Publication date: Print and ebook, May 2017. Audiobook, November 2019
In this suspense-charged, touching novel, Counting on Trust, information is stolen from a U.S. genetic engineering company (Omniprotein) by an employee promised payment by a Chinese general who wants to profit from selling the company’s technologies in the military region of China he commands.
To force quick payment the thief attacks fellow employees and threatens to continue until his money arrives. Will his next targets be: young lovers, computer geek Gabriel and gorgeous biologist Selena, who are discovering loving sex while trying to overcome post-traumatic effects of Selena’s girlhood rape.
Company president, Eleanor, who’s determined to keep some privacy and intimacy although her job’s high profile and her husband, Charley, has just had prostate cancer surgery.
Venture capitalist, John, who plans to duplicate Omniprotein’s facility in China and reunite with his ex-wife, fashion designer Ziyi, who returned to Shanghai after their only child died.
The personal stories of these couples explore how privacy, intimacy and trust are changing in our social-media age. They paint a compelling portrait of our time.
About the Author
Themes of novels by M. Ferguson Powers reflect the author’s varied interests, including preservation of the natural world and its creatures;
· Challenges of building and maintaining loving relationships in a culture with decreasing respect for personal boundaries and privacy
· Influences of globalization on world events and how the U. S. and other nations relate to one another
· Public policy issues such as controlling the military-industrial-political complex and requiring the health care industry to be more respectful of its clients
· The need for cooperation across governments, cultures, and societies to address global challenges such as climate change
· Developments in business and university administration and management
Powers has taught microbiology, headed a university office of research, served as executive director of two university-business partnership programs, and co-authored two books on university administration. She has a bachelor of science degree in bacteriology from The Pennsylvania State University, a master’s in experimental psychology from George Mason University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
She lives on an island near Seattle with her husband David R. Powers and their two shelties. Her first novel, Each Unique and Fascinating, about a bullied young girl whose father has gone to war, was published in 2012. OrcaSpeak, a novel of relationships and suspense, was published in 2013, and its prequel, Counting on Trust, was published in 2017.
But there in the forest…that’s where it all began…
Max Tyler, single father and former SWAT team leader, and Beth Collins, brilliant infectious disease specialist, rush headlong into an accelerating vortex of intrigue and danger to rescue Max’s kidnapped daughter, Megan, from the final steps of a horrific genetic manipulation experiment.
VIRAL DREAMS rockets in pace and intensity, captivating and propelling the reader on a kaleidoscopic journey of mystery, suspense, and wonder.
“Run your fastest, Megan…we’ve gotta hurry!” The man had a tight grip on the hand of his nine-year-old daughter and was pulling her through the forest, weaving between the tall Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine trees that towered above them. It was late in the afternoon, and they were far from the hiking path that circled Crystal Lake, one of the popular camping areas five miles north of Mammoth Lakes, California. Sunlight filtered down through the trees, scattered into subdued beams by the dense pine branches that formed the high arboreal canopy. It would be dusk in less than an hour. But it wasn’t the dark Max Tyler was afraid of.
“Daddy, you’re bleeding!” Megan said in a scared, breathless voice. She was sprinting at top speed and gasping for air.
Max glanced back at her and the blood streaming down his left arm. It was coming from a knife slash that had left a three-inch long gash through his tee shirt and left shoulder. His shirtsleeve was soaked bright red, and the rivulets of blood had almost reached his wrist.
“It’s nothing, Megs…just a little cut. C’mon. We’ve gotta get out of here.”
He pulled her along as he scrambled through the thick forest of trees, trying his best to lead them in the direction of their campsite. His mind was racing. Adrenaline rushed through his bloodstream and fueled the powerful, rapid thundering of his heart.
He mentally replayed the events the last ten minutes. What they had just witnessed seemed impossible, surreal…
Megan was gathering a small posy of tiny white flowers while he leaned against a fallen tree, watching her. They had decided to take a short hike before dinner. They’d found a trail that wrapped around the north end of the lake and strolled along the dirt path through the trees for fifteen minutes before coming across a glade blanketed with spring flowers.
It was early summer. The mountainous terrain boasted one of the best ski resorts in California during the winter. But this time of year, the days were mild. He and Megan were on a weekend camping trip, the first of several he’d planned for the summer and fall, and he was enjoying every minute of it.
It felt good to get away and bring her up here into the pristine sanctuary and quiet serenity of this towering primeval forest. The redolent sights and smells filled his senses, refreshing and renewing him as only the mountains could.
He looked away from her for a second to take in the tranquility of the glassy mountain lake a hundred yards to his left. He heard a small, muffled yelp. It was so soft it barely registered in his mind. Glancing back toward Megan, he caught a fleeting glimpse of her disappearing behind a copse of young pine trees, feet kicking in the air and arms flailing. Her mouth was covered by the hand of the burly man carrying her.
“Hey…Stop!” Max shouted in a booming voice. He sprang forward, covering the distance to where Megan disappeared in a matter of seconds, and raced behind the copse.
The man ran over a ridge and disappeared from sight.
“Stop!” Max roared, doubling his pace. He reached the ridge, ran down the slope, and leaped at the man, sweeping his feet out from under him and grabbing Megan before she could hit the ground.
The man sprung to his feet, pulled a hunting knife from a sheath on his belt, and rushed toward Max, who set Megan down and turned to face him. The man slashed with the knife, slicing Max’s left shoulder as Max pivoted and launched a powerful, right thrusting kick at the man’s knee. There was a sickening crunch, and the man, who easily outweighed Max by thirty pounds, cried out and crumpled to the ground. His knife clattered against an outcropping of rocks and skittered out of sight.
“Come on, Megs!” Max picked her up and ran at full speed through the trees, avoiding the path but heading in the direction of their campsite. The attacker’s moans faded as Max put distance between them. He bolted at top speed through the trees until his arms began burning. Then he set Megan down, grabbed her hand, and ran towards their campsite, towards safety, less than a quarter of a mile away.
The man was sweating profusely when he reached the Jeep parked on a narrow dirt fire road used by the forest service. The knee of his left leg had swollen to more than twice its normal size, and he was exhausted from hopping half a mile on his good leg through rugged, uneven terrain.
He opened the door of his Jeep and pulled himself up onto the front seat. He couldn’t touch his left knee without piercing jolts of pain shooting up his leg. He unlocked the glove compartment, pulled out a cell phone with push-to-talk, and switched it on.
“Nick, you there? Come in!” he barked.
“I’m here,” a voice responded. “Didja’ get her?”
“No, damn it. I had her. Then her father came out of nowhere and attacked. I sliced up his shoulder, but he broke my knee and took the girl. Go to plan B.”
“Got it. Plan B. Leave your unit on. I’ll contact you. Out.”
The man tossed the cell phone on the seat beside him and winced as he shifted his weight to pull the keys out of his pocket. He was outraged that Max had gotten the better of him. How was it that a guy half his size and nowhere near his muscular prowess had managed to take him down and snatch the girl? He didn’t lose fights. Ever.
He fumbled with his keys for a moment before slipping the correct key into the Jeep’s ignition and placing his hand on the black knob of the stick shift. Only then did reality slap him hard as he looked down and stared at the clutch pedal under his broken left leg.
This was not going to be easy.
About the Author
John has worked in the medical field of Oncology Therapeutics for several years, and is currently an Immuno-Oncology Team Lead in US Oncology Medical Affairs for a major pharmaceutical company located in North Wales, Pennsylvania. Writing is a major passion of his life.
Boy Interrupted is a gripping and potent detective novel depicting the tortured early childhood and psychotic break of Kenny Hanson, a motherless boy raised by a pedophiliac father. Later, a dedicated team of investigators races to find the perpetrator and the motive behind a shocking series of grisly murders across the state of Indiana.
Explore the psyche of a rampaging serial Killer. The ultimate crime drama outlining the parental abuse that creates a monster. An innocent child abused to the point of insanity.
About the Author
Indiana novelist, Patrick King details the story of an innocent child whose pedophilial father and his band of like-minded perverts, abuse that child to the point of insanity. Watch that once innocent little boy evolve into the rampaging serial killer whose spree of gut-rending murder and mayhem eluded not only the F.B.I., local law enforcement and a statewide web of investigators for an entire year! “Boy Interrupted” will break your hear. And make you cry. You will never be the same.
#2 in the “Esther Brookstone Art Detective Series,” this sequel to Rembrandt’s Angel has Esther Brookstone, now retired from Scotland Yard, obsessed with finding St. John the Divine’s tomb, using directions left by the Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli. Esther’s search, the disciple’s missionary travels, and Botticelli’s trip to the Middle East make for three travel stories that all come together in one surprising climax.
Esther’s paramour, Interpol agent Bastiann van Coevorden, has problems with arms dealers, but he multitasks by trying to keep Esther focused and out of danger. The reader can also learn how their romance progresses, as well as travel back in time to discover a bit about Esther’s past with MI6 during the Cold War.
Praise for Son of Thunder:
“This is an exceptionally well-crafted and well-researched novel. Even though I haven’t read the previous novel in the series, I had no trouble becoming invested in the story and getting involved in the protagonists’ lives. I enjoyed the connection between Esther and Bastiann and how they seemed to balance each other out. While Esther is a firecracker, Bastiann is the calm soul that brings her back to earth while helping her fly. I also enjoyed how Esther seemed to bring a lot to the story. From her quirky personality to her great sense of humor, she made things work while having a grand time. The development of the story was great, the plot was incredibly rich and the characters were super entertaining. It is a great story and I cannot wait for more.” – 5 Stars, Readers’ Favorite
Other Books in the Esther Brookstone Art Detective Series:
Esther Brookstone Art Detective, Book One
Publisher: Penmore Press
Published: May 2017
A Neo-Nazi conspiracy threatens Europe . . .
Esther Brookstone’s life is at a crossroads. A Scotland Yard inspector who specializes in stolen art, she’s reluctantly considering retirement. A three-time widow, she can’t quite decide whether paramour and colleague Interpol Agent Bastiann van Coevorden should be husband number four. Decisions are put on hold while she and Bastiann set out to thwart a neo-Nazi conspiracy financed in part by artworks stolen during World War II. Among the stolen art is the masterpiece “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a work Esther obsesses about recovering.
The case sends the intrepid pair on an international hunt spanning several European countries and the Amazon jungle. Evading capture and thwarting death, Esther and Bastiann prove time and again that adrenaline-spiked adventures aren’t just for the young.
Steven M. Moore was born in California and has lived in various parts of the U.S. and Colombia, South America. His travels around Europe, South America, and the U.S., for work or pleasure, taught him a lot about the human condition and our wonderful human diversity, a learning process that began during his childhood in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Evidence of his love of storytelling can be found in his many books in the mystery, thriller, and sci-fi genres. He is a member of International Thriller Writers.
While change is in progress in James’ life, terrorists give just 48 hours to agree to their demands. Is it too late to stop them?
The Shaw family have experienced insurmountable tragedy in their lives culminating in the sons’ mother wasting away from cancer and the father committing suicide because he can’t bear life without her. Whilst the son James is undergoing counselling, he too is confronted by another death which leads him to examine the meaning of life, and in total despair, he attempts to take his own. Whilst building the courage to do so, he is visited by an entity who encourages him to help save the world, which is rapidly destroying itself though pollution, climate change, over-population, and war.
The boy agrees, and progressively encourages the world leaders to participate in this change, sometimes by force, but not before he has to thwart terrorists who attempt to disrupt the inaugural conference of the world leaders, and then threaten the United States with nuclear warheads they have stolen from a Russian facility, giving them 48 hours to agree to their demands. The chase is on as the FBI attempt to locate these terrorists before the warheads are detonated. They travel half the globe to find them, but is it too late?
There is a hint of anger in the Russian president’s face, although James can’t read his
‘I don’t care whether you want to help or not. I don’t give a shit, but I’ll give you
three possibilities on how this will go down. I can make you a puppet so that you
appear a fool in front of everyone. I kill you now and encourage your replacement to help, or you do this willingly. Which is your pleasure?’
‘I’m not going to be made a fool of, and I’m not going to help you.’
The president opens the right-hand top drawer of his desk, finds nothing, and opens
the drawer below. He reaches inside, pulls out a PSM pistol, and holds it to his head. The president’s eyes widen. He can feel his index finger beginning to press the trigger.
‘Wait, stop,’ pleads the president.
James let the president rest the gun on his desk.
‘OK, I promise I will help you.’
‘I am completely baffled as to why you are totally against helping change the
world for the good of mankind. I understand that the majority of your people love and worship you, but everyone else hates your guts. Others think you’re an arrogant tyrant, a liar, and a lowlife. Wouldn’t you rather be remembered as the greatest saviour of the world? A leader with the foresight and the passion to help his fellow man? I don’t care whether you take credit for the contribution you will make in helping the world but as long as you do it for the right reasons and not take advantage or manipulate those who are vulnerable and are trying to help.’
‘Yes, I understand what you are saying.’
‘I hope I can believe you because we will have no further discussions. If you lie
to me again, I will not give you another chance to plead for forgiveness. You will cease to be. You may consider this a threat, but I call it giving advice. Agree willingly, contribute positively, participate completely, and help change the world, and humankind will live a long and peaceful life, including your family, for generations to come.’
‘I still don’t understand why you are doing this. What’s in it for you?’
‘Nothing, nothing at all. I’m not in this for fame or gratitude, and I don’t want to
be mentioned outside the group. I’ve had a happy life, but I’ve also experienced great sorrow, so much sorrow that I wanted to end my life. The majority of the people on this planet know nothing but sorrow and hardship until they die. On the other hand, very few of them enjoy wealth and power and sometimes greed to the detriment of the poor and the environment. But no more. I want those people like you, with wealth and power, to contribute and help everyone and everything on this planet for its long-term survival and happiness. You may think that I’m a fool, but I know what’s coming even though you don’t believe it. The destruction of this planet will not come in our lifetime, but it’s not that far away. In two, three, or maybe four generations, we will have contributed to our own destruction to the point where change will not make a difference. We need to start changing now before it’s too late.’
About the Author
Robert Scollo lives in Melbourne, Australia, and has just turned sixty. The Meaning of Life is this first book, and he hopes that it inspires people to help one another.
The author says, “Frustration. We are constantly frustrated when we hear how badly we treat one another. We whine and complain. We turn our backs when people ask for help, or we ignore famine and prosecution, or we abuse the environment and leave it barren and toxic, or we slaughter animals to extinction, but no one does anything about it because we’re a single voice in the wilderness. Apart from one impossible thing occurring in this novel, everything else is achievable. We just need enough of the right people to listen.”
Robert hopes that more people than not will enjoy the book, and if they do, the main character James will return in a second novel.