Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Missing Years

Lexie Elliott’s gripping psychological thriller The French Girl attracted international attention last year, begging readers to question how well they really know their best friends.

In her newest novel, THE MISSING YEARS (Berkley Hardcover; April 23, 2019) Lexie once again explores the subjective nature of our memory, perception – and even reality – calling readers to consider how easily our thoughts and recollections can shift, impacting our everyday truth and the way that we see the world.   

Step inside the Manse, a grand manor looming high in the foggy hills of the chilly Scottish Highlands that holds the ghosts of one woman’s past. Lexie’s chilling prose will lure you in to this haunting locale complete with creaky floorboards and shadowy corners.

When Ailsa Calder, a thirty-something journalist who seems to live nowhere and everywhere, inherits the Scottish manor where she was born, she can’t fathom settling into a place haunted by so many memories. The years have provided much-needed distance, allowing her to leave her tangled family roots – and the devastating mystery of her father’s disappearance that has plagued her since childhood – behind.
          But when Ailsa’s mother dies, she learns that she has inherited only half of the estate. The other half belongs to her missing father.
          Upon returning to the Manse, an encounter with some of the locals tells Ailsa that something sinister is at play. Her family – and this house – have been the talk of the town since her father vanished. When Ailsa begins receiving threatening notes and dead animals appear on her doorstep, no one believes her.  And she’s getting the distinct feeling that she’s being watched. Can she be sure that her memories are true? What really happened so long ago?

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Lexie Elliott
Lexie Elliott has been writing for as long as she can remember, but she began to focus on it more seriously after she lost her banking job in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis. After some success in short story competitions, she began planning a novel. With two kids and a (new) job, it took some time for that novel to move from her head to the page, but the result was The French Girl, which will be published by Berkley in February 2018 - available to pre-order on Amazon now!

When she's not writing, Lexie can be found running, swimming or cycling whilst thinking about writing. In 2007 she swam the English Channel solo. She won't be doing that again. In 2015 she ran 100km, raising money for Alzheimer Scotland. She won't be doing that again either. But the odd triathlon or marathon isn't out of the question.

For more on Lexie and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to inherit a manor anywhere in the world? Have you ever inherited a house or property?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The King Who Disappeared (+Giveaway)

Do you sometimes wonder what it would be like to live in a castle during the era of knights and dragons? Well, join me today as author Hank Quense visits to tell us about his latest fantasy release, THE KING WHO DISAPPEARED.

Be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post. The author is giving away two print copies (US only) of his book and three eBook copies.

Here’s a synopsis of the book:

Bohan, a king, is at war with Jerado, an evil wizard who controls four neighboring kingdoms.  Bohan, his wizard, Ansgar, and his guards are trapped in a cave by Jerado who magically seals the cave.  Ansgar casts a sleep spell on all of them. It will last until the cave is unsealed.
          More than 200 years later, an earthquake unseals the cave and frees Bohan.  While catching up on history, he learns Jerado is still alive and rules the country as dictator.  Bohan learns this from a sympathetic constable named Leticia.  After talking to Bohan and his guards, she recognizes him from school lessons as the King Who Disappeared. Bohan determines to go to the capital, Dun Hythe, and gain revenge.  Leticia promises to go with him to find out what happened to her father who was arrested and disappeared.
          Jerado learns that Bohan is still alive and headed to confront him. He tells Lithgow, his son, and Flavia, his daughter about Bohan.  Lithgow is the War Minister and Flavia the Minister of the Interior. They hate each other and each plans to succeed their father when he retires.
          Jerado orders Lithgow to use his soldiers to block and kill Bohan.  Flavia, who also has troops, decides to kill Bohan before Lithgow can.  Bohan and his guards, all heroes, brush past Flavia’s soldiers and route Lithgow’s.  Jerado now orders Lithgow’s troops to seal all the city’s gates and search everyone entering the city. 
          Meanwhile the citizens in Dun Hythe are suffering from Jerado’s rule and from Flavia’s imposition of lower wages to raise profits for the many businesses she controls.  The wage restrictions impact on the Godmother’s bottom line.  She is the head of a crime family who controls all vice in the city.  She is also the head of the two largest and most powerful labor guilds, the teamsters and the dock workers. With Flavia’s wage restrictions in place the citizenry does have any money to have fun in the Godmother’s saloons or gambling halls.  Also the workers don’t make enough money to feed their families. 
          Jerado’s Treasurer, Maurice, learns a few of Jerado’s family secrets.  He knows how Flavia embezzles vast amounts of money from the contracts she gives out.  Maurice learns about Bohan and the attempts to kill him. These and a few other secrets ensure his early death if Jerado ever finds out what he knows.  Maurice meets with the Godmother and they agree to help each other for their mutual protection.
          Now close to Dun Hythe, Leticia agrees to enter the city and scout it out.  Hopefully she can find a way for Bohan to enter the city.  She also wants to meet with the Godmother because her father was once a high-ranking official in the dock workers guild.  Leticia hopes the Godmother can find out where her father is.
          Within the city, rumors swirl about the reappearance of the King Who Disappeared.  The Godmother ignores the rumors and is stunned to learn from Leticia that Bohan is really alive and outside the city.  After a lively discussion, The Godmother agrees to smuggle Bohan into the city in return for a guarantee from Bohan for protection for her business.
          Bohan and his mates enter the city by boat in the middle of the night and meet with the Godmother and Maurice who tells Bohan the layout of the palace and how to sneak into it.  To make a distraction, the Godmother will call a city-wide general strike to coincide with Bohan’s attack on Jerado.
          Bohan and Ansgar sneak into the palace at night with Maurice in the lead.  Leaving Maurice behind, they advance into the living quarters and confront Jerado.  A confusing battle ensues as the two wizards throw spells at each other.  Using Ansgar’s spell as a distraction, Bohan gets close enough to Jerado to use his sword on the wizard thus gaining revenge.
          With Jerado out of the way, Bohan arrests Lithgow and Flavia, proclaims himself king and agrees to work with the Godmother, orders a wage increase for all the workers.
          Everyone is happy except Jerado’s children who must perform menial work for the rest of their lives.

Now for those of you unfamiliar with the author, here’s a bit of background on him.

Author Hank Quense
Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric sci-fi and fantasy stories.

He also writes and lectures about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 19 books and 50 short stories along with dozens of
articles. He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject.

He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe. They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.

Hank’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BM76IE

Thanks for stopping by today during Hank’s visit. Have you ever made up stories about wizards and kingdoms?

Author Hank Quense is giving away two print copies (US only) of THE KING WHO DISAPPEARED and three eBook copies. Click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instruction to enter to win. If the widget doesn’t show up, just check HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Three Star Island (+Giveaway)

Three Star Island
Kat Caulberg
Published by: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication date: April 10th 2019
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance, Time-Travel
          Stepping through a time portal into 1716, historian Penny Saunders didn’t expect to get stranded in the past. Five years later, now a pariah to the townsfolk of Three Star Island, she endures solitude and ridicule until a hurricane tosses a dangerous castaway onto her shores.
          William Payne’s history precedes him. Pirate, outlaw, and ruthless captain, he’s a monster among men. . . or so it seems. Desperately seeking redemption for his blood-soaked past, he upends Penny’s world by showing her a passion she’s never experienced.
          But time is closing in on them; the governor of the Carolinas has rescinded his pirates’ pardon, the locals are growing suspicious of Penny’s new houseguest, and she can’t keep her secrets from William forever. When everything falls apart, she must use both wits and weapons against lawmen and pirates alike to save the one man who would tear down the world for her.
Penelope stood in the crater the time portal had sliced into the tree line. Sheared-off branches sprouted new growth overhead, and grass choked the scorched ground, concealing most of the sand that had been fused into glass globules by the rift. Frowning, she dislodged one of the spheres with the tip of her shoe and kicked it into the dunes. This gate hadn’t opened in months.
Two days prior, a hurricane had ravaged Three Star. Alone on the southern tip of the island, Penny had ridden out the storm in her farmhouse while gales ripped up centuries-old live oaks by their roots and tossed debris through the walls of her outbuildings. She’d seen a time gate’s flicker in the immediate aftermath half a mile from where she now stood on the beach, but there had been no reason to dash out into the dwindling rain in hopes of reaching it before it shut.
None of them would let her go home again.
Grasping her skirts in one hand, she made her way through the oat grass to ascertain what the storm had offered her in compensation. The summer of 1721 had been a blistering one, providing scarcely any rain to offset the heat. With few thunderstorms of much note, ships in the area had enjoyed a season of calm, returning to port with full holds and happy sailors, and Penny’s larder suffered for it. Without wreckage to pick through, she’d survived on meager rations from her garden and the bones of a sloop that ran aground on the shoals to the south.
Yesterday threw one more long, hard bout of rain at the island, keeping her inside until dusk. Now, with the sun a few hours into the sky, she hurried to collect her share of the shattered remains of dead men’s fortunes. This time, she was determined it wouldn’t bother her. She tucked a short strand of hair behind her ear, knuckled her glasses higher, and proceeded to the shore.
The sea mirrored the heavens, flat and tranquil. Whitecaps lapped the sand, pulling back to reveal a stripe of broken shells stretching as far as she could see. Currents funneled past the rock barrier jutting out into the water, and a smattering of planks and splintered crates gathered on the sand bars the rising tide would soon submerge.
Penny stooped to dip her fingers into a mountain of sea foam. Lacework-white and delicate, it dissolved at her touch. A flicker of movement caught her eye. Slanting toward the beach on a downdraft, a laughing gull shrieked its peculiar, broken cry and swooped over a figure lying in the surf.
Her stomach dropped. The waves had disgorged a body.
Straightening, she fidgeted with her apron strings. The tide was rising. Soon, the ocean would reclaim the life it had taken, leaving no trace of the drowned man behind. Here, he was alone and unknown. Somewhere else, however, he would be an empty seat at a hearth, a bed half-filled, a promise unkept. Like her, he could never go home again.
Penelope sighed. Unable to bury him, she could at least bear witness to his return to the sea. Keeping close to the water, she trudged toward him.
She stopped when his arm moved. It was a tiny motion she could’ve mistaken for a trick of the wind, his sleeve toyed with by the breeze, yet when his fist clenched the sand, she was certain.
He was alive.
“Son of a . . .”

Author Bio:
For as long as she can remember, Kat Caulberg has been obsessed with history and the paranormal. Somewhat to the dismay of her parents, her interests led her into both museums and graveyards as a child, a trend which has continued into her adulthood. This has influenced her reading tastes and her writing, whether it be a good ghost story, thrilling tales of time-travel, or devouring endless volumes of ancient warfare.
She signed a contract with Soul Mate Publishing in 2018 for her first novel, Three Star Island, a time-travel story set in 1721. She enjoys writing strong, quirky heroines, and has a weakness for cheeky heroes who have as much compassion as they have flaws.
Kat currently lives in North Carolina with her Englishman and a few cats.
Thanks for stopping by today. Doesn't that cover just set your imagination off in all sorts of directions?


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Honeymooner (+Giveaway)

The Honeymooner
Melanie Summers
(Paradise Bay #1)
Publication date: August 7th 2018
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! The Honeymooner is a must read…I didn’t want this book to end. Get it today and start laughing. ~ Jilleen, SeasideBooknook.com
A must read! More than 5 stars! Melanie Summers could write a menu and I’d read it… I love her stories, they are all heart and soul. All I can say is I want to move to Paradise Bay! ~Lori Zenobia, Goodreads Reviewer
From bestselling author Melanie Summers comes the wickedly funny, ridiculously romantic spinoff of her highly-acclaimed Crown Jewels Series…

          Twenty-eight-year-old workaholic Libby Dewitt lives by the motto ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’ She’s finally about to start her dream life with her steady-as-a-rock fiancé, Richard Tomy. Together, they’re the perfect power couple—right down to the fact that he’s agreed to use their honeymoon to help further her career in mergers and acquisitions. But ten minutes before the wedding, her dreams dissolve via text message.
          Devastated and humiliated, Libby escapes to Paradise Bay alone. She’s got two goals for her trip: to devise a plan to get Richard back and to convince resort owner Harrison Banks to sell his property to her company. Unfortunately, when she arrives, she discovers that tall, dark, and built, Harrison is not about to make anything easy for her.
          Instead, he derails her plans while at the same time, bringing out a side of Libby she’s kept carefully tucked away—a carefree, adrenaline junkie. After a few days together, Harrison’s got her wondering if the life she always wanted was meant for some other girl. Suddenly, Libby must decide which version of herself she wants to be.
          Will she go back to her comfortable, safe life, or risk everything to be with the only man who’s ever made her feel truly alive?
FREE for a limited time only!
“Oh my God…did we…?” I press the sheet to me again, gripping it so tightly, my knuckles turn white.
“You don’t remember? It was amazing. The earth moved. And you—you were loud enough that we probably cleared out the entire resort.” He grins at me, then rolls off the bed and starts across the room, giving me a view of his muscly back and behind. Those are some seriously tight shorts.
No, Libby! Do not focus on his taut buttocks! You are not that kind of girl. “I’m very sorry, but I’m afraid I don’t remember any of it.”
“None of it?” he asks.
When I shake my head, he says, “That’s a real crime because it was the best night you’ve ever had. You told me as much right after round three.” Opening the mini-fridge, he grabs a bottle of water and takes off the lid. “At least I have it all on video.”
“What?!” My pulse speeds up, and I suddenly feel both hot and dizzy. What have I turned into? Some kind of hussy? Or worse—my mother?
“I didn’t think it was a good idea, but you were pretty insistent.” He shrugs, then crosses the room and holds the bottle of water out to me.
I take it cautiously, then shrink back from him a bit. Why would a man this hot do whatever predictable, boring old Libby Dewitt said to do?
In an instant, it all makes perfect sense. My heart sinks and I let out a loud groan. “You’re a gigolo, aren’t you?”
“Listen, I don’t know what I told you last night, but I can’t afford to pay you. I’m a little low on cash at the—”
“I’m not a gigolo.”
“Then why would you…?” I don’t really know how to put this. Why would someone as hot as you sleep with a very plain Jane like me?
“Why would I what?” He folds his arms across his broad chest.
My words come out rushed. “Sleep with someone like me.”
“Are you kidding right now?” he asks, raising one eyebrow.
“No, I’m afraid not.” I shake my head, then wince because my brain is pounding and because I really don’t want to hear his answer. I’ve had enough rejection for one weekend. Before he can say anything, I take a wild stab at it. “Now I get it, you’re one of those guys with extremely low standards. The type who’ll sleep with anything with a pulse.” I gasp again. “Oh my God. I probably have an STD by now, don’t I?”
“Ouch,” he says, rubbing at his chest. “You’re pretty mean when you’re sober.”
“Sorry. I don’t mean to insult you. I’m honestly just very confused.” I sigh and close my eyes for a second, unable to stand the look of hurt in his strikingly brilliant hazel eyes. “Maybe it would be best if you just left. I’m really not myself at the moment.”
“Okay, but it might make more sense if you left.”
“Why?” I ask, opening my eyes again.
“This is my room.”

Author Bio:
Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.
Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published three novellas, and eight novels (of which seven have been published). She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.
In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally - then she'll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for 'K' Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn't require makeup and/or nylons).
Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three young children, and their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog. When she's not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken 'from above'. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something--more like just staying until they turn the lights off.
She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you always have to plan out your day or just go with whatever happens?


Monday, April 1, 2019

I Can Finally Tell You

Happy April Fool’s Day. Hope you don’t have any bad jokes played on you today. I will say this post IS NOT an April Fool’s joke. It seems unreal to me, but it’s true.

I have been working on a special project for well over a year with only a few people online knowing what I’ve been up to. Because of this project, I haven’t posted as often as I used to, I haven’t been reading or listening to books as much, well I just haven’t been online as much (even to answer emails. Several months ago, I said I’d get back into the swing of things soon and I’d let you know what I’ve been up to.

Well, today is that day. I can finally share with you what I’ve been doing. A part of me is extreme excited to tell you about it and the other part is reluctant to say anything. My news is like a single raindrop in an ocean of things going on in the world today.

The thing that has keep me busy and my mind occupied for so long and continues to do so to an extent --- I’ve been helping a friend write a book about his life and career. The book is entitled IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE. It has taken months of interviews, compiling stories and over 200 photographs, drafts, and rewrites to get to the final product. It was published locally in early March and just this past week went live online.

Before I tell you more about the book and the man it’s about, I want to just say – authors are unbelievable (and I don’t consider myself an author by the way). As a journalist for many years, I know writing can be difficult at times. From blogging for several years, I’ve learned a bit more about what authors go through when writing. But having said that, I never really realized just how much work goes into writing a book, getting it ready to publish and even after it’s published. I can’t even begin to image the real work involved because most authors are creating characters, settings, worlds, relationships, adventures, etc. I compiled a story from interviews about true events. I didn’t have to create anything. So, I’m in awe of all authors now more so than ever.

Being in awe of all authors, I want to say a very special THANKS to author Elizabeth Spann Craig for her help. She was extremely helpful in many aspects of my journey, especially in understanding about ISBNs and self-publishing on Amazon. Be sure to drop by her blog, you’ll find lots of wonderful tips and information. Thanks, so much Elizabeth, you were a tremendous help.

Now let me share a bit about the man behind IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE. His name is Gary W. McConnell and one of his motivations for wanting his story told is why I readily agreed to write it despite my insecurities in my ability to make the book a reality. He wants to encourage and show students in small towns that they can accomplish much more beyond their surroundings if they work at it.

I’ve known Gary all my life. Our parents knew each other. He was sheriff during many of the years I worked as a journalist, so I’ve also dealt with him in a professional capacity and covered many of the events he talks about in the book.

Deputy Gary McConnell (left) and his dad, Sheriff John Frank McConnell
To give you a short version of his story, Gary grew up in a small town, went off to college and came home to help his Dad (who had a stroke losing use of his right arm) when he was elected sheriff on the ticket of cleaning up moonshine in the county. Gary served as a deputy until his Dad died suddenly of a heart attack and he was then sworn in that same evening to fill his Dad’s term as sheriff. He went on to be elected the youngest sheriff ever in the State of Georgia and served the people for more than two decades.

Sheriff McConnell with murderer Samuel Tony West
He dealt with the various issues a sheriff deals with along with murders that drew national and international attention. The murder of an elderly woman and the brutal beating of her elderly sister made him ponder his career. Sometime after that he was asked by newly-elected Governor Zell Miller to serve as Director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and he accepted.

During his 12 years as GEMA Director, Gary led the agency during numerous major natural disasters, oversaw the State of Georgia’s involvement in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, directed the cleanup of a crematory malpractice, and helped implement numerous new programs for the state. After GEMA he worked with the Stimson Center and then in a private security and emergency management consulting position with the Innovative Emergency Management (IEM) out of North Carolina, where he still consults from time to time.

Speaking before the United State Senate
This short version doesn’t come close to explaining what Gary has accomplished (or some of the funny events he encountered), but with any luck shows you the motivation he hopes to inspire with his story. He’s a man with a good heart. I’m not saying he’s perfect and he’d be the first one to tell you he’s not. However, he has a great love and concern for the people of the small county we both grew up in and for people in general. He’s one of those few that when something needs to be done, he finds a way to do it while others are trying to get committees together to study how it should be done.

It has been a fun and even enlightening experience for me to write his story. I’m delighted to share that story with you and hope you’ll check it out. The book is available as an eBook on Amazon, as well as print on demand. It’s also on Barnes and Noble as a print on demand (at a cheaper price). In addition, we have print copies Gary is signing and I’m mailing out.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the book:
Growing up on a farm in rural Georgia, I never dreamed I would one day be testifying before the U.S. Senate encouraging the creation of Homeland Security. Along the way I was fortunate to help my Dad in his mission to eradicate moonshine in our county and then follow in his footsteps when I was elected the youngest sheriff in the state upon his death. During my years as sheriff I handled numerous murders that gained international attention and even believe to have had an encounter with Patty Hearst during her time with the Symbionese Liberation Army.
          Leaving the office of sheriff, I led the Georgia Emergency Management Agency during numerous major natural disasters, oversaw the State of Georgia’s involvement in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and directed the cleanup of a crematory malpractice.
          I’ve had the opportunity to meet with American Presidents, state leaders, and international officials on the issues of terrorism and disasters – natural and manmade. The funny, the sad, and the proud moments of my career have given me a great appreciation for the people around me.

Thanks for stopping by today and reading my ramblings, I know it’s much longer than my usual posts. I hope to be back online more soon but I’m still working on several projects associated with the book (setting up a website, putting a book trailer together, getting the book into audio format, designing book swag and such). So, it may still be awhile before I’m back full time as I’m learning about all these things as I go. Any suggestions on these areas is greatly appreciated.

Do you know someone like Gary that takes charge when things need to get done? I’ll end by saying he reminds me a bit of Buford Pusser without all the violence.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Goodbye Café

With Spring officially beginning this month, I can’t help but look to books that make me think sun, fun and intrigue. Today, I’ve got just such a book to tell you about – THE GOODBYE CAFÉ by Mariah Stewart.

The Hudson Sisters series, Book 3
On sale March 26, 2019
Trade Paperback • Price: $16.00 • ISBN: 9781501145124
eBook • Price: $7.99 • ISBN: 9781501145162

California girl Allie Hudson Monroe can’t wait for the day when the renovations on the Sugarhouse Theater are complete so she can finally collect the inheritance from her father and leave Pennsylvania. After all, her life and her fourteen-year-old daughter are in Los Angeles.
          But Allie’s divorce left her tottering on the edge of bankruptcy, so to keep up on payments for her house and her daughter’s private school tuition, Allie packed up and flew out east. But fate has a curve-ball or two to toss in Allie’s direction—she just doesn’t know it yet.
          She hadn’t anticipated how her life would change after reuniting with her estranged sister, Des, or meeting her previously unknown half-sister, Cara. And she’d certainly never expected to find small-town living charming. But the biggest surprise was that her long-forgotten artistry would save the day when the theater’s renovation fund dried up.
          With opening day upon the sisters, Allie’s free to go. But for the first time in her life, she feels like the woman she was always meant to be. Will she return to the West Coast and resume her previous life, or will the love of “this amazing, endearing family of women” (Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author) be enough to draw her back to the place where the Hudson roots grow so deep?

Here’s an excerpt to entice you even more.

Allie swung her bag over her shoulder, preparing to start her descent, thinking how much her life had changed since she’d arrived in Hidden Falls. There were days when she felt like a different person from the one who’d boarded the plane at LAX and flown to Scranton, Pennsylvania, rented a car, and driven to this tiny nowhere town. At first she’d hated it. Now she was growing accustomed to the slow pace and the fact that everyone in town knew who she was and where she came from simply by virtue of her being Barney Hudson’s niece.
She dropped one leg over the side, singing softly to herself, “Don’t look down, girl, just don’t look down. Everything’s okay as long as you don’t look down,” when she did exactly that.
She bristled at the sight of the man who stood at the foot of the scaffold staring straight up.
“What are you doing here?”
“I was looking for Des. I stopped over at the house but no one answered.” His arms were crossed over his chest, and instead of wearing his usual chief of police uniform, Ben Haldeman—the very bane of Allie’s existence, the gigantic thorn in her side—was dressed in cutoff jeans and a light blue tank top, flip-flops on his feet. He didn’t bother to smile at her—why pretend he liked her any more than she liked him?—but he didn’t blink when she stared down at him, either.
“I’ll let her know when I see her.”
“Then I’ll just leave this little guy here and you can take him home with you. How ’bout I just tie his leash up to the scaffold?”
“What little . . .” Allie leaned over the side of the platform, just far enough to make her head spin and her stomach flip. She pulled back, but not before she saw the little black dog on the red leash that Ben was tying to the bottom rung. “Wait, where’d that dog come from? You can’t leave it here.”
“Found him out on the highway running loose. Tell Des to give me a call.” Ben patted the dog on the head and turned toward the door.
“Wait. Ben. No, don’t . . .”
He waved as he walked away. “Have a nice day.”
With a deep sigh of exasperation, Allie sat back on the platform.

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Mariah Stewart
Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. 

A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel.

For more on Mariah and her writing, visit her website at MariahStewart.com, like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.

Thanks for stopping by today. Doesn’t that cover make it think of summer fun and fascinating adventures?