Meg Langslow and Delicate Social Situation by Donna Andrews

Die Like An Eagle“Meg, dear, could you write a note to your cousin Evangelina? I’m afraid my sprained wrist is still rather bothersome.”

“What am I supposed to say to her?” I asked, as I picked up the pen and notepaper Mother was holding out.

Dear Evangelina,” she began. “Thank you for your lovely note.

“That’s not writing a note,” I grumbled. “That’s taking dictation.”

“Yes, dear. Meg and Michael would be delighted to have you visit for Opening Day.

“No, we wouldn’t,” I said, looking up from the note. “We’re already full to the rafters with people coming to see the boys play their first baseball game. We’re even out of sleeping bag spaces in the barn.”

We’ve already made a reservation for you at the Caerphilly Inn,” Mother went on.

“No, we haven’t.” Mother gave me a reproachful look. “Until just now, I had no idea Cousin Evangelina was coming. Unless—did you already make it?”

“Of course, dear. But now we have to figure out a reason for putting her there instead of having her either at your house or up at the cottage with your father and me. You know how easily insulted she is.”

“Hmm.” I started to chew on the end of the pen and remembered, just in time, that doing so was like fingernails on a blackboard to Mother. “I have it. Normally either we or Meg and Michael could put you up, but with so many people in both households so busy preparing for the upcoming bagpipe competition, I think you’ll find it much more restful at the Inn.”

“Oh, excellent.” Mother beamed at me. “You’re developing quite a knack for smoothing over delicate social situations.”

“It’s called lying,” I said.

“There isn’t really a bagpipe competition, is there?” Mother asked.

“Not that I know of,” I said. “But if Evangelina grows suspicious, I’m sure we can get Dad and Rob to march around with the bagpipes Dad brought back from the Highland Games. They’d like that—especially if it means not having her underfoot.”

“I hope it doesn’t come to that,” she said. “Because frankly, I find the notion that either of them has bagpipes in his possession . . . disquieting. Can’t you arrange for those hideous things to disappear?”

“I’ll put it on my agenda,” I said. “But not till after opening day. Anything else we need to tell Evangelina?”

I’m sure you’ll be impressed with how well Josh and Jamie pitch and bat,” she went on.

“No, she won’t,” I said. “They’re only eight, and in coach-pitch. They won’t be pitching—Michael will.”

“Well, then she’ll be impressed with how earnestly and attentively they stand around awaiting the occasional arrival of a ball in their general vicinity,” Mother said. “That’s a thing in baseball, isn’t it?”

“It’s called fielding,” I said. “I’m sure you’ll be impressed with how well Josh and Jamie bat and field. Anything else?”

Mother pursed her lips and looked uncomfortable. I waited.

“I think we need to warn her about the sanitary conditions at the ball field,” she said finally.

“You mean the portapotties?” I asked. Mother shuddered delicately.

“Must we call them that?” she asked.

“We must if we want her to have any idea what we’re warning her about.”

Mother pondered for a few moments.

“How about this?” she said. “Please be aware that there is no running water at the field, and as a result the sanitary facilities are barbaric.

“I’m saying primitive, not barbaric,” I said as I wrote. “And I still think we should just tell her to beware of the portapotties. But it’s your note. How do you want me to close? Fondly? Affectionately yours? Because I need to start getting the boys ready for their practice. You have no idea how much time it takes to round up all their gear—hats, gloves, bats, cleats, batting helmets, athletic cups—“

Mother winced at the last item.

“Are cups really necessary for boys so young?” Mother asked.

“I’ll have you know they’re vastly proud of those cups,” I said. “Shall we warn Evangelina to look impressed when they take them out and show them to her?”

“Oh, dear,” Mother said. “Perhaps I should discourage her from coming. Her heart’s not what it used to be.”

“Relax,” I said. “The novelty will have worn off by Opening Day. I’m sure as long as Evangelina remembers to use the bathroom before coming to the field, she’ll be fine. It’s going to be a lovely, long weekend of baseball and family bonding. What could possibly go wrong?”

Find out the answer in Die Like an Eagle, the newest Meg Langslow mystery from Donna Andrews.


Die Like an Eagle is the 20th book in the Meg Langslow mystery series, published by Minotaur, August 2016.

The brilliantly funny Donna Andrews delivers another winner in the acclaimed avian-themed series that mystery readers have come to love. The nineteenth book in her New York Times best-selling series continues to surprise and delight in this next knee-slapping adventure featuring Meg Langslow and all the eccentric characters that make up her world.

Meg is Team Mom and Michael is coach of their twin sons’ youth baseball team, the Caerphilly Eagles. Meg tangles with Biff Brown, the petty, vindictive league head. On opening day, Biff’s lookalike brother is found dead in the porta-potty at the ball field. So many people think Biff’s scum that it would be easy to blame him, but he has an alibi–and Meg suspects he may actually have been the intended victim.

With Die Like an Eagle, readers can look forward to another zany Meg Langslow mystery–this one filled with the spirit of America’s pastime and Donna’s eagle eye.

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About the author
Donna Andrews was born in Yorktown, Virginia and now lives in Reston, Virginia. Die Like an Eagle (August 2016) is the twentieth book in her Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty winning Meg Langslow series, to be followed by Gone Gull in 2017. She’s currently serving as the Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America and is active in Sisters in Crime. She blogs with the Femmes Fatales. For more information check out her website at donnaandrews.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Die Like an Eagle. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 24, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Isis Ferrelli by A. E. H. Veenman

Dial QR for MurderThe cozy mystery has been hacked. Don’t run your antivirus software.

You may refer to inner cities all across America as “concrete jungles”. Stone everywhere you look. Apartment buildings and blocks of congested traffic. Well, Boston’s Pemberton Square has plenty verdure to change your outlook on big cities. It’s a great place to shop, dine, or catch a few rays as you lay on the soft grass of the Common. Not only is it a vibrant cultural center but a historical hub.

Amongst the historic landscape of court houses, I work as zookeeper. Not literally. But my job as a defense attorney can place me in a cage with some exotic creatures. Take one April afternoon for example.

My client, Norman Kane, allegedly created a QR code system to steal prescriptions. drugs from the hospital where he was employed.

I finished opening statements on his behalf, and court recessed for the day. Around three o’ clock, I was at a hot dog stand where a homeless man was trying to sell me a shoe.

“Hey, lady, you wanna buy it or not?” He resembled a young Lieutenant Columbo, dated trench and all, and shoved the leather loafer in my face. “It’s brand new, and cost a pretty penny too.”

“Look…” I smacked the shoe from my line of sight. “I already told you. No.”

“You don’t get quality like this at Payless. This here’s Norman Marcus.”

I paid for my chilidog and cola then turned toward him. “What am I supposed to do with one shoe? And, it’s a man’s shoe.”

Yes, folks, he tried to pawn a single, man’s shoe off on me, tailing me back all the way to McCarter and French LLP. Before I entered the lobby, I set him straight.

“If I ever get a boyfriend with an amputated foot, I’ll be sure to come and see you.” I tugged the glass door open and said, “It’s Neiman Marcus, by the way.”

“Neiman, Norman. . .pfft. . .they all got money in the bag.”

Now, that should’ve immediately sounded an alarm. But my mysterious salesman was the last person I’d expected to know details of my case. He’d used a clever name play, Neiman versus Norman, hence the expensive shoe for the charade. His “money in the bag” hinted to rumors that my client was hired to sabotage his family’s business.

I didn’t catch on until the vagrant was tossed out on his ear by security. I went after him, as he led me on a chase. This guy was fast, healthy, and fit. Not the normal qualities I’d expect for someone destitute in downtown Boston.

On Bromfield, he turned right for Morris Meats’s loading bay, a dead end. I had no idea if this was a setup, if someone else would join this party, or if my host intended to do me harm. I reached the maw of the alley and crept a few feet in.

He came out in the open. “Man. . .” He panted and chuckled. “Aren’t you a thick one?”

“Who are you?” He and I both were catching our breath as I inched near. “What do you know about Norman Kane?”

“Uh-uh!” He stretched out a gloved hand and reached inside his trench with the other. “Close enough.”

My movement stifled, a chill icing my spine despite the fair April weather. I locked my sight on the breast of his coat.

His voice came low, “A gift from your uncle Lou.” I balled my hands into fists upon hearing the name and my fingernails dug into my palms. “Work quickly.”

He removed a manila envelope, let it drop to the ground, then whirled and hopped onto a wire fence. He climbed over in a parkour style and landed upright on the opposite side. A tenacious smirk, then in a less than graceful exit, he shot off through the side street.

I had to admit I didn’t see that coming.


Dial QR for Murder is the first in the Marjorie Gardens Mystery series, released by Limitless Publishing, October 2015.

“Cozies can be more than knitting grannies, kittens, and cookbooks.”

The Marjorie Gardens Mystery series has the usual goodness of a cozy mystery but with an all-important upgrade. In the Digital Age Cozy™, characters utilize technology to commit or solve crimes. Readers can scan individual QR codes to visit websites and characters’ social media profiles.

Isis Ferrelli represents Norman Kane, an RN accused of stealing a drug called fentanol via his QR code software. After a day in court, a homeless man gives her an envelope. Isis believes she’s just received damaging evidence from her estranged uncle…mob boss Louis Fernoza.

Uncle Lou has found her after seven years in hiding. Her day’s ruined, but her evening is even worse. The assistant district attorney informs her that Kane’s been murdered.

She has some outmaneuvering to do, if Uncle Lou’s involved. Isis will need her online persona, Marjorie Gardens, and her MyThugShot.com followers to pull the plug on a tech savvy killer. If she fails, someone encrypted behind a firewall may get away with murder.

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Meet the Author
Veenman-series-sidebarFun Fact: Veenman is pronounced “fein-mun.”

At an early age, her hunger for mystery books whetted her appetite for hunting down clues and solving crime. Thus began a three-course menu for her becoming a writer.

Rich and sweet was the first Digital Age Cozy in the Marjorie Gardens Mystery series, Dial QR for Murder. Now she doles out a helping of Prepped for the Kill. A delectable novella featuring Isis Ferrelli and Jason Shahaman follows in the first Marjorie Gardens Romance Mystery—Ten Days in Tahiti.

A. E. H. Veenman is a Dutch-American originally from New Jersey and has lived in Holland for eighteen years. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers’ Association.

Visit her website or on Facebook. You can tag her on Twitter with #DigitalAgeCozy and follow her on Goodreads and Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a kindle copy of Dial QR for Murder. The giveaway will end August 23, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life with Poly Monroe by Diane Vallere

Silk StalkingsI’m a lucky woman. Less than a year ago I worked in a job with no advancement for a misogynist boss who was so cheap he once asked me if I could use the free floss he got from the dentist instead of thread on a line of dresses. I shared a 500-square-foot apartment in a crummy part of Los Angeles with my college boyfriend even though the only thing we seemed to share was a mutual desire to pay only half of the rent. But look at me now! I reopened the family fabric shop a few months ago and, well, we’re not setting any sales records, but I haven’t closed our doors yet, either. I adopted two kittens, Pins and Needles, who “help” me run the store, and my VW Bug is running better than ever thanks to my friend Charlie, the auto mechanic who lives across the street. Heck, being her friend has toughened me up a bit too. I used to trust everybody; she doesn’t trust anybody! I like to think I’m a good influence on her, but it’s hard to say because she’s a pretty private person.

I guess some of that comes from having been given up for adoption and spending most of her life in foster homes. And then tracking her biological parents here, only to learn that they’re two of the richest people in town. She never told them that she knows who they are. I only discovered it when I first moved here and thought she was connected to some of the bad stuff that was happening around the fabric store. I think the only other person who knows is Vaughn McMichael, her brother. He grew up rich while she grew up poor. It’s a testament to the kind of guy Vaughn is that she doesn’t hate him.

I know her background is her own business, but it’s hard for me to watch her keep all that anger bottled up inside. I wish she would tell Vic and Adelaide who she is and try to make amends, but she won’t even talk about it. (I’m a little intimidated by Vic McMichael myself so I get that part, but Adelaide is a wonderful woman!) I can’t help thinking that if Charlie doesn’t do something about this herself, it’s all going to come out in a very public way—which would be the worst possible scenario for a private person like her.

I sure hope I’m not right. . .


Silk Stalkings is the third book in the Material Witness mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, August 2016.

Fabric shop owner Polyester Monroe can get tangled up in textiles, but it’s murder that really throws her for a loop in the latest mystery from the national bestselling author of Crushed Velvet.

The time has come for San Ladrón, California’s annual Miss Tangorli beauty pageant, and Poly has agreed to use Material Girl’s inventory of shimmery silks to create embellished gowns fit for a crown. But when millionaire Harvey Halliwell—the man who revived the city’s citrus trade with his imported tangorli tree—is found dead days before the pageant contestants are announced, something sour takes over the town.

To make matters worse, her friend, mechanic Charlie Brooks, is soon caught up in the crime, having been seen in the company of the case’s prime suspect. Now Poly’s on a mission to squeeze out the truth. But as she searches for a pattern, the killer seems intent on cutting up the evidence. . .

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About the author
After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. Silk Stalkings, #3 in her national bestselling and Lefty-Award nominated Material Witness Mystery Series, comes out in August 2016. Diane is the vice president/president elect of Sisters in Crime. She also writes the Madison Night, Costume Shop, and Style & Error Mysteries. She started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Connect with Diane at dianevallere.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a kindle copy of Silk Stalkings. The giveaway will end August 22, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

Author Showcase ~ The Cat, The Collector and the Killer by Leann Sweeney

The Cat, The Collector and the Killer

Release: August 2016
Series: Cats In Trouble #8
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Penguin Random House

In the latest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of The Cat, the Sneak and the Secret, a cat collector is suspected of murder.

Jillian Hart and police chief Tom Stewart are enjoying peaceful, newly wedded bliss in Mercy, South Carolina, until a woman is found wandering the streets one night. She’s in her night clothes, disoriented, and carrying a kitten in a tote bag. A search of the woman’s house reveals many more cats, a maze of cardboard boxes—and a dead man.

Although the evidence suggests the frail woman is the killer, Jillian doesn’t believe she’s capable of such a crime. The dead man had many enemies in town, which means finding the real murderer may prove to be its own cat and mouse game. . .

Continue reading

WEEKLY UPDATE #33

weekly update
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Coming up on dru’s book musings (8/15 – 8/20)
August 15: Author Showcase with Leann Sweeney (Cats In Trouble)
August 16: Poly Monroe by Diane Vallere (Material Witness)
August 17: Isis Ferrelli by A.E.H. Veenman (Marjorie Gardens)
August 18: Meg Langslow by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow)
August 19: Eja Kane by Arlene Kay (Boston Uncommons)
August 20: Merrit Chase by Lisa Alber (County Clare)

winners6
“Death, Taxes, and a Satin Garter” by Diane Kelly – Linda H.
“Death, Taxes, and a Satin Garter” by Diane Kelly – Karen B.
“Death, Taxes, and a Satin Garter” by Diane Kelly – Linda H.
“Death, Taxes, and a Satin Garter” by Diane Kelly – Johnna S.
“Death, Taxes, and a Satin Garter” by Diane Kelly – Elisa V.
“Show Time” by Suzanne Trauth – Barbara H.
“No Pity For the Dead” by Nancy Herriman – Daniele K.
“Clock and Dagger” by Julianne Holmes – Ruth N.
“Secret Lives and Private Eyes” by Heather Weidner – Lori C.

 

My Musing ~ Random Acts by J.A. Jance

Random Acts by J.A. Jance is the third novella in the “Joanna Brady” suspense series. Publisher: Witness Impulse, August 2016

Random ActsFrom New York Times bestselling author J. A. JANCE comes an all- new novella, in which Sheriff Joanna Brady and investigator Ali Reynolds join forces to solve a crime thathas hit dangerously close to home.

Sheriff Joanna Brady has a lot on her plate—she is up for re-election as sheriff, pregnant with her third child, and her eldest is packing up to leave for college. Then Joanna is woken in the middle of the night by a call reporting a motor vehicle accident. Her mother and stepfather’s RV ran off the road at high speed and hit the pillar of an overpass.

Something about the accident seems suspicious, though, and when Joanna gets a call from Ali Reynolds, a journalist turned investigator, she accepts her offer to help. They come up with a plan to find out who was responsible…even if that person is not the villain they’d expected.

This fast-paced thriller is a prelude to DownFall, the next book in the Joanna Brady series. Joanna gets disturbing news about her parents and in a single moment, thanks to her mother, it goes from an accident to murder. The author did a great job in delivering a nicely packed and tightly woven tale of suspense with an intriguing twist with how this short story ends. This riveting page turner has me geared up for more exploits with Joanna and the gang.

My Musing ~ Much Ado About Muffin by Victoria Hamilton

Much Ado About Muffin by Victoria Hamilton is the fourth book in the “Merry Muffin” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, August 2016

Much Ado About MuffinIn this fresh mystery from the national bestselling author of Death of an English Muffin, baker Merry Wynter comes to the aid of an innocent woman accused of murder.

When muffin baker Merry Wynter sees an innocent woman accused of murder, it’s dough or die. .

Opera singer Roma Toscano may have a crippling case of stage fright, but she certainly is stirring up drama in Autumn Vale, New York, as she prepares for an upcoming performance at Merry’s Wynter Castle. With her flamboyant style and flirtatious personality, Roma attracts fans as well as critics, including the town’s postmistress—and Merry’s bitter foe—Minnie Urqhart.

But Roma and Minnie’s heated rivalry goes cold after Merry discovers Minnie dead at the post office. While every clue seems to be another ingredient in the investigation of Roma, Merry thinks the case is half-baked, and she’s eager to get her mitts on the real killer. .

More character-driven getting to know more of them. A good murder mystery that kept me intrigued in all the possibilities of discovering who murdered Minnie. It should have been easy, but the author kept me on my toes giving hints that lead to a number of persons of interest. I love how the author used the town and the goings on to ferret out the killer with great aplomb. The interactions among the characters were entertaining and I enjoyed the dialogue as well. Merry is a likable heroine and I like how she takes the bull by the horn in her quest to solve this puzzling murder. The author does a great job in supplying me with the visuals to see the town as Merry does and the narrative to how the character’s lives are impacted by the recent events. All the characters presented in this book play a pivotal role and the bonus that Merry is settling in her new home and that ending truly enhanced the telling of this tale. This was an enjoyable read and I had a fun time with the residents of Autumn Vale and I can’t wait to read the next book in this terrific series.

My Musing ~ The Cat, The Collector and the Killer by Leann Sweeney

The Cat, The Collector and the Killer by Leann Sweeney is the 8th book in the “Cats In Trouble” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, August 2016

the-cat-the-collector-and-the-killer2In the latest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of The Cat, the Sneak and the Secret, a cat collector is suspected of murder.

Jillian Hart and police chief Tom Stewart are enjoying peaceful, newly wedded bliss in Mercy, South Carolina, until a woman is found wandering the streets one night. She’s in her night clothes, disoriented, and carrying a kitten in a tote bag. A search of the woman’s house reveals many more cats, a maze of cardboard boxes—and a dead man.

Although the evidence suggests the frail woman is the killer, Jillian doesn’t believe she’s capable of such a crime. The dead man had many enemies in town, which means finding the real murderer may prove to be its own cat and mouse game. . .

A bewildered woman. A dead man. Missing cats. Another tragedy. This is what met me when I started reading this book and couldn’t put down because I had to know what connections they all had. This was a story that appeared to be one way but it was so much more and the author did a brilliant job in bringing this story to life. Setting the pace, this tale flowed easily and evenly from chapter to chapter as I watched the drama unfold with tenderness and emotions as everyone involved wanted to know the truth about the murder and its collateral damage.

The narrative puts me right in the middle of all the action and I’m felt the pain of both Mrs. Shultz and Brenda’s surgery and the comfort of Jillian’s belief that something more is involved than what is seen. The author does a great job in pulling this all together and had my adrenaline running during that pivotal scene with Jillian in the house. Well done. Excellent and well-written plot, engaging dialogue and a feel-good atmosphere is what I found in this endearing story. This is one of the best book in this delightfully charming series and I look forward to the next adventures with Jillian, her cats and her friends.

My Musing ~ Grilling The Subject by Daryl Wood Gerber

Grilling The Subject by Daryl Wood Gerber is the fifth book in the “Cookbook Nook” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, August 2016

Grilling The SubjectThings heat up for bookstore owner Jenna Hart in the latest Cookbook Nook mystery from the Agatha Award-winning author of Fudging the Books.

As the Wild West Extravaganza rides into Crystal Cove, California, Cookbook Nook store owner Jenna Hart is ready to indulge her appetite for grilled and barbecued treats and maybe even try the Texas skip. But when the body of one of her father’s neighbors is found the next morning smoldering in a bonfire, the rodeo revelry is extinguished.

Sylvia Gump had acquired plenty of enemies with her practice of illegally encroaching on her neighbors’ properties—including Jenna’s dad, who was off fishing by himself and has no alibi for the murder. Now it’s up to Cary Hart’s dutiful daughter to clear his name before the real killer turns up the heat and rakes someone else over the coals.

I always love my annual visit to Crystal Cove, California. The narrative transports me back to a place that is welcoming, despite the occasional murder. In the latest incident, an enemy of Jenna’s father is murder and when he becomes the prime suspect, of course Jenna has to do what comes naturally to her, ask inquisitive questions that will lead to the apprehension of the killer.

This was a well-written light drama that had a comfortable tone and evenly-paced tempo. The author did a great job with providing a mixed bag of suspects who all played their part exquisitely that kept me on my toes as many times I thought I had it figured out until the author changed the direction the story-line was headed. This not only enhanced the telling of this tale, but ratcheted up on the suspense as to who murdered the victim. The author also provided another subplot which answered the question of who was stalking Jenna and when that was revealed, it bought about an end to that chapter in her life. . .one that was emotional. Good Job. Jenna is a lovable heroine, but I adore her BFF Bailey. She is a hoot. Boasting a great cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a feel good atmosphere, this is one of the best book in this delightfully charming series and I can’t wait to see where we go next with Jenna and friends.

A Day in the Life with Sabrina Vaughn by Maegan Beaumont

Blood of SaintsI don’t sleep well.

Maybe it’s a holdover from my old life as a homicide inspector. Maybe it’s the remnants of paranoia that cling to me, shaking me awake in the middle of the night to listen to the quiet for a whispering voice. . .

Hey there, darlin’, Did you miss me?

There’s no voice. Hasn’t been for nearly a year now. Nothing in my head but my own thoughts and maybe that’s what wakes me. The silence. It’s big. Too big sometimes. During the day, there’s activity. Kids and dogs. Meals to prepare. Dishes to wash. Routine. Noise. Things to do. Life to hide behind.

The silence feels different in the dark. It feels like waiting.

I feel the press of Avasa’s nose against my knee and I open my eyes to find her sitting on the floor next to my side of the bed. As soon as I open my eyes she whines softly and stands, her paws mincing impatiently as if to say, come on, you’re wasting time.

I don’t want to wake Michael but as soon as I shift toward the edge of the bed, I feel his arm snake around my waist, pulling me close. “Sabrina,” he murmurs, eyes still closed.

“Avasa needs to go out,” I say, turning to press a kiss to his sleep-softened mouth. “I’ll be right back.”

“Want me to take her?” he offers, sounding more alert.

“Nope.” I kiss him again and the arm around my waist loosens. I ease out of bed and Avasa dances backwards to make room for me. I pull on a pair of pajama pants and Michael’s discarded T-shirt while she watches me, tail twitching, not so much excited as she is impatient. “Keep your pants on,” I hiss at her and she chuffs at me in response, making me laugh.

She leads me down the hall, into the kitchen. Moonlight streams in through the window and I can see her clearly as she sits down in front of the backdoor, tail swishing. I reach past her and flip the lock as I look at the clock mounted on the wall. It’s 3AM.

“I really have to teach you how to let yourself out,” I tell her, pulling the door open and she bolts ahead of me. Instead of heading into the yard she stops short, dropping her rump on the top tread of the steps, planting herself between me and yard. “Hurry up, knucklehead. I’ve got another couple hours to sleep and I don’t want to waste it on—”

Avasa growls, low and deep in the back of her throat, the sound of it tightening the skin on the back of my neck.

Something’s out here.

I think of the antique larder a few feet behind me. There are guns in there. It would take me less than a minute to unlock it and arm myself. Instead, I leave the safety of the doorway, pulling it shut firmly behind me to join my dog on the porch. “Shhh,” I say, smoothing my hand over her sleek head while I scan the yard. As soon as I touch her, she settles, pressing her head against the top of my thigh.

The moon is full, washing the yard in bright, silvery light. About fifty yards ahead is the river. Beyond it more land—we’re surrounded by nearly five-hundred acres. Beyond that, the steep cliffs that encircle our valley and keep us safe. There is nothing out here that doesn’t belong. It’s impossible.

Still, I feel naked. Exposed, and I lace my fingers around Avasa’s collar, getting ready to yank her into the house if I have to. . . and then I see him.

He’s sitting on the opposite bank of the river, watching us. Seeing him, my fingers relax and I sink down to sit on the top step next to Avasa. “Your boyfriend’s back,” I say and she answers me with another growl, this one softer than the first.

The wolf is big. His massive head held high, steel gray fur glowing blue in the moonlight. He’s a frequent late-night visitor, usually accompanied by the small pack he leads. This time he’s alone.

“I think he likes you,” I tell her. I swear she rolls her eyes at me.

About a hundred yards from where he’s sitting is a bridge. If he wanted to, he’d have little trouble finding his way across and into our yard but he doesn’t. As usual, he stays on his side of the river. He just sits there, watching us. Watching me.

It happens again—the skin on the back of my neck goes tight. A warning and I instantly aim my gaze as the narrow dirt road beyond the bridge, half expecting to see someone traveling its narrow width but it’s empty. We’re still alone here—still safe—but I have the feeling that’s about to change.

When I swing my gaze back toward the river, the wolf is gone.

I stand. “Come on,” I say to my dog and she reluctantly follows me inside.


Blood of Saints is the fifth book in the Sabrina Vaughn thriller series, published by Midnight Ink, August 2016.

He wants a miracle

And he won’t stop killing until he gets one

Deep in the mountains of Montana, former Homicide inspector Sabrina Vaughn has found the kind of peace she’s always dreamed of. And with Michael O’Shea, she’s found the kind of love she never thought possible. Together, even under the constant threat of faraway adversaries, they’ve managed to build the kind of idyllic life they’ve both longed for.

But a life this safe was never meant to last. When twenty-year-old forensic evidence connects her to a string of recent murders, Sabrina must leave her new life behind and return to the place she was brutally raped and tortured in order to search for a killer who’s as cunning as any she’s ever encountered.

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Meet the author
Maegan Beaumont is the award-winning author of the Sabrina Vaughn thriller series. Her debut novel, Carved In Darkness was awarded the 2014 gold medal from Independent Publishers for outstanding thriller as well as being named a Foreword, book of the year finalist and Debut Novel of the Year by Suspense Magazine. When she isn’t locked in her office, torturing her protagonists, she’s busy chasing chickens (and kids), hanging laundry and burning dinner. Either way, she almost always in to company of her six dogs, her truest and most faithful companions and her almost as faithful husband, Joe. Look for the fifth novel in her series, BLOOD OF SAINTS, released by Midnight Ink in August 2016. Connect with Maegan at maeganbeaumont.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win the complete 5-book series set (Carved in Darkness, Sacrificial Muse, Promises to Keep, Waiting in Darkness and Blood of Saints). U.S. residents only, please. The giveaway will end August 18, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!
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