Posted in Books, childhood, First Friday Five, Lists, parenting

First Friday 5 lessons of #Motherhood

Being a parent has taught me myriad lessons. For one thing, I learned I needed to apologize to my mother as in this post from the past. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are five other lessons motherhood has taught me.

  1. Humility. Kids are terrific at pointing out all your flaws. If I misspeak, I will be corrected. If I come home after a work-out or a long bike ride, my kiddos will point out how bad I stink. If dinner is not delicious and merely okay, I will know. Forget tough to please reviewers, my harshest critics are tied to my daily life.
  2. The mundane can be amazing. I never thought much about drawers until my daughter was 3 months old and I laid her on the bathmat while I got ready for the day. I pulled open the drawer to get out my hair brush. The action was nothing to me until I noticed how big her eyes grew. She had never seen a drawer in motion before and her little mind was blown. Since then, I’ve tried to be more appreciative of small moments. Wonder is a state of mind.
  3. Bananas are tasty. I did not eat them until I had to set a good example to my children.
  4. Listen and ask questions before giving advice. Respect what they have to say, and they will respect what you have to teach them, unless it is a mispronunciation in which case, see #1.
  5. Nothing beats a snuggle and a book. At the end of a long day, I love to sit with each child and talk books. At first, I read picture books, then we moved on to new challenges. My son and I read the classics. He decides if the language is too tricky for him to read half or not. We stop and talk about ideas, word meaning and make predictions. Sometimes my daughter listens in. More often she and I snuggle and she tells me about what she is reading at the moment. Because it’s a comforting ritual for all of us, we turn to it when not feeling well or simply having a rough day. Of course, if you read this, chances are high you are already a book lover and know exactly what I mean.
Posted in Bad Traveler, Books, Giveaway

Summer of Love Book #Giveaway

I had so much fun being part of the Summer of Love Book Giveaway last year, that I’m doing it again this year. 2 grand prize winners will receive 16 paper books! Other winners will receive paper books and there are daily prizes to be had. The contest opened May 1st and closes to entries May 7th and your chances of winning are high. Over 20 authors are participating. For full details and to enter, click the pic!

summeroflove2016

Posted in Books, Guests, Spotlight on

Spotlight on Galen Rose

Today my spotlight shines on Galen Rose and her contemporary romance, A Place to Rest my Heart. For a limited time, you can pick up this delightful book for less than a dollar.

no crimson PTRMH imageSean Muldoon knows trouble when he sees it, and he sees it in Laney Murphy the minute she passes out in his arms. He thinks she’s a con artist, and she thinks he’s just like everyone else, arrogant and judgmental.

Much to Sean’s dismay his family is determined to help Laney and he just doesn’t understand why. That is until he gets to know her and realize under her tough exterior beats a heart of gold.

 

Want a sample before you buy? Read on for an excerpt from Galen Rose’s A Place to Rest my Heart.

“Move, Ace. You’re in my way.”

“Sweetheart, I haven’t even begun to be in your way.” He leaned against the doorway, arms crossed. “I will not allow you to hurt Tommy or Molly, so why don’t you pack up your schemes and dreams and hit the road. You won’t get a penny from them. I’ll see to that.”

I have never been known for having an even temper but I’ve worked hard to keep it under control, but not this time.

“Look, asshole, I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. You’re delusional if you think I have any intention of taking a dime from Tommy that I haven’t earned. I pay my way!”

“Sure you do. I ran your fingerprints, darlin’, right off your juice glass from this morning. You’ve got a nice background there, Laney. Pandering? Breaking and entering? Those are great ways to pay your way, huh? You got a scam to bilk Tommy, but you might as well hit the road running, babe,” He smiled, acting quite pleased with himself. “Tommy and Molly all too often fall for the sob story and feel sorry for the strays that come along.”

I felt that to my core. Stray? Felt sorry for me? The last thing I needed was anyone’s pity.

But right at the moment the only thing I felt was the need to strike back at Sean. “Stray, huh? “Weren’t you a stray too? They feel sorry for you then? Take you in on pity?” I saw his jaw tighten and knew I’d scored.

“Leave now and I won’t tell them your plans to take them for a ride,” he growled.

“My plans? You’re so sure about my plans, huh? Wow, you sure are smart, Sean Michael Muldoon. You ran my fingerprints and so now you know my whole life story in one fell swoop? Look, you arrogant ass, you have no idea what my life has been like and a couple of knocks on a police sheet only tells you what your narrow-minded brain wants to hear. But for your parents’ sake, I’ll go and save you the trouble of making a fool out of yourself.”

I tossed the case of champagne at him. He let out a curse, as he lunged to catch the box and I shoved him hard when I went through the doorway. I heard him hit the shelves, rattling bottles and swearing a blue streak. I heard the case of champagne hit the floor with a thud and the sound of breaking glass.

I know I could have done worse and to this day I still have no idea why I didn’t kick him in the nuts, or flat out deck him. I should have done something other than leave. I wanted to do anything other than leave, but I couldn’t bear having to own up to some of the missteps I had made long ago.
A Place to Rest my Heart is available now at Amazon 

About the author: Galen Rose lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is an avid cook, gardener and traveler. Over the years, she has repaired bikes, been a telephone solicitor, a day care aide, managed the order department of a family law publishing firm and for nine years ran her own on-line Celtic jewelry and gifts store. Oh, and you can add in wife and stay-at-home-mom too. A Jill of many trades but not one true color for her parachute, until the day she really sat down to write and kept on writing and hasn’t stopped.

 

Posted in Books, Spotlight on

Spotlight on Kristina Knight

My spotlight is up and running for 2016 and today it shines on Kristina Knight and her latest release, What the Bachelor Wants, which is Book 1 of the Billionaire Cowboys series.

 

What the Bachelor Wants

bachelorVegas Nightly just named local property developer Gage Reeves its Sexiest Bachelor, not a title he likes, especially when it brings showgirls, local socialites and entertainers to his doorstep 24/7.

Callie Holliday has a plan: make her day spa the hottest ticket in Vegas. The problem? She’s saddled with a bad location and a zero account balance. A chance meeting with childhood friend Gage Reeves offers one solution: setting up shop at his new development.

Gage’s ordered life twists out of control when he begins to fall for his childhood friend because Callie is determined to keep things business like. She doesn’t like to depend on people, but Gage makes it hard to remember exactly why…

Excerpt:

Standing still in an elevator really shouldn’t be this hard. The mirrored doors had swooshed closed about five seconds before. Callie stood beside him, leather attaché slung over her shoulder and hands clasped before her, watching the numbers count down, down, down.

Gage resisted the urge to pull at his tie. But counting down the numbers on the elevator screen wasn’t nearly as interesting as watching Callie.

He’d been watching her, goading her a little, since he’d realized it was her across the table from him and not a stranger. Not that he could call Callie a friend when he hadn’t spoken to her in ten years. She was an acquaintance. That was a good word.

The fact did nothing to temper his response to her. She’d heated up the office. Now she was turning the elevator into a veritable inferno. From the top of her oh-so-blonde head—had her hair always been this shimmery?—to the tips of her oh-so-red toenails, she made him want things.

Drinks on the beach. A quiet dinner by candlelight.

He’d never thought of her this way in the past. She was just Callie. The girl who helped him master calculus, cheered at his football games, and rode her favorite horse beside his lake on hot summer days. The gorgeous woman standing beside him was so different from the buddy he remembered.

The old Callie was smart and tenacious, which made the new Callie a good investment. The old Callie was dedicated to her work—another mark in New Callie’s favor. The biggest mark in her favor, though, was the empty space in his new development. A space that would be perfect for Callie’s business, while also filling a hole in his.

Plus, under the polish of her suit, he could still see his friend. The mistiness of her gaze when she talked about her parents leaving town, the fierce grip when she squeezed her hands together as she made her pitch.

“Have you been to a Rebels game since you got back?” he asked.

Small talk. He hated small talk.

“I’m not much for basketball.”

“It’s actually still football season, but the first preseason basketball games start in a couple weeks. We should catch a game sometime.”

Shut up, Gage. Just shut up. He didn’t ask business associates out. What the hell was wrong with him?

“Oh.”

“You love football.”

A smile spread across her face. “Mostly I loved the space that cheerleading took up in the ‘extracurricular’ column of my college applications.”

“Oh.” How had he never caught that she wasn’t into sports?

Better question: how had his radar missed Callie, in general, all those years ago?

 

Author Bio:

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.

Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!

Author Links: Buy links are on the website.

Website: http://www.kristinaknightauthor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kristinaknightromanceauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/authorkristina

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authorkristina/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5827833.Kristina_Knight

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+KristinaKnightAuthor/posts

Posted in Blog Hop, Books, Christmas, Giveaway, Winter Fairy

Presents or Gifts? Choose your #ChristmasTreats

christmas treats buttonWhat are our favorite Christmas Treats? Books, of course! Stop by each blog for a chance to win fabulous books & gifties for the Holidays!  

As part of the Christmas Treats giveaway hop, I’m giving away an ebook copy of Tidings of Love: 7 Holiday Romance Novellas, which contains my Winter Fairy, AND a $5 gift card to Starbucks so you can treat yourself to a yummy coffee drink.

As the end of the year giving season grips so many of us in its clutches, I’m often struck by the absurdity of the Christmas morning ritual of ripping off piles of shiny wrapping paper to unearth items I bought for myself a month ago. Since reaching adulthood, I tend to get a lot more presents rather than gifts. What is the difference you ask? I’ve given this a lot of thought. Probably too much thought for the relative weight of the issues, but here goes.

A present is presented to you. The giver gives you something you requested. They spent the money to buy a specific item on your list. Or maybe, they wrote you a check or gave you the cash to buy the item for yourself for the express purpose of having something to unwrap on Christmas morning. There is not much thought behind a ritual presentation of an item you want, but a present shows the giver listened.

A gift is an item given from the giver’s heart. It is unexpected but thoughtful. The gift can be big or small, useful or not, but it expresses the relationship between the giver and the recipient.

I love giving gifts, but find it hard this time of year when I am under the obligation to shop and buy specific items for so many people. I spend a lot of time buying presents, but I try to include a few gifts as well. I shop for gifts year round, or more to the point, gifts shop for me. I can be purchasing the most banal household items and something will catch my eye. It could be a goofy paper napkin pattern or a sale on a flavored coffee that a dear friend loves. A gift something that will bring joy to a recipient, which in turn gives joy to the giver.

Books make terrific gifts and terrific presents. There are loads of books and other goodies up for grabs in the Christmas Treats hop. Enter my rafflecopter here to be entered for the ebook and giftcard and be sure to visit all the authors through the linky-list.


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Posted in Books, childhood, Christmas, Family life, First Friday Five, Lists, parenting, Reading

First Friday Five: Picture Book Bonus

The last two weeks, I’ve treated you to book recommendations for Middle School readers and for Elementary aged readers. This week, I’m sharing five terrific picture books.  I’ve given priority to books that have been released this year. As before, I’m including buy links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble for your convenience. I do not benefit financially in these recommendations, I just want to share books I love to help those who are looking for a book to give to a child.

  1. The Book with no Pictures by B.J. Novak. Yup, I’m starting a list of picture books with a book that has no pictures. Trust me on this one. B.J. Novak, previously a writer for The Office, has a tremendous way with words and a wicked sense of fun. This is the book the kids in your life will want to spring on unsuspecting parents, grandparents, babysitters, aunts, uncles and well, anyone as a bedtime story. The sense of mischief and fun appeals to kids all ages, including those of us experienced kids who have the gray hair to prove it.  Amazon and Barnes&Noble 
  2. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers Have you ever looked at a child’s box of crayons and wondered what on earth happened to those once pristine pieces of wax? Jeffers’ playful illustrations are spot on and new readers will be surprised at the emotional depths Daywalt finds in the crayons. This is a terrific gateway for talking about emotions.  Amazon and Barnes&Noble 
  3. I Will Take a Nap! by Mo Willems. Mo Willelms is the mastermind behind Knufflebunny, the Pigeon and Elephant and Piggie, stars of I Will Take a Nap. Elephant and Piggie don’t look alike and possess many opposite traits (cautious versus impulsive) that can cause some conflict between the two, but friendship always prevails. Amazon and Barnes&Noble 
  4. Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Dan Santat. This came out last year, but it didn’t cross my radar until my ninja loving son brought it home from the library. As I’ve said before, I think Dan Santat is a terrific illustrator and his vibrant images bring this twisted fairy tale to life. This is a fun book to read alongside an original version of Little Red Riding Hood and can lead to great conversation about empowerment and bullying. Amazon and Barnes&Noble 
  5. What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss.  It’s not every year you get a new Dr. Seuss Book! For me, it’s no Fox in Sox (my favorite Dr. Seuss), but it is a fun book to read aloud and share with the children in your life. A lot of children will relate to the problem of picking a dream pet and in this book, there are no real life consequences, so bring on the silliness and help kids spark their creativity. Amazon and Barnes&Noble    

 

Kids that are read to from day one are kids who grow up to be readers. Study after study shows the benefit of reading with children. From building vocabulary to creative problem solving, to building empathy, to creating a passion for knowledge, few tools on this earth are more powerful than a book. Please share the joy of reading this holiday season, whether with a special child in your life or by donating a book to a school, shelter, library or program like First Book.

I hope you have enjoyed this extended Friday Five series. If you have books to recommend, or thoughts on this list, please share in the comments.

Posted in Books, childhood, First Friday Five, parenting, Reading, tween

First Friday Five: Great Books for Middle School Readers

I’ve invited a special guest to share some of her favorite books for Middle School and Teen readers. Four of the Five are series specially selected by one of the loveliest young ladies I know. Without further ado, my twelve-year-old daughter is here to share her recommended reads for Middle Schoolers.  As with last week’s bonus post, “Great Books for Elementary Schoolers,” I’m including buy links to Amazon and Barnes&Noble for your gift-giving convenience, but don’t overlook other sources too. I make no money on any of these sales. My daughter and I want to help you find great reads for tweens and teens in your life.

  1. The Unwanteds by Lisa Mcmann, fantasy series- This is a great series for anyone creative or magic-loving. It is a struggle as two brothers face the real world and its challenges.  Amazon  and  Barnes&Noble 
  2. Warriors series by Erin Hunter- This series tells the story of house cats struggling to survive in the wild from their point of view. Leaves the reader thinking, “is that what my cat does?” Amazon and Barnes&Noble  
  3. Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull- What would it be like to live in a world of dragons, danger, and magic? Read to find out. Amazon and Barnes&Noble 
  4. Wings of fire series by Tui T. Sutherland- A war has been raging in a land for many years. This is the story of five dragonlets and how their actions affect their world. Available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble Box sets are great for voracious readers.
  5. The Candymakers – from  Wendy Mass- the story of four young kids in a candy factory trying to make the best new candy of the year. Each have their own secrets and story to share. There are five parts. Amazon and Barnes&Noble

There are multiple other books that did not make it onto this list. My daughter hopes that if one liked these recommendations, you’ll might explore other books and series by the author. Erin Hunter and Brandon Mull have multiple series she recommends. Erin Hunter also writes the Seekers and Survivors series. Brandon Mull also writes The Five Kingdoms, Beyonders, and The Candy Shop War Series. Sequel series to Fablehaven and The Unwanteds are coming out soon.

Quick – now that she’s out of the room, if you have any recommendations, please list them in the comments. I can hardly keep up with all her reading and as a parent, that’s a wonderful problem to have.

Posted in Books, Family life, First Friday Five, Reading

First Friday Five: Great Books for Grade-schoolers

There are so many wonderful Children’s books out there that I couldn’t fit them all into one First Friday Five post, so consider this a bonus. Next week, I’ll post some titles for older kids and after that, look for some of my favorite picture books.

My kids are big readers and we’re often asked for recommendations

My second-grade son helped me curate this list of series that appeals to grade school age kids. I’ve included buy links for your convenience. I do not benefit from the sales in any way, these are just books we love and want to share.

Without further ado, First Friday Five – the Great Grade School Book Edition.

  1. The Imaginary Veterinary Series by Suzanne Selfors, illustrated by Dan Santat
    Dr. Woo’s Worm Hospital hides some pretty big secrets as youthful apprentices Pearl and Ben find out. Kids and adults will enjoy the humor in this terrific series that blends mystery, fantasy creatures and real world problems. As an adult, I appreciate the subtle messages about friendship, finding strength in what others see as a weakness and problem solving. Dan Santat’s illustrations are pitch perfect. I think he’s one of the best in the biz.
    Find these books on Amazon or Barnes&Noble
  2. Bad Kitty series by Nick Bruel  
    How much do we love Bad Kitty around my house? We buy the books in hard cover. There are picture book editions, but the chapter books are the standouts. Bruel breaks the third wall, so to speak and talks directly to Bad Kitty at times, but more importantly, he has an amazing way of breaking down difficult subjects in ways that make them easy enough for kids, adults and bad kitties to understand. With the US presidential election coming up, do yourself a favor and get Bad Kitty for President.
    Find Bad Kitty at Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  3. Geronimo Stilton Series by Geronimo Stilton
    I admit to a little professional jealousy. I can barely write a book a year, but Geronimo puts out a new book or graphic novel about every month plus he runs the most famouse newspaper in New Mouse City. These fun adventure stories are a great way for kids to learn about other places and perfect for kids just starting to read independently. My son is particularly fond of the Kingdom of Fantasy subseries. Find Geronimo Stilton at Amazon or Barnes&Noble
  4. Cam Jansen Series by David A. Adler 
    My son is a big fan of mysteries, but this is his favorite straight up mystery series. There is a “Young Cam Jansen” series that is great for that time when kids are transitioning to longer books and then the regular Cam Jansen mysteries for independent readers. There are plenty of clues to solve the mystery, with a few red herrings thrown in. Heroine Cam has a photographic memory and now when my son wants to remember the details of a moment he says “click,” because that’s what Cam does.  Available at Amazon or Barnes&Noble 
  5. Notebook of Doom Series by Troy Cummings
    I think of this as a less disgusting alternative to Captain Underpants. My son thinks the Notebook of Doom books are just plain fun. The monsters are not to scary and tend toward the absurd. Available at Amazon or Barnes&Noble

This time of year, lots of us are shopping for ourselves, for friends, and for family.  If you don’t have a specific child on your shopping list, please consider donating a book to a child in need. There are myriad organizations that help put books into the hands of children such as First Book, as well as ones locally based in your community.

And if you have any books to recommend for the grade school set, please do so below. My son is always on the lookout for new books, but overindulgent self promo will make me sad and will be removed.

Posted in Books, Crimson Romance, Spotlight on

Spotlight on Jessica Starre #Myth&Magic

Today my spotlight shines on author Jessica Starre and her new paranormal romance bundle, Myth & Magic. Myth and Magic features three previously released titles bundled together for one low price. How low? Under a dollar. That’s way less than a bag of mini-snickers.  Curious what lies within these virtual pages? Read on.

Magic and mayhem lie just beyond the thin veil separating this world from a fantasy realm where anything is possible. For these three spirited heroines, all it takes is a dash of danger, a pinch of the eccentric, and a good stir from an irresistible male to develop a taste for the unknown.

  • A Certain Kind of Magic: When NYPD police detective Morgan Reilly discovers the lamp and frees the djinn, she thinks she’s hallucinating the merman he conjures, thanks to her recent head injury. Exiled years ago, Mere needs her help to rescue a stolen dragon’s hoard, but first he’ll have to convince the gorgeous Morgan that he’s very real.
  • Children of the Wolves: Seven years after a global disaster, Jelena still has no memories of her past, unlike other survivors. To her protector Michael’s consternation, she continues to oppose their tribe, challenging the Elders’ rules and even befriending wolves that terrify the others. Can Jelena learn to trust – and love – again?
  • Lessons in Magic: Recently unemployed and rudderless, Phoebe agrees to get her late aunt Edna’s house ready to put on the market. While cleaning up cobwebs, she unexpectedly discovers her latent family talent for summoning demons. Noah Rossi, wizard in training, comes to the rescue, but can he save her from accidentally destroying the universe?

You can get Jessica’s Myth & Magic at Amazon

Before you leave, don’t forget I have a Rafflecopter for a $10.00 Gift Card for the winner’s choice of Amazon or B&N to celebrate my latest release, Lucky Traveler.

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Posted in Books, Crimson Romance, Talking with

Talking with Susanne Matthews

Today I have Lilith Munroe on my website. Lilith is the heroine of Susanne Matthews‘ latest romantic suspense for Crimson Romance, The White Lily.

Thank you for inviting me to visit today with my book, The White Lily, Book Two of The Harvester Series by Susanne Matthews.

  1. Welcome. Start by telling me a bit about yourself.

My name is Lilith Munroe. I’m a profiler with the FBI, specializing in research and analysis. I keep to myself. I used to work in the field but transferred to Quantico after a botched raid on a suspected cult selling drugs for the Mexican cartel. For a while I was the FBI’s expert on cults. The New Horizon cult and its leader the Prophet are giving the task force charged with brining him down some difficulties. Trevor Clark, the agent in charge has requested my aid on the case, and so whether I like it or not, I’m going to Boston.

  1. If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Dedicated, determined, and defensive

  1. Since this is a romance, describe your love interest in three words.

Jacob’s attractive, intelligent, but an enigma.

  1. What aspect of his/her character could’ve have been the deal breaker?

The fact that he’s used to being in charge and can be quite authoritarian about it.

  1. What’s more important to you, the things a person says or the things a person does?

As far as I’m concerned, a person has to believe and act the way they say they will. That’s what inspires trust, and without trust, you can’t have any kind of meaningful relationship.

  1. How did the author choose the title to your story?

This is the second book in a series and in each book, a white flower plays a significant role in the plot. In book one, it was a carnation, in this book, lilies, and in book three, it will be an iris.

  1. Is your author a plotter or a pantser, and how does that affect your growth as a character?

My author is a pantser all the way, so she basically let Jacob and I live the story and created it as we did. Sometimes, we pulled her in a direction she hadn’t anticipated, and the editor, pulled all of us in other directions, too, but in the end, the story lives the way it should.

  1. Who was your favorite supporting character?

Rob Halliday, the Boston detective from Book One. He kept me focused and taught me more about field work than I ever knew.

The White LilyBlurb:

The Harvester is out there…watching, waiting, biding his time.

FBI cult specialist Lilith Munroe lives in dread that one day the man who tortured her when a case went bad will find her again. So leaving her sanctuary in Quantico to join the Harvester Task Force in Boston is her version of hell. But the Harvester is kidnapping babies, and Lilith’s profiling skills may mean the difference between life and death for the most innocent in society.

Australian millionaire and former member of the New Horizon commune Jacob Andrews returns to the United States searching for his sister. Instead of the happy reunion he expects, he discovers she is dead and his twin brother may be responsible. He agrees to lend his law enforcement skills to help find his former cult leader before the man can implement his plan to kill millions.

Now uneasy partners, Jacob and Lilith must learn to trust each other even as they fight their growing attraction. But when Lilith’s greatest fears materialize, will Jacob be able to set aside his anger and save the woman he loves?

Sensuality Level: Sensual

Order links for The White Lily:

Amazon.comB&N and KOBO

About the author:susannematthews

Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

 

Follow Susanne on her:  Website    Blog    Facebook page    Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page    and    Goodreads author page

 

The White LilyExcerpt:

Still annoyed with herself for not having the backbone to stand up to the director and refuse this transfer, even if it was only a temporary one, Lilith Munroe stepped into crowded Terminal B at Logan Airport, grateful to finally breathe something other than the plane’s stale recycled air and that overblown windbag’s cheap cologne. Why people maintained flying was a great way to travel was beyond her. Even in business class, and she’d paid the additional fare out of her own pocket, she’d been crowded into the corner of her seat by a man who should have paid for two seats instead of one. That he’d hit on her had only made things worse. He’d better not hold his breath waiting for her to call him the next time she was in Washington. On top of that, the damn plane had been hotter than hell. Air conditioning, my ass.

What was the worst the director could’ve done? Demote her? Fire her? Either of those might’ve been the better option, but she had to stay where she was, needed access to all of those government databases. Why this “promotion” now? She didn’t want it, hadn’t asked for it, and apparently didn’t have a say in it either.

For five years, she’d managed to avoid anything to do with cults and fieldwork, preferring the security of her cubicle and using her computer skills to provide others with the information they needed to solve the most vicious crimes. Now, she was being forced into what potentially could be the biggest cult case of the century because of a skill set she’d hoped everyone had forgotten.

The Harvester. For months, the elusive killer, the charismatic leader of a cult, had terrorized the Boston area before disappearing with his followers, leaving several bodies in his wake. As much as she avoided reading about such cases, this one had affected the FBI itself, and it had been the topic of conversation around the cooler for weeks.

Swallowing her frustration and hitching the carry-on bag higher on her shoulder, Lilith looked around the arrivals area, searching for the signs indicating where she’d find the rest of her luggage. She’d taken no more than twenty steps when she came nose to chest with a behemoth blocking her path. Knowing her gun was in her bag didn’t help since she couldn’t pull it out and tell him to back off. Swallowing her fear, she moved to the right to step around him.

He put out his hand and gripped her shoulder, holding her in place.

“Agent Munroe?”

“Yes,” she answered, staring pointedly at the offending hand, trying to hide the panic threatening to engulf her. “Release me, now.”

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. Detective Rob Halliday at your service,” he said, removing his hand and extending it. “Welcome to Boston. Agent Clark sent me. The director described you quite well if you’re wondering how I recognized you.”

Damn. She smiled awkwardly, wishing the floor would open up and swallow her. It could’ve been worse. I might’ve screamed or attacked the guy. This was a mistake. The sooner she got back to the safety of Quantico, the better.