Series: Sacramento

Sunday Spotlight: Say No More by Karen Rose

Posted August 2, 2020 by Casee 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. 🙂

Say No More is the second book in KR’s Sacramento series. I really enjoyed the first book, so I’m looking forward to this one. Karen Rose is literally the master of romantic suspense. If you haven’t read her yet, I highly suggest that you do.

Sunday Spotlight: Say No More by Karen RoseSay No More by Karen Rose
Series: Sacramento #2
Also in this series: Say You're Sorry (Sacramento, #1)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
Format: Hardcover
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 544
Length: 24 hours
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

Mercy Callahan thought she'd escaped the cult decades ago, but its long fingers are reaching out for her again in this electrifying novel in the Sacramento series...
Seventeen years ago. That was the last time Mercy Callahan saw Ephraim Burton, the leader of the twisted Eden cult where she was raised. But even though she escaped the abuse and terror, they continue to haunt her.
When her brother Gideon discovers new evidence of the cult's—and their victims'—whereabouts, Mercy goes to Sacramento to reconnect with him. There, she meets Gideon's closest friend—homicide detective Rafe Sokolov. From Rafe, she receives an offer she never knew she needed: to track down Ephraim and make him pay for everything.
But Ephraim, who had thought Mercy long dead, discovers she is in fact alive and that she is digging around for the cult's secrets. And now he'll do anything to take her back to Eden—dead or alive.


 

Excerpt

Amos Terrill rubbed his thumb over the lines of the script he’d just carved into the lid of the hope chest. He was almost finished with it, this special project on which he’d been laboring for the past five months, mostly in secret. He’d made countless hope chests, coffee tables, kitchen cabinets, armoires, and jewelry boxes over the thirty years he’d lived in Eden. All of them had been gifts for the membership or items to be sold to bring money into the community coffers.

This was the first time he’d ever made something for himself. Something he didn’t intend to share with anyone.

No one except his Abigail. His heart.

A splinter caught at his thumb and he pulled it out, sucking at the small wound before returning to his task. He could sand the hope chest later. He didn’t have much more time to himself. Everyone knew he stopped working at suppertime, and then people would start dropping by.

Amos, can you fix this? Amos, a minute of your time? Amos, need a pair of strong hands to help with… It didn’t matter what. It was all the same after thirty years.

He picked up the detail blade, his favorite of all of his carving tools. He’d brought it with him to Eden, when he was young and full of hope, ready to change the world.

Now he knew the truth and every day had become a struggle, each harder than the day before.

He had to stay positive. Had to keep smiling. Had to stay patient. Had to nod and pleasantly reply that all was well when he was greeted in passing.

In other words, he had to lie.

He finished carving the last word and took a look at his work. It had become something of a trademark, a personal signature he’d added to all the larger pieces of cabinetry he created.

The words were carved in a scrolling, old‑fashioned script: Surely Goodness And Mercy Shall Follow Me All The Days Of My Life. Psalms 23:6. Anyone in the community would think it simply a beautiful Bible verse, one that matched the song that used to be in his heart.

But it wasn’t. It was a tribute. Penance, even. His way of trying to make it up to a beautiful little girl whom he’d failed. So utterly.

Mercy. He thought of her often, especially after the birth of his Abigail, whose name meant father’s joy. As with most things in his life, Abigail’s birth had been bittersweet, losing her mother just minutes after they’d held their baby for the first time.

He’d thought he’d lose them both. Like he’d lost his first family. Mercy. Gideon. Rhoda. Dammit, Rhoda, I’m so sorry. You tried to tell me, but I wouldn’t listen.

He hadn’t wanted to listen.

But now he knew the truth and he needed to get Abigail out. To safety. To freedom.

He wouldn’t fail her like he’d failed Mercy, Rhoda, and Gideon.

He picked up the hope chest and turned it over effortlessly, a lifetime of woodworking giving him more strength than most men. He began to carve his true signature into the base of the chest, no larger than a dime. A small olive tree with twelve branches. It was exacting, but, at the same time, something he could do with his eyes closed, he’d done it so many times.

“Papa!”

Amos startled, the knife in his hand skipping over the wood, and pain ripped into his finger. “Ugh!” he cried, unable to stifle the sound. “Papa?” Abigail bounded into his workshop, with the same energy with which she tackled everything else in her life. “Tackled” being the operative term. Abigail never walked when she could run, never sat when she could stand. Never whispered. Ever.
His lips curved up into a smile even as he grabbed a clean rag to press to his finger.

“Abi‑girl,” he said with genuine warmth. Abigail was the only one who could summon anything close to happiness for him. She was the only thing that was real and had been for the past six months. Ever since Amos had witnessed Brother Ephraim calmly breaking the necks of Sister Dorcas, her husband, and their sixteen‑year‑old son, three of the dearest people in the world. Amos’s throat burned every time he remembered Brother Ephraim so carelessly tossing their bodies into an unmarked grave.

After which Ephraim had returned to tell the membership that Dorcas and her family had chosen to return to the world after the untimely death of their dear Miriam.

Miriam, who’d walked around with shadows in her eyes. Who, the last time Amos had seen her, had been bruised and bloody and begging to die.

Sister Dorcas had begged Amos for his help. Please help us get her out of here. Please.

Amos had done his best, or he’d thought so at the time, working through the night to fashion a hope chest similar to the one he was now building for Abigail. It wasn’t ornate and hadn’t had a false bottom, but it had been large enough that Miriam had been able to hide inside. Her father and brother had hoisted the hope chest into the bed of Brother DJ’s truck when no one was around to see their muscles strain under the added weight. Miriam was supposed to have climbed from the back of the truck and run for freedom the moment that Brother DJ had slowed enough to make it possible.
But it had all been for naught. Miriam must have been attacked by an animal because her body had been returned to them, too damaged to be identified. And, as punishment for their part in her escape, Sister Dorcas, Brother Stephen, and their son, Ezra, had been murdered in cold blood.

I failed them, too.

But he would not fail again. He would not fail his Abigail.

Sacramento

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: August 2020

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 Karen Rose

Internationally bestselling, RITA-award winning, author Karen Rose was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn't concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.”

Her debut suspense novel, DON'T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has published more than fifteen novels and two novellas. Her twenty-second novel, SAY YOU'RE SORRY, will be released in 2019.

Karen's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, London's Sunday Times, and Germany's der Spiegel (#1), and the Irish Times, as well as lists in South Africa(#1) and Australia!
​​
Her novels, I'M WATCHING YOU and SILENT SCREAM, received the Romance Writers of America's RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense for 2005 and 2011. Five of her other books have been RITA finalists. To date, her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

A former high school teacher of chemistry and physics, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of more than twenty years, two dogs, and a cat.


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Review: Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

Posted March 4, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Say You’re Sorry by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Say You're Sorry (Sacramento, #1) by Karen Rose
Narrator: Joel Froomkin
Series: Sacramento #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 21, 2019
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Publisher, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 544
Length: 24 hours and 6 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Special Agent Gideon Reynolds has tried hard to put his past behind him. He escaped the violence of his cult upbringing when he was just thirteen, and since then routine and discipline have been his way of making sense of the world. But when a petite blonde woman crashes into his life, he begins to realize that a little bit of chaos might not be so bad.

Daisy Dawson has had more than her fair share of pain too—but she's done being a victim. Daisy's determined to explore every new experience she can—including getting to know the dark and serious FBI investigator she meets when she fights off a masked attacker one night.

It soon becomes clear that Daisy's attack was just the beginning. Now the bloodied bodies of young women are showing up all over California, and, as Gideon tries to find the killer, it's clear that Daisy is in more danger than they ever realised...

I started and listened to most of this book on audio. The narrator was simply awful. That was a huge disappointment because the narrator of Monster in the Closet was amazing. Even with that, I hung in like a champ because I really wanted to listen to it at work. I ended up reading the last 40ish%.

The Sacramento series is a spin-off of the Baltimore series. I had no idea until I started listening to the heroine’s backstory. Then I had to back it up and listen to it again because it sounded so familiar. Daisy Dawson is Taylor Dawson’s stepsister from Monster in the Closet. Taylor’s mom lied to her husband, Daisy’s father, about Taylor’s bio dad being after them. So they went into hiding for years. That really messed Daisy up. She started drinking when she was fourteen and went into rehab when she was seventeen. She’s an amazingly strong woman.

Daisy knows someone is following her. She’s sure it is one of her dad’s people. Although the truth came out about her stepmother’s lying, her dad can’t let her live her life. She goes down an alley after him (insert eyeroll) and is instead attached by a man with nylon mask on. After a valiant fight and with the help of her dog, Daisy manages to get away from her attacker. She also rips what she finds out is a locket from around his neck.

When her good friend and Sacramento PD detective, Rafe Sokolov, arrives at the scene and sees the locket, he immediately calls his friend Gideon Reynolds. He recognizes that the design on the locket is the same as a tattoo that Gideon has. Gideon gets to the scene as fast as he can and is floored by two things. The first thing is that he has finally found a lead back to the cult that he escaped from as a young teenager. The second is that he cares more about what Daisy Dawson went through then something he’s been searching for for years.

When it becomes apparent that Daisy is going to remain a target, Gideon volunteers to be the one to protect Daisy. Together they start digging into his past. When the past collides with the present, it puts both Gideon and Daisy in danger. Now they have a cult to find and a serial killer to outsmart.

I really loved this book. A lot. There are a few things location wise that threw me off because I used to live in Sacramento. So I knew that Gideon’s house was not by where he worked. I got over that because I love Karen Rose. The cult angle was very interesting. The dynamic between Gideon and his sister Mercy was interesting as well. It was obvious that Mercy and Rafe are going to have a book and I’m curious to see how exactly that is going to work. I’m just really looking forward to the next book.

Bravo on this one, KR.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Sacramento

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

Posted March 3, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 6 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. 🙂

Karen Rose is one of those authors. You know the one. The one that gets better with every release. I have noticed that there is more suspense and less romance with each book. Now her books are less like romantic suspense and more like suspense with a romantic element. Usually that would bother me, but it actually really works. The suspense is so good that you won’t notice the romance missing. Like I said, there is a romantic element. Just not a big one like there was in her earlier books. I listened to this book on audio. While the narrator wasn’t my favorite of KR’s narrators, I stuck with it because I really wanted to listen to it. It also took place in my hometown, so that was pretty neat. If you haven’t read KR’s books, this one would be a great place to start!

Sunday Spotlight: Say You’re Sorry by Karen RoseSay You're Sorry (Sacramento, #1) by Karen Rose
Series: Sacramento #1
Also in this series: Say You're Sorry (Sacramento, #1)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 21, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 544
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

Special Agent Gideon Reynolds has tried hard to put his past behind him. He escaped the violence of his cult upbringing when he was just thirteen, and since then routine and discipline have been his way of making sense of the world. But when a petite blonde woman crashes into his life, he begins to realize that a little bit of chaos might not be so bad.

Daisy Dawson has had more than her fair share of pain too—but she's done being a victim. Daisy's determined to explore every new experience she can—including getting to know the dark and serious FBI investigator she meets when she fights off a masked attacker one night.

It soon becomes clear that Daisy's attack was just the beginning. Now the bloodied bodies of young women are showing up all over California, and, as Gideon tries to find the killer, it's clear that Daisy is in more danger than they ever realised...

 

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

Good. She was waking up. Took her long enough.

He took a drag on his cigarette and blew the smoke into her face. A coughing fit ensued and by the time she’d calmed down, her dark eyes were open and staring up at him.

She was scared. This pleased him. He smiled down at her. They were always scared and this always pleased him.

He sat back in his chair, watching as she struggled against her bonds. They always did that, too. But they never got free. He tied a very strong knot. It was one of his best talents.

He waited until she’d given up, until her gaze fixed on his face and recognition set in. “You,” she whispered. “From the diner.”

“Me,” he replied agreeably. From the tired old diner on the outskirts of Portland. Getting her home had been a pain in the ass. She took up much more space than he’d expected. She was curvier than most of the guests he brought home. It would be a nice change.

She yanked on her bonds again, a token effort only. Her lips trembled. “Where are my clothes?”

“Burned.”

“Why?”

He stood up, pulled lazily at his tie, aware that she was following his every move. “Because you won’t be needing them anymore.”

She shook her head, appropriately agitated. “Why are you doing this?”

He unbuttoned his shirt as her eyes flicked all around the room, looking for help. Looking for escape. There would be none. He grabbed her hand from where he’d tied it to the headboard and ran his thumb over her left ring finger, following the indentation that was all that remained of her wedding vows.

“Does he know you’re gone?” he asked softly.

Her gaze flew to her ring finger and she tried to pull her hand away, but, of course, she couldn’t. Slowly she nodded.

“Did he let you go?”

Another nod, but her eyes flickered away. He squeezed her hand hard enough to make her gasp. “Do not lie to me, Miriam.”

He was surprised when her eyes flared with a sudden fury. “That is not my name,” she ground out. “My name is Eileen.”

“The locket says Miriam.” He held up the heart-shaped silver charm, letting it dangle between them, watching it gleam as it caught the low light from the bedside lamp. He set it to swing, like a hypnotist’s watch. “Did you steal it?”

She swallowed hard, momentarily mesmerized by the swinging locket. Then her jaw hardened. “No.”

“Then, if it’s yours, you are Miriam.”

She closed her eyes. “No, I am not.”

It was really immaterial at this point, but her little show of temper had intrigued him. “Then who is Miriam?”

A tear ran down her cheek. “Who I used to be.”

“Ah. So your husband is looking for Miriam. Not Eileen.”

She clamped her lips shut, giving him his answer.

Good. He hadn’t been terribly worried that anyone would be tracking her down. The woman had a solitary, hunted air to her, like she always looked over her shoulder. Like she was hiding. That worked for him.

He ran his thumb over the locket, feeling the etched lines of the engraved Miriam on the back, then the symbol on the front. “An olive tree, two kneeling children, all protected by these beautiful outstretched angel wings.” She’d winced at the word “protected.” If it had been a talisman, it was a piss-poor one. It certainly hadn’t protected her. “What does it mean?”

Again her jaw tightened and she looked away. He gripped her chin and yanked her back. “Don’t ignore me,” he warned.

She clenched her eyes shut, so he covered her mouth and pinched her nose closed. “Look at me,” he growled, all fascination with her gone. He was angry again, which was how it was supposed to be. Her eyes flew open, terrified as she began to struggle to get free. He removed his hand and allowed her to breathe, smiling at her frantic gasps for air.

He gripped her chin again, much harder this time. “Say you’re sorry, Miriam.” He gave her a hard shake. “Say you’re sorry.

Stubbornly she clamped her lips together.

His lips curved. Excellent. He’d make her say it before he was through and he’d enjoy every moment of the effort. Because they always said it, sooner or later.

Usually as they begged him to let them die.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Karen Rose, 2019.

Sacramento

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: March 2019

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 Karen Rose

Internationally bestselling, RITA-award winning, author Karen Rose was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn't concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.”

Her debut suspense novel, DON'T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has published more than fifteen novels and two novellas. Her twenty-second novel, SAY YOU'RE SORRY, will be released in 2019.

Karen's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, London's Sunday Times, and Germany's der Spiegel (#1), and the Irish Times, as well as lists in South Africa(#1) and Australia!
​​
Her novels, I'M WATCHING YOU and SILENT SCREAM, received the Romance Writers of America's RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense for 2005 and 2011. Five of her other books have been RITA finalists. To date, her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

A former high school teacher of chemistry and physics, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of more than twenty years, two dogs, and a cat.


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