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text 2017-04-27 18:19
Interview: Jennifer Estep (Snared) ~ Giveaway

 

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

 

JE: Action scenes are some of my favorite scenes to write. I just really enjoy showing how my characters use their wits and magic to defeat the bad guys.

 

I also really like writing about food. Folks always say that my books make them hungry, which I take as a compliment. LOL.

 

What are some books you have enjoyed recently?

 

JE: I recently finished Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, which is basically an epic fantasy heist book. I also recently finished reading the Alias comics, which are the basis for the Jessica Jones TV show.

 

I have several books in my TBR pile that I am looking forward to reading, including You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando, The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro, and The Wrath of Con by Daniel Younger.

 

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

 

JE: I think that it would be really interesting to meet J.K. Rowling and just talk to her about she came up with Harry Potter and that whole world that he inhabits.

 

What was the hardest thing about writing SNARED?

 

JE: For me, usually the hardest thing is just sitting down and making the time to actually write the book. Authors do so many things – social media, answering email/questions, blogging, advertising, etc. – that it can sometimes be hard to make time to sit down and just write the book.

 

What is your favorite scene from SNARED?

 

JE: Like I said before, I love writing action scenes, so I’ll go with the big fight scene at the end of the book. I always have a lot of fun putting Gin in the worst situation possible and then seeing how she gets herself out of it.

 

Happy reading, everyone!

 
 

 

 
Publisher: Pocket Books

 

Price: $7.99

 

Release date: April 25, 2017

 

ISBN: 9781501142277

 

If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

 

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

 

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

 

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

 

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

 

 
Purchase links:
 

 

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
 

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Unwanted, e-novella #14.5 in the series, will be released on July 18. Unraveled, book #15, will be released on Aug. 30.

 

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series. She is also the author of the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.

 

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter.

 

 

There’s a tour-wide giveaway for copies of SNARED and a $20 Amazon gift card! Open to US residents only.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/04/interview-jennifer-estep-snared-giveaway
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text 2017-04-27 18:15
Fury of a Viking (The MacLomain Series: Viking Ancestors’ Kin #4) by Sky Purington ~ Giveaway/Excerpt

 

Matthew nodded, more and more impressed by her. He said nothing but watched her drink, enthralled yet again by her appearance. Her slender body. The fine lines of her profile.

 

She possessed a quiet, mesmerizing sort of elegance and he found himself imagining what her dragon might look like. Would it match the sleek blackness of her hair or would it be the addictive blue of her eyes? He imagined she would make a stunning addition to his homeland as she flew over its turbulent waters, the sea spray coating her body in shimmering moisture. Which made his eyes fall to the plumpness of her lips. The moisture left behind by the mead. Which led to the way she had tasted when he kissed her.

 

“Matthew?” she said softly with that tempting tone she was so good at. It was designed to be soothing and compassionate for those going through difficult times, but his dragon heard a little something else as well. A seductiveness he was fairly certain she didn’t know she emitted. A sensuality he suspected was her inner beast responding to his.

 

“Matthew?” she repeated, tilting her head ever-so-slightly in question. “Are you with me?”

 

Oh, he was with her all right.

 

Just in the last way he intended. A way he thought he had been able to set aside.

 

“Yes,” he managed, his voice a little gruff as he became overly aware of her scent still lingering on him. “I am with you, Shannon.” He stood. “But as you said before, it is time to rest. We’ll talk more tomorrow, yes?”

 

“Sure, if that’s what you’d prefer.” She looked at him with concern, obviously refocused on the battle and what had happened to him. “Whenever you need to talk, I’ll do my best to listen, Matthew. What you’ve experienced, what you’re going through, isn’t easy.”

 

Much to his dismay, sexual frustration only grew as he pulled on his tunic and boots. He didn’t want to talk but do something else entirely. And that only fed his aggravation. He should want to get to the bottom of things.

 

Yet his muddled mind remained focused on her scent.

 

Her looks.

 

On how she would feel beneath him.

 

“It’s only normal to be feeling what you are right now,” she murmured as they headed back. “It’s normal to want to find relief from all the stress you’re under.”

 

At first, he didn’t realize what she was talking about until he heard the switch of her breathing in the darkness and caught the sweetness of her arousal. She was catching glimpses of his thoughts and referring to his untimely lust. As they cut through a narrow corridor of rock and were forced to walk single file, his eyes dropped to her shapely backside, and he almost groaned.

 

Was it normal to feel so strongly about her right now? To imagine pressing her against the wall and closing his lips over hers more firmly this time? Then to fall to his knees and inhale her desire? When Shannon cleared her throat, and her heart rate increased even more, he knew for certain she heard his thoughts. And was likely even well aware of his arousal through senses alone.

 

Especially if they were dragon mates.

 

He could deny it all he wanted, but there was no mistaking the way he responded to her. The jealousy he felt not only when Kodran pulled her close but when Cameron put his arm around her. He might have a real problem. Though he assumed he was well in control of himself around female dragons, it seemed he was wrong. Because the last thing he felt when she stopped short, and he came against her back, was in control.

 

“What is it?” he murmured, unable to stop from lowering his head and inhaling the warmth of her skin. “Why did you stop?”

 

“I just had the strangest feeling,” she whispered.

 

A shiver of awareness rippled through her when his hands landed on either side of her slim waist. She liked the feeling of him behind her like this. And he liked it just as much.

 

“What kind of feeling?” he managed as he stepped even closer and kept inhaling. He was so aroused he could barely remember why he shouldn’t be. In fact, any sense of decency was just about gone.

 

 

Fury of a Viking 

 

The MacLomain Series 

 

Viking Ancestors’ Kin 

 

Book 4

 

Sky Purington

 

Genre:  Time-travel Fantasy Romance

 

Date of Publication:  April 17th, 2017

 

ASIN: B01N4P4IO4

 

Number of pages:  295

 

Word Count:  94,000

 

Cover Artist:  Tamra Westberry

 

Book Description:

 

Shannon usually prefers the dead to the living. But then running a funeral parlor offers a different perspective. Peace and escape. Or at least it did until the day she’s summoned by her sister to their Winter Harbor chalet in Maine. Now she knows the truth. The veil between worlds is far thinner than she thought. In fact, it’s so thin she can’t prevent her and her daughter, Emily, from slipping back in time.

 

Of dragon blood, Matthew Sigdir has suffered more loss than most. A wife. Sister. Now, because of a vicious enemy, possibly his son, Håkon. Infuriated, determined to find his child, he heads north over unforgiving land. What he doesn’t expect is a twenty-first century little girl and her beautiful mother, Shannon, to join him on his quest. Nor does he expect Hel to show them favor. And there’s no turning away Loki’s daughter when she offers help. Now they have to navigate not only through the elements of a wicked Scandinavian winter but Helheim itself, the underworld of the dead.

 

While they travel, Matthew and Shannon are forced to face their pasts. What they left behind and all that haunts them. As they do, old wounds heal. Hope grows. Love sparks. Through it all, Emily leads them ever closer to Håkon. She’s the key. But is it already too late? Will they make it in time to save Matthew’s son? Or is the enemy one step ahead of them?

 

 

Amazon – B & N – iTunes – Kobo

 

 

 

Tour giveaway – A $25 gift card to winner’s choice of Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Sky Purington is the bestselling author of over twenty-five novels and several novellas. A New Englander born and bred, Sky was raised hearing stories of folklore, myth and legend. When combined with a love for nature, romance and time-travel, elements from the stories of her youth found release in her books.

 

Purington loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at Sky@SkyPurington.com. Interested in keeping up with Sky’s latest news and releases? Visit Sky’s website, http://www.skypurington.com to download her free App on iTunes and Android or sign up for her quarterly newsletter. Love social networking? Find Sky on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Website – Blog – Twitter – Facebook – Pinterest – Newsletter

 

 

Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/04/fury-of-a-viking-the-maclomain-series-viking-ancestors-kin-4-by-sky-purington
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review 2017-04-27 07:05
Blog Tour w/Review - A Charmed Little Lie
  
 
Spinning a story of a joyous marriage to make 
a dying woman happy is forgivable, isn’t it?
 
  
 
A CHARMED LITTLE LIE
Charmed in Texas #1
Sharla Lovelace
Releasing April 18th, 2017
Lyrical Shine
 

 

Lanie Barrett didn’t mean to lie. Spinning a story of a joyous marriage to make a dying woman happy is forgivable, isn’t it? Lanie thinks so, especially since her beloved Aunt Ruby would have been heartbroken to know the truth of her niece’s sadly loveless, short-of-sparkling existence. Trouble is, according to the will, Ruby didn’t quite buy Lanie’s tale. And to inherit the only house Lanie ever really considered a home, she’ll have to bring her “husband” back to Charmed, Texas for three whole months—or watch Aunt Ruby’s cozy nest go to her weasel cousin, who will sell it to a condo developer.

Nick McKane is out of work, out of luck, and the spitting image of the man Lanie described. He needs money for his daughter’s art school tuition, and Lanie needs a convenient spouse. It’s a match made . . . well, not quite in heaven, but for a temporary arrangement, it couldn’t be better. Except the longer Lanie and Nick spend as husband and wife, the more the connection between them begins to seem real. Maybe this modern fairy tale really could come true . . .
 
 
 
 
 

I didn’t look back, and I didn’t care. Nick’s hand was warm in mine, and when we reached the dance floor they’d cleared a space for, he tugged back gently to make me turn around. The look in those dark eyes nearly took out my knees. He pulled me into his arms, leaving no room for imagination, and I let my hands slide up his chest to his neck, and around back as his eyelids grew heavy.

 

Roberta Flack crooned softly, the first time…ever I saw your face… And something in me went warm from head to toe. Something besides whatever was in that punch. Something more real than that.

 

Nice save.”

 

I tried.”

 

How was the punch?” he asked.

 

I wound my fingers into his hair and pulled his head down.

 

See for yourself,” I said, the last word finished against his lips.

 

Sparks ignited throughout my body as our lips met. Soft. Slow. Wet. Needing. Our bodies moved as one with the music, so close, so tightly pressed together I could feel his heart beating. My hands traveled slowly back down his chest and around his middle as his came up into my hair. When his tongue ran over my top lip, I knew he could feel my gasp. And when I pulled him in deeper to taste him, I felt the low growl in his chest rumbling against mine.

 

His fingers twisted in my hair as he dove deep and then pulled back, deep again and back, teasing me, pulling back to kiss my lips one at a time, as I kept clinging tighter. I was drunk on it. Breathing shallow. My fingers curling into his shirt with the need for more.

 

The first time…ever I kissed…your lips…

 

It was erotic, the way he kissed me. The way I kissed him. Slow, matching our movements. Intimate. Electric and emotional at the same time. And so full of desire and barely restrained need, that my body was trembling with it when he held my face and leaned his forehead against mine.

 

I wanted to keep my eyes closed. Absorb the feel of him, the song, the words, the taste. Just hold on to it a little longer. But I felt the heat of his gaze and my eyes fluttered open. And everything inside me turned to liquid fire. No one—ever—had looked at me like that. Had wanted me like that. The mirror image of what was churning inside me was all over him. In the desire mixed with the trouble haunting his eyes. This wasn’t the game. That thought hit me like a sucker punch to the gut. This was—

 

His mouth covered mine again, hungrier, hotter, and I melted into it. The burn in my chest at the realization of just how fucking real this was, stole at my breath, and I didn’t care. It was more than we were supposed to be doing but—God, it was so good. It was so good my heart felt like it was swelling to the size of the room. Wrapping around us as his hands cradled my face and he broke from the kiss, moving his lips along my face, my cheeks, back to my lips, both of us breathing fast. It was more. Nick was giving me the more. It wasn’t just physical; it was bursting inside me.

 

When he pulled me to him, I buried my face in his neck and held him as tightly as I could as the words slowed to an end. I didn’t want it to be over. I didn’t want to let go.

 

I could hear my heart in my ears, pounding with every breath. He smelled like soap and something woodsy and Nick, and I always knew that but being up close enough to lick him made the smell intoxicating.

 

The music stopped.

 

 The lighting was changing. I had to let go of him, and the second I moved he backed up too. Just a little. Just enough for me to see the mouth I’d just gotten to know intimately. His gaze fell to my lips as well, before dragging up to my eyes. Things had changed. In the course of time it took for that song to make its evolution, our reality had shifted. And the real kicker was that I think we both knew it already had.



 

A Charmed Little Lie (Charmed in Texas, #1)A Charmed Little Lie by Sharla Lovelace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lanie had given a lie to a dying aunt. Now, she must prove the marriage is real. No pressure, right? Especially since she is not even seeing anyone right now.

Nick comes across Lanie in the middle of a crisis and is not sure to take her seriously. She has him fitting the general description of the man she lied about. He needs the money, so he gives in. Then the attraction begins......

I really felt it all with this story. There is plenty of humor, heat, sarcasm, and lots of fun. I really wanted the characters to see what I saw for them. There was sparks flying between them and it was fun to see the slow burn speed up. I cannot wait to see the next book in the series.


****This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

 
 
 

Tasty Q&A with Sharla Lovelace

 

Describe yourself in five words or less.

  1. Snarky (Might be kind of scary that this was the first one that came to mind.)

  2. Introverted

  3. Sneaky

  4. People-watcher (notice how I hyphenated to get an extra word? Yeah, see #3)

  5. Dog-lover (it worked last time)

 

Can you tell us a little about your book?

It’s about lying! LOL. Truly, it’s about when all your little white lies catch up to you, and what the hell do you do then? You make up a gargantuan sized one to cover them, and then hope it doesn’t swallow you whole. Unless it’s in the form of a hot sexy get-under-your-skin man….then by all means swallow! (I did not just say that.)

Lanie and Nick’s story was honestly one of my favorite books to write—EVER. It was so much fun, and such a runaway train ride with no hands! I loved literally watching them fall for each other, I loved Lanie’s spunk! I loved every second of it, and it birthed the town of Charmed, so I hope you will love it as much as I do.

 

If you had a theme song, what would it be?

I Hope You Dance

 

Name one thing you won’t leave home without.

My phone and a hair tie on my wrist. (That’s 2. Damn I have trouble following rules.)

 

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?

I adore writing intense scenes with either sexy-smexy chemistry burning up the page or fast snappy dialogue. Sex scenes before the sex…with the tease and the tension and the snarky back and forth talking…I love that. Also fights are a blast with all that emotion churning around. Dialogue is always the most fun. I groan to write description…

 

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Everyone says this, but seriously, never give up. I met Sandra Brown at a writer’s conference, and she was behind a table signing for a line of hundreds, and when I got up there I said “Everyone in this line wants to be you one day.” She looked at me and said, “You’re here. You’re already halfway there. Don’t ever stop learning and don’t ever stop writing. You’ll get here. One day, maybe I’ll be in your line.” I never forgot that. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing by any means, but my first book was published almost exactly 5 years ago, and now A CHARMED LITTLE LIE is my 10th published book, and I’ve just finished writing my 12th. Don’t give up on your dream. Also, remember that you write about life, and to do that you have to live. There are times (deadline evil times) that you have to stay in a cave and pound out words, but outside of that, find a balance and enjoy your life. It will show in your writing when you do…and when you don’t. If you write romance, kiss your husband every day. And if you are writing about hot sex and he is one of your readers, you’d better be prepared to give up the goods. Saying you aren’t in the mood after penning being banged against a wall—doesn’t cut it honey. ;)

 

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I wouldn’t be here without you, and I love and adore you so much for taking the time to buy my books and give my stories a try. And when you email or message me to tell me about it…oh my God you just don’t know the rainbows and unicorns that fill me up. Nothing is more important in this job than readers. When I make you happy…when I make you laugh or cry or feel something that you are moved enough to tell me about…my God, ice cream isn’t even as good as that. It’s close. But not quite. ;)

 

 


 
 
Sharla Lovelace is the bestselling, award-winning author of sexy small-town love stories. Being a Texas girl through and through, she’s proud to say she lives in Southeast Texas with her retired husband, a tricked-out golf cart, and two crazy dogs. She is the author of five stand-alone novels including the bestselling Don’t Let Go, the exciting Heart Of The Storm series, and the fun and sexy new Charmed in Texas series.

For more about Sharla's books, visit www.sharlalovelace.com, and keep up with all her new book releases easily by subscribing to her newsletter. She loves keeping up with her readers, and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
 
 
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text 2017-04-27 06:05
Release Tour and Giveaway for Arrested Heart by SM Donaldson
 
 
Title: Arrested Heart
Series: Dispatch 247 Series
Author: S.M. Donaldson
Genre: Adult Romance
Release Date: April 27, 2017
 
 
Mox
 
Life has a way a throwing curve balls at every turn. I'm Eli "Mox" Moxen and I've finally figured out what I want in life.
 
I’m fearless. In life, in my career, and in love. I'll face it all with strength and determination.
 
Amber
 
Just when I think I'm getting ahead, something comes along to knock me on my butt. I'm Amber Young, single mom, jaded in love, and in danger.
 
I refuse to fail. For my daughter and for myself, I refuse to fail at life, in my career, and in love.
 
For first responders like Mox, there is rarely a second chance for anything...except maybe love. This is Mox's chance to show Amber he's a man who also refuses to fail...especially when it comes to her heart.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
S.M. Donaldson is a 
born and raised Southern girl. She grew up in a small rural town on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the kind of place where everyone knows your business before you do, especially when your Daddy is a cop and your Mom works for the school system. She married one of her best friends at the age of 20 and has one son. She is a proud military wife, has always had a soft spot for a good story, and is known to have a potty mouth. At the age of 31, she decided there was no time like the present to attempt her first book. Sam’s Choice was born and she hasn’t stopped since. If you are looking for a good, steamy, Southern set romance with true Southern dialect, she’s your girl.
 
 
 
 
 
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text 2017-04-27 06:05
Blog Tour and Giveaway for Cleaved (Grafton County Series, Book 2) by Sue Coletta
 
Cleaved
Grafton County Series, Book 2
by Sue Coletta
 
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
 
Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it. Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots their happy home, and splits the threads that bonds their family unit.
Darkness swallows the Quintanos whole—ensnared by a ruthless killer out for blood. Why he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won’t stop till she dies like the others.
Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes, and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.
 
 
 
 
Marred
 
Grafton County Series, Book 1
 
When a serial killer breaks into the home of bestselling author, Sage Quintano, she barely escapes with her life. Her husband, Niko, a homicide detective, insists they move to rural New Hampshire, where he accepts a position as Grafton County Sheriff. Sage buries secrets from that night—secrets she swears to take to her deathbed.
Three years of anguish and painful memories pass, and a grisly murder case lands on Niko’s desk. A strange caller begins tormenting Sage—she can’t outrun the past.
When Sage’s twin sister suddenly goes missing, Sage searches Niko’s case files and discovers similarities to the Boston killer. A sadistic psychopath is preying on innocent women, marring their bodies in unspeakable ways. And now, he has her sister.
 
Cryptic clues. Hidden messages. Is the killer hinting at his identity? Or is he trying to lure Sage into a deadly trap to end his reign of terror with a matching set of corpses?
Expert
Saturday, September 20, 2003
Even the weather betrayed me. Aqua-blue sky, not a cloud in sight. Niko and I sat in silence during the two-and-a-half hour trip north. Next week offered a new beginning, a chance to leave Boston and never look back.
I lowered the back passenger window. A light breeze ruffled farmland acres, and a full, round sun shined, burned, blazed as though this was an ordinary day. The limousine tires hit cracked asphalt, the road worn from a brutal New Hampshire winter.
Birds whistled serenades. Preteens played basketball within the confines of school grounds. Young, adolescent voices carried in the crisp morning air, rustling hues of burnt orange, scarlet, and burgundy through autumn leaves. Mountains stood proudly as if they could protect us. Here, perhaps, but not in Boston, where my nightmare began eight days and six hours ago.
We drove by the Minot Sleeper Library, and my gaze narrowed on the patrons. A middle-aged woman clutched my latest novel close to her heart like a coveted treasure. Scorching heat jagged up my chest. Soon she’d enjoy my words while I endured the harshest committal.
Didn’t she know? Couldn’t she feel my pain, my anguish? Pure evil enveloped my life, then spit me out like bitterness on a delicate palate, leaving me reeling in torment.
The hearse carrying our dreams, our endless devotion, veered right through tall, iron gates and followed a winding road to the back of the cemetery. My fingers curled around the armrest, and I shifted my sight to Niko. 
Splayed hands on his knees, he turned only his head and offered a weak, faint smile. “You okay?” His voice was barely above a whisper.
To demonstrate what I thought of his stupid question, I shot him a cutting glare.
Palms up, he opened his arms. “What? I only asked if you were okay.”
“Seriously?” I said. “How could anyone be okay with this?”
Two funeral employees in dark suits dragged a tiny coffin from the back of the hearse. Stark white, the casket rode in their hands as the men marched over burnt, dead grass. Lowering the coffin onto two bands, they stepped away. My baby lingered above the mouth of an awaiting grave—displaying my shame, announcing my cowardice.
“We’ve gotta go.” Niko’s words churned the sickening feeling deep in my gut.
I peered through the side window, the cemetery dark and gloomy through tinted glass. The world now appeared as it should, mourning along with me.
Niko said, “Babe?”
The limo driver opened my door and startled me. He reminded me of a prison guard, hands clasped behind his back, eyes focused straight ahead. Behind him, rows and rows of ghosts, shattered lives buried deep with nothing left but a headstone to mark their existence. In the distance, an emerging sea of blue soldiered toward the grave—Niko’s fellow detectives, the ones who did nothing.
I twisted toward my husband, and a stabbing pain stole my breath. I bit my upper lip, waiting for the pang to subside. “Why are they here?”
“To pay their respects, Sage. Look, if you wanna blame someone—”
“Don’t,” I warned.
My crutches in hand, he dashed around the back of the limo to my door. Jaw clenched, I sneered at my new mode of transportation and steadied my balance with the toe of my splinted leg. I dropped my chin to my chest. Dammit. Why didn’t I fight? Why didn’t I do something, anything?
With a supportive arm around my waist, Niko coaxed me toward the gravesite. I passed him one of the crutches and rested my head against his strong chest. If only he could sweep me away so I didn’t have to face this devastation.
I squeezed my eyes closed. I couldn’t look, couldn’t witness the finality. It wasn’t fair. I had no memories to savor. No first touch, no tiny fist gripping my finger. No first steps, first word. I never had the chance to admire a newborn’s searching eyes, gazing at the world as a wondrous place. Instead, I had the harsh reality that wicked men roamed free, leaving destruction in their wake.
I had nothing, except the faint recall of precious feet kicking my insides, yearning to break free and experience life. My baby’s lungs never had the chance to expand with oxygen-infused air. He would never know the magic of Christmas, or admire glorious lights dancing on tree limbs. My boy would not have the honor of placing a brilliant star on the top branch as his daddy lifted him so his delicate hands could reach.
For God sake, he didn’t even have a name. The headstone marked only with, “Baby Quintano.” This was so cruel. Why did we have to endure such torture? There wasn’t much I wouldn’t do for my unborn son. But this? Dear God, not this.
Bob Jordan, the funeral director, recited the opening remarks. I cocked an ear, my grip tightening around the crutch. I slid my gaze toward Niko. Did he notice slight nuances in Bob’s pitch, the unspoken truth I insisted he conceal?
Beneath gauze bandages, sweat seeped through the multitude of stitches zigzagging across my forearms. Pain throbbed from a dislocated knee, and broken ribs labored my breath—my injuries refusing to allow a moment of repose. Thanks to a mass murderer who slipped through Niko’s grasp, tranquility no longer existed.
Tears brimmed in my husband’s red-rimmed eyes and he offered me a reassuring squeeze. “It’s almost over, babe.”
I swallowed, averted my gaze. I didn’t deserve his kindness, his love.
We huddled together opposite six Boston detectives in department dress blues. Cold stares in my direction, foreheads rippled in accusation. Bob Jordan asked if we wanted to speak. Niko swept my hair out of my face, but I kept my head down, staring at the ground.
“I think we’re all set,” he said, tears hitching his voice.
Bob gave a slight nod and cranked a handle that lowered our child into the maw of nevermore. Hot tears slipped down the sides of my face, salt biting jagged wounds on my cheek, upper lip, and neck. The cemetery became eerily quiet. Soft gasps and muffled cries from my heart fracturing beyond repair pierced a cool September wind.
Inside I screamed, “No! Don’t take our baby! Please, stop! I can’t survive this!”

Verbally, as usual, I remained silent.
 
Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is an award-winning, multi-published author in numerous anthologies and her forensics articles have appeared in InSinC Quarterly. In addition to her popular crime resource blog, Sue co-hosts the radio show "Partners In Crime" on Writestream Radio Network every third Tuesday of the month from 1 - 3 p.m. EDT/EST (see details at www.suecoletta.com). She's also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science, and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.
She runs a popular crime website and blog, where she shares crime tips, police jargon, the mind of serial killers, and anything and everything in between. If you search her achieves, you'll find posts from guests that work in law enforcement, forensics, coroner, undercover operatives, firearm experts...crime, crime, and more crime.
For readers, she has the Crime Lover's Lounge, where subscribers will be the first to know about free giveaways, contests, and have inside access to deleted scenes. As an added bonus, members get to play in the lounge. Your secret code will unlock the virtual door. Inside, like-minded folks discuss their favorite crime novels, solve mindbender and mystery puzzles, and/or relax and chat. Most importantly, everyone has a lot of fun.
 
Sue lives in northern New Hampshire with her husband, where her house is surrounded by wildlife...bear, moose, deer, even mountain lions have been spotted. Course, Sue would love to snuggle with them, but her husband frowns on the idea.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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