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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Showcase – Bless Me Father By Tom Walsh


If you love a good Murder Mystery then don’t miss this impressive new book by Melange Author Tom Walsh


Bless Me Father


No place is as intimate as where you go to confess your sins.

Bless Me Father is a “who done it?” A story of love lost and love found in the midst of contemporary social issues of homelessness, addiction, and bringing the untouchable to justice.

Cloistered conversations in the confessional are sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous. It is a modern day crime mystery with character depth, a forbidden love, and a resurrected cold case.

Excerpt

Chapter One

  Grabbing a pair of surgical gloves from a nurse’s cart, his hands trembled as he slipped them on. His heart suddenly pounding heavily in his chest at the thought of what he must do. He realized that the antiseptic smell of the building made him nervous, reminding him that he was in a very controlled environment. This was not the type of place where a plan like his was typically carried out. He pulled a piece of paper from his shirt pocket under the doctor’s white smock that he had taken from the back of a chair just down the hall. He was looking the part, and he was feeling the part, like he belonged here. No one suspected. He checked the numbers on the paper as he strode with purpose. 108. 106. There it was—104.

Holding his breath, he slowly and quietly opened the door. Stepping into the darkness of the room, the door automatically closing behind him. The few lights penetrating the darkness of the room came from a distant streetlight beyond the closed curtains and the green digital readouts of medical equipment beside the patient’s bed. The only sound was a soft and steady whir of life support gear that was for some reason trying to keep this dying man alive. He approached the bedside.

The face of the man asleep looked haggard, gray and pale, in fact, he looked like he was already dead. Now he removed a bottle from the inside pocket of his inner jacket, unscrewing the bottle top, placing the cap on the rolling table by the bedside. Reaching down he grabbed a folded sink towel from a bedside shelf, neatly wrapping the towel around the open bottleneck.

With one hand, he reached behind the old man’s head and cradled his neck and skull, thinking that this man he once knew had shrunk considerably. He was surprised at how light the man’s body was as he pulled him up into an almost upright, sitting position. The man suddenly made a deep gasp and began to breathe deeply as if awakening from a nightmare.

He put the bottle to the man’s open mouth as his eyelids fluttered open and his bloodshot eyeballs seemed to roll back up into his head. For but a few seconds he was able to pour the fluid freely down the man’s throat, but then as he expected the old man’s gag reflex kicked in. At this point the man appeared to become fully conscious and he began to panic. The chaos of this moment was fueling him with more determination to control it. He tightened his grips on his victim.

The man’s weak arms flailed about but the tight hold on him limited his ability to do much else. The bottle began to knock dully against the man’s teeth as his bodily reflexes tried to reject the fluid that was now drowning him. The towel acted as a gasket and kept any fluid from escaping, otherwise it surely would have been spraying everywhere. The old man’s panic-ridden eyes tried to focus. They were searching for the cause of this sudden horror.

He then saw the moment of recognition in the old man’s eyes and felt great satisfaction in knowing that his victim now understood, their eyes communicating what was happening. No words were necessary.

The old man no longer flailed about, either because he gave up, or he was just unable to do so. His eyes were no longer panic-stricken. Instead, they seemed now focused on a point beyond the ceiling of the room. It was as if, that whatever he saw, he now saw clearly, and he had come to accept it.

Now loosening his grip on the old man, he removed the bottle and towel from his mouth and he let his body down gently on the hospital bed, closing the man’s eyelids and lifting his jaw to close his mouth. He gently turned the man’s head to the side, resting it on the pillow, and then placing the vodka bottle in his hand so it was trapped between his hand and leg.

He stopped to stare at the man before leaving the room, taking a deep breath just standing there momentarily at the foot of the hospital bed before he turned and walked out the door.
 
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Heat Level: 1 flame Sweet Love scenes are not consummated, or if the love scenes are   consummated details are not given.
Tom Walsh
Tom’s earliest education began in parochial schools in San Francisco. At 19 he took a summer job in the motor pool two floors underground at a large public utility. He finished his Management degree at night at St. Mary’s College of California and by the time he left the utility company 20 years later, he had ascended the management ranks, regularly meeting with company officers on the top floor. During that time, he honed his skills in writing business proposals while contributing articles to trade publications and company newsletters.
Outside of work and school he wrote and performed music with a rock band in clubs around Marin and Sonoma counties. Continually seeking new challenges, he took management positions in bay area startups that developed innovative consumer electronics.
He saw the start-up environment wane and was asked to return to the public utility now in the midst of a bankruptcy. Then as a self-employed business consultant he assisted utilities, consumer electronic start-ups, and companies in the food industry. Somewhere along the way he was the owner-operator of a restaurant.
All the while, Tom’s artistic endeavors continue to be freelance writing and music. He is married with two children and lives in Sonoma County.
 
 
 
 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Showcase - Shamrock Stable Series by Fire & Ice Author Sharon Kennedy


If I was still a young whippersnapper of girl, this series would most certainly be in my reading collection.

Shamrock Stable #1
No Horse Wanted
The only thing that Robin Gibson wants for her sixteenth birthday is a 1968 Presidential Blue Mustang. Following their family tradition, what her parents promise her is a horse of her own, one with four legs, not four wheels. Mom competes in endurance riding, Dad does calf roping, her older brother games and her older sister loves three-day eventing, but Robin proudly says that she doesn't do horses. She'll teach her controlling family a lesson by bringing home the worst horse she can find, a starved, abused two-year-old named Twaziem.
Robin figures she'll nurse him back to health, sell him and have the money for her car. Rescuing and rehabilitating the Morab gelding might be a bigger challenge than what she planned. He comes between her and her family. He upsets her friends when she looks after his needs first. Is he just an investment or is he part of her future? And if she lets him into her heart will she win or will she lose?
Shamrock Stable #2

No Time for Horses


Sixteen-year-old Vicky Miller feels overloaded since her parents filed for divorce. Her mother got the house and a new job. Her step-dad has the new car and a new girlfriend. Vicky has the five kids, her younger half-brothers and sisters who range from 18 months to 10 years old to look after and her own life now comes second to their needs and wants.

It's been six months of house-cleaning, baby-sitting, cooking, non-stop laundry and Vicky is through waiting for her life to improve. She has plans for her sophomore year at Lincoln High and they don't include being an unpaid servant. If it takes a constant battle to attend her riding classes and complete her internship at Shamrock Stable, she's ready to fight for her goal to be the best natural horse trainer around.

Her parents may not have time for her to be with horses, but she has dreams no one can steal. Why should she give them away? But will keeping them mean she loses her family?


Shamrock Stable #2.5
A Shamrock Stable Novella
Deck the Stalls
All Sierra McElroy wants for Christmas is a guarantee the horses at Shamrock Stable will be home for the holidays. Her mother has decided they can't keep every horse and should sell some. Now, what can Sierra do to save her friends and Christmas for everyone?
 
Shamrock Stable #3
Nothing But Horses
If the going gets tough, wannabe cowboys exit stage left, according to Sierra McElroy.
Because her family owns the local riding stable, her old life was nothing but horses. Now, Sierra has a new car (new to her), a new puppy, a new school, a new coach, and a new basketball team.
However, she's brought her same old patterns into this new life. She still doesn't have any patience for stupid people who are a waste of time, space and oxygen.
In order to take over Shamrock Stable someday, does Sierra need to learn to tolerate these people who make her crazy?
 
Shamrock Stable #4
No Horse Left Behind
Champion show rider, Dani Wilkerson, loves her Quarter Horse mare, Lady, and wants to ride Western or ‘cowgirl’ style with her friends at Shamrock Stable. However, her glory-seeking parents have other plans for Dani that include three-day eventing and an eventual career in Olympic competition. They think all her riding activities should support this goal. While she wishes they understood her need to express her individuality, she also hates to disappoint them.
Then she discovers their plans to enroll her in an elite boarding school, sell Lady, and buy her an award-winning, event horse. Stunned by the betrayal, Dani knows she must stop them somehow. She isn’t a mere extension of their egos. When she fights back, she learns just how far they will go to achieve their ends, but how can she possibly defeat them?
 
Shannon Kennedy
Shannon lives and works at her family business, Horse Country Farm, just outside of Granite Falls in Washington State. Teaching kids to ride and know about horses since 1967, she finds in many cases, she's taught three generations of families. Her life experiences span adventures from dealing cards in a casino, attending graduate school to get her Masters in Teaching degree, being a substitute teacher, and serving in the Army Reserve—all leading to her second career as a published author.
Visit her at her website,
www.shannonkennedybooks.com
to learn about her books.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

New Releases for Melange Books, Satin Romance and Fire & Ice.

Another sexy snippet from Tangled Web of Love

Her eyes snapped open. Paul was on his knees at the side of her and was kneading her shoulders.
“Do you remember how good that feels?”
“How could I forget?” she moaned. “You always had the magic touch.”
Silently, he rubbed his fingers expertly over her shoulders. “Your skin feels so soft and supple to touch.” She gave a little sigh of satisfaction, causing the water to stir. Just enough to give him a glimpse of her swollen tight nipples. She knew he would be unable to resist, as he bent his head and placed his lips in the nape of her neck.
Faith caught her breath.
He planted more kisses across her shoulders, to no objection. He slipped his hands over her shoulders and down over the rounded molds of her breasts.
She gave a jagged breath, and then whispered. “Get in with me, Paul.”
Paul did not need to be asked twice, and in a flash, he had his clothes off and stepped into the tub. Her pulse quickened when she saw aroused male muscle. Is this really a good idea? Then thinking of her itch, it seemed to answer her uncertainty, as he lowered himself down into the tub.
For a moment, they sat looking at each other. Paul leaned forward under the water, and his hand ran up her leg until it caught her fingers. Clasping them tight, he drew her toward him. Sensations flooded through her as his mouth closed on hers. As he linked his hands behind her neck, pulling her closer toward him, he sank back into the tub. His tongue swept across her bottom lip and then thrust into the warm heat of her mouth. Her arm reached out, ferreting about on the cabinet at the side of the tub. Paul pulled away.
“Babe, what are you doing?”
“I think I have some condoms in here.”
“Really? We haven’t used those in over a year.”
“We have to; I’ve not been taking my pill.”
Paul let out a deep sigh and nodded his head. “You’re right, better safe than sorry.”
It took a few moments of what Paul termed a “passion-killing moment,” while he protected himself.
Faith entwined her legs around his, and then moved her body so her softness was in contact with the hardness of his arousal.
As she felt him moving below her, his body sliding within hers, her head went back, and the tendons in her neck drew tight. The pleasure grew and grew until they climaxed at the same time.
Laughing and catching her breath, she dropped her full weight on Paul, resting her flushed face on his chest.
“So we are back together again?” Paul whispered, his fingers stroking up and down her back.
Faith sat up, her jaw dropped. Clearly, by the smile of triumph on his face, he thought she would agree.
“Well, the rules were no sex, so I think the game has finished. You’ve made your choice.” Paul’s smile dropped. “Faith, you have made your choice, right?”
God, this is all my fault. I should have never given way to my sexual needs. Faith did not know what to think. Part of her still wanted Paul, but then there was Abel. What if there still was a chance with him? Would she regret not knowing in the future?
“Let’s just take it a day at a time?” Pushing him back down into the tub, she said, “Now, let’s do it again.”
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Showcase- Murder in Knoxville by Wayne Zurl


If you love a good mystery crime novel as much as I do, then look no further than my fellow author at Melange Books, Wayne Zurl and his Sam Jenkins Mysteries.
 
Murder in Knoxville
and other Sam Jenkins Mysteries
Sam Jenkins is the new police chief in town and everyone wonders, will Prospect, Tennessee ever be the same?
Here are six novelettes where Jenkins gets to show off his skills learned as a former New York detective.
A LABOR DAY MURDER and A MURDER IN KNOXVILLE take the reader into the world of domestic violence with a smattering of political corruption. In BULLETS OFF-BROADWAY, the investigation leads Sam into the life of a victim who spent his leisure time reenacting the days of the old west and was killed with an antique revolver. The hard-boiled story of SCRAP METAL AND MURDER begins with a simple larceny and quickly escalates into the murder of a building contractor, infidelity and more suspects than you can shake a claw hammer at. And the off-beat stories, BY THE HORNS OF A COW and its sequel SERPENTS & SCOUNDRELS show the more bizarre side of police work as Jenkins looks for a stolen fourteen-foot-tall statue of a dairy cow and ends up among a group of snake handling fundamentalists who use their serpents in a deadly manner.
Excerpt
A Labor Day Murder
I don’t think she really hates me, but she does cringe every time I walk into her office. Maybe it’s the lawyer jokes I tell. Or maybe it’s how I show a lack of respect for the local politicians. I guess I’m comfortable with our relationship. And someday Moira may learn the Jenkins method of compromise: We talk about it and then do it my way.
“You expect me to go before a judge and ask for a warrant so you can search a restaurant for the proceeds of illegal gambling?”
“Yes, ma’am. That’s why I’m here,” I said.
“Lord have mercy, Sam. It’s only a card game.”
“In the last seven days, my cops have made two DUI arrests of men leaving that place after hours. Both people said they were playing cards, and the owner was chopping the pot.”
“If you held a card game at your home wouldn’t you accept some reimbursement for the food and drink you offered the players?”
“This guy is taking fifteen percent from each pot. They’re playing dollar-five poker. That’s more than the goombahs get back where I used to work. He’s also operating a cash bar, serving untaxed moonshine. His restaurant only has a beer license.”
“I hear what you’re sayin’, Sam. I understand. Do you understand that Audie Blevins has operated that restaurant for almost forty years? His daddy owned it for Lord knows how many years before that. Audie’s brother is the chairman of the county commission, and Audie’s a very, and I emphasize very, big supporter of and contributor to the local Republican party.”
“Well, three cheers for Audie. He sounds like a real good ol’ boy. Do I have to tell you I don’t give a rat’s ass to whom he’s related or to what he contributes?” I asked.
Moira Menzies is a pretty blonde, around fifty, and if she smiled more often would be even more attractive. She’s also the chief assistant district attorney general for Blount County, Tennessee. Whenever I need a search or arrest warrant, I deal directly with her.
For a moment before she spoke, she closed her eyes and shook her head. “You’re not goin’ away, are you?”
I smiled at her. My lady-killer smile has been known to melt the coldest heart.
“Nope.”
We were sitting in her second floor corner office in the Justice Center, overlooking the new jail.
She stood up and put her hands on her hips. “Don’t try that smile on me, Jenkins. More cops have tried that act than I can count.”
I looked up at her. “Yeah, but I’m the only ex-New York cop you know, and I’ll bet I’m the best lookin’ police chief in the county.”
She dropped the pencil she’d been holding onto her desktop—with a little more force than necessary. “You sure ain’t the most modest. Come on, I’ll walk you up to the judge’s chambers.”
Twenty minutes later, I had my ‘no knock’ search warrant for the Iron Skillet restaurant.
“You think the judge will drop a dime on Audie and give him a heads-up about the warrant?” I asked.
“Judge Myers is a pretty straight shooter, but anything’s possible. Audie is well-connected.”
“Let’s hope Judge Myers believes in truth, justice and the American way.”
“Let’s hope he believes in at least the first two,” she said.
* * *
At 11:30 Saturday night, six of the twelve cops employed by Prospect PD and I waited outside the Iron Skillet on Sevierville Road. Five of us had driven our personally-owned pickup trucks to haul away the furniture, file cabinets and other accouterments used by the owner to promote gambling and sell untaxed alcoholic beverages.
“Twelve cars plus Audie’s. Must be a couple of games goin’ on,” Sergeant Stan Rose observed.
“I guess,” I said. “No one new has shown up for thirty minutes. Time to kick in the door.”
Stanley nodded. “Sounds like a plan.”
“I wish we had a paddy wagon. It looks unprofessional using our own pickup trucks.”
“A paddy wagon? Sometimes we look like the Keystone Cops, but there’s no reason we need a paddy wagon.”
“Each precinct had a paddy wagon in New York.”
“You own a pick-up in New York?”
“Of course not.”
“Well?”
“You sayin’ I’m getting like the locals?”
“I’ve got no theory. I’m just presenting the evidence.”
“Don’t you feel stereotypical driving a Cadillac?” I asked.
Stan is from Los Angeles and usually sounds like a Cal Tech graduate. “I do not. A brother’s got to look good when he’s on the road. Clean car, pretty woman…you unnerstand what I’m sayin’?” Occasionally he lapses into Ebonics for my benefit.
“Uh-huh. My man. Right on. What it is!” I said, sounding more like a Black Panther than a police chief.
“Honky racist.”
“You wish.”
“We ready to go?” he asked.
“I was ready before you started all this ethnic crap.”
“Well then, great white leader?”
“My wife doesn’t give me as much trouble as you.”
Stanley gave me a big grin. “Come on, man. It’s show time.”
I keyed the portable radio I held, “Prospect-one to all units—do it.”
Officers Bobby John Crockett and Vernon Hobbs pounded on the front door. Harlan Flatt, Leonard Alcock and Junior Huskey covered the back door and the windows at the rear of the restaurant. Stanley and I moseyed up to the front entrance.
A thin man with short dark hair and a wispy mustache, looking like a bartender in his white apron, answered the door. The two cops pushed their way in. Stan and I followed.
“Police department. We have a search warrant. Nobody move!” Bobby called out.
No one moved.
“Where’s Audie Blevins?” I asked, waving a copy of the warrant in my left hand.
“That would be me,” said a short, well-dressed man of about sixty.
I handed him the paper.
“This is a warrant to search your premises for evidence of illegal gambling and untaxed liquor,” I said. “I see two card games. Care to explain anything?”
“Jest some friendly games, officer. We get t’gether ever once’t in a while ta play cards. Nothin’ more.”
“Have a seat, Mr. Blevins, and don’t touch anything.” Turning to the bartender I said, “What’s your name?”
“James Begley, sir. Most ever’ one calls me Jammer.”
“Okay, Jammer, you have a seat, too.”
I told Bobby Crockett to open the back door and let the other three cops in. While Stan and I took names, and capped the drinks on the tables with Glad-Wrap, the boys searched the restaurant, the adjacent office and the storerooms.
The quickest way to put pressure on a restaurant owner is to threaten to take away their liquor license. I demanded a copy of his from Audie Blevins. As I recorded all that information, Junior Huskey got my attention.
“Sam, look-it here.” He handed me two folders and a well-stuffed, padded manila envelope. One folder was marked players; the other was unmarked. The envelope was full of cash. I looked over the two-page list of players. There were over thirty names with telephone numbers. The unmarked folder had several loose-leaf pages showing dates and dollar figures. The dates went back more than two years.
“Good work, kid,” I said to Junior, “a list of gamblers and profits from the games. You ought to be a detective.”
“I could live with that, boss.”
I gave him an encouraging thumbs-up even though we have no detectives at Prospect PD.
Crockett and Harley Flatt carried in four plastic, gallon milk jugs all full of clear liquid.
“They’s about six or seven more jest like these in the back,” Harley said. “Take a whiff, boss.”
He popped the cap off one jug and lifted it to my nose.
“Yahoo.” I took a half step backwards. “Smells like pure alcohol. Must be 190 proof or better.” I turned to the closest table of players. “Any of you guys feel like you’re going blind?” No one seemed to enjoy my attempt at humor. “Harley, confiscate everything and box up all these glasses we’ve put tops on. We’ll let the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms people analyze this for us.”
Then Vern Hobbs walked up, extended his hand and showed me a large revolver.
“Got this in the office, boss. Nice lookin’ gun.”
It was an old Smith and Wesson model 1917, .45 caliber revolver...a revolver that fired .45 automatic ammunition.
“This pistol have a story behind it, Mr. Blevins?” I asked.
“I got a right ta keep a gun in my restaurant. It’s all bought an’ paid fer, all legal-like,” he said. “Ain’t yew ever heard o’ the Second Amendment?”
I wanted to give Audi the finger, but resisted the urge. “Bag it, and tag it, Vern. I’ll send it off to be checked.”
All the players we met that night were on the list Junior found. I wanted each man charged with participating in illegal gambling, privately interviewed and a statement taken from each one. We had several hours of work ahead of us. I’ll send it off to be checked.”
When we finished issuing appearance tickets to the players and Jammer Begley, we took Audie Blevins to Prospect PD to process his arrest. At three in the morning, we released him on one hundred dollars bail. Two sixty-inch round tables, sixteen chairs and two tall file cabinets filled the lobby of our office and the squad room. The evidence closet held eleven-and-a-half gallons of moonshine, over three thousand dollars in cash and a few other evidentiary items taken from the Iron Skillet. In a few hours, the Sunday eight-to-four shift would arrive at work, wonder what the hell went on the night before, and then life would go on.
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Genres
Mystery
Anthology
Series
 Heat Level: 1 flame
Sweet
Love scenes are not consummated, or if the love scenes are consummated details are not given.
 
 
Wayne Zurl
Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.
Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. He has written four novels and more than twenty novelettes in the Sam Jenkins mystery series.
Available Now
Sam Jenkins Mysteries
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Snippet from Tangled Web of Love


Get the wine from the fridge, because boy are you going to need it.

 


Gently she opened the door. The cottage seemed bizarrely quiet as she crept down the stairs. Sighing in relief that nobody was there, she headed for the living room. Finding her shoes and bag where she had left them, she was about to turn and walk away when she saw Paul’s abandoned shirt on the back of the couch. Sadie picked up the shirt, instantly smelling her perfume mingled with Paul’s aftershave. She swallowed hard. Her cheeks burning, she dropped the shirt like a red-hot poker. It was covered in lipstick. Her lipstick.

And then she remembered.

As if someone had pressed a play button in her head, she found herself reliving last night. The touch of Paul’s hands on her naked body; the taste and smell of him all seemed more real now than it did last night in her drunken brandy haze. It had been hot, intense, but this was heavy stuff—last night she’d had the best sex ever. The best sex ever with my sister’s, best friend’s ex. Not even minding his declaration of, “This is so wrong,” as she slid up his naked body after doing that thing with her tongue that had driven him insane. She held no regrets, knowing that when she said, “Want me to do it again?” he had pushed her back down.

 

BUY TANGLED WEB of LOVE – BY JOANNE RAWSON