Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…
1870 ~ Muireall Thompson has taken her duties seriously since her parents died on the family’s crossing from Scotland to America in 1854. As the eldest sibling, their death made her responsible for her family and left little time for a life of her own. But now her brothers and sisters are adults; even the youngest is nearly ready to face the world on his own. What will she do when she is alone, other than care for an elderly aunt and volunteer at the Sisters of Charity orphanage? Has the chance for a husband and children of her own passed her by?
Widower Anthony Marcus, formerly a captain in the Union Army, is a man scraping the bottom of his dignity and hanging on to his honor by the barest thread. Reduced to doing odd jobs to keep a roof over his dear daughter Ann’s head, he often leaves her with the Sisters of Charity while he is out seeking steady work with a decent salary that will allow him to move from their single-room living quarters.
After an initial meeting that finds Muireall and Anthony at odds, a tentative friendship forms as they bond over their mutual affection for Ann. As friendship leads to passion, can a wealthy spinster and a poor soldier overcome their differences in station to forge a future together? Just as Muireall finds the courage to reach for her own happiness, Anthony’s past rises up between them and an old enemy reemerges to bring the Thompson family down once and for all. Will the divide between them be insurmountable, or can they put aside pride and doubt for a love worth fighting for?
Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the U.S.in the late 1800’s, in Victorian England, and an occasional Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and on Facebook at Holly Bush.
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Baggage Claim Juliana Smith
Publication date: November 26th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Olive Moore has been avoiding her hometown for three years now. But a phone call with her mom has her agreeing to spend the holidays back home with her family, she lets it slip she will be bringing a boyfriend with her. The only problem with that is she has no boyfriend. That is until she meets a handsome—albeit annoying—stranger on the plane who makes her an offer she can’t refuse.
Finn Beckett has always had good luck, as demonstrated by the gorgeous blonde he’s seated next to on a flight to Aspen. One drink too many leads to Olive spilling her problems in his lap, and he feels compelled to help. So he makes her an offer: he’ll pretend to be her boyfriend to keep her family off her back and make this the best Christmas ever.
Olive and Finn spend the next two weeks going on spirit-filled Christmas dates with her family. Their ruse is working perfectly, but Finn can’t help but notice Olive is holding something back. Something that could ruin everything.
Their relationship may have taken off smoothly, but with all this turbulence, will they ever make it to baggage claim?
“Olive,” I said, her name like a prayer. I didn’t have anything else to say; I only wanted her to see me.
Her bright green eyes lifted to mine, and I melted. My hand reached under her chin and rubbed my thumb across it. So beautiful. She took a step closer, her chest brushing my midsection, and I nearly groaned from the simple contact. She leaned into me like she was on autopilot, and I was her only destination. I cautiously slid my hand from her chin to the back of her neck. She swallowed, and the movement of her throat pulled me in like runway lights calling me home. I moved closer, hesitantly, our faces only inches away. She would have stopped me, right? She would have given me that sassy attitude and pushed me away if she didn’t want this. The Olive I knew wouldn’t let me get this far. I paused, unsure.
“Tell me to stop.”
I needed to hear it. To hear her yell at me. To have her say, “I told you no kissing,” and give me a shove. If she didn’t, I would take her on this bed right now, without a care of who else was in the house.
She grabbed my white button-down and pulled me impossibly closer. “No.”
It was quiet, barely a whisper. I tightened my grip on her neck and leaned forward.
This was it. Everything you have thought of nonstop since that flight. I was going to kiss the hell out of her. I was going to leave her lips swollen and numb until she was dizzy and floating.
I tilted her head up with my spare hand and inched my lips toward hers slowly,
ready to throw all caution to the wind.
“Finn.” She moaned my name before my lips were even on her, and I forced my heart not to explode. We were a dyad, two halves of the same whole. She was the best I ever had, and I hadn’t even had her yet. My lips were a centimeter from hers. Finally. Finally.
Juliana Smith is an author in a small town in Alabama. She is a full-time realtor, and part-time author, but she spends a lot of her time with her husband and daughter. Juliana writes heartfelt romance filled with laughter and warm fuzzies. She can usually be found in a Chic-fil-a drive-thru or listening to Star Wars theory podcasts, often at the same time.
In this enemies-to-lovers Regency romance by USA Today bestselling author
Charlie Lane, a lady who dares too much and a brute who dares too little
engage in a battle of wits.
Lady Sarah Hampton would rather sew up a wound than tend to her own heart.
Or matrimonial prospects. When the small hospital she’s been
volunteering at faces financial peril, she seeks to save them the best way
she knows how—one dare, one wager, and one foolish rake at a time. No
matter the risk to herself. If her friend’s irritatingly handsome and
brutish brother doesn’t stand in her way.
Xavier Evans, Viscount Flint may be known as the Dare King to his old
chums, but to Lady Sarah, he’s the King of Brutes. He’d take
offense if he weren’t so busy trying to be a better man, the type who
rises above insult, never gives it, and protects his family. But when his
sister’s happiness hinges on her friend’s safety, he’ll
have to figure out how to keep the sharp-tongued and beautiful Lady
Sarah—who hates him—safe, too.
Sarah is willing to risk it all, and Xavier will do what it takes to stop
her. As the game of dares draws them closer, it reveals a hidden threat, and
these enemies must work together or hurt those they love… including
The Debutante Dares Series
#1 Daring the Duke
#2 A Dare too Far
#3 Kiss or Dare
#4 Don’t You Dare, My Dear
#5 Only Rakes Would Dare
#6 Daring Done Right
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Charlie Lane traded in academic databases and
scholarly journals for writing steamy Regency romcoms like the ones
she’s always loved to read. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen (who
else?), Toni Morrison, William Blake, Julia Quinn, and Maya Rodale.
Charlie writes unique stories with unconventional characters who push
against the rigid restrictions of their society. Officially, Charlie has a
Ph.D. in literature with a focus on the nineteenth-century novel and
children’s literature and answers to Professor. Unofficially,
she’s a high-flying circus-obsessed acrobat, with an emphasis on
two-tail silks and answers to Muscles Magee. She lives with her own Colonel
Brandon, two little dudes, and a furry fella in East Tennessee.
A polyamorous modern-day fairytale filled with magical flora, cozy romance, and Icelandic folklore…
Ethan Shaw—lighthouse keeper and local witch—lives a charmed life in his chilly, coastal hometown. Blessed with a flourishing garden and a stable livelihood, Ethan can’t complain. But when his husband, Captain Peter Vásquez, brings home a wounded seal after an impromptu storm, Ethan is faced with a curious situation: caring for a lost selkie named Nico Locke.
As Ethan struggles with the possibility of being infertile, insecurities surrounding his marriage, and a newly formed magical bond with a hostile, handsome selkie, his comfortable life begins to fracture. But could breakage lead to something better?
With autumn at their heels and winter on the horizon, Ethan, Peter, and Nico test the boundaries of a new relationship, shared intimacy, and the chance at a future together.
Ethan Shaw carried two knives, one for lilies, the other for veins. The blade in his left hand curved like a smile, clipping stems at a sweet, diagonal angle. The second weapon was concealed in a petite leather sheath, tucked neatly in his right palm.
The ritual called for innocence, and he had none to spare, so he searched the shoreline for white-petaled flowers—speckled with saltwater, yawning toward the sky—and remembered the folktale that wormed through Casper, spoken quietly at the pub, hollered by sailors on the docks, cooed in the apothecary, and sung by children on the playground.
Those Casper lilies, the story went, are filled to the brim with what we’ve lost.
Like snakes, the townsfolk shed their innocence, leaving it to stew in the bay, sink into the soil, and beat against the lighthouse. And like snakes, the lilies drew their outgrown magic into tangled roots and narrow stems and gilded pollen: an ouroboros consuming itself.
Most people refused to use the term—magic—but Ethan found it appropriate. Harvesting long-gone energy from a living thing felt like its very definition. Using said magic to reanimate a corpse felt less like magic, though, and more like recklessness.
He yelped and flailed before he hit the water, bracing for the icy shock. Panic shot through him. Salt water rushed into his nostrils, and seaweed snagged his ankle. Swim, idiot. November wind nipped his face when he breached, sucking at the air, clutching drenched flowers to his chest. Casper lilies never promised to be easy, of course. But Ethan Shaw still cursed as he slushed through tidepools and mud. He sighed, relieved, when his soggy shoes hit the gravel path outside the tower.
“We need a lightkeeper, Ethan,” he mocked, shouldering through the wooden door. He left his boots in a puddle on the cheeky welcome mat: You Better Be Beer! “It’s a solid wage, Ethan. Not like it’s a—” The first knife clattered on the rectangular table, then the second. Sopping flowers landed with a splat next to an unopened power bill. “—hard gig, Ethan. Just take it.” He whined through the last three words, mimicking his mother, and trudged into the washroom.
He hadn’t the time for a bath, so he peeled the wet shirt from his back, unzipped his jeans, and wrestled out of his drenched binder. The chilly water had reddened his beige skin and left his boyish face chapped and raw. Droplets clung to his chestnut hair, shorn behind his ears and around the back of his skull, and worn long at his crown, hanging in messy strings over his brow. He slicked his hair back with an annoyed swipe and scrubbed lingering sea grime away with a warm cloth. He dried with a towel that smelled like gardenia and tobacco, like Peter, and set his palms on the vanity, studying his reflection. Rabbit-framed, small-chested, wide-hipped, and delicately masculine, Ethan Shaw wasn’t the optimal lightkeeper type, per se. He hadn’t a beard, only annoying stubble, and carried himself on dainty, soft-pawed feet. Much as the townsfolk whispered about lilies, they whispered about him too.
Witch—hissed like a match strike in the nave and murmured by joggers at the park—wasn’t entirely untrue, but Ethan still preferred friendlier terminology. Alchemist, maybe. Magician, even.
“Take the job, Ethan,” he mumbled and huffed at the mirror. “Surely the lifestyle suits you.”
A job doing, literally, anything else would’ve suited him better.
The front door heaved open, and the clip-clopping of heavy boots filled the living quarters. “Why is the floor wet?” Peter repeated the question, hollering through the lighthouse, “Darling, why is the floor wet?”
Ethan rolled his eyes. “I slipped,” he called, toeing the washroom door ajar.
Peter rounded the doorframe, square glasses crooked on his nose. Surprise shot to his face, but the expression faded, chased away by a frown. “You didn’t,” he warned, snaring Ethan’s reflection in a hard glare. “Ethan, we talked about this—”
“I don’t need your permission,” he snapped and slipped past Peter, striding confidently into the adjacent bedroom. He opened a drawer and fingered through his clothes, settling on a red sweater and corduroy trousers. “I’ve got the flowers; I know the ritual. Either have faith in me, or say I told you so if it doesn’t work, but hovering like a—” He batted at Peter’s broad chest. “—damn moth won’t change my mind. How was work?”
“Long,” Peter bit out. “Choppy water makes for terrible fishing, as you know. Even the local wildlife can’t handle the riptide—as you know—and consistently get thrown ashore, as you know, and—”
“You brought it home, not me.”
“I brought it home while it was still breathing,” Peter said, exasperated. He trailed Ethan into the closet, craning over him while he searched for wool socks—matching, preferably—and then into the kitchen, sighing dramatically at the waterlogged lilies. “Where’d you put the poor thing, anyway? Is it still in the garden shed?”
“No, I tossed it in the bathtub.” Ethan shot him an impatient glare. “Yes, of course, it’s in the garden shed, Peter. You think I’d let a selkie loose in our home? Give me some credit.”
“Okay, wait, hold on—wait.” Peter feebly attempted to catch him while he bounced around the kitchen.
Ethan yanked a bowl out of the cabinet, slid both knives behind his leather belt, unfastened the lavender from a rope above the sink, and stuffed his mortar and pestle underneath his arm. Before he could make for the door, two palms clasped his waist, turning him, and his beautiful, ridiculous husband wrinkled his nose. His copper cheeks were sea-bitten, angular bones pressing hard against his skin. As always, Peter Vásquez looked dashing, exhausted, and worried.
“Ay Dios mío, just wait, okay?” Peter asked.
Ethan arched an eyebrow. After a strangled pause, he lifted onto his tiptoes. “You brought it home,” he whispered and pecked Peter on the lips.
“It’s a leopard seal, Ethan. Not a selkie,” he said patiently, as he would to a toddler. “And it’s dead because animals that get caught in bad weather sometimes die.”
Ethan patted his cheek. “Sure, yeah. So, the next time you’re caught in bad weather and someone plops you on my doorstep, I’ll cash in your life insurance and call it a day. How’s that sound?”
Peter winced. “You’re impossible.”
“And you’re in my way.” Perhaps that was a little too far, considering. But impossible? Ethan scoffed. He wasn’t the one who’d mistaken a fae-beast—an extraordinarily obvious fae-beast, by the way—for a run-of-the-mill seal, and he wasn’t the one who’d whimpered when said not-seal had stopped breathing, and he certainly wasn’t the one who’d dragged a goddamn selkie home from work.
Freydís Moon (they/them) is a biracial nonbinary writer and diviner. When they aren’t writing or divining, Freydís is usually trying their hand at a recommended recipe, practicing a new language, or browsing their local bookstore.
Smoke curls from what’s left of the beautiful family home on the edge of the woods. The heat is unbearable as she descends the stairs to the basement, past a set of bicycles––two big, one small. That’s when she sees three little white bones in the cracked earth at her feet, turning her blood to ice…
When firefighters tackling a blazing house in a quiet suburb of Pine Valley, California discover human remains, Detective Katie Scott races to 717 Maple Street. She calls a halt to the excavations the moment she sees the full number and size of the bones; someone has buried a whole family down here.
Working night and day, it’s up to Katie to prove her theory that the fire was no accident, that someone wanted to expose the secret in the basement. Tiny traces of explosives residue found at the scene is all the proof she needs. But the Cross family have been missing for months––leaving friends and loved ones in agonizing pain––what twisted soul would do this now? And why?
The case takes another heart-shattering turn when Katie’s suspicions over recent renovation work on the house leads to the discovery of more bodies in the back yard: two little girls, buried years apart. What other devastating secrets are hidden in this perfect family home?
It’s a dead end at every turn as Katie tracks down anyone who knew the family. Just when it looks like all hope is lost, reports of the Cross’s landlord harassing the family before they went missing gives Katie a crucial lead. With a menacing grey sedan following her every move, how many more innocent lives will be lost before Katie can dig up the truth?
“Edge-of-your-seat suspense to the very end! … Clear your schedule… you will not want to put it down!” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
“Love, love, LOVE… I absolutely adore this series!!” Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
“Grabbed me from the very first page! It was so intense, and enthralling. I stayed up until 11pm two nights in a row so I could finish it.” NetGalley reviewer
The heat was even more scorching than usual. It wasn’t a surprise to the special army team whose mission it was to find bombs and insurgents in Afghanistan while keeping civilians safe. It was late afternoon, barely 1700 hours. Still, the temperature raged at one hundred ten degrees and wasn’t showing any remorse.
The assignment was to enter a small village, search it, and maintain a presence while waiting for further orders. They had intelligence information that the enemy had possibly used the village for storing bomb-making paraphernalia. The inhabitants were not known hostiles, merely farmers, and would not pose any type of danger.
Katie Scott took point, which meant she was holding the most exposed position leading her unit. She trudged forward, feeling every muscle ache in her body. Her gear seemed heavier than it had only two hours ago. She adjusted her helmet and, keeping her weapon poised and ready, watched the black German shepherd pad along the roadway. The dog’s posture was almost regal and he was on high alert, ears perked forward as his head moved from side to side catching scents from the open area. Cisco was Katie’s constant companion and partner, one who had alerted her team to danger on several occasions. The dog was invaluable in so many ways, thwarting multiple potential dangers and keeping the team safe.
They finally entered the village. A couple of elderly townspeople acknowledged the American soldiers with a subtle nod but stopped what they were doing immediately to take refuge in their small, makeshift homes. There were supposed to be families with children in the village, but now Katie could only see two young men out and about.
It seemed strange.
Something was out of place.
Katie slowed her pace and her sergeant caught up with her.
“What’s up, Scotty?” he said quietly, still keeping his eyes on any movement around the village.
“I don’t know…” she said softly. “But something is wrong.”
The rest of the team spread out and kept a watchful eye around them.
Cisco stopped too. He stood completely still, taking in the sights and sounds as the hot breeze ruffled his black fur. He growled and turned his attention ahead toward a group of buildings.
“He senses something,” she whispered to her sergeant.
The sergeant gestured for the rest to follow in that direction.
The company moved out. Each soldier had their position, watching for any movement as they covered each other’s backs.
Katie could feel her heart beating hard. She shivered even though the temperature was blistering. Moving cautiously in the direction that Cisco had headed, she brought the dog close by her side. She was ready to return fire or take cover. She took a deep breath to steady her nerves and keep focus. They continued to advance.
A building made of mud bricks and concrete with blocked up windows sat silent. It didn’t appear to be the same structure type as the family homes around it. On one side of the dwelling the windows were crumbling, appearing more ancient than the rest.
Katie watched Cisco slow his pace. His fur bristled down his spine.
The team stopped just before the entrance. There was no visibility as to what was inside.
Under the direction of the sergeant, two team members opened the door and then cleared the entrance, heading farther inside.
Katie heard gasps from her group. She cautiously entered behind them, directing her weapon in front of her. The musty stench hit her first—it was an unmistakable odor. As her vision slowly became accustomed to the dim, dusty lighting, she saw what her teammates had seen. Death.
At first, it appeared to be a large pile of clothes. Katie saw shoes and various materials, but she then realized that the clothes were covering bodies that were by now mostly bones but there were some that were in the first stages of decomposition. There were smaller bones that had been children.
She gulped and took a few steps back. Her mouth went dry and her heart hammered. Her team searched and cleared the building before moving out in formation.
Cisco kept close to her side as Katie tried hard to erase the horrific spectacle from her mind. It had been a massacre. Parents had still had their arms wrapped around their children. She had seen tiny shoes and part of a toy.
Without warning, gunfire bombarded them, peppering off the old clay walls. Smoke filled the air. The team took their positions and returned fire. Katie tucked into a safe place with Cisco next to her. She began to help hold off the ambush attack by firing in the direction of the threat.
Later on, Katie realized that it had been the longest gun battle she had been in, lasting nearly thirty minutes. But the worst part wasn’t the shooting. It was that now she could never forget the image of the town whose inhabitants had been systematically murdered just to keep the enemy’s weapons safe. Something had changed in her perspective that day. The incident fused into her soul, and she would always now carry it with her.
About the Author
Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today Best Selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.
Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifters, Reverse Harem
Date Published: 11/25/2022
Couch surfing and temp jobs were a way of life for Daisy Daniels
after she aged out of the foster care system. She’s always taken life
one day at a time and gone with the flow. What she never expected is that
flow would lead her down a raging current of uncertainty about her life and
the world she knows.
River, Ocean, and Bayou Waterson need someone to keep their island home
neat and tidy, but they have a problem. They can’t trust any old
cleaning service. They need to find someone who will be willing to overlook
their differences. What they never expected was to find a live-in maid they
would all love.
When Daisy discovers the celebrity treasure hunters are really mermen, will
she be able to keep her head above water? An ancient prophecy brings danger
to their doorstep. Forces she never imagined are conspiring to destroy
everything that matters to her. The only thing that can save her is a bond
she can’t break. Saving the world definitely wasn’t in the job
Daisy had slept — more like tossed and turned — at Sally’s the
previous night. It felt weird leaving her vehicle behind at the harbor, the
rusty hunk of junk being her most valuable possession. She’d been told
to bring a bag in case this worked out and she could spend the night
settling in. Everything she owned fit into a large suitcase and overnight
bag, so she decided to bring it all. After grabbing her pillow, she looked
at the small pile on the ground. So little to show for twenty-one years of
life. It caused a wave of melancholy to wash over her while locking the
She’d looked for the boat called Siren. It didn’t take long.
The huge thing was no boat. This was a yacht. “Wow,” she
muttered to herself.
“Do you like her?” a male said from behind her.
Daisy jumped, but she didn’t look to see who’d asked.
“It’s pretty. I’ve never been on a boat
“Are you Daisy Daniels?”
When she heard her name, she turned. Her mouth went dry. She’d seen
an episode of his TV show with Sally here and there, but she’d always
been more interested in playing with her phone than the program. She vaguely
recognized this guy as one of the hotties Sally drooled over. He
wasn’t just TV pretty. This guy was hot. A total hunk. His long black
hair, casually tied back in a ponytail, made her a bit envious. He had a
black goatee and eyes so brown they could have been black. His skin, tanned,
and his upper body, powerful. His arms looked like they belonged to a body
builder. She opened her mouth, at a loss for words.
He grinned, as if amused. “You do realize this job is on an island.
The only way off and on is by boat. Are you sure you’re up for
Mort’s had already replaced her with another temp. She needed this
job. Nodding, Daisy dropped her overnight bag and stuck out her hand.
“I’m up for it.”
“River Waterson.” He shook her hand firmly.
Daisy picked up her bag. She couldn’t help wondering if it was
actually his name or a stage name for his reality show.
“Let me take something for you,” River offered. He gave her a
“You don’t have to do that, Mr. Waterson. It’s not
heavy.” Years of having things stolen made Daisy nervous to hand off
“Don’t worry, I won’t run off with it.” He held out
his hand. “And please, it’s River. Three Mr. Watersons could get
a bit confusing.”
Daisy nodded. Wanting to seem cooperative and make a good impression, she
reluctantly let him take the handle of her suitcase. He rolled it behind him
as they approached the boat.
They walked to the dock and then up a wobbly metal ramp. Daisy took hold of
the railing, feeling a little woozy.
“Careful. You’ll need to get those sea legs if we all agree
you’re a good fit,” River said.
Worry nibbled at the back of her mind. His words reminded her this
wasn’t a sure thing, but an interview. Whatever happened, she’d
just have to figure things out. Silently, she cursed Sally’s idea. It
wasn’t as if Daisy qualified as maid material. These guys would
probably see that. At least Sally would be obligated to let Daisy crash at
“Do you have time left on a lease somewhere?” River
Daisy mentally cursed. She still wasn’t totally sure how to frame her
lack of permanent address, so she didn’t sound flighty. And was this
guy some kind of mind reader or just super perceptive?
Life is good for Dash Hammond. He’s recently remarried his childhood sweetheart, Dr. Maevis Summers, and together they’re raising his four-year-old son, T.J. in the Hammond family homestead in Clover Pointe, Ohio. A retired Army colonel, Dash now keeps himself busy fixing everything from a leaky faucet to an unsolved murder.
It is no wonder that his cousin Billy McCafferty calls on Dash for a road trip to Kentucky when his oldest sister is in trouble. The president of a religious order, Sister Miriam Patrice, Miri Pat to those who knew her before she took the veil, has been hearing things, seeing things and misplacing things. A very competent woman, she refuses to accept an unearthly reason for all this.
Marianwood, the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Mother of God, is located on an old plantation thought to be haunted by its original inhabitant, Miss Victoria Harris, who is rumored to prowl the grounds and cemetery in search of her murdered beau.
When the Ohio contingent arrives, they discover that things are not as simple as your ordinary haunting.
In a battle of wits, will the victor be supernatural or a very corporal retired Army colonel?
Sister Miriam Patrice slid back from the kneeler. The quiet of the church soothed her as it wrapped its velvet cloak of serenity around her. She sat, hands folded,
once in prayer but now to stop the trembling. Glancing at the sunlight
streaming through the stained-glass windows casting a rainbow on the empty
pews, she drew in deep slow breaths. She looked at the watch pinned to her
tunic. Time to get back to work. She rose to leave the church, her place of
refuge, a place free from the distractions of the running the community and the
new retirement home the sisters established to help make ends meet.
The members of the Sisters of the Blessed Mother of God found their numbers
dwindling. New recruits, as Sister Miriam Patrice called them mimicking her
cousin Dash Hammond’s military jargon, were very rare. The teaching
congregation once had more than a hundred sisters. Vocations, callings to
either the religious or the educational side of the community, had fallen to less
than a handful each year.
As she walked down the aisle to the back of the church, she heard it again. Tap, tap, tap. She stopped to listen, making sure she wasn’t mistaken. That sound
sent shivers down her spine. Squaring her shoulders she walked to the doors
next to the church exit. One led up to the choir loft, the other down to the
cellar. In days past she had gone up the stairs; today she would go down.
Pulling the doorknob, Miriam Patrice met the resistance of a locked door. She pulled out her keys and unlocked it. She struggled with the door, suggesting to her
that no one had gone to the cellar in a while.
The stone steps were worn but sturdy. She moved cautiously into the darkness, one hand on the wall to steady her nervous knees, the other searching for the
handrail. Her hope was that the security guard forgot to close the door one day
and some critter, not two legged, was trapped down here and making the tap,
tap, tap sound. Logically she knew this was wrong, but the alternative could be
Decades ago they discovered one of the newer buildings constructed during a period of rapid expansion had been built on an underground spring. It wasn’t long before the building tilted, as did their finances. What a waste of time and money.
Fearful that what she would find was a tell-tale pooling or bubbling of water,
she moved forward slowly. She said a silent prayer that she would not stumble
into a puddle, a precursor of the inevitable unwelcome news.
Her trek seemed unnecessarily slow though reason told Miriam Patrice she should alert one of her sisters where she was just in case she lost her footing. But
her reasoning had not been the sharpest of late. She blamed her sleepless
nights, not because of an uneasy conscience but an overabundance of concern for
her congregation and its uncertain future, both financially and individually.
After spending a half an hour poking into the corners, searching for the origin of the sound, Miriam Patrice gave up. She needed a flashlight if she wanted to do
a proper search. Next time she would be prepared. Next time, she told herself,
she would be less skittish, more confident that she could deal with whatever
sprung up from the tap, tap, tap. After deciding this, she nodded to herself.
At least she didn’t hear a drip, drip, drip.
The sound had stopped so she returned to the church. As she locked the door behind her, the tap, tap, tap began again, louder this time. If she permitted herself, she would have said damn.
About the Author:
Elaine Munsch is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, but has spent her adult life in Louisville, Kentucky. She graduated from Nazareth College of Kentucky located outside of Bardstown and attended The Ohio State University for her graduate work. She has been a bookseller for fifty years working in both large and small, chain and independent bookstores. She opened the first Barnes & Noble in Kentucky where she set up a mystery reading group which is still active today. She also taught classes in the mystery genre for the Veritas Society and joined the local chapter of Sisters in Crime.
With Susan Bell, she co-edited MYSTERY WITH A SPLASH OF BOURBON, an anthology of bourbon related stories.
As E.M. Munsch, she writes the Dash Hammond series set on the shores of Lake Erie. The latest title, A HAUNTING AT MARIANWOOD, is set to be released at the end of October.
What do you do when the legal system refuses to deliver justice?
Conducting her own investigations and trials, she’s out on the hunt,
righting wrongs in honor of the victims and their surviving families.
Outlaw revenge has its perils and she’s soon in the fight of her
Sometimes a killer’s own survivors also go on the hunt.
Having kicked their hornet’s nest, Izzy is desperate to take them
Does she have what it takes to battle off her own demons?
Can she stop those who want her dead?
About the Author
Greg Jolley earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San
Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When
not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s.
Or goes surfing.
In this sweet enemies-to-lovers Regency romance by Jennifer Monroe, a strongheaded woman meets her match when an arrogant knight vows to take over the very theater she cherishes.
A Knight with a destiny. A secret that can unravel it.
Sir Aaron Kirkwood knows no woman can resist his good looks or charms. With
no time for romance, his focus is on the local theater, which he hopes to
turn into a gentlemen’s club. His first point of resistance, however,
comes from a wild and undisciplined beauty from the local school for young
women. Miss Dunston is flirty, and her pouty lips are tempting, but Aaron
knows what it will take to tame her.
Her beauty is her strength, and she’ll use it to guarantee the
arrogant knight’s failure.
A secret past has ensured that no man will ever be able to love Miss Louisa
Dunston, thus forever sealing her destiny. Living part of her life as a lie,
she uses her looks to hide the pain she carries inside. When a handsome yet
arrogant knight attempts to purchase the local theater, Louisa knows she
must do whatever it takes to stop him. Even if it means lowering herself to
his standards and playing a dangerous and flirtatious game.
Two secrets, one destiny.
Sir Aaron finds that with each talk of compromise, the passion and kisses
he shares with Louisa are becoming too much to resist. As his feelings
change, he fears she may learn the secret behind his newly bestowed title.
And for Louisa, what begins as a way to save the theater turns into
something far more pleasurable. In their quest for love, can they accept one
another’s pasts and change their destinies for-ever?
Sisterhood of Secrets Series
#1 Duke of Madness
#2 Baron of Rake Street
#3 Marquess of Magic
#4 Earl of Deception
#5 Knight of Destiny
#6 Captain of Second Chances
About the Author
Jennifer Monroe writes Regency romances you can’t resist. Her stories
are filled with first loves and second chances, dashing dukes, and strong
heroines. Each turn of the page promises an adventure in love and many late
nights of reading.
With over twenty books published, her nine-part series, The Secrets of
Scarlett Hall, which tells the stories of the Lambert Children, remain a
favorite with her readers.
In the twilight of his NFL career as a middle linebacker for the Chicago
Storm, Mike “the Steelman” Stalowski masks his physical pain and
mental anguish with alcohol and painkillers. The fan favorite has a rebel
image and a notorious reputation, and he plays a violent gridiron game
fueled by inner rage.
While estranged from his wife and living in the fishbowl environment of
professional sports, he unexpectedly meets the fresh-out-of-college Kim
Richardson. She sees through Mike’s star persona to who he really
is—a kind guy from the Southeast Side of Chicago who has never
forgotten his humble blue-collar roots. The lives of the star-crossed,
seemingly mismatched couple collide during a whirlwind romance that
culminates in a tragic series of events.
The Walk-On is a timeless tale of love and loss that explores the
consequences of personal decisions and the rewards of faith, redemption, and
About the Author
Richard Podkowski, a native of Chicago’s South Side, began writing
fiction while studying criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago.
As a United States Secret Service special agent, Richard protected U.S.
presidents and foreign dignitaries and investigated major domestic and
international financial crimes. After retiring from the Secret Service in
2003 as a supervisory special agent, he became a management member of a
Fortune 100 company’s global security group. For the last several years,
Richard has been a private sector strategic security consultant.
Inspired by professional athletes who lived in a fishbowl under constant
media scrutiny and made life-altering mistakes, Richard wrote The Walk-On.
Other projects include a holiday rom-com manuscript and a crime story. In
his free time, Richard enjoys riding his road bike, working out, and making
Christmas ornaments. He currently resides with his family in Los