A Day in the Life of Caroline Wainwright by Cathy Perkins

CypherI’m rattled today.

If I’m being honest…Being honest is so important… If my dad had been honest…but that isn’t what you asked. You asked about my day. I’m rattled today because… I’m completely devastated. And scared. And I’m not sure what to do next.

That isn’t like me at all.

I’m usually very organized. People expect me to control myself and the chaos around me.

My name is Caroline Wainwright, Cara to my friends. My day usually begins with a visit to the hospital. My mama is ill, and it helps if I make sure she’s settled for the day. Then it’s off to the advertising agency, where I plan major events for our clients—fund raisers, announcement bashes, campaigns. If it requires logistics and breaking enormous tasks into manageable pieces, the event shows up on my desk. Of course, that planning ability is why at least one detective thinks I’m involved with what happened to my friends.

My friends. . . It’s horrible. . .

Breathe. Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly.

Let me explain how it began. I’d stay overnight at the hospital—Mama had a difficult night—so I missed going to Reese’s party with Natalie. Natalie, my college roommate, had come for the weekend. She and Reese were getting serious, but with all his roommates, she generally stayed at my place. It gave us a chance to catch up and honestly, my condo offered them some privacy.

If only I could go back in time and change that decision, but we don’t get do-overs, do we?

You see, when I finally got home, police officers filled my courtyard. At first I thought maybe it was a drug bust or someone was robbed, but then I realized the police were concentrating on my condo. When I asked what was happening, two officers whisked me into the manager’s office.

And then. . .

The office door jerked open. Cara whirled around. Two men entered, gold badges shining, police ID clipped to their shirts.

The detectives had arrived.

Finally.

The first detective was in his fifties. Seriously overweight—heart-attack serious. His shirt strained to contain his belly. Slacks and a belt rode low on his hips, disappearing under the ponderous mass.

He sauntered forward with a bully’s swagger.

The second man was younger, maybe a few years older than she was. Casually dressed in jeans and a polo shirt, he had the relaxed carriage of an athlete—wiry, aerobic strength rather than the bunched bulk of a weight lifter. She caught his double take as he cleared the door. For just a second, his eyes narrowed and his lips thinned.

Cara stepped toward the center of the office. “Why are you holding me here?”

The older detective brushed past her, rounded the desk, and claimed the manager’s chair. She got the impression she’d given up a strategic advantage, but she was far more interested in the younger man. There was an intelligence in his expression she didn’t sense behind the heavy man’s cynical façade.

He notices things. Whatever’s going on, he’s the one to watch—and maybe to trust.

“I’m Detective Pennell.” The older man flipped a business card onto the desk. “That’s Detective Morris.”

The younger man stepped forward and placed a card beside his partner’s. If she had to deal with this pair in the future, she already knew which one she’d call.

“Miz Wainwright.” Pennell pointed at the straight chair in front of the desk. “Sit down.”

Cara wanted to refuse, just because he was being rude, but that wouldn’t accomplish anything. Resisting the urge to glare, she took the designated seat.

She’d dealt with men like Pennell for most of her career. If she reacted, Pennell would keep the power play going and make the rest of the interview as uncomfortable as he could. Clasping her hands in her lap to hide the shaking, she straightened her exhausted spine and met his glare with a cool expression.

Morris leaned against the wall. A quietly watchful air surrounded the detective, making her more aware of him than the florid officer who was apparently in charge.

Pennell pushed a button on the recorder, then looked at Cara, eyebrows raised. “Let’s start with your name.”

“I’m Caroline Wainwright.”

The detective’s mouth twisted. “What’s your real name?”

“Caroline Wainwright. My driver’s license is in my wallet. That policeman looked at it when he took my things.” She pointed toward the outer office.

Pennell pulled a Polaroid from an inner pocket and threw it on the desk. “If you’re Caroline Wainwright, who’s she?”

Cara gaped at the photo. Even with the blood and bullet hole, it was clearly Natalie. Roaring started in her ears, and her stomach rolled over. “Oh God.”

More photos hit the desktop. “I got two dead people. I want to know why.”

I don’t know who did it and I don’t know why, but I’m going to find out what happened to my friends. Even if it kills me.


You can read more about Cara in Cypher, published by Red Mountain Publishing.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 30 for the chance to win a copy of either HONOR CODE or THE PROFESSOR, winner’s choice. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
An award-winning author, Cathy Perkins works in the financial industry, where she’s observed the hide-in-plain-sight CathyPskills employed by her villains. She writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship aspect of her characters’ lives. A member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America (Kiss of Death chapter) and International Thriller Writers, she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, handles the blog and social media for the ITW Debut Authors, and coordinated for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, the setting for Cypher, Honor Code and The Professor, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

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A Day in the Life with Veronica Jadzinski (Jadz) by C. L. Pauwels

Forty and OutOccupation: Toledo Police Homicide Detective

Six a.m.? Wow – I actually got to sleep until the alarm went off. That doesn’t happen often these days. It seems like ninety percent of the homicides in Toledo happen in the middle of the night. Don’t murderers ever sleep?

Sorry, I suppose that could be considered crass. Cop humor – gets us through the rough stuff, and believe me, there’s plenty of that. The birthday murders weren’t particularly gruesome, just creepy, but if I wasn’t at another crime scene, I was out chasing red herrings on that one. I hardly slept until we nailed the bastard.

Same with all the gang shootings in the projects. When temperature and humidity rises in Toledo, so do tempers, and everybody has a gun these days. People don’t realize how much damage a 9 mm can do at close range, or how far a bullet can travel. The innocent bystanders…those are the victims who keep me up at night.

I never wanted to work Homicide in the first place. I was quite happy on the Drug Task Force, thank you very much. Dad worked Narcotics for almost thirty years until he…. I barely made it five before my cover was blown and they put me on a long-term desk assignment. Not for me! My husband Nate wasn’t happy when I took the opening in Homicide. He’d just as soon I’d stayed on the desk. He’s my ex now, but for unrelated reasons. Still a good guy though, and my best friend.

Mom agreed with Nate. She wanted me to be a teacher – of what, I’m not sure. Probably kindergarten or something, considering how fast she melts around any rugrat under age five, and even more so since she’s a widow. I keep telling her to coax Betty into getting married again if she wants grandkids, but Mom knows that’s a lost cause. And even though we mostly patched things up after I saved her life, Betty certainly doesn’t want my advice.

Now the guy we pulled out of the Maumee River, shot to death in his car – that was a stinking mess. No ID, no evidence, until his mother hired a private investigator to retrace our investigation. Not that I minded having it solved. I hate loose ends, but I almost lost my best friend, my partner, and my job over that one.

Enough of my whining. I need to feed Ford, my cat, before he shreds the sofa. And there’s an autopsy I’d like to sit in on at nine for the body patrol found outside Mud Hens Stadium at oh-dark-thirty yesterday morning – another long night where the alarm didn’t matter. Then we have an evidentiary hearing at two. Some new defense attorney who has no idea how careful my partner is when it comes to logging cases and tracking evidence or she’d never have filed her motion to suppress. She’ll learn.

Where’s my coffee?


You can read more about Jadz in Forty & Out, the debut novel published by Deadly Writes Publishing.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 29 for the chance to win a copy of FORTY & OUT. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
C. L. (Cyndi) Pauwels’ debut novel Forty & Out has just been released through Deadly Writes Publishing. Since Pauwelsher first short story found its way into print in 1989, Cyndi has published a number of short pieces – both fiction and essays – and a non-fiction book, Historic Warren County: An Illustrated History (2009). In addition to writing, her portfolio career includes book editing (The Enduring Legacy of Kahlil Gibran and The Essential Rihani), teaching freshman composition at a local community college, and serving as assistant director for the Antioch Writers’ Workshop.

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A Day in the Life of Eliza Doolittle by D. E. Ireland

Wouldnt It Be DeadlyWelcome to 27A Wimpole Street in central London. King Edward VII died three years ago, and they say we are now in a post-Edwardian age. All I know is that the year is 1913. My name is Eliza Doolittle, and I used to live in rather shabby digs along Angel Court off Drury Lane. That was when I was a Cockney flower seller, but now I’m a proper lady, I am. This past year, I’ve been transformed into a “duchess” by the brilliant and infuriating Professor Henry Higgins. Although I began by welcoming you to Wimpole Street, I must confess that at the moment I no longer reside there with Higgins and dear Colonel Pickering. After the Professor and I had a falling out the night of the Embassy Ball, I moved in with Professor Higgins’ mother, who has a loverly flat in Chelsea.

If you haven’t heard of Professor Higgins, (and he’d be insulted if you hadn’t), he’s a confirmed bachelor and famous phonetician who can tell right off where a person comes from just by listening to them speak a few words. Blooming amazing, he is. But don’t tell him I said that. Anyway at the moment he and my friend and mentor Colonel Pickering are in Spain, so I can say anything I like about the Professor.

While he’s been gone, I am proud to announce that I’ve become a teacher of phonetics myself. I now teach for his chief rival and former pupil, the Hungarian Maestro Emil Nepommuck. One of my students is Mary Finch, the pretty wife of a West Yorkshire businessman. Both she and Mr. Finch have come into money and want to learn how to speak like the swells. Unlike Higgins, I never lose my patience with my pupils. Unfortunately, Mrs. Finch seems more interested in my fashionable clothes and the Maestro’s flirtatious ways than in my lessons. Might be a bit of trouble because of that, seeing as how her husband is coming for lessons too.

I’d never admit this to the Professor, but I miss living at 27A Wimpole Street. There is far more activity there, and the housekeeper Mrs. Pearce is a wonder. Plus she bakes the most delightful currant scones. Life on the Chelsea Embankment is a tiny bit dull, but Mrs. Higgins is a dear. However once Higgins returns to London, I suspect things might get a bit dodgy.

You see, the Maestro has claimed in the newspapers that he was the one who taught me how to speak like a duchess. A right blighter he is, taking credit for the Professor’s work. And the Maestro won’t correct his lies no matter how much I nag at him. All I know is that when the Professor returns, he’ll fly into a foul temper. With his pride and professional reputation at stake, I’m afraid he’ll get angry enough to take his revenge on that peacock of a Hungarian. I only hope Colonel Pickering can talk him out of doing anything rash.

As for the Colonel, he is the soul of kindness. And I’m a bit embarrassed at how he continues to indulge me by purchasing the latest gowns, parasols, shoes, hats and gloves at Whiteleys or Selfridges on Oxford Street. Blimey, look at the time. My next pupil is due any moment. Ta for now. It’s time to earn a living again.


This is the third stop on the Wouldn’t It Be Deadly Debut Mystery Virtual Book Tour. For other stops on this tour, CLICK HERE.

You can read more about Eliza and Higgins in Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, the first book in the new St. Martin’s Minotaur mystery series.

About Wouldn’t It Be Deadly
Following her successful appearance at an Embassy Ball—where Eliza Doolittle won Professor Henry Higgins’ bet that he could pass off a Cockney flower girl as a duchess—Eliza becomes an assistant to his chief rival Emil Nepommuck. After Nepommuck publicly takes credit for transforming Eliza into a lady, an enraged Higgins submits proof to a London newspaper that Nepommuck is a fraud. When Nepommuck is found with a dagger in his back, Henry Higgins becomes Scotland Yard’s prime suspect. However, Eliza learns that most of Nepommuck’s pupils had a reason to murder their blackmailing teacher. As another suspect turns up dead and evidence goes missing, Eliza and Higgins realize the only way to clear the Professor’s name is to discover which of Nepommuck’s many enemies is the real killer. When all the suspects attend a performance of Hamlet at Drury Lane, Eliza and Higgins don their theatre best and race to upstage a murderer.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 26 for the chance to win a copy of WOULDN’T IT BE DEADLY. The giveaway is open to everyone. Two lucky winners will be chosen at random.

About the authors
D.E. Ireland is a team of award-winning authors, Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta. Long time friends, they decided to DeIcollaborate on this unique series based on George Bernard Shaw’s wonderfully witty play, Pygmalion, using the beloved characters from Eliza to Higgins to Pickering, Mrs. Pearce, Freddy Eynsford Hill and his family, while adding a slew of new characters. They both live in Michigan, have patient husbands, brilliant daughters and share a love of good books, tea and history.

For more information, check out their website, Twitter or Facebook

A Day in the Life of Cheryl Greyfield by Christina Freeburn

Embellished to DeathMy granddaughter Faith walked around the Scrap This and slapped Post-It notes on the shelves. A kaleidoscope of color decorated almost every inch of the room and the store looked like an art gallery for slips of paper. There were slips on the paper racks, journaling pens, trimmers, and embellishment packages. Not one product was safe from being tagged by stickers.

“Are you color-coding the store?” I asked as Faith made another lap around the store.

She rolled her eyes. “No.”

I bit my tongue. I was trying harder these days to treat my granddaughter as a young woman and not a child needing constant redirection and a scolding. Though, there were times she made it a huge struggle. Like now. I lost a little of the battle when I allowed a huge sigh to escape.

Faith slapped a couple of sticky notes underneath the shelf holding the glitter glue. “I’m using the Post-Its to remind me what product I’m bringing to sell at the retreat this weekend.”

The girl was just like her grandma Hope. She loved sparkle. “Don’t you think you’re being a tad optimistic about how much the store will sell this weekend? Scrap This won’t be the only vendor.”

“We’re the main vendor.” Faith grinned at me. “Don’t worry, Grandma. We’ll do great.”

“I’d love for you to leave us some merchandise. We have our own National Scrapbook Day retreat this weekend at Scrap This.” I pointed at the white van parked out front. “Besides, you are not going to fit everything you want to bring into the rental.”

Faith’s gaze roamed around the store, taking in the product she marked then contemplated the van. Her brows drew down.

I grinned. She arrived at the conclusion that grandma was right. Like always. One day I hoped the lesson stuck.

Faith rushed over to the counter and pulled out the phone book. “I’ll find a bigger vehicle.”

Once again, I forced myself to let Faith problem-solve for herself. We had plenty of merchandise in the storage room I could unpack for this weekend. Hope and I wanted Faith to take over the store in a couple of years and I needed Faith to believe in herself. She never would if I second-guessed all her decisions.

And on the positive side, this time her intense focus was on selling at the weekend crop and not on a solving a murder.

A shadow near the window caught my attention. Turning my head slightly, I spotted Steve Davis sauntering toward the store. The man reminded me so much of my late husband Joseph. Tall, handsome, and chivalrous. Steve had moved to Eden a year before Faith returned home and had rented the townhouse next to Hope and me. He had been a great help to us, and had taken a keen interest in our granddaughter. Steve would do anything for her.

Steve knocked on the door. Faith hustled over to let him in, a bright smile on her face.

My heart danced. Well, maybe she’d at least listen to me about Steve and marry the man. If there was one area item I wanted her to take my advice on, it was on who was the perfect man for her. Grandmas just know.


You can read more about Cheryl in Embellished to Death, the third book in the “Faith Hunter Scrap This” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first book in the series is Cropped to Death.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 25 for the chance to win a copy of EMBELLISHED TO DEATH. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series brings together Christina Freeburn’s love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook room or at a crop. Alas, none of the real-life crops have had a sexy male prosecutor or a handsome police officer attending.

Christina served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.

Visit Christina at her website, on Twitter or on Facebook

WEEKLY ROUND-UP: No. 38

Weekly Roundup* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This week’s guest post on dru’s book musings

September 22: Embellished to Death by Christina Freeburn
September 23: Wouldn’t It Be Deadly by D.E. Ireland
September 24: Forty & Out by Cyndi Pauwels
September 25: Cypher by Cathy Perkins
September 26: Murder at Marble House by Alyssa Maxwell
September 27: Not A Chance in Helen by Susan McBride

Last week’s guest post on dru’s book musings

  • The Wolfe Widow by Victoria Abbott
  • The Coniston Case by Rebecca Tope
  • The Counterfeit Lady by Kate Parker
  • The Skeleton Takes a Bow by Leigh Perry
  • Hard Return by J. Carson Black
  • Lost Legacy by Annette Dashofy

Recent contest winners

  • The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb by Cathy Ace – Mary B.
  • Of Merlot and Murder by Joni Folger – Barbara G.
  • The Wolfe Widow by Victoria Abbott – Beverly G.
  • Headlines in High Heels swag pack – Sally S.

Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook for posting about discounted books, giveaways and some of my reading musings.

A Day in the Life of Pete Adams by Annette Dashofy

LOST LEGACYOccupation: Chief of Police for Vance Township, Pennsylvania

Most people see the title “Chief of Police” and assume I spend my day in my office, supervising my officers and doing paperwork. Not true. Not in my case. We don’t have the budget or the manpower for me to have the luxury of sitting on my—um—backside all day. From 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., I’m the officer on duty. The only officer. At least Vance Township has police coverage 24 hours a day. A lot of local municipalities around here can’t claim that.

I arrive at the station about an hour early as a rule. Gives me time to make some coffee. I miss the days when Sylvia Bassi was my secretary. No matter how early I arrived, she’d already be there with a fresh pot brewed. The young woman who replaced Sylvia is competent enough, and I can count on her being here a few minutes before eight. But as for the coffee? I’m on my own. Note to the powers-that-be at Starbucks: Have you considered opening a franchise in Dillard? I’d be a regular.

Last night, Officer Seth Metzger worked the midnight shift. He rolls in from patrol about 7:30 and we sit and discuss anything I need to know about the calls he handled overnight. This morning that amounts to a report of a prowler over on Covered Bridge Road—Seth checked it out and didn’t find anything, but I’ll head over there later and talk to the neighbors—and several reports of kids driving around and bashing mailboxes up on Ridge Road. I have a sneaking suspicion who those kids are and will pay a visit to their parents first thing.

Most days life here is quiet. Oh, we have our fair share of crime, but it’s rarely anything like what I had to deal with when I worked with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. I like the slower pace, except when we do have a big case, I don’t have access to the crime lab like we had there. There’s this young hotshot Monongahela County detective who takes entirely too much pleasure in stepping in and taking over those cases, claiming to be “helping.” What makes him really maddening is—damn it—he’s good. Then again, I trained him.

By 8:30, I’m ready to head out on patrol with plans to follow up on those overnight calls. I’ll touch base with you later.

Noon. I think I solved the case of the prowler. A masked bandit. With four feet. Yeah, a raccoon was raiding trashcans making a racket and a mess. No arrest was made. As for the kids and the mailboxes? Neither the parents nor the kids were admitting to anything. But from the looks on their faces when I pointed out tampering with mailboxes constitute a federal offense, they were guilty as hell. Hopefully I scared them straight by quoting the penalties for such foolishness.

Now I’m grabbing some lunch at Parson’s Roadhouse, a not-so-well-kept secret. It’s not on the main drag, by any means, but the parking lot is always full. I admit, I had hoped Zoe would be here. Zoe Chambers. She’s a local paramedic and deputy coroner. We’re…friends. Just friends. Her idea. But considering my history with women is almost as bad as hers with men, that might be for the best. Still, a fellow can dream, can’t he?

Anyhow, she’s not here. So I eat alone.

I may not spend all my day doing paperwork, but I do have to work on some reports after lunch. Have I mentioned I hate paperwork? There have been days I’ve let someone off with a stern warning, not just because I’m a nice guy and the idiot wasn’t likely to be a repeat offender. But because I didn’t want to have to write up a report. If you repeat that, I’ll deny it.

Around 3:00 I head back out to make another pass through the township before my shift ends. As quitting time nears, it looks like a storm is brewing. Maybe I’ll get home before the clouds open up. Uh-oh. My secretary Nancy has just radioed me. Earl Kolter, Zoe’s partner on the ambulance, called in a request for police. Dead body. A hanging. Damn. Responding with lights and sirens…


And if you’re interested in what Pete finds when he responds to this call, pick up Lost Legacy, the second book in the “Zoe Chambers” mystery series, published by Henery Press, available now. The first book in the series is Circle of Influence.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 24 for the chance to win a copy of LOST LEGACY. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
Annette Dashofy, a Pennsylvania farm gal born and bred, grew up with horses, cattle, and chickens. After high school, she spent five years as an EMT for the local ambulance service, giving her plenty of fodder for her Zoe Chambers mystery series including Circle Of Influence (Henery Press, March 2014) and Lost Legacy (Henery Press, September 2014). Her short fiction, including a 2007 Derringer nominee, has appeared in Spinetingler, Mysterical-e, Fish Tales: the Guppy Anthology, and Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales.

You can visit Annette at her website, on Twitter or on Facebook

A Day in the Life of Cyril Landry by J. Carson Black

Hard ReturnLandry likes San Clemente California well enough for now–a small town tucked inside a large sprawling chain of cities and freeways—quickly accessible to airports and freeways out of L.A. When he came here, the first thing he did was look up the famous natives of San Clemente. It was disappointing. Yes, there was Dick Nixon’s Western White House. The other famous people: Lon Cheney and Lon Cheney Jr; Cara Fawn—a porn star—and Carl Karcher, the guy who founded the restaurant chain Carl’s Jr. Not very auspicious. You’d think San Clemente could have done better than that.

Landry likes the bustle of the California town: surfers, baby boomers, beach bums, working stiffs, Maserati-owners, chefs, charter boat captains, and the younger families who came from the bland neighborhoods across the San Diego Freeway where houses measure more in square feet than originality. Landry doesn’t like the fact that there are more of these houses every day, perched on the buff and gray hills like Monopoly hotels. But who is he to judge? The Millennials make good money. Landry sees them coming in to town for dinner and shopping with their spacious SUVS and collapsible strollers and very cute offspring.

He likes the fact that he can walk among them, unnoticed. He blends in, just another beach bum/surfer type. His long hair has gold streaks in it, which he applied himself. A beard covers half his face. Every picture tells a story and he has made his own story. Even his car, a 2000 Subaru Outback, fits the mold—middle-aged surfer drop-out.

He rents a seventies-era bungalow on Avenida de la Estrella, a short walk up the hill from the main drag and the pier and the ocean. His new passion is paddle-boarding.

He’s retired.

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is a short drive up the freeway. He could watch his brother’s racehorses run, but he wouldn’t be able to go to the barns. He can’t drive in through the horsemen’s gate—no license. To apply for one, he’d have to be fingerprinted.

Worse, he would be recognized. He’s dead. He’s fish-food in Florida, and plans to keep it that way.

As he walks up the steps to his bungalow, his OnStar beeper sounds. He ignores it, scanning the pocket yard, looking at every potential hiding place, his roof and the roof next door. He ducks under the banana tree and, key ready, eyeballs the pebble he’d set on the middle of the doorstep: still in place. Only then does he unlock the door.

Inside the bungalow, Landry makes a visual sweep of the room—the configuration of the furnishings. Everything looks the way he left it. He eyeballs the kitchen alcove. Nothing has been touched.

He takes the hallway to his bedroom and opens the walk-in closet, where he keeps his “run bag.” His run bag is packed for a moment’s notice: shampoo and bath soap, pain meds, first aid, an extra phone battery, a suit and a dress shirt laid out and folded neatly, dress shoes and socks, work boots, jeans, a baseball cap, and an emergency medical kit. Twist-tie plastic cuffs, a Scarab OTF knife, and loaded magazines. There is also a burner cell phone. Walking back to the living room, he punches in the number for the answering service and enters his security code.

As he waits, he stands inside the doorway looking out at the patch of ocean off to the north. The air, redolent of the ocean, blows past him, fluttering the banana tree leaves. The sky has turned the color of a red plum. It would be a nice night to sit out on the terrace with a beer.

The message plays: a female voice.

“I’m at an old Circle K outside Branch, New Mexico. Mile Marker 138. I need you to come get me. Hurry.”

He tries the number. The phone rings but there is no answer–

He’ll need his run bag.


You can read more about Cyril in Hard Return, the second book in the “Cyril Landry” thriller series, published by Thomas & Mercer. The first book in the series is The Shop.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 24 for the chance to win either a print copy or kindle copy of HARD RETURN, winner’s choice.  Print copy is U.S. residents only; kindle copy open to everyone.

Meet the author
Hailed by bestselling author T. Jefferson Parker as “a strong new voice in American crime fiction,” J. Carson Black has written fourteen novels. Her thriller, The Shop, reached #1 on the Kindle Bestseller list, and her crime thriller series featuring homicide detective Laura Cardinal became a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Although Black earned a master’s degree in operatic voice, she was inspired to write a horror novel after reading The Shining. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Visit J. Carson at her website, on Twitter and on Facebook.