It’s almost midnight, bitterly cold, snowing, when a beautiful young girl, Tabitha Willard, throws herself off the Walnut Street Bridge into the icy waters of the Tennessee. Harry Starke is there, on the bridge. Wrong time, wrong place? Maybe. He tries, but is unable to stop her. Thus begins a series of events and an investigation that involves a local United States congressman, a senior lady senator from Boston, a local crime boss, several very nasty individuals, sex, extortion, high finance, corruption, and three murders. Harry has to work his way through a web of deceit and corruption until finally…. Well, as always, there’s a twist in the tale, several in fact.
˃˃˃ Who is Harry Starke?
Harry Starke is a private detective, a big fish in a small pond. He’s a tough individual with a past, a conscience, and friends in high places. He’s single, successful, wealthy, a womanizer, well educated, and he will hurt you if he needs to. This book is the first in the series of Harry Starke novels.
“So, whaddaya want, Starke?”
Phuttt. The seat cushion almost exploded as he dropped his fat ass down into the chair behind his desk andran his fingers through his greasy brown hair.
I sat down in the only other chair in the room, one of those steel-framed folding things.
“You been to bed yet, Benny? You look like shit.”
“Yeah, well. I got lots to do, and no time to do it. I’ll maybe take a nap when Lorie gets here. Nothin’ much happens till after ten, as you well know. Come on, Starke. Spill it. What do you want?”
“I was in here last night, Benny. Remember?”
He nodded. “How could I forget?”
“Do you remember the girl in the black dress and white coat?”
“Come on, Harry. There were lots of girls in here last night. You know that. You were here, for God’s sake. The place was packed.”
“Yeah, I was here. And so were you. This was around midnight. She had dark red hair and an expensive white coat. She was with a couple of brothers. Nasty-looking types.”
“Oh yeah, I remember her. Who wouldn’t? She was hot.”
“Yeah, well, she’s not so hot now. She’s pretty cold. She’s dead. What do you know about her?”
“Dead? Dead? How? I don’t know nothin’, not a thing. I ain’t never seen her before. Who killed her?”
“Nobody killed her, Benny. She threw herself off the bridge. So. What about the brothers?”
“Killed herself, huh? Wow! Um….” He hesitated. “Nothing. I ain’t never seen ‘em before either.” He looked away as he said it.
I said nothing. I just sat there and watched his face.
“What?” he said, when he had gathered up enough courage to look me in the eyes again.
“You’re about as transparent as that window, Benny. Maybe more so. It’s filthy. Now tell me the truth.”
“Screw you, Starke. I don’t have tell you nothin’. Get the hell out of my office, and stay outta the bar, too.”
***Disclaimer: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***
“He backed out of the car, sauntered- you ever seen a fat guy saunter? It’s hilarious…”
Starts off with a rush: one moment we’re in a local dive bar observing the wildlife, next it’s a woman committing suicide off the local bridge. At first blush you’d think this was a typical Mike Hammer gumshoe type novel. Not a chance; even though he’s kinda rough around the edges, our boy is educated, connected and resource-laden. He just knows where to look for what he’s looking for.
“G**damn. Eleven o’clock already. I’m going to have to quit with booze… nah.”
Not surprisingly, the case takes us across the spectrum of society- from lowlifes looking to come up in the world to high rollers who know how to make use of lowlifes looking to come up in the world. And more than a few of them already have grudges against our boy.
“Why did she jump?”
Why indeed? A completely random encounter starts Harry on the path to a case that reaches further and deeper than he could’ve ever guessed, both professionally and personally. Every turn of the case leads him further into a web of deception, intrigue and secrets- and he’s not too sure he can stand the ride.
“No off-the-rack suit for him. The one he was wearing was expensive, tailored and… was that a slight bulge under his left arm?”
Like any good mystery, the reader’s not aware of anything Harry isn’t. This lets you settle in at Harry’s pace, putting the pieces together and watching them fly apart just as he does.
“There’s something so terribly final about those black body bags.”
My one real complaint would be to trim down the personal conversations; they feel too much like padding and don’t really add to things. It shouldn’t take three pages to set up a lunch meeting with someone to talk about the case. Inner monologues are good, giving insight into Harry’s character and methods. A very likeable guy, more at ease with a Blue Moon than a Pino Grigio, but knowledgeable of both.
This is one of the more enjoyable books I’ve read so far this year. Fast but evenly paced, an engaging protagonist, lots of characterization, a multi-layered mystery that has some interesting turns to it. Even his personal relationships get tossed into the blender. It’s a book that makes you want to read more of both the series and the genre itself.
Romance / Erotica
Date Published: February 27, 2016
Back in my Life is a story set in the beautiful cities of New York and Chicago. This story is not the typical and simple “boy meets girl, boy and girl get marry story.” This story is a powerful story that shows how real and unselfish love truly looks like. The love between Ruby and Clyde is an amazing and genuine love that survived everything that came in between them—even the most painful experiences that destiny had planned for them.
During a college internship at a prestigious New York magazine, Ruby Sparks (a journalist graduate student from Chicago) meets Clyde Holt, (a fellow intern and a creative photography student from a London based college) whom from day one became Ruby’s obsession and the new reason for her existence. After developing strong feelings for her emotionally unavailable friend, Ruby finds herself trapped in a whirlpool of emotions while trying to earn her friend’s love. What Ruby doesn’t know is that while she is looking for true love, Clyde’s presence in her life came with a different purpose.
Excerpt: “Damn it, Ruby. Please, tell me you said no,” said Bradley the moment his girlfriend Ruby told him that she had received the news about her acceptance for an internship she had applied to a couple of months ago at a New York’s famous magazine, The Eyes of New York.
Working for that magazine had always been Ruby’s most desired dream. The kinds of articles that the magazine was in charge of publishing were exactly the ones that Ruby wanted to write. She knew that going to New York was one of her most wanted dreams and she was more than ready to get her stale life moving. What she didn’t know was that Bradley, the love of her life, wasn’t going to support her dreams. It never crossed her mind that he was going to have an issue with her accepting the internship if it was offered to her. And once she realized that, her world collapsed in front of her eyes. She knew that things were never going to be the same between them. But she also knew that she needed to defend what was important to her or she would regret it for the rest of her life.
“How am I going to say no, Bradley? You know what this means to me. For years, I have been trying to get accepted, and now that I finally did, you are expecting me to walk away from it? No, Bradley. Sorry, but no. I can’t do that,” she said, knowing that this was probably the beginning of a long argument between them.
Bradley had never given Ruby any reason to stand up and defend something against him. In all the years they spent together, he treated her like a queen. She had never felt so loved in her life and “no” was never the answer for any of her questions. But this time was different. She was hearing a “no” for the first time and wasn’t sure how to react to it other than getting strength from nowhere to try to defend what she wanted to do. She loved Bradley with her life, but she also wanted to become a famous writer as much as she wanted to become Bradley’s wife. The problem was that Bradley wasn’t taking it. He was completely against her going to New York, and the worst part was that he wasn’t planning to budge.
“Well, if that’s the case, then you can kiss our relationship good-bye, Ruby. I want you to know that the moment you get on that plane, you can consider our relationship over. I’m not going to stand here and wait for you while you play writer in New York,” said Bradley, using that controlling tone that was characteristic of him—the same tone that, most of the time, made Ruby comply with whatever he wanted her to do, but that, at the same time, made her fall deeply in love with him. He was a controlling man—yes he was. Maybe the ten years difference between them had something to do with the way he behaved toward her. But the control that he exercised over her was what made Ruby feel secure and protected. She loved feeling protected, but now it was different. She wasn’t feeling protected anymore, she was feeling controlled, and she didn’t like it.
After hearing Bradley threaten her with breaking off their engagement, Ruby freaked out. Tears started to run down her cheeks, but without hesitating, she fought back.
“Don’t you dare put this on me. You knew from the moment you met me that becoming a writer was one of my biggest dreams and, at that time, you had no problems with it. I hoped you could understand how important this was for me but if that’s how you feel, I guess I have nothing else to say to you. Bye, Bradley. Have a nice life. And, for what it’s worth, I hope you never regret this.”
Buy it at: Amazon
I have been writing for pleasure for the past couple of years, but this is the first time I do a book tour so I am very excited for it. Writing is my passion, and I enjoy using real-life stories as the basis for my novels, but giving them a little twist to make them more melodramatic and breath-taking. I am also the author of Pamela’s Confessions and Confesiones del Alma. I currently live in Florida with my husband and three children.
About the Author
Two years ago, before my cheating husband died, he promised he’d right his wrongs–and there were so many wrongs. On his deathbed, he swore he’d send a slew of men to worship me and treat me like a goddess.
I don’t know how, but my husband kept that one promise. Unbelievably, I get to choose between three men—one’s perhaps too hot, another too cold, while the other might be just right. And faintly, I can hear my husband chuckling and whispering that I don’t have to choose.
Maybe—just maybe, they could all be mine…
Passion can be lethal…
Caressed By Moonlight
Penniless and orphaned, Victoria Kingston has nothing to bring to a marriage, yet she must shackle an unsuspecting gentleman into marriage by the end of the month or forfeit her rights as guardian of her younger sister. With the help of her dearest friend, Victoria begins her hunt, and vows to stay far away from the dark, mysterious, Dorian Vlakhos.
After meeting the beautifully innocent Miss Kingston, Dorian had to have her. He would do absolutely anything to make Victoria his. One sweet stolen kiss would bring them together while a force, more powerful than any vampire, would bind them for all eternity, but treachery, war, and death rule Dorian’s dark world and Victoria would be fortunate to survive.
Kerstyn fought her way through the mass of people. Denise had texted her, demanding she come home, something had happened. All kinds of horrible images played in her head as she struggled to gain her freedom. The apartment could have caught fire, someone could have broken in, or worse. She had to stay calm. It couldn’t be as terrible as she was imagining. Or it could be good news. Maybe Denise had finally broken up with Bobby. Denise had refused to go to the club, claiming she and Bobby had something important to discuss.
She smiled as she recalled what happened earlier that day. The pig had thought he was being sneaky while spying on her in the shower, but she spotted him in the mirror. She threw the shampoo bottle as hard as she could and laughed until her sides hurt when it nailed him in the head.
He deserved worse, she thought with an evil grin.
She finally broke free of the crowd and ran up the steps to the exit. Slipping between the two monstrous bouncers guarding the entrance to Dark, she rushed down the street. She had to find a cab. She hated being without her car, but she and her friends had all planned on drinking tonight.
Kerstyn began to walk down the street hoping a taxi would drive by or maybe she could get one at a hotel. The sound of footsteps thudding behind her sliced through her thoughts. Glancing over her shoulder, she groaned. The three men who had been trying to pick her and her friends up in the club were following her. Apparently, they didn’t know what “not interested” meant. She hated persistent out-of-towners who strongly believed in the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” motto.
She crossed the street and quickened her pace when they followed. Her heart began to pound as her eyes darted across the parking lot searching for a cab. It was unlike cabbies to not be circling the area on a Friday night. She looked back again; the men were getting closer.
Kerstyn headed toward the mob of people standing outside the line of bars. She got tangled in one group of drunks. Once free, she glanced back. The men were closer. Not knowing what else to do, she rounded the corner. Kerstyn’s breath came hard and fast as she ran down the alley. She wished she had not worn her tallest heels. Her feet screamed with every step and sent painful shocks up her calves.
“Quit being a tease, honey,” one called out.
The men’s laughter echoed in her ears, they were getting closer. She tried to run faster, but her shoes would not allow it. One stiletto snapped and she went crashing to the ground. Panic choked her as she scrambled to her feet. Her heart thundered in her ears as she began to run again. There was one right behind her; she could hear his breathing and feel his menacing presence.
She took a deep breath, preparing to scream just as a meaty, cold hand clamped over her mouth.
“You smell so sweet, little redhead,” he hissed in her ear, “a delectable strawberry treat.”
Kerstyn blindly fought, striking out behind her. She kicked back and slammed the heel of her foot into her attacker’s groin. He released her and crumpled to the ground. Without looking back, she sprinted as fast as she could down the ally. The other men ran after her, shouting threats and taunts. Grasping, greedy fingers brushed the back of her jacket. She swung around. Hands fisted, ready to defend herself, and froze.
They were gone. All of her would-be rapists had vanished.
“Are you all right?” a man asked from behind her.
She relaxed when she realized the voice sounded nothing like her attackers; it was warm, deep, and comforting.
Slowly turning toward the voice, relief flooded her body, her breathing began to slow, and her limbs went limp. She stumbled and prepared to meet the pavement again, but her rescuer caught her. He tenderly held her to him, supporting her. Kerstyn knew she ought to protest and shove him away, he was a stranger after all, but his touch was soothing and reassuring. She had never felt so safe and calm in her life.
Calm was the furthest thing from her savior’s mind.
Dimitri had heard the vampires’ thoughts as they followed the woman from Dark. He knew he had to protect her from the depraved creatures who intended to make a meal out of her. When he materialized in the alley, the weaker vampires caught his scent and fled, leaving him alone with the woman. Instead of feeling anger as he expected, an entirely different emotion settled over him.
Lust. It was no ordinary lust, but a heart racing, blood raging, sexual yearning, and it turned his body into a blazing inferno of need. Then hunger like he had never known slammed into him. It gnawed at him relentlessly as it mixed with his unmerciful lust. The torturous combination attacked both his body and his mind. He had never wanted any woman with this kind of intensity.
His body had been dead for so long, no longer responding to sexual stimulus or blood-thirst. Thousands of years had passed since the last time he had fed. The desire and necessity for blood had abandoned him. None of that seemed to matter now. His fangs sprang free as his pants grew tighter about his throbbing shaft. This woman’s blood sang to him, beckoned him to have a taste.
Dimitri ruthlessly fought the temptation to seize her mind and take what he wanted. The dread of not being able to pull away terrified him. Realizing what precious little control he had, he shut down his senses, driving away her intoxicating scent and the warmth of her soft body against his. He forced the color from his sight, only seeing in black and white with shades of gray. Though he knew he would never forget the light fragrance of her strawberry blonde hair, the feel of her in his arms, and the sapphire color of her eyes.
He took in deep breaths and focused on the cool bite of the air. It washed over his body, rinsing away his desire leaving him as always, cold and unfeeling, like death. He was death: a true, pureblood vampire.
“I was being followed,” she panted.
He peered over her head, his eyes scanning the alley. “I see no one.” The vampires were long gone.
Nausea twisted her insides as she thought of what almost happened. Thank God, this man was here. If it weren’t for him–
“Do not think about it,” he said, his arms tightening about her. “You are safe now.”
She nodded, rubbing her cheek against his chest. He smelled absolutely wonderful, like dark spices. His voice felt like velvet brushing along her skin. She shivered and sighed in contentment.
“Do you need help with anything?”
His last question snapped her back into action. She stepped back, breaking the circle of his arms.
“I need a taxi.”
“A simple enough task,” he said with a shrug.
She scoffed. If it were simple, she would have been half way home by now. She turned her head up intending to face him and a broad chest greeted her eyes. She was forced to take another step back in order to get a proper look at him.
He was huge. Thick. Stacked.
He must be close to seven feet, she thought as her eyes traveled up his torso, over his wide chest, to his face.
Her heart stopped when their eyes met. They were a near colorless shade of blue. Like diamonds. His gaze was sharp, hard, filled with wisdom and strength. Intense. Warrior eyes. Yet, he could not be much older than her, around twenty-six. His golden hair glittered from the light of the neon signs and floated about his shoulders. His face was chiseled and impossibly perfect. His lips were full and Kerstyn wanted nothing more than to feel them against hers. Her eyes traveled back down his hard, honed body.
She stood, rooted to the cement, captivated by the Norse god before her.
Damn, he’s incredibly yummy.
Dimitri forced himself to remain still while she studied him. Again, he struggled against his urges, his heart thundering from the force of the shock of desire that still echoed in his mind.
He knew one day he would meet his mate, but he had underestimated the force of her seductiveness. He never expected she would spark such yearning deep within his soul. He wondered how Dorian had dealt with such overwhelming need when he had found his intended. Dorian had been the first and, until now, only vampire king to find his other half.
Dimitri’s breath caught as her small, pink tongue wet her lips and her sensual thoughts invaded his mind.
She had to go.
He forced the sexual haze from his thoughts, locking it away.
He waved his hand in the air and a cab promptly came to a stop at the curb outside the ally. He opened the door and Kerstyn slipped inside, her eyes never leaving his face.
“Goodnight, miss,” he said.
The hall was lined with wood paneling decorated by sharply detailed paintings. Each featured a portrait of a man and was accompanied by a gold placard with his name. These were the kings of the Validus Clan.
The name of the last painting read Hadrian Lucretius, but the image had been savagely shredded. Stepping closer, Eva reached up, trying to place the pieces back together, wanting to get a look at the vampire.
A cool hand clamped over her mouth, stifling her scream as she was hauled back. Eva fought for freedom, twisting around, she jabbed her elbow in her attacker’s side then kicked back, connecting with his shin. He growled in response and spun her about, trapping her with his body. His hands slammed into the wall, cracking the wood, on either side of her head.
“Little girls should not wander alone in the dark.”
She closed her eyes and swallowed hard. His voice, it was dark, threatening—pure sex. He leaned his head down, his lips brushed her ear and, God help her, she shivered. Whether it was from fear or something entirely sexual, she did not know. Confusion, terror, and desire fought for control of her brain, as she remained pinned between the large, solid male and the wall.
“Bad things prowl in the dark,” he whispered against her ear and Eva’s knees went weak. His words were heavily accented, his voice deep. It echoed with evil and was laced with lust. “Bad things, like me.”
Eva tried to speak, knowing she should demand he release her, or scream, but nothing came.
One of his hands dropped from the wall to encircle her wrist, the pad of his thumb gently brushed over her erratically beating pulse.
“Your scent,” he said, his voice rough, the sound sending waves of need crashing over her.
His fingers lightly traced up her arm to cup her nape, tickling her sensitive flesh.
Eva’s breathing grew shallow as her body began to burn.
Yes. Oh, god, yes.
The menacing male drew closer, his second hand dropping to her shoulder, pressing her firmly against the wall. Danger, it radiated from him, yet desire flickered in his cold, black eyes. Instinct took hold of her. Eva wrapped her arms around his waist. Her hands pressed flat against his lower back, urging him closer. She arched her back trying in vain to close the space between them.
“Sweet…warm vanilla.” His cool breath caressed the tender flesh of her throat, sending chills all the way down to her toes.
Was he going to bite her?
God, what was she doing? She had no idea who this man was let alone what he was doing to her. She should shove him away. She should bring her knee up and hit him where it counts. But she could not move. Her heart beat frantically, her blood rushed like lava through her veins as her body responded to this aggressive male.
Eva’s sigh was a mix of relief and disappointment when she heard Falcon’s voice.
The vampire’s mystifying obsidian gaze held her captive as he asked, “Do you want to be rescued?”
No, but her self-preservation cried yes.
The vampire gently brushed her bottom lip with his thumb and Eva shuttered.
“My king,” Falcon bellowed.
The stranger lifted his head and glared at Falcon for a long breathless moment. She could sense the tension that coiled in his body. Pure lethal power flowed from him like tidal waves.
Finally, he turned his attention back to her. Framing her jaw with his large hands, he bent his head down. Was he going to kiss her? Another rush of heat coursed through her and pooled at her core. She wished she could see his face. The shadows hid his features. All she could see were his dark as midnight eyes, which burned in the darkness, full of violence and lust.
He leaned into her, his solid chest brushing her breasts, causing them to ache as he sank his lower body against her. Surrounded. Hot, aggressive male surrounded her and—wild,she was wild with need.
His cool lips brushed against hers as he whispered, “Until we meet again, little one.” He disappeared.