Two Kiss…

 

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Still haven’t downloaded Two Kiss? Here’s a teaser to get you in the mood…

Megan stood over me, her bright red hair even more brilliant than before she got sick. The colors were vibrant, varied, as if every shade from burgundy to yellow was represented in her long, luscious, wavy locks. Megan’s skin was white, smooth, touched with bright pink at her lips and cheeks. She looked like a doll made from the finest porcelain. Too beautiful to be real.

“Did any blood get in your mouth?” she asked.

I just stared up at her. She crouched down, her hair floating around her for a moment because she moved so fast that it took gravity time to catch up.

“Did it get in your mouth?” she asked again, her voice low and earnest. I reached a hand out to touch her face but she wrapped her own fingers around mine before I could reach her cheek. Megan’s skin felt cold, deathly cold. A shiver traveled down to my wrist, along my arm, over my shoulder, and straight to my heart, which thundered in response.
Megan leaned closer to me, her eyes scanning my lips, then she smiled. “No, you bit it,” she said.

“We have to go,” a man said. Megan turned to him, but I just stared at her, looking at the elegant length of her neck, the veins almost violet under her pale skin.

“I know,” Megan answered before returning to me. “Come on,” she said. “Can you stand?”

The man came around Megan and crouched down next to me. Megan put her hand on his shoulder. “She does not like to be touched,” she said.

“It won’t be a problem,” he assured her, reaching toward me. His eyes were the pale blue of very thick ice. High elegant cheekbones and plump red lips combined with his slender waist gave him an air of androgyny.

“She will walk,” Megan insisted. He frowned but relented, standing up. He was wearing a tailored suit, charcoal gray with burgundy and black thread running through it. He straightened his tie (narrow and matte black) before crossing behind Megan over to where Basil was pinned against my apartment building wall by a zombie. Megan’s companion grabbed the creature around its neck. I saw his fingers tighten, pressing through the flesh. The head popped off, flying sideways and bouncing on the ground. The rest of the body crumpled at his feet. He shook his hand and bits of flesh flew off it.

Basil straightened his jacket and nodded at Megan’s companion before hurrying to Issa’s side. “We can’t leave them,” I said, pointing at Issa’s unconscious body. Megan took the keys from my hand and unlocked the front door.

“4G,” she told Basil. He didn’t waste time. Grabbing Issa by the arm, he slung the taller man over his shoulder, then took the offered keys and walked through the door. Megan closed it behind them and gestured toward a navy SUV idling at the curb. “We need to go.”

“My violin,” I said, looking over to where the case lay on the ground. It was scuffed up, smears of blood on its rough black exterior, but still intact. Megan picked it up in a blur of movement. She took my hand and pulled me to my feet.

“He was going to tell me–”

Megan cut me off. “We have to go now.” Sirens were wailing in the distance. Screaming still filled the air. Megan opened the back door and helped me in. A zombie fell against the opposite window; its palms pressed against the glass, viscous drool seeped from its mouth. Megan slammed my door. The creature flew backwards, and Megan was sitting next to me with the door closed by the time it hit the building across the street.

“I need to blindfold you,” she said.

“What?” I asked.

“Just trust me,” she said.

“Trust you,” I parroted.

“Yes,” she nodded.

“Okay,” I said.

She smiled, relieved. The elegant man passed her a black hood from where he sat in the driver’s seat. Megan pulled it over my head, blocking all but the strongest light from passing through to my eyes.

The sirens were closer now. Loud over the sound of our engine as we started forward. The rat tat tat of gunfire in the distance. Megan wrapped her hand into mine. I couldn’t believe that she was really here. And the longer we drove the less I believed it. The sirens faded, our speed increased, and soon I heard nothing except for the engine, my own breath, and the whine of our tires on blacktop.

Without the sight of her and only experiencing Megan’s smooth, cold, hard fingers interlaced with mine, I began to feel as though I was holding hands with a statue rather than a person. It was impossible that Megan could be a person. Not only should her body be weak and riddled with disease but she ought to be dead. Instead, she exhibited speed and strength beyond the bounds of biology.

My world, which had always felt disjointed and confused but anchored by Megan, now seemed totally untethered. People were attacking each other. Ripping out each other’s throats and then rising, their wounds fresh and lurid, to stumble through the streets looking for another victim. I remembered climbing into the kitchen cabinet of a two-room cabin my father built and was discovered by police in a completely different place. Megan was dying, Megan disappeared. Megan was here, with me.

I heard the crunch of gravel under the tires and moments later we rolled to a slow stop. I heard the front door open and close. “Darling,” Megan said. Her voice saying my name sounded so right. “We are here. I will take the hood off once we get you inside.”

I heard and felt my door open. The air was cooler here, fresher. Megan’s voice in front of me now, “Come on,” she said, taking my elbow. A gentle touch held the back of my head down as I climbed out.

“I’ll carry her, it’s better,” I heard the man say. His voice was smooth, the hint of a United Kingdom’s accent. “I promise you she will not mind,” he assured Megan and I believed him.

“No,” Megan said, her voice low and stern. She led me, holding my elbow, over gravel, then grass. I could hear a gentle breeze rustling leaves. The tinkling sound of a stream mixed with the vibration of crickets. “There are stairs coming up,” Megan said. “Here they are, raise your foot.” I did as I was told and we traveled up four steps. They did not creak or wheeze like wood. The smoothness of them made me think I was walking on stone. This sensation continued as we moved indoors.

The air warmed and I could smell the lingering scent of smoke from a wood fire. Our footsteps echoed so that I felt the room was large. “I’m taking off the hood now,” Megan said quietly, her breath moving against the fabric. She lifted it over my head and I blinked for a moment while my eyes focused. That’s when I realized hers had changed.

While one eye was still the emerald green I remembered, the other was frosty blue just like the man she was traveling with. “You’re okay, Darling,” she said. “Everything is okay.”

I felt my lips moving with hers, and my mind agreeing. She smiled and then stepped to my side, her arm sliding through mine. It was an achingly familiar gesture. The sweet intimacy of our sides touching was something I’d relished. But Megan’s body felt harder now, not the soft flesh I’d once known.

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You can download Two Kiss HERE. And why not pre-order the next installment Three Kiss HERE.

KISSES!

XOXO

 

Free Book AND New Release!

I hope you all had a wonderful first month of 2015. I had a great time recovering from the holidays (my liver may never be the same but I’m starting to get my waistline back under control :). And I got stranded in Florida for two extra days due to the snore storm that did not ravage New York. But I can’t complain because a) Florida is pretty freaking nice and b) Today TWO KISS comes out!!!! I love writing this series. I love writing it soooooo much….there will be a FOUR KISS. Out in April! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

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Busy, busy day! Not only is TWO KISS out today but ONE KISS is FREE 1/31-2/1.

Two Kiss is the second part in E.J Kimelman’s Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy serial: Transmissions from the International Council for the Exploration of the Universe.

Darling Price thought her best friend, Megan Quick, was dead. Months earlier the doctors said Megan had only weeks to live. Than she disappeared. So when Megan saves Darling from a crowd of flesh crazed zombies, exhibiting strength and speed beyond the bounds of biology, Darling is at once exhilarated to see her friend alive again but also frightened by her. Darling comes to understand that Megan’s new found life comes at a price, one she hopes Darling is willing to pay so that they can be together again. With zombies over running the streets, immortal beings controlling her emotions, and lost memories flooding back to her, Darling begins to understand that she is not just some regular girl. She may have powers of her own that go beyond the bounds of known biology.

The Kiss Serial is recommended for adults who enjoy themes of friendship and romance at the end of the world; sex, violence, foul language and a wild apocalyptic adventure populated by both humans and immortal beings.

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You can download One Kiss HERE, Two Kiss HERE, and pre-order Three Kiss HERE which will be released 3/2/15.

And I’m happy to announce there will be a Four Kiss! Out in April. More about that to come. Until then enjoy my first kiss free and then the second for only $.99.

KISSES!

One Kiss is never enough

ONE KISS

Want to know more about One Kiss before you buy it HERE? Here’s an excerpt. Enjoy!

International Dimension Investigations
Please state Where and When this correspondence was found and then put it in the nearest inter-dimensional pathway. You will be informed in reply where and when it was set adrift. Our object is to find out the Direction of the Deep Currents of the Universe. 
Locality where found?
Depth
Date when found?
Name of Sender
Address
I hope this works. I’ve never tried attaching anything to our research messages before. Only 4% are found and responded to. Perhaps you have no idea what this is, what the Deep Currents of the Universe are. More than likely, if you can understand this, then it is much like your ocean. In my world we first started putting messages into bottles in order to track the currents of our waters. When another dimension responded it shocked us. It’s possible in your world the dimensional portals are still unknown to your scientists. After decades of study they are still mostly unknown to ours, hence this message. We still use the same methods we did over a century ago. Though now it is the currents of the Universe that we throw our bites of data into. 
But I have not broken all protocol, and risked my career, in order to talk about my world or the methodology of The International Council for the Exploration of the Universe. I did it to talk about Darling Price.
I have interviewed many inter-dimensional creatures but none of them like Darling.  Enclosed you will find the recordings from the first day’s sessions. I hope the file is not too heavy to float.  I feel a great nervousness that I will be too late, or that you will not understand the impact of these interviews. I fear that my world is lost, but perhaps
yours can be saved. 
I will send out more when I can. Please respond. Tell me that you’ve received my message.
****
Darling Price’s hair is dark; it falls over her shoulders in shimmering waves. It’s glossy like a record, catching the light in white lines. Her eyes are a very intense green. Alarming, powerful. She avoids eye contact. “Bad things happen when I look a person in the eyes. Everyone except Megan.”
“Tell me about Megan,” I said.
“She is the thing that saved me. I was going to kill myself, and kill people with me, and just drag the whole world down. I felt like reality was twisting around me and… she stopped the world and I got to live.”
“Since her leaving?”
“Leaving,” she hiccuped a laugh, “is that what you’re calling it?” Darling stood up and turned to the wall. Her black leather pants were the same shiny black as her hair. On her hips hung a white belt; it tilted to one side, where her gun hung. Silver pistol, not as shiny as her hair. It looked used, scuffed, strapped to her leg for too long.
She raised her hands above her head and rested them against the cinder-block wall. Her fingernails were short, painted the same matte metallic as her gun. She turned back to me, running a hand through her hair, pushing the long locks away from her high cheekbones and arched brows. “She was taken. I want you to write that down. Megan did not leave me.”
“Okay,” I said, dutifully picking up my pen. “Please continue.”
She looked at her empty chair, the long hair falling to cover her fine features. It exposed her shoulder, bare except for the strap of her tank top. Surprisingly erotic under the fluorescent light. Darling sat down and leaned onto the table between us. “Do you have a cigarette?” she asked.
“You can’t smoke in here,” I said.
She smiled slowly, her eyes warming; a sensation began to tingle along my jaw. “Give me a tobacco stick, and I’ll tell you my story.” 
I waved to the guard.
Darling sat back, pushing the chair away from the table, and extended her legs out straight. “And a beer,” she said. “I’d love a beer.”
I nodded.
Moments later, a fresh cigarette hanging from her lip, the smoke curling around her and seeming to want to brush up against her hair before dissipating into the air, she began to tell me her story. 
And TWO KISS is available for pre-order too. Get it HERE.

New Serial Starts Now

I’m very proud to introduce my new serial: Transmissions from the International Council for the Exploration of the Universe. The first book in this new serial, ONE KISS, is live now on Amazon.

One Kiss Promo-2

 

I’ve been working on this paranormal side project for at least two years with the ideas beginning to percolate long before that. While I grew up with mysteries and that genre has been my thing for as long as I can remember in the last decade I’ve gotten into paranormal, apocalyptic, urban fantasy books. I love reading them and so, of course, my brain couldn’t help but start writing one.

Not only is this a new genre for me, but I’m also publishing it as a serial rather than in complete books. Which means that each installment is about 70 pages, takes a about an hour to read, and builds upon the one before it. Because One Kiss is so unlike anything else I’ve done before I’m using a pen name. E.J. Kimelman. I know, it’s not really that under cover but I just want to be clear that One Kiss is different: The sex is more graphic, the violence more vivid, the world populated by both humans and immortal beings. There is still a sharply drawn female protagonist, foul language, and tons of heart pounding action and suspense.

Here is the cover and Blurb:

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A new, dangerous street drug is spreading through Crescent City. A hallucinogen that causes violent attacks, incredible strength, and leaves its victims in a permanently altered state.

Darling Price’s band, Higgs and the Bosons, is on the verge of their big break. If only she could get her act together and play the way she did before her best friend and musical inspiration, Megan Quick, fell fatally ill, then disappeared. 

With only weeks to live Megan wasn’t even strong enough to visit the bathroom by herself, yet, somehow she climbed out of her window and left.

Even though it’s been months, Darling can’t stop looking for Megan. Still hoping to find her alive is insane. Her obsession is pissing off her band mates and Darling is worried it might trigger her hallucinations. She hasn’t been sick since Megan and she ran away from their foster home to Crescent City at the age of 13. 

They took a blood oath, pressing bleeding palms together, promising that no matter what they’d stay with each other. So how could Megan leave her? It’s a mystery Darling can’t solve and refuses to let go of.

Since Megan’s disappearance Darling has started to feel a gnawing hunger. No food or drink or drug can quench it. It’s a hunger she’s felt before, but has convinced herself wasn’t real. Because what Darling feels, and the vivid memories from her early childhood, are all impossible. 

As the drug spreads through the city and the world begins to unravel, Darling’s lack of musical inspiration becomes the least of her problems as she comes to recognize that all of her assumptions about the universe may be wrong. 

One Kiss is recommended for adults who enjoy themes of friendship and romance at the end of the world; sex, violence, foul language and a wild apocalyptic adventure populated by both humans and immortal beings. 

This is a 27,000 word (about 70 page) installment of a serial and ends on a cliffhanger. 

BUY NOW

I hope you’ll give it a try!

Thanks, Emily

 

‘Tis The Season for Giving

First, I have to thank all of you for all you’ve done for the INVITING FIRE launch. The downloads more than exceeded my expectations. That is due to each and every one of you. So, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

And since God, Buddha, whatever force is out there has gifted me with so much I know I must pay it forward. So from now until 12/31 all the proceeds from the Sydney Rye audio books and merchandise will be going to The Endangered Wolf Center.

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The Endangered Wolf Center’s mission is to preserve and protect Mexican gray wolves, red wolves and other endangered canids with purpose and passion through carefully managed breeding, reintroduction and inspiring education programs. Their vision is to raise awareness, quality, education about these wonderful animals by creating an engaging destination for families and wildlife lovers to enjoy, and a successful program to help wolves survive and thrive in the wild places in the world. You can adopt a wolf, watch it online, and if you live in Missouri even visit the center and see the wolves in real life.

There are three ways to give to the cause. Make your own donation HERE, download one of the Sydney Rye audio books HERE, or visit my storefront to purchase Sydney Rye mugs, totes, key chains, or bottle openers  on my Zazzle store HERE.

I’ll adopt a wolf early next year and share their story with you all.

Thanks again, Emily

Inviting Fire Blog Tour

In honor of INVITING FIRE’s release, I’m participating in a blog tour and giveaway this month. Check out the sites not only to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment, but maybe you’ll also find your next favorite book series. All the sites have tons of book spotlights and recommendations. Here are all the tour stops:

December 1: Welcome to My World of Dreams
December 2: Long and Short Reviews
December 3: Coffee Books and Art
December 4: It’s Raining Books
December 5: Books and Other Spells
December 8: Straight from the Library
December 9: Harlie’s Books
December 10: Room With Books
December 11: Deal Sharing Aunt
December 12: The Cerebral Writer
December 15: Carpe_Diem
December 16: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
December 17: Queen of All She Reads
December 18: SiMPLiREAD
December 18: The Book Review
December 19: Blood Moons and Nightscapes
December 29: Bunny’s Review
December 30: Beckstar Reviews
December 31: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
January 1: Jane Reads
January 2: Our Families Adventure
January 2: The blog of C.R. Moss

January 2: Casey Moss Books

Thank you to Goddess Fish for putting together the stops, but thank you especially to all the wonderful sites hosting me this month. XOXO

Inviting Fire is LIVE!

Dear Readers,

The day is here. It’s FINALLY here. INVITING FIRE (Sydney Rye #6) is live. I’m so excited to have published my sixth book in the Sydney Rye series. It’s appropriate that it’s live the day after Thanksgiving because I am so incredible grateful today. Not only do I have a wonderful support system that helps me create this series, but I have you, dear readers, who enjoy them. So thank you all so much for your continued support. I hope you have as much fun reading INVITING FIRE as I had writing it.

 

Inviting-Fire-digital-cover

Recovering from a near fatal attack that has left her with residual trauma, including haunting dreams and flashbacks, Sydney Rye is regaining her strength at the jungle training camp of Joyful Justice, the vigilante network inspired by her now legendary acts of vengeance.

However, when a routine reconnaissance mission goes horribly wrong Sydney Rye looses the trust of the leadership of Joyful Justice. Her good friend and trainer, Merl, warns that if she wants to be in the action she’ll have to follow orders like everyone else. Never good with authority, Sydney struggles to suppress her independent streak for the greater good. When she runs up against an old adversary he blows apart everything she has gained. With her and Blue’s lives at stake, as well as the future of Joyful Justice, Sydney must push aside her fears and take a leadership role before it’s to late.

It’s available at all the major online retailers. Pick up your copy today!

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

iBOOKS

KOBO

And in honor of the release I’m doing a giveaway!

Welcome

$25 gift card, SWAG, free books, what more can a person ask for? Enter to win using the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

INVITING FIRE, the first chapter. Enjoy.

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28 days and counting until the release of INVITING FIRE, Sydney and Blue’s 6th adventure.

To tide you over, here is the first chapter.

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THE DREAM

 

An almost silent moan passed between my parted lips. I needed to be quiet because no one could know. But it hurt. And it felt so good. His hand grazed against my throat, fingers wrapping around and entwining into the hair at the base of my neck. A tug and I arched my back, bending it so that our bodies stayed melted together as he kissed along my collarbone. He pulled my hair and I strained to follow his lead, my mouth opening wider.

“Say my name,” he whispered against my skin. When I didn’t he pinched me, squeezing my flesh between his strong fingers. I gasped. “Say it,” he demanded.

“No,” I answered.

Sharp pain twisted through me, electric and pleasurable. His tongue licked my ear, pulling the lobe between his teeth. “Say my name,” he whispered, his lips moving over my sensitive flesh. “Say it or die.”

“Never.”

I woke up tangled in my sheets, Blue standing next to the bed, his eyes glowing green in the dark room. He whined at me gently. “I’m okay,” I told him. He pushed his nose against the mosquito net and whined again. “You don’t think so?” I asked with a small laugh.

He circled around to the net’s opening. I sat up and reached through, petting his head to reassure him. Blue was a giant of a dog with one brown eye and one blue. When I adopted him he was tall, the height of a Great Dane, but thin. Still a puppy really. The pound in Bushwick, Brooklyn thought he was about a year old at the time.

Over four years later, Blue looked very different. His coat, which had been ratty when I brought him home to my apartment in Park Slope, now shone in the soft light of my bedroom. He had the markings a wolf. Black and white and beige all sharing space on his large form. His snout was long and made me think there was some collie in his ancestry. Blue’s chest was broad and strong. The pink scars that marked the entrance and exit wounds from a bullet Blue took for me were hidden beneath his long coat.

My scars from that battle were more obvious. One ran under my left eye. White and pink it arched across the top of my cheekbone, puckering the skin. Above that eye another scar, fainter than the first, ran across my forehead, slicing through my eyebrow and disappearing into my hair.

I wore my bangs long, covering the top scar. They almost reached to my gray eyes, but I made sure they never got in the way. My hair was black and cut short, barely reaching my chin. The heat here was too much to bother with long locks.

I looked out the glass doors of my balcony and into the jungle. The sky was still dark, the foliage a pitch black mass. I heard the guttural roar of the howler monkeys and knew the sun would be here soon. Blue’s nails clicked against the tile floor as he walked to the door.

Blue stared at me, then looked at the door, then to me again. “I get it,” I said. “You want to go for a run.” He lowered his front end, waving his tail around in the air and let out a low warble. Some things would never change.

Throwing off the sheet I climbed through the opening of my mosquito net. The tiles were cool against my bare feet. I dressed quickly, Blue following me around the room, encouraging me by tapping his wet nose against my hip.

Sneakers tied, headlamp in place, iPod in hand I opened my bedroom door. The villa was dark. My house mate, Cynthia Dawlings was still in bed. The sky outside the glass was just turning a milky grey. As I closed the door behind me another group of howler monkeys began their morning call. These were closer and I could feel the force of their voices vibrate through me. The loudest land mammals on the planet, the howler monkey’s roar can be heard up to three miles away through thick jungle foliage. But these guys were in the tree behind my house and I figured that Cynthia was probably waking up right about now.

As Blue and I started down the path toward the trails I heard another group of monkeys start up in response to the ones in my yard. And then another, like a round robin of roars. The path we walked on was lit by low lights, yellow and solar powered. The air was moist and fresh, it carried a chill that wouldn’t last long once the sun rose. I passed other villas on my route. This was once an eco-resort. Now it was a training center for Joyful Justice, the stupidest named organization to ever blow shit up . But no one asked me when they were naming it. Even though I inspired the whole damn thing.

Blue touched my hip, pulling me away from my thoughts and back into the world we walked through. We passed the pool where guests used to sun bathe and read books. It was divided into lanes for swimming laps, the deck spotted with exercise equipment. The large lawn was used as sparring grounds. Merl, one of the founding members of the Joyful Justice council, and the man who had trained me to fight, was there. He wore all black, the romantic light of dawn highlighting his shape against the dark trees beyond. The sword in his hand glinted as he swung it through the air.

Three dark shapes hunkered in the grass around Merl’s moving form. Doberman Pinchers. Michael, the largest and strongest of the pack, stood as we approached. He let out a low growl, warning of our passing. Merl’s eyes followed the sound and found me. He nodded without breaking stride, lowering into a deep squat and pulling his sword back. Preparing to run through an imaginary opponent. His youngest dog, Chuna, wagged his tail but stayed in the down position. The bitch of Merl’s pack lay next to him, her head between her paws, ears swiveling, searching for anything her master might need to know.

I clicked on my headlight as I stepped into the jungle. Nature walks once used for tourist enjoyment served as my running route and the crisscross of trails that connected our lookout posts. The grey light haunting the horizon didn’t penetrate the thick foliage so I needed the electric light. Turning on my iPod I picked up my pace, keeping it steady though, refusing to let the beat push me forward at a pace I could not maintain.

That was what I was doing in every part of my life. Or trying to. I needed to slow down, stop letting outside forces push me into actions that wiped me out. I liked to run at this hour. When the jungle seemed like a dense wall of nothing rather than the intensely alive and intertwined ecosystem that it was. With headphones on the darkness served as a blinder for me. It was good for the brain.

And my brain needed all the help it could get. Three months earlier I’d been doused with the hallucinogen datura. Sometimes called the Devil’s Snare or Angel’s Trumpet, it comes from the seeds of the Jimson Weed. Bell shaped and beautiful, the flower grows all over the world. The seeds, whether swallowed whole or brewed into a tea, cause nightmare hallucinations impossible to distinguish from reality. When processed into a powder datura can be blown into your victim’s face, leaving them conscious and completely pliable… or dead if you get the dose wrong.

The stuff that got me was developed in a lab, created as a sophisticated weapon. It entered through my eyes and I don’t remember a thing. Thank god Blue was with me. He killed my attacker and led me into the Everglades where he kept me alive for almost two days before we were rescued. Dan, my ex-something, and Mulberry, my, oh jeez, something else, I guess, found me. I didn’t return to consciousness for another 18 days. Completely pliant, empty of my own thoughts. My friends had faith I’d come out of it. But no one knew for sure if my recovery would ever be complete. I still saw lightning and heard the clap of thunder on sunny days.

I ran faster not wanting to think about the dreams. I hadn’t had a night of peace since waking up. The man who haunted my sleep, playing with my body until I woke up desperate for release, didn’t deserve my days, too. I told myself it was the datura. I didn’t want to feel this way, to be so turned on by the hate I felt. But deep down, in the most primordial dangerous part of my brain I knew I liked it. I knew I needed it. I would die without it.

The music changed and I slowed my pace, noting that I was closing in on the first watchtower. Blue left my side, pulling out ahead, going to meet the dog who patrolled this area. He disappeared beyond the globe of light my headlamp threw. The property was ringed with zip lines. A classic tourist attraction in Costa Rica. It let people get some time in the treetops which were a different world than the ground I ran upon. We used those platforms to keep watch. Make sure no one was sneaking up on our little vigilante training ground.

Blue returned and got back into line, even with my hip. As we reached a hill, I couldn’t help but speed up. My feet dug into the soft ground, my vision concentrating on the uneven path ahead, breath even, steady. This was what would save me, I thought. Persistence.

As I crested the hill I slowed, taking a moment to admire the view, turning around in a circle. I pulled my headphones off my ears and listened to the sound of the jungle waking up. The birds singing to the sun, encouraging its approach. The final calls of the nocturnal animals as they settled down for a day of rest. The wind rustling the leaves in the treetops. I took in deep lungfuls of air, smelling the mix of rot and sweetness that permeated the jungle. Life and death, all right here, hiding in the dark. Hiding in me.

 

INVITING FIRE is available for pre-order now.

And don’t forget the Sydney Backlist is on sale for $2.99 for a limited time.

Still time to catch up!

Happy Halloween! Enjoy it with an interview with Renee Pawlish

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Well, loyal readers, first HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Be safe but please have fun. All things in moderation, (including moderation). Not only is today Halloween but it’s also the last day in the series of A Crime Collection interviews we’ve been having all week. Last, but certainly not least, I’m proud to welcome Renee Pawlish on the site. Master Wordsmith Renee is the award-winning author of the bestselling horror book Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the first novel in the Nephilim trilogy, the Reed Ferguson mystery series (This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies, Reel Estate Rip-off,The Maltese Felon) and the short story Elvis And The Sports Card Cheat, Take Five, a short story collection, the Noah Winters kids adventure series (The Emerald Quest), and The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, a non-fiction account of a haunted house investigation in Kansas. She lives in Colorado and can be reached on her Website. You can find her books on Amazon, and follow her Blog as well.

 

portrait

Welcome Renee!  So, what draws you to your style of mystery?

I love mysteries and I like to laugh and joke around, so it’s natural for me to have a private eye who wisecracks throughout the stories. And I enjoy taking the readers on a journey to discover who the bad guy is. This series has been a lot of fun to write.
While you write in the cozy style, are there other sub genre’s of mystery you love to read but just don’t write? Is that because you have not gotten to it yet or is there another reason?
I’m not a big fan of romance, so I don’t have a lot of that in my stories. I am mulling over a new series that will be more action/adventure/spy story. I enjoy reading spy stories and I’d like to dabble in that more. I’ve got the name of the main character but I’m not sure what his back story is yet. It’ll be fun to develop.
What made you want to join in this box set?
I thought it would be fun to get a group together and explore difference types of stories, from the more violent to the fun and humorous. I think we have a nice mix in this set.
What do you do when you get stuck?
I walk or hike, or I journal about the story. Every time I do that, it clears my head and I’m able to see where the story needs to go.
Any weird “practices” that help keep you going?
Not really. I find that I squeeze writing in whenever and wherever I can. I do like sitting in my office with all my books around me and this feels nice, but it’s not a practice I have to do in order to write.
My series centers around Sydney Rye and her amazing dog, Blue. Do you have a Blue in your life? If so, can we see a picture? If not, how do you get warm fuzzy feelings?
I have two cats, Hugo and Harley. They are shelter cats and they had to be adopted together because the shelter felt they were so close to each other that it would be detrimental to separate them. And the shelter was so right! I’ve never seen two cats love each other so much. They hang around together and are almost always around me. And they are both very affectionate with me. Things can be going horribly wrong but those two will make it all right.

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Hugo and Harley

Can we get a taste of your work? How about a short excerpt?
This is from This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies

“I want you to find my dead husband.”
“Excuse me?”  That was my first reaction.
“I want you to find my husband.  He’s dead, and I need to know where he is.”  She spoke in a voice one sexy note below middle C.
“Uh-huh.”  That was my second reaction.  Really slick.
Moments before, when I saw her standing in the outer room, waiting to come into my office, I had the feeling she’d be trouble. And now, with that intro, I knew it.
“He’s dead, and I need you to find him.”  If she wasn’t tired of the repetition, I was, but I couldn’t seem to get my mouth working. She sat in the cushy black leather chair on the other side of my desk, exhaling money with every sultry breath.  She had beautiful blond hair with just a hint of darker color at the roots, blue eyes like a cold mountain lake, and a smile that would slay Adonis.  I’d like to say that a beautiful woman couldn’t influence me by her beauty alone.  I’d like to say it, but I can’t.
“Why didn’t you come see me yesterday?” I asked.  Her eyes widened in surprise.  This detective misses nothing, I thought, mentally patting myself on the back.  She didn’t know that I’d definitely noticed her yesterday eating at a deli across the street.  I had been staring out the window, and there she was.
The shoulders of her red designer jacket went up a half-inch and back down, then her full lips curled into the trace of a smile.  “I came here to see you, but you were leaving for lunch.  I followed you, and then I lost my nerve.”
“I see you’ve regained it.”  I’ve never been one to place too much importance on my looks, but I suddenly wished I could run a comb through my hair, put on a nicer shirt, and splash on a little cologne.  And change my eye color – hazel – boring.  It sounded like someone’s old, spinster aunt, not an eye color.
She nodded.  “Yes.  I have to find out about my husband.  He’s dead, I know it.  I just know it.”  Her tone swayed as if in a cool breeze, with no hint of the desperation that should’ve been carried in the words.
“But he’s also missing,” I said in a tone bordering on flippant, as I leaned forward to unlock the desk drawer where I kept spare change, paper clips, and my favorite gold pen.  Maybe writing things down would help me concentrate.  But I caught a whiff of something elegant coming from her direction, and the key I was holding missed the lock by a good two inches.  I hoped she didn’t see my blunder.  I felt my face getting warm and assumed my cheeks were turning crimson.  I hoped she didn’t see that either.
Perhaps I was being too glib because she glanced back toward the door as if she had mistaken my office for another.  “This is the Ferguson Detective Agency?  You are Reed Ferguson?”
“It is and I am.”  I smiled in my most assured manner, then immediately questioned what I was doing.  This woman was making no sense and here I was, flirting with her like a high-school jock.  I glanced behind her at the framed movie poster from the The Big Sleep, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.  It was one of my favorites, and I hung the poster in my office as a sort of inspiration.  I wanted to be as cool as Bogie.  I wondered what he would do right now.
She puckered pink lips at me.  “I need your help.”
“That’s what I’m here for.”  Now I sounded cocky.
The pucker turned into a fully developed frown.  “I’m very serious, Mr. Ferguson.”
“Reed.”  I furrowed my brow and looked at my potential first client with as serious an expression as I could muster.  I noticed for the first time that she applied her makeup a bit heavy, in an attempt to cover blemishes.
“Reed,” she said.  “Let me explain.”  Now we were getting somewhere.  I found the gold pen, popped the top off it and scrounged around another drawer for a notepad.  “My name is Amanda Ghering.”  She spoke in an even tone, bland, like she was reading a grocery list.  “My husband, Peter, left on a business trip three weeks ago yesterday.  He was supposed to return on Monday, but he didn’t.”
Today was Thursday.  I wondered what she’d been doing since Monday.  “Did you report this to the police?”
She raised a hand to stop me.  “Please.  I already have and they gave me the standard response, ‘Give it some time, he’ll show up.’”
That one puzzled me.  The police wouldn’t file a missing persons case for twenty-four hours, but after that, I was certain they would do something more.  “They didn’t do anything?”
“They asked me some questions, said they would make a few calls to the airlines.”  Amanda paused.  “They were more concerned about my relationship with Peter,” she said, gazing out the window behind me.  The only thing she would see was an incredible view of a renovated warehouse across the street.  For a brief moment, her face was flushed in as deep a sadness as I’d ever seen.  Then it was gone, replaced by a foggy look when she turned back to me.  “You see, Peter wasn’t exactly what you’d call a faithful husband.” She frowned, creating wrinkles on an otherwise perfect face.  “Well, that’s not completely true.  He was faithful, to his libido at least.  But not to our marriage.”  I paraphrased the last couple of sentences on the notepad.  “He travels quite a bit with his company, computer consulting, so he has ample opportunity to dally.  And he never tries hard to conceal what he’s doing.”
“Did you tell the police all of this?”
“Yes.  I believe that’s why they’re not doing that much.  That, and the fact that there appears to be no foul play, has kept them from doing little more than paperwork.”
“You’re afraid they’re not treating his disappearance seriously.”
“Exactly.”
I scratched my chin with the pen.  “I’d have to disagree with you about that.”  I didn’t have much experience – okay I didn’t have any experience – but in the tons of detective books I’d read and all the movies I’d seen the police would take someone of Amanda’s obvious wealth with some concern.  At least until she gave them a reason not to.
“They don’t have the resources to track him down,” she countered.  “That’s left up to me, which is what I’m here to do.”
“And this way you also keep any nasty details private.”
“Exactly.”
“Why come to me?”
Amanda glanced around the sparsely furnished office and the stark white walls decorated with noting more than movie posters, as if she were second-guessing her choice of detectives.  “You came recommended.  I know you’re not licensed but…”
“You don’t have to be in the state of Colorado,” I interrupted.  Anyone who wanted to could be a detective here, just hang up a sign.  Hell, you didn’t even need a gun.  I could testify to that.  Never had one, never shot one.
She waved a hand at me.  “I don’t care if you’re licensed or not.  I know your background.  You come from a well-to-do family; you know when to be discreet.”
I came recommended.  Now that caught my curiosity.  The only thing I’d done was to help a wealthy friend of my father track down an old business partner.  It was slightly dangerous but not noteworthy, and at the time I didn’t have an office or a business.  I had been between jobs, so I decided to pursue an old dream.  I hung up a shingle to try my hand at detecting.  I loved old detective novels, had read everything from Rex Stout and Dashiell Hammett to Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain.  I’d watched Humphrey Bogart, William Powell, and all the classic film noir movies.  I pictured myself just like those great detectives.  Well, maybe not.  But I was going to try.
“Who recommended me?” I asked.  The list was surely small.
“A friend at my club.”
“Really?  Who?”
“Paul Burrows.  Do you know him?”
I shook my head.  “Does he know my father?”  I assumed he was someone who’d heard about me helping my father’s friend.
“I don’t know, but Paul said you were good, and that you could use the work.”
She was right about that.  I lived comfortably off an inheritance from my obscenely rich grandparents, plus some smart investments I’d made over the years, so I’d never had a real career.  I had always wanted to work in law enforcement, but my parents had talked me out of that.  Instead, I got a law degree, flitted from job to job, and disappointed my father because I never stuck with anything.  I hoped being a detective would change all that; it was something I’d always wanted to do, but my father still thought I was playing around.  I needed to solve a real case to prove him wrong.
“Are you a fan of old movies?” Amanda asked, noticing the posters for the first time.
I nodded.  “I like old movies, but especially detective film noir.”
“Film noir?”
I pointed to a different poster on another wall of The Maltese Falcon, one of Bogie’s most famous movies.  “Movies with hard-boiled detectives, dark themes, and dark characters.”
“And dark women?” Amanda said.
I kept a straight face as I gazed at Lauren Bacall.  “Yeah, that too.”
“I hope you’re as good as Sam Spade,” Amanda said.
I watched her cross one shapely leg over the other, her red wool skirt edging up her thigh.  Trouble.  Just like I’d thought before. I should have run out of my own office, but I didn’t.  I know what you’re thinking, it’s her beauty.  No, it was what she said next that complicated things immensely.
“I’m prepared to pay whatever it takes.”  Saying that, she pulled a stack of bills from her purse.  I crossed my arms and contemplated her.  This sounded like I’d just be chasing after a philandering husband.  Not exciting at all, even though I had little basis for making that assumption, other than what I’d read in books.  But a voice inside my head said that making money meant it was a real job, right?

I named my daily wage, plus expenses.  It was top dollar, but she didn’t blink.  And I had my first real case.  What would my father say to that?

And check out Renee’s site for her interview with Betta Ferrendelli

and today see my interview on Simon Jenner’s site.

A Crime Collection

Five first-in-a-series mystery novels by up-and-coming authors Betta Ferrendelli, R.S. Guthrie, Simon Jenner, Emily Kimelman and Renée Pawlish. These spellbinding stories, filled with twists and turns, murder, intrigue and suspense with captivating and unforgettable characters, have been reviewed more than 1,600 times and have earned more than 750 five-star reviews.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

3

An Interview with R.S Guthrie

For the second day of our New Release celebration, I am very excited to have my fellow A Crime Collection author R.S. Guthrie on the site today! R.S. Guthrie is the author of the popular Detective Bobby Mac and Sheriff James Pruett mystery/thriller series. In 2013 he was named one of The Author Show’s “50 Great Writers You Should be Reading.” He lives in Colorado with three young Australian Shepherds and a Chihuahua that thinks she is a forty pound Aussie.  Please visit his website www.rsguthrie.com or follow him Facebook and Twitter for more information. You can also find his books on Amazon, Nook, and Kobo.

 

Welcome R.S. So, glad to have you! First off: What draws you to your style of mystery? 

In the small Wyoming town where I grew up, a lot of really traumatic and/or strange things seemed to happen much more, per capita, than most other places. Plus, the personalities of these modern day cowboys and westerners—the humble, expert way in which they treated each other, the land, and any trouble directed at the township and country there, was simply something I knew I had to share with “outsiders”.

While you write in the murder mystery/thriller style are there other sub genre’s of mystery you love to read but just don’t write? Is that because you have not gotten to it yet or is there another reason?

Not so much a sub genre of mystery, but I have always loved a good horror book, and one day I feel I will write (at least) one. Pure horror. As it stands, my Detective Bobby Mac series has a serious Good versus Evil, historical paranormal element running through the three books. I believe that came from my love of horror books.

What made you want to join in this box set?

To be honest, Renee and I have been online correspondents for a while, both from Colorado now, and when she asked, I was elated to be teaming up with her and the other talented writers involved in the project!

What do you do when you get stuck?

Walk away. I never force it.

Any weird “practices” that help keep you going?

Inevitably I find myself needing to spend some portion of the process (usually a long weekend) in the mountains, writing. Not outhouse, no electricity; we’re talking modern creature comforts, my laptop, and the wilderness. It inspires me as it reminds me of where I’m from, the land, and of the people about whom I write.

My series centers around Sydney Rye and her amazing dog, Blue. Do you have a Blue in your life? If so, can we see a picture? If not, how do you get warm fuzzy feelings?

We’re a HUGE dog family. After losing our two-month-old angel to SIDS in 2008, we really turned to our new Australian Shepherds for the emotional support. Elsa, our first, joined our family a year after losing our son. She was (and still is) really the rock. She’s special, and keeps the others in line. Oh, and she knows it; total diva (the attached pic actually got her onto a pet food calendar)!

 

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Rob with his dog, Elsa.

 

Can we get a taste of your work? How about a short excerpt?

SHERIFF PRUETT toed the edge of the obsidian, geometric opening in the earth. Approximately four feet by two, and shallow. The big man ached all over. He’d cried, shut himself up, and cried again. His heart felt so worn down it did not beat so much as murmur; a utilitarian thing without feeling or sound. The loss consumed him, and his will would not rise—muted by a damp, negative space swallowing his physical being. Pruett was shattered; broken in ways he might never fix. He did not know loneliness, or at least he had no memory of it. Now this singularity encased him—an invisible, merciless force threatening to erase all he was or ever would be.

Like the victim of a holocaust.

Sorrow made the old man feel weak. Exposed to the emotional elements. But like everything else, he made room for it. A man got good at tamping emotions down—one here, one there—or at least Pruett had. The problem arose when there was no more room for packing.

And this last tragedy was far too oversized for his soul to bear. Even were his stowaway places clean and emptied, he’d still never have figured a way to subjugate this much devastation—at least not for long.

What reconciliation could stand up to a fate as twisted as this?
Pruett occupied a world now where all the songbirds had flown and only carrion remained. Elemental tasks tested him: waking, standing, breathing. He was a sheriff; how did he go forward from here? Just how did the balance sheets get equaled on all sides?

The Willow Saloon was a billiards parlor from the late eighteen-hundreds. Sage, Wyoming, sat eight miles northwest of Wind River, a one-horse town made up of the saloon, a post office, and a small country store. A previous owner converted the upstairs of the Willow from bordello to residence in the early nineteen-hundreds.

Pruett put his hand on the hood of Ty’s truck. It was the only vehicle in the small dirt lot. The metal had long since cooled, the engine quiet. The sheriff unholstered his revolver. He checked the cylinders and eased up the stairs, peering through the dirty glass of the saloon door, his nerves dancing expectantly.

Ty sat alone, stooped over the Springfield. A weathered Stetson and a half-empty bottle of Wild Turkey sat next to him on the bar. Pruett saw no one else. Owner and barkeep, Roland Pape, was in the wind. Or worse.

Pruett opened the door slowly. He targeted the sweaty, thinning hair on the back of Ty McIntyre’s head. The door creaked loudly, but the old cowpoke remained motionless.

“Sheriff,” Ty finally said.

“Yep,” Pruett answered, his finger steady on the trigger guard. “That rifle loaded, Ty?”

“Wouldn’t be much of a rifle if it weren’t.”

“You know where Roland is, Ty?”

Ty pointed toward the back door.

“Took a powder,” he said. “Weren’t much jaw in him. Not like usual.”

“Ty, I’m taking you in. Just two ways that happens.”

“Takin’ me in?”

“I’ve got big questions need answering,” Pruett said. Streams of sweat ran down the nape of his neck and into the middle of his back. His stomach bucked and kicked like a wild horse. His mind screamed at him, questioning, wanting to know why he didn’t put a bullet in McIntyre’s spine. The law seemed insurmountably distant from Pruett. Frail. Unworthy of such moments in a man’s life.

“I said I got to arrest you,” Pruett hissed.

Ty did not answer him but he slowly raised the bottle and guzzled from it.

Hate swirled inside Pruett, no chimney for escape. He cocked the hammer of his weapon. The loud CLACK snapped the tenuous still of the bar. Ty’s head rose up. His shoulders tensed.

“Need you to put those hands on the back of your head, Ty. Slow and easy. Like you mean it,” Pruett said.

“Or it could end right here,” Ty said. “That’s what you was thinkin’.”

“End comes in a lot of ways,” Pruett said. “It doesn’t have to go down ugly.”

The tension in Ty McIntyre’s back and shoulders suddenly gathered itself. His head tilted back and forth, neck joints popping.

Pruett braced himself. He knew Ty had deceptive, bobcat quickness. The sheriff once saw the old cowpoke punch three college-aged drunks in the face; three in a row before any of them figured the situation.

Pruett put his finger on the trigger, exerting just enough pressure to be a fraction from discharge.

“Ain’t no use no more,” Ty said, and reached for the Springfield.

When the brain gets nervous, time slows down. It’s a coping mechanism. Processing cycles. The sheriff’s world dropped into quarter speed.

Movement in the shadows near the back of the bar.

Ty’s hand curling around his weapon.

The smoothness of the Smith and Wesson’s curved trigger.

Sweat running freely.

Ty McIntyre’s skull.

Bethy.

The ache in his heart.

The avenger inside, demanding vengeance:

Him or you.

Then, at the moment he needed to react, Pruett froze.

The soldier training did not fail him. The years of law enforcement experience did not fail him. His mettle did not fail him.

It was his will to live that quit on him.

Pruett eased off the trigger.

Let the chips drop where they might.

Ty McIntyre hesitated, as if he’d read the old sheriff’s mind—and then he slid his rifle the length of the bar, raised his arms, and placed his hands on the back of his head. Roland Pape shuffled out from behind a table near the stairs to his home.

Pruett exhaled.

Sick. Shamed.
The sheriff used his left hand to put the handcuffs on Ty. He read the man his rights and escorted Ty out to the Suburban, wishing he could wash the stench of cowardice from his own skin.

 

Check out the other Interviews going on today including

R.S Guthrie interviewing Renee Pawlish

And Don’t forget about our Giveaway

Marketing Graphics 16

Five first-in-a-series mystery novels by up-and-coming authors Betta Ferrendelli, R.S. Guthrie, Simon Jenner, Emily Kimelman and Renée Pawlish. These spellbinding stories, filled with twists and turns, murder, intrigue and suspense with captivating and unforgettable characters, have been reviewed more than 1,600 times and have earned more than 750 five-star reviews.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway