Tag: Karen Rose

Sunday Spotlight: Say Goodbye by Karen Rose

Posted September 19, 2021 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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Say Goodbye by Karen RoseSay Goodbye by Karen Rose
Series: Sacramento #3
Also in this series: Say You're Sorry (Sacramento, #1)
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: August 3, 2021
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 640
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

Eden faces a final reckoning when the cult's past victims hunt them down in this explosive, high-stakes thriller in the Sacramento series from New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose.

For decades, Eden has remained hidden in the remote wilds of the Pacific Northwest, “Pastor” keeping his cult's followers in thrall for his personal profit and sexual pleasures. But the Founding Elders are splintering, and Pastor's surrogate son DJ is scheming to make it all his own.

When two of Eden's newest members send out a cry for help, it reaches FBI Special Agent Tom Hunter, whose friend and fellow FBI Special Agent Gideon Reynolds and his sister, Mercy, are themselves escapees of the Eden cult, targeted by the Founding Elders who want them silenced forever. The three have vowed to find the cult and bring it down, and now, they finally have a solid lead.

Neutralizing Eden’s threat will save captive members and ensure Tom’s new friends can live without fear. But when his best friend, ex-Army combat medic Liza Barkley, joins the case, it puts her life—and their blossoming love—in danger. With everything they hold dear in the balance, Tom and Liza, together with Gideon and Mercy, must end Eden once and for all.

Excerpt

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA
WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 8:45 A.M.

“Well?”

Special Agent Tom Hunter looked over his shoulder, unsurprised to see Special Agent in Charge Molina standing in the doorway of his office. He’d expected the visit from the SAC of the FBI’s Sacramento field office. Today was her first day back after the attack that had left her injured and several other agents dead. She looked paler than nor‑ mal and tired. But determined.

He automatically rose, because his mother had raised him right.

This put him more than a foot taller than his boss, which made her look up with an irritated glare. At six‑six, he towered over almost ev‑ eryone in the Bureau, which was a new experience. He’d been average height during his three years with the NBA. Shorter, in fact, than many of the men he’d met on the court. He hunched his shoulders a bit to offset the difference, but Molina’s glare did not soften.

As her chin lifted, her dark eyes bored into him. “What do you know?” she demanded.

Tom gave her a warm smile. “Good morning.” The woman wasn’t the coldhearted beast she wanted everyone to think she was. He’d watched her manage two crises in the past few months, and while she was quick‑witted, with razor‑sharp focus and an even sharper tongue, she did care. He suspected she might care too much and fought not to let it show.

He knew the type. He’d been raised by a wickedly smart group of women. His mother’s friends were cops, social workers, and attorneys. When pressure was high and risk to humans they cared for even higher, they’d pasted on the same face Molina wore right now.

He held out the chair next to his desk, motioning her to sit.

She shot him a dark scowl but took the seat, tugging at the jacket of her suit unnecessarily. No fabric worn by Tara Molina would have the nerve to wrinkle.

“I know a lot of things about a lot of things,” he said, retaking his seat as he answered her question. “But I’m assuming you’re specifically referring to Eden.”

The cult he’d been actively seeking since mid‑April. The cult that’d provided a hiding place for vicious killers for the past thirty years. Vicious killers who had abused two of the people who, in a short period of time, had become Tom’s friends. Both Gideon Reynolds and his sister Mercy Callahan had been children when they’d escaped Eden, but both were scarred for life, physically and emotionally.

Because the killers hadn’t simply hidden in Eden. They’d thrived there, starting a cult that condoned—no, encouraged—the rape of twelve‑year‑old girls by middle‑aged men, calling it “marriage.” They condoned the rape of thirteen‑year‑old boys, calling it an “apprenticeship.”

Gideon and Mercy had been only two of their victims.

“Yes. I’m talking about Eden.” Molina rolled her eyes. “And here everyone said you were some wunderkind,” she drawled, but her tone was light. Almost teasing.

“I don’t know about that,” Tom muttered, his cheeks heating. He was good at what he did—specifically hacking. He was very good at what he did, in fact.

The fact that he still hadn’t found the cult’s compound after months of searching left him thoroughly irked. But they had made progress.

“I got into their offshore bank account,” Tom stated. Which, under most circumstances, would have been cause for congratulations and maybe even a promotion. Or a prison sentence, if he hadn’t been work‑ ing for the good guys. Either way, it had been damn difficult to do.

“You did that three weeks ago,” Molina stated flatly, popping any hope he might have had for an attaboy. “My temporary replacement briefed me weekly. What have you learned about Eden recently?”

Tom could only imagine what Molina’s temporary replacement

had told her. He and Agent Raeburn had not gotten along well at all. “From their bank account, not much,” he admitted. “No money’s been moved either in or out, not since they pulled all of Ephraim’s money out of his personal account and back into the main Eden cof‑ fers, three days before he was killed.”

It was Molina’s turn to grimace. “I must say that I hate the sound of that man’s name. All of his names,” she added bitterly.

Ephraim Burton, a Founding Elder of the Eden cult, had been born Harry Franklin, under which name he’d earned a record as a bank robber and murderer, before going into hiding thirty years ago. Bur‑ ton had other aliases that had allowed him to mingle in the real world during the times he left Eden.

Which wouldn’t be happening ever again, because Burton was dead. Tom wished that he’d been the one to do the honors, but one of the other cult elders had killed Ephraim Burton, possibly to keep him from telling the FBI of Eden’s whereabouts. A lot of people had died in connection to Eden. The stakes were high. Its bank accounts held in excess of fifty million dollars.

It was more likely, though, that the other elder had killed Ephraim to keep him from spilling the biggest secret—that two of the cult’s runaways hadn’t died trying to escape but had been living free for more than ten years.

Gideon and his sister, Mercy, had been abused by Eden in their youth but were fighting back now, helping the FBI track down Eden and end it, once and for all. Tom respected the siblings more than he could say.

“I put an alert on the offshore accounts,” Tom said. “If they move any money, we’ll know.”

“But they haven’t yet.”

“Not yet. However, someone resembling DJ Belmont did withdraw some cash from a different bank account outside Mt. Shasta an hour after Ephraim Burton was shot.”

“Belmont?” Molina hissed, anger flashing in her eyes.

Belmont was second‑in‑command to Eden’s leader, a charismatic man known only as “Pastor” to his followers. Luckily the FBI had learned a bit more than that. Pastor’s name prior to his starting the Eden cult had been Herbert Hampton. Prior to that he’d been Benton Travis, serving a sentence in a federal penitentiary for forgery and bank fraud.

They knew the identities of the cult leaders. They just didn’t know where the cult was. It was a small community that moved around re‑ mote sections of Northern California, and they were clever at evading detection.

Belmont was more than Pastor’s second‑in‑command, though— assuming he was still alive. He was a dangerous, ruthless, alarmingly competent killer who’d taken out five federal agents, most of them SWAT. He’d also fired the bullet that had taken Molina out of commission for the past month, so her reaction to his name was understandable.

Tom pulled up a file on his computer, then turned the screen to show her the photos taken from surveillance cameras. “The resolution of the bank’s drive‑through camera is good, but he was wearing a bandana over his face, sunglasses, and a cap with a wide brim. Facial recognition couldn’t pick up anything useful. The body type and size fit Belmont’s description, though.”

“If he didn’t withdraw cash from Eden’s offshore account, which account was it?”

Tom gave her a sideways glance. “I thought you got weekly briefings from Agent Raeburn.”

Molina’s eyes narrowed. “I did. I want to hear your version.” Tom managed to hide his wince. “My version?”

“Yes,” Molina said coolly. “Agent Raeburn’s version was less than satisfactory.”

Well, damn. “I figured as much,” Tom muttered. “He’s . . . well, he’s not very flexible.”

Her brows lifted. “He is a damn good agent.” Careful, careful. “Never said he wasn’t.” “You thought it.”

Tom pursed his lips, unsure if Molina was amused or upset. It was often hard to tell. But of course he’d thought it. Raeburn was by‑the‑ book to a fault and left no wiggle room for the humanity of any situation. He wasn’t going to say that out loud, though. He was aware that Molina knew he bent the rules every now and then.

He had, in fact, bent the rules often since his first day on the job. Which seemed like it had been a year ago, even though it had only been five months. There was something about Gideon Reynolds and Mercy Callahan that made him want to help them, to ease their fears—even when he technically wasn’t supposed to. But the brother and sister had been through too much abuse.

Tom knew abuse. He still bore the scars from his own biological father’s cruelty. He knew heartache, far more recently. He knew that sometimes rules needed to be bent or even broken in order to do the right thing.

But he also knew that if he wanted to continue helping Gideon and Mercy, he’d need to toe Molina’s line. Or appear to, at least. Which meant not badmouthing her temporary replacement, who was still technically his direct supervisor.

He bent his mouth into a smile that was convincing because he’d practiced making it so—a side benefit of heartache. People didn’t ask you questions if you smiled and looked happy.

“The account Belmont withdrew money from at the ATM was an individual checking account in the name of John Smith,” he said, shifting them back on topic. “Assuming this is him in the photo, he withdrew the cash about ninety minutes after he fled the scene at Dunsmuir.”

DJ Belmont’s shooting spree in the forest two hundred miles to the north had left five bodies on the ground that day—the FBI SWAT members and a special agent named Schumacher. Molina had been lucky. Her injuries at Belmont’s hand had “only” hospitalized her for a week and required physical therapy for three more.

Unfortunately, Belmont had also taken out Ephraim Burton that day. They’d hoped that Burton might have led them to Eden, to the people who lived under Pastor’s authoritarian rule.

The adults who’d followed Pastor had perhaps been misled, but they’d made their choice. The children of Eden, however, had not chosen and many were being abused every single day.

But federal agents hadn’t been Belmont’s only victims that day. Tom pointed at the ATM photo. “Belmont was driving an old box truck that was later reported stolen by the surviving family of an itinerant farm picker. He was shot in the head twice with Agent Schumacher’s service weapon.”

“So he didn’t shoot Schumacher from afar, like he did us.” From a tree, far enough away that the SWAT team hadn’t been able to locate him before he’d shot them all. Far enough away to reveal Belmont’s impressive, albeit terrifying, sniper skills. “He took her weapon after he killed her.” Molina swallowed hard. “She was a good agent. A good person.”

“I know. He killed the picker, stole his truck, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since.”

“Maybe Belmont’s dead,” Molina said hopefully. “Maybe.”

She studied him. “You don’t think so, though.”

“I don’t know,” Tom said truthfully. “We can’t assume it, though. He wanted to kill Mercy and Gideon that day. If he is alive, he has too much at stake not to try again.”

“You’re right that we can’t assume. Did the picker’s truck have GPS?” “It didn’t. It was twenty‑five years old.” Tom had to draw a breath, the memory of the man’s grieving family still clear enough to make his chest ache. He’d accompanied Agent Raeburn to inform the victim’s wife and five kids. It had been his first time delivering such news, and Raeburn hadn’t been overly sympathetic. Tom figured that was how the man coped, which might be better than the nightmares that still plagued his own sleep. “The family was poor. The truck was all they owned.”

Molina was quiet a beat longer than necessary. “Agent Raeburn said that the family received a gift from an anonymous benefactor a few days later, through their parish priest.”

Tom didn’t blink. That the money had come from his own bank account was a fact he was not prepared to admit. “I hadn’t heard that,” he said mildly. And he hadn’t actually heard it, so technically he wasn’t lying.

“Raeburn said the amount was enough for them to live on for several months, plus a bit more than their funeral expenses.”

He could feel his skin itching, like Molina could see his every secret. But still he didn’t blink. He knew he couldn’t replace every victim’s losses, but he could help that family. So he had. It hadn’t made a dent in his bank account, flush after his three years in the NBA. Being able to help people like that was one of the best things his time as a professional basketball player had done for him. He’d never planned to make the NBA a career, always knowing he’d join the Bureau, but he’d been young and better than decent on the court. It had seemed a shame to waste the talent he’d been given—or his earnings. He’d donated a fair bit and saved the rest.

He was grateful for those years, even if after his fiancée’s death he hadn’t had the heart for it anymore and had retired early. Now he kept his tone bland. “That was a nice thing for someone to do.”

Molina rolled her eyes, but her tone was almost sweet. “Don’t make it a habit, Tom.”

He blinked, unprepared for her use of his first name. “Make what a habit?”

She shook her head. “You know, when I was told I was getting a hacker rookie, straight out of the Academy, I was not happy. When I found out you were a former pro athlete, I was unhappier still. I didn’t have the time to train an agent wet behind the ears. Or one with an ego the size of Texas.”

Tom frowned. “I have an ego the size of Texas?”

“No. I assumed that you would, but I was pleasantly surprised on that score.” One side of her mouth lifted. “I’m glad you’re here. If only so I can toughen up that soft heart of yours so you make it to retirement. I’m not kidding, Agent Hunter.”

Tom bit back his own smile. “So noted, ma’am.”

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: 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 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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Throwback Thursday Review: Closer Than You Think by Karen Rose

Posted September 17, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Closer Than You Think by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Closer Than You Think (Cincinnati Series, #1) by Karen Rose
Series: Cincinnati Series #1
Also in this series: Alone in the Dark (Cincinnati Series #2)
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 688
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Your Back and Did You Miss Me comes the newest novel by “the queen of romantic suspense” (Crime and Punishment).

Psychologist Faith Corcoran is desperate to escape the stalker who’s made her life a nightmare for the past year—desperate enough to run to the one place that has been her nightmare far longer. Both boon and bane, her recent inheritance of her grandmother’s old house in Cincinnati offers sanctuary in which she can start her life anew, but requires that she face the dark memories that still resonate to this day.

But she has no idea how close to home her fears still are.

Two college girls have gone missing in the area, and FBI Special Agent Deacon Novak is called to work on the case. When his inquiry unexpectedly leads him to Faith, he finds a beautiful and brave woman he can’t help but fall for. Soon they’ll discover that this seemingly simple investigation is anything but. Reaching back decades into Faith’s own past, it will shatter everything she believes to be true and will give terrifying new meaning to flesh and blood.

This review was originally posted on April 14, 2015.

Closer Than You Think was the best book I’ve read in ages. It actually drove me to write a review. A lot of you don’t remember me, I’m sure, but I actually used to read and review books regularly here at Book Binge. O_o. Now, I hardly read and when I try to review, the cursor just sits there are stares at me. The it’s asks me “Well,are you just going to sit there?”. No, I’m not. I’m turning you off and going to take a nap.

As it happened, Closer Than You Think was a book that I could not put down. I finished it in two days and that’s only because of running my daughter around to soccer. Onto the review…Faith Corcoran has changed her name, took all her money out of the bank and leaves Florida for Cincinnati, where she just inherited a home from her grandmother. After being stalked by the man she put in prison for over a year.

The first night she arrives home, the key doesn’t work to the lock, so he heads back down the winding hill. Coming back the next day after getting the power turned on and the locks changed, Faith runs into what she thought was an animal, but soon realizes is a young, terrorized, horrified woman. Faith’s car goes over the embankment but she quickly climbs up the bank to make sure the woman is all right. Finally the cops get there.

When Deacon Novak arrives at the scene, he doesn’t know what to think. Faith brings out his primal instincts, but he knows she has to be on the suspect list until they can cross. Her off. After all, the victim seemed to come from her house as it was the only one between the accident site and her house. The only problem with the house is that someone has been using the basement as a torture chamber and no one has any idea.

They have multiple suspects; a stalker that may have followed her up from Florida. Two uncles that may have an ax to grind because she alone inherited the house. Or one of the uncles could be working with the stalker. Or it’s someone other than all three of them. All you do know is from the killer’s pov, he wants her dead. Badly.

Karen Rose writes some of the best sociopathic villains I’ve ever read. That’s part of the reason I can never put her books down. I’ve also been waiting to read Deacon Novak since he was first introduced in the books. Karen Rose does write some of the best suspense out there, but she also writes some of the best romantic suspense. Deacon and Faith were drawn to each other from the beginning. Deacon couldn’t help but want to protect Faith. As for Faith, as cheesy as it is, she feels an animal attraction to Deacon which is not like her at all. When you put all these elements together, there is nothing I didn’t like about the book. There is a lot of family stuff I left out, but suffice to say if you don’t read this book, you’re missing out.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Cincinnati

four-half-stars


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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: Into the Dark by Karen Rose

Posted December 2, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Into the Dark by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Into the Dark by Karen Rose
Series: Cincinnati #5
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 14, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Pages: 608
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

When Michael Rowland saves his younger brother Joshua from the clutches of his stepfather, he runs for his life with his brother in his arms. From his hiding place he sees the man who has made their lives a misery taken away in the trunk of a stranger's car, never to be seen again.

Doctor Dani Novak has been keeping soccer coach Diesel Kennedy at arm's length to protect him from her dark secrets. When they are brought together by the two young brothers who desperately need their help, it seems they might finally be able to leave their damaged pasts behind them.

But as the only witness to the man who kidnapped and murdered his stepfather, Michael is in danger. As Diesel and Dani do all that they can to protect him, their own investigation into the murder uncovers a much darker web of secrets than they could have imagined.

As more bodies start to appear it's clear that this killer wants vengeance. And will wipe out anything that gets in his way...

Unsurprisingly, this book packs quite the emotional punch. Karen Rose has such a gift for pulling the reader into the story only to spit you out at the end with all the feels. That was Alone in the Dark for me. Whenever there is a child involved, especially in KR book, it hits me hard. Like really hard. This book was no different.

Michael Rowland has been abused by his stepfather for years. The only reason he hasn’t run away is because he has to protect Joshua, his little brother. When he sees his stepfather inject Joshua with something, the fight is on. Michael gets Joshua away safely. For now. When Brewer comes looking for them, Michael hides in the bushes along the road. He then witnesses something that is hard to comprehend. A man murdering his stepfather. Michael is deaf so he didn’t hear anything that was said. He does feel relief that Brewer is dead, followed by terror that the killer will come after him and Joshua next.

Diesel Kennedy coaches peewee soccer. Joshua is on his team. When his brother, Michael, runs six miles to make sure he is okay, it sends up red flags for Diesel. The only person he can take the boys to is Dani Novak. Dani is not only a doctor, but she is able to do emergency foster care for deaf children. When Dani and Diesel realize the extent of Michael’s abuse, they will not let him out of their site. Diesel has taken it upon himself to protect Dani and the boys, something he takes very seriously. It is hard for him to be around Dani because she’s been rejecting his advances for 18 months. Still, Diesel can only look at the situation as the chance it is to make Dani see that they would be good together.

With Michael able to identify the killer, he is now being hunted by the killer. Who is not just a killer, but a serial killer. Dani, Diesel and all their friends now have to fight to keep the boys safe when it becomes evident that the killer won’t stop coming after Michael. And what a crack team they are together. I loved the dynamic with all the friends and visiting couples that I have read about in previous books.

KR did a superb job here. I was angry at the killer, yet at the same time rooting him on. If that’s not effed, I don’t know what is. KR just has that knack. I loved Michael and Joshua. Their problems were very real and they came out loud and clear through the pages. Dani and Diesel’s love was sweet and passionate. I liked that once Dani decided she was in, she was all in. With Diesel and with the boys. This is yet another book that shows Karen Rose is on top of the romantic suspense genre and not leaving anytime soon.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Cincinnati


four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Into the Dark by Karen Rose

Posted December 1, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 5 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. 🙂

I love Karen Rose. She is at the top of her game with Alone in the Dark. If you like romantic suspense, or romance, or suspense, you need to give Karen Rose a try. She will not disappoint. She hasn’t disappointed me once as a matter of fact!

Sunday Spotlight: Into the Dark by Karen RoseInto the Dark by Karen Rose
Series: Cincinnati #5
Also in this series: Into the Dark
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 14, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

When Michael Rowland saves his younger brother Joshua from the clutches of his stepfather, he runs for his life with his brother in his arms. From his hiding place he sees the man who has made their lives a misery taken away in the trunk of a stranger's car, never to be seen again.

Doctor Dani Novak has been keeping soccer coach Diesel Kennedy at arm's length to protect him from her dark secrets. When they are brought together by the two young brothers who desperately need their help, it seems they might finally be able to leave their damaged pasts behind them.

But as the only witness to the man who kidnapped and murdered his stepfather, Michael is in danger. As Diesel and Dani do all that they can to protect him, their own investigation into the murder uncovers a much darker web of secrets than they could have imagined.

As more bodies start to appear it's clear that this killer wants vengeance. And will wipe out anything that gets in his way...

Excerpt

Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, March 9, 5:40 a.m.

Michael shifted in the chair in the corner of Joshua’s bedroom, trying to get comfortable as he kept watch over his little brother, who slept peacefully, unaware that anything had happened tonight. At least there was that. Joshua wouldn’t have the memory of being drugged by their stepfather. Of their escape through the old orchard.

Michael had tried to sleep in his own bed. He truly had. God only knew, he was exhausted
enough. But every time he closed his eyes, he saw Brewer jabbing Joshua with a syringe and carrying him away. He’d tried to force his brain to see Brewer going limp under the big bald man’s hands, but his brain kept seeing the bastard getting up and walking away. That wasn’t what had happened, but until Michael knew for sure that Brewer really was dead, he’d be on pins and needles, waiting for his mother’s husband to come home.

And watching over Joshua. It wasn’t like anyone else was going to. Their mother had never been what anyone would call maternal, but she’d gotten much worse since Brewer had entered their lives.

He shifted again, then froze as a familiar rumble beneath his feet sent an even more familiar bolt of fear through his body.

The garage door. Someone had opened it.

Someone is here.

Michael shot to his feet, fumbling for the gun he’d taken from Brewer’s safe. Tucking it into the waist of his jeans at his back, he looked around the room wildly, nearly scooping Joshua up into his arms.

But again he froze. There was no time. Someone was coming.

Someone is here.

Brewer? Or . . . He remembered the big bald man tossing Brewer’s keys into the air. Had the man come back? Had he killed Brewer and come back? For us?

Oh God. He saw me. Knows I saw him kill Brewer. He thinks I’ll tell. He’ll kill me, too.

Michael’s brain told him to run, until his gaze fell to his little brother, still asleep. I’ll keep you safe. I won’t let him touch you. I promise.

Stepping back, Michael hid behind the chair and drew the gun. He’d kill whoever walked
through that door. Unless it was his mother. Her, he’d let live. Although she didn’t deserve to.

He’d gone to her, terrified and bleeding. Scared. He’d told her what her husband had done, the first time it had happened more than two years ago. And the second. And the third. But she hadn’t believed him. Or she’d claimed as much.

You’re lying, she’d told him. Michael could still feel the sting of her slap across his face. It was a wonder she hadn’t broken any of his teeth. But he hadn’t been lying about all the things her husband had done to him.

He’d threatened to go to the police, hoping they’d believe him, but his mother told him that they’d take him away— and maybe her, too. He and Joshua would go to foster care, but not together. They’d be separated, she’d told him, and everyone knew what happened to kids in those homes. Joshua would be hurt and it would be Michael’s fault. Unless he stayed quiet. So he had, enduring his stepfather’s “visits” in the night, hoping that Brewer would just go away.

Now he had. Because he’s dead.

He shuddered, pushing those thoughts from his mind. Not now. He couldn’t lose it now. Later, he’d fall apart. Later, when Joshua was safe.

Joshua, the only reason he’d stayed in this house. This hell.

Michael clutched the gun in both hands, willing them not to shake. Willing his eyes to stay open, even though he wanted to clench them shut and pretend none of this was happening. Because the door was opening. Slowly.

He held his breath, his heart hammering in his chest. No, no, no. It couldn’t be Brewer. Brewer was dead. Please let him be dead. Please let this be Mom. Please.

A shadow appeared in the doorway. Big. Hulking.

It was the man. The bald man. The man who’d killed Brewer with his bare hands. He was here. He stepped into the room, the moonlight from the window reflecting off his head as he stopped at the foot of Joshua’s bed.

Michael could see his face clearly. Memorized his features. Every detail, so that he could tell the police.

No, no, you won’t. You can’t tell the police. Because they wouldn’t believe him. His mother would tell them he was a liar. Just like she’d done when he’d told her that her new husband came to his bed at night.

She’ll find a way to blame me. That’s the way it’s always been.

He glanced at the gun he held in his shaking hands. I won’t need to tell the police, because I’m going to kill him.

Except the man didn’t touch his brother. He simply stood there, his gaze fixed on Joshua. There was no anger on the man’s face. None of the lustful leering that Michael had seen so often in Brewer’s eyes. Actually, the man looked . . . relieved. And that didn’t make sense.

The man’s gaze jerked up and Michael wondered if he’d made a sound. But the man didn’t
come closer. He just turned on his heel and left the room.

Michael sagged back against the bedroom wall, letting out the breath he’d been holding. A few minutes later he felt the rumble of the garage door going back down.

He crept to the window and peeked out into the night. And sucked in a breath when he saw the big man running down the driveway, toward the flickering light at the road, a suitcase in his hand.

He was gone.

Michael and Joshua were alone again.

Michael’s entire body began to shake. He stumbled to the chair just as his legs gave out. He didn’t have to wonder what would have happened if the man had discovered him there. He’d have put his hands on Michael’s throat and choked him until he’d gone limp, just as he’d done to Brewer.

Oh God. Oh God. I would have been dead. And Joshua would be all alone, unprotected. He
glared at the gun in his hand. He’d frozen. He should have shot the man as he’d stood next to

Joshua’s bed, but he’d frozen.

I won’t freeze next time. If he comes back, I’ll be ready.

Cincinnati

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: December 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!
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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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