Friday, March 31, 2017

Sci-fi book about dogs launches Cobb 13-year-old’s career as author

In a way, Emily Rose Ross blames McDonald’s.

Or maybe she has McDonald’s to thank for the fact that at age 13, she’s a professional author. Her 218-page sci-fi fantasy book, “Blue’s Prophecy,” will officially be released on May 15 by TitleTown Publishing, based in Green Bay, Wis.

Back in fourth grade, Emily was “regularly dragged” to McDonald’s by her dad, Richard, for “homework time.” Emily would get her assignments done quickly, but her big brother had more schoolwork. Emily, often called Emmie, had to busy herself.

She did so by drawing pictures of dogs, then making up stories to go with them.

Read the rest of article at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Women's Fiction Book of the Week: Starting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila Roberts


Title: STARTING OVER ON BLACKBERRY LANE
Author: Sheila Roberts
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Pages: 384
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance

Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD. He can't seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his "projects." If he doesn't smarten up, she swears she's going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.  

Her friend Griffin James is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country. Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought. She needs help.  

She's not the only one. Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest—with a leaking roof. When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it's time to do something. When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man. (Cass's friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!) Now it's time to make some improvements…in their houses and their lives.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon

About the Author


Bestselling author Sheila Roberts has seen her books translated into over a dozen languages. Her novels ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS and THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS were made into movies for the Lifetime and Hallmark channels. When she’s not hanging out with her girlfriends or dancing with her husband she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book Feature: Wooing the Wedding Planner by Amber Leigh Williams & Win $50 B&N Gift Card!


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We invite you to Amber Leigh Williams' WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER Blog Tour! Please leave a comment to let Amber know you stopped by!
 ______________________________________________________________________________


Title: WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER
Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin (Superromance)
Pages: 380
Genre: Series Romance/Contemporary Romance/Superromance
No more wedding marches for her! 

Wedding planner Roxie Honeycutt can make happy-ever-after come true for anyone except herself. Freshly divorced and done with love, she's okay with watching clients walk down the aisle. What's not okay? Sharing a charming Victorian house with accountant Byron Strong. He's frustratingly sexy and determined to keep her confused. 

Roxie thought Byron's expertise was numbers, yet somehow he sees her for who she really is. Somehow he understands the hurt she hides behind a trademark smile. Suddenly romance is tempting again, even if it means risking another heartbreak.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon


Book Excerpt:


What was wrong with the old Roxie?”

His words stuck with her. And his kiss.

It was difficult to forget a kiss like that, especially coming from someone…well, someone like Byron. Roxie had spent more time than she’d like to admit trying not to think about the kiss – about how sweet it was. She’d forgotten kisses could be so sweet. She’d tried extra hard to forget how his lips had lingered. And how in lingering he’d awakened starbursts inside her. Starbursts of eternity.

She frowned deeply. Being touched…it had been so long since she had really been touched. The hollowness in her had turned into a resounding ache, and for a few moments she’d thought about bringing Byron’s mouth back down to hers. For a few moments, she’d craved more than his companionship. She’d craved the contact. The promise of heat that came with it.

But had she wanted it – had she wanted him – for the single reason that heat could erode loneliness? There was trust there. There was affection. For those small starbursts of eternity, there had been longing and the promise of flame. It had been too long since she’d felt the sheer, electrical pulse of new chemistry.

Why had Byron’s kiss made it seem like so long since she’d felt the flame? The passion?




  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive a $50 B&N Gift Card.
  • This giveaway ends midnight April 28.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



About the Author

Amber Leigh Williams is a Harlequin romance writer who lives on the US Gulf Coast. She lives for beach days, the smell of real books, and spending time with her husband and their two young children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones (and two large dogs), she can usually be found reading a good book or indulging her inner foodie. Amber is represented by the D4EO Literary Agency.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

 

Brought to you by:

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Guest Post: "Resources for Latino authors: Charting Your Path to Publication" by Liza Trevino

New to publishing? Me, too. After completing my Latina-focused novel, I expected I would have an easy time locating an outlet for this kind of story. Wrong.

A quick (and more in-depth) Google search with words like “Latino,” “Hispanic,” “Writing” and “Fiction” quickly reveals a serious infrastructure gap for Latino writers, particularly when it comes to popular genres. However, if you are a Latino author or want to write genre-driven material featuring Latino heroines, there are opportunities and resources out there.

This post focuses on publishers and book groups specializing in Latino content. Here are some resources I’ve collected to bring:

Publishers

Publishers come in many sizes. Most likely, you know the big publishing houses like Simon & Schuster. However, there are a few publishers dedicated specifically for Latino writers and content that are listed below.  
·      La Casita Grande, (http://www.lcgeditores.com/), a newly launched publication press that specializes in Latino/Caribbean literature.
·      Café con Leche (http://cafeconlechebooks.com/), an imprint of Koehler Books, specializes in fiction by and about Latinos.
·      Floricanto Press (http://www.floricantopress.com/), focuses on Latino peoples and trends.
·      Cinco Punto Press (http://www.cincopuntos.com), focuses on U.S. /Mexico border region and Southwest and Mexico areas and publish children’s books, graphic novels, history and fiction.

Also take a look at publishers that specialize in the genre of your work as they can have niche subdivisions within their publishing house that focuses on an ethnic audience.

Book Groups

Book groups provide an excellent resource for developing communities around a specific type of audience or content.  The groups listed here focus on Latino authors and wish to make visible the need and audience for stories that feature diversity.  Some groups include Las Comadres, LatinX Publishers, Diverse Books, Bustle/Diverse Books, Latina Book Club, Books. Many of these groups can be joined through social media like Facebook and Twitter.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Rather, it’s the beginning. Are there additional resources you want to share? Please send my way! The goal?  Let’s get the word out. Literally. Latino authors have LOTS of different types of stories to tell.  This list, hopefully, will be the beginning of your path to publication.





Liza Treviño hails from Texas, spending many of her formative years on the I-35 corridor of San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.  In pursuit of adventure and a Ph.D., Liza moved to Los Angeles where she compiled a collection of short-term, low-level Hollywood jobs like script girl, producer assistant and production assistant.  Her time as a Hollywood Jane-of-all-trades gave her an insider's view to a world most only see from the outside, providing the inspiration for creating a new breed of Latina heroine.

Click to Buy on Amazon: All That Glitters

Book Feature: The Ashes by Vincent Zandri & Enter To Win Free Book!


Title: THE ASHES
Author: Vincent Zandri
Publisher: Bear Media
Pages: 277
Genre: Thriller/Horror/Romantic Suspense

HORROR IN THE DARK WOODS
It’s been eight years since artist and single mom, Rebecca Underhill, was abducted and left to die in an old broken down house located in the middle of the dark woods. But even if her abductor, Joseph William Whalen, has since been killed, another, more insidious evil is once more out to get her in the form of the Skinner. The son of an abusive butcher, Skinner intends on finishing the job Whalen started but failed at.

How is he going to get to Rebecca?

He’s going to do it through her children, by luring them into the cornfield behind the old farmhouse they live in.

HORROR IN THE DEPTHS
Now, armed with the knowledge that the Skinner has escaped incarceration at a downstate facility for the criminally insane, Rebecca must face the most horrifying challenge of her adult life: Rescuing the children not from a house in the woods, but from the abandoned tunnels that run underneath her property.

But the Skinner is watching Rebecca’s every move.

Horrifying question is, will she live long enough to save the children?

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon


Book Excerpt:


Albany Police Department
South Pearl Street Precinct

The old homicide detective sits behind his metal desk surrounded by the cold quiet of the early morning, staring forlornly into the radiant screen on his department-issued laptop. He’s been using the laptop, which is integrated with the department’s web server, for years and years now, but he still fondly recalls the days when his desktop supported only a telephone connected to an old fashioned landline and beside that, an IMB Selectric typewriter. And how could he ever forget the old two tiered Inbox/Outbox?
He glances at his inbox and the two dozen or so new emails that have come his way since he last checked it the previous evening. He scans the emails for their importance, relegating most of them to routine, until he comes to one marked, “URGENT: Serial Murderer Hanover Escapes Custody.”
The detective, whose name is Nick Miller, is a tall, wiry, white-haired man. He has been on the force for more years than a man should be. Or so he’s been told countless times by his peers inside the department. But he’s a widower who can’t seem to get over the fact that his wife is gone, even years after her untimely death on an operating table after suffering a burst aneurism. It also explains why he’s sitting behind his desk, suffering from the pangs of a whiskey hangover, on a quiet Sunday morning.
He opens the email.
“To Whom It May Concern,” reads the department wide message. “The former cellmate of New York State registered sex offender and convicted murderer, Joseph William Whalen, has escaped from the Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center in New Hampton, New York while en route to a routine medical review at an upstate facility. Lawrence Frederick Hanover, 69, Caucasian, was convicted on several counts of murder in the first degree and is considered extremely dangerous. Both guards who were assisting with the transfer were killed during an apparent violent exchange with Hanover, aka Skinner, or The Skinner. His present whereabouts is unknown.”
 Miller exhales, sits back in his swivel chair.
The email originates not from the FBI but from the state police, most notably, the Rensselaer County Division. He recalls Whalen as the maximum security inmate who, not long after his release, attempted to abduct and kill the same woman, Rebecca Underhill, whom he’d abducted back when she was a little girl in 1977. Her twin sister, Molly, was also the target of his attacks. Although Molly has since died, Rebecca, still lives in the area with her son.
The email comes with several pictures of Hanover, including his most recent mugshots and psychiatric facility photo records. The small, bald, scraggily faced little man doesn’t seem like he could hurt a fly much less another human being. But Miller wasn’t born yesterday and he knows that even a little man can kill as efficiently and quickly as a big, monster of a man. Perhaps even more quickly and efficiently.
Sitting back up, he scans the rest of the email.
“While state police have issued state-wide APBs and launched a task force to hunt for Hanover’s whereabouts, we are asking that police cooperate in every way possible to ensure the quick, efficient, and otherwise discreet apprehension of the serial murderer. All communications should be delivered directly to this office via the email/phone number listed.”
Once more Miller sits back.
“The quick, efficient, and otherwise discreet apprehension of the serial murderer,” he whispers. “Somebody fucked up and that somebody doesn’t want the press to get ahold of this story.”  
Sitting there, alone in the quiet office, Miller feels a distinct and very unpleasant chill run up and down his backbone.
“What would a schooled Statie or FBI pathologist have to say about this rather delicate situation?” he whispers quietly to himself. “That a killer as skilled and hungry as Hanover is gonna slip up and be found sleeping in some crappy hotel somewhere? That they can then slip him back inside his rubber room at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric, like he’s some two-bit bank robber?” The detective laughs aloud. “I’ll tell you something right now. If the Skinner doesn’t want to be found, then no way in hell he’s gonna be found. Simple as that. He didn’t escape to be free. He escaped to kill, to butcher, and that’s all.”
His bloodshot eyes once more focused on the laptop screen, the old detective shifts the curser so that it clicks on the Action Taken box beside the open email. He clicks on Saved Mail.
Closing the laptop lid, he finds that his hands are shaking. He opens the bottom desk drawer, pulls out the bottle of Jack Daniels stored inside it. Pouring a generous shot into his empty ceramic coffee cup, he drinks it down.
“Skinner,” he whispers. “Who will you flay next? Whose flesh will you feast on?”     


Meet the Author

Winner of the 2015 PWA Shamus Award and the 2015 ITW Thriller Award for Best Original Paperback Novel, Vincent Zandri is the NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY, and AMAZON KINDLE No.1 bestselling author of more than 25 novels including THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT WEEPS, EVERYTHING BURNS, and ORCHARD GROVE. He is also the author of numerous Amazon bestselling digital shorts, PATHOLOGICAL, TRUE STORIES and MOONLIGHT MAFIA among them. Harlan Coben has described THE INNOCENT (formerly As Catch Can) as "...gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting," while the New York Post called it "Sensational...Masterful...Brilliant!" Zandri's list of domestic publishers include Delacorte, Dell, Down & Out Books, Thomas & Mercer and Polis Books, while his foreign publisher is Meme Publishers of Milan and Paris. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri's work is translated in the Dutch, Russian, French, Italian, and Japanese. Recently, Zandri was the subject of a major feature by the New York Times. He has also made appearances on Bloomberg TV and FOX news. In December 2014, Suspense Magazine named Zandri's, THE SHROUD KEY, as one of the "Best Books of 2014." Recently, Suspense Magazine selected WHEN SHADOWS COME as one of the "Best Books of 2016". A freelance photo-journalist and the author of the popular "lit blog," The Vincent Zandri Vox, Zandri has written for Living Ready Magazine, RT, New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, The Times Union (Albany), Game & Fish Magazine, and many more. He lives in New York and Florence, Italy.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Giveaway Details:

Vincent is giving away ten Kindle e-copies of THE ASHES!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Ten winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway ends midnight May 31.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!




 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The Shadow Crucible Book Blast


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We invite you to Tamara Lakomy's THE SHADOW CRUCIBLE: THE BLIND GOD Book Blast at The Writer's Life! Please leave a comment to let Tamara know you stopped by or share this page through your social networks!
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Title: THE SHADOW CRUCIBLE: THE BLIND GOD
Author: T.M. Lakomy
Publisher: Select Books
Pages: 400
Genre: Dark Fantasy

In a world where angels, demons, and gods fight over the possession of mortal souls, two conflicted pawns are ensnared in a cruel game. The enigmatic seer Estella finds herself thrown together with Count Mikhail, a dogmatic Templar dedicated to subjugating her kind. But when a corrupted cardinal and puppet king begin a systematic genocide of her people, the two become unlikely allies.
Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All organized religions are shops orchestrated to consume mankind. Every deity, religion, and spiritual guide has been corrupted, and each claims to have the monopoly on truth and salvation.

In a perilous game where the truth is distorted and meddling ancient deities converge to partake of the unseen battle, Estella unwittingly finds herself hunted by Lucifer. Traversing the edge of hell’s precipice, Estella and Mikhail are reduced to mere instruments. Their only means to overcome is through courting the Threefold Death, the ancient ritual of apotheosis—of man becoming God.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Book Excerpt:

He seethed with indignation as he confronted his reflection. Rasping with rage and flexing his fingers impotently, he took in his bruised and broken face. This mirror was the only vanity he was allowed, and now it only offered him the stark knowledge of his ugliness and weakness. Livid, he smote the mirror with his fist. It shattered as he let out an incensed cry, the fragments flying across the floor, glittering sharply in the dimming lights. He looked down at the collage of broken glass and paused, numb with anger.

The shards of the mirror glittered and vibrated, reflecting numerous eyes. Then they slowly began to levitate, all the tiny fragments splintered across the room gathering together and reforming. Swiftly they became whole again, and the mirror floated in the air eerily toward the cardinal. Within the reflection he no longer saw himself, but another being gazing back at him. Lost for breath, he gaped in bewilderment, unable to form words. The being had the fairest of all faces. Beautiful, with an aura of inexorable grace, it had resplendent, shimmering wings—pair upon pair of them in varied iridescent hues. The countenance observed him with a soft smile, measuring him with his intoxicating, lucent blue eyes. “Do you know who I am, old man?” the mirror asked him blithely. The cardinal was immediately enraptured, but could feel the cross burning on his neck. “Take it off and it will not sear your skin,” the angel remarked mildly, his limpid blue eyes gazing lovingly upon the cardinal. The cardinal, like a man too deeply drunken to think, brought his hand to his neck and ripped the cross thoughtlessly off and cast it away. “That is better now, isn’t it? Always bearing the cross. Well, he carried his cross and now he wants the whole world to carry it with him . . . how truly selfish.” The voice, though laced with reproach, was heartrendingly sweet and full of understanding and promise. It rang like silver bells. The cardinal’s mouth hung open indecorously, and he found himself nodding his head in agreement with the angel’s words as his fear began to dissipate. “I do not want you to carry this cross, this heavy burden of debt,” the angel continued. “This false salvation you were peddled is a lie. I, on the contrary, want you to be free, liberated from your thralldom. The earth is your inheritance to rule over as a god, like you were promised. And yet they have deprived you of your freedom. My heart grieves for you,” the angel sympathized, his voice laden with unquenchable sorrow. As the angel spoke, the mirror began to ripple like molten silver, and he emerged from it, as though pushing through a translucent shroud. Robed in white flowing garments, he grasped a long spear in his left hand pointing it downwards, the bitter tip glistening coldly. Standing before the cardinal revealed in his full glory, he smiled fully—but the warmth never reached his detached, frosted gaze. “I want to liberate you from your thralldom,” he said. “I have watched over you all, my tender flock. I am Lucifer, the morning star, the first to greet you with my love into this life, and the last to claim you on my dark stallion of death. I have come to free you.” His persuasive voice was soothing and nurturing, like a gentle river rippling mildly over soft bedrock. The cardinal found himself in a daze of awe, and within him woke his longing for power and lust for dominion. “Come to me, let me free you, and we shall destroy the Twilit world that has robbed you of the gifts that you so deserved.” The fatherly voice of the angel was indignant yet gentle, and he beamed at the cardinal who nodded back eagerly. “Let me into your heart, then. Lead me into your house, in this false edifice erected in the name of God, and let us together find the lost sheep in the house of God. I am his true son, after all, prince of the world.” He glided towards the cardinal, his numerous nacre wings extending into the chamber. They shed their own pearly light, and it seemed he floated like a silver vision. The angel knelt beside the cardinal, gazing into his watery eyes. “Let me into his house.” The voice was slightly more pressing now. The cardinal, dazed, nodded in agreement. With a satisfied smile, the angel touched the cardinal’s chest with a slender finger, right at his heart, and breathed over him. The cardinal groaned, falling instantly asleep. The angel then shifted like a blurring image, colors melting and running, twisting like molten glass into a murky mess of shadow and dirt-colored fumes. The gleaming wings fell to the ground, losing their feathers and rotting instantly. Now instead of the radiant angel, there stood a hooded and cloaked figure, emanating death. Like a black hole, it sucked in all the light around him, exerting a fearsome pull. The light from the candles swirled and were drawn into him, as though he were a gasping sinkhole.

The lights that weren’t drowned out flared in his presence, then guttered as he walked towards the discarded cross lying dully on the ground. With his foot he trampled it into the ground. Then the lights went out and laughter resounded. It echoed through the abbey walls, shaking it to its foundations until all the lights within went out, and all the icons fell to the ground, dashed down by something far more sinister than the raging gale outside.

About the Author


Tamara Lakomy is British born but grew up in North Africa during troubled times. She resides in London.

She studied archaeology and became enamoured with the shamanistic practices of indigenous people.

She is an author and poet who seeks to challenge our notions of reality, and see life with a different perspective.

She works in East Africa with indigenous tribes studying the origins of mankind and the salient golden thread in the tapestry of humanity's beliefs.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Spotlight and Chapter Reveal: Echoes of Terror, by Maris Soule



Title: Echoes of Terror
Author: Maris Soule
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Five Star


Find out more on Amazon

The latest release by award-winning novelist Maris Soule, Echoes of Terror is a taut, tense tale about secrets, deadly intentions, and what happens when murder hits way too close to home.   Set against the backdrop of Skagway, Alaska,Echoes of Terror introduces protagonist Katherine Ward, a Skagway police officer who finds herself thrust in extraordinary—and extraordinarily frightening--circumstances when her past, present and future threaten to collide in a most dangerous way.

About Echoes of Terror:  Rural Skagway, Alaska’s small police force is accustomed to an occasional crime--a stolen bike here, a DUI there.  But when a teenager goes missing, the Skagway Police force is hardly prepared, especially with its Police Chief  in the hospital and an officer missing. Officer Katherine Ward is assigned the case, never expecting it to parallel her own kidnapping experience seventeen years earlier.  Soon, Katherine realizes what originally appeared to be the case of a rebellious teen runaway is anything but.  There’s something—or someone—sinister at work in this usually quiet town and a teenager’s life is in danger.

But missing teen Misty Morgan isn’t your average teenage girl:  she’s the daughter of a billionaire.  Misty thought running off with a college boy would get her father’s attention, but now she and another kidnapped teen are praying for their lives at the hands of a ruthless kidnapper. Stuck in China on a business trip, Misty’s father suspected his daughter was up to something and asked his longtime friend, Marine veteran Vince Nanini, to fly to Alaska and stop Misty. Problem is, Vince arrives too late to stop the kidnapping, and the police aren’t eager to let him help find the missing teen.

When Katherine realizes the same man who kidnapped and raped her years ago is the one holding Misty and the other teenager, the terror of those months in captivity resurfaces.  Together, Katherine and Vince must figure out where the kidnapper has taken two teenagers, and fast.  But nothing is at it seems in this race to stop a madman before he kills again. The clock is ticking—and this time, the past is close behind. Dangerously close behind…

Brimming with tension, filled with twists and turns, and resplendent with pulse-quickening suspense that reaches a dramatic and shocking crescendo, Echoes of Terror is a bone-chilling tale that grabs readers and doesn’t let go. Award-winning novelist Maris Soule delivers a briskly paced, masterfully plotted, spine-tinglingly realistic thriller that will leave readers gasping for breath.

According to bestselling novelist Libby Fischer Hellmann, author of the Ellie Foreman mystery series, “The pace and writing will keep you turning pages. And the twist at the end?  I didn’t see if coming. Do yourself a favor and read this thriller now.”

CHAPTER ONE

7:25 a.m. Thursday
“That guy is a frickin’ idiot.”
“Who’s an idiot?”
Brian Bane glanced at the girl sitting next to him before again splitting his attention between the twisting road in front of his Chevy Blazer and the tailgating Ford Explorer. On their right the roadway dropped over a thousand feet. As much as he liked excitement, this Internet-born adventure was not starting out as he’d imagined.
“The guy behind us,” he said, keeping a tight hold on the steering wheel. “He came up out of nowhere. Now he’s all over my ass. Like there’s any way for me to go faster up this grade.”
Misty—or Miss T as she was known on ChatPlace—twisted in her seat to look behind them. Her wild, blonde curls brushed her shoulders, and her mini-skirt showed a teasing view of her inner thigh. “Shit,” she hissed through her teeth.
“What?” Brian said.
“He sent Vince.”
“Who sent Vince?”
“My dad.”
“Your dad?” Brain didn’t like the sound of that. “So who’s Vince?”
“He’s a guy Dad knew in the Marines. He’s supposed to do computer security for my dad’s business, but he keeps acting like he’s my bodyguard. I can’t do a frickin’ thing without him showing up.”
She flopped back against the seat, and crossed her arms over her chest. The fact that her old man had sent someone after her, and the way she was pouting, didn’t bode well. For the first time since he’d picked Misty up in Skagway, Brian wasn’t so certain she was the eighteen years she’d advertised.
“How old are you, Misty? Your real age, I mean.”
She glared at him, and then looked away. “Age is meaningless.”
Meaningless, my ass, he thought. Damn, I’m so screwed. He was about to take an under-aged girl into Canada. No wonder some steroid filled ex-Marine with an over attachment to the boss’s daughter was after him. He’d be lucky if he wasn’t arrested as an International felon.
“Do you think—?”
A thump to the back corner bumper sent the Blazer into a fishtail, and Brian gasped, clinging to the steering wheel as he fought to bring the car back under control. “Jeez, Misty, your dad’s buddy just rammed us.”
“Then step on the gas,” Misty ordered, giving a quick glance behind them. “Outrun him.”
“In this thing?” The old Blazer was tired iron. The first part of the Klondike Highway, from Skagway to White Pass and the Canadian line, was a twisting, turning two-laner that rose from sea level to over three thousand feet. The steep incline was already taxing the engine. They’d be lucky to outrun a snowplow through this stretch.
Again the Explorer rammed into them, this time lurching them straight toward the guardrail as the road turned. Misty yelped and grabbed at the door. Brian swung the wheel. The sensation of the front right fender grating on metal vibrated through the steering column. When they came out of the turn, the Explorer was nearly side by side.
“Your dad’s buddy is nuts! He’s going to kill us.”
“Just go faster!”
“I’m going as fast as I can.”
The powerful Explorer began squeezing them closer to the guardrail. Jaw clenched and muscles taut, Brian struggled to keep his SUV on the pavement. Adrenalin pumped through his body, a bitter taste rising to his throat.
And then his heart nearly stopped.
Just a few hundred feet ahead, the guardrail turned into a twisted, jagged strip of metal that hung limply to the ground. Open air replaced protection. One bump from the Explorer as they passed that broken section of guardrail, and they’d definitely be going over the edge, tumbling down the mountainside.
“That’s it, Babe.”
Brian pulled his foot from the gas and began to brake.
“What are you doing? Don’t slow down!”
“Forget it,” he said in disgust. Man, his friends had been right about this whole hooking up online thing. They’d tried to talk him out of it, but all Brian had been seeing was a summer traveling through Canada with a hot chick. Instead of lots of sex and partying, after this ex-Marine got through with him, he’d be lucky if all of his body parts were intact.
Brian brought the Blazer to a complete stop, his entire body shaking. The Explorer angled in front of him, preventing a forward escape. With a sigh, Brian shifted into park, and then turned toward Misty—the beautiful, sexy Miss T.
The beautiful, sexy, under-aged, Miss T, he mentally corrected. “Wouldn’t you know I’d hook up with jailbait.”
She glared at him. “So it didn’t work out. Stop whining. Vince isn’t going to do anything to you.”
“Oh yeah?” Brian sure hoped that was true. “So, what was this, just a little joy ride for you?”
“What it was is none of your business.” Once again she looked away, out the side window.
Brian stared at her for a second, kicking himself for being such an idiot, then he stepped out of the car. As he looked toward the Explorer, he wondered if he should act angry—after all, Misty had duped him. Or guilty—because he should have known she was under-age.
The other car door began to open, and Brian called out, “Listen, man, I had no idea she was—” He broke off as the man straightened and faced him. He almost laughed when he saw the bear mask . . .
Then he saw the gun.
////////////////////////////////

Acclaimed novelist Maris Soule is a two time RITA finalist who has won numerous awards for her novels over the last three decades. Born and raised in California, Maris majored in art at U.C. Davis and taught art for 8 years before retiring to raise a family. Maris and her husband divide their time between Michigan and Florida. Echoes of Terror is her 30th book.  Visit Maris Soule online at: www.marissoule.com