Hidden Pieces by Mary Keliikoa

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About the Book

Synopsis:

Hidden Pieces by Mary Keliikoa

Sheriff Jax Turner is staring down the barrel of his broken past. On the brink of ending it all, he feels like a failure following his daughter’s tragic passing and his subsequent divorce. But when a schoolgirl vanishes and her backpack is found in a sex offender’s backseat, the weary lawman drags himself into action and vows to nail one last sociopath.

Shocked to discover the teen’s aunt had lost her life in an abduction years prior, the devastating outcome that he’s taken personally, Jax believes the killer has returned with a vengeance. But as the desperate cop frantically hunts down a mysterious relative in search of a suspect, the girl’s time keeps ticking away…

Can the jaded sheriff take down the culprit in time to bring the young girl home alive?

Praise for Hidden Pieces:

"A multilayered psychological thriller...that is both poignant and engrossing."
~ Kirkus Reviews

"Hidden Pieces is an intense novel offering hair-raising twists and turns and differing plots making it difficult for the reader to discern the culprit. Surprises arise to give the story more power and excitement. A page-turner up to the conclusion this is an exhilarating and spine-tingling read."
~ New York Journal of Books

"Moody, evocative, yet propulsive."
~ Matt Coyle, Bestselling Author of the Rick Cahill crime series

"Wow! What a novel. It crackles with realism, a page turner that sucks you in and won't let you go till the last page... Domestic thriller and mystery fans will get their money's worth."
~ David Putnam, Bestselling Author of the Bruno Johnson seies

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural + Mystery & Psychological Suspense
Published by:Level Best Books
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 282
ISBN: 9781685121563 (ISBN10: 168512156X)
Series: Misty Pines Mystery, #1
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

ZERO MINUS FOUR HOURS

CHAPTER 1

Sheriff Jax Turner swerved his patrol car off Highway 101 and took a sharp right onto an unmarked dirt road leading to the beach. Tourists didn’t come to Misty Pines for the summer to swim in the ocean or the lakes. Too much mist; too much murkiness. The few outdoorsmen drawn to the area for fishing off the ragged ocean jetties had long gone for the season.

His Glock 22 rested on the seat next to him, along with a miniature wooden chair. He’d finished carving it during another sleepless night for a dollhouse he’d never complete, for a tea party that would never happen.

Jax followed the smooth road as it transitioned into rock, his upper body swaying and bouncing with the uneven terrain. When it leveled, he floored it, the tires spinning before they found their footing on the sandy flat.

Aimed toward the sea, he parked on a stretch of solid pack a few yards from the surf. The foamy fingers of the ocean reached for his cruiser, coming up short. The weather report called for ninety degrees in the city located eighty miles east, which meant an inversion for everyone on the coastline. His future, or lack of one, floated in the horizon, where gray ocean met gray clouds, both soon to be indiscernible in the impending fog. Damn, he was tired of being tired.

The window down, he sucked in the brackish scent of the seaweed-littered shores. Seagulls swarmed overhead. Their plaintive cries sent a wave of grief through him.

Misty Pines should have been a fresh start, a place to heal the wounds of the past. Instead, the salty air had entrenched itself in the ten years since he’d arrived. The torture would never end on its own. An hour spent unloading his ammunition at the shooting range into a silhouette target hadn’t helped this time.

Except he hadn’t unloaded all of it.

He leaned over the passenger seat to retrieve two sealed envelopes from the glovebox. A dragonfly drawing done with blue-green Crayola and glitter slid out. He fumbled and then caught it before it floated to the floor. His finger trembled as he traced the wings, remembering Lulu’s soft pink cheeks. He laid his daughter’s gift on his lap and propped the envelopes on the dash right before picturing them splattered in his blood. They’d accuse him of many things when they discovered his body. He wouldn’t let heartless be one of them. He placed the items back, securing the latch.

At least when they were found, the people who’d cared about him once would know why. One letter was for his former partner, Detective Jameson. He would understand if no one else did. The other to Abby. Ten years married, and their only child lost to cancer.

Lulu’s brave smile flashed in his mind, making the lump in his throat swell. Abby said she didn’t blame him, but he blamed himself enough for them both. And despite what she said, the light had dimmed in Abby’s eyes the night their little girl passed. Their marriage died that day too. They just hadn’t properly buried it until last year.

He balanced the gun on his lap and held the miniature chair in his hand, letting the gulls’ cries and the roaring surf fill his mind one last time. The rearview mirror reflected his weary eyes and the bags that had taken up residence under them. He ran his broad hand over his graying sandy hair and back around to the stubble on his chin.

Time to get to it.

He lifted the gun, holding the barrel in his mouth. The cold, metallic weight pushed against his bottom teeth. His throat closed, and he forced a swallow. Quit stalling. Eyes squeezed shut, sadness flooded his chest. Regret shoved him. Don’t think. He drew in the cool air through his nostrils one more time. Held it. Waited. Was this what he really wanted?

“Jax,” his radio crackled to life. “Sheriff…please….”

His eyes flew open, and he withdrew the gun from his mouth. Trudy. Had he heard something in her tone? Hard to tell with her voice coming in and out. He wouldn’t miss the shoddy technology in this godforsaken place. No. He was imagining it. He shook his head. Raised the gun.

“Sheriff Turner, we have a Code Ten-Fifty-Four. Urgent. Response needed.”

Lost child or runaway. Could be either. He’d been equally useless in both instances in the past.

“Sherriff Turner. Answer your damn radio.” Trudy’s voice blared that time.

He bristled and lifted the receiver off the hook. “What’re you talking about, Trudy?”

“There you are. It’s Emily Krueger’s kid. She didn’t get on the school bus.”

Allison. The little girl with the gap-toothed smile who used to wave when he walked past the bookstore. Not so little now, right? A teenager?

“Emily check with her friends?”

“No one’s seen her, hon.”

“Have Chapman handle it. I’m a little—”

“Gone this week,” Trudy said. “Alaska fishing trip. Remember?”

Right.

He scrubbed the exhaustion from his eyes. “On my way.”

He dropped the mic into its holder and secured his gun. Hopefully, this wouldn’t take long, and he’d be back in an hour to contemplate finishing the job.

***

Excerpt from Hidden Pieces by Mary Keliikoa. Copyright 2023 by Mary Keliikoa. Reproduced with permission from Mary Keliikoa. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Mary Keliikoa

Mary Keliikoa is the author of Hidden Pieces and the upcoming Deadly Tides in the Misty Pines mystery series, the PI Kelly Pruett mystery series which includes the Shamus, Lefty, Agatha and Anthony nominated Derailed for best debut, and the upcoming Don’t Ask, Don’t Follow out Summer of 2024. Her short stories have appeared in Woman's World and in the anthology Peace, Love and Crime.

A Pacific NW native, she admits to being that person who gets excited when called for jury duty. When not in Washington, you can find Mary with toes in the sand on a Hawaiian beach. But even under the palm trees and blazing sun, she’s plotting her next murder—novel that is.

 

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Saturday Quote

This week's Saturday quote is from What We Found by Kris Bock available on Amazon.




A CATastrophic Neighborhood by Maryann Shanesy


About the Book

Tarsey Quinston, her husband Steve, and their newly adopted cat move to the upscale community of Bluffington Hills, where the neighborhood isn't as idyllic as they hoped. As the couple settles into their new home and meets their quirky neighbors, they encounter the angry property manager who patrols the neighborhood on a Segway, handing out trash can violations and disrupting the neighborhood yard sale. Tarsey quickly realizes that mystery overshadows the picturesque community. Tarsey finds out that the town seamstress died under suspicious circumstances, and her cat bore a striking resemblance to the one Tarsey has just taken in. Could this be the same cat that belonged to the seamstress, and what really happened to her? As the layers of perfection are peeled away and drama within the Homeowners Association causes uproar between the residents, the property manager and Tarsey's cat suddenly go missing. Now desperate to find her beloved pet, Tarsey must solve the mystery of what happened to all three of them before there is a CATastrophic situation!

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Excerpt

I had to get to the pet store before it closed. How had I run so short of kibble? It was eight p.m. and already dark. I drove as fast as I could and quickly bought Silver his favorite brand. Fortunately, I got there in time. I suppose we could always give him some tuna if we ran out, but he was used to the kibble.

I pulled out of the parking lot, and a few minutes later, I noticed an extremely large, dark blue pickup truck behind me. We were the only ones on the road. The truck was following me closely. But I wasn’t one to go over the speed limit just for the convenience of other drivers.

Come on and pass, I said out loud, thinking of this hothead tailgating me. I looked for somewhere to turn off, but the dark road went on endlessly, with no shoulder to even pull over on. The truck continued to tailgate me aggressively and flash its high beams on and off and honk. Now I was getting nervous. The driver’s bright headlights were making it difficult for me. I couldn’t see the license plate or who was driving. I adjusted the mirrors as best as I could. I felt in my purse for my phone. I had forgotten it at home. Of all the timing! Was the driver the person who had made the calls? Was he now behind me trying to intimidate me?  I hoped he didn’t hit me. Ahead was a traffic light. I knew this intersection, and it was two lanes so I could get away from this driver. As the light was turning yellow, I floored the accelerator and sped through and was no longer the only car on the road. The mysterious truck behind me was now stuck at the red light. I drove as fast as I could the rest of the way home and got inside as quickly as I could. Torrential rain began falling.

“Steve, I’m sure I was followed,” I cried, falling into his arms and recounting the aggressive driver in the truck following me.

“I think he was hoping to distract me so I would run off the road. I was really scared, and I forgot my phone.” I was shaking now.

 

About the Author


Maryann Shanesy is a native of Maryland who has always enjoyed writing. A lifelong lover of mysteries and anything gardening, she is a pet momma to a rescue dog and cat that brighten her life. She and her husband have two wonderful daughters and live in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She hopes you will enjoy her first cozy mystery.

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PAW & ORDER by Chris Abernathy


About the Book

What’s better than a K-9 cop? A feline detective. Detective Whiskers is out to prove himself, and keep his human from being framed for murder, or worse. He'll need the help of his new animal friends and Sheila's group of female sleuths. This cozy mystery set in a small town in Old Florida is purrfect for cat lovers and anyone who enjoys a fun beach read.

Who is really catching killers in Paradise Cove? It’s not the local police. The Paradise Cove Murder Society is getting the job done, with more help than they realize from a furry detective named Whiskers.

Sheila and her cat Whiskers are starting a new life in the perfect little Florida beach town that managed to avoid the big crowds, condos and chain stores. But as soon as they arrive the town has its first ever murder. Good thing Whiskers is a trained detective! Fred, Sheila’s husband of forty years, was a police detective who recently passed away, right before they were supposed to retire to the beach. After forty years of devoting herself entirely to being a good wife and mother she’s now left to put her life back together, but what kind of life will it be? In a fresh setting, and with some quirky new friends, she slowly begins to remember all of the dreams she had as a young woman. She has a second chance to chase those dreams, if she can stay alive and out of prison. When her next door neighbor is killed and the evidence points to Sheila, it’s time for Whiskers to step up.

Whiskers was Fred’s loyal assistant and he’ll need to remember everything he learned from his mentor to keep Sheila safe as she rediscovers herself. With the help of some unexpected new friends of his own Detective Whiskers sets out to prove to the world, and himself, that he is worthy of the shiny badge on his collar. If you love humorous cozy mysteries where pets take the lead and eccentric friends come together to solve crimes with just the right amount of suspense then the Detective Whiskers Cozy Mystery Series is exactly what you’re looking for.

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Excerpt

Sheila does not understand. I know we’re not supposed to play favorites with our humans, but we all do. Fred and I had a connection that was … special. I’ve tried communicating with Sheila, but— Okay this part is a little embarrassing. Every time I tap her hand with my paw, she thinks I want food or a belly rub. Which, of course, I do. I ALWAYS want food or a belly rub. Or both. But I’m trying to tell her something important, and all of a sudden, she puts those fingernails to work on my belly and I’m gone. Lost. A zombie. It feels sooooo good. Whatever I needed to say is up in smoke, my eyes are closed, and I hear a Karen Carpenter love song in my head.

Don’t judge me.

 

About the Author


Chris Abernathy has narrated more than 200 audiobooks and now he is writing his own stories. He has been a storyteller his entire life — around campfires at a summer camp as a counselor, on the radio for more than 30 years, as an actor with background roles on major motion pictures and TV series, as a producer of short films for social media and more. Chris is married with two sons and lives on the Gulf Coast in Alabama. He is a dual national with citizenship in the US and UK and visits family in the Scottish Highlands as often as possible.

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July 17 – Nadaness In Motion - AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 17 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
July 18 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – REVIEW
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July 19 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 19 – Bigreadersite – REVIEW
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July 20 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW 
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July 25 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
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I Know What You Did by Cayce Osborne


About the Book

Petal Woznewski is content with her quiet, introverted life in New York City: she has her junk food, her movies, and her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Gus. That peace is shattered when her name appears on the dedication page of an anonymously written thriller with a cryptic note: “I know what you did, Petal Woznewski. And now everyone else will, too.”

As she reads, Petal realizes the story is rooted in a secret she buried thirty years earlier, when she was fourteen. A secret involving the tragic death of her friend, Megan. A secret that only one other person knows—their old friend, Jenny. Armed with a copy of the book and her own suspicions, Petal returns to her hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. There, she discovers more questions than answers. Jenny has disappeared, and Petal’s old high school crush, Ben, doesn’t know anything about the book—at least not anything he’s telling.

As sinister clues pile up, and the thriller’s plot detours dangerously from the facts, Petal has no choice but to confront her past and solve the mystery of who wrote it—before her very real life ends as tragically as the novel.

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Excerpt

 Petal Woznewski is being stalked by a book…

 

On my way home from work, I passed yet another copy of the book in a drugstore display window. But this time, I didn’t look away.

The words #1 New York Times Bestseller were printed in a blocky font above [the title] No One Suspected.

“Damn. That explains why it’s everywhere.”

A passing dog walker, tangle of leashes clutched in his fist, gave me and my mutterings a wide berth. I waited until he passed.

“Okay, fine. You win.”

I walked into the Duane Reade, bracing myself to play out a one-woman game of hide-and-seek. Yeah, I was seeking my connection to the book. And at the same time, I was hiding. A long time ago I’d carved out a place, deep inside, and secreted away my past. But before I even picked up No One Suspected, my gut was giving me spoilers. It knew the book was connected to my childhood. It knew that butt-ugly skeletons had been ripped out of my closet, put on the page, and made into literary entertainment for the masses. And I needed to figure out not only how, but why.

It was summer rush hour, and the store was packed with sweaty patrons who, if the smell was any indication, were shopping for deodorant. A narrow shelving unit, where the store stocked magazines and a few recent book titles, held half a dozen copies of the book. I slid one from the back of the display. Its black cover showed the silhouette of a cabin with a cluster of trees in the background. The moon was high and bright, casting long shadows. The author’s name was printed small at the bottom: ME Littleton.

The title was embossed in alien green across the midnight sky: No One Suspected.

A woman rushing toward the tampon display bodychecked me from behind. The book fell from my hands and skidded across the floor. I retrieved it, dusting it off. The bottom of the spine had crumpled when it hit the floor.

Take that, asshole.

I considered “accidentally” dropping it again to see what other damage I could do. Instead, I opened the front cover. The title page repeated the name of the book and the author. I’d never heard of ME Littleton. And I was no closer to figuring out why Sub Gyno had insisted I read this book. But then I turned to the dedication page.

Normally, grateful authors use that space to thank their children, or their spouse, or their saintly high school English teacher for inspiring them. But ME Littleton had no such dedication. They’d used the page for a different purpose. It read:

I know what you did, Petal Woznewski.

Now everyone else will too.

The store disappeared. I floated away from my body, and a white, roaring void of panic enclosed me like an iron lung.

I dropped the book like it’d sprouted fangs and stumbled out of the Duane Reade. Maybe fresh air would help bring me back to myself. It didn’t—or maybe it did, and that was the problem. I was too much myself, all raw nerves and exposed wiring. I craved the contained safety of home but wasn’t ready to be alone with my thoughts. Or the threat spelled out in the book. Or my thoughts about the threat in the book.

I put in my earbuds, cranked a Garbage album until my eardrums ached, and started walking. It took hours, zigzagging across the city, but by the time dusk fell, my head had cleared.

 

About the Author


Cayce Osborne is a writer and graphic designer from Madison, WI. When not writing, she spends her time hanging out with her husband and two sons, wandering the library, walking her dog, subscribing to another streaming service, and attempting arts and crafts of all kinds. Her short fiction has appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies, including Exposition Review, Atlas + Alice Literary Magazine, and Pizza Parties and Poltergeists. I Know What You Did is her debut novel.

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A Cryptic Clue by Victoria Gilbert


A retired librarian gets back to the books—and into a devilish murder case



A retired librarian gets back to the books—and into a devilish murder case—in acclaimed author Victoria Gilbert’s new series, the perfect literary adventure for fans of Kate Carlisle and Jenn McKinlay.

Sixty-year-old Jane Hunter, forced into early retirement from her job as a university librarian, is seeking a new challenge to keep her spirits up and supplement her meager pension. But as she’s about to discover, a retiree’s life can bring new thrills—and new dangers.

Cameron “Cam” Clewe, an eccentric 33-year-old collector, is also seeking something—an archivist to inventory his ever-expanding compendium of rare books and artifacts. Jane’s thrilled to be hired on by Cam and to uncover the secrets of his latest acquisition, a trove of items related to the classic mystery and detective authors. But Jane’s delight is upended when a body is discovered in Cam’s library. The victim, heir to a pharmaceutical fortune, was the last in line of Cam’s failed romances—and now he’s suspect number one.

Cam vows to use his intelligence and deductive skills to clear his name—but with a slight case of agoraphobia, rampant anxiety, and limited social skills, he’ll need some help. It comes down to Jane to exonerate her new boss—but is he truly innocent?


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Entering the main hall, I once again observed no evidence of the prior evening’s festivities. Cam definitely has a great cleaning crew, I thought as I crossed to the corridor that led to the library.

This hall, which lacked the windows of the entry, was much dimmer, despite the amber glow from the vintage overhead lights. Strolling more slowly than I had the first time I’d come this way, I took more notice of my surroundings. Above the darkly varnished wainscotting, paintings hung from gilded wires attached to a picture rail that matched the polished wood moldings. I wasn’t too interested in most of the paintings, which were primarily still lifes or landscapes executed in oils. They were so heavily varnished that a veil appeared to be drawn over each scene. This made the one exception all the more striking—a vivid depiction of a feral garden created with colored ink, it stood out like a neon sign hung above a cathedral altar.

I leaned in to examine this work, which had been hung just outside the door to the library. The signature, scrawled across one corner in a florid script, was a capital P followed by something like “Benedict” or “Bennett.” Stepping back, I recognized pillars and the wooden roof of an outdoor structure and realized the drawing depicted the estate gardens, as seen from the wilder section looking back at the pavilion.

I bet someone created this work on site, I thought. Perhaps a visiting artist, or maybe a former resident. Certainly not Cam, unless he’s using a nom de plume for any artistic endeavors.

Making a mental note to ask Lauren about the drawing later, I looked up and noticed that the library door, unlike the others along the hall, stood slightly ajar. But despite this invitation, there was no illumination within the room. After pushing the door fully open, I fumbled for the wall switch.

The sudden burst of light made me blink. I squinted as I crossed the room, heading for the desk. Setting my mug and canvas bag down on its pitted and scratched surface, I frowned. There’s something off in here, I thought, as I looked around.

A slender hand, gleaming white against the patterned rug, added weight to this intuition. Confused, I took a deep breath and stepped around the desk. Crumpled on the floor, with her head turned to one side and her long hair veiling her face, lay a young woman. Her short silver dress glinted under the overhead light, the sequins flashing like fish scales.

And, like a fish beached on the shore, the figure was limp and pale. That hair and figure—it must be Ashley Allen. My thoughts skittered as aimlessly as leaves across a frozen pond. Why is she here? She shouldn’t be here, in the library, on the floor.

I knelt beside her still form. Sweeping the hair away from her chalk-white face revealed a concave divot right above her ear; a depression that exposed bone. As I yanked back my hand, a sticky film coated my fingers. Of course—the dampness streaking her chestnut hair was blood, which had also pooled around her head like a crimson halo.

Fighting an urge to retch, I laid two fingertips on Ashley’s neck and clasped her wrist with my other hand. No pulse thumped against my shaking fingers.

My lips formed a scream, but the sound snagged in my throat.

Not that it mattered. Calling for help was futile. Ashley Allen was, unquestionably, irrevocably, dead.


Raised in a historic small town at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian. Now retired, she’s worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and university library director.

Victoria writes the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, the Booklover’s B&B Mystery series, and the Hunter and Clewe traditional mystery series for Crooked Lane Books. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching TV and films, gardening, or traveling. A member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Victoria lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and two very spoiled cats.


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Blog 2nd Anniversary Giveaways


Two years ago today, we started this blog. To celebrate, we are giving away five $5 Amazon e-gift cards AND five books from some of our wonderful authors. Thank you to everyone who has followed us and to all the authors who have been featured on our site.


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The Lost Great Dane by B. L. Blair

Something Shady at Sunshine Haven by Kris Bock

How Everything Turns Away by Steven J Kolbe

Death by Sample Size by Susie Black

Stealing Haven by Mark Love


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Desert Gold by Kris Bock


About the Book

A legendary treasure hunt in the dramatic – and deadly – New Mexico desert....

The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends—a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider.

When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?

Just how far will Erin go to find the treasure and discover what she’s really made of?

“The story has it all—action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship....”

This is book 1 in the Southwest Romantic Suspense series, followed by Valley of Gems and Silver Canyon. Each novel stands alone and is complete, with no cliffhangers. This series mixes action and adventure with light romance in the Southwest. This series was originally published as The Mad Monk’s Treasure, The Dead Man’s Treasure, and The Skeleton Canyon Treasure.

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Excerpt

In the beginning, it had been a whim. Something to distract her from the tedium of teaching history classes at a small science college where students didn’t value history. Researching lost treasures was fun, and she’d written a few articles about it for magazines. Reading the books on lost mines and buried treasures, you’d think the entire country was covered with them. The Southwest had more than its fair share, from miners who lost track of their remote gold mines, to prospectors who had buried bags of gold and never returned to retrieve them, to bandits who had hidden stolen loot and been killed.

But among all the legends, all the fact and fiction, one story stood out. The Victorio Peak legend had it all. A Franciscan priest and a swindler. Torture, murder, a government cover-up. Where was the truth, among all the stories? Erin wanted to find out.

Over time, and with Camie’s encouragement, she’d started to take the treasure hunt more seriously. It wasn’t so much for the treasure itself – that would most likely belong to the government or the landowners. But from the start, she’d recognized the potential, should she ever unearth new information. Forget academic publications; this was the kind of story which could capture the general imagination and catapult her into success as a writer of popular nonfiction. It would make her reputation, open up new job opportunities – change her life in ways she hardly dared dream.

She touched the book gently. The pages were falling out; she didn’t want to risk carrying it around. Instead, Erin snapped a picture of the petroglyphs with her phone. That would be enough to show Camie for now.

She put the book back on her shelf among the hundreds of others she either owned or had borrowed from various libraries. Then she flipped through her stack of topographic maps and found the right one in southern New Mexico. She tucked the phone and the map into the small waist pack she used when biking around town.

Erin shook her head. Who would’ve thought that she, the quiet, studious girl who’d spent her entire adult life in academia in one way or another, would be planning such an adventure?

She grabbed her bike helmet, wheeled the bike around her house, and mounted. At the corner, she paused and looked both ways. The long frontage road was dangerously narrow, with a cement wall on one side and a ditch on the other. Fortunately, traffic was normally light, and at this time of day the road lay empty. Erin pushed off, still grinning from her find. She rode on the right side, by the ditch, instead of facing traffic, because it was just too scary to ride alongside the wall when a car passed.

She’d gone a block when she heard the hum of a car engine as it pulled out from a side street behind her. She rode along the very edge of the pavement, even though the car would have plenty of room to pass her without oncoming traffic.

Erin glanced over her shoulder. The black SUV twenty feet behind her hadn’t bothered to pull out into the road at all. Jerk. When would drivers learn to share the road with bicyclists? Erin pulled onto the two-foot wide gravel strip between the pavement and the ditch. She couldn’t stop without risking a skid, but she slowed so the SUV could pass.

The engine roared. Erin glanced back again.

Black metal bore down on her. Her heart lurched and the bike wobbled. This guy was out of control! She whipped her gaze forward, rose up in the seat, and pumped the pedals with all her power, skimming along inches from the ditch. He was just trying to scare her. She’d get his license plate and –

She felt the bumper hit her back tire. The bike seemed to leap into the air, and she went flying. The dried mud and weeds of the ditch seemed to rise up to meet her.

She didn’t even have time to scream.

 

About the Author

Kris Bock writes novels of mystery, suspense, and romance, many with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. She has lived in ten states and one foreign country but is now firmly planted in the Southwest, where many of her books are set. Her romantic suspense novels include stories of treasure hunting, archaeology, and intrigue. Readers have called these novels "Smart romance with an Indiana Jones feel."

In Kris’s Accidental Detective series, a witty journalist solves mysteries in Arizona and tackles the challenges of turning fifty. The Furrever Friends Sweet Romance series features the employees and customers at a cat cafĂ©. In the Accidental Billionaire Cowboys series, a Texas ranching family wins a fortune in the lottery, which causes as many problems as it solves. Kris also writes a series with her brother, scriptwriter Douglas J Eboch, who wrote the original screenplay for the movie Sweet Home Alabama. The Felony Melanie series follows the crazy antics of Melanie, Jake, and their friends a decade before the events of the movie.

Website ~~ Facebook ~~ Instagram ~~ Twitter ~~ Goodreads ~~ BookBub


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Saturday Quote

This week's Saturday quote is from Dangerous Innocence by Suzanne Baginskie available on Amazon.

The Maddie Swallows Mysteries by Kat Bellemore


If you love small towns, quirky characters, and an intriguing whodunit, you’ll love this cozy mystery series!

Dead Before Dinner

A Maddie Swallows Mystery Book 1

by Kat Bellemore

Genre: Cozy Mystery 

Green chile has never been more dangerous.

Psychologist Maddie Swallows’ decision to return to New Mexico seemed like a good idea at the time, considering the divorce and her two teenagers she’d dragged along for the ride.

But that was before the New Year’s Eve party she was guilt-tripped into attending. Before a member of the town council wound up dead and everyone at the party became a suspect. And before she was forced to unravel the secrets of her former hometown in order to clear her name.

Of course, with the help of two precocious teenagers and one meddling mother, the real murderer doesn’t stand a chance.

Dead before Dinner is the first book of the Maddie Swallows series. If you love small towns, quirky characters, and an intriguing whodunit, you’ll love this cozy mystery.

Pick up Dead before Dinner and get swept away in this New Mexican mystery series today!


**Start the series for FREE!**

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Dead Upon Arrival

A Maddie Swallows Mystery Book 2

Flying high in the New Mexican sky has never been more lethal.

The biggest hot air balloon festival would have been a vacation if Maddie didn’t have to balance her apathetic teenagers, a meddling mother, and act as therapist for a desperate patient. Let alone solve a murder case!

When Maddie witnesses someone fall from a hot air balloon, it seems like a tragic accident. But as facts come to light, the police are convinced it’s foul play. And Maddie’s friend is to blame.

With the remainder of the festival canceled and all attendees required to stay for questioning, Maddie has two days to discover the truth behind the murder and free her friend from suspicion.

Dead Upon Arrival is the second book in the Maddie Swallows mystery series. If you like humor, intrigue, and, of course, hot air balloons, you'll love this cozy mystery.

Grab Dead Upon Arrival and test your whodunit skills today!


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Dead Before I Do

A Maddie Swallows Mystery Book 3


Till Death Do You Part’ wasn’t supposed to be taken so literally…


When Maddie Swallows attends an out-of-town wedding with her best friend, Benji, she expects free food, dancing, and some awkward moments as she tries to figure out her feelings for her long-time friend.

What she finds instead is a dead groom and an entire wedding guest list who had reason to kill the guy.

It doesn’t help that Maddie was the last person to see the groom alive and is placed in the local police’s crosshairs as they work to solve the murder.

It will take some unexpected sleuthing, and a few therapy sessions, for this psychiatrist to prove her innocence, and bring justice to the real killer.

Dead Before I Do is the third book of the Maddie Swallows mystery series. If you love quirky characters, romance, and plenty of intrigue, you'll love this cozy mystery.

Pick up Dead Before I Do and travel to White Sands National Park for Maddie's latest mystery today!


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**Coming soon on July 31st!**

Dead Among Stars 
A Maddie Swallows Mystery Book 4


Kat Bellemore is a small-town romance and cozy mystery author. Deciding to have New Mexico as the setting for two of her series was an easy choice, considering its amazing sunsets, blue skies and tasty green chile. That, and she currently lives there with her husband and two cute kids. They hope to one day add a dog to the family, but for now, the native animals of the desert will have to do. Though, Kat wouldn't mind ridding the world of scorpions and centipedes. They're just mean.

You can visit Kat at www.kat-bellemore.com.


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Guest Post

Connecting with my readers

When I set out to write the Maddie Swallows series, I had never read a cozy mystery book that included young children, with the exception of the Flavia De Luce series. She’s a child herself, but I suppose that still counts.

It just isn’t done very often. And that seemed strange to me.

I wanted characters that my readers could connect with. And so was born Maddie Swallows, a divorced, single mom to two teenagers. Who also happens to be a psychologist and is forced to leave her position at a large university and return to her hometown where she opens up a much-needed therapy office. (It wouldn’t be a cozy mystery without someone returning home after a long hiatus, right?)
I love writing with children as a main part of the series. They are hilarious and always trying to put themselves in the middle of things using skills that teenagers are best at. Like technology. (Don’t worry, they’re never in real danger.)

There’s of course the meddling mother and estranged childhood best friend in the mix.

My real goal with this series was to keep it real. The local sheriff isn’t bumbling around—she’s good at her job. Just needs a little help from the resident psychologist, whether she likes to admit it or not.

My hope is that you laugh a lot, that Maddie and her kids pull on your heartstrings at least a little, and that you’re able to solve the mystery right alongside them in the end.

Read the first book in the series, Dead Before Dinner, for free HERE.


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Death Steals the Spotlight (Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries) by T. C. LoTempio


About the Book

It’s exit stage left, permanently, for a big-time director who lands the starring role in an unscripted death scene . . .

Desperate to find a director for their annual production, the Fox Hollow Players have a stroke of luck when Shell McMillan’s actress mother lands a prominent theater director for the job. He’s more gruff and demanding than the small-town cast and crew are used to, but his soft side for animals quickly endears him to pet shop owner Shell. Persuading her to let him use a shed on her property where he can work in peace, Shell is horrified when she finds his dead body there. And with obvious signs of foul play, she can’t help but investigate the murder.

As she digs into the man’s past, it becomes apparent that at one point or another he was romantically entangled with just about every woman involved in the play. And just when Shell discovers he may have been blackmailing one of them, other clues surface that suggest a more sinister motive. With her hands already full with a beautiful stray cat she found and christened Princess Fuzzypants, Shell will have to fill two roles, caring for the Maine coon and trying to track down the killer before it’s her turn for a fatal curtain call . . .

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About the Author

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She and her cat pen the Nick and Nora mystery series originally from Berkley Prime Crime and now with Beyond the Page Publishing.  They also write the Cat Rescue series from Crooked Lane and the Pet Shop series, originally published by Midnight Ink and rebranded last  year as “Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries.”  Number three in this series debuted June 27, DEATH STEALS THE SPOTLIGHT. Recent other releases include Book six in the Nick and Nora mysteries, A PURR BEFORE DYING, and book one in the new Tiffany Austin Food blogger series, EAT, DRINK AND DROP DEAD.

You can cat-ch up with them at ROCCO’s blog, www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or her website, www.tclotempio.net

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
July 5 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 5 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews - SPOTLIGHT
July 6 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 6 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
July 7 – Angel's Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT
July 7 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
July 8 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
July 8 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
July 9 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
July 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
July 10 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
July 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 11 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
July 12 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
 July 12 – Read Your Writes - AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 13 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
July 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
July 14 – RUFF DRAFTS – SPOTLIGHT