Tag Archives: Melanie Atkins

AgainstAllOddsCoverArt72dpiThe third book in my trilogy, Against All Odds, is now available at many online venues. The first two books are Blood Bound and Above Suspicion. I’ve had a blast writing these three suspenseful books set in New Orleans.

Blurb:

Sienna Wright has it all: an exciting career, a handsome husband who is an ADA, and two beautiful step-children… until a vicious murderer takes all away and sends her tumbling into a terrifying black abyss.

Detective Nate Lincoln’s job is his life, and he jumps at the chance to reclaim his gun and badge once the department reinstates him after a long suspension. His first order of business is to solve the murders of Jeff Wright and his two children, a case that fell through the cracks.

Still shell-shocked after nearly a year, Sienna at first refuses to help Nate. Then someone tries to kill her, and in order to survive, she is forced to break free of her quagmire of depression and trust the man she once loved. Nate isn’t sure he can solve the case, and yet he has to try. He would do anything for Sienna, even if she refuses to admit she still loves him.

Excerpt:

“What else did the major say? We caught a case?”

“Yeah, a cold one. The murdered ADA — Jeff Wright. Remember that one?” Nate settled back in his seat and filled Jack in on the blood-soaked crime scene at the Wright’s upscale home as he negotiated the light Sunday traffic. “Our unit apparently hit a brick wall while I was gone, so Solomon handed it off to Cold Case — a colossal mistake, if there ever was one, because those guys sat around with their thumb up their asses, apparently. LeBlanc said Wright’s wife’s been calling headquarters at least twice a week for the past month, raisin’ hell about it.”

“Wait a minute.” Jack scowled. “I know Sienna. Didn’t you two date before she married Jeff?”

“Yeah, I was still seeing her when she met the bastard.” Nate gritted his teeth at the painful memory. He didn’t like to think about that depressing time in his life. He used to drink and party way too much. “She dated both of us for a while and picked him. Said she wanted someone steadier. Swore I was a bad influence.”

“Whoa.” Jack lifted his eyebrows. “That was cruel, man.”

“What can I say? She was right. And it was for the best, ’cause she loved Jeff.” Nate shook his head. “He made her happy. Two kids — a ready-made family — and a big, fancy house. He gave her a comfortable life. More than I could’ve ever given her. I didn’t have a pot to piss in, much less any kids.”

“Still, her choosing him must’ve gutted you.”

“Yeah, but not as much as losing Jeff and those kids did her. LeBlanc said she had a breakdown after the funeral and moved to Birmingham to live with her aunt. She’s still in Alabama, but right now she’s on the warpath with the DA and has threatened to sue the city ’cause we didn’t close the damned case. So the Major Crimes Section Commander turned it back over to us. He wants us to solve it yesterday.”

“You’d better talk to Solomon, find out why he tossed it to Cold Case.”

“Believe me, I will. I want to know why he gave up on it and has since refused to return Sienna’s phone calls.”

“Not a smart move. Give him my regards,” Jack said with a wry smile as he swung the sedan into the parking garage adjacent to the station.

Nate growled in response, but didn’t voice his true feelings about the case or Sienna. She’d broken his heart when she’d blown him off in favor of Wright, but he didn’t want Jack to know. All he needed was the facts. Sienna, a beautiful, headstrong woman, had been a popular reporter for the Times Picayune, yet she’d crumbled the night Jeff and kids had died. So much so, her doctor had hospitalized her after the funeral and kept her there until he’d found a family member willing to take care of her. Two days later, Sienna left Louisiana for Birmingham, Alabama. Nate had no idea how she was doing now but figured he ought to pay her a visit, even though it was the last thing he wanted to do.

“Save me from old girlfriends,” he muttered as he banged out of the car. He hated confrontations with women, thanks to his dealings with his own mother and the crappy way he’d ended his relationship with Sienna. Showing up drunk at her wedding had been the icing on the cake.

The pain of that day still gnawed at his soul.

Jack rounded the hood and clapped him on the back. “Talk to LeBlanc. He’s new, but he can probably unearth a lead or two for you. Something to help break the ice with Sienna.”

“Doesn’t sound like it.” Nate entered the squad room, lowered himself wearily into his chair, and tried to call the Cold Case detective, Alfred Lutz.

No luck. Lutz was out sick and didn’t answer either of his personal phones, home or cell.

Buy links:

Desert Breeze — http://bit.ly/1dw5NYc
Amazon — http://amzn.to/1gD0ZRa
BN — http://bit.ly/1gqZhRY

Hope you’ll check it out!

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Trained to Kill… a new Keller County Cops book

TrainedToKillCoverArt72dpi__33274.1367097035.1280.1280The sixth book in my Keller County Cops series, Trained to Kill, is out… and I’m so excited. I just finished writing the seventh and final book, Code of Vengeance, so I have one more to go in this series. COV will come out this fall.

Trained to Kill is available at Desert Breeze Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and many other online outlets.

Blurb for Trained to Kill:

Keller County precision marksman Cadence Holly, a member of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, believes she doesn’t have anything to prove to her new unit because her she’s good at what she does. Detective Brody Remington, a former military sniper, along with the rest of their unit, disagrees. Brody spends most of his time berating Cadence, until she proves him wrong by taking a shot he can’t make.

Brody regrets the way he’s treated Cadence. As he struggles to get back into her good graces, Eugene Dunham, a man seeking revenge for his brother’s arrest and subsequent murder, targets Brody. Once Dunham realizes Brody and Cadence have formed a bond, he sets his sights on Cadence, setting up a frightening game of cat and mouse that can end only one way. Will Brody get to her in time?

Excerpt:

“Well, turn me over and paint me blue. I know we’re short on qualified shooters, but the sheriff’s really scraping the bottom of the barrel if he sent you to sniper school.”

“Excuse me? What did you just say?” Cadence spun to glower at Brody Remington, a veteran of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team — better known as SERT — who’d made detective less than a month before. He was right about the department. Budget cuts had prevented the sheriff from sending more than two or three applicants to the state training academy for specialized training, but who was he to pass judgment on her just because she was new? Seven days immersed in shooting and tactics might not seem like much, but she’d finished at the top of her class, and she had shot competitively for years before that.

He shrugged. “You heard me.”

“Maybe I did.” She crossed her arms. “Except I’d hoped I was imagining things.”

“‘Fraid not.” His expression darkened. “A girl on the Emergency Response Team? Give me a break. We need somebody who can do the job, not some chick we have to babysit.”

“Wipe that thought right out of your brain, you jerk. I might not have any on-the-job experience yet, but I can shoot. Just watch me.”

“That one-week class Blaylock sent you to is worthless. I have military experience.”

“Big freaking deal. I’m just as qualified as you are to be in this unit.” Wishing she could slice him in two, she narrowed her eyes. “You might be the youngest cop in Keller County to ever make detective, and you might have a military background — hell, you might even be able to walk on water — but that doesn’t make you special.”

“Last time I looked, you were still riding a beat.”

“So what? I do my job.” She fired him a heated glower and clenched her fists. “And with SERT, rank doesn’t matter. Detectives, patrol — we’re all the same. You know that. We just have to be able to perform at a moment’s notice, in addition to our regular duties. So far, so good.”

“Yeah? You’ve been a member of our team for what? Two weeks?” Disdain radiated from his ice blue eyes. “We’ve had one callout — a hostage situation the bomb squad solved without our help.”

“True, but trust me… I can do whatever the captain needs me to do. Maybe better than you.” Sick of defending herself, she backed down. Explanations never worked with Neanderthals like him. She’d run into enough of them in her short career to know that, so why’d she even bother to try? She shot him a disgusted look. “Guess you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?”

“Probably won’t have to wait too long to see you screw up.”

“Get out of my face, Brody Remington.” Barely resisting the urge to slap him, she turned on her heel and stalked away. Her whole body vibrated with anger. Why had he judged her before giving her a chance to prove herself? Was that fair? Hell, no.

Cadence turned the corner and ran smack into Captain Pellerin. Their shoulders collided, and only a swift sidestep kept her from cracking her forehead against his square chin.

She emitted a surprised gasp.

“Whoa.” He caught her arm. “Where’s the fire, Holley?”

“Nowhere, Captain.” She did her best to shuck the cloak of fury that had enveloped her while she’d talked to Brody. Wouldn’t do to come off as belligerent in front of her new SERT unit leader. “Just eager to get in some practice before I go home. I’m heading to the range.”

“You’re working too hard, young lady.” He dropped his hand and frowned. “No need to prove yourself to me. I know you can do your job.”

“Well, apparently you’re the only one.” She forced a smile she didn’t feel. “Don’t worry, sir. I won’t be long. I feel an order of Chinese food calling my name.”

Pellerin chuckled. “Sounds like a good meal for a Friday night. Take it easy, Deputy.”

“Will do, sir.” She gave him a little salute, and then turned and hurried down the hallway to the locker room next to the department’s indoor firing range. She kept her equipment there but used the bathroom across the hall whenever she needed to change. That didn’t happen often, but she still resented the sex discrimination that ran rampant in Keller County.

http://www.melanieatkins.com

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New book out today!

My full length romantic thriller, BLOOD BOUND, is out today at Desert Breeze Publishing. This is the first book in a trilogy set in The Big Easy. I had a blast writing these books, and I’m just a little bit in love with Sam, the hero of this one. You can read more about this book below and on the DBP website and Amazon. It’s also up at B & N and other online outlets. And be sure to check out my app up at iTunes and in the Android market.

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Blurb:

Fueled by grief after his fiancée is brutally murdered, Detective Sam Walker focuses on finding her killer — a calculating predator who binds books with human skin.  Dani Barrington, the newest member of NOPD’s Victim and Witness Assistance Unit and a survivor of another frightening attack, helps him discover the terrifying link between the monster’s known victims.  Despite his anguish, Sam is struck by Dani’s strength and determination, especially when her inquisitive  nature makes her the killer’s next target.  He must find a way to protect her or risk losing the one woman who can bring his dead heart back to life.

Excerpt:

Kristen was gone.

She wasn’t at work. She wasn’t at home. She hadn’t gone out to run an errand. She had simply… vanished.

New Orleans Detective Sam Walker stood in the center of his fiancée’s cluttered bedroom and struggled to piece together the timeline of her disappearance. Last night they were supposed to meet for dinner, but he’d caught a case. They’d talked on the phone around eleven, and he’d asked her to meet him for lunch today.

He hadn’t spoken to her since.

She was supposed to arrive at the Victim and Witness Assistance Unit for work at nine a.m., but never made it. One of her co-workers had called him about ten o’clock. He’d tried Kristen again, but she hadn’t answered.

So he’d come here and found her car in the driveway.

Yet she sure as hell wasn’t here.

Her bed was meticulously made, the way she left it every morning, dumping him out if he’d stayed over. A damp towel lay beside the bathroom sink. Soulful jazz drifted from the iPod dock on her nightstand. What terrified him most, though, was the spot of blood marring the door frame and the lone pink sandal lying in the living room floor beside her purse, keys, and cell phone.

His heart lurched. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. Simply could not absorb that she was missing. They’d been engaged for five months and three days, with only a month to go until the wedding. They should be mulling over the guest list, squabbling about where to go for their honeymoon, and deciding where they wanted to live.

Instead, Sam stared at an empty bed.

“There’s no sign of forced entry, so she either let the guy in or he jumped her when she went after the paper this morning.” Major Sabbatini’s voice seemedto come from far away. “I’m thinking she fought him off and ran, and he caught her here in the bedroom.”

“She would have clawed him.” Hell, she would’ve drawn blood with those nails. Sam should know. He had the marks on his back to prove it. Moisture blurred his vision as he eyed the smudge on the door jamb. “She… she just had her nails done a couple of days ago. They’re like talons.”

“We’ll check the blood for DNA. You know that. What were her plans for today?”

“Um… just work, far as I know. She and I were supposed to have lunch.” Sam shook his head. “Then tonight, she was going to a wedding shower. I just–“

“When was the last time you spoke with her?”

“Late — last night.”

 

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Upcoming ebook release!

BloodBoundCoverArt72dpiI’m excited to announce the upcoming release of my single title romantic thriller, BLOOD BOUND, from Desert Breeze Publishing on April 11. This is the first book in a trilogy set in The Big Easy. New Orleans is one of my favorite backdrops, and I believe the setting definitely adds to the story in this one. Hope you’ll check it out! You can find the “Coming Soon” link here. This will change to a “Buy” link once the book goes live. It will also be available at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Sony, and many other online outlets.

Blurb:

Fueled by grief after his fiancée is brutally murdered, Detective Sam Walker focuses on finding her killer — a calculating predator who binds books with human skin. Dani Barrington, the newest member of the Victim and Witness Assistance Unit and a survivor of another attack, helps him discover the terrifying link between the monster’s known victims. Despite his anguish, Sam is struck by Dani’s strength and determination, especially when her inquisitive nature makes her the killer’s next target. He must find a way to protect her or risk losing the one woman who can bring his dead heart back to life.

Excerpt:

Kristen was gone.

She wasn’t at work. She wasn’t at home. She hadn’t gone out to run an errand. She had simply… vanished.

New Orleans Detective Sam Walker stood in the center of his fiancée’s cluttered bedroom and struggled to piece together the timeline of her disappearance. Last night they were supposed to meet for dinner, but he’d caught a case. They’d talked on the phone around eleven, and he’d asked her to meet him for lunch today.

He hadn’t spoken to her since.

She was supposed to arrive at the Victim and Witness Assistance Unit for work at nine a.m., but never made it. One of her co-workers had called him about ten o’clock. He’d tried Kristen again, but she hadn’t answered.

So he’d come here and found her car in the driveway.

Yet she sure as hell wasn’t here.

Her bed was meticulously made, the way she left it every morning, dumping him out if he’d stayed over. A damp towel lay beside the bathroom sink. Soulful jazz drifted from the iPod dock on her nightstand. What terrified him most, though, was the spot of blood marring the door frame and the lone pink sandal lying in the living room floor beside her purse, keys, and cell phone.

His heart lurched. He couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. Simply could not absorb that she was missing. They’d been engaged for five months and three days, with only a month to go until the wedding. They should be mulling over the guest list, squabbling about where to go for their honeymoon, and deciding where they wanted to live.

Instead, Sam stared at an empty bed.

“There’s no sign of forced entry, so she either let the guy in or he jumped her when she went after the paper this morning.” Major Sabbatini’s voice seemed to come from far away. “I’m thinking she fought him off and ran, and he caught her here in the bedroom.”

“She would have clawed him.” Hell, she would’ve drawn blood with those nails. Sam should know. He had the marks on his back to prove it. Moisture blurred his vision as he eyed the smudge on the door jamb. “She… she just had her nails done a couple of days ago. They’re like talons.”

“We’ll check the blood for DNA. You know that. What were her plans for today?”

“Um… just work, far as I know. She and I were supposed to have lunch.” Sam shook his head. “Then tonight, she was going to a wedding shower. I just–”

“When was the last time you spoke with her?”

“Late — last night.”

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New release for an old favorite!

I’m excited to announce that HAUNTED MEMORIES is now available from Desert Breeze Publishing. This is the first book I ever sold, and I still love the characters. It’s been re-edited and has a brand spanking new cover that I just love. If you like creepy houses and ghostly apparitions, this is the book for you. Hope you’ll check it out!

In this story, Olivia Bartlett is stunned to find her old friend, Deputy Tucker Hawkins, living in the house she has inherited, but she’s even more shocked to glimpse her cruel stepfather lurking in the shadows. Has Walter come back to haunt her, or is he really alive–and trying to kill her? To survive, she must turn to Tucker, who not only stakes his claim to the old house, but also to her heart.

Go here to read an excerpt and/or buy the book. It should soon be up at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online outlets as well.

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An interview with guest blogger Shaunna Gonzales

Welcome to my blog, Shaunna. I enjoy hosting other Desert Breeze authors. Can’t wait to learn more about you and you newest release.

What made you decide to become a writer? After reading most of J.K.Rowlings’ Harry Potter series, I craved more great reads and went to the local library. After spending months wading through awful fiction, one touting its prize winning status, I threw it across the room. (In my weakened condition it only made it to the bed for a soft landing.) “I could write better than this!” I grumbled. My hubby, ever understanding of my turbulent moods answered with a calm, “Then why don’t you?” It wasn’t long before I set out to do just that!

Who inspires you? I’d rather answer “Who and What.” Many things. This novel, Dark Days of Promise, was initially inspired by Christmas and the young women I was working with at the time. It mutated as the season passed to what it is today after my being inspired by a few friends, veterans, some dealing with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.)

What would you like your readers to get out of your writing? It is my hope that readers will become more aware of PTSD. It effects more than the veterans and their families, those who love them. It isn’t unusual for me to be talking with someone and get this “Oh, they are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress” this way or that way. The “Disorder” part, as far as I have learned, comes from intense stress, such as battle and other potentially fatal situations. Some deal with PTSD with faith and prayers on the one hand while others use counseling and sometimes drugs to manage the disorder. But for me, my PTSD is rather low key and manageable.

Where did this idea come from? Would you believe me if I said the Lord? I had this love story so smooth that it bored me, the writer to tears, literally. I knew I had to “speed” it up, give it something to make it fly but didn’t know what. I prayed and pulled my chair up to the computer. My fingers flew with very few mistakes, something that is unusual for me. That scene is in the book with very few changes — only a few grammatical corrections. I’ll give you a hint: Victoria goes flying!

Who was your favorite character to develop?
SS Kelly Chase. I fell in love with him and still don’t know him! He’s quite the man of mystery.

Any advice for aspiring authors? Write what you know and love. Write for yourself, not your imagined perfectly matched editor or publisher. Should you one day find them, they will, if they know their stuff and we all hope they do, bruise you and your precious fledgling novel. (Smile – those bruises heal and make you both better.)

What can we expect next from you? My current project is a Time-travel Romance. Trish Larsen, having failed the bar exam yet again just before her thirtieth birthday, takes Grammy at her word and uses the antique talisman for more than a pretty babble, though surviving in 1885 might prove more difficult for a modern woman than Trish imagined.

Where can we purchase your book? On the Desert Breeze Publishing website and at many other online outlets, including Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

Here is an excerpt:

My senses distilled, the clean lemon scent of Janine’s home intensified. This specter existed as no spirit at all… but a soldier in army fatigues wearing the ranking emblem of an officer on his chest. His frame seemed to fill the whole corridor. Intimidated by his size, if not his rank, I gave him my immediate and full attention.

“Can I help you?” His voice rumbled with authority. He positioned himself, taking the defensive, his booted feet shoulder width apart, his elbows inches from both walls, blocking the space.

I managed to regain a smidgeon of composure. “I should ask you the same.” My voice sounded self-assured. I wondered where it came from while feeling so inferior to him. “Why? This is my home.”

I lost my balance, stumbling back a couple of feet, my surprise giving way to embarrassment. My hand went to my hair to comb it before I remembered it stayed in place as a messy bun. I dropped my hand wishing I knew what to do with it.

“Oh… you’re Kelly.” I stammered, unsure of myself, my jaw going slack. I struggled in desperation to right it.
Now I see the resemblance to his pictures. Janine needs newer ones and dang, he doesn’t quite look the same as the picture I have. He’s… wow. Take a picture Vick.

“You are?” he asked, still very much in charge.

“Huh?” I couldn’t think of anything else to say. His charismatic presence stupefied me. I hadn’t blinked, lost in the depths of his eyes.

He folded his arms making his biceps bulge under his fatigues. I dared to raise my chin in defiance. I’d give him no more, at least not until he retreated an inch. He didn’t give it to me. I retreated, feeling foolish in comparison to his alpha-male claim of the hallway.

“Interesting name.” His timbre reflected a pleasant nature. Of course standing toe to toe with him in Janine’s hallway of small-antiquated proportions disintegrated my defense.

“It’s nice to meet you, Kelly.” Smooth girl. You are so dead.

“I’d like to say the same.” His cautious mantle of soldiering remained on guard.

“Then why don’t you?”

“Because I don’t know your real name.” His eyes betrayed his annoyance for a split second before a shield of secure soldier mastery descended.

“Vicki.” I lowered my chin waiting for him, my body poised, expecting his response.

He failed to give me one while his eyes bored holes through me.

“Kelly, meet Vicki, our neighbor.” Janine called from her room, her voice reflecting her personable nature. Did she really need to make introductions this way? Did she peek around the corner to watch this? I couldn’t be sure with the wall of solid muscle between her doorway and myself. I imagined Janine’s face as she overheard our stilted conversation. The humor of the situation flooded over me, bringing a smile to my lips.

Kelly’s answering smile altered his expression, and his body language. Almost duplicating his masculine smirk in the photo I possessed, softening the solid mass of muscle without diminishing his potent dynamics.

“Excuse me. I came to see Janine.” I didn’t dare push past him.

“Mother?” He called over his shoulder, still guarding the hallway. “Do you feel up to having a visitor?”
“I always feel like visiting with Vicki,” Janine answered from her room.

Kelly stepped aside, placing himself against the aging wallpaper as though afraid I might give him some dreaded disease if I happened to brush against him. I did brush against him as I passed. Dang he’s big. I entered Janine’s bedroom to find her reclining on several pillows. She appeared tired, her skin lacking its usual healthy glow.

“Janine, are you feeling all right?” I asked in concern.

“Better now. I called you this morning when I fell. As luck would have it, I fell against the telephone table, knocking it to the floor with me. Kelly came home quite unexpectedly and helped me to bed.”

“I’m sorry,” I apologized, feeling guilty for going to lunch. “It took longer at the bank than I thought. After, Farley insisted on taking me to lunch. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Would that be Farley Wilson?”

“Yes, you know him right?”

“Early forties, nice dresser and a smooth talker. He missed his calling as an insurance salesman,” Janine answered appearing a shade worse.

“You look tired. I shouldn’t bother you with my issues. Will Kelly be here long?” She seemed more fragile than usual.

“Actually, he’s been busy seeing to my needs and hasn’t said yet.”

“I’ll let you two get to catching up.” I patted her hand and retreated the way I’d come. So much for asking her for her opinion of Farley.

Kelly stood at the kitchen counter, draining a jug of milk. He must have heard me approaching. He lowered the jug, wiping his lips with his sleeve. For a brief instant he wasn’t a soldier, but a young boy caught in the act. A sheepish grin filled his features. Then his expression changed, his eyes capturing me as if holding me in animated suspension.

Yum. Delicious tingling filled me. Wow, what has he done to me? I thought I’d outgrown this silly attraction to a man in uniform. Not. I focused on my feet, willing them to keep moving toward the door. The traitors stopped and turned toward him. My mouth joined the mutiny.

“Nice to meet you, Kelly. Your mother’s mentioned you often.” I sensed a smile curl my lips hearing my way too formal effort at breaking the ice. Can’t you do any better, girl?

“You, too.”

Is it animalistic charisma emanating from him or danger? It didn’t matter which. I’d always proved a sucker for both. Vick, you need to remove the sign on your forehead beckoning these guys. That’s two in one day. He said no more, and I hurried out the door, my knees masquerading as jelly.

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Like suspense? New .99 ebook!

Hi everyone. My single title suspense, Skeleton Bayou, is now up at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles for 99 cents. I’m so happy to have this book available again. I had so much fun writing it… and I love the new cover. Hope you’ll check it out!

Blurb:

Savanna Love is emotionally and physically battered but is determined to survive after escaping the hellish imprisonment imposed on her by her psychotic cop-husband. After seven months in hiding, she resurfaces at Mossy Oak, her ramshackle family home on a Louisiana bayou and attempts to restart her life. The empty house provides shelter, but it isn’t the fortress she needs when her cruel ex comes calling.

Mack O’Malley, former cop turned handyman, conflicted over a bad shoot on the job, comes to Savannah’s rescue when the psychopath draws them into a deadly game of cat and mouse. Fearful of Mack at first, she soon discovers that beneath his steely exterior lies a heart hungry for love. Will their alliance save them, or will they fall victim to the Legend of Skeleton Bayou?

You can sample the book and buy it right now at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. I plan to also put it up at other venues soon, too.

 

 

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