#WednesdayWriters ~ Nine Lives ~ chapter 25 #MysteryThriller

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Chapter Twenty-five 

Michael Barratt was having trouble believing just how stupid he had been. After all this time, after all his searching, what had possessed him to come on so strong and ruin whatever slim chance he had with Kate. He might have known time and distance would not mellow her in the slightest, that she would be as stubborn as ever.

It was always the way he was with her, never thinking before he spoke, always rushing headlong into stupidity. And the worst of it was he couldn’t think of a single way to improve matters between them. She was right to be angry after the way he had behaved. Again.

To this day, he still didn’t know why he had run away the minute he knew about the baby. Enough time had passed for him to try and figure out what he had obviously thought was wrong, and he was no smarter now than he was then, as only an idiot would have risked his one chance by behaving so stupidly.

Why did he think time might have changed things? It had probably made it more of a mess if anything.

There was a moment when the Kate he knew so well had surfaced. Not for long though, she had pulled back into her shell in a flash, but not before he glimpsed how she felt about him.

That tiny spark, that glimpse of what could be, gave him hope. More hope than I deserve, he thought wryly. He thought he had lost Kate forever when she had suddenly vanished from his father’s house all those years ago. He had the gall to ask him where she had gone, that’s how desperate he was. His father must have sensed it too, for he was uncharacteristically civil towards him, although he didn’t know where she had gone either.

The old boy had looked so lonely and sad, Michael almost felt sorry for him, but something kept the normal father and son relationship at bay, and he walked away without once looking back.

When he found out she had married Jack Holland he became badly depressed, feeling all hope was gone. He had hidden away believing there was no point in anything anymore. He couldn’t remember how long that state of mind had lasted and it seemed like a long lonely time, where all he could think of was losing the one good thing he had ever found.

Gradually, he remembered starting to worry about Kate. Was she happy? Did this Jack Holland treat her right? This made Michael feel worse, for if this man was hurting her there was nothing he could do about any of it, as he didn’t have a clue where she was.

Eventually, he managed to pull himself out of his depression and started to look for her. He had no other clue than the surname and this turned out to be no help at all. It was almost as though this Jack Holland didn’t exist and the fact he obviously did, meant he must have changed his name and at that realisation, the alarm bells started clanging.

His job as an estate agent came in handy, as he could move around to different areas quite easily. It also gave him access to property records, although they turned out to be no help either. He started systematically travelling around the south of England, giving himself six months in each location to check out every living soul in the neighbourhood.

He thought he caught glimpses of Kate as he made his rounds, but it was never her. He found himself looking at children, wondering if one of them was his son.

Sometimes women would mistake his interest for something more, and no matter how attractive they were, or how accommodating, he always politely declined their offers. Kate had become an obsession, one he would live with in the absence of the real thing.  The thought of what he had thrown away still cut deep like a knife.

The day she walked into the estate office in Guildford, his heart seemed to stop beating. It was all he could do to breathe and appear normal when he felt like shouting the place down with all the joy he felt at the sight of her. He never doubted it was she; it couldn’t possibly be anyone else. The proud way she held herself, the uncontrollable hair still wild although now streaked with silver. The way she looked at him, daring him to speak to her.

She gave herself away with all the hesitations and awkward pauses, could it be she had missed him? Against all hope, he wondered if she could possibly still love him?

Their meeting was short-lived and Kate ran away from him again. She said she would come back the next day but he had no intention of waiting that long. He found her address easily enough when he realised she was probably using her maiden name and when he later turned up at her flat, flowers in hand, he knew his suspicions were right. She was nervous, trying desperately to keep him at arm’s length, but the chemistry was still there. He could feel it crackling in the air like electricity between them…

Amazon Review

 

#Wednesday Writer #MysteryThriller

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Promo Post for Out of Time

I found myself nearly at the end of my tether a few years ago. Depression had taken a few days off, but it was back with a vengeance.
My back seemed to have finally forgiven me and my knee still had an axe to grind, but that should not account for my frequent impersonation of a blubbering wreck. I had the unshakeable feeling that just one more disaster would break someone’s back, probably mine.

Then, just as I was doing my best to pull myself together, the worst flu in history struck and the depression found a few more notches to climb…

Didn’t think the week could get any worse and wasn’t expecting it to get any better, but the following day it did. I was woken up at four o’clock in the morning by the characters from my recently finished (soon to be launched) book banging on and on in my head about needing another chance to sort their lives out. To be fair, they were coming up with some good ideas as to how this could be managed. Significantly, the only one who wasn’t nagging me, was the annoying voice that only Kate (from Nine Lives) can hear. And before you could blink, I was building the storyline and plotting my head off.
Apparently, they wanted a new playmate and were being very insistent. I couldn’t argue with them, as they have more than proved their worth. And they should get the credit, for most of the time all I did was follow their orders!
I had never realised how much fun writing a book could be, and was more than delighted that the next one seems to be waiting in the wings.

I still don’t understand why is it that some mornings you wake up feeling as though you spent the night with Doom and Gloom, and others have you springing out of bed full of optimism?
All I can say is that I am grateful for it, as life is proving to be so very short without it…

 

Book Blurb

Kate Devereau wakes up in a hospital, unable to speak or move. Her brain has shut down, refusing to acknowledge her dark and disturbing past, concealing a web of painful secrets.

Michael Barratt brought her to the hospital, insisting that her ex-husband had tried to kill her. And from the state of him, had tried to kill him too. He had been searching for Kate for years, ever since their doomed love affair, only to discover someone else had been hunting her too.

With the help of the DI David Snow, Kate will gradually piece her life back together, only to discover the nightmare is far from over.
Her first instinct is to run, but David Snow convinces her to stay and help him put an end to the nightmare. A nightmare that will get progressively worse before it gets better.

Haunted by his own demons, will the Snowman manage to catch the twisted killer?

Evil lurks in this story and people die, but amidst the tears and heartache, a lost love struggles to survive…

Excerpt from  Out of Time…

Detective Inspector David Snow looked down at the unconscious woman on the hospital bed in front of him, remembering the state of her when she had arrived, a few hours ago. They had done a good job of cleaning her up. She lay still, like a religious statue in a church, her pale skin the colour of finest marble. The gentle rise and fall of her breasts the only indication life still clung to her body.
So different to the wrinkled, dirt-ingrained body he had looked at earlier, of an old tramp found dead in the hospital car park, bundled into a moth-eaten army coat and wedged under a car. What was originally thought to be a simple case of neglect, had taken on a more sinister tone when they discovered the tramps head had been cut off and shoved down the back of the old boy’s trousers.
Snow wondered what an old tramp could possibly have done to warrant such treatment, being well known around the hospital and described as a harmless old soul. The tenuous link to the woman in front of him indicated she might not be safe and would need his protection.
They knew very little about her, and he wondered again what kind of woman she was. Now the dirt had been removed, she looked healthy and well cared for, which ruled out homelessness. A reasonably attractive, middle-aged woman, bordering on the ordinary, apart from her curly hair which would appear to have a life of its own, as even now it crept across the pillow like the roots of a willow.

Alone with the unconscious woman, Snow had an excellent opportunity to study her without feeling self-conscious about doing it. In all the years since his wife’s death, he missed looking intimately at a woman. He usually tried to do it surreptitiously to avoid the risk of being branded a pervert, or worse. He liked to imagine what kind of person they were, if they were kind or cruel, bossy or timid, but for once, there were no clues on this woman’s face. A slight determination in the set of her jaw gave him pause for thought.
According to Michael Barratt, the man who brought her here, her name was Kate Devereau, an artist, none of which gave him any clues as to her character. In the beginning, Snow had instinctively thought she might be the murderer in this case, due to the amount of blood found in the cottage. Michael Barratt had found her unconscious in this cottage on the outskirts of Guildford. He said he knew her, but had no idea why she had found it necessary to be there. As an estate agent, he had been arranging to have the cottage ready for Miss Devereau to rent.
It was all a little mysterious, compounded by the fact Michael Barratt looked as if he had been barbecued. His clothes were burned black in places, apart from his jacket, which was clean and several sizes too small and obviously didn’t belong to him. The back of his head and hands were raw and blistered, suggesting there were probably more extensive burns to his body.
The estate agent had offered no explanation for his own condition, but stubbornly kept asking after Kate, which might possibly indicate an emotional involvement. He had no answer for what had happened to her, except to say her health had not been good for a while. If it hadn’t been for all the blood, it would have seemed innocent enough.
So why didn’t Snow believe him?

Given the state of him, Michael Barratt was in no position to convince David Snow of anything. Naturally suspicious of everyone involved in any of his cases, Snow couldn’t help but suspect Michael Barratt. The man was obviously hiding something, for despite his obvious devotion to the unconscious woman, something didn’t feel right. He must know more than he said.
There had to be more to this case than these two people. The macabre and similar death of Miss Devereau’s brother Danny had opened this case several weeks ago, a clear indication someone they all knew had an axe to grind. Someone cruel and malicious, hell bent on exacting some kind of revenge?

Snow walked over to the window, more for a change of scenery than to escape from the body of Kate Devereau. It was getting dark outside, and the lights in the car park were coming on, one by one. With visiting time approaching, more cars were arriving and he prayed nothing else would happen. He was tired, but not looking forward to his retirement next year. His life seemed empty now, what would it be like then? He didn’t want to retire, he liked his job. It gave him a reason to get up every morning.
He found the idea that this woman may never regain consciousness unsettling, as he wanted this case solved and put away as soon as possible. The doctors could find no medical reason for the coma, or so they said. They had found sedatives in her system, but they should have worn off by now. Her heart was fine and no sign of a stroke. Either she didn’t want to wake up, or she was faking.
Maybe if he pinched or touched her, took her by surprise, would she open her eyes? For whatever reason, and he couldn’t think of one, he couldn’t do it. He could hardly blame her for faking. Why weren’t there more people in her life?
He remembered one of his earlier cases, involving one Gillian Anderton. How she had completely fooled them into believing her story. If it hadn’t been for his sergeant, Jim Harris, she would still be free. Snow tended to suspect women a lot more these days, just in case.

An agent, Samantha Cameron, managed all of Miss Devereau’s art, but was probably only a business contact. Judging by the barbecued boyfriend, someone thought well of her, but how did she feel about him? So many questions which would never be answered if she didn’t wake up.
He looked back to the bed, hoping to see her open her eyes, but nothing had changed, she hadn’t moved at all.

What kind of woman are you, Kate Devereau?

#Jaye’s Journal Week Three

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Jaye’s Journal. Week 3

 

Despite still feeling like the remains of a dog’s dinner, I am determined to sort out the mess that is masquerading as my WIP, PayBack.

I knew it was a mess, but not how bad it really was. The experts say you shouldn’t worry about the state of your first draft, that it is more important to just get it all down on the page. You get to make it shine during the editing process.

I kept trying to tell myself this, but obviously wasn’t very convincing, so over the weekend, I tackled the first Act, all twenty sprawling chapters. After much rearranging and second thoughts, I reduced it to twelve chapters and felt quite smug pleased with my efforts.

This week has not been like that. All I can think is that some other idiot must have written the second Act. Although I was an editor long before I became a writer, this did not prepare me for the shambles I found. Continuity was simply not present. It looked for all the world like I had completely forgotten the basics. Instead of throwing it away in disgust, I kept reading, as a good editor should. There can be a brilliant story hiding under the waffle and confusion.Well, that’s what I hoped!

Gradually, I began to see what needed to be done to create a better story. The thread was there all along. PayBack would need substantial editing, but the framework was taking shape and I felt so much more confident about it.

I’m not sure how it all went so wrong, but my other books didn’t give me so much trouble.

 

Something else has been happening too. Even though I have been spending a lot of time sorting out PayBack, I seem to have more time available for other things too. I know this doesn’t make sense, but I have noticed before that time can stretch if you lose yourself in a project.

For all we know, time is not constant. This would explain why some days seem so much longer than others. All I can say, is I am grateful for the help, wherever it came from…

 

 

I am trying to discover just how good D2D is. They talk the talk and it sounds wonderful. So easy to have all your books on there and all that, but can they walk the walk?

Some of our prospective buyers have reported problems when they try to buy our books, so I am wearing my detective bonnet!

Has anyone else experienced problems with these people?

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Detective Inspector Snow…

Nine Lives, Out of Time, CrossFire

Mystery thriller book series

Continuing our series of posts featuring some of the memorable characters from our books, today we welcome Detective Inspector David Snow, the man responsible for saving Kate Devereau in Out of Time. Not that the book had a particularly successful conclusion for him, but hopefully he will be in a talkative mood today.

As he walks into my office, I am struck again, by how much he reminds me of Tom Selleck. The same smile and boyish demeanour, but starting to show the signs of wear around the edges.

“Take a pew and thank you so much for agreeing to talk to us today, David. The first thing I have to ask, is how is Kate these days? We haven’t heard anything since we saw you last.”

He lowers his long frame into one of my office chairs, sadly inadequate for someone his size. It looks like dolls furniture, and reminds me to see about getting something a tad more comfortable for any future interviews.

“Glad to be here, actually Anita. I needed a break and taking time out from my latest case is more than welcome. Last time I saw Kate, she was much the same as before. They say there is still hope of a full recovery, but I’m not so sure…”

“You mentioned a new case, anything we will get to hear about?”

“At this stage, anything is possible. It all depends on whether I successfully solve the problems or not, I suppose.”

“I heard the sad news about your sergeant Jim Harris. Does this have anything to do with the case?”

David hesitates, and I wonder if I have just pushed my luck. He is a detective after all, and not known for his small talk as a rule.

“Unfortunately, I am unable to comment directly at this stage. So much is still speculation. My writer is pushing me to make sure I leave no stone unturned, and I owe it to her to try my best.”

Changing the subject, I ask him about the serial killer in his last case. Should be on safe ground as the case is probably closed.

“Have you finally closed the case on Jack Holland yet?”

Was it my imagination, or did a cloud just pass over his face?

“The forensic evidence was pretty conclusive, so I am reasonably satisfied we will not be seeing him again.”

“I heard a rumour that you might be contemplating retirement in the near future, is this true?”

He looked at me without speaking for what seemed like ages. I knew he did this sometimes when he didn’t want to talk. Then a slow smile lifted the corners of his mouth and creased the skin around his eyes. He was gorgeous when he did that, and I can quite understand the effect he has on women.

“I was thinking about it. Getting a bit long in the tooth now and the idea of moving away from it all was very appealing. But I am needed now, so what I want will have to wait.”

My next question was worrying me. Just how would this important man, Detective Inspector Snow react to my probing into his business? I decided to take the chance anyway.

“I understand there is a new female presence in your office these days. What is she like?”

He looked at me, a stunned expression on his face as if surprised I knew about her.

“How on earth do you know about Detective Winton? I only met her two days ago…and before you ask, it is too soon for me to have any opinions.”

“Is she pretty?”

For the first time in the interview, he didn’t look at me. He seemed embarrassed, which was strange, unless he had made up his mind. “Come on David, you can at least tell me if she is pretty…”

“Okay, if it will shut you up, I will admit to feeling uncomfortable in her presence. She makes me feel awkward, as if she knows something I don’t… and on that note, I really should be getting back to work… I have enjoyed meeting you, Anita.”

“Perhaps we can talk again, after this case is solved maybe?”

He slowly pulled himself out of the uncomfortably small chair and I was surprised yet again by how tall he was. As he shook my hand, I caught another glimpse of the rare smile, the way he must have looked as a young man. I wondered where his story would end, and if Kate Devereau would be there when it did.

 

 

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#Interview with the Author: Bad Moon by Anita Dawes #HorrorFamily

 

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Spotlight on the writing of Bad Moon

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(An informal interview with Anita Dawes)

 

Today I have dragged Anita away from her writing desk and forced her to sit and talk to me about my favourite book (and I suspect, hers too)

Good morning Anita, make yourself comfortable and tell us how you came to write Bad Moon?

Hello Jaye, this is all a bit strange for me, I haven’t done anything like this before, so I am trusting that you are right and it might just be interesting and productive.

I began to write when I couldn’t stand all the voices in my head. They would not let me rest until I told their story, and once I started, I couldn’t stop!

I just love the minds of the people of small-town America, their philosophy and their way of thinking.

What decided the plot of Bad Moon, was it just your imagination or did something trigger it?

I was in a bad place at that time in my life and I think escaping into another world, even one that was not sweetness and light, helped me a lot. There was a song that caught my interest, from Credence Clearwater Revival, about a ‘Bad Moon Rising’. You could say that that was my inspiration right there.  I think song lyrics are very emotive, you can usually come up with a good story to go with them. My book turned out to be the usual story of good and evil; you cannot get away from it, not in nature or human beings. Maybe knowing that what I was writing was not real, helped me in real life. It is possible.

 Is Annie a biographical character? Did you see yourself in her at all?

  No, I don’t think so. She turned out to be stronger than I could ever be.

 She seems a lot like you, somehow.

Does she? It was not intentional. My mother was the inspiration for the creation of Annie’s mother, and Annie’s father reminds me of one of my stepfathers. A long-suffering doormat. All of Annie’s relatives remind me of crows at a funeral.

But in the book, Annie’s father seems like a nice chap?

Yes, but he is weak, unable to control his wife or her relatives.

 Why did the title lose the word ‘rising’? And where did the idea for Pa’s grotesque carvings come from? They do sound fascinating…

 I had to change the title because there were just too many books out there with the same title. The idea for the carvings came from my imagination really, although I loved the film ‘The Guardian’ with Jenny Agutter. There was an interesting tree in the storyline that could have sparked something.

I always love the macabre side, like the ‘Tooth Fairy’ in The Silence of The Lambs. Making things out of human skin is fascinatingly disgusting, but people have been doing it for centuries.

Despite all her good intentions, Annie has an incestuous relationship with her brother Nathan, before she falls in love with Josh. Did the thought of writing about incest bother you?

No, there is more of that going on than most of us realise. I believe it can be a natural occurrence, as the love you feel for someone – brother or no – can become so strong and overwhelming. It is possible to love more than one person too, we do it all the time.

Your next book ‘Simple’ is very similar to ‘Bad Moon’. Is that what you intended?

Yes, because I feel it is a part of who I am, and I love writing them.

You have not written another story like these two, will you?

Maybe, but it has yet to be proved to me that people are interested in reading them, although I cannot rule it out as I may not be able to stop myself!

 Well, that wasn’t too grueling, was it?

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you!


Brilliant Review on Amazon!

OlgaNM
Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be a directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.
Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.
With themes including incest, rape, infanticide, murder, cannibalism, paedophilia and plenty of violence, this is not a gentle novel or an easy read. There is sex and violence, although these are not graphically rendered, but anybody with a modicum of imagination will be left with many powerful images difficult to forget. The strong intuition of the main character, the roles of fate, blood and family history and the communities portrayed turn this book into a tragedy where instead of kings and gods we have as protagonists a family in the outskirts of society and outside of history. (The historical period of the story and the outside society are not described in detail and this adds to the sense of claustrophobia an entrapment.)
If Annie is a heroine, a tragic hero or an anti-hero is open to interpretation and I haven’t decided yet. I’m not sure I’d like to meet her in real life, but I know I’d like to read more about her.

 

Our 5* Review for Double Blind by Dan Alatorre#FastPacedMurderMystery @savvystories

Two detectives hunt a serial killer. The killer is hunting them.

 

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A lone trucker is ambushed, shot, and brutally stabbed. A tourist meets the same fate while out for a jog. Facing two crime scenes that could have come from a horror movie, Detectives Carly Sanderson and Sergio Martin search for the crazed serial killer.

Five more attacks happen in a week, launching the entire city into a panic and causing the mayor to throw all of the city’s resources into stopping the rampage. But while the detectives work around the clock, they don’t know the killer has upped the game—by making them his next targets.

 

Our Review

At first, the killings seem random, just the actions of a deranged mind.

I found the descriptive powers of the author, combined with the smell of blood quite stomach churning as I searched for clues. I knew it would be a bit gruesome going in, but wasn’t quite prepared for the intensity of the murder scenes. The author has a very powerful imagination!

I loved the easy relationship between the two main characters, detectives Carly and Sergio. A most unusual pair, but real people, warts and all!

The casual dropping into the story half way through of a major clue as to the killer’s identity almost ruined the story for me, but it was cleverly done and hard to spot.

If I have one criticism about this book, it has to be about the killer. I can normally empathise or sometimes even admire most killers. I mean, they are usually damaged in some way, driving them to murder. Try as I might, I could find no redeeming feature in this man.

Here’s hoping the sequel finds Carly and Sergio with a far more interesting antagonist…

 

Excerpt

The wind gusted, sending the trash into the street in a tiny tornado. Lifting and dropping a McDonald’s hamburger wrapper, the little vortex danced and raged; then, as quickly as it had come, it was gone. The pieces of trash twitched and were still. The chill in the air remained, though. That wasn’t going anywhere tonight.

He glanced down the street. In the darkness, a shadow moved. Sergio held his breath. Opposite side of the street. The motion indicated walking. Tall. Probably a male.

This is our pedestrian.

Moving his gaze back to the sidewalk before anyone could tell him to, Sergio watched the stranger while keeping his face pointed at the ground. The man walked with his hands in the front pockets of his hoodie. The stride was long but not fast. The pedestrian seemed to intentionally sway his shoulders, as if he was walking up a steep hill.

When he’s closer, let him see you see him, then immediately look away. Head down, submissive.

The stranger kept coming. Sergio kept walking, his heart pounding.

What if this is our guy?

If it’s our guy, he will approach you. Keep walking. Casual.

The stranger got closer. He was larger than Sergio had originally estimated. Thicker, and taller.

Maybe six foot two, maybe a little more.

Eyes down. Don’t act like a cop.

He’d have to be big to do all that stabbing, to overcome a big guy like Leo.

But he used a gun to help.

Sergio glanced at the hands in the hoodie pockets. Could that conceal a .38? The man looked Sergio’s way.

Eyes down!

He didn’t think eye contact was made, but if the man had seen Sergio looking, maybe that was the time to walk faster.

Maybe we’ll speed up a little anyway.

On opposite sides of the street, the two men neared each other. Forty feet away, then thirty.

Sergio’s head was humming. This is how he did the jogger. Right on the street. A shot to the chest and then he started stabbing.

The bulletproof vest will protect you from both for a while. Long enough for the teams to get here…

Sergio forced himself to take a long, slow breath and walk slower without appearing to be trying. Sweat gathered on his forehead.

The man had heavy movements, a clumping kind of stride like someone might do when they were wearing new construction boots that don’t quite fit. The stranger stayed on one side of the street; Sergio stayed on the other. The sidewalk turned to gravel and then to mud. Sergio stepped around a big puddle and into the street.

“Hey, bro.”

The stranger’s voice cut the quiet night like a knife. Sergio didn’t look up. He kept his head down and kept walking.

“I got fives and tens, my man. If you lookin’ to party.”

Drug talk. Could be a street seller and nothing more. And if the killer was watching, what would he expect Sergio to do? Or if it’s the killer, what would work best?

Sergio halted.

The sergeant was loud in his ear. “Do not engage, Walking Boss. If it’s our guy he’s not trying to sell you drugs. Keep walking.”

Sergio did not move.

“Walking Boss, do you copy? Please respond.”

Sergio turned toward the stranger, keeping his head low and peering upward. He took a step toward the big man.

“Walking Boss, we are not receiving your signal. Please respond.”

His eyes. I want to see his eyes.

The man crossed into the street, dropping his hands to his sides. Sergio held his ground. Sweat dripped down the side of his head and into his ear. To wipe it free might draw attention to the earpiece. He let it go, taking a step toward the stranger. “What kind of stuff you got?”

“Walking Boss, do not engage. Do you read me?”

“Just the basics right here. Fives and tens.” The stranger pointed to the hoodie pocket. “But I can get something else if you want.”

The shadow of the hoodie kept the man’s face dark, but his features were coming visible. The man’s teeth were yellow and his eyes were red. Could be a drug addict or could be a killer.

“Walking Boss! Do you read me?”

The red eyes moved forward. “What you want, bro?”

The way he said it made the hairs on the back of Sergio’s neck stand up. The sneer, the thickness of the voice, like he dreamed it. He fought to not react, holding his breath. His racing pulse throbbed in his ears as a drop of ice cold sweat trickled down his back.

It’s not him. It’s not him. It’s not him.

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Biography

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages.

From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heart-warming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry – or hang onto the edge of your seat – has been enjoyed by audiences around the world.

And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time.

“That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.”

Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe.

His unique writing style can make you chuckle or shed tears—sometimes on the same page (or steam up the room if it’s one of his romances). Regardless of genre, his novels always contain unexpected twists and turns, and his endearing nonfiction stories will stay in your heart forever.

25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew, co-authored by Dan, has been a valuable tool for upcoming writers (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping new authors is evident in his wildly popular blog “Dan Alatorre – AUTHOR.”

Dan’s success is widespread and varied. In addition to being a bestselling author, he has achieved President’s Circle with two different Fortune 500 companies. You can find him blogging away almost every day on http://www.DanAlatorre.com or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week, Writers Off Task With Friends.

Dan resides in the Tampa, Florida area with his wife and daughter.

 

 

 

 

 

#TuesdayBookBlog: CrossFire by Jaye Marie #CrimeThriller #Fiction

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DI David Snow has another killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits. 

Betrayal and lies come to the surface as Snow struggles to find the truth, but is he looking in all the wrong places?

Can he outwit the killer, or will the truth cost him his life?

 

Excerpt from CrossFire

‘Do you know why we have brought you here today, Ann?’

Ruth thought she would ease her way in, rather than accuse her straight off, for triggering any hostility wouldn’t get them anywhere.

The woman stared at Ruth, her pale, colourless eyes searching for clues. ‘Nah… but I ‘spect you’ll get to it pretty quick…’

Ruth indicated a brown paper bag on the table beside her. ‘We found a pair of work boots at your house, Ann. According to your husband, they’re not his. Are they yours?’

Ann Taylor glared at Ruth. She seemed to be enjoying the interview, her arrogance showing through the previous nervousness. ‘Dunno, can’t see them can I?’

Ruth undid the bag and placed the dirty boots on the table. Most of the mud had dried and fallen off, but still didn’t seem like the kind of boot a woman would wear. ‘Are these your boots, Ann?’

Without looking at the boots, she shook her head. ‘Nah, I don’t think so.’

Ruth looked at Snow, but not for confirmation. She wondered why he was choosing to stay silent. What was the point of sitting in if he wasn’t going to contribute? Not that she cared, one way or the other. She had only looked at him to signify inclusion.

She looked back at the woman. ‘Are you quite sure, Ann?’

The woman shrugged her shoulders and refused to speak.

‘For the benefit of the tape, Ann Taylor has refused to answer.’

Ruth decided to read out the coroner’s report, detailing every bruise and damage to the child’s body. When she read the part about the boot imprint on the child’s back, she slid the photograph across the table in front of the mother.

‘Did you do this, Ann?’

When the woman didn’t answer, Ruth decided it was time to play the ace card, and she looked forward to it. This cold-hearted bitch of a woman was about to be arrested, but not before Ruth had enjoyed herself. ‘Are you aware that the person who wore these boots would have left significant DNA inside them?’

Ruth paused, watching as the realisation sunk in.  ‘And are you also aware that we have tested your DNA and it has been proved that you are the owner of these boots?’

The fear and shame were beginning to show on the woman’s face, and Ruth watched, wondering what she would do now. She didn’t have to wait long to find out.

Ann Taylor’s face seemed to implode, as the terror of being found out took effect.  ‘I swear I don’t remember that part… I know I were angry, but when she fell over and banged her head, I thought she were dead…’

‘So what did you do then, Ann?’ Ruth knew what had happened next, but not which one of them had done it.  ‘Were you aware that Amy was still alive when you dropped her into the canal?’

The horror was all-encompassing, as the woman realised the enormity of what she had done. She looked around the room, just once, before she started screaming…

 

 

 

#WednesdayWriter: Nine Lives ~ chapter 23 #MysteryFiction

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Death has been visiting Kate all of her life, leading her to imagine she has nine lives, like a cat.
With nothing to live for, no family, just a brother she hates, she waits for death to take her away when her lives run out.
Death continues to speak to her, teasing her, yet will not come for her. When people around her begin to die at the hands of a serial killer, she hopes to be next.
Has she finally run out of lives? Will she find a reason to live after all, before it is too late?

Chapter 23

Saturday morning arrived and Kate felt better than she had for quite a while. The pain in her chest had gone and she was more like her old self. A little optimism was creeping in which she found most welcome. She had never been a miserable person, despite her turbulent life and the thought she might have nothing else to look forward to was depressing in itself.

Today was more like it. She felt in control for the first time in ages. Her first cup of tea tasted wonderful and she enjoyed every drop as she ran through what options she could think of to take full advantage of the day.  Shopping was high on the list for the cupboards were empty. She should telephone Sam with a progress report and possibly make a start on canvas number three. She idly wondered if the library was open on a Saturday and mentally decided to check when she was in town.

After an invigorating shower, Kate started to make a shopping list and wrote down cat food without thinking. As she looked at the words, the sharp pain sliced through her chest and she had to sit down. ‘Oh Dylan, I miss you so much,’ she said, her eyes filling with tears. She sat, waiting until the pain had gone, leaving an ache behind. She blew her nose and went back to the shopping list.

It suddenly occurred to her that the voice had been quiet for days, hopefully, it was a good sign.

 

The weather was trying desperately to match her mood.  It was early in September, and the trees showed no sign of the approaching autumn. Gentle sunlight and a light breeze made the walk to town a pleasant one. The library wasn’t open, so it would have to wait until next week. As she went past the estate agent, one of the men inside looked up at her from his desk, and for a split second looked so familiar. He had dark curly hair, greying at the temples, but she couldn’t see his eyes properly as he was wearing glasses. She walked on, deep in thought to the supermarket.

Later that morning, after getting back home with several bags of shopping, the image of Michael slipped into her mind and she found herself imagining what he would look like now. She stopped, with a packet of frozen peas in her hand, and realised it might have been him. ‘Don’t be daft, why on earth would it be?’  She shook her head as if to dislodge the notion and carried on putting away the groceries.

Kate expected the voice would have something to say about it. It never usually missed an opportunity to snipe at her but it remained quiet.

She rang Sam and made arrangements for lunch on Sunday for a preview. She should get a bottle of wine, or something nice for lunch.

 

When Kate crossed the street on her way to see if Janet was in, she noticed that the old green car was still there. Was that one more thing to worry about, she thought?

Although she waited patiently at Janet’s door, the old woman did not appear. She must be out or having a nap. As Kate drew nearer to the estate agent, her stomach was churning and she desperately wanted to walk the other way. What was she thinking? It couldn’t possibly be Michael, not here in Guildford. She always imagined him happily married and living the high life in London. After all, he was a good-looking man; women should fall over themselves to grab him.

She suddenly realised she was standing outside the estate agents and the picture of a picturesque cottage was right in front of her.  It’s too expensive, she thought, buying anything like that was out of the question, she had never had that kind of money and wasn’t about to end up in debt at her time of life. She wondered if they had rental properties too.

Her eyes began to focus past the pictures in the window and she studied the staff, but Michael wasn’t one of them, at least she couldn’t see him.

Her feet moved to walk inside and she went with them, safe in the knowledge there would be no embarrassing moment. Not if she was quick. She walked near the empty desk, looking for a nameplate or other identifying piece of evidence, but there was nothing. Then a soft female voice behind her asked if there was something she could help with, and Kate turned around, fully intending to ask about rental properties.

The woman who had spoken was quite short so Kate had a clear view of the man who had come up behind her.

‘It’s okay, Juliet. This lady is here to see me. Hello Kate. Long time no see.’

Kate’s knees had turned to jelly, how was she still standing up? It was definitely Michael, older, a lot older, but still attractive. He wasn’t wearing his glasses today and the familiar blue eyes had the effect they always had. She instantly felt she was the most important part of his life. How could he still do that, after all this time?

He took her by the elbow and steered her towards a chair.

‘I’ve just been seconded down here as they were short staffed. Funny how fate intervenes, don’t you think? You must tell me all about yourself. How are you and what are you doing these days?’

She stared at him, her mind a complete blank. Think of something to say, she thought, or he will think you’re senile. What were you supposed to say to someone who had broken your heart so many years ago?

He was looking at her the way he always did, and the magic had not died. Not in the slightest. She knew she was lost, so why try to go through the motions of being offended, or hateful. What would be the point? He probably wasn’t free anyway, so there was no harm in talking to him, was there?

‘Somehow, you look the same, Michael. How are you ?’

‘Oh, I’m fine. Getting older but nothing I can’t handle. Was there something you need, or did you know I was here? His eyes twinkled, reducing her nether regions into a pile of jelly babies.

‘I was contemplating finding somewhere to rent. Is that something you do here? She said, trying to hold on to her sanity.

He glanced at his watch. ‘Look, why don’t we discuss things over lunch; less formal than sitting here like any other customer.’

She remembered nodding slowly, but nothing else, and before she knew it, they were sitting in a quiet public house and there was a glass of white wine in front of her. Michael was looking at her as if waiting for the answer to a question.

‘I’m sorry, did you say something?’

‘I asked if you were well Kate, you look amazing, so I suppose the answer is yes.’

Kate picked up the glass of wine and took a sip, contemplating what to tell him, if anything at all. Something was telling her not to say anything and surprisingly it was her own idea. As she sat there looking at him, a frisson of annoyance nagged at her. How could he calmly sit there, looking gorgeous, as if they had no traumatic history between them? Had he forgotten he hurt her so badly it took years to heal? Added to that, the trouble with her ex-husband had turned Kate off any romantic encounters for life and there had been no one in her life since.

He is being patient, she thought. He must think she was too old to think straight, and maybe she shouldn’t enlighten him.

She declined any food, intending to keep the meeting short. He kept studying her and asking questions, obviously hoping one of them would make her talk.

She had fantasised about meeting him again, how they would be as wonderful together as they had been before, but somehow it didn’t feel right. He had no right to think she was still his for the taking.

He was talking again. ‘… must be something you can tell me about your life, is Jack still in the picture?’

So, he knew about Jack, what else did he know about her? ‘No, I divorced him and there is no one else.’ Why had she said that?

He smiled at her, his whole face lighting up like a little boy on firework night. ‘So, what have you been doing with the rest of your life, Kate?’

How can he just sit there as if they were old friends? She should hate him, and part of her probably did. She suddenly realised this meeting was not a good idea, and it was time to go home. ‘I paint’, she said and went to stand up. ‘I have to go now, I have things to do.’

He stood up and moved behind her chair, his hands brushing gently over the back of her coat as she stood up. She had to use all of her willpower to keep moving.

‘I might pop in tomorrow, to look at some properties. It was nice to see you again, Michael. Goodbye.’

His face was a picture. So many thoughts and emotions were flitting across his features, but he said nothing, just smiled forlornly at her. ‘See you tomorrow, then Kate.’

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A Magical Reminder of Simple…#Fiction #FamilyHorror

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

Saw this picture this morning and it really fascinated me. I know it’s probably not real, there is some jiggery pokey going on, but as I get older I like the unreal, or at least, what seems to be, so I will keep on looking for new and amazing things…

Anyway, back to what I wanted to talk about today.
I have been thinking about one of Anita’s books, Simple …

It has long been one of my favourites and the picture at the top reminds me of the central character, a huge bear of a man called Simple. He loves to be in the forest and seems to be at home among all the towering trees, away from all the people who torment him because of his size, his slowness, and his stutter.

I thought I would print an excerpt to introduce him to you  properly…

       Gran stormed across the clearing, bending to pick up a stick from the ground without breaking her stride.  Simple, sitting against the wood pile, was in for another of her beatings.  I yelled for him to run, but he didn’t hear me.  Lost in one of his daydreams I guessed.

I watched in silence as Gran repeatedly swung the stick hard against the side of her son’s head.  There were no words to describe Simple’s pain, or the pain of watching.  He probably didn’t even know what it was for and I hated her for making me feel all the things he couldn’t say. He didn’t move or look her in the face, not until she let the stick drop from her bony fingers did he feel safe enough to close his eyes.  He slowly put his hands to his battered head, blood pushing its way through the gaps in his dirty fingers…

I know I edited this book so you could say I am a bit biased, but I don’t think so. I really love the story, even though it has savagely cruel elements, involving hatred and violence. But all of these elements are finely balanced with so much emotional determination and caring by Simple’s sister, Leanne that you get torn every which way as you read it.

This book is a roller coaster of a read but one that has been very hard to categorise. Mainstream publishers really couldn’t figure out what to do with it. They loved it but…

There always seems to be a but, doesn’t there? Well, we always seem to find one. But if anybody wants to see if they would like to read Simple , it’s on Amazon, and at the moment just 0.99p!

I would love to hear if you love it as much as I do…

Here is the latest review for Simple…

AEM
5.0 out of 5 starsLife’s Choices
20 October 2018Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

 

The Hour… a Halloween Poem…

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The Hour

The hour has come, it is midnight.

Light the lanterns

But don’t let your world come undone.

You have heard the tales of Halloween

When doors are open, they slip in

The dead now walk this land

Revenge they seek

Not all will leave a spell behind

Yet there is one who comes in peace

For her lost love, she will sit and weep.

Her time on Earth went by too fast

Love’s kiss still upon her lips.

Each year she comes to find her way

The house she finds by lanterns shine

This time she knows what she will find

With raven hair, her lips of red

Holding hands with a love that is hers

With children’s laughter, the door will be undone

To enter now, to bewitch, to take her form

The raven-haired witch she must dispel

This night feels right for loves return

Will all be well?

©Anita Dawes

 

Here’s one I found on Youtube!