Maddie Jennings possessed a unique skill exploited by her father. As a scam artist, he used his daughter’s talent for reading people. Her job—profile the mark for honesty. When her father’s fortunes improve, he enrolls her in Miss Emma Willard’s School for Young Ladies where she begins a progressive education in both academics and society. For two years, Maddie thrives under the tutelage of those who encourage her to challenge the culture’s views of acceptable work for women. This happy life ends when her father unexpectedly withdraws her, taking her with him on a desperate flight from deadly repercussions for a scam gone wrong.
Maddie soon realizes she and her father are being pursued by both the Pinkerton Agency and the vindictive Sicilian family, but she knows little more of her father’s most recent crime. When a heart attack takes his life at a small station in Idaho Territory, she must change her identity, take the money, and run for her life. On the north-bound train to Ketchum, Maddie meets a young doctor, David Reynolds, who is also running from something-a woman he can never possess. Maddie, now trapped in her false identity by the indiscretions of her father, can neither afford to reveal her true nature nor allow her attraction to the doctor to distract her from the need to simply survive.
This is a stand-alone novel and the fourth in a series called The Sawtooth Range.
Other Books in the Sawtooth Range American Frontier Romance Series:
The Sawtooth Range, Book 1
Published: June 2016
She was a doctor seeking justice for her town. He was a lawman who had turned in his badge after failing to protect the innocent.
DREAMS OF AN EDUCATED WOMAN
Kat Meriwether left her hometown of Snowberry in Idaho Territory as a tomboy with a saucy reputation as a fighter of bullies, but she returns as an educated woman polished by four years in Boston. Throughout those years she’s kept her mind on her studies, avoiding romantic entanglements that might hinder her from achieving her goals.
NIGHTMARES OF AN EX-TEXAS RANGER
Jonathan Winthrop, is a haunted man, running from his own tormented past. Snowberry offers him a chance to start over, but lawless men are changing the once peaceful town, and innocents will die without a defender.
LOVE CAN ALTER THEM ALL
Young medical school graduate, Dr. Kat Meriwether, doesn’t like what she finds upon returning home, but she also finds a good man whose sense of justice is as strong as hers. Together they would find not only their unmistakable callings, but an undeniable love.
In this thrilling and romantic conclusion to Kat’s Law, Dr. Kathryn Meriwether must deal with a Cholera outbreak threatening the residents she cares for in Snowberry, Idaho, a killer not armed with a gun as the one whom ex-Texas Ranger Jonathan Winthrop pursues into the Sawtooth Range, but just as deadly and unpredictable. Once again, each will handle the crisis with the skills they’ve been given, but ultimately will find a greater strength in facing their future together. A high valley promise will unite them as an undeniable force to meet the challenges of their frontier home.
Avalanches, isolation and snow blindness were stark realities for those daring to remain in Idaho’s Sawtooth Range through the harsh winter months. For city dweller, Lena Sommer, the warnings seemed exaggerated.
In the fall of 1886, Lena leaves behind a life fraught with disappointments and loss only to arrive in Sawtooth City and find the man she’d pledged to marry has been killed. To return east is unthinkable; to stay is ill-advised, but she resolves to remain and manage the man’s lodging house despite the warnings. More than her stubborn nature influences her decision. From her first glimpse of this mountain valley, she falls captive to its wild beauty. Feeling she has at last found a hearth to call her own, she eagerly puts down roots. Sharing her love of literature with her lodgers before a warming fire, she builds a family of lonesome souls, where dreams awaken.
However, one man stands apart, disturbing her peace with ominous warnings to leave before winter comes. Evan Hartmann knows from personal loss that winter snows bring to these mountains both unimaginable beauty and death. He is also a man conflicted, because as much as he’d like for Lena to leave the mountains, his heart longs for her to stay.
Maddie Jennings pressed back against the brick wall, taking in a sharp breath and swallowing hard. She removed the pin from her hair and pulled off her wide-brimmed hat, taking a moment to slow her hammering heart before lifting a gloved hand to the corner of the building. She peered across the street once again. Everything about the man screamed out to her, lawman. The bulge just below his hip kept his oilskin duster from falling close to his body as it should. He wore a gun strapped down to his thigh, probably a Colt.
She discerned him to be a man who paid particular attention to his appearance, but not so much as to be mistaken for a dandy or a gambler. His black hat, free of trail dust indicated he’d traveled by rail as she and her father had and not on horseback. That deduction was further confirmed by his boots which appeared polished. He wore the hat low on his brow, shadowing keen eyes that swept the crowded train platform, the look of a man on the hunt.
Maddie let out the breath she’d held, again flattening herself to the wall until the rough brick edges dug into her back. Into what scam had her father become embroiled this time? She had to get back on the train—fast.
Minutes later she collapsed onto the seat beside her father, telling him of her observations.
“Are you certain, Maddie? Maybe he was a policeman. Maybe he was out of uniform.” She detected the desperate tone to his words. “Your imagination sometimes. . . “
Irritated by the implication she had read him wrong, Maddie interrupted him, her tone terse. “Yes, Father, I am quite certain.”
“But what makes you think he’s a Pinkerton agent?” A vein bulged above his stiff white collar. Nervous fingers fiddled at the starched fold pressing against his neck. “More likely he’s a simple local constable. Surely, not. . .”
She shot back, “I saw his badge when he showed it to the conductor. Is that proof enough?” He knew better than to question her in this, the talent she’d cultivated under his instruction. What she now saw written conspicuously on her father’s face lifted fine hairs along the back of her neck. Maddie gnawed the inside of her lower lip, regretting her harsh response.
In her head, she heard the polished voice of Miss Emma Willard, almost as though the woman sat beside her. A lady never lets her face or body betray her emotions in public. With a breath that drove her ribs against her corset stays, she squeezed her eyes shut and drew her hands into her lap, her facial expression again impassive.
She leaned in close to her father, her voice low. “I heard his description of the man he’s searching for. The name was Alex Carlisle.”
This was the name her father had assumed with his latest money-making scheme, Carlisle, a name he wore like his expensive Brooks Brothers overcoat. He’d told her it sounded more at home with the names of those with whom he was rubbing elbows and, not coincidentally, soliciting funds.
He turned, facing her, his complexion paling. “At least they haven’t discovered my real name.”
“We don’t know that!” With another ragged breath, she reined in her anger.
All the years of mysterious deals that moved their fortunes like ships on unpredictable seas seemed to have brought them into the face of a storm that would capsize them at last. She wanted to rage at him, demand the truth, something she’d rarely asked of him before. But this was not the time for explanations. She pulled her lips into a thin line and said with a calm she did not feel, “Father, you must alter your appearance.” When he didn’t respond, she reached for his hand, squeezing it hard. “Did you hear me? There’s no time to delay. The agent appeared to be heading toward this train.”
He continued to stare at her as though she was unrecognizable to him; his mouth opened and closed twice, no words, just the mechanical workings of his jaw.
Maddie reached for the top button of his traveling coat as she said, “Father, get ahold of yourself. It isn’t like you’ve not done this before.” She helped him extract his arms from the sleeves. His traveling valise lay beneath the seat. With a grunt, she tugged it onto the seat between them.
Expressionless, her father sat beside her. His lack of responsiveness caused her to lay her fingers upon his sleeve, speaking each command as though he were a child. “Father, find the wash room, use your shaving kit, and shave off your mustache and beard.”
He gripped the valise handle, his knuckles white. Grabbing for her hand, he pleaded, “I’m sorry, Maddie, so sorry. I never thought…I thought that…” His mouth twisted as if conjuring the words from the air above them.
His stuttered apology only increased her anxiety. Father never apologized. Maddie forced a smile to her lips, giving his shoulder a gentle nudge. “We can talk later. Now go!”
He hesitated and her smile faded. “Go.”
She drew another painful breath, convinced the corset had cinched on its own. Think, Maddie. Devise a plan, then execute it. She reached for her father’s black silk topper and flattened it. Next, she hid it under the coat draped over her arm. With her eyes squeezed tight, another wave of anger surged. This part of her life was supposed to be over, and yet here she was trapped in her father’s schemes yet again. He’d promised her he’d not involve her again. Promises, no matter how sincere, wouldn’t save them now. As much as she felt revulsion for being forced into this, love for him compelled her to act. She bit her lip, rose to her feet and stepped into the aisle—in a moment transformed to an accomplice.
About the Author
Samantha St. Claire is the pen name of an author of historical fiction who made the cross-over to romance with The Sawtooth Range series. With roots that go deep into pioneer heritage, the American West is a perfect calling for her lyrical style of writing that evokes the romance of a time when courage and strength of character were skills for survival.
Saddam Hussein’s missing weapons of mass destruction have been found and are in the hands of an international terrorist group. But which group and where have they stored the gases and toxic waste? And what are their plans for the deadly cargo? An eleven-year-old Filipino girl, Arina Marcos knows the secret. She narrowly escapes assassins sent to kill her and family. And now she is on the run. Hit squads sent to track her down chase her across Asia.
Ex Special-Forces soldier Jeff Bradley and CIA agent Kennedy Patton must protect Arina as she leads them in search of Saddam’s weapons. The trail leads to underground laboratories and a mass grave in the Philippines. Tensions heighten when the US Air craft Carrier Independence II is brought into the conflict.
Then Bradley discovers the deadly truth and the race is on. He and Kennedy Patton must find the terrorists and the ship carrying the lethal cargo. If they fail the cities of Europe will burn and thousands will die.
Other Books in The Jeff Bradley Thriller Series
The Field of Blackbirds
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Published: May 2015
Former SAS soldier Jeff Bradley thought he had left warzones behind when he inherited a vineyard in rural New Zealand. But now his vineyard manager, Arben Shala, has gone missing in his native Kosovo. An enigmatic message tells Jeff that his friend is in grave danger.
Determined to find Arben and bring him home, Jeff travels to Kosovo and finds a lawless state in the grip of criminal gangs. Corrupt officials obscure every lead. With the help of USAID director Morgan Delaney, Jeff delves into the province’s seedy underworld and uncovers a conspiracy of terrifying scale. A web of dark connections links the captors with a terrorist bombing campaign across Europe, and now it is no longer just Arben whose survival is at stake.
Double-crossed by allies, watched at every turn, can Jeff get to the heart of the conflict before the warlords get to him?
USS Ulysses: State-of-the-art nuclear submarine. Deterrent. Target.
When an Olympic medalist is the subject of an attempted assassination, former SAS trooper Jeff Bradley knows his past is once again casting a shadow over his new life. A note left by the assassin confirms his suspicions: Bradley made an enemy back in Kosovo, and the man is out for revenge. But Jeff knows the killer is not working alone: higher up the ranks sits Avni Leka, a terrorist warlord who will stop at nothing to achieve his bloody goal.
And it’s not just Bradley who is under threat. A hijacking leads him to sense something bigger is being planned—a plot that, if successful, will end thousands of innocent lives, and could light the touchpaper of global conflict.
He can’t allow it to happen. But events are spiralling out of control. Bradley knows he must reach the eye of the storm before it tears his world apart.
Former Special Forces soldier Jeff Bradley is meeting with the mafia in Bari, Italy, to discover the whereabouts of his nemesis—criminal overlord Avni Leka—when he receives a message from an old friend. Barry is on board a tourist bus that has been hijacked by terrorists near Istanbul. Strapped with explosives, it is racing across Turkey to the northern borders of Syria, Iraq and Iran.
The Turkish president will not negotiate. The Turkish military will not allow the bus to cross the border. The hijackers will kill themselves and their hostages if they cannot escape.
Jeff knows it’s down to him to rescue his friend. Joining forces with US special agent Reason Johanson, he faces his toughest test yet: a race against time to track down the bus before it reaches the border.
Along the way, Jeff uncovers a conspiracy that could not only lead him to those responsible for the hijacking but also threaten global security itself. Will he be able to stop the bus in time? Or will they run out of road?
The helicopter swung its light back towards the trio and lit them up like actors on a theatre stage. A voice yelled for them to stop. Arina’s eyes widened as men with rifles ran toward her family.
“Hurry, hurry,” she screamed at them.
“Arina, run away. We are right behind you,” Sarah called.
Arina stayed where she was. Her hands pushed against the fence, her fingers poking through the wire mesh. “Hurry, hurry!”
Sarah and her mother were struggling with her father. The soldiers were getting closer. To her right Arina saw a military jeep racing along the fence line. Arina screamed a warning, but her voice was lost in the din. A soldier standing in the passenger side swung a swivel gun toward them and fired. Erupting dirt followed the flashes of light. Her Papa held his hands in the air and shouted at the soldiers not to shoot. Her Mama held onto her Papa’s arm and Sarah’s hand. Soldiers yelled more orders and her mother, father and sister dropped to their knees. The helicopter turned away as the soldiers surrounded them.
Arina’s fingers slipped from the wire. She knew what she must do. Find Uncle Felipe. She slung the strap of Sarah’s bag around her neck and ran into the jungle. Spikey plant tendrils tugged at her clothes and scratched her arms. She did not slow until the sounds of violence had faded.
About the Author
Award-winning novelist Thomas Ryan is the author of the Jeff Bradley series of novels; The Field of Blackbirds, The Mark of Halam, The Ottoman Conspiracy and The Bomb Maker’s Daughter.
Thomas Ryan has been a soldier in a theatre of war, trampled the jungles of Asia, and lived through the breakdown and civil unrest of Eastern Europe. Armed with these life experiences Ryan turned to writing thriller novels and short stories.
He considers himself a story teller, a creator who has enthusiastically plunged his psyche into the world of creativity and fantasy. With the reader in mind, he weaves colorful characters into the threads of his riveting storylines.
Taking readers on a thrilling journey is what motivates Ryan as a writer.
With only an old photograph to go on, spunky heroine Jessica James is sent on a mission by her dying mother to find a washed up magician called the Mesmerizer. Along the way, Jessica gets way more than she bargained for when she stumbles into a black market organ ring and learns secrets about her mother that will change her own life forever. The cast of characters she meets on her whirlwind search of Las Vegas will have you laughing out loud. With wit and grit, Jessica and her posse take on the dangerous and deadly seamy side of Vegas.
The latest from Award Winning Author, Kelly Oliver will keep you entertained from beginning to end.
Other Books in the Jessica James Mystery Series:
A Jessica James Mystery, Book One
Publisher: KAOS Press
Published: June 2016
Voted #1 Women’s Mystery On Goodreads
Forward Magazine Award Best Mystery Finalist
IPPY Award Gold Medalist, Best Mystery/Thriller
What if the evil professor you fantasized about murdering actually wound up… dead?
Award winning author, Kelly Oliver serves up an irreverent murder mystery with flavors of hard-boiled mobster grit along with a fierce female lead readers will adore. Endearingly awkward, and downright hilarious, Jessica James is a brilliant philosopher who’s much more than curious—she’s fearless. Plus there’s Jesse’s ragtag posse—Amber, the tech-savvy hippie, Jack, a wise-cracking stoner, and Lolita, the seductive “poker Tsarina”—as the icing on the cake.
Smart, capable women shine in this cast. For anyone who has ever wanted to murder the Wolf in their life.
Can a 21-year-old grad student crush Goliath? All eyes on Jessica James, resident badass…
Jessica James, scrappy cowgirl-turned-philosopher, returns home for summer break, only to take on one of the biggest oil companies in the country—and its connections to corruption, sex trafficking, and murder. A murder way too close to home…
She’s not home an hour when her cousin Mike hints that a series of freak accidents at the lumber mill where he works might not be what they seem. So when Mike is killed in the saw room the day after an argument with the mill’s new owners, the Knight brothers, Jessica knows it’s no accident.
Working at Glacier Park to earn just enough money for books and whiskey, Jessica meets the secretive Kimi RedFox, who’s on a mission to stop Knight Industries from fracking on Blackfeet land. Even more distressing, Kimi accuses the Knight brothers of operating a prostitution ring on the reservation. It doesn’t take long until Jessica is pulled into Kimi’s David versus Goliath battle with the Knight brothers. Ready to fight to save Kimi’s young sisters from human trafficking, and find out who killed Mike, Jessica isn’t as ready for the surprising discovery about the accident that killed her father eleven years ago.
Fans who like their female protagonists fierce and fearless will get a real kick out of this one from award winning author, Kelly Oliver.
When Jessica James wakes up half naked behind a dumpster in downtown Chicago, she thinks at first the hot intern feeding her Fiery Mule Slammers slipped her a Mickey. But after a pattern of similar incidents around Northwestern Research Hospital, Jessica realizes she wasn’t raped, she was robbed. Robbed of something as valuable as life itself. Hunting for the predator drugging and dumping Ivy League co-eds, Jessica discovers secrets about her own identity that force her to rethink her past. The solution to the mystery lies in the cowgirl philosopher’s boot-cut genes.
The “dumpster girls” are all top of their class, attractive college girls, who are drugged and dropped unconscious behind dumpsters. The police are baffled. But the perp doesn’t stop there—one of his victims turns up dead. Armed with her quick wit and cowgirl grit, Jessica takes it on herself to solve the bewildering medical mystery and save herself and her friends… before they become the next grisly victims.
At Jesse’s beck and call is her longtime confidante Jack Grove, an easy-going stoner and brilliant third-year medical student in abnormal psychiatry, who has a secret crush on her. But while Jack is trying to understand the criminal mind, his classmate and rival, Max White, is trying to eliminate it through genetic engineering. Competing for Jessica’s attention, Jack and Max become the primary suspects. Meanwhile, Max has a secret of his own: he’s aiding a prominent Chicago woman in her fertility woes. And just for good measure, there’s a blackmailer afoot.
Grittier than its predecessors, and far more haunting, Kelly Oliver’s third page-turning Jessica James adventure blends a smartly-funny and delightfully complex murder mystery with a touch of medical thriller, in which Jessica and Jack battle biological crimes at the hands of a unique—and menacing—thief.
Kelly Oliver is the award-winning, best-selling, author of The Jessica James Mystery Series, including WOLF, COYOTE, FOX, and JACKAL. Her debut novel, WOLF: A Jessica James Mystery, won the Independent Publisher’s Gold Medal for best Thriller/Mystery, was a finalist for the Forward Magazine award for best mystery, and was voted number one Women’s Mysteries on Goodreads. The second novel, COYOTE won a Silver Falchion Award for Best Mystery. And, the third, FOX was a finalist for both the Claymore Award and the Silver Falchion.
Sheena Sullivan Morelli and her sisters, Darcy and Regan, work to complete their Uncle Gavin’s challenge of turning his rundown hotel into a profitable operation within one year. Winning means earning a share in their uncle’s sizable estate. More than that, it determines how they’ll spend the rest of their lives. Sheena wants to stay on at the hotel, overseeing the hotel operation. But Darcy and Regan want to move on with their lives—Darcy writing a novel and Regan going into the interior decorating business with Mo. But life has other plans for them. And in the end, all three realize that the only thing that really matters is finding—and keeping—family.
Other Books in the Salty Key Inn Series:
Salty Key Inn Series, Book 1
Publisher: Wild Quail Publishing
Published: February 2017
Sheena Sullivan Morelli and her sisters, Darcy and Regan, receive the unexpected news that their Uncle Gavin Sullivan, the black sheep of the family, has left them a hotel on the Gulf coast of Florida. The gift comes with a twist. They must live together for one year at the hotel and prepare the hotel to receive guests within a year. Sheena, eager to escape her role of unappreciated wife and mother, can’t wait for the opportunity to find herself. Dreams of sitting on the beach sipping margaritas are shattered when they see the property in need of renovation. But they begin their work of meeting the challenge. If they succeed, the bulk of Gavin’s estate will be theirs. Facing the unexpected, working together, the three sisters learn a lot about each other and the gift of family love.
Darcy Sullivan and her two sisters continue to work hard at the Salty Key Inn, the small, Florida hotel they unexpectedly inherited. In order to inherit the rest of Uncle Gavin’s sizeable estate, they must meet his challenge to open the neglected hotel by the end of the year. Darcy figures once they meet the challenge, she’ll take off, travel the world, and maybe, just maybe, begin writing the world’s best novel. When she meets Nick Howard, an older man who is a reporter for the local newspaper and takes over his weekly column, her life changes. Under his tutelage, she writes about local residents, learning to see people in a different way—especially after meeting a cousin no one knew about. Her joy at having the part-time job that’s always been her dream is shattered when she learns Nick is dying. For support, she turns to Austin Blakely, whose grandmother is terminally ill, and through their growing relationship, comes to understand what true love is.
As Regan Sullivan continues to work with her sisters, Sheena and Darcy, to meet their Uncle Gavin’s challenge to make the Salty Key Inn a success, she wonders why she can never find the man of her dreams. Her sisters are happily settled with men they love. Why can’t she do the same? When she’s involved in a motorcycle accident with Brian Harwood, Regan learns to think differently about both her appearance and herself. And as she deals with her injuries and helps Brian recover from the accident she feels guilty about causing, Regan discovers that the love she’s always sought has been there all along.
Sheena Sullivan Morelli stood outside Gavin’s, the new restaurant at the Salty Key Inn on the Gulf Coast of Florida, feeling as festive as the mini-lights wound around the trunks of the palm trees that softened the outline of the building. She was dressed in her finest on this unusually warm, mid-December night, and the tropical Gulf breezes felt good as they caressed her skin.
From among the hibiscus planted around the perimeter of the restaurant, lights twinkled like the stars in the inky sky above and lent a sense of peace to the area. That, and the fact that Petey, the pesky peacock Rocky Gatto had rescued and brought to the hotel, had decided not to bother with this celebration and was hanging out down by the bay.
“Let’s make this an evening to remember!” said Sheena, giving her younger sisters, Darcy and Regan, an encouraging smile.
Named after their uncle, the restaurant would, they hoped, bring in enough revenue for them to be considered successful in meeting the terms of his will. With less than a month before their final meeting with Gavin’s estate lawyer in Boston, they were trying their best to prove to him that they had succeeded in beating the challenge of turning his rundown hotel into a profitable operation within one year. Winning meant they would inherit Gavin’s sizable estate along with the hotel. More than that, it would determine how they’d spend the rest of their lives.
Sheena brushed an imaginary crumb off her blue linen dress and studied her sisters. Darcy was wearing a green sheath that offset her red curls nicely. And Regan, beautiful as ever, even with the scar on her face she couldn’t quite hide, had chosen a violet, flowy dress that matched her striking eyes. Funny, Sheena thought, how she hadn’t really known her sisters until the three of them had been forced to live and work together at the hotel. And when Regan and Brian Harwood, now her fiancé, were in a serious motorcycle accident a few months ago, frightening everyone, they’d become even closer.
“I hope everyone likes what they see,” Regan said. “Mo and I did our best decorating the interior with the budget we had.”
“Don’t worry. It’s gorgeous,” said Darcy, giving Regan an impish nudge with her elbow.
“The restaurant is stunning,” said Sheena, “and the food is great. We were lucky to get Graham Howard as our chef.” She turned as a stream of people headed their way from the parking lot, which was filling up fast.
“Here we go! Make it good,” said Sheena softly, prompting Darcy and Regan to roll their eyes at the big-sister moment Sheena couldn’t help.
They’d invited county commissioners, members of nearby city and town councils, other government officials, news people, owners and managers of other hotels in the area, and even the governor of Florida to join them for this grand opening. It had been a bold move on their part, but it had already paid off in publicity, even though the governor and some county commissioners had politely declined. The fact that Darcy had been writing a column for a local newspaper helped them. She was acquainted with the ins and outs of generating publicity and had invited several writers of local social columns, travel bloggers, and magazines.
Sheena was soon swept up greeting people and ushering them inside to enjoy drinks and to taste the delicious-looking food displayed in the bar and on a long buffet in the dining room.
The dark wood paneling on the walls of the main dining room supplied a rich background for the brass and crystal wall sconces that spread a soft glow along the room’s edges. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, casting their own warm light. White linen cloths covered the tabletops, which were set with sparkling wine goblets and silverware that reflected the light from the chandeliers and sconces. Flickering battery candles sat among tasteful, holiday greenery, adding a pine perfume to the mouth-watering aroma of the hors d’oeuvres being passed by staff.
Upstairs, the large function room held another bar and more food to sample, drawing people through the entire restaurant. A buzz of conversation enhanced the sense of excitement. The crowd was a pleasing mixture of people who, hopefully, would be a source of future business.
Kenneth Cochran, better known as Casey, was a Cornell Hotel School grad and manager of the restaurant. Tall and thin, he was a natural at his job with his ever-present smile and alert blue eyes. Tonight, he seemed to be everywhere, overseeing staff, and greeting people. Sheena observed him with satisfaction as guests responded to his attention. If she and her sisters won the challenge, they hoped to hire Casey as the hotel manager to help Sheena, who would remain an active overseer of the property.
Sheena looked up as her husband, Tony, appeared with their two children. Tears stung her eyes when she noticed the effort Michael, at eighteen, and Meaghan, at fifteen, had put into their appearance. After initially being against her plan to come to Florida, they now embraced their new lives and were proud of all she was doing.
“Hi, Mom,” said Michael. His brown eyes, so like Tony’s, sparkled. “Okay if I help myself to some of the food?”
She laughed at the typical, teenage hunger of a still-growing, young man. “Of course. Enjoy.”
“You look pretty, Mom,” Meaghan said. “Thanks for letting me wear your necklace. It’s great with my new holiday dress.” She twirled in front of Sheena. Her auburn hair, like Sheena’s, swung above her shoulders and brought out the hazel in her eyes.
“You look pretty, too, sweetheart,” Sheena said. Her little girl was growing into a beautiful young woman.
Tony gave her a smile that warmed her heart. His smile had been one of the reasons their marriage had been prompted by the unexpected creation of Michael all those years ago. And though they’d always loved each other, their relationship had grown even stronger during their time in Florida.
He kissed her. “See you later. I’m going to mix with the crowd a little. Brian and I are hoping to pick up some new business.”
She gave him a heartfelt smile. Following Brian Harwood’s motorcycle accident with Regan, Tony had agreed to become a partner in Brian’s construction company and was now settled into his new life in Florida. As Tony walked away, Sheena noticed Blackie Gatto headed in her direction.
Blackie was Uncle Gavin’s financial advisor and a great supporter of her and her sisters as they attempted to do as their uncle wished by transforming what had been a small, run-down, family hotel into the upscale, full-service resort property he’d envisioned.
“Welcome to Gavin’s,” Sheena said to him, giving him a quick hug. “I’m so glad you could make it.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” he replied, lifting her hand, and kissing it in a gallant gesture. He indicated their surroundings with a sweep of his arm. “I think Gavin would be very pleased with this.”
“We hope it brings in enough new business and revenue for us to complete our challenge here the Salty Key Inn.”
He nodded and settled his gaze on her. “I hope so, too. The downside of borrowing the money from Gavin’s estate to complete the restaurant could be difficult for you and your sisters if you fail.”
Sheena’s stomach curled inside her, but she didn’t want Blackie to see how worried she was. For the sake of her sisters and her family, she had to remain upbeat. With only a few weeks remaining to accomplish everything they had left to do, self-doubt could ruin them.
About the Author
Judith Keim was born and raised in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Idaho with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.
Growing up, books were always present being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us in the family a wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write novels about women who face unexpected challenges and meet them with strength.
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and who self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming stories of strong women who face challenges and find love and happiness along the way. Her books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many, loyal readers love.
Two brothers. Two best friends. One robbery gone wrong.
With a court date looming, a near-fatal car accident, and a house invasion, the four surviving witnesses to an armed robbery know they are targets. In a desperate attempt to stay safe, they take matters into their own hands and go off the grid a week before the trial.
Danny St. John was stuck in a dark place of guilt and regret after a personal tragedy. On the run from violent criminals, he is forced to spend time with the one woman who makes him feel too much. Victoria Lopez needs to protect her heart, but she also misses the guy Danny used to be and thinks she might be able to bring him back. Now, evading gunmen together in Sequoia National Forest, Vic will risk everything to keep Danny safe.
Eric St. John isn’t a big fan of his sister-in-law-to-be, Zoe Turner. Sure, she’s beautiful, but also bossy and brash. When Eric and Zoe are forced to rely on each other for survival, he sees a side to Zoe he never anticipated, a side he definitely likes. But as the two grow closer, so do the men hunting them down.
Time nearly runs out as each couple must not only brave the perils of the wilderness and their growing feelings for each other, but also outwit their pursuers in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
He’d intentionally traveled away from the stream, so it took time to cut back for water, but if the strategy kept them safe then it was worth the extra time it cost. “I hear it,” Danny said of the rushing water. “Should be right through those trees there.”
He plowed ahead, concentrated on the idea of quenching his thirst and refilling and purifying the water bottles.
“Danny.” Vic’s voice didn’t sound her usual confident self. In fact, she sounded freaked out and—
The distinct rattle stopped him in his tracks and his breath rushed out of his lungs in a single whoosh as he turned and saw the snake. If the brown and gray scales hadn’t given it away, certainly the sound did. Somehow a giant rattlesnake planted itself between them on the narrow path. It slowly reared its head back while its tail rattled a warning. Vic’s eyes widened in paralyzing fear.
“Danny,” she whispered with both plea and panic.
“Stay still. It’s okay.” Frantically, he looked for a stick. Something to whisk the slithery beast far away, but nothing but pebbles and leaves surrounded him. The fucking thing slid closer to Vic, its tongue slithering out, tail rattling and head up ready to strike.
Danny did the only thing he could do. He kicked dirt behind the thing to get its attention. It spun and struck before he even blinked. Shit! He jumped back, felt the contact at his ankle. The fabric tugged as its fangs stuck on his jeans. “Shit! Shit!” Danny tried to shake the beast off and the reptile waved in the air like thick rope.
About the Author
After graduating high school in Texas, Dee J. Adams moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. For twenty years, she acted in television and worked behind the scenes as an acting/dialogue coach for sitcoms. Writing happened accidentally after a vivid dream and the urging of her husband to “Just write it down.” Three weeks, fourteen hours a day, and four hundred and fifty (long hand) pages later, she had her first novel. Dee J. loves writing books filled with action, mystery and love. (Not necessarily in that order.) Her experience in show business led to her narrating many of the books in the Adrenaline Highs series for Audible.com. She is the wife of a wonderful man and mother to a fabulous daughter. She’s a dog lover all the way, with a fondness towards Boxers and Pit Bulls. She is a member of several organizations, including Romance Writers of America and SAG-AFTRA.