Friday, July 10, 2020

The Crushing Depths


 

 

The Crushing Depths

by Dani Pettrey

on Tour July 1-31, 2020

Synopsis:

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey

When an accident claims the life of an oil-rig worker on the first drilling platform off the North Carolina coast, Coast Guard investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are sent to take the case. Tensions surrounding the oil rig are high and the death has everyone on edge. Environmental activists are threatening to do whatever it takes to stop the structure from being completed, while rumors are being whispered about ancient curses surrounding this part of the ocean.

Mounting evidence shows the death may not have been an accident at all. Was he killed by one of the activists or, perhaps more frighteningly, a member of his own crew? Rissi and Mason have to sort through not only a plethora of suspects, but also their own past and attraction to each other.

Just as the case seems like it'll break open, worse news arrives. A tropical storm has turned their way and soon they're cut off from any rescue–and right where the killer wants them. It's a race to discover his identity before he eliminates the threat they pose.

Book Details:

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Published by: Bethany House
Publication Date: June 30th 2020
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0764230859 (ISBN13: 9780764230851)
Series: Coastal Guardians #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Late September

Thirty-eight miles off North Carolina’s coast

Greg Barnes clinked along the grated metal steps, his boot heels rasping with each shuffle as he headed topside for a much-needed breath of smoke.

Thrusting the door open with a resounding creak, he stepped out into the night air.

A litany of protestors’ chants mimicked the shrill whining of cicadas.

He glanced at his watch. 1930. Didn’t those eco-nuts ever give it a rest?

As if the cursed rig wasn’t enough—they had the dang relentless protestors going practically day and night.

Exhaling, he rubbed his thumb along the smooth surface of the tarnished gold lighter in his pocket. His tight muscles seized, making his movements stiff. He shook his head. Those people needed to get a life.

Edging around the far corner of the main separator facility, he pressed his back against the structure’s cool outer wall. Generators whirred across from him, finally drowning out the clatter. He scanned his surroundings and exhaled in relief. Finally, alone.

His leg twitched. Just one drag . . . maybe two. It’d been an awful day, and that was the gentleman’s way of putting it.

With unsteady hands, he pulled the plastic-wrapped pack from his shirt pocket.

It crinkled beneath his hold and the sweet scent of tobacco wafted beneath his nose. He tamped the cigarette in his palm and slid it between his cracked lips. Just one drag.

Tugging the lighter from his pocket, he flipped it open, then rolled the pad of his thumb across the ignitor.

A spark flashed and fire roared, hissing over him in a sizzling cascade of torment.

Chapter Two

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Rissi Dawson sat at the long table on Dockside’s waterfront deck, gaping at Mason Rogers. He turned to look at her, his green eyes illuminated in the bright pole lights lining the wooden structural beams. She averted her eyes as heat rushed up her throat, spreading across her cheeks. He’d caught her staring again. Embarrassment drenched her. It’d been three days since his arrival, and she still couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact he was actually sitting next to her.

The boy she’d had the biggest crush on as a teen was back in her life. And on her Coast Guard Investigative Service team.

He handed her the basket of hush puppies the restaurant served instead of bread to start everyone off. His hand brushed hers with the movement, and her heart fluttered. “Thanks,” she said, keeping her gaze fixed on the red basket as she pulled two balls of fried cornmeal from it. She plopped the still-warm puppies onto the round plate to the right of her Coke. Get it together, girl!

The whir of a boat’s motor dropping to an idle sounded over the deck’s edge. A teen jumped out of the white outboard and onto the pier, tying her up to the cleat. Rissi loved living in a place with a boat drive-thru.

Noah raised his glass of iced tea. “Everyone . . .” The team lifted their glasses in response to their boss’s prompting.

Noah dipped his chin. “Welcome, Mason. Happy to have you on board.”

The team clinked their glasses together, even Caleb who sat brooding to her left. Observant as he was, there was no chance he missed the way she looked at Mason. In recent months, he’d developed feelings for her, so it wasn’t surprising he’d bristled at Mason’s arrival—especially after learning she and Mason shared a past, though he didn’t know the half of it. Only that they spent time in a children’s home together for a handful of months as teens.

The opening riff of “Sweet Home Alabama” emanated from Noah’s jean pocket. He hitched up as he extracted his phone. “Rowley,” he answered. “Yes?” Standing, he headed down the ramp toward the restaurant’s pier.

“Rockfish tacos,” the waitress said, placing the plate in front of Rissi. The sweet, tropical scent of the mango slaw swirled in the air.

The waitress handed out plate after plate to each of them, setting Noah’s burger at his spot while he continued to pace the pier.

Caleb bit into his Carolina BBQ pork sandwich, the scent of vinegar wafting in the night’s gentle breeze.

Finn Walker did the same with his crab cake sandwich. He and Noah, who was from Maryland, had argued for months over which state had the best crab cake. Finn had been convinced it was North Carolina, right up until Noah had crab cakes flown in fresh from Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore. It took two bites for Finn to concede the win.

“Sorry about that, folks,” Noah said, retaking his seat.

“Everything okay?” Emmy Thorton asked. Rissi looked forward to seeing the quirky angel every day at the station.

“Rissi, Mason.” Noah lifted his chin in their direction. “I’ve got an assignment for you.”

Her and Mason? They’d worked a case his first day on the team, but Finn had joined them for most of the investigation. This would be the two of them . . . alone. A mixture of elation and fear sifted through her.

“Great.” Mason set down his lemonade.

“We’ve got a death out on the Dauntless.”

“The offshore oil platform?” Mason asked, swiping a drop of lemonade from his bottom lip.

Stop staring, girl. So he’s jaw-dropping gorgeous. So you share a past. Still, staring is plain rude. Despite not having a mother to teach her, Rissi knew or, at least had come to learn, her manners.

Noah laid his napkin across his lap. “You two need to determine if the death was an accident or if foul play was involved. Helo is leaving from Textra Oil’s copter hub in forty-five. I need you both on it.”

Mason pushed back from the table. “No problem.”

“Great,” Noah said. “You’ll be joining the head of operations, a commercial diver, and the deceased’s replacement on the company copter.”

Rissi took one last bite of her taco before setting it down. She dabbed the corner of her lips with a napkin. “They aren’t wasting any time in replacing the deceased.”

“The deceased’s name is Greg Barnes. I talked to the head of operations, Bob Stanton, and he said they needed to replace him ASAP.”

“Must be an important position.” She reached for her glass and took a final sip.

“You’d think,” Noah said. “But Bob said the main reason they need to replace him fast is they’ve been working with a skeleton crew.”

Mason’s brows pinched as he stood. “Why?”

“Several guys didn’t show up for their three-week rotation transport out,” Noah said, popping a fry in his mouth.

“I know why they didn’t show up for that copter ride out there.” Tom Murphy leaned toward them from his table situated to their right.

“Why?” Mason asked, moving around to the back of Rissi’s chair. He held it out for her as she stood.

She glanced over her shoulder at him and smiled. “Thanks.”

He nodded.

Tom, one of Wrightsville’s most colorful fishermen, crooked his index finger, drawing them in. “That rig’s cursed.”

“Cursed?” Caleb chuckled. “You can’t be serious?”

Tom waggled his finger. “It’s no laughing matter, young man.”

“I’m sure it’s a good story, Tom,” Rissi said. No reason not to be polite. “But I’m afraid we’ve got to catch a copter ride.”

Tom shrugged and turned back to his food. “It’s your lives at stake.”

“What do you mean?” she asked before they passed his table, unable to stem her curiosity.

“You’ll see.” He smiled, his right incisor missing. “Henry’s curse is real.”

“Henry?” Why was she letting herself get sucked into this?

Tom let out a high-pitched chuckle. “Oh, you’ll learn all about Henry.”

“Shall we?” Mason said, gesturing to the wooden ramp leading down to the gravel parking lot.

Excusing themselves, they moved down the ramp. Mason leaned in. He smelled of the ocean and warm spice. He whispered, “Did that guy seriously just cackle?”

She nodded, strangely curious about the old man’s ghost story.

“I thought people only did that on Scooby-Doo.”

She let out a slip of laughter.

“I wouldn’t be laughing,” Tom called after them as they rounded the ramp on his side of the deck. “You two be careful out there, you hear? It’s a dangerous place to be. Just ask the men on board.”

***

Excerpt from The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey. Copyright 2020 by Dani Pettrey. Reproduced with permission from Dani Pettrey. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Dani Pettrey

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance.

Her novels stand out for their "wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters" (Publishers Weekly), "gripping storyline[s]," (RT Book Reviews), and "sizzling undercurrent of romance" (USA Today).

Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and have appeared on the CBA, ECPA, Publisher’s Weekly, and Amazon #1 bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award finalist, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award.

Catch Up With Dani Pettrey:
DaniPettrey.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



 

 

Enter To Win!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Dani Pettrey. There will be 4 winners. Two (2) winners will each receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will each win THE CRUSHING DEPTHS by Dani Pettrey (Print ~ Open to U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on July 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Never Enough



This cover reveal is organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kristina M. Sanchez will award a randomly drawn winner a $20 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



At thirty-seven, Valentin Belmonte returned to his mother’s house with his tail between his legs. No surprise there. His life had been a long line of bad choices, failures, and trouble. Also returning home, freshly graduated and on the hunt for a job, was Mina Toussaint, the orphan Val’s mother and stepfather had taken in when he was already grown. She’d been the only person who’d ever really liked him, but he’d screwed that up a long time ago.

Mina’s adoptive family had treated her like the perfect princess and little girl they always wanted. Val was the only one who’d ever seen her for who she really was; she’d never wanted to be a princess. But after what happened when she was sixteen, she thought she hated him. Now, six years later, things were different. She wasn’t the child she’d been when she got so angry. The trouble was that Val hadn’t changed. He still saw her.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Blue Magnolia



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess FishPromotions

W. F. Ranew will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

See below to sign up for the Giveaway.



PI Red Farlow dives headfirst into a hornets' nest of extremists. 

His new client, Hank Tillman,

Mystery Thriller
only wants to get a shot at country music stardom. While playing in a Georgia bar, Hank—known as Cowboy to his fans—stumbles into trouble. The kind that kills. PI Red Farlow steps in to help him.

 Hank’s song, Redneck Devil, attracts the attention of a violent group called the Blue Magnolia. Its leaders want him to perform at their next hate rally. There's another, darker reason the Blue Magnolia wants Hank in its fold.

 An elderly patient in a Florida insane asylum reveals a decades-long secret that devastates Hank. It’s the worst kind of fake news.

 Can Farlow root out the truth? The PI has his own problems as he confronts a hired killer face-to-face.





my review...

Another Red Farlowe mystery. A character I really like. Tough yet caring, smart yet streetwise, all the things you look for in this type of tough, gritty mystery.

The composition of this book was different from the other Red Farlowe mystery I read, Rich and Gone. Red’s case notes were interspersed in this one and it took me some time to adjust my reading rhythm. Don’t get me wrong. It was marked. Just something I wasn’t used to. Not bad; just different.  Also the writing style was different in places... the sentences shorter, more reporting like. But it achieved the feeling I think Ranew was trying to accomplish. Made this more black noir-like in a few ways. Ranew added a few more characters. Some good guys/girls, some not so good.

This is not really a book filled with descriptive writing. Ranew’s a storyteller and a good one. I think all it really needs is another book in the series as soon as possible :)



read an excerpt...

As he connected the amp to the microphone, foot pedal, and other electrical components, someone walked up to him.

 “Can I get you a Coke, sweetie pie?” the tender young voice behind him asked.

 Hank turned to see a divine presence. He couldn’t say anything for a moment because he started trembling. Did her beauty do this to him? Or perhaps the way she gently touched his shoulder and bent over slightly, revealing her ample cleavage right there in his face? Yes, those things made him quiver at that moment. Her perfume, her hair, everything about her tossed him up, down, and all over the place. He didn’t think he could stand up. He just squatted there, right knee on the floor, and nervously fiddled with the amp.

 Shy Hank. Shaky Hank. What-the-hell-do-I-say-now? Hank.

 Finally, he uttered, “Uh . . . ah . . . yes ma’am, please. A Coke. Yeah, that would be fine. Thank you.”

 Sybbe smiled down at him. She turned and walked to the bar. She swayed, undulated, bounced, all in a graceful way. She asked the bartender for the soft drink, a big one, and cocked her right hip wide out with her left foot resting on the foot railing, and looked back across the room at Hank.

 She winked.

about W.F. Ranew...

W.F. Ranew is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and communication executive. He started his journalism career covering sports, police, and city council meetings at his hometown newspaper, The Quitman Free Press. He also worked as a reporter and editor for several regional dailies: The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, The Florida Times-Union, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 Ranew has written three previous novels: Rich and Gone (Tirgearr Publishing), Schoolhouse Man and Candyman’s Sorrow. He lives with his wife, Dr. Lynn Ranew, in Atlanta and St. Simons Island, Ga.

 Find W.F. Ranew Online:

 Tirgearr Publishing – http://www.tirpub.com/wfranew

Website - https://www.wfranew.com

Blog - https://wfranew.wordpress.com

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/wfranew

Twitter - https://twitter.com/wfranew

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/frankranew

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15222195.W_F_Ranew




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Dwarf Story




This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Professor W. W. Marplot will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

For Arty to miss a day of school, either he is very, very sick or a fairytale-character turf-war has begun in his backyard — such as what begins this particular Wednesday. First, he finds an ax-swinging, bearded, sweaty warrior Dwarf scaring his dogs. Soon enough, Emma, Cry and other middle-school friends also find fairy creatures — Elves, Spriggans, Pixies, and a hoped-for Dragon — crashing into their normal homework-doing, backpack-carrying, phone-charging schooldays.

Why are these magical beings here? What should be done? Is that axe sharp? Can Pixies be given aspirin?
Arty with his friends — and spying jerks, and questionable strangers with long names — follow the clues and try to find out, even as things turn dark and dangerous.

The mythical beings are taking sides. The Gwyllion, that legendary Old Woman of the Mountains, has a sinister plan, turning the neighborhood into a fantasy battleground. One that awaits young heroes.

Read an Excerpt

Some can picture the battle in their mind’s eye, or in others’ eyes, or by using magic to help them see. For the rest, I can tell them what I know.

The Old Woman of the Mountains, a Gwyllion of great and strange powers, made herself stronger by taking one of each kind of fairy: to start a new kingdom in heaven, to steal the ancient place of rest, and to make new creatures and rule over all them and their world. And then, perhaps, ours.

More folktale legends joined the war, and on both sides. Some came to rescue their friends from the foul Gwyllion and her armies of Wights, Trolls, and dark spirits.

All who fight have their own special energies and enchanted abilities; some humans believe in them, most do not. But that does not always matter.

Now the battle rages, using nature, and the earth, and the sky.

In and out of the fight, many struggle to find their way back to Eastward Manor, knowing it as the path home. Some captives that can escape the Old Woman seek and find children and hide. This is a strange occurrence, the strangest of the whole story, for me. The fairies’ connection to these young people, all friends, can only be guessed, and is personal, so should not be guessed.

All the rest, of the living fairy creatures, struggle in the War. The dead only the earth can help.

To conquer the Gwyllion, I will use the spells, and counter-spells, and the ancient symbols that secretly kept the story alive for hundreds of years, waiting for this part of the tale. They complete a mystical alchemy of words and magic. I am here, I was born to be here, to help the armies of folkies, as Arty and Emma and the adopted human children call them: the Spriggans and the Dwarves and the Elves, with any birds and trees who have taken sides.

It was those human children that the Gwyllion did not count on. When Arty sent the counters-spell out to his friends of friends, as he says, the words were read, and spoken out loud, and contemplated. And passed to others, to friends, and to friends of friends, along and along. That is turning the tide—help unlooked for!

And Ted doesn’t know it yet, but our side has a dragon. My dragon.


About the Author: Professor Welkin Westicotter Marplot, of Coillemuir, Scotland, is a collector of esoteric tales of global wisdom and curator of ancient manuscripts. He is a recluse and, as he claims, has been collecting and collating adventure and fantasy stories for over a century.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 6, 2020

Media Queen



HollyAnna, Book 2

Contemporary Women's Fiction, Chick-lit

Published: June 2020

Publisher: Independently Published


photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 

Jordyn Fairweather has worked hard to reach the top of the magazine world, but now she’s in trouble.

Younger stars are scrambling to steal her crown, and media companies are collapsing around her in the face of a new threat - the internet.

She’s come a long way from small town Beddo, where she obsessed over teen glossies until pushing her way into an internship with Sixteen magazine. But if Jordyn’s empire is going to survive, she needs to move fast and keep reinventing herself.

Spanning the late 90s and 2000s, Media Queen is a compulsive read with an outrageous main character. It comes with the essential ingredient that Jordyn demands of all her stories: juice!

 

Book No 2 in the #HollyAnna series – following Goodbye Newsroom – Media Queen can also be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

 

 


Excerpt

Chapter 1

 

Jordyn Fairweather knew one thing for sure. She never wanted to clean another toilet in her life.

She shouldered open the door to the stall and dumped the tin pail onto the floor. Warm air rushed in from the toilet block windows above, really just rectangular gaps in the red brick building. She could hear girls calling out goodbyes to each other, and car doors slamming. The tennis squad was going home after practice. Jordyn wished she could go home, too.

‘Still here?’ a voice sang out, followed by a giggle.

Jordyn didn’t respond. She didn’t even bother looking around. She knew who her interrogator was. She wiped the toilet cistern with an old blue cloth, secretly wishing she could shove it down someone’s throat.

Tina appeared in the doorway behind her.

‘I don’t know how you do this job,’ she said.

Jordyn splashed detergent into the bowl, flushed, and backed out of the stall, hoping to crash into Tina and slop bucket water over her.

No such luck. Her tormentor moved away to lean against the row of sinks.

Tina Goodman was a head taller than Jordyn, even though she was a grade lower in high school. Her dark hair was tied in a high ponytail and her short skirt barely covered her golden legs. She was a gladiator and this toilet was one of her many arenas.

‘Goody wants to know if you want a lift home,’ Tina said.

Jordyn scowled. ‘I’m getting a lift home with my mum – he should know that.’

Tina shrugged slowly, as if wearing a heavy fur coat. ‘That’s what I told him, but he wanted to check.’

Jordyn watched Tina appraise herself in the mirrors – her tanned face free of any teen blemishes. Her vicious, vacant eyes.

‘If you’re hangin’ around, it must mean you wanna take over the cleaning …’ Jordyn said.

Tina tipped her head back to laugh. ‘No way! I’m never gonna clean a toilet.’

With a speed propelled by fury, Jordyn grabbed the mop propped in a corner and thrust its handle beneath Tina’s chin. The girl froze, her eyes round.

‘Are you crazy?’ Tina croaked. ‘We’re not in prison!’

‘Start mopping,’ Jordyn hissed.

Tina shoved her and used the newfound space to wriggle away and flee through the toilet block door.

‘Cow!’ she shouted.

Jordyn laughed, clutching the mop like an old friend. She wished Tina had struggled for a little longer; she was in the mood for a fight. She often felt like that these days.

 

 

About the Author

Michelle Prak is an indie author and university teacher who runs her own PR agency. She loves creating energetic and ambitious characters who will make you laugh and inspire you at the same time.

 

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Promo Link

 

Purchase Links

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

IndieBound



RABT Book Tours & PR

Sunday, July 5, 2020

A Convenient Escape




This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sara R. Turnquist will be awarding a $30 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

She has nowhere to go. He has nothing to lose.

Lily McAllen has known nothing but hardship and rejection. Her brother, the only person she can lean on, takes a job at the Miller ranch. Now with no ally, she is alone, confined, and vulnerable. She becomes desperate to get away…by any means necessary.

Despite his best intentions, Daniel Hayworth is drawn into a fatal mishap. He feels responsible. And is prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure Lily is cared for…even if that means proposing marriage.

Complicating matters, Geronimo and his raiding band terrorize the surrounding areas. Troubles mount and tensions challenge the growing attraction between Dan and Lily.

Will they make it to the church? Or find themselves victims of lies, disillusionment, or the ire of an Apache rebel?

Read an Excerpt:

As he neared Lily, he looked up at her. Her features were difficult to read—stoic, flat. Was she angry? Hurt?

Putting off engaging her for a handful of seconds longer, Dan gripped the horse’s bit and urged the mare closer to the cabin. Once at the post, he reached for the reins to tie the mare off. But the leather straps wouldn’t come.

He looked up.

Lily had them in a firm grip.

Staring at her, he tugged again.

She let them loose.

He lost his balance and nearly fell, catching himself at the last moment.

Of all the…

Glancing toward Uncle Owen, he noticed that the man had disappeared, leaving the door open. Probably the older rancher’s hip. It bothered him from time to time. At least he hadn’t witnessed Dan’s embarrassing near-trip.

Dan looked back to Lily. She was halfway off the horse. Only…

She wasn’t making any more progress. Her body had slid off to the side of the horse, and one foot sought the ground, but it seemed as if her other foot, or perhaps something about her boot, had gotten caught in the stirrup. She clung to the pommel and she was grunting.

Serves her right.

What a terrible thing to think toward a lady in distress. Dan wished he felt worse. Should he rush to her aid? Or wait for her to ask?

Everything in him wanted to assist, but he held back. Maybe his efforts wouldn’t be well-received.

So, he waited. And watched.

She pulled herself up slightly. Then movement about the stirrup under her skirt commenced. And intensified. At last, she sagged against the animal as she cried out.

“Need some help?” Dan kept his voice steady, hoping his smile didn’t sneak into his tone and betray him.


About the Author:
Sara is a coffee lovin', word slinging, Historical Romance author whose super power is converting caffeine into novels. She loves those odd little tidbits of history that are stranger than fiction. That's what inspires her. Well, that and a good love story.

But of all the love stories she knows, hers is her favorite. She lives happily with her own Prince Charming and their gaggle of minions. Three to be exact. They sure know how to distract a writer! But, alas, the stories must be written, even if it must happen in the wee hours of the morning.

Sara is an avid reader and enjoys reading and writing clean Historical Romance when she’s not traveling. Her books range from the Czech lands to the American wild west and from ancient Egypt to the early 1900s. Some of her titles include The Lady Bornekova, Hope in Cripple Creek, The General’s Wife, Trail of Fears, and the Convenient Risk Series.

Happy Reading!


BUY link for this book is:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BW79X4P/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 -- free on Kindle Unlimited 

Kitty's War




This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Whitaker will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Seeking adventure, shy Kitty Greenlee joins the Women's Army Corps. In 1944 England, as secretarial support to the 8th Air Force, she encounters her dream man, a handsome lieutenant who only has eyes for her blonde friend. Uncomfortable around men, Kitty doesn't think the handsome officer could want someone like her.

Recovering from wounds, Ted Kruger wants to forget about losing his closest friends and have fun before returning to danger as a bomber navigator. When Ted recognizes Kitty as the girl who rescued him two years before, he must choose between dating the sexy blonde or pursuing quiet, serious-minded Kitty even though he knows he's not nearly good enough for her.

As the war gears up with the D-Day invasion, will Kitty and Ted risk their hearts as well as their lives?

Read an Excerpt

“Starting Initial Point,” the pilot announced. “McGill take over.”

No dodging it now. The bombardier took the controls for the bomb run.

Seconds ticked away. Ted’s gloved hand clenched the pencil. He forced himself to relax before he broke another one. He couldn’t plot their course on the map without a pencil.

The aircraft reeled from explosions nearby. The bumpy ride made him think of an old truck driving at top speed over a rutted, muddy road in the middle of the night. Unable to dodge the holes, even though he knew they were filled with dynamite. Unable to stop. Just straight ahead until he blew up.

Come on, Come on. Get it over with and get out of here.

“Bombs away.” The beautiful, gorgeous words came through the intercom. The plane lurched upward at the loss of its heavy load. He let out a sigh.

“I’ve got it,” Rollins announced. The pilot took back the controls and maneuvered away from the drop zone.

Ted marked the spot on the map and started his calculations for the return leg.

“Hang on. We’re in the middle of it,” the pilot warned only an instant before an explosion jarred through them.

The plane bounced and shook.

Then another, louder bang.

Ted’s seat collapsed, tossing him to the floor. His head hit something.

Blackness alternated with blurry, bright light.

Fiery pain burned through his thigh. His hand searched for the wound. He gasped for air. His oxygen tube must have pulled loose.

Someone hovered over him. “Kruger’s hit.” It was McGill’s voice. Clutching his tightening throat, Ted watched as Mac stuck the tube of a walk-around bottle into Ted’s mask.


About the Author:
Barbara grew up in a small town in Tennessee where the repeated stories of local and family history became embedded in her psyche. Fascinating tales of wartime, from her parents and her in-laws, instilled an insatiable curiosity about World War II. After retiring from her sensible career in accounting, she began full time pursuit of her lifelong love of historical romantic fiction. Enjoying every minute of research, Barbara spends hours reading, watching old, black-and-white movies and listening to big band music. Although Barbara and her husband have been longtime residents of Florida, they both still think of Tennessee as "home." Visit Barbara's website at http://barbarawhitaker.com. Or find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraWhitakerAuthor.

Buy Links and Other Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Kittys-War-Barbara-Whitaker-ebook/dp/B01MCU9SOW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kittys-war-barbara-whitaker/1125466321?ean=9781509210909
https://www.bookbub.com/books/kitty-s-war-by-barbara-whitaker
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33303373-kitty-s-war
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/kitty-s-war-2
https://www.audible.com/pd/Kittys-War-Audiobook/B07MJ7LFKC
https://books.apple.com/us/book/kittys-war/id1164144741

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Anarchy of the Mice


Anarchy Of The Mice by Jeff Bond Banner

Anarchy of the Mice

by Jeff Bond

on Tour July 1 - August 31, 2020


Synopsis:

Anarchy of the Mice by Jeff Bond

From Jeff Bond, author of Blackquest 40 and The Pinebox Vendetta, comes Anarchy of the Mice, book one in an epic new series starring Quaid Rafferty, Durwood Oak Jones, and Molly McGill: the trio of freelance operatives known collectively as Third Chance Enterprises.

How far could society fall without data? Account balances, property lines, government ID records — if it all vanished, if everyone’s scorecard reset to zero, how might the world look?

The Blind Mice are going to show us.

Molly McGill is fighting it. Her teenage son has come downstairs in a T-shirt from these “hacktivists” dominating the news. Her daughter’s bus is canceled — too many stoplights out — and school is in the opposite direction of the temp job she’s supposed to be starting this morning. She is twice-divorced; her P.I. business, McGill Investigators, is on the rocks; what kind of life is this for a woman a mere twelve credit-hours shy of her PhD?

Then the doorbell rings.

It’s Quaid Rafferty, the charming — but disgraced — former governor of Massachusetts, and his plainspoken partner, Durwood Oak Jones. The guys have an assignment for Molly. It sounds risky, but the pay sure beats switchboard work.

They need her to infiltrate the Blind Mice.

Danger, romance, intrigue, action for miles — whatever you read, Anarchy of the Mice is coming for you.

Book Details:

Genre: Action-Adventure
Published by: Jeff Bond books
Publication Date: June 15, 2020
Number of Pages: 445
ISBN: 173225527X (978-1732255272)
Series: Third Chance Enterprises, #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

The first I ever heard of the Blind Mice was from my fourteen-year-old son, Zach. I was scrambling to get him and his sister ready for school, stepping over dolls and skater magazines, thinking ahead to the temp job I was starting in about an hour, when Zach came slumping downstairs in a suspiciously plain T-shirt.

“Turn around,” I said. “Let’s see the back.”

He scowled but did comply. The clothing check was mandatory after that vomiting-skull sweatshirt he’d slipped out the door in last month.

Okay. No drugs, profanity, or bodily fluids being expelled.

But there was something. An abstract computer-ish symbol. A mouse? Possibly the nose, eyes, and whiskers of a mouse?

Printed underneath was, Nibble, nibble. Until the whole sick scam rots through.

I checked the clock: 7:38. Seven minutes before we absolutely had to be out the door, and I still hadn’t cleaned up the grape juice spill, dealt with my Frizz City hair, or checked the furnace. For twenty minutes, I’d been hearing ker-klacks, which my heart said was construction outside but my head worried could be the failing heater.

How bad did I want to let Zach’s shirt slide?

Bad.

“Is that supposed to be a mouse?” I said. “Like an angry mouse?”

“The Blind Mice,” my son replied. “Maybe you’ve heard, they’re overthrowing the corporatocracy?”

His eyes bulged teen sarcasm underneath those bangs he refuses to get cut.

“Wait,” I said, “that group that’s attacking big companies’ websites and factories?”

“Government too.” He drew his face back ominously. “Anyone who’s part of the scam.”

“And you’re wearing their shirt?”

He shrugged.

I would’ve dearly loved to engage Zach in a serious discussion of socioeconomic justice—I did my master’s thesis on the psychology of labor devaluation in communities—except we needed to go. In five minutes.

“What if Principal Broadhead sees that?” I said. “Go change.”

“No.”

“Zach McGill, that shirt promotes domestic terrorism. You’ll get kicked out of school.”

“Like half my friends wear it, Mom.” He thrust his hands into his pockets.

Ugh. I had stepped in parenting quicksand. I’d issued a rash order and Zach had refused, and now I could either make him change, starting a blow-out fight and virtually guaranteeing I’d be late my first day on the job at First Mutual, or back down and erode my authority.

“Wear a jacket,” I said—a poor attempt to limit the erosion, but the best I could do. “And don’t let your great-grandmother see that shirt.”

Speaking of, I could hear Granny’s slippers padding around upstairs. She was into her morning routine, and would shortly—at the denture-rinsing phase—be shouting down that her sink was draining slow again; why hadn’t the damn plumber come yet?

Because I hadn’t paid one. McGill Investigators, the PI business of which I was the founder and sole employee (yes, I realized the plural name was misleading), had just gone belly-up. Hence the temp job.

Karen, my six-year-old, was seated cheerily beside her doll in front of orange juice and an Eggo Waffle.

“Mommy!” she announced. “I get to ride to school with you today!”

The doll’s lips looked sticky—OJ?—and the cat was eyeing Karen’s waffle across the table.

“Honey, weren’t you going to ride the bus today?” I asked, shooing the cat, wiping the doll with a dishrag.

Karen shook her head. “Bus isn’t running. I get to ride in the Prius, in Mommy’s Prius!”

I felt simultaneous joy that Karen loved our new car—well, new to us: 120K miles as a rental, but it was a hybrid—and despair because I really couldn’t take her. School was in the complete opposite direction of New Jersey Transit. Even if I took the turnpike, which I loathed, I would miss my train.

Fighting to address Karen calmly in a time crunch, I said, “Are you sure the bus isn’t running?”

She nodded.

I asked how she knew.

“Bus driver said, ‘If the stoplights are blinking again in the morning, I ain’t taking you.’” She walked to the window and pointed. “See?”

I joined her at the window, ignoring the driver’s grammatical example for the moment. Up and down my street, traffic lights flashed yellow.

“Blind Mice, playa!” Zach puffed his chest. “Nibble, nibble.

The lights had gone out every morning this week at rush hour. On Monday, the news had reported a bald eagle flew into a substation. On Tuesday, they’d said the outages were lingering for unknown reasons. I hadn’t seen the news yesterday.

Did Zach know the Blind Mice were involved? Or was he just being obnoxious?

“Great,” I muttered. “Bus won’t run because stoplights are out, but I’m free to risk our lives driving to school.”

Karen gazed up at me, her eyes green like mine and trembling. A mirror of my stress.

Pull it together, Molly.

“Don’t worry,” I corrected myself. “I’ll take you. I will. Let me just figure a few things out.”

Trying not to visualize myself walking into First Mutual forty-five minutes late, I took a breath. I patted through my purse for keys, sifting through rumpled Kleenex and receipts and granola-bar halves. Granny had made her way downstairs and was reading aloud from a bill-collection notice. Zach was texting, undoubtedly to friends about his lame mom. I felt air on my toes and looked down: a hole in my hose.

Fantastic.

I’d picked out my cutest work sandals, but somehow I doubted the look would hold up with toes poking out like mini-wieners.

I wished I could shut my eyes, whisper some spell, and wake up in a different universe.

Then the doorbell rang.

CHAPTER TWO

Quaid Rafferty waited on the McGills’ front porch with a winning smile. It had been ten months since he’d seen Molly, and he was eager to reconnect.

Inside, there sounded a crash (pulled-over coatrack?), a smack (skateboard hitting wall?), and muffled cross-voices.

Quaid fixed the lay of his sport coat lapels and kept waiting. His partner, Durwood Oak Jones, stood two paces back with his dog. Durwood wasn’t saying anything, but Quaid could feel the West Virginian’s disapproval—it pulsed from his blue jeans and cowboy hat.

Quaid twisted from the door. “School morning, right? I’m sure she’ll be out shortly.”

Durwood remained silent. He was on record saying they’d be better off with a more accomplished operative like Kitty Ravensdale or Sigrada the Serpent, but Quaid believed in Molly. He’d argued that McGill, a relative amateur, was just what they needed: a fresh-faced idealist.

Now he focused on the door—and was pleased to hear the dead bolt turn within. He was less pleased when he saw the face that appeared in the door glass.

The grandmother.

“Why, color me damned!” began the septuagenarian, yanking open the screen door. “The louse returns. Whorehouses all kick you out?”

Quaid strained to keep smiling. “How are you this fine morning, Eunice?”

Her face stormed over. “What’re you here for?”

“We’re hoping for a word with Molly if she’s around.” He opened his shoulders to give her a full view of his party, which included Durwood and Sue-Ann, his aged bluetick coonhound.

They made for an admittedly odd sight. Quaid and Durwood shared the same vital stats, six one and 180-something pounds, but God himself couldn’t have created two more different molds. Quaid in a sport coat with suntanned wrists and mussed-just-so blond hair. Durwood removing his hat and casting steel-colored eyes humbly about, jeans pulled down over his boots’ piping. And Sue with her mottled coat, rasping like any breath could be her last.

Eunice stabbed a finger toward Durwood. “He can come in—him I respect. But you need to turn right around. My granddaughter wants nothing to do with cads like you.”

Behind her, a voice called, “Granny, I can handle this.

Eunice ignored this. “You’re a no-good man. I know it, my granddaughter knows it.” Veins showed through the chicken-y skin of her neck. “Go on, hop a flight back to Vegas and all your whores!”

Before Quaid could counter these aspersions, Molly appeared.

His heart chirped in his chest. Molly was a little discombobulated, bending to put on a sandal, a kid’s jacket tucked under one elbow—but those dimples, that curvy body...even in the worst domestic throes, she could’ve charmed slime off a senator.

He said, “Can’t you beat a seventy-four-year-old woman to the door?”

Molly slipped on the second sandal. “Can we please just not? It’s been a crazy morning.”

“I know the type.” Quaid smacked his hands together. “So hey, we have a job for you.”

“You’re a little late—McGill Investigators went out of business. I have a real job starting in less than an hour.”

“What kind?”

“Reception,” she said. “Three months with First Mutual.”

“Temp work?” Quaid asked.

“I was supposed to start with the board of psychological examiners, but the position fell through.”

“How come?”

“Funding ran out. The governor disbanded the board.”

“So First Mutual...?”

Molly’s eyes, big and leprechaun green, fell. “It’s temp work, yeah.”

“You’re criminally overqualified for that, McGill,” Quaid said. “Hear us out. Please.”

She snapped her arms over her chest but didn’t stop Quaid as he breezed into the living room followed by Durwood and Sue-Ann, who wore no leash but kept a perfect twenty-inch heel by her master.

Two kids poked their heads around the kitchen doorframe. Quaid waggled his fingers playfully at the girl.

Molly said, “Zach, Karen—please wait upstairs. I’m speaking with these men.”

The boy argued he should be able to stay; upstairs sucked; wasn’t she the one who said they had to leave, like, immedia—

“This is not a negotiation,” Molly said in a new tone.

They went upstairs.

She sighed. “Now they’ll be late for school. I’m officially the worst mother ever.”

Quaid glanced around the living room. The floor was clutter free, but toys jammed the shelves of the coffee table. Stray fibers stuck up from the carpet, which had faded beige from its original yellow or ivory.

“No, you’re an excellent mother,” Quaid said. “You do what you believe is best for your children, which is why you’re going to accept our proposition.”

The most effective means of winning a person over, Quaid had learned as governor of Massachusetts and in prior political capacities, was to identify their objective and articulate how your proposal brought it closer. Part two was always trickier.

He continued, “American Dynamics is the client, and they have deep pockets. If you help us pull this off, all your money troubles go poof.”

A glint pierced Molly’s skepticism. “Okay. I’m listening.”

“You’ve heard of the Blind Mice, these anarchist hackers?”

“I—well, yes, a little. Zach has their T-shirt.”

Quaid, having met the boy on a few occasions, wasn’t shocked by the information. “Here’s the deal. We need someone to infiltrate them.”

Molly blinked twice.

Durwood spoke up, “You’d be great, Moll. You’re young. Personable. People trust you.”

Molly’s eyes were grapefruits. “What did you call them, ‘anarchist hackers’? How would I infiltrate them? I just started paying bills online.”

“No tech knowledge required,” Quaid said. “We have a plan.”

He gave her the nickel summary. The Blind Mice had singled out twelve corporate targets, “the Despicable Dozen,” and American Dynamics topped the list. In recent months, AmDye had seen its websites crashed, its factories slowed by computer glitches, internal documents leaked, the CEO’s home

egged repeatedly. Government agencies from the FBI to NYPD were pursuing the Mice, but the company was troubled by the lack of progress and so had hired Third Chance Enterprises to take them down.

“Now if I accept,” Molly said, narrowing her eyes, “does that mean I’m officially part of Third Chance Enterprises?”

Quaid exhaled at length. Durwood shook his head with an irked air—he hated the name, and considered Quaid’s branding efforts foolish.

“Oh, Durwood and I have been at this freelance operative thing awhile.” Quaid smoothed his sport coat lapels. “Most cases we can handle between the two of us.”

“But not this one.”

“Right. Durwood’s a whiz with prosthetics, but even he can’t bring this”—Quaid indicated his own ruggedly handsome but undeniably middle-aged face—“back to twenty-five.”

Molly’s eyes turned inward. Quaid’s instincts told him she was thinking of her children.

She said, “Sounds dangerous.”

“Nah.” He spread his arms, wide and forthright. “You’re working with the best here: the top small-force, private-arms outfit in the Western world. Very minimal danger.”

Like the politician he’d once been, Quaid delivered this line of questionable veracity with full sincerity.

Then he turned to his partner. “Right, Wood? She won’t have a thing to worry about. We’d limit her involvement to safe situations.”

Durwood thinned his lips. “Do the best we could.”

This response, typical of the soldier he’d once been, was unhelpful.

Molly said, “Who takes care of my kids if something happens, if the Blind Mice sniff me out? Would I have to commit actual crimes?”

“Unlikely.”

Unlikely? I’ll tell you what’s unlikely, getting hired someplace, anyplace, with a felony conviction on your application...”

As she thundered away, Quaid wondered if Durwood might not have been right in preferring a pro. The few times they’d used Molly McGill before had been secondary: posing as a gate agent during the foiled Delta hijacking, later as an archivist for the American embassy in Rome. They’d only pulled her into Rome because of her language skills—she spoke six fluently.

“...also, I have to say,” she continued, and from the edge in her voice, Quaid knew just where they were headed, “I find it curious that I don’t hear from you for ten months, and then you need my help, and all of a sudden, I matter. All of a sudden, you’re on my doorstep.”

“I apologize,” Quaid said. “The Dubai job ran long, then that Guadeloupean resort got hit by a second hurricane. We got busy. I should’ve called.”

Molly’s face cooled a shade, and Quaid saw that he hadn’t lost her.

Yet.

Before either could say more, a heavy ker-klack sounded outside.

“What’s the racket?” Quaid asked. He peeked out the window at his and Durwood’s Vanagon, which looked no more beat-up than usual.

“It’s been going on all morning,” Molly said. “I figured it was construction.”

Quaid said, “Construction in this economy?”

He looked to Durwood.

“I’ll check ’er out.” The ex-soldier turned for the door. Sue-Ann, heaving herself laboriously off the carpet, scuffled after.

Alone now with Molly, Quaid walked several paces in. He doubled his sport coat over his forearm and passed a hand through his hair, using a foyer mirror to confirm the curlicues that graced his temples on his best days.

This was where it had to happen. Quaid’s behavior toward Molly had been less than gallant, and that was an issue. Still, there were sound arguments at his disposal. He could play the money angle. He could talk about making the world safer for Molly’s children. He could point out that she was meant for greater things, appealing to her sense of adventure, framing the job as an escape from the hamster wheel and entrĂ©e to a bright world of heroes and villains.

He believed in the job. Now he just needed her to believe too.

CHAPTER THREE

Durwood walked north. Sue-Ann gimped along after, favoring her bum hip. Paws echoed bootheels like sparrows answering blackbirds. They found their noise at the sixth house on the left.

A crew of three men was working outside a small home. Two-story like Molly’s. The owner had tacked an addition onto one side, prefab sunroom. The men were working where the sunroom met the main structure. Dislodging nails, jackhammering between fiberglass and brick.

Tossing panels onto a stack.

“Pardon,” Durwood called. “Who you boys working for?”

One man pointed to his earmuffs. The others paid Durwood no mind whatsoever. Heavyset men. Big stomachs and muscles.

Durwood walked closer. “Those corner boards’re getting beat up. Y’all got a permit I could see?”

The three continued to ignore him.

The addition was poorly done to begin with, the cornice already sagging. Shoddy craftsmanship. That didn’t mean the owners deserved to have it stolen for scrap.

The jackhammer was plugged into an outside GFI. Durwood caught its cord with his bootheel.

“The hell?” said the operator as his juice cut.

Durwood said, “You’re thieves. You’re stealing fiberglass.”

The men denied nothing.

One said, “Call the cops. See if they come.”

Sue-Ann bared her gums.

Durwood said, “I don’t believe we need to involve law enforcement,” and turned back south for the Vanagon.

Crime like this—callous, brash—was a sign of the times.  People were sore about this “new economy,” how well the rich were making out. Groups like the Blind Mice thought it gave them a right to practice lawlessness.

 

Lawlessness, Durwood knew, was like a plague. Left unchecked, it spread. Even now, besides this sunroom dismantling, Durwood saw a half dozen offenses in plain sight. Low-stakes gambling on a porch. Coaxials looped across half the neighborhood roofs: cable splicing. A Rottweiler roaming off leash.

Each stuck in Durwood’s craw.

He walked a half block to the Vanagon. He hunted around inside, boots clattering the bare metal floor. Pushed aside Stinger missiles in titanium casings. Squinted past crates of frag grenades in the bulkhead he’d jiggered himself from ponderosa pine.

Here she was—a pressurized tin of black ops epoxy. Set quick enough to repel a flash air strike, strong enough to hold a bridge. Durwood had purchased it for the Dubai job. According to his supplier, Yakov, the stuff smelled like cinnamon when it dried. Something to do with chemistry.

Durwood removed the tin from its box and brushed off the pink Styrofoam packing Yakov favored. Then allowed Sue a moment to ease herself down to the curb before they started back north.

Passing Molly’s house, Durwood glimpsed her through the living room window. She was listening to Quaid, fingers pressed to her forehead.

Quaid was lying. Which was nothing new, Quaid stretching the truth to a woman. But these lies involved Molly’s safety. Fact was, they knew very little of the Blind Mice. Their capabilities, their willingness to harm innocents. The leader, Josiah, was a reckless troublemaker. He spewed his nonsense on Twitter, announcing targets ahead of time, talking about his own penis.

The heavyset men were back at it. One on the roof. The other two around back of the sunroom, digging up the slab.

Durwood set down the epoxy. The men glanced over but kept jackhammering. They would not be the first, nor last, to underestimate this son of an Appalachian coal miner.

The air compressor was set up on the lawn. Durwood found the main pressure valve and cranked its throat full open.

The man on the roof had his ratchet come roaring out of his hands. He slid down the grade, nose rubbing vinyl shingles, and landed in petunias.

Back on his feet, the man swore.

“Mind your language,” Durwood said. “There’s families in the neighborhood.”

The other two hustled over, shovels at their shoulders. The widest of the three circled to Durwood’s backside.

Sue-Ann coiled her old bones to strike. Ugliness roiled Durwood’s gut.

Big Man punched first. Durwood caught his fist, torqued his arm behind his back. The next man swung his shovel. Durwood charged underneath and speared his chest. The man wheezed sharply, his lung likely punctured.

The third man got hold of Durwood’s bootheel, smashed his elbow into the hollow of Durwood’s knee. Durwood scissored the opposite leg across the man’s throat. He gritted his teeth and clenched. He felt the man’s Adam’s apple wriggling between his legs. A black core in Durwood yearned to squeeze.

He resisted.

The hostiles came again, and Durwood whipped them again. Automatically, in a series of beats as natural to him as chirping to a katydid. The men’s faces changed from angry to scared to incredulous. Finally, they stayed down.

“Now y’all are helping fix that sunroom.” Durwood nodded to the epoxy tin. “Mix six to one, then paste ’er on quick.”

Luckily, he’d caught the thieves early, and the repair was uncomplicated. Clamp, glue, drill. The epoxy should increase the R-value on the sunroom ten, fifteen, units. Good for a few bucks off the gas bill in winter, anyhow.

Durwood did much of the work himself. He enjoyed the panels’ weight, the strength of a well-formed joint. His muscles felt free and easy as if he were home ridding the sorghum fields of johnsongrass.

Done, he let the thieves go.

He turned back south toward Molly’s house. Sue-Ann scrabbled alongside.

“Well, ole girl?” he said. “Let’s see how Quaid made out.”

CHAPTER FOUR

I stood on my front porch watching the Vanagon rumble down Sycamore. My toes tingled, my heart was tossing itself against the walls of my chest, and I was pretty sure my nose had gone berserk. How else could I be smelling cinnamon?

Quaid Rafferty’s last words played over and over in my head: We need you.

For twenty minutes, after Durwood had taken his dog to investigate ker-klacks, Quaid had given me the hard sell. The money would be big-time. I had the perfect skills for the assignment: guts, grace under fire, that youthful je ne sais quoi. Wasn’t I always saying I ought to be putting my psychology skills to better use? Well, here it was: understanding these young people’s outrage would be a major component of the job.

Some people will anticipate your words and mumble along. Quaid did something similar but with feelings, cringing at my credit issues, brightening with whole-face joy at Karen’s reading progress—which I was afraid would suffer if I got busy and didn’t keep up her nightly practice.

He was pitching me, yes. But he genuinely cared what was happening in my life.

I didn’t know how to think about Quaid, how to even fix him in my brain. He and Durwood were so far outside any normal frame of reference. Were they even real? Did I imagine them?

Their biographies were epic. Quaid the twice-elected (once-impeached) governor of Massachusetts who now battled villains across the globe and lived at Caesars Palace. Durwood a legend of the Marine Corps, discharged after defying his commanding officer and wiping out an entire Qaeda cell to avenge the death of his wife.

I’d met them during my own unreal adventure—the end of my second marriage, which had unraveled in tragedy in the backwoods of West Virginia.

They’d recruited me for three missions since. Each was like a huge, brilliant dream—the kind that’s so vital and packed with life that you hang on after you wake up, clutching backward into sleep to stay inside.

Granny said, “That man’s trouble. If you have any sense in that stubborn head of yours, you’ll steer clear.”

I stepped back into the living room, the Vanagon long gone, and allowed my eyes to close. Granny didn’t know the half of it. She had huffed off to watch her judge shows on TV before the guys had even mentioned the Blind Mice.

No, she meant a more conventional trouble.

“I’ve learned,” I said. “If I take this job, it won’t be for romance. I’d be doing it for me. For the family.”

As if cued by the word “family,” a peal of laughter sounded upstairs.

Children!

My eyes zoomed to the clock. It was 8:20. Zach would be lucky to make first hour, let alone homeroom. In a single swipe, I scooped up the Prius keys and both jackets. My purse whorled off my shoulder like some supermom prop.

“Leaving now!” I called up the stairwell. “Here we go, kids—laces tied, backpacks zipped.”

Zach trudged down, leaning his weight into the rail. Karen followed with sunny-careful steps. I sped through the last items on my list—tossed a towel over the grape juice, sloshed water onto the roast, considered my appearance in the microwave door, and just frowned, beyond caring.

Halfway across the porch, Granny’s fingers closed around my wrist.

“Promise me,” she said, “that you will not associate with Quaid Rafferty. Promise me you won’t have one single thing to do with that lowlife.”

I looked past her to the kitchen, where the cat was kinking herself to retch Eggo Waffle onto the linoleum.

“I’m sorry, Granny.” I patted her hand, freeing myself. “It’s something I have to do.”

***

Excerpt from Anarchy of the Mice by Jeff Bond. Copyright 2020 by Jeff Bond. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Bond. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Jeff Bond

Jeff Bond is an American author of popular fiction. His books have been featured in The New York Review of Books, and his 2020 release, The Pinebox Vendetta, received the gold medal (top prize) in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards. A Kansas native and Yale graduate, he now lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters.

Catch Up With Jeff Bond On:
JeffBondBooks.com
BookBub
Goodreads
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



 

 

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Bond. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2020 and runs through September 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours