Private investigators Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan are hired to succeed where the police have failed, to safely return home a missing ballerina. With no lead to pursue and no idea who could be behind the young woman’s kidnapping, they soon find themselves at a loss as to what to do.
To make matters worse, the heart of England seems to be caught in the middle of a little Ice Age. With snow endlessly falling and Tube lines either too cramped up to use or out of service, it is a pain to do any legwork in the huge metropolis.
Oh, and because trouble never comes alone, there may also be a serial killer on the loose in the streets of East London…
‘Stay here,’ I whisper to Egan, before moving back to the train tracks. I take two steps in the darkness to get away from my partner’s hideout, before flicking my torch back on.
The boys’ light is quick to narrow on me. ‘Whozthere?’ one demands.
‘Hi guys,’ I reply, as kindly as I can. I show them my empty hands as I keep walking in their direction. ‘I’m not a cop, don’t worry.’
‘Whatcha doing here?’ baseball cap asks.
I decide to tell them the truth, hoping curiosity will be enough to keep them from running away. ‘I’m a private investigator. I’m looking for a man. We believe he may have used these old tunnels to escape a crime scene.’
‘Really?’ the kid asks again. ‘A PI, like on the telly?’
Not really, no. Sadly, my life is nothing like what Hollywood makes it look like. ‘Yes,’ I lie. ‘Just like in the movies.’
‘Do you have a gun?’ the guy with the metal bar asks.
My eyes narrow on him as I pay good attention to his posture and the way he now holds the bar with both hands. I’m being plain, I know, but I want him to realise his move wasn’t subtle enough for me. ‘Yes, and a taser.’ None of it is true, but I square my shoulders and continue with my bluff. ‘Trust me; you don’t want me to use either on you.’
Both kids look at each other nervously. ‘Don’t worry, boys; I don’t intend to.’ I smile at them again, a wide smile. They’re teenagers, I’m a woman; I don’t need any weapon, after all. ‘I only want to know if you’ve seen anyone weird down here.’
‘B’sides you, ya mean?’ baseball cap asks. I flash him my most charming smile in reply.
‘No one,’ his friend answers. ‘But we don’t come here very often. Only when our mum’s too busy to take us to Dad’s herself. It’s a shorter walk down here than up there.’
I had no idea the two teens were related. Now that I’m paying closer attention, I notice similarities in the hard angles of the jawlines and the sharpness of the cheeks.
‘Do you know if anyone else uses these tracks?’ I ask.
‘There’s some tramps,’ baseball cap says. ‘They’re staying in the curve, but we never go there.’
‘No one else?’ I ask.
An Author’s Journey Through Reading to Writing
Meet Cristelle Comby
1. When did you start reading?
As I child. You’d have to ask my mum for the exact year.
2. What was the first book you remember reading? What was the first book that had a real ‘wow’ factor for you?
I can’t really remember the first kids book I had. I know there were some Martine, Tintin and Asterix when I was really young, then a bunch of the Famous Five and the likes. The first one who had a real impact on me though was Stephen King’s It. That’s because I picked it up when I was ten and I found it quite horrific.
3. What attracted you to or got you started reading?
I love reading. It’s a great way to escape the monotony of real life.
4. What genres (topics) have you read? Was there any progression to the genres you’ve read over the years? Did you start in one genre and then discover others the older you got? i.e. scifi and then romance, then paranormal, then espionage….
I read a lot of detective stories when I was younger. Since adulthood, I got more into science-fiction and heroic fantasy, and I’m a sucker for a good urban fantasy novel with dark humor.
5. Who are your favorite authors today? What types of books do you like to read today?
Jim Butcher is number one. I love his Dresden Files series. I also like Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series, and Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles series.
6. What do you like in a story? What does it have to have to grab you?
Multi-layered characters, some humor, an interesting plot, and a fast pace.
7. What got you started with writing? And how long have you been writing?
I’ve always loved writing. I was already good at it at school. As a teenager I discovered the world of fanfiction, dabbled in it a bit. I finally found the courage to write ‘a real book’ a few years ago. I haven’t stopped since.
8. What do you like to write about?
Characters are always at the heart of my stories. It starts with them: who they are, how they’re going to evolve, what they will become. Then I shape a story around them.
9. What are you currently working on?
The fourth book in the Neve & Egan series, Blind Chess. It’s a direct continuation of Danse Macabre.
10. What inspired the plot for your current novel?
The dancing aspect was appealing. I’ve always been in awe with dancers, ballerinas especially. There’s such grace to their movements. I’m happy to have been able to incorporate some of these elements in this book. Also, I’d been dying to write a serial killer story for awhile.
11. Anything else you’d like to share?
I just hope you guys will enjoy this book. And if you did, please spread the word.
Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides.
Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent.
She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.
Danse Macabre is her third new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the Neve & Egan series.
It has been eighty-three years since the walls between Earth and Infernus fell, and now our world stands upon the razor’s edge of extinction. Demon platoons are marching upon us. My home, one of humanity’s last bastions of existence, is under siege.
My name is Alana Devereaux. I am the resident demon detector of Cantati Forces and Platoon Commander. My job is to hunt down the vermin unleashed upon my world, and I love it. I live for the day I can kick every last demon’s ass out of this world. Except as enemy forces reign down terror upon us, the Densare Council sentences me to a fate worse than death.
He held up a hand. Pulled his chair out, turned it around and straddled it.
“But I will follow the orders of the Council. You belong to me. I won’t be cruel or force you tonight. I will give you today to become familiar with me before we consummate our union. I have a mission within the hour, but will visit you tomorrow evening. I will start visiting your room each night at an arranged time depending upon my mission schedule.” It didn’t sound like he liked that little tidbit, that he would be forced to come to my room. Except, the Council had decreed that women were to live below ground as a means of protection. So what he wanted didn’t matter. He still got to bed the General’s daughter, just not on his own terms.
Although, the fact that he had given me an extra night of freedom was more than I had expected from him. Maybe I could, if not feel something for him, at least be less opposed to being with him.
“Cade, I don’t mean to be difficult. I don’t like that my choice was taken from me. We are both platoon leaders and used to making our own decisions, other than what General O’Hare dictates.”
Could he understand my side at least? Then maybe I wouldn’t feel like I was standing before a firing squad.
“I won’t say I’m displeased. You are one hell of a warrior, and the offspring we will make together will be something fierce. It would help, though, if you didn’t look like you’d just swallowed an explosive.” He meant it. His deep voice rumbled as his gaze roamed over me, stopping ever so briefly at my chest and juncture of my thighs before returning his smoldering stare to my face. There was no way this man would allow me to lie there, unresponsive, while he did his thing. He would make me be present, would not accept any wooden responses, and would do his damnedest to make sure any walls I had built were waylaid into dust.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Bestselling Author Maggie Mae Gallagher doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing. When she was a kid she acted out her favorite scenes, only better, with her brother and cousin. As a teenager, she wrote reams of poetry, but realized her true love lay with creating characters and stories. A former music and history major, Maggie is a total geek at her core. When she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with her two furry felines.
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/maggiegallagher
Ruptured Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble http://goo.gl/MmkGSf
A four hundred year quest for a mysterious lost treasure; bloodthirsty Pirates; plundering Conquistadors; noble Indians; and a sinister and secret religious Order are the tantalizing ingredients stirred together in the turbulent, steamy, and exotic Spanish Main, of yesterday and today.
To the rhythmic background of classic R&B soul music, Harry Carlton and his new love Helen are unexpectedly thrust into a violent encounter with ruthless and malevolent forces and a rogue’s gallery of dastardly villains. These two, near their fifties, are not kindly white-haired grandparents ready to sit sedately in rocking chairs. Instead, they confront danger with bravery, and battle dishonesty and injustice with valor. They discover a priceless, lost artifact treasure of the ancient Indians of South and Central America. In the struggle to return the treasure to its rightful owners, they must outwit the assortment of murderous villains, and stay alive.
From the lead canoe a man stood and flat-dived into the shallow water. With powerful strokes he swam toward the girl.
Crimson blood stained the agitated brown water where the jaws of a six-foot alligator clamped down on the girl’s arm.
“Mother,” she shrieked.
“Oh my daughter. Someone help.”
The reptile started its death spin just as the man grabbed it from behind. A handmade Bowie knife materialized in his hand. He plunged the eleven-inch blade into the creature’s belly.
Bright red blood gushed.
The man tightened his grip, and rammed the lethal blade into the gator once more.
More blood sprayed. The reptile’s tail lashed in a violent side-to-side motion and the man lost his grip.
With a spin, the gator dragged the girl under.
“Oh my Rachel,” wailed the girl’s mother. “Please help her.”
The man dove after the girl.
In the canoes, the tourists sat transfixed by the spectacle of horror.
The man erupted from the water holding the reptile, the girl in its jaws. He drove his bloody knife into the creature again and again.
Blood spurted, but the creature lashed its tail in a lethal snap.
“Ayee,” yelled one of the guides as he lunged into the churning, bloody water brandishing his Natchez Bowie knife. With both hands, he slammed the twelve inch blade into the creature’s brain.
The beast disappeared underwater, taking the man and the girl with it.
The canoe passengers searched the water frantically, but no movement stirred the bloody, silt-brown water. Seconds passed. Nothing.
H.F. earned double finalist honors in 2011 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Awards. Born and raised in the northeastern United States, he’s lived in the south, southwest, and mid-west of the US, as well as Asia, Australia, and Europe. A student of traditional Chinese martial arts for the last sixteen years, he practices daily. After forty years as a successful, international architectural interior designer of offices and hotels, he sought a new creative outlet.
In a turbulent time of global conflict, he seeks to be an ardent voice of reason speaking against illogic and the darkness of injustice, violence, and hatred pursued by the irrational and fanatic zealot faithful, worldwide.
An Objectivist, his novels reflect his commitment to logical thinking and the right of free people to rationally choose a destiny in their own best self-interests. He enjoys spinning outrageous tales based on his fertile imagination and real life experiences. Married, he lives with his wife in Florida. Currently projects are two novel series: an Epic Fantasy and an Action/Adventure. Also in the works are sci-fi novels and short stories.
Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/dpB00MZDS60Q
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Forget what you think you know. How well do you really know your neighbors or fellow workers? Do you trust your boss? What about politicians? The fabric of our society is under attack. Our way of life, our livelihood, our very existence is under full assault. No one even realizes that it’s happening. Disguised as horrible natural disasters on the news, the world is caught unsuspecting as events draw us ever nearer to extinction. As “natural disasters” escalate and tensions between nations mount, one man hears a whisper. It has begun . . .
He motioned his hand in a sideways circle. “What is it? What’s the master plan?”
She whispered, “Death. A lot of death. We’ve passed a world population of seven billion and they figure they could only feasibly control a race of two billion. Clark, they aim to kill five billion people. Five billion!”
“Oh my . . . five . . .” Clark staggered backward a few steps and sat down on the beach. “How . . . how do they plan to do it? How could such a thing even be done without a massive weapon? How could they manipulate us into killing five billion of our own . . . ?”
She sat down next to him and leaned her head on his shoulder. “It’s the food, the food. The MRE packets that are being shipped around the world. They’ve placed alien microbes into each one. After roughly eighteen hours in a person’s system, the microbes disintegrate the body from within. A person would turn into a pile of dust just like with their ray guns, only they don’t have to take the time to shoot everyone, they just offer billions of people free food.”
“That’s sounds like a horrible way to die.”
Sarina started crying openly. “That would be extremely painful. Can’t imagine what it would feel like to slowly turn to dust.”
Clark gasped. “Oh no, I saw it on the news. The first shipments have already arrived in Africa and Asia. The news showed video of packets being delivered to starving people already.”
David Englund is a storyteller (science fiction author) and teaches economics at North Dakota State University. His first three titles, Upsetting the Tides, UNSEASONAL WAR, and Camouflaged Encounters are available on Amazon. Camouflaged Mischief is in progress.
In a world where cities float, airships sail the skies and mythical creatures are summoned in a pinch, Celes Vale is distinctly average. Living in the shadow of his talented cousin and his powerful aunt and uncle, Celes is resigned to a future of soot, factories and well, more soot.
But on the night of his twelfth birthday everything changes. A blinding light, a whispered voice and in an instant Celes becomes the first ordinary child in history to develop magic, sending him on a fast-track ticket to the greatest of the floating cities, Gardarel. Boasting grand, elegant buildings wrought from shimmering white stone, the entire city appears as though it has been built from light, and so it has come to be called the Kingdom Lights.
Though some welcome Celes, others want the dirt-ridden up-start off their city preferably head first. Nowhere is this clearer than in the attitude and actions of the beautiful and haughty Lady Ban and her sneering nephew, Marcus Blackwood. But Blackwood, with his gang of goons and unimaginative one-liners, is soon the least of Celes s problems.
With a little magic and a lot of detective work, Celes and his group of Scurriers and Wisps unravel the dark truth behind Lady Ban s prim, perfect smile an alliance to the villainous Wardens and the masked man who leads them. However, in his attempt to expose Lady Ban, Celes unwittingly stumbles onto an even darker conspiracy a plan that could lead to the complete destruction of Gardarel itself.
Light. Beautiful, pulsing, bathing him in its emerald glow…his eyes were peering open now, his mind fumbling for thoughts and memories, a taste like metal upon his tongue.
“Are you hurt?” said a voice, faint, distant. “I didn’t want to hurt you, but I didn’t have a choice.”
“Choice?” the boy croaked. He tried to reach up, but his hands had been bound, thick ropes cutting into soft flesh. I’m back in the Gravity Rooms, he realized, though the chamber itself had been transformed entirely. The emerald light now dripped with the crimson of hundreds of Flare Crystals, as though an angry swarm had surged forth against a far larger beast.
“I know why you’re here, but I…you can’t stop this.” As his eyes began to focus, Celes saw the Warden standing before him, draped in a white cloak, his iron mask half-hidden beneath his hood. It was strange, so strange to find the spectre amongst shadows for once illuminated.
“You can’t,” said Celes his lips cracked, his thoughts dizzy. What’s…my head, I can’t think… “You can’t destroy Gardarel. Please. I know you’re working for Lady Ban. You don’t…you don’t have to do this!”
The Warden took a knee before him. “I do,” came the whispered reply, soft and sad. “They made their choice; and I, mine.”
Ideal writing space
I think that when it comes to my ideal writing space, the definition has certainly changed over the years. When I first started writing I was actually in Cuba. After my third year at medical school, we all had to go on something called an elective and myself and a few friends of mine went out there. I had this real piece of crap laptop and I would write pretty much wherever I could.
I was like this for a long time, content to literally write wherever I could plonk myself down!
These day I like a little more stability and to that end my favorite place to write is my parent’s house. I live in a coastal town called Hastings in the South of England. My parents have a really beautiful house, and during the summer the living room is very warm, as it’s right next to the conservatory. You can hear the pond trickling outside as the living fills with light and it is just the most peaceful place in the world.
During the summer holidays my parents would be out at work and I’d have the place to myself at least for a few hours. That’s my idea place to write.
Though of course these days I don’t get to go home so much. I think now my ideal writing place would just be anywhere I could sit and write, (with easy access to junk food!) where I know I won’t be disturbed for a good few hours!
A resident of the sleepy coastal town of Bexhill, East Sussex, England. Steven graduated in the summer of 2013 from the University of Southampton with a Bachelor of Medicine Degree and a Master’s Degree in Global Health from Sussex University – where he spent the majority of his time in Shawcross writing this novel!
In between writing and dreaming Steven is a medical doctor and has worked at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and the Princess Royal where he fights the system with quirky lanyards.
Steven’s debut novel steampunk fantasy The Kingdom Lights is out on October 17th published by Neverland Publishing.
1955 ~ Father Theo Riley never wanted to be a priest, nor a killer. The former boxing champion and Korean War veteran gave up more than a career when he went into the Army. He lost the only thing he ever wanted: his love, Andréa Bouvre. Friends thought Theo entered the priesthood to mend his broken heart or atone for the massacred orphans he couldn’t save in Korea.
However, the truth is much darker and more damning, tied to a blood debt and family secret that has haunted Theo since he was a boy. He drinks to forget he ever had a life of his own—waits for death, prays for mercy, and hopes for a miracle. He gets all three when a child goes missing, another shows up on his doorstep, and the love of his life drives back into his world; the seaside hamlet of Manzanita Oregon.
Theo’s dream reunion with Andréa becomes a nightmare when a serial killer who considers himself a holy man targets the town and everyone Theo loves. Drinking days decidedly behind him, Theo and some old warriors set out to send evil back to hell and a few good souls to heaven in RETURN TO SENDER.
It rained hard the night we evacuated the children from their orphanage, harder than I’d seen, even on the Oregon Coast. The smell of wet dirt, trees, and napalm. That’s the smell I remembered most, the chemical and petroleum of burning napalm. We scrambled with the kids up Korea’s dominating T’aebaek Mountain—the mountain was nearly the same height as Neahkahnie but had limestone caves tunneled deep within. Massive stalagmites hung heavy throughout the corridors. Ancient bamboo-roped bridges built across chasms linked the vast rooms of the caves to one another. It was otherworldly. But the surviving nun knew the place, the Karst Caves, and said we’d be safe. Water spouted from innumerable cracks and seeps; the sound of rain and falling water was everywhere.
We clawed our way up the hills and out of the valley of death. The CCF had entered the war that week and were as ubiquitous as the rain. The NK were ruthless and bloodthirsty and wanted those kids—and now us—dead. The kids and dedicated nun were too vulnerable for us to abandon for slaughter, so we, my buddy Lieutenant Peters and me, abandoned our orders instead.
The Last White Wolf
By Mindy Halleck
Return To Sender takes place in the Manzanita Oregon of the 1950’s & 60’s when my family spent time there. It was our escape. Then there were maybe 60 full time residents, who in the book I call Rounders, which is what the Nehalem Indians called the ‘year-round-people’. I met what I was told were two of the last living Nehalem Indians there, as a child, absorbing the culture of that secretive and evolving coastal town into my DNA.
In retrospect, I have worked on this story since the last night I spent with my family in Manzanita, on top of Neahkahnie Mountain in a cabin. It was midnight, I stepped outside to gaze at the moonlight that shimmered across the Pacific Ocean when I heard the elusive white wolf that an old Nehalem Indian had previously told me about. Then I saw that wolf on the rocks above our cabin. He howled into the night, then climbed down the rocks and entered our yard where he stood at the edge and narrowed his eyes on me. I froze with fear, but then felt his weary spirit and knew he was not a threat, but a messenger, as the old Nehalem had said he would be. That wolf looked at me for a long time, then hung his head, turned and walked away. The seeds for this story were planted then and there. That was 1972. My family fell completely apart after that, that wolf, the messenger harkened in a new era in my life, but he knew, like the old Nehalem man had also said, that I’d return someday. That cabin, the old Indian, and his wolf are essential characters in Return To Sender.
To my knowledge there are no longer wolves roaming Neahkahnie Mountain, and it’s said there haven’t been since the 1940’s, but I saw one that night. The next day there was talk in town of two chickens missing from a pen. Was it his last meal? I’ve often wondered if he was the last wolf, that was his last kill, and I was the last recipient of his otherworldly message. Either way, he has a prominent role in Return To Sender as Solomon’s spirit guide and as an ethereal presence in the story as he has been in my life.
Mindy Halleck is a Pacific Northwest author, blogger and writing instructor. Her short story, The Sound of Rain, which placed in the Writer’s Digest Literary Contest blossomed into her first novel Return to Sender. Halleck blogs at Literary Liaisons and is an active member of the Pacific Northwest writing community. In addition to being a writer, Halleck is a happily married, globe-trotting beachcomber, antiquer, gardener, proud grandma, and three-time cancer survivor. http://www.MindyHalleck.com
Mindy’s Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Mindy-Sitton-Halleck/e/B004W4LK90/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/+MindyHalleck/posts
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Someone is methodically killing past members of The Consortium, a defunct group of ruthless businessmen who made their fortunes buying and selling prime Las Vegas real estate during the era that saw the beginnings of the mega casino and luxury hotels. Homicide Detective, Kennedy O’Brien, and her temporary partner, Reno Homicide Detective Hunt, race to stop a deranged predator who claims a new victim every forty-eight hours. The killer drugs his victims, slashes their wrists, and leaves a playing card with the body. As the clock continues to tick, the search for clues seems easy—too easy Kennedy suspects.
While chasing the killer, Kennedy must also try to control hotheaded Detective Hunt, who is hell-bent on finding out who killed the first victim—his best friend’s father. At the same time, she has to deal with a jealous Nick Campenelli, whom she may or may not be in a relationship with. Nick is unhappy with Kennedy spending so much time in close contact with the very smitten, Detective Hunt. Tossed into the mix are her retired cop grandfather, her self-appointed personal domestic slave, Elvis, and a boss who is demanding answers.
Is it any wonder that Kennedy doesn’t do relationships?
Enjoy an excerpt:
Kennedy stared at a painting of Elvis…the real Elvis, in all his glory, and wearing one of his famous rhinestone jumpsuits. The King held a microphone still attached to the stand in one hand, and a scarf in the other. It was a painting of Elvis on a black velvet canvas, and God help her, there was an electrical cord hanging from the frame.
“So…is this not the coolest gift you’ve ever received?I thought having the King hanging around—no pun intended—might cheer you up. I don’t mind telling you, I took this work of art off my living room wall. Shows you how far I’ll go for a friend.” Elvis took the monstrosity out of her hands, removed her six hundred dollar original print of the Grand Canyon from the wall, and hung the King in its place.
Kennedy’s mouth dropped open, and for the life of her, she couldn’t get it to close. Elvis plugged in the dangling cord and the rhinestones on the jumpsuit Elvis wore on the canvas lit uplike the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. The flashing lights set against the black velvet background, rivaled the neon signs and lights of the Vegas Strip.
Elvis stepped back, his eyes full of admiration and pride. “Well, what do you think?”
“I’m speechless, Elvis. Truly speechless.”
“I knew you’d be touched. This baby’s loaded with ninety-four LED lights capable of twinkling in double time or used as chasers. You pick the settings. This great piece of art was the inspiration for my own twinkling costumes.”
“I can see the resemblance.” She fought to keep a straight face.
Elvis sighed deeply.
“But…but…honestly? I can’t accept the gift. It belongs on your walls, twinkling in all its glory. I’d be selfish depriving you of the King.”
He held up his hands, shook his over-hair-sprayed Elvis head of hair with a dramatic flair. “No. I insist. This will cheer you up.”
“Let’s just say I’m borrowing Elvis until I get back to working full swing. I’ll be back to my old happy self by then.”
“If you insist. I’m warning you, though, once you’ve had Elvis hanging on your wall, you won’t be able to part with him. Believe me, the separation is painful.” He held a hand over his heart.
Was that a tear in his eye?
“We’ll cross that bridge later. For now, thank you for the gift. It’s…ah…truly unique. And big. And twinkly. I’ve never seen anything quite so—unique.”
Hopefully, she’d never see anything like it again.
About the Author:
Now she spends her days turning her ideas into books. She lives in Marietta, GA with her husband.