Friday, April 20, 2018

Oney: My Escape From Slavery #History Inspires


Today I'm featuring ONEY, MY ESCAPE FROM SLAVERY by Diana Rubino and Piper Huguley

Diana Rubino’s Oney: My Escape From Slavery is a painstakingly re-imagined account of a true and painful story told generations on. At its heart is the paradox of liberty – for an individual, for a race, for a nation. In a modern world where cultures and histories collide, it is a timely reminder of perspectives on ‘slavery’ and ‘freedom’ that we may have become blind to. It is a big, strong, uplifting book with a soul.

Oney’s Story…

Teenaged Oney Judge was Martha Washington’s ‘favorite servant.’ Oney and Martha both longed for freedom, but in very different ways. Martha hated being confined to the president’s house, forced to entertain politicians and foreign diplomats. Oney hated being someone else’s property, forced to do labor and wait on her owners day and night.

After President Washington served one term as president, he wrote his farewell speech. He and Martha started packing for their retirement at Mount Vernon, but it was not meant to be. He was elected again—unanimously. He did not want to serve another term, but gave in under pressure.

Martha had no say in it whatsoever. But as she hosted her tea parties and levees, she became close friends with several forward-thinking women, such as Abigail Adams and Judith Murray, feminists of the time. Their radical ideas rubbed off on Martha—education and job training for women to be self-supporting instead of depending on husbands. By the end of George’s term, she experienced a steep character arc. She even changed her attitude toward slavery. When Oney escaped at age 20, at the end of George’s final term, Martha was very resentful: “She was more like a child to me than a servant.” The Washingtons knew that she’d escaped to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and made several attempts to recapture her. But in a sudden act of lenience, Martha gave up on Oney and let her remain free. During her husband’s presidency, Martha complained, “I am more like a state prisoner”, so perhaps she put herself in Oney’s place and realized she deserved liberty, too.

As our first First Lady, Martha Washington evolved from a  grandmotherly wife and homebody to an outspoken champion of women’s rights. She provided freedom for her slaves at her death.

While living in Portsmouth, Oney married a sailor, Jack Staines, and had three children. She outlived her husband and children, and lived her remaining free life in Greenland, New Hampshire. Somewhat of a local celebrity, she lived in poverty, but the locals supported her and she took in sewing to supplement her meager income. She declared in an 1847 interview, “I am free now and choose to remain so.”

An Excerpt from ONEY, MY ESCAPE FROM SLAVERY

The hour finally came—while they ate dinner.

Nothing heavied my heart—not remorse, not guilt, not sadness upon fleeing my master and mistress. Raw thirst for freedom overcame all that. I walked straight past the Washingtons and out that door. When I shut it, I left them—and my forced bondage— behind me.

I tore through the muddy streets in pouring rain. Gasping for breath, soaked to the skin, my heart slamming in terror, I glanced behind me, again and again. No one pursued me—yet. I dreaded and expected pounding footsteps, a clap on my shoulder. But, I asked myself, who would chase me through the driving rain? No, it is not possible, I affirmed—they didn’t even know I’d left the kitchen.

At the Jones house I slowed and caught my breath. When Absalom opened the door, I staggered inside, laughing, sobbing, gulping for dear life.

I spent the night pacing the attic room, hands clasped. “I beg of you, dear God, walk beside me on this journey. See me through this safe. Don’t let them capture me. I only want to be your servant, no one else’s.”

As daybreak nudged away the darkness, I fell to my knees, weary with fatigue. “Thank you, dear God, for ending my final night of bondage.”

Serendipity at Work

In May 2014, popular romance author Brenda Novak had her annual auction for diabetes—authors donate books, critiques, etc., and people bid on them, similar to Ebay. I donated one of my other books, and I also donated a free manuscript critique. An author named Piper Huguley won the critique auction, but the auction ended and I never heard from her. I thought oh, well, she doesn't want it after all. About 3 months later, she wrote me and sent me her story, A CHAMPION’S HEART, to critique. It's a romance about an African American girl, set in rural Georgia in the 1910s. Very moving and powerful story. I loved it. It was published in 2016 by Liliaceae Publishers.


I'd been wanting to find an African American author to go over my Oney novel, but never looked for anyone. I thought of asking one of my grade school classmates, but just didn't get to it...well, one day I decided to ask Piper.

Right after I asked her, she wrote back and said she'd be happy to help. Then I went on Facebook and saw that Piper just posted that her mother passed away that morning. So I sent her a message of condolence. Then she wrote this back to me:

And I appreciate your kind comments about my mother. You see, I see your request as "heaven sent" for I think I told you about how my mother told me about Oney. I know that she would want me to work on anything, do anything to forward that story. So, even in the midst of a difficult time, I look forward to helping you--something I really didn't expect after you had helped me so much. Thank you for that.

I don't remember her telling me that her mother told her about Oney. I've heard so many stories about people who pass away, and send 'signs' etc. to their loved ones, this was just too strange to be coincidence. Piper helped me a great deal with Oney’s story and became my co-author. We dedicated the book to her mother.


About Diana and Piper:

Diana writes about folks who shook things up. Her passion for history and travel has taken her to every locale of her stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. Her urban fantasy romance FAKIN’ IT won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. When not writing, she runs CostPro, Inc., an engineering business, with her husband Chris. In her spare time, Diana bicycles, golfs, plays her piano and devours books of any genre. She spends as much time as possible just livin' the dream on her beloved Cape Cod.

Piper Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Connect with Diana and Piper:

Twitter: @DianaLRubino

Twitter: @PiperHuguley

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Check out my #MFRWHooks for Whispers in the Dark: #Romance and #Suspense at an Archaeology Dig

“This book was a delight from start to finish!”

Whispers in the Dark, romantic suspense set in the Four Corners region of the Southwest, will appeal to fans of Mary Stewart, Barbara Michaels, and Terry Odell. This title stands alone and is not part of a series. It has 4.2 star-average with 55 reviews.

Young archeologist Kylie Hafford heads to the remote Puebloan ruins of Lost Valley, Colorado, to excavate. Her first exploration of the crumbling ruins ends in a confrontation with a gorgeous, angry man who looks like a warrior from the Pueblo’s ancient past. If only Danesh weren’t so aggravating… and fascinating. Then she literally stumbles across Sean, a charming, playful tourist. His attentions feel safer, until she glimpses secrets he’d rather keep hidden.

The summer heats up as two sexy men pursue her. She finds mysteries – and surprising friendships – among the other campground residents. Could the wide-eyed woman and her silent children be in the kind of danger all too familiar to Kylie?

Mysterious lights, murmuring voices, and equipment gone missing plague her dig. A midnight encounter sends Kylie plummeting into a deep canyon. She’ll need all her strength and wits to survive. Everything becomes clear – if she wants to save the man she’s come to love and see the villains brought to justice, she must face her demons and fight.

“This book kept me turning pages until the end. The plot was full of twists and turns, always keeping the reader rooting for the heroine. Excellent read!”

Excerpt

I hurried along the trail until I reached the canyon rim, where I stopped and grinned. The canyon cut across the land in front of me—maybe more of a ravine, really, several miles long but only a quarter-mile across and a few hundred feet deep. The bottom looked shady and cool, while the sun lit up the small ruin to my right. ...

I couldn’t wait to explore further. Of course, regular tourists weren’t allowed to leave the trail, but one of the perks of being an archaeologist was special access. For the next few weeks, this would be my playground.

The next site on the map was just a vandalized rock shelter, and the trail guide complained that people had torn down the walls before it could be excavated. Only part of one wall and a jumble of stones remained. But the guide also mentioned that the site might have yielded storage jars or food remains, had it been left for archaeologists. Since my interest was ancient food, I decided to creep down for a closer look.

I moved carefully, so as not to disturb the loose rocks, and squatted near the biggest pile of rubble. I gently lifted a few broken pieces, putting them back in exactly the same place after I’d examined them. I couldn’t do much with the fragments, but as always, I marveled over touching something from the ancient past.

Hovenweep Castle by Greg Willis
Creative Commons license
 
Tomorrow would be soon enough for scientific method, for testing and hypothesizing. Tonight I only wanted to touch the magic of this ancient world. I closed my eyes and tried to feel some ancient presence, to hear whispers from the past.

The air seemed to tremble with possibilities. If only I believed in magic—

A shout slashed the air. I twisted so fast I tumbled onto my backside.

I gaped up at the man towering over me. Bare chest, muscular and bronzed. Black hair pulled back from a face full of sharp planes and angles. Dark eyes fierce under scowling brows.

My heart jolted painfully. I’d come face to face with an ancient warrior. He was gorgeous.

And furious.

At me.

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance featuring outdoor adventures in Southwestern landscapes. E-books are available from $.99 to $3.99, or free with Kindle Unlimited. Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. The Southwest Treasure Hunter novels feature feisty heroines and supportive heroes tracking down mysterious treasures in New Mexico and Arizona. Each book stands alone, starting with The Mad Monk’s Treasure. Kris’s other titles include Whispers in the Dark, a gothic drama at an archaeology dig in the Four Corners area, What We Found, a murder mystery set in small-town New Mexico, and Counterfeits, a suspense set near Jemez Springs.





Monday, April 16, 2018

Amazing #NewMexico skies - sunset in the Southwest

I had to share these pictures of a fantastic New Mexico sunset. These were all taken within a period of about five minutes. My phone camera tends to make things a bit too orange. The third photo, with the paint, is more accurate. Impressive regardless, aren't they!



Kris Bock lives in New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking, watching the sunset from her patio, and hanging out with her husband and their ferrets. Her home office looks out on nature, complete with distracting wildlife such as roadrunners and foxes. 

Kris writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.
Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Soul of Stone #suspense and #romance by Traci McDonald @tracimcauthor


Welcome guest author Traci McDonald, introducing her latest non-explicit romantic suspense novel, Soul of Stone.

“A whirlwind romance mixed with epic fantasy elements and spine-tingling suspense and mystery." –Micah Persell, Author of the Middle of the Garden series

Danielle Lyndon, owner of a 200-year-old bookstore in Greenville, Alabama, has built a fortress of suspicion around her heart. A tragic fire has taken the lives of her beloved Grandmother and mother, leaving her with nothing but an ancient collection of magical books. Facing what seems like an eternity of loneliness and abandonment, her life is inexorably altered late one night when a runaway teenage girl breaks into her store and Danielle receives a mysterious text message…from her dead mother.

The only person who can help her is Aaron Donnell, a reckless, tormented drifter with haunting silver-blue eyes who is searching for the burglar, his younger sister. Aaron somehow holds the answers to the mysterious texts, but he’s arrogant, dangerous, and is clearly no good for her. The problem is . . . . she’s falling in love with him.

Consumed with Aaron’s mysterious darkness and the prospect of locating the source of the texts, Danielle allows him to unwittingly drag her into an insane, mystical world where human trafficking is the usual, black magic reigns supreme, and inhuman power lasts forever.

Publication Date: April 10, 2018



Excerpt: Chapter 1

“I’m…I…No, don’t shoot.”

Danielle twisted her mouth into a scowl. Her heart hammered against her breast bone as it behaved as if she’d injected the organ with caffeine. “The law gives me the right to do exactly that. Breathe wrong and I’ll blow your brains out.” Her finger trembled against the gun’s cold steel. Embers from the dying fire sparked off the metal form clutched like a life preserver in her fist as they drifted into the flue. With the straight line of the barrel trained on a dark form, she cleared the remnants of sleep from her throat.

The lurking silhouette stumbled backward. She searched for the gun’s hammer but couldn’t find it in the dark. “You want to explain what you’re doing here after closing time?” Spiked with bitter adrenaline, her voice squeaked as she groped at the plaster wall. Fumbling for the edge of the light switch, she coughed, scraping the early morning sleep from her tonsils. “Better yet,” she said, glaring at the figure squatting in front of the locked bookcases, “why don’t you tell me how you managed to get in?”

A pair of dark eyes darted around the towering bookcases as Danielle turned the lights on and snatched her cell phone from beside the cash register. The burglar’s chin shuddered as if the teeth were battling one another for escape from a clenched mouth. One ragged, duct-taped tennis shoe shuffled past the long line of glass-covered doors protecting the priceless collection of rare books. Windows in the rear of the bookstore peeked their empty eyes between the diagonally placed shelves lining the floor between the fireplace and the counter. “I said don’t move.”

The shapeless intruder reached for the locked collection before the partial glow of the smoldering embers illuminated a thin face. Trembling fingers tugged at a threadbare sweater. “I came for a…um…book.”

Danielle’s breath snagged against her throat. It’s a girl. A teenager of all things.

A quick cursory inspection of the collection confirmed the intact condition of the locks and glass barring the bookcases. Fingerprints, the only evidence of intrusion, were smeared across the glass as well as the sculpted hearth and mantel surrounding the fireplace. Her stomach wilted. With her temples throbbing, she clamped her teeth closed. How dare she stand there crying like I done kicked her crippled puppy? I’m the one who’s getting robbed.

The edges of her vision closed in until her skull threatened to collapse beneath an ocean of pressure. Breathe, she mentally insisted. Y’all can’t protect your collection…or your life if all you can manage is a Scarlett O’Hara fainting spell.

Gulping to get her pulse under control, Danielle inspected the girl’s thin clothing. Threadbare jeans and a tattered sweater hung from the teenager’s frame as if she’d crawled in from the cotton fields. One toenail, a glint of flaking polish, peeked from beneath her torn shoe. “That’s an awful pretty pedicure,” Danielle said while curling her upper lip. “Is the polish purple or blue?”

The girl’s eyes brimmed as she shuffled backward. “What happened, sugar? Did your mama force you to spend the day at the spa with her, and now you’re breaking the law so you can get her properly ashamed?”

When the thin teen sniffed before she hardened her expression, alarm bells rang in Danielle’s head. Maybe her mama is dead. I could be picking on this poor girl and she had to come here because she’s got no one.

Danielle shook her long mahogany hair off of her face. If her mama had died, she’d be in the custody of youth services, not hanging out in the dead of winter in rural Alabama looking for books. It doesn’t matter, Danielle thought as she stomped toward the burglar. Her problems are no worse than mine, and I’m not breaking into people’s houses.

She let her focus drift along the same trail the girl had taken to get in, past the rows of diagonally placed bookshelves to a broken windowpane in the far corner. Her glare snapped to the quaking girl. “If you were cold or hungry, sugar, you should’ve come to the front door. I live upstairs. I’d have let you in without you breaking nothing.”

The marble countertop dug into the backs of her thighs. She winced as she stepped onto the faded Chinese rug. “Only someone who wants to steal from this collection breaks in.” The girl’s raw lip trembled in reply. Danielle shook her head. “Are you a collector? You don’t look old enough to care about what’s the most complete private collection of ancient histories, hieroglyphs, and mythologies outside of the rare books room at the Library of Congress.”

Visit Traci’s website or Amazon page.

Follow Traci on Facebook or Twitter - @tracimcauthor


Traci McDonald is a blind author of clean romance novels, including Burning Bridger (Muse It Up, 2015), Killing Casanova (Crimson Romance, 2012) and the forthcoming Soul of Stone. She believes that falling in-love is the greatest risk of all, and her non-explicit romances are about hurting, healing and finding true love. Traci has been blind for 20 years. When she isn’t writing she is an editor for Ink and Quill Press and the co-host for a blogtalk radio show on The World of Ink Network. Traci is an active member of the National Federation of the Blind, on the board of her local writer’s guild, and a speaker for various writing conferences and book fairs. She is a full time wife and mother of three boys, an avid reader, and loves living in a small town on the fringes of Nevada's Mojave Desert.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

An #MFRWHooks for Counterfeits: An Art Theft #Romance & #Suspense


Jenny returns to her grandparents’ art camp in a remote New Mexico town after her grandmother’s sudden death. That night she wakes to the noise of intruders. What do the strangers want? As more bizarre events unfold, Jenny realizes the people she thought she knew are not what they seem – least of all Rob, an old friend whose past may be coming back to haunt them all.

Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners, and Kris Bock used all the things I love about this genre.  Appealing lead characters, careful development of the mysterious danger facing one or both of those characters, a great location that is virtually a character on its own, interesting secondary characters who might or might not be involved or threatened, and many surprises building up to the climax.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog

Available on Amazon. Free via KU.
Romantic Suspense
Heat level: PG
Violence level: PG (fights, no torture or murder)
212 pages/65,000 words

I shared the opening of Chapter 1 two weeks ago and the next bit last week. The chapter continues here:

Jenny slipped from the room and down the hall. She paused at the top of the stairs, which were open to the living room on one side. She had to figure out where the intruders were, so she didn’t walk right into their arms. She stood taut, senses straining.

A screech sounded, maybe a chair leg on tile, and then kitchen cabinets clattered open and closed. The kitchen was as far away as they could get from the front door. But were they both – or all, if there were more than two – back there?

What choice did she have? If they kept going through the house, eventually they would find her. She refused to think about what that might mean. She had to get out.

She crept partway down the stairs, sliding one hand along the banister for balance as she craned her neck to search the room below. Nothing moved in the dim living room, but light spilled down the hallway from the kitchen. She thought she heard two voices back there.

Jenny took a breath and held it. She had to go now.

She ran lightly down the stairs. By the time she hit the bottom, she’d reached full speed. The door was slightly ajar. She wrenched at it and hurled herself through. She swung around the door, pulling it nearly shut behind her to hide the sign of her exit. She had one moment to glance toward the back of the house before the door closed. Nothing but the light showed that something was wrong.

Jenny spun around and took one big step away from the house – and slammed into a hard body.

Kris Bock lives in New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking, watching the sunset from her patio, and hanging out with her husband and their ferrets. Her home office looks out on nature, complete with distracting wildlife such as roadrunners and foxes. Her BFA in photography is used mainly to show Facebook friends how lovely the Southwest is.

Kris writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert.

E-books are available from $.99 to $3.99, or free with Kindle Unlimited. Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon pageSign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

Monday, April 9, 2018

#Hiking #NewMexico - Bursum Springs, Quebradas, part 2

Spring has definitely come to New Mexico, and although it can get very windy, the weather is often fantastic for hiking. These photos are from the Quebradas, a wilderness area near Socorro, New Mexico. Last week I shared photos from the first part of the hike. This is an area near an old mine where you can find azurite and malachite, plus large chunks of barite crystals.

Here the guys are standing on an outcropping that is primarily barite, a mineral that forms large crystals.

Barite isn't particularly rare or valuable, but it can be quite impressive! This sample is as big as a dinner plate.

A mining shaft leads into the rock.

It doesn't go very far. Either it sloped downward and it got filled in with debris, or they finished collecting the malachite from the seam that ran through here. (Note the two figures crouching at the end of the currently accessible shaft.)

In the detritus from the old mine, you can find small, brilliantly colored samples of azurite (blue) and malachite (green), as well as larger chunks that show the color but aren't pure. 

I've lived in New Mexico for almost 17 years and didn't know the mine was here, even though I've hiked nearby. Just one of the many surprises always waiting when you explore the Southwest! Learn more about the Quebradas Backcountry Byway from the BLM or New Mexico tourism.
Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance featuring outdoor adventures in Southwestern landscapes. E-books are available from $.99 to $3.99, or free with Kindle Unlimited. Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. The Southwest Treasure Hunter novels feature feisty heroines and supportive heroes tracking down mysterious treasures in New Mexico and Arizona. Each book stands alone, starting with The Mad Monk’s Treasure. 
Kris’s other titles include Whispers in the Dark, a gothic drama at an archaeology dig in the Four Corners area, What We Found, a murder mystery set in small-town New Mexico, and Counterfeits, a suspense set near Jemez Springs.


Friday, April 6, 2018

#Hiking #NewMexico - Bursum Springs, Quebradas

Spring has definitely come to New Mexico, and although it can get very windy, the weather is often fantastic for hiking. These photos are from the Quebradas, a wilderness area near Socorro, New Mexico. As soon as you park at the edge of the dirt road, you have great views of the surrounding hills and distant mountains.

The level of water in Bursum Springs is low this year. We have in the past climbed up the low cliff behind the pond, but a trail leads around as well.


The hike goes up a dry (most the year) river channel that is sometimes smooth gray rocks and sometimes like this:


At several places you can find exposures of barite, a mineral that forms large crystals.


Here's a close-up of that large rock on the right-hand side of the picture above:


You might also come across historic artifacts, like this wall. Possibly a sheep pen from some nineteenth century shepherd?


This area is good for fossils as well. Some rocks are chock-full of fossil stems from crinoids, a marine animal also known as a sea lily. Other areas have imprints of coral fans. Note the patterned areas in this sample.


One option for this hike leads to an old mining area where you can find debris containing azurite and malachite. More on that next week! Learn more about the Quebradas Backcountry Byway from the BLM or New Mexico tourism.

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance featuring outdoor adventures in Southwestern landscapes. E-books are available from $.99 to $3.99, or free with Kindle Unlimited. Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. 
The Southwest Treasure Hunter novels feature feisty heroines and supportive heroes tracking down mysterious treasures in New Mexico and Arizona. Each book stands alone, starting with The Mad Monk’s Treasure. Kris's other titles include Whispers in the Dark, a gothic drama at an archaeology dig in the Four Corners area, What We Found, a murder mystery set in small-town New Mexico, and Counterfeits, a suspense set near Jemez Springs.



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

An #MFRWHooks for Counterfeits: An Art Theft #Romance & #Suspense

“Kris Bock is a mystery mastermind.” – Readers Favorite Reviews

Jenny returns to her grandparents’ art camp in a remote New Mexico town after her grandmother’s sudden death. That night she wakes to the noise of intruders. What do the strangers want? As more bizarre events unfold, Jenny realizes the people she thought she knew are not what they seem – least of all Rob, an old friend whose past may be coming back to haunt them all.

Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners, and Kris Bock used all the things I love about this genre.  Appealing lead characters, careful development of the mysterious danger facing one or both of those characters, a great location that is virtually a character on its own, interesting secondary characters who might or might not be involved or threatened, and many surprises building up to the climax.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog

Available on Amazon. Free via KU.
Romantic Suspense
Heat level: PG
Violence level: PG (fights, no torture or murder)
212 pages/65,000 words

Last week I shared an excerpt from Chapter 1. It continues here:

Downstairs, a door closed. Jenny clutched the blanket. Imagination be damned. She was not alone.

For a long moment, she sat frozen. During her ten years in New York City, she had never been burglarized or mugged. It seemed impossible that such a thing should happen now, here, in an off-season art camp five miles outside of Jemez Springs, New Mexico.

Maybe it was someone her grandmother knew. But what were they doing there in the middle of the night? And if they’d come to see Jenny, they should have knocked, rung the bell. Waited for morning. Anyway, who knew she was there? Even Ms. Lucena didn’t know when she was supposed to arrive. She hadn’t told anyone her travel plans; she’d just gone.

She had to do something. Jenny rose and eased open the bedroom door, praying she had somehow been mistaken, that everything would make sense if… when…. She couldn’t imagine a benign explanation.

She stood with her ear to the crack and heard a low chuckle, and then a male voice. She couldn’t tell if the laugh and the voice were the same person. Either way, that suggested two or more people, at least one of them male.

Why would a man be laughing in her grandmother’s house, in the middle of the night, two days after her grandmother’s death? No good reason came to mind.

She fumbled for her phone on the bedside stand. But even before she activated the screen, she gave a frustrated grunt. She wouldn’t get reception here. The only place in camp that got cell phone reception was the southeast corner of the parking lot. The landline was downstairs, in the kitchen.

 Counterfeits is in the
Moonlight and Mystery
Readers' Choice Contest.

Vote for your favorite for a
chance at a $100 prize!
Something crashed in a room below. Jenny jumped and dropped her phone. It hit her thigh, then her foot, and went skittering under the bed with a faint scrape against the wood floor.

A man was swearing downstairs. Hopefully that had covered up any sound she’d made. Jenny clenched her hands to control the trembling. She couldn’t imagine her grandmother being friendly with anyone who swore like that.

She had to get out of the house. She wouldn’t wait upstairs for the burglars, if that’s what they were, to find her. If she could get to her car – damn. Her keys were in her purse, which was downstairs on the living room couch. So she couldn’t drive, but she could still go to the Lodge, break in if she had to. Use the phone in the office, call the police.

Still shaking, Jenny crouched and felt along the floor for her shoes. She was wearing flannel pajama bottoms and a tank top; no need to waste time putting on clothes. She was already cold, but her jacket was downstairs, lying over her purse on the couch. It didn’t matter. She just had to get out.

Jenny slipped from the room and down the hall. She paused at the top of the stairs, which were open to the living room on one side. She had to figure out where the intruders were, so she didn’t walk right into their arms. She stood taut, senses straining.

A screech sounded, maybe a chair leg on tile, and then kitchen cabinets clattered open and closed. The kitchen was as far away as they could get from the front door. But were they both – or all, if there were more than two – back there?

What choice did she have? If they kept going through the house, eventually they would find her. She refused to think about what that might mean. She had to get out.


Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In The Skeleton Canyon Treasure, sparks fly when reader favorites Camie and Tiger help a mysterious man track down his missing uncle.

Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon pageSign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.


Monday, April 2, 2018

#EggcerptExchange for The Heist by Adriana Kraft #MFRWAuthor #RomanticSuspense

A heist? A murder? It’s villain’s choice.

A special-order art theft? Tedious, but seamless – until small town museum director Kara Daniels calls in the experts. Furious her favorite trio of priceless impressionist paintings has been stolen from its traveling exhibit on her watch, Kara is determined to save not only the paintings, but her future in the art world. She’ll stop at nothing to entrap the thief.

Ted Springs knows the underbelly of the criminal world a little closer than he might like—but he’s turned it to good advantage, first as a police officer, and now as detective for the Upper Midwest Arts Council. His job? To guarantee the security of the valuable paintings in the Council’s traveling exhibits.

Heat sizzles when Ted and Kara collide—can they work together, before it’s too late?

BUY LINKS

EXCERPT

Holding her breath, Kara examined the three paintings with great care. Exhaling, she used an eyepiece to study the artist signature, the composition of the work, and the layers of paint. She did her best to ignore the short, wiry man hovering about.

He’d introduced himself merely as Henri. That probably wasn’t his name. His heavily accented English suggested Eastern European roots. It was unlikely he was a resident of Thun. Ted had handled the introductions, following up on previous telephone calls to arrange the meeting and making clear that as representatives of the Art Council, they were only interested in retrieving the paintings. There would be no questions about how the works had come to be in Henri’s possession. Both men had been surprisingly gracious. If she didn’t know better, she would never guess that one was a detective and the other part of the criminal element.

Henri hardly projected the stereotypical image of the criminal she’d developed over the years. There were no threatening postures or words. She doubted he was armed. Neither was Ted. But the little man was extremely cautious. He’d only spoken of the paintings in cryptic terms, as if he were concerned she or Ted might be wired. Since they’d come to Henri’s hotel room, he should be confident about its security. Although the man looked harmless enough, the possibility of back-up loomed large. Ted had warned her not to say more than she had to and that they would likely be watched by others.

Trying to set aside the oddities of their meeting, Kara focused on her task. The paintings were good—excellent, actually. When Henri had first pulled the cloths off them, her heart had fluttered. They were as stunning as they had been when she’d first seen them at the museum.

REVIEWS

Five stars at Goodreads: “The sex is hot and I loved the phone sex scenes. Never did I expect the ending. It was brilliant. The Heist is a winner!” Sheila G.

Five stars at Amazon: “From the start, the perspective of Kara, the museum’s director and the thieves are cleverly interwoven…  rich in detail…   held my interest and kept me reading forward.” Gaele  “Very hot…engaging, entertaining, funny and serious, well written and extremely enjoyable to read.” Donna H.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adriana Kraft is a married couple writing Sizzling Romantic Suspense and Erotic Romance for Two, Three, or More. Whether readers open our romantic suspense or our erotic romance, they can expect characters they care about, hot sex scenes, and a compelling story. Our suspense stories deliver one man, one woman, danger and intrigue. Our erotic romance is edgier and nearly always includes ménage or polyamory, sometimes with two women and a man, sometimes with two (or more) couples.

One man, one woman, danger and intrigue – always a happy ending, but oh, what a ride! Readers can count on our Romantic Suspense line for “warmth, blazing hot sex, and well-developed characters” (Romance Junkies Reviews) as our hero and heroine battle outer threats and inner demons to stay alive and fall in love.

Together we have published more than forty romance novels and novellas to outstanding reviews. We love hearing from readers at adrianakraft99@yahoo.com, and here is our website: When It’s Timeto Heat Things Up

SOCIAL MEDIA