Sunday, October 30, 2022
Sunday Post #182
Thursday, October 27, 2022
Romantic Suspense/Mystery Book Giveaway!
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Review & Excerpt: Vanishing Hour by Laura Griffin
When a cold case in Texas leads to a sinister string of disappearances, a newcomer to the small town helps the deputy sheriff to piece together the clues in this new romantic thriller from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.
Corporate lawyer Ava Burch has had enough of the big city and daily grind. She grew up with her father, who raised search-and-rescue dogs, in rural Texas, and has moved to the small town of Cuervo to spend time in the dry, rugged wilderness near Big Bend National Park. When she and her dog Huck discover an abandoned campsite on a volunteer search-and-rescue mission, she’s perplexed but she carefully photographs it all the same.
All Deputy Sheriff Grant Wycoff can see when he looks at Ava is a city slicker—with her designer jeans and expensive car— who has no business on a serious team made of seasoned outdoorsmen and retired cops. But when she tells him of her discovery on the trail, he sees there’s more to her than meets the eye.
Ava’s discovery reminds Grant of the unsolved case of a young woman who went missing two years ago. As they look into the campsite further, another woman disappears under odd circumstances. With time running out, Ava and Grant must work against the brutal heat from both the Texas sun and their own electric chemistry to solve the case.
Missing children are an
emergency. Always. Their little bodies are less able to regulate temperature,
so they're especially vulnerable to exposure. And in a place as vast and rugged
as Silver Canyon State Park, additional hazards abounded: rattlesnakes,
coyotes, hundred-foot cliffs. Even the anemic little creek that Ava had been
following was terrifying. A child Noah's size could drown in a bathtub.
Ava glanced up at the relentless sun that sucked moisture out of everything beneath it. She looked ahead at Huck, who trotted back and forth in front of her in his zigzag pattern. He was working the wind, as he'd been trained, tirelessly sniffing the air with his powerful nose, which could pick up anything with human scent on it, from a candy wrapper to a dropped article of clothing.
So far, nothing.
Ava checked her watch. Two long hours since she'd left the trailhead. Sweat stung her eyes, and she wiped her forehead with the back of her arm. She paused beside a boulder and dropped her pack on the dusty ground to retrieve one of her water bottles. Huck needed some, too, but right now he was intent on his work.
She took a lukewarm sip and scanned the scrub brush lining the canyon wall. Young children had a tendency to wander aimlessly until they found a place to curl up for a nap. Some would even hide from search teams, afraid of getting in trouble for being lost. So Ava had been incessantly scanning pockets of brush.
Huck halted in front of her, his nose lifted in the air. Ava froze and watched. But then his head dropped down and he resumed his zigzags. Ava tucked the water bottle away and pushed off the boulder to continue her trek.
She watched Huck, amazed by his energy. Even in this heat, he loved working, and when he had his vest on, he didn't have an off switch. As he bounded around in front of her, she thought of the other teams, especially the canine one. She was surprised they hadn't found something close to camp.
Of course, the parents had been there, which might have been a problem. Frantic parents threw off a lot of scent, which could have overpowered Noah's smell and possibly confused the dog. Also, the temperature rising in the canyon could have wafted the scent up, well above the dog's nose. Yet another challenge here was that young children didn't throw off as much scent as adults. And still bodies-ones that were either asleep or unconscious-threw off less scent, too.
So there were all kinds of factors in play, especially in a park this size.
Ava checked her watch again and sped up her pace, unable to shake the feeling of dread that had been settling in her stomach as the hours ticked by. Scanning the canyon wall, her gaze caught on something beige and triangular.
A tent? No.
A tarp. She climbed onto a boulder for a closer look. About halfway up the slope of the canyon was a sand-colored canvas tarp that had been stretched taut to create a patch of shade. It looked like a primitive fort-just the sort of thing that would attract a kid's attention, and her pulse quickened as she climbed closer. Nearing the tarp, she spied a small yellow tent tucked in the shade beneath it.
She glanced around for Huck, but he was sniffing along at the base of a rockslide.
Grabbing hold of a juniper tree, Ava levered herself onto the ledge. She ducked under the tarp and paused a moment for her eyes to adjust. The little tent was unzipped. Hope ballooned in her chest as she pulled back the flap and poked her head inside.
Her hope disappeared as she scanned the interior. No sleeping child curled up in the dimness. The air was utterly still, and everything was coated with a thin layer of dust, as though no one had been there in weeks, maybe months. A pile of gear in the corner included a cookstove, a hiking boot, and a blue bedroll with a carabiner clipped to it. Attached to the carabiner was a black key fob.
A chill snaked down her spine. Who would leave their car key out here? The fob seemed odd. Ditto for the hiking boot. Where was the other one? And where was its owner?
On impulse, Ava took out her phone and snapped a couple of pictures. As part of her SAR training, she'd learned to document crime scenes. She couldn't pinpoint why, exactly, but that was what this felt like. She ducked out and snapped a shot of the exterior. A faint bark pulled her attention back to the mission. She couldn't afford to get sidetracked, even though this place felt creepy. She put her phone away as she skimmed the surrounding area for the missing boot, or any sign of the boot's owner. She glanced up the canyon, looking for evidence of a fire pit or any other camping equipment.
A soft whimper had her turning around.
Huck sat beside a rock pile, his ears pricked forward and his gaze fixed on hers. Ava's heart skittered. This was his sit alert letting her know he'd found something.
"Show me," she commanded, and he sprang into action, bounding across the creek bed. She climbed down the rocks and jogged after him, frantically searching the clumps of trees. Huck darted around a giant prickly pear cactus and behind a line of mesquite trees. Amid the fluttering green leaves, she caught a flash of red.
"Please, please, please," she murmured.
Huck disappeared beneath the brush and barked. Ava spied a small white sneaker and a pudgy leg.
Huck danced in a circle, drunk on success and eager for his reward.
"Good boy, Huck! Good boy! Good boy!" She filled her voice with praise, even though her heart had lodged in her throat. The little body wasn't moving. Oh God.
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Sunday Post #181
Saturday, October 22, 2022
Review: Ricochet by Krista & Becca Ritchie
The second book in the TikTok sensation Addicted series, now in a print edition with special bonus material!
As a sex addict, Lily Calloway must do the impossible: stay celibate for ninety days. Fall in love with Lily and Lo in this edgy new adult romance set in a world of lust, fame, swoonworthy men, and friendships that run deeper than blood in this special edition with bonus materials--in print only!
Cravings and fantasies become her new routine, but while Loren Hale recovers from his alcohol addiction, Lily wonders if he'll realize what a monster she really is. After all, her sexual compulsions begin to rule her life the longer she stays faithful to him.
Progress. That's what Lily's striving for. But by trying to become closer to her family--people who aren't aware of her addiction--she creates larger obstacles. When she spends time with her youngest sister, she learns more about her than she ever imagined and senses an unsettling connection between Daisy and Ryke Meadows.
With Lily and Lo's dysfunctional relationship teetering and unbalanced, they will need to find a way to reconnect from miles apart. But the inability to touch proves to be one of the hardest tests on their road to recovery. Some love brushes the surface. Some love is deeper than skin.
Krista Ritchie and Becca Ritchie are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors and identical twins—one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek—but with their shared
passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped
telling stories. They love superheroes, flawed characters, and soul mate love.
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Review: The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews
A London heiress rides out to the wilds of the English countryside to honor a marriage of convenience with a mysterious and reclusive stranger.
Tall, dark, and dour, the notorious Captain Jasper Blunt was once hailed a military hero, but tales abound of his bastard children and his haunted estate in Yorkshire. What he requires now is a rich wife to ornament his isolated ruin, and he has his sights set on the enchanting Julia Wychwood.
For Julia, an incurable romantic cursed with a crippling social anxiety, navigating a London ballroom is absolute torture. The only time Julia feels any degree of confidence is when she’s on her horse. Unfortunately, a young lady can’t spend the whole of her life in the saddle, so Julia makes an impetuous decision to take her future by the reins—she proposes to Captain Blunt.
In exchange for her dowry and her hand, Jasper must promise to grant her freedom to do as she pleases. To ride—and to read—as much as she likes without masculine interference. He readily agrees to her conditions, with one provision of his own: Julia is forbidden from going into the tower rooms of his estate and snooping around his affairs. But the more she learns of the beastly former hero, the more intrigued she becomes…
Sunday, October 16, 2022
Sunday Post #180
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Review: Luck and Last Resorts by Sarah Grunder Ruiz
Commitment-phobe Nina Lejeune lives by two rules:
1. Always have fun.
2. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself.
The first rule is easy; the second, she’s only broken once.
Ten years after fleeing home, Nina is the chief stewardess on the super yacht Serendipity, single by choice, and perfectly content with how life has turned out.
But Nina’s ex-coworker and old flame, Irish chef Ollie Dunne, isn’t so happy with the status quo. One year after leaving yachting, he’s returned as the Serendipity’s chef with an ultimatum: if Nina continues to deny she’s in love with him by the end of this charter season, he’ll go back to Ireland for good.
Nina and Ollie’s shared secret from their past threatens to shipwreck not only their relationship, but the entire boat. But as their connection grows amidst chaotic guests and crew drama, could there be smooth sailing in their future?
Audio Review: The Story of Son by J.R. Ward
First released in the anthology Dead After Dark, dive into this hot novella from #1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward. Available for the first time ever as a standalone ebook, get lost in the sinful pleasures of a vampire so obsessed with one woman, he will relinquish her blood, if only he can have her heart...
Held captive by a dark, seductive vampire with an unworldly hunger, the beautiful Claire Stroughton fears her life as a lawyer has irrevocably taken a turn for the worse. But when this deeply sensual-and highly dangerous-vampire convinces Claire that his desire for her is stronger than his lust for blood, she is compelled to give everything up to him, body and soul...
Please note: this is not part of the Black Dagger Brotherhood even though it's set in the same "world".