Death in Smoke Blitz


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The Cape Mysteries, Book 2


Mystery, Thriller

Only $.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited


A bloodied body buried on Cape Cod. A cold case in Kansas.

Can Leila track down a savage killer?

After a blinding snowstorm, artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend wakes early in the morning for a walk in the woods to think, to escape. When she stumbles on the bloodied body of a woman buried in a snow bank, Leila digs desperately, her fingers bleed, shaking with fear, she knows who it is.

It’s Susie, the ex-girlfriend of Steve, a failed photographer she dumped months before.

Leila was at a creative retreat with her eccentric group of Red Barn artist friends, on a remote island off Cape Cod. On the rebound from her relationship, Leila finds herself attracted to Detective John Grace, a partner in both romance and crime investigation.

However, when the police arrive on the crime scene, Detective Grace warns her not to investigate a murder case, again. But Leila trusts her instincts and resolves to prove Steve’s innocence, at least of murder.

As an artist, Leila is convinced that bodies have a story to tell. Unauthorized, Leila observes Susie’s autopsy—and the body reveals an enigmatic clue:

Susie died on a bed of long-stemmed roses.

Steve begs Leila to help him—swearing he has evidence that Susie’s killer is a suspect in a cold case in Kansas. Leila confronts the suspect, stealing a possible clue—an arrowhead.

Tracking the trail of blood and revenge from Cape Cod to a Native American casino in Kansas, a ritualistic murder reveals a cold case killer—and a deadly secret from Leila’s past.

If you’re a fan of Lisa Gardner and Karin Slaughter, you’ll love Death In Smoke.

Other Books in The Cape Mysteries series:

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Death In Vermnilio


The Cape Mysteries, Book 1

A psychological mystery about art and obsession…

Leila Goodfriend is laying down the bones of a painting. When interrupted by Iris, the noisy, unlikeable artist in the studio upstairs, Leila is distracted and annoyed.

When she discovers the racket was actually Iris’ dead body hitting the floor, Leila becomes obsessed: Who murdered Iris?

The other Red Barn Cooperative artists—competitive, jealous and hypocritical—are prime suspects. They all hated Iris. “An artist owes his life to his art,”Iris said.

Iris was good for a laugh. But no one is laughing now.

In this gripping mystery, new author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a charming Cape Cod town.

Alibis fall apart. Plot twists multiply. And Leila comes to a dangerous conclusion.


Death In Cerulean – The Cape Mysteries, Book 3

Coming 2022

Death in Smoke paperback

About the Author

Barbara Elle

In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?

Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?

Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers and as a freelance journalist.

She grew up in Boston, moving to New York, but her writing draws on people and places from her childhood.

Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often traveling the world with her touring musician husband, the musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.

Death in Cerulean, Book 3 in The Cape Mysteries, is scheduled for publication in 2022.

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Bloodroot Virtual Book Tour

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Historical Fiction



Date Published: 08-01-1021

Publisher: BQB Publishing

England, 1609. Matthew did not trust his friend, Richard’s stories of Paradise in the Jamestown settlement, but nothing could have equipped him for the privation and terror that awaited him in this savage land.

Once ashore in the fledgling settlement, Matthew experiences the unimaginable beauty of this pristine land and learns the meaning of hope, but it all turns into a nightmare as gold mania infests the community and Indians become an increasing threat. The nightmare only gets worse as the harsh winter brings on “the starving time” and all the grizzly horrors of a desperate and dying community that come with it.

Driven to the depths of despair by the guilt of his sins against Richard and his lust for that man’s wife, Matthew seeks death, but instead finds hope in the most unexpected of places, with the Powatan Indians.

In this compelling and extensively researched historical novel, the reader is transported into a little-known time in early America where he is asked to explore the real meanings of loyalty, faith, and freedom.

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Chapter 8,  MONOCANS

P 113

The night slowly yielded, as it always does, to happy daylight. Never was I so happy to see it come. The dark, strange shapes slowly became bushes, or the trunks of trees covered with vines, or they disappeared altogether—mere night shadows. All manner of birds awoke and greeted the day with their particular songs. The sun warmed and dried the ground which yielded a sweet, wild scent.

The Lieutenant himself came to fetch us from our post, saying to me that we were less than a day’s march from the land of the Saponi, and there we might expect to bargain for fresh victuals and peaceful relations. So, after breakfasting on more dried beef, we continued our march along King James River, going further into the interior of this strange land.

The men had begun to grumble about the value of our undertaking and openly doubting that any of us would return alive. Lieutenant Webster did his best to appease them but, as the day wore on, their complaints grew stronger. The Lieutenant ordered a halt. He reckoned that we were well out of the land of the Monacans, and ordered camp to be made on a height next to the river. There were many hours of daylight left, and he ordered our best marksmen, of which I was not one, to go into the woods and kill the fattest deer they could find..

The Lieutenant himself went in search for whatever fruits the land would provide. He soon returned with his hat and shirt full of berries which looked similar to English strawberries but with a sweeter, juicer taste. We heard a musket report not too far off and, in less than half an hour the marksmen returned, bearing a large male deer strung on a carrying pole.

Every man in the camp, including myself, was most happy over the prospect of fresh meat. We set about dressing the deer and constructing several roasting pits. In a short while we had the best cuts of the venison sizzling over glowing wood coals. The unusable parts of the animal we buried away from our campsite. To clean ourselves of the blood and animal fat, we bathed and frolicked, like schoolboys, in the running cool waters of the river.

When the meat was done, we sat around the fire, naked as Indians except for a loincloth which the Lieutenant demanded that we wear. We feasted on well cooked meat until we could not force another mouthful down. We then lay by the fires, gorged as the most gluttonous of Romans, and instantly fell asleep. I hardly gave a thought to whatever Indians might be lurking about.

About The Author

Daniel V. Meier, Jr.

A retired Aviation Safety Inspector for the FAA, Daniel V. Meier, Jr. has always had a passion for writing. During his college years, he studied History at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW) and American Literature at The University of Maryland Graduate School. In 1980 he published an action/thriller with Leisure Books under the pen name of Vince Daniels.

He also worked briefly for the Washington Business Journal as a journalist and has been a contributing writer/editor for several aviation magazines. In addition to, Bloodroot, he is the author of the award-winning historical novel, The Dung Beetles of Liberia that was released in September 2019 and the highly acclaimed literary novel, No Birds Sing Here in April 2021.

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Walking in the Shadow of Footsteps Virtual Book Tour

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Journey of Enlightenment


Leadership / Self development


Published Date: August 24, 2021

Publisher: Elite Online Publishing

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Despite a life of challenges—from childhood illness to witnessing violence as a youth on the tough streets of uptown New Orleans, falling into the trap of drugs as a teen, and assaults on his confidence as an adult—Roynell Young is living his life’s purpose.

Walking in the Shadow of Footsteps takes readers on an emotional journey through the life of an unlikely hero who earned his way into the National Football League as a first-round draft pick, enjoyed a nine-year career as a professional athlete, then carved a pathway that led him to create an organization that today impacts thousands in the impoverished Sunnyside area of Houston. Driven by an unquenchable desire to discover his life’s purpose, Young learned that true power and freedom are the result of an unshakable commitment to live his purpose and spread the good news to the underdog. His unique story is his love letter to humanity.

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My clock was ticking faster than I realized. Death was imminent. So blinded was I by my determination to finish my fourteenth marathon that I mistook the tightness in my chest as an ill-fitting T-shirt. In 2004, more than a decade after retiring from a nine-year career in the NFL, I ran what became my last marathon. I had taken up running as a way to de-stress. Turns out, it almost kil ed me. 

I had hit the mythical twenty-mile wal that all marathoners know about, when my shirt suddenly felt like it was crushing my chest and torso. The cool January morning air in Houston did little to ease the discomfort, but I finished the race. After finding the courage to tel my wife what was going on with me, I found myself sitting in the doctor’s office. Although I did not suffer a heart attack, tests revealed that my left anterior descending artery was ninety-seven percent blocked, a condition commonly known as the widow maker. Thankful y, my Creator knew my work here was unfinished. From that moment, my lifelong tendency to show up smal and play it safe melted away and 

catapulted me with unwavering certainty towards a future I was being led to create, not for myself, but for humanity. 

running photo
Marathon 2009 

Up to that point I had been running from my dark past towards a future I thought had been predetermined to bring light to others through me, an unlikely messenger. I have been the underdog most of my life—from suffering with tuberculosis as a kid to being rejected by my middle school football team—

but I found ways to deal with it. What I learned from failure and rejection is that they’re just part of the process that leads to success. There is a parable in the Bible that I relate to—the parable of the prodigal son. It’s a testament to my life journey, but more important, it is a tale about a life of redemption. In my case, that redemption has resulted in my gratitude for having a second chance. 

Each life has a coding that gets revealed over time. At some point, you develop the need to understand your reason for being. Asking, “Why do I exist and what exists beyond the world we know?” consistently throughout your life has the amazing result of leading you to discover your purpose during your time here on Earth. It is not enough to know what your purpose is; you have to use that knowledge because your purpose is inextricably linked to your vision for the future, and that vision defines your success. 

My life has been a series of events you wouldn’t think would be experienced in the lifetime of a kid who, until age eighteen, rarely ventured outside of my four-block neighborhood in uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. I witnessed all kinds of nefarious activity as a kid, most of it involving violence, which was far too prevalent in my young life. I knew it was bad, yet I was drawn to it, curious about what it could do for me, unafraid of the consequences. I thought I could handle it all and would always be in the winner’s seat. I reasoned that my street smarts and my buddies would get me through any situation. I knew the elders within my tight-knit family expected the best of me. They tried to shelter me from the foolishness of the streets as best they could. But stil , I fel into the hole. On the one hand, I was a good kid from a decent and respected family. On the other hand, I yearned for the dark, greedy side. That dual existence put me on the road to destruction and caused my parents more headaches than I’ll ever know. 

Most of us have only about twenty years of childhood and adolescence before we are considered adults. I lived most of those early years in total darkness. I felt abandoned, cut off, and isolated, in part due to my personality, and partly due to the environment I lived in. The spirits of my ancestors watched over me through the violence and trauma I witnessed, but I didn’t know that then. The truth is that, in the not-so-distant past, a multitude of poor souls who bore the same blood as I do found themselves in the bel y of a slave ship. They held out with the hope that someone like me would show up one day and not waste the sacrifice of their captive life for a moment of self-serving opportunity. Despite my misdirected behavior, they helped guide me back to my Creator on a fateful December night. From the moment of that spiritual awakening, opportunities were presented to me like Christmas presents. I didn’t take time to investigate them because they came wrapped in packaging that resembled books and magazines that were easy to ignore. I was a misguided warrior, uninterested in the pursuit of knowledge. Later, those Christmas gifts became precious items that ignited my journey to unearth my purpose, my journey of walking in the shadow of footsteps. 

As a kid, I always felt something was guiding my life and watching over me. In an unconscious way, that truth led me out of my adolescent confusion. Because of that, I feel a responsibility to my ancestors to make this world better by my presence here. Since someone was able to hold on and hold out in hopes that I would show up, I’ve done the same, and when I’m gone, my life wil be part of the continuum of the journey started generations ago. In everything I have done and been through, and in the work I do now, I realize the result is bigger than me. 

We are taught in the Western Hemisphere to think about self first. We pride ourselves on being “self-made,” but no one truly reaches the destination of success alone. In other cultures and communities, it is about the whole, not the parts, the group, not the individuals, because within the group there is power. But power is not for self-aggrandizement. Power, instead, should be used to uplift the lowly, to shed light on the darkness, and to make right the wrongs inflicted upon the least of us. That can be seen clearly in this current moment, when a bridge between the old and the new way of leading change in our communities is at a desperate intersection. In fact, change and transition are a continuum, not a destination. From the Underground Railroad to the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter, I celebrate and honor all the advances made to further the causes of Black people, those living in poverty, and other rejected populations. 

Yet, the voices of the ancestors are cal ing for humanity to rise up and tap into our better angels. I accept the cal . 

When Michael Brown was kil ed in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, the people in that community protested for almost four hundred days. They brought light to the long-standing reality of Black men and boys being kil ed by police and the predictable and frustrating result of no charges being filed against the police officers. Their voices shed light on the disproportionate representation of white people in positions of power within local governments making decisions for majority Black populations. 

Eventually, the protests died down, the media pivoted away from it, and the rest of the country went back to business as usual, but CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) and Black Lives Matter were committed. They worked behind the scenes to make change happen. The message of Black Lives Matter took off and gained global attention again in 2020 when the entire world was shut down and people all over the world were cooped up because of COVID-19. Stuck at home, they weren’t distracted by all the other news and entertainment. At that time, they were antsy for something to do. 

When all the entertainment, sports, and other titil ating diversions were removed, people were forced to look in the mirror. By the summer of that year, they were at the starting line, ready for something to pounce on. They got it with the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks. That’s when the explosion happened and people got “woke.”  I hope the modern-day movement towards civil and human rights has built the bandwidth to sustain its voice and its power. My fear is that the objectives of the protests become lost in the predictable apathy that engulfs a society in the aftermath of civil unrest. To prevent that kind of destructive outcome, people have to be wil ing to fight for their own liberation. As history has demonstrated, the fight for equality is an emotional endeavor that can be heart-rending and depressing. It takes a concerted effort and a level of dedication and longsuffering to see that commitment to fruition. Those who are in the fight from a righteous standpoint cannot concede. They must prevail. 

My role in this modern-day movement is to build an institution to be a positive influence in the community. That’s what Pro-Vision represents. I don’t have an overwhelming need to be heard, and I definitely do not need to be put on a pedestal or receive any accolades. But if somebody seeks me out and thinks I can add value to the discussion, I’ll do what I can to make an impact. As the old folks say, “Talk is cheap.” Actions speak louder than words when the conversation is about community enhancement and furthering the footprint of Black and disenfranchised people in this world. My goal is to fol ow through on the rhetoric and take action towards true, lasting, empowering change. 

Realizing my purpose was the beginning of my journey, the wake up. Living out my purpose has been a continuous process to clean up, stand up, and show up, resulting in enlightenment for me. The journey has not been easy, but it has been worth every step and misstep. Along the way, I have transcended my environment and become an active vessel of change for others. 

Taking agency back over my life has allowed me to put into perspective who I am, what I am, and what I should be doing with my time here on earth. 

My life has been like that of the prodigal son. I’ve experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have left home, enjoyed the pleasures of life, found myself in a lowly state, and then realized my ancestors and my Creator had more in store for me. Thankful y, I found my way back home, back to myself. 

This reflection of my life is a snapshot of that journey. 

fourth grade play

Fourth-grade play. Me with younger brother, Brian Young (right) 

About the Author

Throughout my life, I have had to eliminate the distractions that threatened to keep me from fulfilling my purpose, from childhood illness to witnessing violence in my youth, falling into the trap of drugs as a teen, and assaults on my confidence as an adult. Despite it all, I am living my American Dream, a life that pays homage to the struggles of the ancestors and builds a foundation for the continuum of healing and self-reliance for Black people and those who find themselves disenfranchised.

I have been around fame and I’ve been around fortune and people with it. Whether because of my humble upbringing or because of my experiences as a professional athlete in the NFL, the fame and fortune don’t impress me. I remain focused on the power and freedom that come with being true to my purpose. The Creator has charged me with the responsibility of spreading the good news to the underdog.

Walking in the shadow of footsteps has allowed me to live my purpose, the reason I exist in this world, and to help others do the same.

This story of my life is my love letter to humanity.

– Roynell Young

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Wanted Virtual Book Tour

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Personal Growth, Christian Living, Spiritual Growth

Date Published: April 4, 2021

Publisher: Clay Bridges Press


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From the outside world, the family was like any other. Within the walls of
the home was a completely different story. Set in a common suburban
neighborhood with extraordinary financial struggles and intense pressure
between Mom and Dad’s marriage. Divorce was imminent. Mom exhausted
herself to get her love from her husband until Dad’s desertion left
the family in ruinous chaos. Mom lost all self-control. Her temper flared
and the unwanted hatred for herself and Dad turned into rage, violence, and
unending terror towards the children. Poverty overtook us, malnutrition was
not uncommon, and unconditional love was an estranged enemy. Born into this
tragedy, I was two months old upon Dad’s leaving.

I take you on a narrative journey through my childhood. The rage,
devastation, and hatred are exposed to what really happened. However,
intertwined with this constant chaos is a spiritual awakening that brings an
amazing grace, freedom, and redemption. Nevertheless, every day was wrought
with surviving until the next. Yet, a close friend that I come to know, The
Peacemaker, the God who comes close to us and deeply entrenches Himself amid
each storm of life, made Himself known through the perils of my

From the jaws of death and fright comes a chilling, yet inspiring, story of
a child that thought of himself to be hated, deserted, abandoned, assaulted,
and worthless. A plan where Heavenly Father steps in, becomes my father and
friend, calls me son, and makes certain that I know I am Wanted.

Wanted paperback


Wanted tablet



The Fierce Storm


 awakened in that cold, leather recliner in the hospital room, next to Mom. The wind rattled against the large window and seeped through the cracks of the windowsill on this chilly February morning. I pulled the blanket a little closer to my shoulders to cover my whole body. It had been a long night.

Mom had been brought to the hospital early yesterday because she complained of leg pain. I had delayed coming until around noon because I was annoyed by her list of complaints. When I arrived at her new residence, where she had moved just five days earlier, I was startled by what I found. Mom was on her queen-sized bed, apparently unable to move her right leg. It was all she could do to try to lift it. I checked her vital signs and asked her about pain. Everything seemed to be normal, except it clearly was not.

As I walked through her residence, I saw evidence of her long battle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It had left its mark throughout the whole apartment, staining many of the surfaces in her home. The stench in her apartment wreaked, and the place where she had come to rest on her bed was unsightly.

Mom ached in what was obviously a prolonged state of pain. Quivering, she spoke in a somber and low tone: “My leg! Oh, my leg!” Yet, there was nothing definitively wrong. It baffled me until I gave up trying to find an answer and resolved to call the ambulance.

Now, I got up from the vinyl recliner and checked on Mom. I smiled at her. She smiled back and asked for me to look up. I followed her request, turning my head, and looking at the tile that spread across the ceiling of her hospital room. She seemed to be pointing to a specific tile, where she was clearly seeing something that was not visible.

“Look!” she said, “Furry, white kittens. They are looking straight at me.” Her smile was contagious, but my bewilderment caused my eyebrows to rise, and my eyes rolled as I tried to keep my chuckle hidden. Mom has gone nutty, I thought to myself. The moment stayed with me, though.

My wife and I had taken Mom in two years earlier. Her throat cancer had spread throughout her whole body. At the time, it looked as if her time was coming to an end quickly. The decision to bring her into our home was the hardest thing I had to do. To expose my children and wife to the narcissistic, self-absorbed, and controlling person that Mom was, and still is, stressed me to no end.

As the weeks and months passed with her living with us, her cancer stopped growing and the doctors went into a “watch and wait” pattern. Mom took it to mean her cancer was gone completely. This false narrative made her challenging to deal with when it came to facing other medical issues. Her IBS, only diagnosed two months before this hospital stay, was the cause of her constant diarrhea over the last couple of years.

Mom had always been a very difficult woman to be around. My motives in taking her in were to give her a home, a genuine family atmosphere, something she rarely experienced in her life. My intention was also to take care of her every need, no matter what it would cost us. Unfortunately, the cost was much more than I imagined, but not financially. Rather, the weight of Mom’s presence in our home came to be a very heavy burden.

When we moved Mom into her own place five days ago, her exhausting, controlling nature within our home finally had its end. We found this beautiful apartment that she could call her own. She was happy, as was my family now that she had her own residence.

The doctors ran all kinds of tests to determine Mom’s condition while she was in the emergency room. All the tests were negative. However, two things caused the doctors to move her to a room where she would stay overnight: Her chest x-ray came back, showing a dark circle within her lungs, and her blood pressure and heart rate were quite low. So, they kept her in the hospital to keep an eye on her. Otherwise, they would have been ready to release her. With that assurance, the doctor had expressed hope that she would be going home soon. His words brought me calm in this uncertainty.

Sleeping in that recliner had made my back sore. Yet I sat in it again now and reflected on Mom’s startling choice from yesterday. While in the emergency room, I had stepped away to grab a bite to eat. A record-keeping assistant had come in to gather information from Mom, who had been fully cognizant and answered all his questions amiably. He was gone by the time I got back to her room. She had summarized the visit with these words, “He asked if I wanted to be resuscitated if my heart stopped. I told him no!” She had spoken in a quiet, confident, almost eerie tone. Now the words repeated themselves over and over in my head.

My daydreaming stopped. Looking over at her, I saw that Mom had fallen back asleep. Her vital signs were still well below normal. I was getting concerned, but took it all in stride, trusting the doctors every step of the way.

My mind wandered again. I began to reflect on the third reason that I had brought Mom to live with us. Many had questioned my decision. Nevertheless, I knew it was what I was supposed to do. I wanted her to experience the same spiritual awakening I had. I wanted the same for all those I knew and met, especially for my family. My heart was hurting for Mom, both for her frail state now and for her broken heart all those years ago.

Yet, she was not the only one who pained my heart. My story is just a story, I mused to myself, like any other. Yet, I knew it was so much more. I had been wrestling with writing my family’s narrative for six years now. Nevertheless, as Mom lay in that bed, the need had become very apparent and even more urgent that I finish what I set out to do.

The storms of life are vicious and ferocious at times. I wanted my mother to have peace as I have come to intimately know it. For that matter, I long for anyone who struggles with the tortuous nature of this life, with the storms that seem to have no end, and who does not know peace, to know there is freedom, a way out, and life on the other side. It is why I must tell my story…


About the Author

R. Dale Watkins

It is with obedience and brokenness that I present my life’s journey.
I owe much gratitude to my wife, children, siblings, friends, and many
others as they helped in this project of love.  The trauma and
destruction of my broken world have compelled me to lead others out of
darkness and into His Glorious light.  You can learn more


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The Academy Saga: Cadet-in-Training Blitz


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The Academy Saga, Book 2


Suspense Romance, Contemporary Romance


Publisher: BrandlyLight Ink


Kate’s destiny has been determined for her.

Hidden out in the country for most her life, Kate Connelly suddenly wakes up, handcuffed to a hospital bed in the psyche ward of The Academy. Her crime? Being “gifted.” And it’s Officer “Ranger” Nealson’s job to make her adhere to The Academy’s agenda for her. Even though he’s the one who drugged and dragged her in.

Kate’s hate for Ranger, and his academy, is at an all-time high.

Ranger has his work cut out for him . . . and Kate does too. She has to fight through the rigors of the Cadet-in-Training program, and quickly. If not, she’ll lose the one privilege she’s been given at The Academy—access to her precious little brother. And until she graduates from the CIT program, Officer Nealson is banned from Missions.

When General Weston finally offers a juicy recon to Ranger, he wants to jump at the chance to prove himself again. After all, catching bad guys is his thing. Almost all pros for doing it. One con—Cadet Connelly has to ride along.

The hardened officer finds he’s slowly been growing a soft spot for his mentee. But he’s determined not to end up like his father, and former Elite Cadet Pete Davenport—throwing away their career for a girl (not even a woman). And Kate has lingering love feelings for Pete, who risked his life to warn her, and conflicting feelings for Ranger. She has to set both aside to focus on completing her first mission.

When the dust settles, old alliances are broken and new ones are formed. But one thing remains the same: Kate’s destiny has been determined for her by The Academy. Ready or not . . . she’s set for Missions. Will one of the former elite cadets step in to help changer her fate, or will she be left to fight The Academy’s agenda alone?

Other Books in The Academy Saga

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The Academy Saga, Book One


Kate Connelly should be careful what she wishes for.

Just seventeen, she already feels like she’s suffocating. Since her mother’s death, her father’s basically checked out, so she’s stuck raising her brothers by herself out in the New Mexico scrub. All Kate wants is a little distraction from the same-ole, same-ole that is her life.

When two mysterious guys show up at the diner where she works, she thinks her wish has come true, until they start giving her a hard time. Like her life isn’t hard enough. Something about them niggles her, but she brushes it off. She’s never going to see them again anyway . . . right?

Then they appear in an alley one night to either rescue or kidnap her (she’s still not sure which) before disappearing like figments of her imagination.

Kate decides to put the bizarre encounters out of her mind. She has bigger problems to worry about: like that elite military academy that’s been pursuing her gifted little brother. When one of their cadets shows up in her small town, he creates instant pandemonium. And just happens to be one of those mysterious guys. Coincidence? Mama said there’s no such thing. And to always trust her instinct. But that might be kind of hard, because every time she’s around Cadet Peter Davenport, her gut starts flip-flopping on her. And her heart.

Can Kate keep it together long enough to stop Cadet Davenport’s mission? She’s about to find out. And—once again—how neatly life can be split into before and after.


   The Academy Saga, III : CAP & Gown cover


The Academy Saga, III : CAP & Gown


Katie Connelly is nineteen years old but feels like she’s been fighting for survival forever.

When Officer Ranger Nealson offers her a lifeline at The Academy, she snatches it with both hands. But she soon realizes that her lifeline might not be enough to keep her afloat and that her mentor might have ulterior motives. She wouldn’t be willing to compromise her principles if it wasn’t for one small thing–her brother Mikey. Her all-encompassing promise to her mother to protect her brothers causes her to forge forward with Ranger’s master plan. After all, this is likely the best deal she would get at The Academy, and she and Mikey need all the help they can get to survive in this cutthroat world.

But during the course of her training, Kate can’t help but long for a different elite cadet. Where is Pete Davenport? He’s lost in the wind. Will he make an appearance before Kate marches into a destiny she’s not sure she wants? Much less can handle. Somewhere along this fast-forward march, Kate makes a major misstep that costs her biggest ally and forever changes the lives of everyone she’s trying to protect.


The Academy Saga: Cadet-in-Training paperback

About The Author

CJ Daly

CJ Daly grew up on the scrabbly plains of Eastern New Mexico. When she was supposed to be helping her six siblings with chores on the family ranch, she was really sneaking behind dusty haystacks to read. And dreaming about becoming a writer.

After graduating high school, CJ moved to Big D, where she quickly put herself through college while trying to rid herself of her country accent. She had better luck with college, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in English literature. After teaching for a few years, and pausing to have back-to-back boys, she began writing in earnest.

A few years later, The Academy Saga was born. Upon its debut, it became an instant Amazon Bestseller and earned a Readers’ Favorite seal of approval. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find CJ running from one athletic field to another to cheer on her boys or feeding the wild animals that show up at her back door. When she isn’t writing, she likes to kick back with her gal pals and sip Texas-sized cocktails while gabbing about favorite books and TV series. But CJ’s greatest pleasure is sharing The Academy Saga journey with you.

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