Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
They’re on a cold trailand running out of time.
Convinced his brother was wrongly convicted of murder years ago, detective Cash Ryland’s determined to find the real killer—even if it puts him in the crosshairs. But he needs help from cold case investigator Mae Vogel, whom he mistreated in high school. Can they put their past aside to solve the murder…before the killer succeeds in silencing them for good?
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Detective Cash Ryland begins working with cold case investigator Mae Vogel after asking her to look into his brother's case, who was wrongly convicted for killing his wife. Cash knows his brother is innocent and would do anything to find the real killer.
Many thanks to Love Inspired Suspense and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
Excerpt of Cold Case Double Cross by Jessica R. Patch (Aug 24)
Love Inspired Suspense
She moved toward the lawn chairs Mom and Grandma Rose were sitting in, glanced up at the radiant display and smacked into marble.
Nope. A man.
She peered up to apologize, but the words died on her lips as recognition dawned. Cash Ryland. Mae hadn’t laid eyes on him, by design, since high school.
Maybe this was the origin surrounding her jittery feeling.
She put some pep in her step and moved backward, but Cash’s tanned arm reached out, as if assuming she’d stumbled and not retreated from him.
She swatted away his steady hand. “I’m perfectly fine.” No need for physical touch between them.
His thick eyebrows tweaked upward. “Sorry.” His voice had grown deeper, huskier since he was a kid. Cash shoved his hand into his pocket, drawing her eye to the badge clipped to his thick black belt looping through well-fitted jeans.
What? How in the world did Cash Ryland make it into any branch of law enforcement and why would he want to? His teenage years had been spent as a juvenile delinquent. Not that she’d imagined what Cash might be doing now, but if she had it would be more along the lines of doing time for drug possession or grand larceny or maybe both. Not on the grounds with a criminal investigations division badge from Willow Banks Sheriff’s Office.
“You never were too good at masking your feelings.”
She glanced from his badge to his face and his lopsided grin rolled another wave into her stomach. How dare her body betray her common sense by being attracted to his strong, chiseled features.
His blond hair had turned a little sandier, but it worked for him, unfortunately. His eyes hadn’t changed—they were still the same intense shade of blue that won the hearts of girls determined to rebel against their parents. Cash had never been meet-the-parents material, unless a girl wanted to give them a heart attack and end up grounded for life.
Mae knew better.
And she’d still been charmed then burned.
Speak, Mae. You have to at least speak. “I’m just surprised, I guess.” As if she were still a high school girl enamored by the bad boy of Willow Banks and unsure of herself, she folded her arms, which felt like dead weight across her chest.
Cash Ryland—a detective. She’d seen it all.
“Well, it’s a surprising thing. Um…” He scratched the back of his neck. “I actually was looking for you. I saw your family and hoped you would be here. Your brother mentioned you were in town on vacation.”
Why did Barrett have vocal cords? He hadn’t mentioned Cash to her. But then, why would he? Barrett was clueless about what had transpired during her senior year with Cash. All he knew was Mae had tutored Cash in English. But if anyone had been schooled that semester, it was Mae.
“Barrett talks too much.” She tried to pass around him, but he blocked her. “Detective or not,” Mae said, tossing grit into her tone, “if you don’t move, I’m going to move you. And I promise you, size doesn’t matter. I can do it.”
While Cash towered above her five-foot-one frame, she was not porcelain, and attached to her petite frame was the muscle to maneuver him if necessary.
His hands shot up in surrender, but there was no teasing in his eyes. “I have no doubt, Mae. You’ve always been strong.”
No one had ever uttered those words about her before, but flattery wasn’t going to get him one solid inch. His charm no longer affected her.
He cleared a path for her to flee. “I just want to talk to you for a minute or two. Please?”
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Excerpt of Mountain Fugitive by Lynette Eason (Sep 28)
Love Inspired Suspense
Heart pounding a rapid beat, Katherine pulled Hotshot to a stop between the men and the direction the bullets had come from, praying the person wouldn’t shoot the horse. She slid from the saddle, leaving the reins trailing the ground, then snagged the first-aid kit from the saddlebag. US marshals according to the vests the men wore.
Looked like their prisoner or fugitive had turned the tables on them. Which meant the person was either gone now that he’d taken care of the threat—or she was now a target because she planned to try to help the men. A quick scan of the area didn’t reveal anything unusual or worrisome, but the trees could easily be hiding the sniper.
Still using the horse as a shield, she hurried to the man closest to her. The bullet had hit him just above his left ear and he’d landed on his side. His brown, sightless eyes stared up at her and she knew he was beyond help. She checked his pulse anyway and got what she expected. Nothing.
She closed the dead man’s eyes then turned her attention to the other one. A pulse. She focused on his head. A gash just below his hairline bled freely. A low groan rumbled from him and Katherine placed a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t move,” she said.
He blinked and she caught a glimpse of sapphire-blue eyes. He let out another groan. “Carl…”
“Just stay still and let me look at your head.”
“I’m fine.” He rolled to his side and he squinted up at her. “Who’re you?”
“I’m Dr. Katherine Gilroy so I think I’m the better judge of whether or not you’re fine. You have a head wound which means possible concussion.” She reached for him. “What’s your name?”
He pushed her hand away. “Dominic O’Ryan. A branch caught me. Knocked me loopy for a few seconds, but not out. We were running from the shooter.” His eyes sharpened. “He’s still out there.” His hand went to his right hip, gripping the empty holster next to the badge on his belt. A star within a circle.
“Where’s my gun? Where’s Carl? My partner, Carl Manning. We need to get out of here.”
“I’m sorry,” Katherine said, her voice soft. “He didn’t make it.”
He froze. Then horror sent his eyes wide—and searching. They found the man behind her and Dominic shuddered. “No. No, no, no. Carl! Carl!” He army crawled to his partner and sucked in a gasping breath, cupped Carl’s face and felt for a pulse.
Katherine didn’t bother to tell him she’d already done the same—or what he’d find. After a few seconds, he let out a low cry then sucked in another deep breath and composed his features. The intense moment has lasted only a few seconds, but Katherine knew he was compartmentalizing, stuffing his emotions into a place he could hold them and deal with them later.
She knew because she’d often done the same thing. Still did on occasion.
In spite of that, his grief was palpable, and Katherine’s heart thudded with sympathy for him. She moved back to give him some privacy, her eyes sweeping the hills around them once more. Again, she saw nothing, but the hairs on the back of her neck were standing straight up. Hotshot had done well, standing still, being a buffer between them and a possible sniper, but Katherine’s nerves were twitching—much like when she’d worked with the police department. “I think we need to find some better cover.”
As if to prove her point, another crack sounded, and Hotshot reared. His whinnying scream echoed around them. Then he bolted for home. Katherine grabbed the first-aid kit with one hand and pulled Dominic to his feet with the other. “Run!”
Publisher: Harlequin Romantic Suspense
Man's best friend
…is this cop's most trusted partner
New to the Grave Gulch Police Department, K-9 detective Brett Shea feels like an outsider among its many Coltons. Even Annalise, his dog's trainer, is a Colton! But when she's attacked by a man pretending to be her date, Brett vows to track down the criminal. Though he's sworn off forever love—which is proving harder by the day—Brett will protect her at any cost.
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Excerpt of Colton K-9 Target by Justine Davis (Aug 24)
Harlequin Romantic Suspense
Annalise stared into the darkness, hoping that forcing herself to keep her eyes open would perversely trigger the overwhelming urge to sleep. It was her last resort; she’d been lying here for two hours, unable to find a way to turn off, or at least slow down, her whirling thoughts.
And the fact that a few minutes ago Brett had come to her open doorway and lingered a moment didn’t help.
She’d heard the faint creak of a floorboard and felt a spike of that adrenaline rush before she realized it was him. That realization caused a spike of an entirely different kind until she heard him walk away and realized he’d only been checking on her.
What did you expect? That he’d climb into bed with you?
She rolled over and buried her face in her pillow, wondering why these wild thoughts kept careening into her mind. What kind of woman was she, to have been so very excited about her date tonight—never mind that it had all been a scam—yet almost simultaneously so attracted to this man who had no interest at all in her that way? Or in anything like the kind of relationship she was looking for?
I’m not looking for what you’re looking for.
He meant it. She didn’t doubt that. And she knew she should consider it fair warning. A warning some men would never bother to give. Why had he? She felt her cheeks heat at the thought that maybe he knew, how she reacted to him. Maybe she’d betrayed it somehow. That would be embarrassing. They’d always gotten on well in the joint training sessions with Ember, but her focus had been on the smart, willing dog, not on him.
Well, not any more than usual. Qualified, capable K-9 officers with a record like his weren’t thick on the ground, and he’d proven that rep well-earned in their first exercises together. That he was quietly competent and apparently unaware of his own looks were big points in his favor, in her book.
She’d assumed at first he was married, because how could he not be? He didn’t wear a ring, but some men didn’t. Then Troy had told her a week later he wasn’t and had never been.
You have to believe in love before you can give up on it.
She sighed into the darkness. That just might be the saddest thing she’d ever heard. Yet he didn’t seem sad to her. Or bitter. Just…closed off. Except with Ember. That alone told Annalise that he wasn’t completely closed off.
But that didn’t mean she should be lying here thinking about him.
And about what she would have done if he had climbed into bed with her.
“I can drive myself—”
“I know you can,” Brett said patiently to Annalise the next morning, “but I have to drop Ember off anyway.” He didn’t mention that he also didn’t want her taking off to go get lunch or something. He wanted her under observation at all times, and he’d already called Sergeant Kenwood to let him know to keep an eye on her; the man might be retired from active duty, but his instincts were as sharp as ever.
“But I’ll need my car to get home.”
“I’ll pick you up when I come get her,” he said, with a scratch of the Lab’s soft ears. “After I talk to the two other women this jerk targeted.”
“I want to take Apple and Jack,” she said. “I don’t want to leave them alone. They were scared, too.”
And that was Annalise Colton in a nutshell, he thought. “Fine. There’s room. And Ember won’t mind.”
And so he ended up with a carload of three dogs and the woman adored by them all.
He yanked his mind off that fruitless path. He drove, trying to concentrate on mentally organizing his day.
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Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
To bring her sister home for the holidays
They’ll put everything on the line.
Private investigator Shawn West is stunned when the attack victim he rescues is Addy Williams—the one woman he never forgot. She’s turning a quiet upstate New York town inside out to bring her missing sister home by Christmas. Shawn offers to help if she'll provide a cover for his own investigation into a suspicious company in town, but can they work together to find Addy's sister…or are they already too late?
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Excerpt of Missing at Christmas by K.D. Richards (Aug 24)
The doors to the kitchen swung outward, and the man reappeared, a white plastic bag in one hand and Cassie’s picture in the other.
Addy slid her phone back into her purse and rose. The pity she saw in the man’s face as he drew nearer dashed the hope that had swelled in her chest.
“I showed your sister’s picture to everyone who’s still here, and no one recognized her. I’m sorry.”
Two solid days of showing Cassie’s picture everywhere she could think of in Bentham and nothing. No one remembered seeing her.
“Thanks, anyway.” She didn’t bother trying to muster a smile of thanks. She reached in her purse for her wallet.
“No charge,” he said, thrusting her food and Cassie’s picture at her. “You take care of yourself.”
Addy looked up into the man’s now compassion-filled eyes and wiped away the single tear she couldn’t stop from falling. “Thank you,” she croaked out before turning and fleeing the restaurant before the dam of tears broke.
Silver garlands hung from the streetlamps along with fluttering signs ordering the denizens of Bentham to have a happy holiday. The lamps themselves were spaced too far apart for the weak yellow light they cast off to beat back the dark December night.
Five blocks west, cars coasted along one of Bentham’s main thoroughfares, but the street in front of Addy was clear and quiet, the surrounding businesses having long since closed for the night.
She’d left the metallic-blue Mustang she’d rented for the two-hour drive from Manhattan to Bentham in the hotel’s parking lot. It was easier to canvass the neighborhood on foot. All she had to show for her effort were sore feet.
A footstep sounded as she pocketed her phone. Shooting a glance over her shoulder, she squinted into the darkness but saw no one.
You’re just not used to so much quiet, she thought, walking on.
She’d lived in New York City since she was twelve but spent summers on her grandfather’s ranch in Texas. She’d loved the ranch almost as much as she loved the city, but New York wasn’t called the city that never slept for nothing. There was always something to do and see, and she was used to being surrounded by thousands of people, even though she’d been very much alone since Cassie moved to Bentham.
A scraping sound came from close behind her, followed by the unmistakable sound of fast-moving footsteps.
She turned, intending to move to the side, when a hand clamped around her ponytail, jerking her backward against a hard chest.
It took a moment for her brain to catch up with what was happening, and by the time it did, her assailant had taken his beefy hand from her hair and clamped it over her mouth.
Addy fought her rising panic. Like any savvy city girl, she’d taken self-defense classes, but it had been a while since she’d brushed up. She’d never thought she’d actually have to use any of those techniques.
She tried to pull away, but the man’s arm was like a vise around her neck.
“Don’t fight, and I won’t hurt you,” the man growled.
She didn’t believe that for a minute. She’d left the small gun she carried for protection locked in her car’s glove compartment, a decision she regretted now. Who’d have thought the streets of Bentham were more dangerous than Manhattan?
Well, she had no intention of going down without a fight, gun or no gun. She sent up a quick prayer and fisted her hands at the same time a yell came from somewhere in the night.
Excerpt of Texas Baby Conspiracy by Barb Han (Sep 28)
When Alyssa Hazel stirred and felt nothing but walls on all four sides of her, shock robbed her voice. Panic caused her pulse to pound and the extra blood thumped against her skull. Her head threatened to split open as she tried to recall where she was and why she was here.
She pushed her hands out, trying to see if the walls would give. The material was pliable but solid enough to hold form. She felt for cracks or anything she could grip. Movement hurt. She attempted to stretch out her legs and couldn’t get very far.
Where was she? What happened? Why was she enclosed in such a tight space? A haze pressed down on her brain and the pressure was the equivalent of a thunderstorm rolling in.
It was pitch black and she couldn’t remember a thing about where she’d been or what she’d been doing before ending up in this…whatever this was. Forcing recall only made her brain hurt more. A stomach cramp drew her legs tighter to her belly.
Wouldn’t there be a door if she was in some kind of compartment? There would have to be a crack around a door or hatch. She reached up and couldn’t find a ceiling. That seemed like the first good sign so far. It meant that she might be in a small closet or storage room.
She felt around, trying to get her bearings because right now she was at a loss as to where she was and what she was doing there. Bringing her hands to cradle her stomach, she knew one thing was certain, she was pregnant. Very pregnant. Her belly was huge.
Again, her mind drew a blank to a question that was so basic she felt like she should have an answer. What on earth was she doing there? She brought her hand up to her head and looked for a reason for the memory loss and headache. She touched a tender spot and felt dried blood.
At least she thought it was. Seeing was impossible despite her eyes adjusting to the dark.
Logic said if she’d gotten inside this structure, there had to be a way out. Bracing her hands against thin walls, she maneuvered up to a sitting position.
Next, she instinctively checked to make sure she had on clothes and then immediately checked for her wedding ring. The band was gone. Thank heavens she had on a cotton shirt and jeans. No shoes but she did have on socks. She remembered wearing her favorite boots. The random memory seemed to float around with no context to ground it. Where had she been going? What had she been doing?
A noise startled her. She froze, unable to make out what it was or exactly where it came from other than out there.
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
He'll sacrifice his safety
…for a woman who could completely upend his Christmas.
After Gage Graham saves her from drowning, Hope Fischer revives, determined to learn the truth about her sister's death. All she has to do is infiltrate a mysterious closed Virginia town and discover why the attractive—but secretive—Gage feels compelled to help her. Can she trust him? Will he risk being discovered by his former employer, the CIA, for a woman he just met? Neither will matter if a killer succeeds.
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Excerpt of Rogue Christmas Operation by Juno Rushdan (Oct 26)
She’d been warned. That’s what everyone wanted. For her to leave it all alone. To go back to California and bury her head in the sand.
But then a murderer would go free.
She had failed her sister once. Not again. She swallowed past the ball of anxiety in her throat. You can do this.
The SUV zoomed up alongside her, sending a new wave of fear crashing through her. What was he doing?
No sooner had the thought crossed her mind than the SUV swerved sharply. The front end slammed into her side of the car, propelling it into a wild slide toward the edge.
Hope panicked, hitting the brakes. The wheels locked. Her vehicle lost traction and went into a skid. Everything was happening so fast. Too fast.
Spinning out of control, her car missed a large tree and slid over the edge of the slope. A high-pitched cry escaped her lips. Dirt and rocks spit up. She tried to straighten the steering wheel and pumped the brakes. Her car fishtailed, clipped a tree and went airborne.
The sedan flipped. Rolled end over end down the gradient. Metal crunched and groaned around her.
Hope’s seat belt jerked hard across her body, cutting off her oxygen for a second.
The airbag deployed like a hot fist, knocking her head back against the seat. Dust and chemicals saturated the air.
Her lungs seized as a scream lodged in her throat.
The car slammed to a stop with the impact of crashing into a brick wall. Her skull smashed into something hard.
A riot of pain flared…everywhere. In her head, chest, bones—even her teeth hurt.
Her vision blurred. Not that it mattered. She couldn’t see past the airbag, which was the size of a large beach ball in her face.
Hope pushed on the light fabric, and the airbag deflated. Coughing, she wiped at the wetness coming from her nose with the back of her hand. Blood. Her nose was bleeding.
She switched on the interior light and pushed the deflated airbag out of her way.
The headlights were still on.
The car was in the lake. Beneath the water, or at least half of it. The weight of the engine pitched the front end forward, so that the car was almost pointing straight down. She looked back at the rear window. Rain and darkness.
Water was starting to seep inside the vehicle. The foot well was filling up as water rushed in. Faster and faster.
Hope pressed the button to release the seat belt. But nothing happened. It was stuck, jammed tight. She yanked on the belt, trying again, tugging and pushing. Praying.
Oh, God. She was trapped.
Icy water rose past her hips to her waist. Shockingly cold. Her toes were already growing numb, and she was shivering. She had to get out. Now!
Her purse floated up on the passenger’s side. If she reached it, got to the Swiss Army knife inside, she could cut herself free.
She extended her hand in the water. Her bag was inches from her fingertips. She stretched out as much as she could, straining her arm muscles. A pang wrenched through her chest, her eyes tearing at the intense pain, but she didn’t stop. She kept reaching for her purse. Almost had it. The bag was so close—she needed to stretch a hair farther, but the seat belt had her pinned.
The car shifted, still moving. Down and down it sank. The car tipped to the side, and water carried her purse away, out of reach.
About the Author:
Although Juno is a native New Yorker, wanderlust has taken her across the globe. Fortunately, she is blessed with a husband who shares her passion for travel, movies, and fantastic food. She’s visited more than twenty different countries and has lived in England and Germany. Her favorite destination for relaxation is the Amalfi Coast, Italy for its stunning seascape, cliffside lemon groves, terraced vineyards, amazing pasta, and to-die-for vino.
When she’s not writing, Juno loves spending time with her family. Exercise is not her favorite thing to do, but she squeezes some in since chocolate and red wine aren’t calorie-free.
She currently resides in Virginia with her supportive hubby, two dynamic children, and spoiled rescue dogs. Check her out on Instagram, Facebook or follow her on Twitter or BookBub. She loves to connect with readers!
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