Romantic New Thriller Suspense by Sam Cheever

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Praise for Pursuing Elena:

“This remarkable book will take you on a journey of pain, hope and LOVE from beginning to end.”

“…twists I never saw coming with a suspenseful story line that kept me on the edge of my seat.”

Get your copy now:books2read.com/u/4DA0zg

Excerpt:

Erik pulled Elena across the office and shoved her behind a heavy, burgundy velvet curtain, pushing in behind her just as the office door opened. Elena stiffened as he wrapped his arms around her waist and lowered his head, whispering. “Not a sound.”

She barely allowed herself to breathe. Every time she pulled air into her lungs, his clean, male scent entered her system and ran amok, creating a pool of need in her belly that was hard to ignore. Elena closed her eyes, her usual balls-to-the-wall style failing her as her body became almost painfully aware of every hard line of his tall, sexy frame pressed against her. She grew slowly cognizant of a sharp pain in her back, like something hard digging into her. She shifted slightly to get away from it and was punished with a big, warm hand spreading over her belly, pulling her more tightly against him.

Then another hardness started to bother her. She closed her eyes and prayed the guard would leave soon. Because Erik’s hand was making slow, deliberate circles over her belly and need was becoming a tight coil in her sexual core.

Beyond their velvet and lust prison, the guard’s footsteps were soft thumps on the thick carpet, his flashlight playing across the chaotic remnants of Phillip Osgood’s office. They could watch him move through the office from his reflection in the window glass. He was a short, roundish form with nondescript features, but he held a large flashlight in one hand and a radio crackled on his waistband.

Elena watched as the bright arc of light skimmed over the desk and stilled, the light illuminating the small drawer she’d laid on top.

She silently scolded herself for her carelessness. She’d assumed that, with all the other mess in the room, the guard wouldn’t even notice.

Judging by the movement of footsteps across the room…directly toward them…she’d been wrong. The radio crackled and a voice came over the line. “Everything okay, Ed? I was expecting you to check in five minutes ago.”

The flashlight swept the floor behind the desk, slithered over the chair Elena had shoved back, and danced inexorably toward the curtain where they hid.

Moving as slowly as she could with discovery breathing down their necks, Elena pulled her feet back and all but held her breath.

Erik’s hand slipped around to his back, where Elena had no doubt his gun was holstered.

The guard moved around the desk and stood looking down at the drawer. His labored breathing scraped through the silence, so close Elena expected to feel it on her face. He breathed with a wet, raspy kind of resonance which told Elena he was out of shape and that he was either a smoker or was coming down with a cold.

Either way she figured she could take him before he could report them to the voice on the other end of the radio. Her eyes on the guard’s form in the glass, she tightened her grip on her gun and then stopped, pulling air into her lungs and forcing herself to relax. She began to picture her attack in her mind.

A glide sideways, emerging from the curtain on the outside, away from Erik. She’d lift her gun and point it at the guard as she moved closer, demanding that he take his hand off his radio. Then with one, swift motion, she’d take the radio with her free hand and clock him over the head with the other.

The only fly in the ointment was Erik. And he was a big, damn fly. Because she knew he’d never let her risk a direct confrontation. He’d take a bullet himself before he allowed that. Her suspicions were confirmed as his arm around her waist tightened, snugging her up against him even as his other arm extended toward the edge of the heavy drape.

In the glass, the guard reached for his radio, pulled it free and lifted it toward his face.

The snap of controlled electricity broke the silence, the flashlight beam shot toward the ceiling and then slammed downward, and the guard jerked twice before falling, his radio flying out of his hand.

Erik stepped from behind the drape and reached out, snagging the radio with his right hand as he shoved the Taser back into his pants with the other. “Let’s go. The other guard will be here in about two minutes.”

They ran toward the outer office and ducked back through the glass doors. The up arrow beside the elevator down the hall lit up as they hit the stairwell at an all-out run. They sprinted down the stairs to the third floor. After checking the hallway to make sure it was empty, they emerged from the stairwell and tore down the hall to the office they’d originally breached. Elena stepped quickly through the window onto the ledge and started moving toward the front of the building. Erik emerged behind her. She could hear the soft scrape of his boots against the concrete.

A bright light came on below and an alarm sounded inside the building.

Elena forced herself not to panic as men with guns spilled from the front door and spread out around the grounds to the sound of shouted orders. She stopped and pressed back against the wall, just out of range of the security light that spread a golden cocoon over the front entrance.

Erik did the same, his broad chest heaving from the effort of running down the narrow ledge without falling.
She turned to him, shrugging slightly. “Oops.”

He shook his head but she noted the slight twitch of his wide mouth that told her he wasn’t totally unamused. “I don’t suppose you had a Plan B when you decided to do this?” he whispered.

She grinned, shaking her head. “I rarely need more than one plan.”

His brows lifted. “And yet…”

“This was your fault. If I’d been alone I’d have been fine.” The guilty memory of a misplaced desk drawer and chair swept through her mind but she pushed them aside. A soldier never second guessed her mission. The only option was to move forward and complete the operation.

Erik pulled something black from the waistband of his jeans and she frowned. Surely he wasn’t going to try to use the Taser from three floors up. Even if he hit one of the dozen men running around below them, they’d still have eleven guards with guns to deal with.

Elena tried to remember how many bullets she had left in her gun. Had she remembered to reload it before leaving home?

She jumped as Erik’s voice sounded next to her. “Intruders spotted on the south side of the building,” he said into the radio. “I repeat, intruders spotted running toward Elm Street on the south side of the building.”

He shoved the radio back into his jeans and jerked his head toward the corner. “Let’s move, DeVitis. There’s a piece of chocolate pie and a cup of coffee waiting for me at the diner down the street.”

Elena peered around the corner and saw that all but one guy had taken the bait and fled to the South side. It wouldn’t take them long to discover the ruse and they’d be back. She would have to take her chances with the one guy.

Slipping around the corner, Elena ran along the ledge, keeping an eye on the bulky guard standing on the outside edge of the light. The orange glow of a lit cigarette flaring into the night told Elena all she needed to know about the guy’s attention span. He was taking a break while his buddies chased down the bad guys.

She smiled, knowing his break was about to turn bad.

She quickly descended from the third floor, using the uneven bricks at the corner of the structure. As soon as her feet hit the ground, she crouched down, watching the guard as Erik slipped down behind her.

When Erik’s feet hit the ground he whistled softly and they tucked themselves into the shadows as the guard’s head jerked up, the cigarette bobbling between his lips.

Elena could envision cartoon bubbles above the man’s head as he considered what he should do next.

What’s this?

Who’s whistling at me?

Maybe I should investigate?

The guard’s head swiveled as if he were looking for someone else to do the job and then, when no cavalry appeared on the horizon, he reluctantly dropped his cigarette butt and ground it out before heading their way. The beefy guard held his pistol down by his side, his gaze narrowing as the shadows began to obscure his view of the ground around the base of the building.

He stopped a few feet away as if he sensed they were there and, as he reached for his radio, Erik shot him with the Taser. Elena and Erik pulled the guard’s twitching form into the bushes and took off running toward the fence. If they were really lucky Elena’s makeshift ladder would still be in place.

If not, well, Elena would have to use her yummy assistant as a ladder.

A not altogether unpleasant option.

Get your copy now! books2read.com/u/4DA0zg

 

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Have you read Book 1 in the exciting La Fortuna DeVitis series? It’s only $0.99 now:

revealingnicola-300 Nicola is just minding her own business, out for a fun night with her friends, when a man with a bedroom voice and deliciously broad shoulders decides she’s someone she isn’t. A heartbeat later, before she even has a chance to make sense of being called by another woman’s name, she finds herself flung over one of those broad shoulders and thrown into an existence that includes a lot of running for her life, dodging bullets, and realizing she’s the victim of a lifetime’s worth of secrets.

Franco has a very difficult job. He’s supposed to protect a strong willed heiress from the conspiracy that has plagued her entire life. Unfortunately, in pursuit of that goal, he accidentally grabs the wrong person. A woman whose feisty nature and insistence that she’s not his heiress have him on edge and off his game.

With menace nipping constantly at their heels, bullets flying and bodies showing up all over the place, Franco and Nicola must quickly put aside their differences and forge an alliance to stop the shadowy group which pursues them. But circumstances might build something much greater than an alliance between them, as distrust turns to affection and need transforms into something neither one of them is prepared to ignore.

Get your copy today! books2read.com/u/m0z1Al

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IMG_7837_120x180USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

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Sam Cheever has a Sizzling new Romantic Thriller!

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My name is Nicola. And I don’t know who I am anymore.

I’ve been thrown into a whirlwind of lies and danger. My entire existence is a deceit. Even the illusion of safety has been torn from me, leaving me raw and functioning on pure adrenaline. It seems I can trust only one person. A man…whose forest green gaze makes my already upside down world wobble a little on its axis.

This is my story. It’s a story of hate and greed and violence. But it’s also a story of love and hope and fighting for what you believe in. I can’t let the war I find myself in define me. Or I’ll be no better than the shadowy figures who are trying to take us down.”

5-stars

“If you love thrillers with strong women who know how to stand up for themselves, with hot bodyguards and secrets to unveil then look no further. You will be happily entertained.”

A hand wrapped around her arm and she was tugged backward, hitting the firm heat of a wide chest. She tried to pull away, thinking she was dealing with another overzealous flirt. “Back off, buddy.” She jerked her elbow backward, earning herself a very satisfying grunt of pain. But the hand on her arm didn’t let go.
Hot breath bathed her ear. “Real funny, Elena. Now stop screwing around and come with me. You know it’s dangerous for you to be in here.”

She frowned, realizing he’d mistaken her for someone else. Nici turned her head and slid her gaze up, inhaling a quick rush of air as she got her first look at him.

His skin looked golden under the lights, his wide, square jaw taut with anger as he glared down at her. His eyes were a shade of forest green she’d never seen before, the lashes framing them thick and black. The lights played over his inky black hair, dancing along the glossy waves where it was longer at the top and dimming where he’d shaved it close on the sides.

He was huge, probably six foot five or six, with wide shoulders and massive arms. The hand on her upper arm easily encircled it, with long, dense fingers. He wore a round-necked shirt that glowed white under the spinning lights and lovingly hugged his pecs. The shirt was tucked neatly into a pair of dark denim jeans which looked painted on. A brown leather jacket covered the shirt and Nici wondered what he was hiding underneath it. It was way too warm, both outside and in, for leather.

Nici’s mouth watered as she stared up at him and she almost forgot to yank her arm away.

She remembered a beat later, when he tried to drag her toward the door. “Come on. Let’s get out of here.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you. Let go of me.”

“Elena…”

She stomped on his toes and ground down, feeling the soft leather dent as she put all her weight onto his foot.

“Son of a…” Quick as a wink he wrapped a muscular arm around her waist and hauled her off her feet, throwing her over his shoulder. She gave a little scream, tugging frantically on her short skirt in an attempt to cover her butt.

“Put me down you Neanderthal.”

“I’m taking you home and your father can deal with you.”

She kneed him in the belly and her bruised kneecaps screamed as she hit the unforgiving surface. “Ouch!”
She could almost feel him smile. “Serves you right.”

A man in a shiny suit circled around Nici and stepped in front of her abductor. The man carrying her toward the door barely hesitated as the manager held up a hand. “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to…”

“Mr. DeVitis appreciates your concern for his daughter but you need to step out of my way.”

Nici squirmed, pounding on his back. “This man is abducting me, do something!”

The manager blinked, his mouth opening and closing before he finally frowned, inclining his head. “Give Mr. DeVitis my regards.”

Her abductor didn’t bother to respond. He started toward the door, bodies magically moving out of his way as they neared the exit. As the door opened to admit a loud group of happy partiers, Nici’s head came up and she searched the crowd for her friends. Nobody. They hadn’t even seen her get abducted. Dammit!
“Well looky here. Such a pretty little ass…” A moist hand caressed her buttock and, like a cobra, her abductor struck, a big fist smashing into the young drunk’s face and sending him to the floor like a large sack of potatoes.

“Learn some respect, punk,” her abductor said on a growl before plunging them outside into the warm night air.

She barked out a shocked laugh. “You’re telling him to respect me? That’s rich.”

He didn’t even hesitate, his long strides took them quickly toward the street and he finally lowered her to the ground. She immediately went after him, fists flashing and elbows flying. She used every trick she’d learned in hours of self-defense classes but he seemed to anticipate all of them, easily shutting her down.
When he had both of her fists trapped in one of his big hands, a black eyebrow lifted in irritation, Nici tried the last trick in her arsenal. She went perfectly still, deliberately softening her muscles.

To her supreme annoyance, he grinned, pushing her toward the car. “Not gonna work, Elena.”

The door opened behind her and her abductor gave the dark suited man who’d opened it a smile. “Thanks, Mike.”

The doorman had longish blond hair, a square jaw and piercing gray eyes. “My pleasure. So, Elena, love the new hair style.”

Nici gave him a glare and then, hoping to catch them off guard, let all her weight drop to her heels and sagged downward, her hand tightening around the handle of her purse. She really wished she could get to the gun she carried in a hidden side pocket, but there was no way he’d give her that much time. So she did the next best thing. She screamed, launching herself off her toes and swinging the bag toward his head.

Her grabbed her arm with one hand, tugging the purse easily from her grasp, and shoved her backward with the other.

She hit a soft leather seat and slid, hands scrabbling for purchase even as she skidded toward the far side of the car.

His hand snaked out and grabbed her ankle before her head connected with the door and, in the same move, he shoved in behind her, lifting her legs to rest across his lap. “Let’s go, Mike. Gordon’s anxious to hear that she’s okay.”

His gaze flashing with humor, the man he’d called Mike quietly closed the door and walked around the car, sliding behind the wheel. A moment later the engine of the long, black limousine rumbled to life and it glided away from the curb.

 

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New Cozy Mystery Release – Christmas Grift by Sam Cheever

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A corpse, a cantankerous camel, an entertaining array of suspects, and a yule tide of problems along the way…it must be a Flo and Agnes Christmas!

Who would have guessed Agnes would rub Penelope the cranky camel the wrong way? Or that Flo would find herself ankle deep in camel dung while fending off a masked murderer? Or that TC would, once again, get on the wrong side of her handsome detective in an attempt to help her friends? Why…anybody who’s been to Silver Hills before…that’s who!

5 stars

“The zany sleuths, Flo, Agnes and TC are up to their eyeballs in Christmas lights, camel poop and holiday cheer as they track down clues to find out who murdered the maintenance man.” Barbara, Sexy Sirens Blog

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Thinking of Agnes’s talent for getting under people’s skin, she started to think having her friend working around an animal like that was a bad idea. “Maybe I should go check up on her.”

The front doors whispered open and TC glanced that way, her pretty green gaze going wide. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary.” She pointed toward the door and Flo turned, all the blood running out of her face.

“Good Lord in heaven. It’s the abominable poop monster.” Flo squinted at the aberration standing just inside the door. “Are you sure that’s Agnes?”

TC frowned. “It’s holding a shovel.”

The music in the overhead speakers squealed and went quiet and the lights high above flickered manically. The office door slammed open and Vampira stood there, long black gown swaying in an imaginary breeze. The white-faced creature of the dark lifted a bony white hand and stabbed a blood-red claw toward the door. “Get. Out. Foul. Creature.”

Flo and TC swung their gaze from the vamp to the door, where old abominable seemed to be frowning under her poop colored face paint. “That thing out there is a demon,” Agnes’s shaky voice emerged. “Did you summon it from Hell, Morty?”

The combined gaze of the room slid back to Morticia Newsome, rumored vampire and unfortunate holder of the title co-night-manager at Silver Hills.

Her heavily made-up black eyes tightened with pique. The blood-red lips pursed with distaste. “The only thing that appears to have been summoned from Hell is you, Agnes Willard. Do not take one manure-covered step into this lobby.”

Agnes looked down at her slimy, green brown shoes. “How am I supposed to get to my apartment?”

“I don’t care,” Morty announced with a grimace. “Maybe if you hadn’t done the backstroke in camel dung…”

“The demon shoved me into it. Then it hissed at me and spit something…” She lifted a hand and a long, shiny string of something gooey dropped toward the floor. Morty sucked air, her thin cheeks puffing out like a chipmunk’s during Fall nut gathering. The skeletal finger stabbed toward Agnes again. “Get. Out!”

BUY LINKS:

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N43STFT

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GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sam_Cheever_Christmas_Grift_Humorous_Holiday_Myste?id=9kaODQAAQBAJ

Print: https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Grift-Silver-Hills-Mysteries/dp/154078570X

Freezer Bernie – New Cozy Mystery Release from Sam Cheever

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3 Winter chickens against a cadre of thugs? Yeah, the bad guys are definitely in trouble!

When a dead guy turns up in the freezer of Flo and Agnes’s favorite Italian restaurant, the ladies quickly discover the corpse had connections to one of their friends. Celia Angonetti’s husband owns Gioppino’s Italian Restaurant, as well as the gun lying next the frozen body with bullet holes in his chest. What he doesn’t own, according to Celia, is responsibility for the kill. Against their better judgement, the ladies get pulled into the mystery of how the dead guy got dead in the freezer…why he’d been killed with Massimo Angonetti’s gun…and how Celia came to the unlikely conclusion that her thug of a hubby was innocent of the crime. Some might think it was an impossible task.

Some probably haven’t met Flo and Agnes.

5 stars

Flo rounded a long, stainless steel counter and found Celia and Agnes staring down at something on the floor. Expecting to see a man’s body, she blinked in surprise at the long sheets of brown paper with blood seeping out from underneath. “Is that butcher paper?” she asked softly.

Celia looked up, her mouth puckered worriedly. “It was all I could think of to cover him with.” She shrugged, her frown deepening.

Flo stopped beside Agnes and stared down at the paper, willing it to rise and fall in breaths that wouldn’t come judging by the amount of blood on the floor. “Do you know who he is?”

Celia didn’t respond. Flo glanced quickly up. “Celia?”

“Yes.” She sighed. “His name’s Bernie. He sold Mass a car last week.”

Agnes wandered away from the corpse and stepped into the freezer, eyeing the series of holes in the door. “Why would Mass kill a car salesman?”

Celia snorted. “Why wouldn’t he?” She shook her head. “Besides, he didn’t kill this man, Agnes. Mass wouldn’t kill anybody.”

Flo’s eyebrows climbed north but she didn’t say anything. From what she’d heard about Massimo Angonetti’s temperament and business dealings, he had no trouble at all killing things.

Agnes shrugged, stepping more deeply into the freezer.

Watching her friend’s movements, Flo felt the need to give a warning. “Don’t touch anything Agnes, the police will be fingerprinting everything.”

Agnes’s head popped around the door. “Even the gelato?”

Flo shook her head. “How did he die?”

Celia twitched a hand toward the butcher paper. “You should uncover him and look.”

Flo’s mouth came open. “Whatever for?”

“To look for clues of course.”

Flo shook her head. “I’d have no idea what to look for.”

Celia sobbed.

Flo immediately felt bad. “Okay. Don’t cry. I’ll see what I can…um…see.” Flo carefully lifted the paper and peeked underneath. The man’s face was a strange blue color and his eyes were wide. They were cloudy from death and Flo shuddered. His mouth was open wide as if he’d been shouting something when he died.

“There’s no foam around his mouth.”

Agnes’s heavy footsteps came from inside the freezer. “You and your foaming mouth.”

Flo didn’t look up. “No petechial hemorrhaging.”

Agnes snorted.

“Petechial what?” Celia asked.

Warming to her examination, Flo peeled the paper back more. It stuck to his chest and she grimaced as she realized it was glued to his shirt by drying blood. “Broken blood vessels in the eyes from strangulation.”

“Ah,” Celia said. “See, Flo, I knew you were the right person to call. You know all about this stuff.”

Agnes snorted out a laugh. “She knows those two things and that’s all.”

Flo glanced angrily at her friend. “Says the person not helping…” Her voice trailed off in horror. “Please tell me you’re not eating gelato at the crime scene?”

Agnes looked down at the small carton of lemon gelato. Then she shrugged, sticking the flat, wooden spoon back into the frozen dessert. “Flo, I’m not eating gelato at the crime scene.”

Celia looked horrified. “How can you possibly eat with a dead body right in front of you?”

Agnes shrugged again. “I have a very strong constitution.”

“Yeah,” Flo stood, “that’s one way to refer to it.” She looked at Celia. “Do you have the weapon he…erm…the killer used?”

“No,” she said much too quickly.

Flo crossed her arms. “Celia.”

Celia flushed guiltily, then folded like yesterday’s laundry underneath Flo’s substitute school teacher glare. “Okay.” She marched over to a big, stainless steel pot on the stove and pulled off the lid, reaching inside.

“Wait!” Agnes screamed, starting forward as Celia jumped and her arm hit the side of the pot, sending it clanging to the floor. A big, black gun flew out of the pot and skidded toward the body, landing right next to Bernie as if the killer had dropped it there.

Flo’s heart was pounding in her chest. “Good Lord in Heaven, Agnes. What are you screaming about?”

Agnes strode over to the gun and inserted the wooden spoon under the trigger, pulling it off the floor with a grin. “No fingerprints. Pretty smart, huh?” A glob of gelato fell off the spoon and landed on the body.

“Very smart, fool. If only you hadn’t thrown your stolen gelato at poor Bernie in the process.”

Celia and Agnes looked where Flo was looking and Agnes frowned.

The shiny glob of frozen sweetness was perched on Bernie’s bloody shirt, in the vicinity of the three tightly packed bullet holes.

“Oh my,” Celia said. “Should we try to clean it out?”

Agnes took a giant step backward, which put her back inside the walk-in freezer. “I’m not touching him.”

Glaring at her friend, Flo nodded curtly. “The last time you touched a corpse he ended up with a broken wrist and a lampshade on his head.”

BUY LINKS

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M00JX2V

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A Tense New Mystery by Sam Cheever

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*A Note from the Author:

The Smart Investigations, Inc. series is not your typical mystery series. There are two things you might like to know about it. First, the pace is fast, like a great suspense novel, and the mood is tense…a bit darker than your average cozy mystery but not too dark. The romance in the books is sweet, with sensual overtones, like an old time murder mystery from film noire days. And of course there’s a cute little dog named Max, a dachshund, who pees on bad guys because…well…he can! And because he’s a dachshund and they always have an opinion.

And secondly, you’ll notice a second author’s name on the cover. Edric Honeybun is one of the brothers from my popular Honeybun Heat series. In the Heat, Edric is a thriller/suspense writer and the Smart Investigations, Inc. series was originally his before I stole it. So I thought it was only fair to give him some credit. Thus the co-authorship.

 Read the reviews, check out the blurb and if it sounds like something you might enjoy, I hope you’ll give this exciting new series a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Fractured love, treachery and cold-blooded murder…

A nightmarish new case plunges Alex and Matthew into personal and professional chaos as they pursue a killer who traffics in the most vile of human traits. They quickly learn that the current killings are somehow tied to a decades old murder, which comes with a hefty mix of suspects. As they begin to dig into the cold case, they start to realize that one of their suspects is hiding an evil so horrific it can barely stand the light of day.

Unfortunately, the evil they stalk is only one side of a multi-sided problem. Twisted around old loves and never forgotten treacheries, the case threatens their growing feelings for each other and dangerously undermines their professional relationship, while pitting them against a killer more deadly than any they’ve faced. Can they survive the dual threat? Will they reach for each other when things get rough? Or will they let misunderstanding and menace kill the future they’ve started building together?

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Tandy Smart clicked blood-red nails on top of Alex’s desk and tugged on a shiny blonde curl as she talked into her pink phone. Alex watched Matthew’s twenty-something sister with a mixture of awe and disbelief. She, Alex, had never been the flirty girl sort. She’d always been driven by the need to learn and, as such, had somehow threatened the tender psyches of any men she might have formed attachments with.

Before Matthew, there had been only one other man who’d seen past Alex’s brains and acerbic sense of humor to the slightly insecure, loving woman beneath. But, watching Tandy do her thing, Alex realized the younger woman’s modus operandi was a mature one, no doubt built over years of flinging out test bubbles to see what worked and then adjusting strategy to get what she wanted. That was where the awe came in. Tandy Smart was as good as her last name. She was no ditzy blonde, though she carefully crafted that persona when interacting with her victims. She was every bit as smart as her sexy brother, even if their methods were as different as night and day. Alex saw what none of the young girl’s brothers seemed to see. Tandy Smart was as savvy as the most dogged femme fatale. And every bit as dangerous because of her ability to hide it.

“Would you do that for me? Aw, that’s so sweet. You’re just the best. Thanks, Roger. I’ll owe ya one.” Tandy hung up the phone and threw Alex a smug grin. “Dandy Joes at two o’clock Wednesday. Back booth as requested.”

Alex shook her head. “You’re amazing.”

“Thanks.” Tandy surged from her chair, seemingly already focused on her next task. Her quick changes of mood and high energy were only two of the things that made Tandy exhausting to be around. “I’m meeting some friends for lunch. Can I bring you something back?”

“No thanks. I brought my lunch.”

Tandy grabbed a cute little clutch and headed for the door.

Alex eyed both the purse and the tiny behind swaying away from her, thinking she’d give anything to have a butt or a purse that small. But then she realized she’d have to give up carbs and store her gun in her bra. Nope, not worth it. “Enjoy your lunch.”

Tandy stopped at the door, turning back with a frown. “You know, my brother is an idiot.”

Alex felt the statement like a physical blow. Blood crawled into her face and turned her cheeks hot. She shook her head, unable to respond. Heading for her desk, she flung a hand dismissingly over her shoulder. “Have a nice lunch, hun.”

The door closed and Alex took a deep breath, her gaze sliding to the closed door of Matthew’s office. Sadness tugged at the sight, regret flared. Alex looked determinedly away, refusing to give in to the despair threatening to drag her down. She’d made a good run at it all. The relationship. The job. The last few months with Matthew, working at his side and sharing his life, had been the best days of her life.

But she’d made a decision and she was determined to live with it.

The office door reopened and Alex spoke without looking up. “Forget your lipstick again?” When Tandy didn’t respond, Alex glanced up from her computer. Her world tilted. Her lungs seized. She stood too quickly and thought she might faint as stars burst before her eyes. “Ben.” Her gaze slipped over him. Over the blood-shot blue eyes and the rumpled clothing. His face was whiter than the t-shirt he wore under the filthy hoodie. His baggie trousers were wet, the knees black with filth. But it was the trail of dried blood on his face that had her rushing forward. “Oh my god. What happened?”

The man she used to love more than anything let her take his arm and walk him toward a chair. His legs buckled out from under him more than once during the short trip. He groaned, clasping his head as Alex grabbed her client chair and pulled it over to the sound of wood screeching against wood.

When he was seated, Alex crouched before him, her hands over his on the arms of the chair. “Who did this to you?”

He frowned down at her, his sexy blue gaze filled with confusion and pain. “I…I don’t know exactly.”

Max yipped behind the closed door, his nails clicking across the floor in Matthew’s office. A beat later he was throwing his tiny body against the scarred wood, whining plaintively. Alex skimmed a quick glance in that direction before returning her gaze to Ben. Something inside her rebelled at the idea of asking Matthew for help with the man she’d once thought she’d marry.

“Ali, I think I’m in trouble.”

She sucked in a small gasp at the sound of that name. No one but Ben had ever called her Ali, and it had usually been in the most intimate of situations. Panicking at the flood of disconcerting memories, she stood up and moved away from him. Alex perched on the edge of her desk and crossed her arms. She knew even as she did it that the distance and the crossing of arms were both protective, shielding mechanisms, but she didn’t care. If there was anyone Alex needed to protect herself from it was the man sitting a few feet away from her. “Tell me what happened.”

His story was fractured, with small blank spaces his injured brain couldn’t fill in. But the gist of it was that Ben had been trying to help what he’d assumed was a homeless guy and had gotten himself caught in the crosshairs of the person who’d attacked him. “Have you gone to the police?” she asked him.

“No.” He shook his head and grimaced, his blood-covered hand flying to his head. “I can’t.”

“Why not?”

He lowered his hand and looked at it, seeming to see it for the first time. He didn’t speak for long enough to make Alex think he hadn’t heard her question. “Alex? Why haven’t you gone to the police? The man who hurt that homeless guy and you is still out there. He might hurt someone else.”

“The police already have their suspect.” Ben’s gaze slid to hers and darkened with fear. “It’s me, Ali. They think I killed that man.”

Though her stomach twisted painfully at the news, Alex made a dismissive sound. “That’s ridiculous, Ben. Why would they think that? Because you tried to save him and couldn’t? Ben, was that what happened? If so, we can help you.” She realized the word “we” had flown out of her mouth all too easily and, truth be told, she wasn’t entirely sure it was a true statement anymore. It was highly likely Alex was no longer a “we”. So she quickly amended her words. “I can help you.”

Ben Phillips continued to stare at his bloodied hand, his face the very picture of confusion. “No. You can’t.” He lifted a terrified gaze to her. “Because I’m afraid I did kill that man.”

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Get Your Dose of Fun Today! Dose Vidanya

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Silver Hills Senior and Singles Residence isn’t exactly a boring place. Home to a death predicting cat named Tolstoy, a night manager who may or may not suck blood and float above the floor, a cook with mad voodoo and pie baking powers, and a trio of nosy sleuths who are determined to get to the bottom of the corpse in the library (maybe literally)…some might say things couldn’t get any weirder.

Some would be wrong.

5 starsReader Review: “OMG this book was laugh out loud tears in your eyes funny!!! You will never look at retirement communities or Yoga classes the same!!!! The book is full of humor, mystery, and a bit of romance. Highly recommended and safe for all ages who want to read a murder mystery.”

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“You’re being ridiculous, Flo.”

Florence Bee cast her friend Agnes Willard a withering look. “I’m not going anywhere near that cat. I know you love him but he’s the Grim Reaper.”

Agnes snorted. “That’s just superstition. Tolstoy cannot predict death.”

The two women peered around the corner again. The huge orange striped cat sat licking his paws in a ray of sunlight that painted the mauve colored carpet. He stopped suddenly, as if sensing their presence and lifted his round green gaze in their direction.

Florence jerked backward, dragging Agnes with her. “There are ten dead people who might argue with you about that.”

Her friend removed Florence’s bony fingers from her shirt. “He’s my cat. I don’t need to hide from him.”

“Yes you do. If he sees you he’ll come over here.”

“And?” Agnes lifted a heavy brown eyebrow and placed her hands on wide hips.

“And I’m not going to find out what happens next. We don’t know if he kills with a look or if he has to sit on you.”

Agnes blew a raspberry. “Flo, I live with Tolstoy. He looks at me all the time. He sits on my chest when I’m sleeping…”

Flo gasped, grabbing Agnes’s wrist and looking at her watch.

“What are you doing, fool?”

“I’m checking your pulse.”

Agnes yanked her arm away as a door down the hall opened and a familiar voice spoke to Tolstoy.

“Good afternoon, boy.”

Tolstoy yowled a greeting and dove through the stairwell door before it closed.

Florence expelled a breath. “Good. We can go now.”

Shaking her head, Agnes stepped around the corner. She hotfooted it toward Richard Attles, a flirtatious smile on her wide face. “Richard! Hello.”

Flo rolled her eyes and followed, hoping to avert disaster.

Agnes had been nursing a serious crush on the man since the first day she’d arrived at the residence and had made a fool of herself more times than Flo could count over it.

The day manager of Silver Hills looked up as Agnes plowed toward him, her broad flank swinging energetically as she cut the distance between them.

Judging by the widening of the man’s eyes and the way his head swung from side to side looking for an escape route, Richard Attles was about to do something desperate. When his gaze swung toward the second floor window at the end of the hall Flo decided aggressive maneuvers were called for. She pitched sideways with a cry and folded carefully to the ground. As Agnes turned around, Flo grabbed her ankle.

Agnes rushed in her direction and Richard Attles saluted Flo as he dove back into the stairwell.

“Are you all right?” Agnes put her big hands under Flo’s arms and hefted her off the ground. Flo gave a startled chirp as her feet left the carpet. Agnes rarely knew her own strength.

“I’m fine I think. I just twisted my ankle.” She took a step, feigning a limp, and then straightened. “There, good as new. Let’s go or we’ll be late to the reading.”

Agnes narrowed her gaze at Flo and held her ground. “Just like that, your ankle’s better?”

Flo took off toward the elevator. “I’m a quick healer.” She pressed the Up button and the doors slid open with a whir. The two women climbed on board and Agnes stabbed a thick digit at the number three button.

“Hold the elevator!”

Agnes pressed Hold and peered around the open door to the young woman running lightly down the hall toward them, pressing a paperback to her stomach as she ran. The newcomer tugged a strand of mahogany hair off her face and smiled as she slipped into the elevator. “Thanks, ladies. Are you coming to the reading?”

Flo nodded. “We are. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I think I’ve figured out who killed Professor Pelt in the sun room.”

The doors slid shut and Agnes leaned against the wall at her back, eyeing the green-eyed beauty across from her. “I’m waiting for the sex scene. When are we getting to that, TC?”

Trisha Colombo shook her head. “There’s no sex, Agnes. But there is a sweet romance.”

Agnes blew a raspberry. “You need to write something steamier, TC. I’m getting diabetes from all that sweetness.”

The younger woman’s eyes widened as the doors slid open. “Shhhh! I don’t want Richard to know about the writing. It’s against my contract to have a second job.”

Agnes frowned. “It’s not like writing a book is a job, TC.”

TC lifted carefully shaped brows. “Have you ever tried it?”

“Agnes can’t even write a grocery list without breaking every grammar rule in the book,” Flo offered. She peered at her friend. “Besides, if you’re getting diabetes it’s from all those glazed donuts you eat.” Flo punched Agnes on a beefy arm. It was like a tick hitting a rhinoceros, barely even registering.

Agnes glanced at Flo when she rubbed her fist.

“I hope you hurt yourself.” She gave Flo a mean smile. “Good thing you’re a fast healer.”

“You two are incorrigible,” TC told them. “I hope I’m not going to have to separate you again.”

“If you do,” Flo said while glaring at her friend, “don’t put her near the coffee and cookies. The last time she ate everything but the ones with raisins.” Flo bunched her face with distaste. “I hate raisins.”

“Raisins are Satan’s boogers,” Agnes agreed.

TC grimaced. “Good Lord.”

“Don’t bring him into this,” Flo said with a grin.

Agnes laughed with her. “Yeah, he had nothing to do with raisins. He’s chocolate all the way.”

The elevator door opened and they stepped out, heading for the Silver Hills library. It was an open, inviting spot settled into a corner of the third floor. Two of the room’s walls consisted of floor to ceiling shelves made from dark wood, and every inch of the shelving was filled with books. The outside perimeter was open to the hallways and overlooked the large entrance and dining room two floors below.

Flo loved the library. It was her favorite spot at Silver Hills and she spent as much time there as possible. In fact, it had been her idea for TC, who was the resident activities director, to do the weekly readings. She hadn’t even known at the time that TC actually authored the cozy mysteries she read to about a dozen of the residents at Silver Hills. She’d just known they shared a love of reading.

They were a few minutes early to the reading and only one of the comfortable upholstered chairs was occupied when they approached. “Somebody beat us,” Flo observed as she eyed the stooped form with his back to them. She didn’t recognize the man from previous readings. “Who is that?”

TC shrugged. “Maybe it’s somebody new.”

Agnes picked up the pace. “He’s sitting next to the cookies. He’d better not have eaten all the chocolate chip ones.”

Flo rolled her eyes at TC and the younger woman smiled. “If he did I’ll call Cook and order us some more.”

Agnes slowed down from a near sprint and nodded. “Good. I need my daily sugar or I’ll drop into a diabetic coma.”

“You’re no more diabetic than I am,” Flo argued.

“Says you.”

They entered the cool, quiet space and a sense of peace slipped over Flo. She headed for her favorite chair just down from the newcomer, stepping over his very large shoes. “Excuse me.” The man in the chair didn’t look up from his magazine. Flo eyed the shaggy fringe of dark hair falling over his brow and frowned. Something about the man was familiar. And he appeared to be asleep.

Voices down the hall spurred Flo into action. She quickly forgot the magazine reading newcomer and hurried to her chair before old Mrs. Peoples stole it out from under her. Their feud over the slightly lumpy armchair had started months earlier, when Flo got up to go to the bathroom and came back to find the nasty old woman sitting like a queen in her chair. Mrs. Peoples had refused to leave, declaring the worn and lumpy chair the finest in the room and since she was the oldest, she proclaimed it should be hers.

Florence hadn’t taken it well and had set out, from that day on, to get to the readings before everyone else and claim the chair. She’d managed to snag the seat away from the crotchety old ninety-year-old woman several times in a row, only missing it the day the woman brought her lunch of prunes and sunflower seeds to the library and stayed until the reading just to rain on Flo’s parade. The cantankerous old woman had to have a bladder the size of her head.

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Smart Alex – Elegant Mystery Fiction with Sweet Romance

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A killer finds himself behind the curvy on getting what he wants.

Matthew Smart has lost his Assistant, Cameron, in a brutal killing. Devastated, Matthew has to find out who murdered his employee while interviewing potential replacements. Strangely, the applicants all seem to be blowing off their interviews. So when a bold, softly curved beauty named Alexis McFadden shows up in his office looking to fill the position, he’s tempted to hire her just because she’s the only one who wants the job, although he doesn’t believe she’s a good fit. Lucky for Alex, a tricky new case convinces Matthew that he can really use her help. But what if Alex is smart enough to get herself hired against all odds, while in the eyes of a cold-blooded killer, she’s too smart by half?

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A8R1KXK/?tag=wwwsamcheever-20

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