Category: Giveaways

Sunday Spotlight: Archangel’s Light by Nalini Singh

Posted October 24, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Archangel’s Light by Nalini SinghArchangel's Light by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #14
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War, Archangel's War , Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Sun, Archangel's Light
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 397
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Series Rating: four-stars

Nalini Singh returns to the world of the Guild Hunters for the most highly anticipated novel of the beloved series—a love story so epic it’s been half a millennia in the making…

Illium and Aodhan. Aodhan and Illium. For centuries they’ve been inseparable: the best of friends, closer than brothers, companions of the heart. But that was before—before darkness befell Aodhan and shattered him, body, mind, and soul. Now, at long last, Aodhan is healing, but his new-found strength and independence may come at a devastating cost—his relationship with Illium.

As they serve side by side in China, a territory yet marked by the evil of its former archangel, the secret it holds nightmarish beyond imagining, things come to an explosive decision point. Illium and Aodhan must either walk away from the relationship that has defined them—or step forward into a future that promises a bond infinitely precious in the life of an immortal…but that demands a terrifying vulnerability from two badly bruised hearts.

Excerpt

Excerpt from Archangel’s Light by Nalini Singh

 

They walked in silence. It should’ve been comfortable, just two warriors heading down to speak to their archangel, but it was like prickles on his skin. Illium was never like this with him. So charming and lighthearted without giving away the smallest piece of himself.

Pretty and amiable and so false that Aodhan wanted to yell at him, have it out in a knock-down, drag-out fight to end all fights. And Aodhan didn’t yell or pick fights. Except it appeared, with everyone’s favorite Bluebell.

“Nice décor.” Illium pointed at a painting of a masked ball manic in its use of color, the brushstrokes going in countless serrated directions. “Good thing I didn’t see that before turning in. Imagine my dreams.”

“We haven’t had the time to worry about aesthetics,” Aodhan muttered, sounding like one of the stiff-assed old angels even to himself.

Illium didn’t roll his eyes and tease him about his abrupt descent into crotchety old age. He didn’t even scowl or make an annoyed face. He just carried on.

As if nothing Aodhan did or said mattered.

Aodhan’s hand fisted at his side, his lips parting before he clamped them shut. This wasn’t the time to confront Illium about his behavior.

Having reached the edge of the railingless mezzanine, he dropped down to the lower floor of the stronghold. As with most angelic residences, the central core of the place was open, giving him plenty of room to spread his wings to slow his descent.

He caught Illium coming down next to him—plenty far enough away that their wings didn’t as much as brush at the tips. Polite, so damn polite when Illium was never polite to Aodhan. He was affectionate, irritating at times, wicked always. Polite between them was a calculated rudeness.

Teeth gritted, he led Illium through a side door and into the untamed garden that flourished despite the biting cold that foretold bitter snows. According to Suyin’s scholars, this region wasn’t one for severe winters, but no one knew what Lijuan’s death fog had done to the land.

They wouldn’t know the whole of it for years, decades even.

Aodhan had advised Suyin to prepare her people for a hard winter when she first chose the stronghold as her interim base, and she’d immediately put a survival plan into action. No one would freeze or starve even if the entire landscape became a sea of endless white.

Illium whistled, the sound low and musical. “Now this is more like it.”

Having glanced at him in the split second before he breathed out that statement, Aodhan saw his first true glimpse of his friend. Illium’s eyes sparked with unconcealed wonder as he reached out toward a lush white flower so big and heavy that it drooped from its own weight.

Aodhan instinctively shot out his arm, blocking Illium from making contact with the flower—without ever touching the other man. Illium had made it clear that such contact was unwanted. “It has a narcotic-like liquid on its petals,” he explained. “Does actually affect angels if we forget we’ve touched it then rub our eyes or get it into our mouth. Visions, distortions of reality for an hour or so.”

Illium sighed, his expression morose. “Why did I think Her Evilness would have a normal garden?”

Aodhan’s lips wanted to twitch, the words were so Illium—though the moniker had come from Elena. “All of the plants in this garden are both lovely and peculiar.”

When Illium said nothing further, Aodhan took him down a path bordered by trees that had been swamped by sweetly fragrant vines with shiny leaves of dark green and tiny white blooms. At the feet of the trees grew mushrooms in an array of colors unnatural and striking.

“We don’t know the effects of all the plants, just the ones where an unfortunate member of the court has unintentionally made themselves a guinea pig.” The subject held no emotional weight for Aodhan, was an easy one to use to fill the painful silence between them. “There’s a pond deeper inside, the water a clear and cool green that’s now filmed by ice in the mornings.”

“Is it infested with flesh-eating fish?” Illium said sourly.

Aodhan did laugh then; it burst out of him without warning. He hadn’t laughed since he’d come to this land, the sadness of it overwhelming. But Illium . . . Illium had always known how to make him laugh, make him remember what it was to be happy.

 

From ARCHANGEL’S LIGHT published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Nalini Singh.

Guild Hunter Series

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: October 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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Sunday Spotlight: Dinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi Thomas

Posted October 17, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 7 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Dinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi ThomasDinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi Thomas
Series: Honey Creek #3
Publisher: Kensington, Zebra
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
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The delightful and touching new novel from the bestselling author of dozens of treasured romances. Return to the picturesque Texas town of Honey Creek—a place where friendship and warm welcomes can be relied on, and love always finds a way…

Benjamin Monroe is pretty sure how his life will play out. He’ll continue teaching chemistry in his small college, and spend his free time biking through the valley. Eventually, he’ll retire to putter around in his garden and greenhouse.
His colleague, Virginia Clark, is not one for routines. She’s chatty, spontaneous, and bubbly, and before Benjamin realizes what happened, she’s talked him into collaborating on a research project—studying the mating habits of college students. Virginia knows her desire to work with Benjamin is motivated by more than the potential prize money . . . and hopes he might not be quite as indifferent as he seems to be.

Ketch Kincaid, one of Benjamin’s star students, returned to college after serving in the army. He needs something to get his mind off his recent breakup and collecting research data might do it. And there’s another distraction on the horizon—a woman who looks like she, too, knows about heartache.

Soon enough, their project, “The Chemistry of Mating,” is gaining notoriety. Friends, neighbors . . . the whole town has become involved. But no matter what the data determines, one conclusion seems inescapable: love follows its own rules . . .

Excerpt

Dr. Benjamin Monroe folded his notes and placed them in the worn leather briefcase he’d carried since graduate school. His lecture room at Clifton College was empty now. Peaceful. He always liked the stillness after class. He’d done his job, and he took pride in that.

As he often did, he turned to the long, narrow windows behind his podium and looked out over his hometown. From the third floor he could see east all the way to the river and north to where the land rose in rolling hills. There was a balance here that calmed his soul. A wide valley that nestled three small towns, but his town, Clifton Bend, was the best because the college rested in its center.

Benjamin hadn’t missed a class in twelve years. At forty-two he always came on time and well prepared. Routine ruled his life. He liked working with his dad on their farm every weekend and loved biking through the valley on sunny afternoons. The exercise kept him lean and tanned, just as his work kept him sharp.

What he didn’t like was spring break. It interrupted his routine. A worthless holiday, but he’d help his father on their little farm and manage to keep busy.

“Dr. Monroe?” A nervous, high-pitched voice bombarded his thoughts. “May I speak to you about something? It’s important.”

A creature with auburn hair, glasses too big for her face, and huge blue eyes leaned around the door. Professor Virginia Clark.

He plowed his long fingers through his straight, mud-colored hair. If teachers were allowed a nemesis, Miss Clark, the biology instructor, would be his. As far as he was concerned, all they had in common was age.

Benjamin was tempted to say, “No, you can’t speak to me,” but that would be unprofessional.

To her credit, Miss Virginia Clark was bubbly on a down day. Her voice was too high, her manner of dress was in no way appropriate, and her legs were too short. On a good day she was exuberant and misguidedly thought they were not only colleagues but friends.

He’d always hated bubbly people; they made him nervous. But she taught two doors down in the biology lab and officed next to him. Some days he swore he could hear her laughing or running around her tiny workplace like a squirrel in a box.

Right now, she was charging toward his podium like Grant taking Richmond. Too late to say no or run, so all he could do was watch her approach.

Another observation—professors should never bounce.

Miss Clark bounced. She was a bit on the chubby side; a head shorter than he was, and the white lab coat did not conceal her curves. Her corkscrew hair seemed to be dancing to a hard rock beat, and her breasts . . . well never mind them. Unprofessional, he thought as he watched her coming down the steps row by row, breasts moving to their own beat.

“I need your help, Dr. Monroe.” She stopped one foot too close to him.

He fought the urge to step back.

“Of course, Miss Clark, I’m at your service,” he offered. Maybe she needed a ride or she was locked out of her office, again. He could make time to be kind. After all, they were colleagues.

“I’d be happy to help any way I can.”

“Good. I was afraid you’d say no. It’s a great opportunity and we can split the work and the money.”

Benjamin raised an eyebrow. “What work?”

“My research paper entry for the Westwin Research Journal has been approved as one of five finalists. The winner’s findings will be published in the journal as well as winning the ten-thousand-dollar prize.” She smiled. “Just think, we’ll be famous. Last year’s subject was how aging relates to location. The winner was interviewed on the Today show.”

She was bouncing again. This time with excitement. “I might finally get to go to New York City. I’ve always dreamed of seeing plays and walking through Central Park. They say you can hear the heartbeat of the whole world in the streets of New York.”

Benjamin fell into her pipe dream for a second. “If I had money to blow, I’d go to Paris and see Marie Curie’s office and lab. I’ve read every book about her dedication, her work, her life. Imagine walking the streets she walked.”

He didn’t mention that he’d also find his mother, if she was still alive. She’d left him when he was four years old, saying she must paint in Paris for a few months, but she never came back.

He had only one question for her. Was the life she’d given him up for worth it?

Miss Clark frowned at him as if measuring his sanity. “Paris, really Benjamin, sometimes you surprise me.”

When he frowned at the use of his first name, she sighed, obviously reading his thoughts.

“Dr. Monroe,” she corrected. “We could split the research and the writing. I’ve already obtained the president’s approval for a small survey. All we have is a month to get this done, but we’ve got spring break to kick off our project with a bang.”

He nodded slowly, not willing to jump in, but willing to listen. “What is our topic of research?”

Blushing, she added, “Redefining sexual attractions in today’s world.”

Benjamin straightened slightly.

Miss Clark giggled. “We could call it, ‘The Chemistry of Mating.’”

He swallowed hard as she turned and bounced out of the room.

For a few moments, Benjamin forgot to breathe. Calamity had blown in on a tornado with red hair.

The only good news. Spring break wasn’t going to be boring.

Honey Creek

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: October 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Jodi Thomas

Author Photo

With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 50 novels and countless short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.

In July 2006, Jodi was the 11th writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. With five RITA’s to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Thomas has proven her skill as a master storyteller.

Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, Thomas also served as Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling, renovating a historic home, and “checking on” two grown sons and four grandchildren.


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Monthly Reads: September 2021

Posted October 5, 2021 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 8 Comments

It’s a new month so we’re back with a list of our Monthly Reads to share with each of you. This is where you’ll see what each of us has read and what our favorite books and our least favorite books of the month are. Check it out.

Casee

September wasn’t a horrible reading month for me. I read/listened to 10 books.

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1)(audio)(reread) by Ilona Andrews | 4.5 out of 5
The Fixer (Professionals #1) by Jessica Gadziala | 3.75 out of 5
Stand (Bleeding Stars #6) by A.L. Jackson | 4.5 out of 5
Violent Delights (White Monarch #1) by Jessica Hawkins | DNF
White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2)(audio)(reread) by Ilona Andrews | 5 out of 5
Tin Queen (Tin Gypsy #6) by Devney Perry | 4.25 out of 5
Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3)(audio)(reread) by Ilona Andrews | 5 out of 5
Rise (Rock God #1) by Cassandra Robbins | 4.25 out of 5
Echo (Archer’s Creek #1) by Gemma Weir | 3 out of 5
The Lion’s Lady (Crown’s Spies #1)(audio)(reread) by Julie Garwood | 5 out of 5

With the exception of the book I DNFed, I liked all the books I read in September. My favorites were Tin Queen by Devney Perry & Rise by Cassandra Robbins. I also adore the Hidden Legacy series on audio. Soooo good.

Holly

I finished 19 books in September. I’m coming into my busy season at work, so I have a feeling my reading will drop off from here.

Sarazen’s Betrayal (Sarazen Saga #3) by Isabel Wroth (reread) | 2.75 out of 5
Battle with Fire (Demon Days, Vampire Nights #11) by K.F. Breene (audio) | 4.25 out of 5
Dark Planet Warriors (Dark Planet Warriors #1) by Anna Carven | 3.25 out of 5
Dark Planet Falling (Dark Planet Warriors #2) by Anna Carven | 4 out of 5
Into the Light (Dark Planet Warriors #3) by Anna Carven | 3.5 out of 5
Out of Darkness (Dark Planet Warriors #4) by Anna Carven | 3.75 out of 5
Darkside Blues (Dark Planet Warriors #4.5) by Anna Carven | 4 out of 5
Forged in Shadow (Dark Planet Warriors #5) by Anna Carven | 4 out of 5
Infinity’s Embrace (Dark Planet Warriors #6) by Anna Carven | 3.75 out of 5
Electric Heart (Dark Planet Warriors #7) by Anna Carven | 4 out of 5
Brilliant Starlight (Dark Planet Warriors #8) by Anna Carven | 3 out of 5
Taming Chaos (Darkstar Mercenaries #1) by Anna Carven | 3 out of 5
Shattered Silence (Darkstar Mercenaries #2) by Anna Carven | 4 out of 5
Fractured Souls (Darkstar Mercenaries #3) by Anna Carven | 3.75 out of 5
Stranded and Spellbound (Ever Dark, Ever Deadly #3) by Jenna Collett | DNF
Shatter the Dark (Ever Dark, Ever Deadly #4) by Jenna Collett | 4.25 out of 5
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (audio) (reread) | 5 out of 5
The Lion’s Lady (Crown Spies #1) by Julie Garwood (audio) (reread) | 4.5 out of 5
Witches Get Stitches (Stay a Spell #3) by Juliette Cross | 3 out of 5

My favorite read of the month was Battle with Fire by K.F. Breene. Reagan has never been my favorite character, but she really came into her own and this book finished the series well. I also really enjoyed Shatter the Dark by Jenna Collett. That may be my favorite book of the series to date. My least favorite was Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna Collett, which I DNF’d. I have no desire to read a full book about his parents being mean to her/her trying to win them over.

Giveaway Alert

Three lucky winners will choose their prize (one book) from any of the books we logged this month. If you want to be entered to win, leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite – and least favorite – reads of the month were.

Monthly Reads: September 2021

So…what was your favorite read of the month? And your least favorite? Use the Gleam Widget to enter! Good luck!


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Sunday Spotlight: Rise by Cassandra Robbins

Posted October 3, 2021 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Rise by Cassandra RobbinsRise by Cassandra Robbins
Series: Rock God #1
Also in this series: Rise
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 9, 2021
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 357
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: five-stars

USA Today bestselling author Cassandra Robbins returns with a scorching second chance, age-gap love story about a Rock God and his muse.
I know what I want.

So when opportunity knocked, I took it. I grabbed my shot, willing to do anything to make it happen.
From the beginning, I knew I was destined to be with the six-foot-four, bourbon-eyed Rock God. Only back in the early days he wasn’t a god.
Rhys Granger was my brother’s friend, the boy next door who wrote verses and played his guitar in our garage. He was talented. Exciting. Damaged. The kind of guy who made all the girls cry…
Except for me. I thought I was special. Turns out I’m not.
And now… I despise him.
He’s the lead singer of the Stuffed Muffins, one of the biggest bands in the world, with dark hair, full lips, and a body to die for.
Unfortunately, he’s a dick.
Not that I care anymore. I have my own career. I’m successful in my own right. So, when offered another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I turn it down.
But the universe has other plans, and I’m forced back into the savagely glamorous world of rock ‘n’ roll. Thrust into battling his seductive smile, his dangerous kisses, and my own addictive needs.
He might be a Rock God, but he’s also a man. And I’m the woman he never saw coming.
----
Get your VIP pass to the hottest world tour this year. Rise is a complete standalone in the Rock God series. Stage dive straight into Rhys and Gia’s uncontrollable attraction. With appearances from beloved past characters, this is my most scorching book yet.
*Not responsible for broken or spontaneous combustion of your e-reader.*

Excerpt

I lift my head but all I see are amber-colored eyes.

I blink at him as he lowers his lips to mine. It’s slow and calm, almost as if we’re still in our own bubble. I cling to his T-shirt and our tongues dance together. My head falls back and I let him take me away. If I live to be a hundred, I will always remember this moment when we soared above the world, Rhys and I.

He lifts his head, his eyes caressing mine. “You feel my heart?”

I nod. “I love it,” I say, not even caring what I say or do. Reality can slap me awake when we land, but right now I’m right where I need to be.

He pulls me in tight and I listen to his heart. I survived the panic attack but the real question is can I survive him?

I should pull away.

He will hurt me again.

“It beats for you,” he whispers.

I can’t look at him. He’ll see all of me right now and that can’t happen. I burrow my nose in his neck while he strokes my hair. When the noise of the jet returns, he lowers the seat, yet all I hear is the slowing of his heartbeat. I sense his body relaxing, which is a little surprising. Rhys is always on the go, his mind rarely at rest. Even when he was young he never really rested.

You feel my heart? It beats for you.

Rock God

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: October 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!


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Sunday Spotlight: Last Seen Alone by Laura Griffin

Posted September 26, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Last Seen Alone by Laura GriffinLast Seen Alone by Laura Griffin
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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When they face the most baffling missing person's case of their careers, a fiercely ambitious lawyer and a homicide detective have no one to turn to for help except each other, from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.
Up-and-coming attorney Leigh Larson fights for victims of sexual extortion, harassment, and online abuse. She is not afraid to go after the sleaziest targets to get payback for her clients. Leigh is laser-focused on her career--to the exclusion of everything else--until a seemingly routine case and a determined cop turn her world upside down.
Austin homicide detective Brandon Reynolds is no stranger to midnight callouts. But when he gets summoned to an abandoned car on a desolate road, he quickly realizes he's dealing with an unusual crime scene. A pool of blood in the nearby woods suggests a brutal homicide. But where is the victim? The vehicle is registered to twenty-six-year-old Vanessa Adams. Searching the car, all Brandon finds is a smear of blood and a business card for Leigh Larson, attorney-at-law.
Vanessa had hired Leigh just before her disappearance, but Leigh has no leads on who could have wanted her dead. Faced with bewildering evidence and shocking twists, Leigh and Brandon must work against the clock to chase down a ruthless criminal who is out for vengeance.

Excerpt

Brandon found his partner exactly where he’d expected. Antonio stood beside the food truck in front of the courthouse, pumping ketchup onto a pair of hotdogs.

He glanced up from his lunch as Brandon approached.

“How’d it go? She know her?”

“I don’t know,” Brandon said.

“Well, did you ask her?”

“Yeah. She said Vanessa Adams isn’t a client.”

Antonio frowned. “So, what’s the problem?”

“She lied.”

“How do you know?”

“I could tell.”

Brandon couldn’t say how, exactly. But he had a nose for BS. And Leigh Larson, attorney-at-law, had been lying through her pretty white teeth.

“But why would she lie about knowing Vanessa?” Antonio asked.

“No idea,” Brandon said.

With his hotdogs fully loaded, Antonio stepped away from the food truck. Day or night, rain or shine, his partner never missed a meal. Even after grabbing less than three hours of sleep, he’d shown up for work this morning with bag full of breakfast tacos. The kid worked out like a maniac and was constantly scarfing down food.

“These are good.” Antonio said around a mouthful. “You want one?”

“No.”

Brandon glanced back at the courthouse, where the security line still stretched all the way to the park.

“She’s hot, though.”

He turned around. “What’s that?”

“The attorney.” Antonio smiled. “Don’t tell me you didn’t notice.”

Brandon didn’t comment. He’d have to be dead not to notice. Leigh Larson was definitely hot. The skirt, the heels, the sleek dark hair pulled back in prim bun.

But the main thing he’d noticed was her eyes. They were forest green, and they’d gone from surprised to wary the moment she noticed him watching her. She’d taken one look at him and tried to hightail it out of there.

Not exactly the response he usually got from women. Criminals, yeah, but not women in general. She’d said she was late for court, and that explained the rush, maybe, but it didn’t explain the lie.

Leigh Larson had lied to him—he was sure of it. What he didn’t get was why.

“Well, we may have a better lead anyway.” Antonio crumpled his first wrapper into a ball and pitched it into a trash bin before chomping into the second hotdog. “The lab called while you were in there. They just got the Toyota in. Who’d you talk to over there?”

“Jane,” Brandon said.

“Oh, yeah? Well, she must like you because they bumped us to the front of the line. They’ve already started processing the vehicle and get this. The smear on the door? They did a quickie test and confirmed the blood is human.”

Brandon wasn’t surprised. After four years in homicide, he was good at reading stains. The real question was, did the blood belong to Vanessa Adams, who was still apparently missing after abandoning her car on that highway more than fourteen hours ago?

And then there was the pool of blood Antonio had discovered in the woods. It was no small amount, and one look at it had prompted Brandon to get on the phone with his lieutenant to request a team of CSIs out there, stat, to process the scene.

Brandon took out his phone now and pulled up the photo he’d taken last night. The blood pool—still coagulating—had been discovered beside a burned tree stump. The sight had put a lead weight in Brandon’s gut as he tried to imagine what happened. Someone had been injured or worse, and the logical candidate was Vanessa. Had she been shot? Stabbed? Bludgeoned?

Despite combing the area, they’d turned up no shell casings or drag marks—nothing beyond that one pool of blood by the stump in the woods.

At this point, they didn’t know if that blood matched the smear in the car, or if it was Vanessa Adams’s. To determine that, they needed DNA tests, which meant submitting samples to the notoriously backlogged DNA lab, and jumping to the front of that line would take a hell of a lot more than a friendly phone call to Jane, especially since their case wasn’t even officially a homicide.

Yet.

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: September 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Laura Griffin

author photo

Laura Griffin is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five books and novellas. Her books have been translated into fourteen languages. Laura is a two-time RITA® Award winner (for Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Her book Desperate Girls was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by Publishers Weekly. Laura lives in Austin, Texas, where she is working on her next novel.


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