He'll do anything to protect this doctor's life...
ER doctor Marissa Frasier needs the best protection after she's wrongly suspected of her ex-husband's murder.
And rugged Colby Agency investigator Lacon Traynor is keeping her close 24/7, helping her find the truth--and uncovering her most vulnerable passions.
But someone else wants Marissa for his own...and is about to use their desire as one killer trap.
Colby Agency: Sexi-ER
Intense, sharp, threatening suspense, the kind that creeps in and makes you want to check that your windows are locked while sleeping with the lights on...
I absolutely love Debra Webb's writing, the stories have such effortlessly smooth flow that makes them impossible to put down. The tension sneaks up on you and keeps you on the edge, and while the protagonists have depth and likable personalities the villains are eerily frightening and sinister.
Doctor Marissa Frasier is a strong, capable and able heroine, who is not afraid to face the threats if it means saving people's lives. She is dedicated and caring, she is passionate and loving, and she can kick ass when required. She is smart, mature, and beautiful inside and out. She knows what she wants and is willing to admit it. I admired her, liked her, and was cheering for her while afraid for her.
And Colby Agency investigator Lacon Traynor from Texas couldn't have been more perfect for the sophisticated doctor. Lacon has that southern charm and smoothness, but do not let it fool you, he is more than capable to fight for you and protect you with his life. A man with sharp instincts, sense of humor, who is intelligent, competent, loves his family, helps people in need, and can cook definitely gets me swooning over him!
From the very first meeting, Marissa and Lacon are drawn to each other. The chemistry is there, their minds connect and their temperaments are alike, they recognize each other's as equals and admire each other's capabilities. With the sizzling attraction, they are just the perfect match, if they can stay alive to explore the possibilities.
The mobster boss and his army of men, their constant surveillance, threats, violence, and the deaths that seemed to surround them, and his obsession with Marissa, brought the kind of severe intensity into the tale that put me on the edge. The powerful reach of the mob, the fact that they seemed to enjoy the killings and torture, and their ears and eyes all over the town gave the tale daunting, fearsome, horrid feels.
Harsh, violent, nail-biting suspense and action mixed with sensual, delightfully charming romance that had me swooning and smiling deliver just the perfect kind of must-read romantic suspense that will keep me up at night, an unputdownable story, indeed!
~ Five Spoons
Rainy Day Friends
A Wildstone Novel
By: Jill Shalvis
Harper Collins – June 19, 2018
Following the USA Today bestselling author of Lost and Found Sisters comes Jill Shalvis' moving story of heart, loss, betrayal, and friendship
Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife.
Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person? Can she even trust herself?
Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan.
Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Brown changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build.
Read the first chapter here
Justin Harper married the girl he loved with dreams of a house full of kids and love. But when that didn’t become a reality, their relationship strained. The tension builds until they bubble over, angry words are flung, and he moves out.
But beneath all the anger, he's still in love with the woman he married. Is there any way to get the old Maddie back?
Maddie Harper has always dreamed of a big family after growing up an only child. When her marriage with Justin collapses, she knows she has to take a tough look at herself or risk losing her chance at forever.
When Justin wages a campaign to reignite the flame that has died out, Maddie remembers the person she once was. But underneath their newfound love, both have reservations. Justin worries he'll never be enough for her unless he can give her another child and Maddie knows if she can't let go of that dream, she'll also have to let Justin go—forever.
Oh, be still my beating heart, what an amazing, heart wrenching, poignant love story Chasing Hope is!
I knew it was going to be an emotional journey for Justin Harper and his wife Maddie to find the romance and balance, and the long forgotten feelings they do have for each other, again. The first book in the series hinted about the trouble in paradise, but I am not sure if I was emotionally prepared for Maddie and Justin, but I was so glad I was able to take the journey with them, see them grow, find themselves again, and re-kindle the deep love and passion they have always had for each other.
The problems with infertility, the physical burden the hormone treatments are, and the emotional roll-a-coaster the constant battle against nature trying to get pregnant is, it was realistic, it was heartbreaking, the pain, worry, and despair both Maddie and Justin were feeling were tangible.
Even though the story broke my heart to bits, and brought tears to my eyes, I loved it immensely. The feelings go deep, both Justin and Maddie have issues and problems, emotions, and communication, that they need to work with. The road to finding that balance, to find the inner fire again, to learn to relate and connect with their partner like they used to do, it is filled with speed bumps and detours, but there is never a question of the desire to fix things, to find solutions or the existence of deepest affection they have for each other.
The matter of their new-found half-sister didn't get as much attention as I had hoped for. The tension around that issue has been building up from the original series, and the solution seemed a bit too easy after all the angst. But maybe the future books will return to the matter in more detail, as there was plenty of emotional turmoil with Justin and Maddie's story as it is.
This story is so filled with passion, adoration, deep, profound emotions that it took my breath away. The author shows how with just one kiss one can create such tension and energy that it lits the whole story on fire. I wept for and with the characters, I cheered for them to find their way, I adored their little family, and wished from the bottom of my heart that they would find peace of mind, and learn to appreciate what they had, instead of wanting and obsessing to get more.
An ardent, beautiful, emotional story about life, love, joy, sorrow, and loss in a marriage with infertility. A powerful and sensitive topic done well with a tender and understanding, respectful hand. Just be ready to be swept away with the multitude of emotions from bliss and wonder to anguish and pain.
~ Five Spoons!
by Lilly James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
There is no wrong or right way to deal with a death. Or to grieve in a way that is expected. The loss of a loved one can hit you in ways you could never imagine. At least, it did to Hunter Holland. College Junior Hunter knows he messes up; he knows he hates his life; he also knows he blames his father for his mother’s death. What he doesn’t know is that his life is about to change–all thanks to Louisa Dawson. Louisa, the freshman, is sweet. Shy. Innocent. She doesn’t care for boys, but rather books. Hunter is crazy, a player, and as cocky as they come. The college ‘bad news’ is everything she wants to stay away from, yet he is everything she is drawn to. Focused on her studies, Louisa doesn’t have time for Hunter who is both distracting and disruptive, but Louisa is the breath of fresh air Hunter needs. She is the only girl he is willing to work for. She is also the only girl that understands why Hunter is living the life he is. Louisa is determined to prove to Hunter that living in a tormented past is never going to guarantee a happy future. They say opposites attract… maybe they do.
British Author Lilly James is a woman with a wild imagination that has to be set free into the arms of a keyboard.
Writing gives Lilly that chance to escape the real world and live in a world of fantasy with her characters.
When she's not writing you'll find her singing terribly to music, curled up with her kindle, or doing something boring like everyday chores that unfortunately need attention.
Lilly lives in Wales, is a mother of one beautiful little girl, and loves reading, chocolate and wine. All in that order.
Her Super-Secret Rebound Boyfriend by Kerri Carpenter
Series n/a; standalone
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher Entangled: Lovestruck
Publication Date June 11, 2018
It wasn’t shy librarian Lola McBride's idea to crash someone else’s high school reunion. Her best friend made her do it, insisting that having a little fun with a super-hot rebound would make her forget about her recent breakup. That’s when she meets the hottest guy she’s ever seen.
Architect Luke Erickson had no idea attending his ten-year reunion would turn out to be so fun. He catches the sexy brunette in a lie, and he counters with a proposal—He’ll keep her secret if she helps get his family off his back by pretending to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family reunion.
From one reunion to another, Lola and Luke are suddenly spending a lot of time together. Good thing they're only pretending, or this super-secret relationship could get really complicated.
“Crying is for plain women. Pretty women go shopping.”
“Everything you need to know about life you can learn by watching The Golden Girls.”
Lola raised an eyebrow at her best friend and roommate. Frankie meant well, but sometimes it took a little time and patience to figure out exactly what she was talking about.
“I’m serious,” Frankie said after she snagged the carton of double-chocolate fudge ice cream they were currently sharing.
One carton, two spoons, a Ryan Gosling movie marathon with your best friend. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday getting over a breakup. Of course, a better way to spend a Saturday would be hanging out with your boyfriend. Well, if he didn’t just dump you for someone younger, prettier, and more fun.
“I know you’re serious, Frankie, and I am well aware of your love affair with reruns of The Golden Girls. But I thought we were talking about me and all my lameness.”
“You’re not lame, Lola. I wouldn’t be friends with you if you were. You got dumped.”
“Thanks for reminding me.” She shoveled a large spoonful of ice cream in her mouth.
“Let me finish. You got dumped and The Golden Girls are going to help you feel better. Trust me. Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia know all.”
Lola rolled her eyes. She couldn’t help it. “Oh really. And just what would they say to make me feel better about Mark?”
“Mark is a douche. And anyway, it’s not what they would say to you. It’s what they would do. They have all the answers to the problems of the world.”
Curious, Lola put her spoon and the now empty ice cream carton on the coffee table and turned to give her friend her full attention. After she paused Crazy, Stupid, Love first, of course.
Always dramatic, Frankie sat up straight, flipped her curly auburn hair over her shoulder, and took a deep breath. “Okay, so, think about it. The Golden Girls know how to live life. Number one. Get a great roommate.”
Frankie shimmied her shoulders and made a kissy face. Lola laughed.
“Obviously, you already have that one down,” Frankie said. “Next,” she said, holding up two fingers, “cheesecake makes everything better. Third…”
“If you tell me to start dating every guy I meet like Blanche or your next sentence starts with ‘Picture it…Sicily’, I’m going to throw up.”
It was Frankie’s turn to laugh. “No. Although, Blanche may have been on to something. She loved her body, she was confident, and she enjoyed dating. Hmm, all things you don’t possess.”
“Shut up.” Lola threw a pillow at her.
She did enjoy dating. Lola preferred being in a committed relationship to randomly hooking up. As a homebody, her preference was to spend the night with her boyfriend cooking together and binging Netflix rather than getting hammered at a bar and making idle chitchat with some douchey guy who smelled like beer and wore too much aftershave.
Frankie, on the other hand, loved going out. She was always the first to try a new bar or get them VIP passes to the hottest club. Frankie was an expert flirter, and men always seemed to flock to her. If she wanted, she could be out with any of the twenty guys who’d snapped her in the last week. All she had to do was bat her pretty eyelashes. Even when she broke up with someone, he was still enamored with her. She was almost to the friend limit on Facebook. Basically, she was Lola’s polar opposite.
Although…there was something covetable about Frankie’s love life. Lola saw it as almost freeing. Frankie was always smiling and laughing. Everyone loved her, and she was the life of the party. Not that Lola didn’t have friends and a life. She did. It was just a small, quiet life.
She glanced at Frankie and saw the determination on her face. Lola wasn’t getting out of this conversation.
“I’m sure there’s some point to all of this,” Lola said. “Why don’t you just get to it?”
“My point is that you are bummed because Mark dumped you.”
“I know this already, Francesca.”
Frankie stuck her tongue out at the use of her full name. “Mark was a loser, and you need to get back out there and have some fun. Life is too short. You’re young, you’re smart, you’re totally gorgeous.”
Lola caught a glimpse of her reflection in the window behind the couch. Her long brown hair probably needed a trim, although she liked how her bangs had grown out to that perfect length and touched the tip of the black glasses she absolutely needed to wear. Frankie always said her light-blue eyes were so pretty and how she should lose the glasses. But Lola had tried contacts, and glasses were more comfortable. Besides, as a librarian, she was constantly staring at books and computer screens. Contacts tended to dry up and become itchy by the end of the workday.
“I know what you’re thinking, Lola Susan McBride. You’re going to tell me that you’re not gorgeous, even though you have the body of a Victoria’s Secret model. Damn you,” she added for good measure.
“Oh please,” Lola said with one last look at her reflection. She was plain and boring. If she really resembled a model, Mark wouldn’t have broken up with her. Well, probably not.
“And it’s time for you to take that bangin’ body out there, dress it up in provocative clothes, have some fun, and find a super-hot rebound guy.”
“You know I’m not going to do any of that. Besides, I wouldn’t even know how. Or where to go.”
Frankie’s eyes were practically sparkling. “Well…you could do speed dating.”
Lola scrunched up her nose.
Frankie laughed. “Okay, that’s out. We could barhop next weekend. Ooh, you could go back on Tinder or Bumble.”
Lola groaned. Like most single people, she’d tried online dating. She’d been on a fair amount of dates and even had a relationship with someone from OKCupid for a couple months. But she’d also been stood up twice, suffered through a date with a man she was pretty sure was batting for the other team, and received three dick pics.
The idea of returning to that Pandora’s box of fun? No thank you.
“Lola, you have to put yourself out there. It’s a numbers game. The more men you meet, the better your chances of finding someone.”
“But I don’t know how to do that,” Lola whined.
“I do,” Frankie said in a singsong voice. “And so do Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia.”
“Are we back to that?”
“We never left. Didn’t you see the episode where they crashed someone else’s high school reunion?”
Because of Frankie’s love of The Golden Girls, Lola had seen pretty much every episode at least three times.
“Doesn’t Dorothy become…wait a minute. You’re not suggesting we crash a high school reunion?”
Frankie’s grin spread from ear to ear.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of HER SUPER SECRET REBOUND BOYFRIEND by Kerri Carpenter, we’re giving away for a $25 Amazon gift card!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open internationally. One winner will be chosen to receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing. Giveaway ends 6/15/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Entangled Publishing will send one winning prize, Pure Textuality PR will deliver the other. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Kerri Carpenter
Award-winning romance author Kerri Carpenter writes contemporary romances that are sweet, sexy, and sparkly. When she’s not writing, Kerri enjoys reading, cooking, watching movies, taking Zumba classes, rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams, and anything sparkly. Kerri lives in Northern Virginia with her adorable (and mischievous) rescued poodle mix, Harry.
Taker of Lives
by Leslie Wolfe
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
How can you outrun a killer you won’t see coming?
They are the most violent, blood-thirsty, and vicious of criminals. While hunting for them, FBI profilers call these monsters UNSUBS, short for unknown subjects of ongoing investigations. At any given time, in the United States there are more than fifty serial killers at large, preying on vulnerable, unsuspecting victims.
Until yesterday, no one knew Florida had another serial killer on the loose. Special Agent Tess Winnettcalls this particularly elusive one the Taker of Lives.
The crimes: bewildering
After a well-known model commits suicide, Tess refuses to accept the findings and pushes for an investigation into the reasons behind the beautiful young woman’s decision to end her life. What she finds surpasses her wildest fears.
The evidence: disturbing
Each new crime scene brings more questions than answers. While secrets are revealed, even those meant to be kept forever in the dark, Tess can draw only one conclusion: she’s not the one in charge; the Taker of Lives controls the game, the players, even the course of the investigation.
The race: intense
With little information and even less evidence, Tess must connect the dots of a deadly scenario with a large number of potential victims. If she fails, another beautiful, young girl will die tonight, and the blood will be on her hands.
The Taker of Lives might be closer than you think. Who’s watching you sleep tonight?
She woke with a start, her heart instantly racing when the raw memory of strange, gloved hands on her body invaded her consciousness. She could still feel the cold latex on her skin, touching her, stripping her naked, manipulating her limbs, sending shivers of fear and aversion through her veins. She remembered feeling paralyzed, wanting to scream but staring powerlessly at the face of a monster hiding behind a mask, laughing in quiet, raspy gurgles that only she could hear, glaring at her with merciless, hateful eyes.
She rubbed her forehead with frozen, trembling fingers and forced herself to breathe, gasping in deep, long breaths of air to wash away the memory of the troublesome nightmare. Must’ve been a nightmare… she was in her own bed, wearing her favorite silk jammies, and she could hear her mother’s rushed footfalls as she was getting ready for work. Nothing was out of place.
Just a night terror, that’s all it was. The worst she could remember, a vivid one she won’t be forgetting any time soon, still, just a nightmare. Her eyes fell on Pat’s photo, framed on her night table, and she focused on his loving smile for a moment, imagining his strong arms wrapped around her body, making her feel safe again.
She stood, feeling a little weak at the knees, but pushed herself to walk out of the bedroom, heading toward the kitchen. Her throat was parched dry, as if she hadn’t had a drink of water in ages. She filled a glass at the sink and gulped it down avidly, then breathed again.
“Good morning, sweetie,” her mother greeted her, then grazed her cheek with a warm hand. “Feeling better?”
She frowned, a bit confused. What was her mother talking about?
Her mother stopped her morning get-ready rush and gave her a head-to-toe scrutiny, then a tiny smile stretched her lips. “You were a little dizzy last night, and your blood pressure was lower than what I like to see.”
“Ah,” she reacted, still frowning, realizing she didn’t remember much of the night before.
“Christina, we discussed this,” her mother said in her clinical voice, the tone she reserved for her most disobedient patients. “You don’t eat much, these photo shoots are a resource drain, so you have to pace yourself. You’ll burn out. Vogue won’t go bankrupt if you take a day off every once in a while.”
It was the eternal conflict between the two of them. Her mother meant well but failed to realize a model’s career span only lasted a few short years, and she couldn’t afford to waste a single day. She was twenty-four years old, already on her way to becoming old news. Soon, the agencies would start sending her templated emails, saying stuff like, “After careful consideration, yadda, yadda, we have decided to proceed with a different candidate who suits our needs better at this time.” Free translation? “You’re too old for this game, sorry. We’ve got someone younger; find something else to do with yourself.”
But that day hadn’t arrived yet; she was still one of the most sought-after models in the industry, and her photo shoots took her around the globe, adorning her in designer clothing that she got to keep after showing on coveted catwalks under the incessant flicker of thousands of flashlights. Dizzy or not, she had a schedule, and she intended to keep it. Her pickup limo was due at nine, and she wasn’t going to be ready in time.
She toughed it out and pushed her mother’s concerns aside with a beaming smile and a hand gesture.
“I’ll be fine, Mom, don’t worry. I’ll even do some blood tests if you’d like, but not today. Any coffee left for me?”
Her mother gestured toward the Keurig machine. “Got you some vanilla pods, the ones you like.”
“Hazelnut too, sweetie,” she smiled, then placed a smooch on her cheek and rushed out of the house, jingling the car keys in her hand. “Have a safe flight! And get some rest.”
“I will,” Christina replied to the empty house, suddenly as cold and quiet and scary as her nightmare had been.
Still shivering, she threw the coffee maker a regretful glance as soon as she realized it was a quarter to nine. Not nearly enough time to put on makeup and get dressed. She forced herself to move quickly, although it felt like she moved in slow motion, the air thick as if it were water, opposing too much resistance for her weakened body to overcome.
She entered the bathroom and turned on the vanity lights, then gave her face a critical overview. Dark circles under her eyes that would require concealer, a pallor that asked for more blush than usual and maybe a darker foundation tone. Hollow, haunted eyes that needed a touch of eyeshadow to bring their faded color forward.
She turned on the shower and began undoing her buttons, still examining her face, but her fingers hesitated; she looked in the mirror and her breath caught. Her pajama top was buttoned wrong, the lowest button fastened through the second lowest buttonhole. Trivial.
Then why did she feel her blood turn to ice when she looked at the uneven hems?
She felt a new wave of dizziness wash over her and took a step back. A strangled whimper came out of her mouth as faint memories invaded her mind.
Cold, latex-gloved hands touching her, stripping her naked, manipulating her body. A piercing, evil stare from behind a mask, and a raspy, terrifying laugh, a stranger’s snicker, yet eerily familiar. The sound of a camera shutter, over and over, in a familiar rhythm of rapid bursts. Her own skin, turning to goose bumps when those strange hands invaded her. The same hands dressing her, putting on her pajama top, grazing against her breasts while doing the buttons.
She wrapped her arms around her body and took faltering steps back until she ran into the wall, her eyes riveted on the mirror, on the image of her unevenly done buttons.
“Oh, God, please…” she whimpered, as tears rolled down her pale cheeks. “Please don’t let it be true.”
The nightmare was real.
Leslie Wolfe is a bestselling author whose novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. She creates unforgettable, brilliant, strong women heroes who deliver fast-paced, satisfying suspense, backed up by extensive background research in technology and psychology.
Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl(2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.
A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at http://wolfenovels.com/order.
Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.
Become an insider: gain early access to previews of Leslie’s new novels.
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
FBI agents are trained to delve deep into the minds of the most dangerous predators. So when the tables are turned and the hunter becomes the prey, they can trust their instincts—and their hearts—to keep each other from harm . . .
FBI Special Agent Hannah Cambridge is trying to rebuild her life after the death of her partner. But Jack Benton wasn’t just a fellow agent. He was her lover—and the father of her newborn baby. Now Hannah is in Boston, heading a task force to catch a serial killer. It’s a case that could make or break her career. Until the madman turns his twisted sights on her . . .
When Jack Benton went deep undercover, he thought it was a way out of a relationship that was spiraling beyond his control. He never knew Hannah wouldn’t be told about his “death”—or that she was pregnant. Turning up in Boston in the flesh, and looking better than ever, will send Hannah into a tailspin. But both will need to keep their wits about them to keep her alive—and to survive the truth about the passion that
binds them . .
An intense and riveting story of the investigation to a serial killer, who is now targeting one of the FBI agents on the case. The lines of personal and professional diminish as FBI Special Agent Hannah Cambridge's assumed-to-be-dead lover, Jack Benton, walks into the room to take over the case.
I am new with my fandom of Kris Rafferty, this is my second book by her and the second book in the series. I am having such a great time with the series, too. I find the whole cast and crew interesting, I want to know more about them, I am definitely invested in the series, and connecting with the characters on the emotional level.
The story is told more of the investigative point of view, even though it does have few bursts of action on the field. The collecting and studying of the clues were interesting, mind-boggling, and fervent as the killer's crime spree escalates. To witness the interaction of the task force was energetic, there was so much tension, eagerness to find the killer, mixed with the personal feelings and emotional blow-ups, the investigation room was like a kettle ready to boil over and I loved it.
Hannah was such a complex character, she is strong, capable, and able. She is tough and rough yet sweet and loving, passionate yet tender. Its like she had these two sides in her that seemed to be contradicting each other, and her emotions were all over the place at times, understandably, since she was still hormonal from the birth of her baby, the serial killer was targeting her, and the assumed dead lover just walked into the room.
Jack made one huge mistake a year ago, a mistake he paid even more than he knew at the time. His childhood had messed him up emotionally. He was insecure when it came to feelings, his inability to see that Hannah loved him made him walk away. Jack's mistake was a big one, the reasons behind it questionable, but he was honest, humble, and sincere when he admits his mistakes and begs for another chance. I loved how Jack's vulnerable and tender side was shown as much as his tough, rough, protective, alpha male side was. Both Hannah and Jack were easy to like, I found them endearing, dare I say as talking about the toughest of the bunch. The chemistry was hot and sizzling between them. The beginning of the story took me by surprise, to say the least. But there was not only chemistry between them, there was also a true, sincere, and real connection, that got even tighter as the story goes on.
The intriguing, sharp, engaging, and enthralling suspense in a middle of human tragedies, mixed with second chances in an ardent love story about forgiveness, growth, and learning to love, it took me for a wild ride that kept me up till late at night with the need to know whodunnit and who will survive the vicious killer.
A breathtaking addition to the series, where each book can easily to be read as a standalone novel. Fastly entertaining, fierce romantic suspense, perfect summer reading material!
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Love at Rincon Point
by J. Haney & S.I. Hayes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Successful, driven and divorced mom Addilyn Tate writes romance novels. She has only eleven weeks to deliver the next one to her publisher and scout for her first film. So, this year’s annual beach vacation with her three kids Bexley, Ryker and Laken will be a working vacation for Addilyn.
Upon arrival, the family soon meets their new next-door neighbor and landlord, buoyant, reckless surfer Declan Torrance, with whom they will be sharing walls and a patio for the next two months. Declan cranks up his music at night, sleeps late, and allows his furry friends to run around at will.
As Addilyn bangs away at her novel with little success, Declan’s volleyball matches and irregular hours keep her from much progress. But when Declan finds himself bonding with Bexley, Ryker, and Laken; Addilyn begins to see a different side of this man child. Soon the two begin to see each other in a whole new – and attractive light.
When I come downstairs to unpack a few staples I knew I’d need, like coffee, I notice there’s already coffee and breakfast items. Just simple things, like cereal, milk, and oatmeal, but thank God for small favors. I barely get a drink of coffee when Laken and Ryker are coming down the stairs with Bexley.
“Mommy, I’m hungry,” Lake whines.
“Yeah, can we go out to eat?” Ry pleads.
I smile at my loves. “Bex, there’s cereal, oatmeal, and milk in the fridge, fix them something to eat while I finish up our shopping list.”
Bexley just nods at me and goes about making breakfast for herself and her siblings. They aren’t even sitting at the table for a minute when she speaks up.
“Uh, Mom, why is there a naked man on our patio?”
“What?” I ask as I turn to see the guy I dealt with last night. Jesus Christ. I shut the blinds and tell the kids, “Stay here and don’t look out.”
I slip out the door and walk closer to the naked man who is in the process of pissing in the wind. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I whisper-shout.
The guy scratches his ass before turning his head. “Where’d you come from?”
“I’m renting for the next eleven weeks. I talked to you last night?”
“Yeah, it did, and I have three kids inside that just saw your backside.”
“Well, I suggest you go inside unless you want to catch a look at my front side.”
“Ain’t nothing I haven’t seen before.”
He turns to face me, then calmly walks past. “See ya later,” he throws over his shoulder.
“I hope not,” I growl.
After breakfast, we all get dressed and head out to the store. It’s afternoon when we finally make it back to our home for the summer.
“Lake, I think your toys are over by the patio doors if you want to play while we carry everything in.”
“Okay, Mommy,” Laken says as Ryker and Bexley help carry stuff in.
“Bex, you can put stuff away and keep an eye on your sister please.”
“Yeah,” responds my moody teenager. I’m walking out the door at the same time the blonde bimbo is coming out of the neighbor’s and she’s dressed in the same thing as last night. The walk of shame. I just shake my head and back down the steps I go.
“Hi, how are you doing?” Cherry says.
“I’m well, thank you.” I grab another bag from the back of my car as she hops into her convertible and drives away.
I check on Laken before I go back to get more. She’s on the patio with two dogs pretty much accosting her. I try to shoo them, but they don’t move. I walk over to the neighbor’s and knock on the door loud enough to be heard over his snoring. UGH! The man is naked again. The guy grunts and mumbles something, but I can’t understand him.
“Want to try that again?” I ask with my hands on my hips. He goes to get up, but instead, trips and falls flat on his ass. “Do you ever wear clothes?”
“Can I help you with something?” He asks me, throwing a blanket over himself.
“Dec, was it? Well, Dec, I’m pretty sure your dogs are accosting my four-year-old.”
“Is that all?”
“Is that all? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me! How do you know she’s not allergic or something?” I all but shout.
The guy stands and holds the blanket so it’s just covering his goods, then takes two steps in my direction. “Frankie, Johnnie, come!” He says very sternly. The dogs come inside and sit down by their door. “There, the dogs are no longer accosting your child.”
“Thank you,” I say as I walk away.
J. Haney was born and raised in Kentucky, currently residing in Greenup County, Kentucky with her family, where she is the proud mamma to Jessalyn Kristine and co-owner to Proud Momma Designs, which she runs with her amazing Momma. J. Haney’s work tends to lean toward sweet and sexy, with suspenseful undertones giving her readers something to hold onto. It’s what she calls Real Life Romance.
S.I. Hayes was born and bred in New England, currently living in Ohio. Running around Connecticut, she used all of her family and friends as inspiration for her many novels. When not writing Paranormal Drama or Erotic Romance she can be found drawing one of many fabulous book covers or teasers, to see them check out her web site.
The pair met while working for a previous publisher and became fast friends, their split dynamics and views on life, family and love in general led to the idea of A County Fair Romance and A Sex, Drugs and Rock Romance adding to it Working Class Beauties and soon Kincaid Falls. Along with various Standalone novels. So, keep your eyes open and a fresh pair of panties close by, you know just in case.
Where to find J. Haney
Where to find S.I. Hayes
SHE STOLE CENTER STAGE…IN HIS HEART
Rocker Colton Nix would do just about anything to rid himself of the unflattering nickname his womanizing ways have earned him in the tabloids—anything except settle down with a woman, of course. If his parents taught him anything, it’s that love is as fleeting as celebrity. But after a few too many drinks on a private island in the Caribbean, Cole wakes up with the king of all hangovers…and a wedding band on his left ring finger.
Celebrity assistant Jenn MacDonald has her future meticulously planned, and she’s ready to make her next move: becoming a songwriter. Drunk-marrying a rock star was definitely not on the list. When Cole suggests they stay married for six months so that he can ride out the good publicity while helping her launch her new career, she can’t help but say yes. She’s even able to convince herself—almost—that her decision has nothing to do with the way one glance from Cole sets her body humming like the strings on his favorite guitar.
They were near strangers when they exchanged drunken vows on the beach, but the connection—and the attraction—between them is powerful and real. Soon, they’re making beautiful music together, both in and out of bed. They’re giving the performance of their lives, until it all comes crashing down around them. But every great performance deserves an encore, and theirs might just be love.
A fun, sexy, and vastly entertaining marriage of a drunken accident turned into a marriage of convenience with a rock star story with fresh and clever emotional plot twists.
The way Rachel Lacey writes the stories easily hooks my mind, and I am keen to get to know the sharp and strong characters she creates and cheer for them, wanting them to find their way to the HEA. The stories are more character driven than focused on their surroundings and lifestyle, though there are enough bling, parting, and glamour in this story to give the celebrity status of the characters validity. But even with the dazzle of the rock star life, the characters have the kind of 'regular people' vibe to them, that is appealing. They are sincere, likable, thoughtful people, they have their strengths and weaknesses, they have their family drama, and they feel deeply and love unconditionally.
Though Rocker Colton Nix represents in the limelights the kind of person - a womanizing millionaire rock star who sleeps around more than most of his peers - that normally would not be my favorite kind of hero, Colton managed to win me over rather easily. Underneath that rocker exterior, there is a considerate, caring, kind man, who loves what he does and cares about people around him. He has his vulnerabilities, he has his reasons to be the way he is, he doesn't try to hide it or be anything that he isn't. I liked him, a lot, and I felt for him when he was hurting and confused. His attraction to Jenn was rather adorable while steaming hot (with a way more boners than I needed to be aware of).
Jenn MacDonald is organized, analytical, goal-oriented, and always prepared for everything. Her obsession with her ideal husband material showed an emotional immaturity that I found tiresome after awhile. I had a bit difficult time to connect with Jenn, to understand her reasoning, the hot-and-cold she was pulling with Colton, especially in the beginning. But she too grew on me, and seeing her mature and come to accept herself and her feelings as they were was refreshing.
Encore is the best kind of summer reading there is for sizzling hot romance lovers. It is lively, entertaining, and enjoyable. There are enough emotional depth and growth with characters to be appealing without being loaded with angst and turmoil. The plot has the familiarity of a marriage of convinience stories yet is told in an original and fresh way that is captivating, and the many detailed love scenes entice while heating up the pages. This alluring and entertaining tale easily swept me away, a great mind-escape romance, that has you swooning and smiling at the end.
~ Four Spoons
Runaway Heiress by Syrie James
Series Dare to Defy Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Impulse
Publication Date June 12, 2018
When a runaway heiress runs into trouble, she may end up exactly where she belongs…
Brainy and college-educated, American heiress Alexandra Atherton will do anything to avoid marriage to the English peer her mother has chosen for her--even abandon the life of privilege she's always known. But as her escape goes horribly wrong, Alexandra must invent a new identity to gain the help of a handsome stranger.
Thomas Carlyle, the Earl of Longford, sweeps in and out of London disguised as a humble artist, earning just enough to keep his ancestral Cornwall estate afloat. When Alexandra crashes into his life, she awakens feelings and desires that he vows will stay buried. Despite himself, he needs this beautiful newcomer, for his sisters have run off another governess.
Alexandra is surprised to find she thrives in her new position at Longford's home. But as she grows closer to Thomas and his sisters, and her relationship with the emotionally guarded earl unleashes their hidden passions, the truth Alexandra's been forced to hide may end up coming between her and the only man she's ever loved.
“One first-class ticket for Liverpool, please.” Alexandra Atherton managed a smile for the ticket agent behind the window.
“One way or return?”
“One way.” Alexandra anxiously made her way across the busy train station, hardly able to believe she was doing this: running away, dressed in her maid’s old clothes, bound for Liverpool and the steamship that would take her home.
Her escape, she knew, would cause something of a scandal. Over the past few years, whenever her name or one of her sisters’ names had cropped up in the press, it was always followed by “the American heiress,” or “the daughter of multimillionaire banking tycoon Colis Atherton.” As if they were not actual people in their own right.
Alexandra hated to feed the gossip, but after last night, what choice did she have?
She had left a note explaining where she’d gone and why, which her maid Fiona was to “accidentally discover” later that afternoon. By then, it would be too late for her mother to prevent Alexandra from sailing. She just prayed that upon her reaching Liverpool, a berth would be available aboard the Maritime.
The train platform was alive with the clamor of movement and conversation. Gentlemen in black frock coats and ladies in elaborate plumed hats darted to and fro, checking the printed timetables, studying the large clock hanging from the rafters, purchasing apples from a vendor and papers from the newsstand. As Alexandra wove through the crowd, she heard a high-pitched voice at her elbow:
“Got a penny for a poor orphan?”
She paused. Before her stood a raggedly dressed, dirty little girl. Alexandra’s heart went out to the creature, who gazed up at her with wide eyes, her hair all in a tangle.
Alexandra wondered how a penny could possibly be of any help to a child in such need. Withdrawing her coin purse from her reticule, she offered the child a shilling. “Here you go, little one.” Suddenly, more children in similarly dirty clothing appeared and crowded around her.
“Mine!” cried a boy.
“No, mine!” cried another.
A grubby fist flashed out and snatched the shilling from Alexandra’s grasp. She couldn’t tell if it was the first girl who took it or one of the boys; indeed, she wasn’t entirely sure what happened next. All Alexandra knew was that multitudes of small, filthy hands were striking at her as young voices erupted in raucous shouts. Her coin purse was suddenly wrenched from her grasp, and a second later her handbag was gone.
“Wait! Give it back!” Alexandra cried, as the flock of children fled. “Help! Stop those children! They’ve stolen my bag!”
No one made any move to help her. Alexandra pushed her way through the crowd, racing after the children, but the ragamuffin band vanished as quickly as it had appeared. At the end of the platform, she stopped to catch her breath. The whole incident, she saw now, had been cleverly played, the efforts of a pack of urchins who preyed on unsuspecting travelers.
She searched for a policeman (what did they call them here? Bobbies?), but realized that even if one materialized, she couldn’t report the theft. She was dressed as a servant, in the act of running away.
Alexandra stood rooted to the spot, overwhelmed by a crushing sense of horror and disappointment as the depths of her predicament became clear to her. Her handbag was gone. It had held all her money as well as her train ticket. She hadn’t been able to take anything else with her, and now had nothing left except the clothes on her back. Clearly, there would be no trip to Liverpool today, and no voyage to New York.
Tears stung Alexandra’s eyes as she made her way back through the train station. What should she do now?
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of RUNAWAY HEIRESS by Syrie James, we’re giving away one paperback copy of THE LOST MEMOIRS OF JANE AUSTEN!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of THE LOST MEMOIRS OF JANE AUSTEN by Syrie James. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 6/24/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About Syrie James
Syrie James is the bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Nocturne; Dracula, My Love; The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte (Great Group Read, Women’s National Book Association; Audie Romance Award, 2011), and the international bestseller The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen (Best First Novel 2008, Library Journal.) An admitted Anglophile, Syrie loves paranormal romance and all things 19th century. She lives in Los Angeles and is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America.
In the aftermath of her husband’s act of adultery and abandonment, Savannah must finally face the ghosts that haunt her and discover for herself whether authentic faith, grace, and ultimate healing really do exist.
When her husband of twenty-one years leaves her, Savannah Barrington believes she’s lost almost everything she’s ever loved. With her daughter in college and her son in boarding school, Savannah retreats to her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, where hope and healing come in the form of an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, a touch of magic, and a handsome man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove she’s still worth loving.
But when her husband asks to reconcile, Savannah is faced with the hardest challenge of all: Forgiving the unforgivable. Somehow she must find freedom from the chains of their past and move forward, or face an unknown future without him.
I do not know what book would be more relevant right now, than Where Hope Begins. The week I sat reading this story - a story about mental illness, depression, suicide, adultery, divorce, death, illness, losing your child, and all the possible turbulence and third person drama that those issues could create - every single day there was news about known people, some more famous than others, that had ended up losing the battle of depression, addiction, mental illness, and taking their own lives.
At first, as I tried to escape the horrid reality into a book, and the story kept repeating these heart-wrenchingly realistic topics, I thought I could not deal with it, that the sadness and the feelings of deceit, deception, despair were too much to take at the time.
But as I kept reading the story, and I got more into the characters, got to know and understand how their past was affecting the present, I realized that this is not a story about trying to learn to live with the betrayal and lies, trying to find a new chance and way in life, but this was a heartbreaking story of learning to forgive, to our selves and to others, let guilt go and learning to love and live with an earthshattering loss, to make the right choices, learing to pray again, finding the words for the emotions, and finding the faith in God again after the feeling of Him turning His back on you.
Where Hope Begins is a breathtaking story about a family's redemption that will stay with me for some time.
The story is told from several points of views, switching between the first and third person POV. There are moments of remembering the past events, the crossroad moments during the family's life, that had brought them to the point where they are today.
As Savannah escapes to her parent's summer house to recover from the divorce, she gets to know the odd and endearing family next door, who becomes an important part of her life. There are baffling yet endearing moments of clairvoyance, the joy of life, sharing secrets, gardening and afternoon tea, mixed inner struggles, and anxiety and loneliness that go so deep, are so devastatingly sad, raw, and real, that these can be triggers to some suffering from depression or a loss of a loved one. (With the sensitive, painful topics of the story, I would recommend the book for a mature audience.)
There was no way for me to read this story and not let it make an impact. It made me think, feel, and evaluate life. It made me angry, frustrated, crying, and so sorrowful it took my breath away. But it also made me elated, smile, and believe, trust in the promise that we are looked after and taken care of.
At the end of the story, I wanted to reach out to my friends and family, to embrace the life and appreciate what I have. And while adultery is part of the storyline, the story is a strong, realistic, and believable tale of loyalty, love, and faith. If read with an open mind, the story can be a graceful blessing filled with love, hope, and optimism, while the journey to the gain of faith will definitely break your heart.
~ Five Spoons
Years after betraying her, he’s back in Haven Point…and ready to learn the truth.
Megan Hamilton never really liked Elliot Bailey. He turned his back on her family when they needed him the most and it almost tore them all apart. So she’s shocked when Elliot arrives at her family’s inn, needing a place to stay and asking questions that dredge up the past. Megan will rent him a cottage, but that’s where it ends—no matter how gorgeous Elliot has become.
Coming back home to Haven Point was the last thing bestselling writer Elliot Bailey thought he’d ever do. But the book he’s writing now is his most personal one yet and it’s drawn him back to the woman he can’t get out of his mind. Seeing Megan again is harder than he expected and it brings up feelings he’d thought were long buried. Could this be his chance to win over his first love?
The Haven Point series has become one of those saga's that I get excited just knowing there is a book from it waiting for me at my TBR list. The stories are well written with a smooth flow and are filled with intriguing characters, living in the small town, love for family and friends, and the sweetest, kindest, most tender, and clean romance stories that always manages to make me smile and sigh. The Cottages on Silver Beach is an uplifting story about forgiveness, daring to open your heart to love, and encouraging to follow our dreams, where ever they might take us.
Elliot Bailey is the perfect mix of serious, straight-laced FBI agent and endearing, caring, protective man who is used to hide his feelings, to take care of others. He has a deep, dry sense of humor, as deep as his sense of duty. He has passion, fierceness, and the ability to see the details, to pay attention, and will do anything in his power to make the people he cares about happy and content. I just adored him and his feelings for Megan Hamilton were so deep-rooted they took my breath away.
Megan's relationship to Elliot had always been a bit awkward. And after Elisabeth, Megan's troubled sister in law vanished without a trace, Megan felt that Elliot turned his back on her family for not blindly trusting Megan's brother's innocence. I thought that was a very tricky situation, there was a lot of obstacles in the way for Megan and Elliot to be able to make it, a serious amount of work to be done for a relationship to work between them.
And I loved how they talked so much, how they had the opportunity for those long, meaningful conversations that people need to go through, to get to truly know each other. The feelings they had for each other were palpable, the connection was obvious, and I loved the chemistry between Megan and Elliot. There were several moments that made me smile, rooting for those two to find a solution in the very sensitive situation.
Because of the disappearance of Elisabeth played such a big role in the story and the little open-ended, happy for now, ending of the book, I felt like this story was a prelude to the next one, laying down the groundwork for what is to come, and not hitting all the deep, raw, angsty emotions it could have had. But despite that, or maybe because of that, this is perfect summer reading - a story that will make you smile, will warm your heart, and eagerly look forward to the next installation in the series. Addictive and endearing, sweet and tender, suitable for all ages
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James
Series The Wildes of Lindow Castle Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date May 29, 2018
No one is more surprised than Lord North when he returns from war to find his ex-fiancee in his ancestral home...working as a governess in a sexy, fiery new Wildes of Lindow Castle romance by New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James…
The handsome, rakish heir to a dukedom, Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde—known to his friends as North—left England two years ago, after being jilted by Miss Diana Belgrave. He returns from war to find that he’s notorious: polite society has ruled him “too wild to wed.”
Diana never meant to tarnish North’s reputation, or his heart, but in her rush to save a helpless child, there was no time to consider the consequences of working as a governess in Lindow Castle. Now everyone has drawn the worst conclusions about the child’s father, and Diana is left with bittersweet regret.
When North makes it clear that he still wants her for his own, scandal or no, Diana has to fight to keep from losing her heart to the man whom she still has no intention of marrying.
Yet North is returning a hardened warrior—and this is one battle he’s determined to win.
He wants Diana, and he’ll risk everything to call her his own.
She giggled, and her arms wound around his neck. “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I am relishing my freedom.”
“I know you don’t love me,” he said, keeping his voice even. “Just so you know, I do love you. I think it is a lifelong condition.”
Her eyes filled with remorse, but he shook his head. “Love should never be regretted. But what
might be regretted by you is this evening, Diana. You wish to marry for love. Won’t the man you
choose expect you to come to him without knowledge of men?”
Never mind the fact that he had every intention of being the man she chose. Look what happened to Godfrey’s father. What happened to the men in his regiment. Life should never be taken for granted.
“Whoever marries me will already know that I jilted a ravishing future duke,” she said firmly, and
then, with a twinkle, “You can take ‘ravishing’ in two ways.”
Who would have guessed that his melancholy fiancée could have such a naughty grin?
“My husband will love me enough not to care,” Diana said, her eyes shining with faith.
Everything in North chilled at the idea of Diana being loved by another man. Loving another man.
He cleared his throat, because he had the feeling she wouldn’t approve of her romantic ambitions
making him homicidal.
“Miss Belgrave, are you giving me permission to ravish you?”
She dimpled at him. “Yes! I requested just that, Lord Roland.”
A gentleman wouldn’t agree. But that perfect gentleman likely wasn’t as focused on winning as North was. Sometimes winning involved breaking some rules. Taking risks. Thinking creatively.
Diana kept stealing glances at his lips.
“A gentleman never refuses a lady,” he said, making up his mind. He rose onto his knees, pulled
off his shirt, and threw it over the side of the bed.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of TOO WILDE TO WED by Eloisa James, we’re giving away one hardcover copy of WILDE IN LOVE and a peacock keychain!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a hardcover copy of WILDE IN LOVE by Eloisa James and a peacock keychain. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 6/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
About the Author
ELOISA JAMES is a New York Times best-selling author and professor of English literature who lives with her family in New York, but can sometimes be found in Paris or Italy. She is the mother of two and, in a particularly delicious irony for a romance writer, is married to a genuine Italian knight. Visit her at http://www.eloisajames.com.
The Deadliest Blessing
Provincetown Mystery Series #3
by Jeannette de Beauvoir
Genre: Cozy Mystery
If there’s a dead body anywhere in Provincetown, wedding consultant Sydney Riley is going to be the one to find it! The seaside town’s annual Portuguese Festival is approaching and it looks like smooth sailing until Sydney’s neighbor decides to have some construction done in her home—and finds more than she bargained for inside her wall.
Now Sydney is again balancing her work at the Race Point Inn with an unexpected adventure that will eventually involve fishermen, gunrunners, a mummified cat, a family fortune, misplaced heirs, a girl with a mysterious past, and lots and lots of Portuguese food. The Blessing of the Fleet is coming up, and unless Sydney can find the key to a decades-old murder, it might yet come back to haunt everyone in this otherwise-peaceful fishing village.
The sunset was living up to expectations.
I’d parked my Civic—known affectionately as the Little Green Car—in the row of vehicles facing Herring Cove Beach, one of the few places on the East Coast where the sun appears to set into the water. As usual, the light was spectacular. It’s the light that made Provincetown what it is, the oldest continuously operating art colony in the United States: the light here, apparently, is like nowhere else.
Or so my friend Mirela tells me. She’s a painter, and is constantly talking about the light, though when it really comes down to it, she can’t explain exactly what it is they all see, the artists who live and work here. I know; I’ve asked.
It was late spring, and I didn’t yet have too many weddings crowding my daily calendar, so I was taking advantage of the calm before the storm of the summer tourist season really hitting when my spare time, like everybody’s else’s, would disappear altogether. I’m the wedding coordinator for the Race Point Inn, and while we do tasteful winter weddings inside the building, the bulk of my work is in the summertime, as Provincetown is pretty much Destination Wedding Central, mostly for same-sex couples but really for anyone who wants this kind of light. The sun was carving a path of gold right up to the beach, glittering and gilded, and I knew I was smiling, settling back into my seat with a sigh.
My phone rang.
Cell coverage is spotty out here in the Cape Cod National Seashore, and my experience is that it’s when you really need to reach someone that it’s not going to happen; on the other hand, when it’s something you don’t want to deal with, the signal comes through loud and clear. Murphy’s Law, or something along those lines. I sighed and swiped, my eyes still on the sunset. “Sydney Riley.”
“Sydney, hey, hi, it’s Zack.”
My landlord. This couldn’t be good. I mentally checked the date. Um, I’d paid my rent this month, right? “Hi, Reg.”
“Hey, hi. Listen, Sydney, I’ve got Mrs. Mattos here and she’s looking for you.”
Of course she was. I live above a nightclub, which makes for reasonable rent with free Lady Gaga thrown in at one o’clock in the morning; Mrs. Mattos is the eighty-something widow who owns the very large house directly across the street. Property developers are probably checking on her health daily as they wait for her demise; I can’t imagine how many million-dollar condos they could create in that space.
I take her grocery shopping to the Stop & Shop once a week and I’ve noticed, lately, that she’s finding more and more excuses to come over and buzz my doorbell. She’s lonely and probably a little scared and most of the time I try to help, but the silly season was already upon us and there was a lot less of my time available. Generally I try to wean her off daily visits by May, but we were already into the beginning of June now, and she was crossing the street rather than calling, a sure sign of distress.
Mrs. Mattos is frequently distressed.
Still, it must have been something out of the ordinary for her to have buzzed Zack, who owns the nightclub as well as the building and was probably peeled away from his never-ending paperwork to talk to her. Mrs. Mattos is usually a little nonplussed around Zack, who regularly paints his fingernails chartreuse or purple, and owns an extensive assortment of wigs. “She’s there with you now?”
A murmur of conversation, then Mrs. Mattos’ quavering voice on the line. “I just need you to come over, Sydney,” she said.
The sun was dipping into the water now; the show would soon be finished. Above it, scarlet and pink streaked across the sky. Some day, I told myself, I was going to be old and quavering, too. “Okay, you go back home,” I said. “I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”
Her name is Emilia Mattos, she stands about five-feet nothing and might weigh a hundred pounds. But every bit of her, like most of the Portuguese women in town, is muscle and sinew. I know her first name, but I’ve never used it; there’s a certain distance, a certain decorum the elderly Provincetown widows observe, and I respect that. Out on Fisherman’s Wharf there’s a collection of large-scale photographs of elderly Portuguese wives and mothers, an art installation called They Also Face The Sea; Mrs. Mattos isn’t one of them, but she could well be.
Back when Provincetown was one of the major whaling ports, ships stopped off in the Azores to take on additional crew, and a lot of those people settled back in town and sent for their families; by the end of the 1800s they were as numerous as the original English settlers. Nowadays there are fewer and fewer Portuguese enclaves, as gentrification switches into high gear and Provincetown’s fishing fleet dwindles; but the names are still here: Mattos, Avellar, Cabral, Gouveia, Silva, Amaral, Rego, Del Deo.
Up until about ten years go, a prominent advertisement in the booklet for the Portuguese Festival was for the small Azores Express airline, when there was still a generation in town that was from Portugal itself; you don’t see that anymore.
She was standing in her doorway when I found a parking place for the Little Green Car and got to our street. I’ve read in books about people twisting their hands; I’d never actually seen it until then. “Mrs. Mattos! Are you all right? What’s wrong?”
“Probably nothing,” she said, on that same quavering note. “Oh, I’m probably disturbing you for nothing, Sydney.”
“Not at all,” I said firmly, taking hold of her elbow and turning her around. “Let’s go in, and you can tell me all about it.”
She was docile, letting me steer her back in the house and into the big kitchen where most of her life seems to take place. She has a home health aide who comes in to help her with bathing and laundry, but she doesn’t let anyone touch her stove: not to cook, not to clean. And when I say clean, I mean clean within an inch of its life: everything in Mrs. Mattos’ kitchen gleams. Not for the first time, I lamented that she couldn’t make it up my stairs: if she expended about an eighth of her usual zeal, my apartment would be cleaner than it had ever been.
She sat down, still fussing with her hands. “I’m having construction work done,” she said, and stood up again. “I should show you.”
“What kind of work?”
“Insulation.” Her voice was repressive, as if she were delivering censure of something. We’d just come off an amazingly, spectacularly cold winter, with single-digit temperatures and a nor-easter that brought the highest tides ever recorded, so I suspected she wasn’t the only one thinking about making changes. “In the walls. Them people at the Cape Cod Energy said I should.”
“Okay.” I still wasn’t getting what was wrong here. “Do you want to show me?”
She turned and led me into the front parlor (in Mrs. Mattos’ house, you don’t call it a living room); I had to duck to get through the heavy framed doorway, and the ceiling here was about an inch or so over my head. She, of course, had no such problems. A loveseat had been pulled away from one of the exterior walls and a significant hole made. She didn’t have drywall, but rather plaster and lathing, as older houses tended to. “There wasn’t nothing wrong with it. The insulation before was just fine,” she said, resentful. “Seaweed.”
She nodded vigorously. “Dried out. It’s what they used.” No need for anything else, her tone suggested.
“Okay,” I said again. “What is—“
“Go look,” she said, flapping her hands at me. “Just look.”
I looked. I pulled my smartphone out of my pocket and used the built-in flashlight. Wedged between strips of lathing was a box. “Is this it?”
Mrs. Mattos blessed herself. “Holy Mother of God,” she said, which I took for assent.
“Can I take it out?” I asked, eyeing the box. It looked as innocuous as last year’s Christmas present. Well, maybe not last year’s. Maybe from sometime around 1950.
Another quick sign of the cross. “Just don’t make me look. I can’t look again.”
I put my smartphone in my pocket and reached gingerly into the opening. Didn’t Poe write a story about a cat getting walled up somewhere? “Who’s doing your work for you, Mrs. Mattos?” It didn’t look as though they’d gotten very far in opening up the wall.
She was back to twisting her hands again. “The company wanted so much,” she began, and I nodded. Rather than getting a contractor, pulling a permit, having a bunch of workmen in her house and paying reasonable rates, she’d found someone to do it on the side. Someone’s unemployed cousin or nephew, probably. That sort of thing happens a lot in P’town, especially among the thrifty Portuguese. It explained the size of the hole, anyway: this was someone without a whole range of tools.
I pulled the box out—it was about the size of a shoebox, only square—and set it down carefully on the coffee table. Mrs. Mattos was looking at it as though something were about to pop out and bite her, like the creatures in Alien; she actually took a physical step back. This wasn’t just Mrs. Mattos being Mrs. Mattos; this thing was really spooking her.
I sat down beside the table and gingerly—you can’t say that I don’t pick up on a mood—lifted the top off the box. Sudden thoughts of Pandora blew by like an errant wind and I shook them off and looked inside.
Shoes; small shoes. Children’s shoes. Three of them, and none matching the others. It was wildly anticlimactic. “Shoes?” I said, doubt—and no doubt disappointment—in my voice.
“It’s not the shoes,” she said. “It’s that we shouldn’t never have moved them.”
I looked at them again. Old leather, dry and curling and peeling. But shoes? She was clearly seeing something I wasn’t. Had these children died some horrible death? Were these memories of lives that hadn’t been lived to their fullest? Something haunting, a song or an echo of laughter, moved through my mind as though on a whisper of summer air. I didn’t recognize the tune. “Mrs. Mattos?”
“It’s to keep them witches out,” she said, grimly.
She nodded. “An’ now there’s nothing to keep ’em from coming in. And nothing we can do about it, neither.”
Jeannette de Beauvoir grew up in Angers, France, but has lived in the United States since her twenties. (No, she's not going to say how long ago that was!) She spends most of her time inside her own head, which is great for writing, though possibly not so much for her social life. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or traveling… to inspire her writing.
The author of a number of mystery and historical novels (some of which you can see on Amazon, Goodreads, Criminal Element, HomePort Press, and her author website), de Beauvoir's work has appeared in 15 countries and has been translated into 12 languages. Midwest Review called her Martine LeDuc Montréal series “riveting (…) demonstrating her total mastery of the mystery/suspense genre.” She is currently writing a Provincetown Theme Week cozy mystery series featuring female sleuth Sydney Riley.
De Beauvoir’s academic background is in history and religion, and the politics and intrigue of the medieval period have always fascinated her (and provided her with great storylines!). She coaches and edits individual writers, teaches writing online and on Cape Cod, and thinks Aaron Sorkin is a god. Her cat, Beckett, totally disagrees.
From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a bittersweet novel about healing old wounds and finding a new place to call home…
Roseanna Chaldecott spent her life as a high-powered lawyer in Manhattan. But when her best friend and law partner dies suddenly, something snaps. Unsure of her future, Roseanna heads upstate on one tank of gas and with no plans to return.
In the foothills of the Adirondacks, Roseanna discovers the perfect hideout in a ramshackle farm. Its seventy-six acres are rich with possibilities and full of surprises, including a mother and daughter squatting on the property. Although company is the last thing Roseanna wants, she reluctantly lets them stay.
Roseanna and the young girl begin sculpting junk found around the farm into zoo animals, drawing more newcomers—including her estranged son, Lance. He pleads with Roseanna to return to the city, but she’s finally discovered where she belongs. It may not provide the solitude she originally sought, but her heart has found room for much more.
While Pay It Forward is one of my favorite movies, reading Allie And Bea shattered my mind, so it was no wonder I nearly jumped from joy when this book landed in my hands. And once again, I am sitting here, humbled and in awe by a brilliant story, the clever plotting, and the characters whom will stay with me, destinies and lives that touched my heart, life-lessons that had a profound impact on me. Such an inspiring, uplifting, real, and raw story about life, priorities, relationships, family, and friends.
At first, I wondered why the timeline was chopped up and the story went back and forth within three to four years, but as the story unfolds, it all starts to make sense, and I turned to appreciate it being presented as it was, so I could understand the nuances and tones of the events.
Roseanna Chaldecott's struggle to find peace, to realize her true life goals, her needs, the bare necessities she needed to be happy, and the priorities she would and could set in her life, is a journey and a battle that will make the reader evaluate and ponder on their own life as well, if they allow the story to touch their minds and hearts.
Her relationships have always been distant, keeping people at the arm's length, even her son. The patching of the most important connection in her life, to Lance, while finding her true self, was eye-opening and inspiring. The story shows repeatedly, how people are capable of change, or refind themselves when the core values are recognized and set in place.
What do you really need to be happy? How much material things do you really need to live a satisfying life? Are things, success, being right, winning the argument, being the best more important than inner peace, meaningful relationships, deep connection to the people surrounding you? Contentment, joy, and peace of mind, or being busy, dealing, and wheeling through life?
Each one of the cast and crew in the book contributes with their unique stories, their unique way of life and living, their character, highlighting some of the major characteristics in most of us.
This story gives hope, it encourages to look deep inside and embrace what you find. It reassures that there is still goodness in people, it cheers you to re-define what makes you satisfied in life, what family means to you, and how happiness is not tight to the material possessions.
If read with an open mind, this heartening story just might change your way of thinking or at least give you a new aspect to the outlook of life.
~ Five Spoons!