rough, cold pavement. This didn’t make sense. Though I was used to visits from the ―other‖ side, having Allison reappear scared me. I didn‘t know what to do.

“Allison, why are you here?” My voice broke.

She took a step toward me. Her lips trembled. “Careful…danger….”

Danger? Did that mean her murderer was out of prison? Just the thought of that perv touching or killing someone else made me want to hurl.

“No… another….”

Someone else?

“Allison, what are you trying to tell me?” I slowly got up off the ground. “Is the guy who killed you, out?”

Allison shook her head. It still freaked me out how much the dead looked like us, not fuzzy or semi- transparent like they show on TV. The ones I helped still looked the way they had when they‘d been killed, complete with all the blood and stuff.

Yet here was Allison. She should be in Heaven singing in one of those heavenly choirs Mom always talked about.

I bit my hangnail, ripping it off. I couldn‘t deal with this. Not now.

“Careful….”

The wind picked up, tossing loose papers everywhere. None of this affected Allison.

I had so many questions to ask her. I missed her. I knew she‘d understand me, even when others – including my mom – were clueless.

“Allison, what‘s it like to be…?”

The wind howled drowning out her answer. And just as quickly, Allison left.
I felt as if something had punched me in the stomach. I pushed back the sickness threatening to escape.

What was going on? But even worse, I didn’t know what to do. One thing had been made perfectly clear. The rules had all changed and no one bothered to give me the new players’ guide.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Crossed Out at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon.

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Sneak Peek Monday: City of Toys by Lindy S. Hudis (suspense thriller)

City-of-toys-linds-s-kudisToday’s sneak peek is from the suspense thriller  City of Toys, by Lindy S. Hudis.

What it’s about:

Four beautiful women seek fame and fortune in Hollywood, the City of Toys, where actresses are like dolls, playing pretend on the big screen.

Marlo: a former child actress from New York City.
Rhonda: a small-town beauty queen.
Kim: a “nice Jewish girl” with a painful childhood.
Guyla: a “serious actress” with a debilitating, stress-induced illness.

Marlo, Rhonda, Kim, and Guyla, become friends living in the same apartment complex, in the city where dreams and disasters go hand-in-hand. They come to rely on each other as they deal with sexual come-ons, crazed stalkers, jealous starlets and the constant pressure of trying to make it in showbiz. But when the pressure gets too much, will their friendship save them or will the City of Toys break them?

EXCERPT:

It was well after midnight in the City of Angels. She sat on the roof of her apartment building and stared out at the enormous electric ocean. The glittering lights of Hollywood sparkled like multi-colored sequins against the black velvet sky. I can’t take it anymore, the beautiful, young woman thought, I can’t take this pain. She had just swallowed a whole bottle of Paxil and chased it down with a fifth of vodka. The girl had not planned on committing suicide, but what she had gone through in Tinseltown was enough to make anyone want to end it all.

She hated her life, hated the world and, most of all, hated herself. It certainly was not what she had envisioned; the Hollywood dreams she’d had ever since she was a little girl. The lonely, young woman from a painful childhood was desperate for inclusion in the glittering world of fame and fortune. She was desolate, regretful, and had seen the devil himself in this “City of Angels”. She also knew she was just one of thousands of lost souls who needed to be loved and adored by the whole world, just like the movie stars were. Hurting, forlorn, lost souls were everywhere in Los Angeles, and there was nothing anyone could do. It didn’t happen for her; it didn’t happen for a lot of people, and she simply didn’t want to accept that.t was well after midnight in the City of Angels. She sat on the roof of her apartment building and stared out at the enormous electric ocean. The glittering lights of Hollywood sparkled like multi-colored sequins against the black velvet sky. I can’t take it anymore, the beautiful, young woman thought, I can’t take this pain. She had just swallowed a whole bottle of Paxil and chased it down with a fifth of vodka. The girl had not planned on committing suicide, but what she had gone through in Tinseltown was enough to make anyone want to end it all.t was well after midnight in the City of Angels. She sat on the roof of her apartment building and stared out at the enormous electric ocean. The glittering lights of Hollywood sparkled like multi-colored sequins against the black velvet sky. I can’t take it anymore, the beautiful, young woman thought, I can’t take this pain. She had just swallowed a whole bottle of Paxil and chased it down with a fifth of vodka. The girl had not planned on committing suicide, but what she had gone through in Tinseltown was enough to make anyone want to end it all.

Weeping convulsively, the young woman staggered to the edge of the building and looked down. She stumbled and clutched the handrail. Feeling dizzy and hopeless, she gazed down at the luminosity that was a fantasyland. She thought about all that had happened to her, and the awful things she had done. She had done some terrible things in order to survive. She threw one leg over the railing, holding tightly with one hand. The colored lights seemed to blur into one big blob of glitter, and she thought she might retch. Goodbye, Hollywood, she cried to herself. With that, she let go of the handrail and plunged to her death onto the well-manicured lawn at the foot of the Hollywood Hills.

You can get your copy of this gritty, crime thriller at Lachesis Publishing or at amazon, and kobo and iBooks

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Sneak Peek Monday: A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce (romantic suspense light)

A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison BruceToday’s Sneak Peek is A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce – a romantic suspense with a light touch. This is Book 1 in the Men in Uniform Series for Lachesis Publishing

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

 

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Prudence Hartley has the usual single mom problems: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day’s work done; oh, and don’t forget about dinner.

But Pru’s problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact. Suddenly, a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody. Pru has so many questions spinning through her brain she doesn’t know where to begin. How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are the spies after her? Oh, and there’s one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective?

EXCERPT:

Maybe he was just doing his job, but Sergeant Merrick was my hero. He coordinated the paramedics, police, ambulance attendants, and an intrepid reporter who came running when three ambulances, an EMT truck from the fire department and half a dozen police cruisers congregated at the hotel. More importantly, at least to me, he calmed Hope and Boone, assuring them that their mother was fine, even if she was sitting with her head between her knees, holding a bloody towel. He got them clear of the chaos and made sure they got safely to their father’s with a police escort.

“I’ll have a uniformed officer stay with them overnight.” he assured.

Once they were away, Merrick signalled the next set of ambulance attendants to help me onto a stretcher.

“We meet again.”

I focussed on the speaker. It took me a moment, but I connected the dots. He checked on us the night before.

“Bob,” he said, in case I forgot.

I nodded. “I remember.”

“It looks like you were wrong,” he said as he helped me onto the stretcher. “Bullet wounds are catching.”

Flashing his badge, Merrick managed to get to us shortly after we arrived at the hospital. He made sure Zeke and I were kept together and stayed with us, even after repeatedly being told by the attending nurses to leave. Then, when we were alone, Merrick asked the big question. “What happened?”

I knew what he was really asking.

“Why didn’t I hide in the bathroom with Hope and Boone? You think I didn’t lock the door properly, but I put the security bar on and everything. I called you as soon as I could. What took you so long?”

I took a dive off the edge of rationality into the deep end of guilt and second-guessing. I burst into tears. I hate it when that happens.

“Give her a break, Sarge,” said Zeke, raising himself up on his good elbow. “She saved my life.”

Merrick, who had taken my outburst calmly, raised an eyebrow.

“Well,” Zeke temporised, “she intended to save my life. She couldn’t know that I had moved out of the line of fire.” He tried to sit up. “I know, I never should have been in his line of fire in the first place . . . probably should stick to the backroom stuff . . .”

In the midst of my sobbing and Zeke’s self-flagellation, Merrick told us to calm down.

Big mistake. That might have worked on Zeke. Don’t know. Wasn’t paying attention. For me, it was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. All my fear and guilt transformed into anger directed at him. I grabbed him by the shirt-front and pulled myself up with the strength that comes with hysteria.

“I’m not a cop. I’m a mother,” I shouted, hopping bare footed onto the cold floor. “I didn’t hide with my children because I figured that whoever it was, they were looking for me. If they found me, they wouldn’t go looking for my kids too. I didn’t know if you’d get there in time to stop Hope and Boone from becoming hostages and I wasn’t going to risk it. I wasn’t going to risk Zeke dying either and I would have done the same for you.”

I spoke in a rush, losing volume and air as I went, losing momentum as I realized the attention I was drawing. Not one of my shining moments.

I started to collapse. I tried to steady myself using my handhold on Merrick’s shirt. He grabbed my shoulders to brace me. He didn’t lose his cool for an instant.

“Call a nurse,” he told Zeke. “She’s bleeding.”

I gave a choke of laughter. There were at least two nurses, an orderly, and three men in uniform ranged behind Merrick.

My vision got blurry. I blinked to clear it, refocused, and noticed that Merrick was wearing red and green plaid pyjamas. I let go of his top and smoothed out the soft material.

“Flannel,” I said, and passed out.

Like what you’ve read so far? You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

ABOUT ALISON BRUCE:

Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. In addition to writing, she is the Publication Manager of Crime Writers of Canada and part-time tech guru to the technology-impaired.

Alison writes mysteries, romantic suspense and historical romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations and to learn from adversity–traits she hopes to pass on to her children, Kate and Sam.

You can connect with Alison on her website and on facebook and twitter.

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Sneak Peek Monday: Her Kind of Man by Elaine Cantrell (new contemporary romance)

her-kind-of-man-500x724Today’s Sneak Peek is the new adult contemporary romance Her Kind of Man by Elaine Cantrell.

What it’s about:

Is it possible she’s finally found her kind of man?

Ross Williams has been in love with Kara Cochrane since they were kids, so when Kara’s fiancé Brandon Miles cheats on her with Kara’s own sister, and calls off their wedding—Ross steps in to rescue the damsel in distress.

A heartbroken Kara just wants to get on with her life and hunky Ross provides her with a definite distraction—that is until she starts falling for him. Big time.

But a devastating family secret threatens to destroy everything that Kara holds dear—including her relationship with Ross.

EXCERPT:

Katie grabbed her arm. “Come on. We’re getting to the bottom of this.”

Kara dragged her feet as Katie towed her across the parking lot. “Katie, maybe . . .”

“What’s wrong with you?” Katie glared over her shoulder. “Hurry up!”

Kelly and Brandon were still wrapped around each other when Katie and Kara reached them.

“Kelly! ” Katie exclaimed. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Kelly jerked away from Brandon so fast she stumbled and had to grab his arm to keep her balance. Even in the parking lot’s dim light, Kara saw her sister’s face had gone scarlet as had Brandon’s.

Kara didn’t say anything. She couldn’t.

Kelly flinched as Brandon took her hand and squeezed it. “I’m sorry, Kara. We never meant for you to find out this way.”

“What were you going to do?” Katie demanded with a wave of her hand. “Leave her at the altar?”

“No,” Kelly replied. Her eyes glittered like two burning blue coals. “We planned to tell her tomorrow night. That way she’d have the weekend off to … to … to get used to things.”

Brandon looked Kara directly in the face for the first time. “I’m sorry, Kara. You have to know I never meant to hurt you, but I can’t marry you if I’m in love with your sister.”

Kara didn’t bother to answer. She didn’t know what to say anyway. How do you act, what do you do, when you catch the man you love kissing your sister? Her sister! Oh, how could she? This betrayal by one of her nearest and dearest cut to the bone.

She gritted her teeth to hold back her tears and hurled Brandon’s beautiful ring toward him and Kelly. He tried to catch it, but he missed, and the ring landed at his feet.

“Let’s go, Katie,” she said. She spun on her heel and stomped away with her head held high.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Her Kind of Man for .99 cents at Lachesis Publishing. You can also get it on amazon, BN nook and kobo.

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