You Can’t Drive to Martha’s Vineyard

by Stephanie Queen

BIiPad-RevYou can’t drive to Martha’s Vineyard…

That’s exactly why world-weary ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise settled on The Vineyard when he thought he was finished with the soul-wrenching missions and mind-crushing danger. But he wasn’t finished yet. Not when he owed the governor and the governor insisted on partnering him with her…

Shana George.

They came together like magnets, attracted and repelled by turns, and ended up partners in Beachcomber Investigations, a private detective agency. They work from their world-wide headquarters on the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts.

Remote and solitary in the winter, yet the island is a stone’s throw from Boston and bustling with vacationers all summer. Populated with an array of characters from edgy to comic, It’s the perfect spot for a couple who has no idea what they want.

Marthas_Vineyard_Massachusetts51It’s also a perfect getaway spot for a vacation at the beach. (Even if the movie Jaws was filmed at Martha’s Vineyard on State Beach–don’t worry–the shark was a prop.) My favorite beach is Gayhead Beach, also known as Aquinnah Beach, with the cliffs and boulder-strewn sand. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of the islands towns, giving it a remote feel.

 

Here’s an excerpt from Beachcomber Investigations –Book One by Stephanie Queen:

Chapter 1

Shana darted a glance at Dane. He was leaning on the doorjamb, oozing his ridiculous brand of sensuality, all casual and strong. Visits to the hospital had always been nausea-inducing events in her life experience, but this visit had a whole different vibe.

With all her might, Shana resisted crediting Dane with the reality-defying mood she felt standing in the middle of this room, immune to the scent of antiseptics wafting around her.

Instead, she tried ignoring Dane and refocused on Cap—Captain Colin Lynch—lounging againsthis pillows.

Cap wasbandaged and sporting a sling and a grin as if the bullet in his shoulder had been a movie propand he was playing the role of the injured State Police Chief of Martha’s Vineyard—andplaying that role poorly.

“You’re not taking your injuryvery seriously,” she said.

Cap grinned wider. She squelched a long-suffering sigh, because Cap was not one ofher younger brothers. Far from it. He was a hunk of a grown man if she was in the mood for admitting things.

Her gaze slid back to Dane as he moved into the room. He eyed her, giving her that sizzling stare. The wave of desire nearly unbalanced her until her survival instincts kicked in.

Without thinking, her chin rose and she stepped closer to Cap as if he would protect her.

As if Dane Blaise were a monster. But he wasonly a monsterif she considered legendary war heroes who routinely saved lives—including her own—as monsters.

No. Dane was no monster, but he wasa threat to her well-being. Maybe she was being overly dramatic, but she felt as if he were wielding a knife, with the ability to cut her heart out and shred it to pieces if she were to let him.

She needed to get a grip.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

BeachInvest 4Book Box Set NEW REV CoverGiveaway! 

An e-copy of Beachcomber Investigations 4-Book Box Set which includes Beachcomber Investigations and three other books in the series.

Enter to win by leaving a comment—tell me about your favorite getaway spot!

Weeds Are My Worst Lawn Nightmare

And…I’m sure I’m not alone in the fight to eradicate those nasty unwanted plants. Yes, you can use a lawn service, or you can be stubborn and devote a little (or a lot, depending on the size of your lawn) time to test tried and true solutions of homemade weed and some grass, killer.

Okay, I admit working in the yard is something I do enjoy. Most of the time.
Sometimes, you simply have to try new solutions for those nasty weeds that want to smother your grass, not to mention drive you nuts. Who has time to spend on lawn weeds when you could be lolling on the beach?

I’d read several internet articles for vinegar uses. Apparently, vinegar is a miracle liquid. I use vinegar as many uses in the home, cleaning, windows, mopping, and laundry to name a few.

One day, a few months ago, someone on Facebook posted a natural remedy for ridding your lawn of weeds using vinegar.

There are different recipes, so search the internet for one that pleases you.

Here are a couple of links if you’d like to research.
http://www.garden-counselor-lawn-care.com/vinegar-weed-killer.html
https://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Recipe_for_Vinegar_Weed_Killer

After years of spraying a chemical on my lawn, I decided it was time to go green there also. What could it hurt to give it a try?

So the recipe I used is as follows:
1 gal. white distilled vinegar (Mine was 5% acidic)
2 cups salt (Not iodized)
¼ cup dishwashing liquid. (I used Dawn)

Okay, I made a trip to a store and purchased a 2 gallon plastic sprayer and each ingredient.

The lawn should be warm and dry enough to use the concoction. In a clean pail, I mixed the salt into the vinegar until it completely dissolved, poured the mixture into the sprayer, then added the dishwashing liquid. Dishwashing liquid does absolutely nothing except help the solution adhere to the plants. So give your lawn a wash. Ha, ha.

**CAUTION **IF YOU DECIDE TO GIVE THIS A TRY, BE VERY SELECTIVE WHERE YOU SPRAY.

The solution may kill grass and plants you don’t want to get rid of. It is also said…wherever you spray…don’t expect to plant anything anytime soon. Nothing much will grow for maybe up to two or more years. So do be selective as to where the spray lands! Let’s hope the wind isn’t blowing.

The solution wasn’t 100% effective in spots, as yet, but…it did work on 98% of sprayed areas. I’m hoping to see more of a difference for round two spray. If not I’ll either locate a 18% acidity, or find another answer to my problem.

Let me know if you try this concoction. I’d be interested if it worked for you!

On another Exciting Note, Authors of Main Street are releasing a new Spring boxed set sometime in June, 2018. Seven all new and delightful stories are sure to entertain you in Summer Romance on Main Street Vol 1. Our cover is simply gorgeous! We should have a cover reveal soon.

Please check back with us soon for the official release date.

Until next timeI wish you Love, Butterflies and Music.

IN PLAIN SIGHT

IN PLAIN SIGHT is my story for the Summer Romance on Main Street boxed set. This story is set in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin as was CHRISTMAS IN JULY, from the Christmas boxed set: Christmas Babies on Main Street.

Here’s my cover featuring Door County cherries and a bit of bling to celebrate my jewelry theme.

In Plain Sight-gimp.jpg

Summer O’Hara stumbles upon an international jewelry thief in small-town Door County, Wisconsin and pays for it with her life. Or does she? As her family searches to uncover the mystery behind her death they find that romance and valuables are often hidden in plain sight.

Summer O’Hara and her daughter, Fallon Murphy, find trouble – and perhaps a little death – can often lead to love.

Happy reading!

Leigh

 

Retreat, Interrupted

Retreat, Interrupted is my story for the Summer Romance on Main Street boxed set. In this book, I return to my fictional town of Lake Willowbee.

Cassie Stone is a failure. At least, she feels that way. She is a writer who hasn’t written in two years. She’s lost her publisher, her agent, her friends. Now, she returns home to Lake Willowbee to bury her father and take care of her mother, who is slowly losing her mind to Alzheimer’s.

Ben Bridges is the chief of police and mayor of Lake Willowbee. His town is dying and its only hope is Cassie Stone and the book festival, the highlight of the summer. With all she has on her shoulders, can he add saving the town?

Is Cassie the teenager he remembers who ran away at the first opportunity, or has she become the woman he can rely on, he can fall in love with, who will stay?

My cover artist, Elaina Lee, of For The Muse Designs, has created another beautiful cover.

RetreatInterrupted 200x300

Cassie was my funnest heroine to write so far. Making her a writer let me connect with her flaws and quirks all too well. Unfortunately, she is suffering from a case of writer’s block I hope no writer will ever have to suffer. (knock on wood)

I can’t wait to read all of the other stories in this set and to let readers experience

Summer Romance on Main Street


Jill James, romance writer

New book, new everything

I’ve been busy, busy, busy. The third novel in my historical series, The Golden Redepennings, is on prerelease, and due for publication on 22 May, so it seemed a good time to update my visual branding across cyberspace (well, across the blogosphere, Twitter, Pinterest, and FaceBook). They’re all similar to the blog banner above, but with the elements in slightly different places.

Not content with adding one extra job to an over-long list, I also finally resurrected my personal book shop, so I could sell my own books directly from my website. The new release will be up there a week before it is available anywhere else. Another masthead, plus an overhaul of every book so far, plus learning a new computer interface.

This while I’m writing my next novella for the Authors of Main Street. (Due to the publisher next week. Yikes!) And also flat out in the day job and recovering from a car accident that wrote off the car. (I walked away from the crash, and am fine. A little bruised in body and rumpled in spirit. My poor little car.)

And managing the recovery from a cyber attack on a website I help manage.

Somebody is an idiot, and I think it is me.

Ah well. Let me tell you about the new release.

The Realm of Silence

(Book 3 in the Golden Redepennings series)

Rescue her daughter, destroy her dragons, defeat his demons, go back to his lonely life. How hard can it be?

“I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved…  the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave.” George Eliot

When Susan Cunningham’s daughter disappears from school, her pleasant life as a fashionable, dashing, and respectable widow is shattered. Amy is reported to be chasing a French spy up the Great North Road, and when Susan sets out in pursuit she is forced to accept help from the last person she wants: her childhood friend and adult nemesis, Gil Rutledge.

Gil Rutledge has loved Susan since she was ten and he a boy of twelve. He is determined to oblige her by rescuing her daughter. And if close proximity allows them to rekindle their old friendship, even better. He has no right to ask for more.

Gil and Susan must overcome danger, mystery, ghosts from the past, and their own pride before their journey is complete.

Preorder links and more information: http://judeknightauthor.com/books/the-realm-of-silence/

Excerpt

(This scene stars my heroine’s daughter, who has been kidnapped)

The room was small and mostly bare, but for a litter of broken furniture in one corner and some straw that might once have been a pallet in another. No windows. No exit besides the door that Finlay blocked.

“Did you think to offer her food and drink?” Griffin asked. “Here, let me do it.”

Offered was the wrong word. He taunted her with them, insisting that she beg, and mocking her when she refused.

“She’ll be properly grateful for something by the time we get back, Finlay, won’t she?” he said to the horrible man, who stopped laughing at his companion’s antics for long enough to leer at her. “I could think of several ways th’ wee whore could make it worth our while to feed her.”

Griffin slid a cold gaze from her toes to the tip of her hair and back again, and his lip curled. “You’d have to kill her after. Her family would turn this place inside out and flay you alive.”

“Proper folks, are they?” Finlay reached out a hand to stroke Amy’s cheek and she turned away, eyes narrowed. She held herself rigid, refusing to let her revulsion and fear rule her reactions.

Griffin struck the man’s hand down. “Generals and lords and such. Fit only to manure the land with their blood, and so they will when the revolution comes. In the meantime, leave the girl alone. I need her for the exchange. Maybe later.”

“Just a taste,” Finlay suggested. “I havena ever had a lady-born.”

“After the revolution, they’ll be selling themselves in the street, same as any whore. We have more important things to do.”

Finlay reluctantly backed out of the cellar, taking one of the candles, and Griffin took another. “You have one candle, lady-born. Make it last, because I won’t be back for some time.”

She wanted to say something defiant, but her throat was so tight she could only croak, and he laughed as he left, shutting the huge heavy door behind him.

Amy lifted her hand from where she had hidden it in her skirt, keen to examine the papers she had stolen from Griffin’s pocket. Letters—from what she could see, quite innocuous. But she’d heard too many stories of codes to believe it, and perhaps these would help stop whatever Mr Griffin had in mind. “Next month,” he had told Finlay, more than once.

She smirked, just a little. Picking pockets was clearly not a skill the villain expected from a lady-born. The game had been inspired by stories from her not-quite-uncle David Wakefield, the items she carefully lifted returned to the household members from whom she had purloined them. This time, it was in earnest. Perhaps in these letters she had a clue to what the man was waiting for.

By the time she had searched every bit of the room except the pile of straw, which she feared might contain rats or even spiders, Amy was beginning to wish she had not refused the bread and cheese. And she should certainly have accepted something to drink. She could feel the beginnings of a headache as she was parched from the inside out.

The candle was a quarter shorter than when she started. She should blow it out to save it, but she had no way of lighting it again, and the rustling in the straw reinforced her antipathy to being alone in the dark.

She could not afford to stand here frozen. She had to move the straw, rustling or not. If there was a way out other than the door, that was the only place it could be. Amelia Cunningham, do you want to wait until that horrid man comes back?

The thought galvanised her into action. From the tangle of broken furniture, she picked out the ladder-back of a chair and a long broom handle—tools to move the straw, and weapons to protect herself, if she could find no way out.

But she was hopeful. If she was right about her general location, under this tavern cellar would be another cellar or even another house. Perhaps even a whole street. Parts of Old Town Edinburgh had been built upon the town of the past, each new incarnation rising over the still living bones of earlier dwellings, where whole communities continued to live and do business deep beneath the bustling upper world.

And the rats must come from somewhere.

Testing her theory, she bashed at the straw with her makeshift tools, flinching away when a particularly panicked rodent scrambled straight for her. But it got itself turned around and burrowed back into the straw, disappearing in seconds.

The straw was still and silent. Tentatively, carefully, she pulled chunks of straw from the pile, growing bolder as no ratty inhabitants appeared to dispute ownership with her. It took several minutes to spread the heap far enough to uncover the trapdoor that lay beneath, one corner rotted away. That’s where the rats were getting in. That’s where she needed to go.

Summer Romance: OAVS 8: Fifty Miles at a Breath

 

Hi all!

I’m flat out… well, past flat out, to finish your next story and another one shortly thereafter. One thing about being a self-pubbed author in two boxed-set groups…. there are deadlines to keep me honest!

Summer Romance on Main Street

Your new stories will be out very soon! As you’ve probably heard, we’re not only doing a Christmas boxed set this year, but also a Summertime one! Summer Romance on Main Street will be out this month!  Keep checking back here to hear when it’s out!

In case you’re wondering, yes, I have changed the cover image for Once Upon a Vet School #7: Lena Takes a Foal.

Here it is!  (and yes, that’s me, my horse Maya, and my youngest son…)1 1 OAVS 7 New EBOOK cover kb 500 2017 05 01

Join us for another story in Lena’s series of Once Upon a Vet School!

And you will too, when you read Once Upon a Vet School #6: Fifty Miles at a Breath (Page coming soon!) in our upcoming boxed set, Summer Romance on Main Street!

I’ve done endurance riding and ride-and-ties myself, plus crewed and vetted for many more.  I thought it might be nice to give people a little glimpse into that world.

So here’s a little excerpt from OAVS #6: Fifty Miles at a Breath: 

 


From Once Upon a Vet School #6: Fifty Miles at a Breath

Prince was back in the corral attached to his trailer when I arrived at Blake’s camper. The stallion whuffled softly to me and lipped at the grass I’d found for him. I may be a disaster with men, but I know how to make horses love me.

“He’ll leave me for you, if you keep that up.” Blake’s eyes glowed down at me from the open door of his camper.

I grinned.

“Come on in and have a drink with me, but leave Prince out there. He’d wreck the camper, so he has to stay outside, but you look like you have better manners.” He waved me in. “Beer? Juice? Whiskey?”

I thought the juice might be safest, in my present state of mind.

The comfortable cab-over camper looked well used, but well cared for. Blake caught me looking it over.

“It’s not fancy, but it’s gone a lot of miles. We take it camping in the high Sierra and to a lot of endurance rides.”

We?

I gulped. Getting ahead of myself again.  Of course, a man so vivacious and fun would have a wife. I swallowed the bitter disappointment and accepted the juice with thanks. “High Sierra?”

“Yes, we take the horses and camp up high, near the tree line, and take day rides out from the camper.”

I grinned at him beneath my brows. “That’s not real camping, in a camper.”

He snorted. “Have you ever done it?”

“I’ve camped for years.”

 He lifted one brow. “In the High Sierra?”

“Well, no.”

“Wait until you try it. You won’t think I’m such a tenderfoot, then.”

That got me. I had no idea what he meant. And I probably wasn’t going to find out. Surely he was married. Probably to one of those money- grubbers he’d mentioned last time we spoke.

“So, you’ve finished your meeting?”

“Sure have. I know where I need to be, and when. Stethoscope  in hand and secretary assigned. One Janelle Knight.”

“Nice girl, Janelle. Known her  parents for years. She wants to be a vet.”

I shuddered, then grinned. “I’ll try not to put her off vet school.”

“That tough?”

“Let’s just say the course is designed to be passed, but it’s tough. Their selection process is pretty strong. So far, we’ve not lost any of our classmates through the first three years of the program, and gained one from the previous class who had a little trouble adjusting back to school life after  he retired from a navy career.” I smiled. “His life dream was to be a vet. Fortunately or unfortunately, he grew up in  a navy family, so into the navy he went.”

“Wow, what dedication.”

“Yep. He adds so much to our class.”

“Let’s go, or will miss dinner.” Blake held the door for me as I climbed down the steps.

Gentlemanly.

I didn’t see much of that these days. I grinned over my shoulder as I thanked him, then promptly tripped over the trailer brake.

Pull it together. A guy’s nice to you and you melt.

 I managed to hit the ground with my feet, rather than my head, and stood waiting beside Prince while Blake climbed down—carefully, I noticed.

We headed in the general direction of the cookhouse. Blake stopped at this trailer and that to introduce me to his friends.

The on-duty ambulance rolled slowly to a halt near us, the driver looking around and talking on his radio.

“What’s up?” Blake asked someone.

“Faye Waters took her horse out for a ride and her horse came back alone. Not sure what happened, but they found her on the ground, her head against a rock. She had her helmet on, but she was unconscious.” He nodded his head at the ambulance. “They’ve radioed for a chopper and it’s on its way. They’re finalizing a landing spot now.”

The other ambulance attendant  hopped out. “Can you all please clear the area? The chopper is on its way,” he called out, in a loud voice.

 We moved to the edge of the clearing and searched the sky for a helicopter.  Blake saw it before I could even hear it.

“He’s going a pretty good clip.” Blake raised an eyebrow at the chopper, racing toward us.  Suddenly, it was right  above us, coming faster than I could have imagined, dropping like a stone into the clearing before us. It was only twenty feet above the ground, too close for comfort. A graying man walked past them, struggling to lead a gray Arabian as it danced sideways, snorting and tugging at its lead. The man glanced around, and then up to see what was frightening his charge.  Suddenly, his horse galloped past me, so close I felt the wind from its passing. I turned back to see if the man was okay, but he’d vanished.

Blake dashed off to catch the horse and I ran over to where the man had been. Where had he gone? I peered over the riverbank near where I’d last seen him. There he was. Ten feet down, hunched into a ball on the rocky riverbed, hands and arms cradling his head. His whole body shook.

“Are you all right?” I called out, but he didn’t respond. I scrambled down beside him and reached a hand out toward his shoulder.

“No!” Blake’s voice rang out from high above me.

I froze, but not before I’d touched the hot skin of the man’s shoulder and my world went ballistic. I tried to scream past the fingers digging into my face and covering my mouth, and then a band of flesh-covered steel clamped tight across my throat.


 

I’ve always adored Lena, and Blake’s pretty cool, too. Hope you love Lena and Blake’s story, coming SOON!

xx

Lizzi Tremayne

 

Guest Author Irina Shapiro

irinashapiro_new_author_pic_05162015-300x300Today we’ve invited author Irina Shapiro to tell us about her new series. Irina was born in Moscow, Russia. In 1982 her family immigrated to the United States and settled in New York. After graduating from Bernard M. Baruch College, Irina first worked in advertising, and then in Import/Export as a Logistics Manager. She left her job in 2007 to focus on her autistic son, and began to write. Since then Irina has written more than twenty novels. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

The-Lovers-Echoes-From-The-Past-Kindle-EditionI always tend to hesitate when people ask me, “What genre do you write?” probably because what I write doesn’t fit into any specific category. My books can be described as romance, historical fiction, mystery, and even time travel. I have so many different ideas, I want to incorporate them all into my books and interweave them in a way that’s new and unique. So why limit myself?

My new series, Echoes from the Past, is marketed as archeological mysteries and time travel, but that’s oversimplifying things. There’s romance, past and present, a genealogical puzzle that concerns the murky and unexpected origins of my main character, archeologist Dr. Quinn Allenby, and there’s just a little bit of the supernatural. You see, Quinn was born with a gift, or a curse, depending on what day you ask her. She can see into the past when holding an object that once belonged to someone who’s now deceased. Of course, as an archeologist, there’s no greater gift than tothe forgotten be able to get a glimpse into the lives of those who came before us, but as a woman, reliving the passions, disappointments, and heartbreak of those unfortunates can take its toll.

When Quinn signs on to do a BBC program entitled Echoes from the Past, she must delve into the lives of people whose remains have been discovered buried in unexpected places and suggest foul play. It’s up to Quinn to reconstruct how a young 17th century couple wound up in a locked chest, and died face to face, as if sharing a final kiss, or how a 14th century mother and child came to be buried naked and face-down on the fringes of a leper cemetery, a practice meant to punish and humiliate, even in death.The Unforgiven

In the third installment of the series, Quinn travels to New Orleans in search of her biological father. There, she hopes to finally learn where her gift came from and to discover if there might be others who share her unusual ability. As Quinn delves into the life of Madeleine Besson, a Southern belle who was seemingly erased from history at the onset of the Civil War, Quinn finds the answers she is seeking at last, but unearthing long-buried secrets comes with a price. When Quinn blithely strolls into the trap of a killer, she must fight to save herself and her unborn child, or unwittingly become just another echo from the past.

The Forsaken eCover

The Unforgiven (Echoes from the Past Book 3) is now available for purchase. And look for the next installment of the series, The Forsaken, which will take you into the complicated political struggle that was the Wars of the Roses.