Review: HER DEADLY TOUCH by Lisa Regan

Today’s post highlights a new thriller from the talented Lisa Regan – Her Deadly Touch (Detective Josie Quinn Book 12). I have read and enjoyed several of the books in this series and was lucky enough to get a review copy from NetGalley.

Description*

The woman is kneeling at a gravestone, her hair blowing in the breeze, a bunch of wilting yellow daffodils on the grass beside her. Her eyes are fixed on the ground and her mouth is parted in a silent prayer. But the wax dripping from her cold blue lips means it’s already too late to save her…

On her first day back with the Denton PD after a major trauma, Detective Josie Quinn is on the hunt for a missing woman, Krystal Duncan, the mother of one of five children killed in a devastating school bus crash. Hours later, Josie finds Krystal’s body beside her daughter’s grave, her lips sealed together forever with wax.

Forensics match the wax to one of the candles lit in memory of the sweet little souls who died, giving Josie her first lead to a support group made up of the parents who lost children in the crash. Painstakingly dissecting the lives of these grieving couples, it’s clear to Josie that each of them is hiding something about the day of the accident—but whose secret is worth killing for?

The case takes an agonizing turn when the body of another young mother is found near the site of the bus crash. Someone connected to the accident is out for revenge. As the members of the support group are picked off one by one, every second counts for Josie to save the lives of these loving parents who have already suffered the loss of those they treasured most…

* from Amazon book page for Her Deadly Touch

My Review

Josie is back in another well-paced thriller/police-procedural mystery. Returning to work after extended leave following her grandmother’s murder, Josie’s first case is a challenging one that involves multiple persons of interest and potential next victims. I admit I had a bit of trouble keeping track of all the characters (dead and alive) at first – there are a lot of them – however they soon sort out, so it was worth it. As the investigation proceeds, an intricate web of secrets emerges – all centered around the events leading up to a fatal school bus crash two years prior. Unexpected plot twists and dead bodies pop up around each corner, making for a suspense-filled read.

FTC disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review.

Review & Giveaway: WITH NEIGHBORS LIKE THESE by Linda Lovely

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime, I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance review copy of Linda Lovely’s latest release – With Neighbors Like These (An HOA Mystery)

About the Book

MANAGING AN HOA IS MURDER…

He championed shooting deer inside the HOA’s nature sanctuary. Now his corpse is posed curbside, cradling a trophy deer head. The theatrical murder panics residents, and Ted Welch asks Kylee Kane, retired Coast Guard investigator, to help his HOA management firm calm fears. Kylee agrees. Her own mother is getting death threats over her crusade to protect the deer.

HOA=DOA TERROR REIGNS…

When a belligerent owner in another HOA is murdered, terror reigns. The Sheriff’s Department blames Ted for letting HOA feuds spiral into homicide. Kylee discovers links between the victims and suspects a recently-pardoned general is next. Authorities and the arrogant general dismiss her warning. Can she foil the third act in the crafty killer’s death-as-theater game or will she be the next corpse on display?

My Review

Intrigue abounds in the world of Home Owners Associations, with all their rules and regulations and the self-appointed rule enforcers – real-life in deed-restricted developments, that is except for the puzzling and bizarre murders and attacks. With Ted’s business and Kylee’s mom at risk, the two team up to launch their own investigation. Ted and Kylee make a good pair, they complement each other in many ways, and I enjoyed watching them grow closer. The underlying plot was an interesting one, and unique. The author did a great job with the alternating narrative, giving us insight into the killer’s thinking without hinting at the killer’s identify. Overall, I found it to be a well-written, nicely paced mystery.

FTC disclosure: I received an advance reader copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card from the author.

About the Author

A journalism major in college, Linda Lovely has spent most of her career working in PR and advertising—an early introduction to penning fiction. With Neighbors Like These is Lovely’s ninth mystery/suspense novel. Whether she’s writing cozy mysteries, historical suspense or contemporary thrillers, her novels share one common element—smart, independent heroines. Humor and romance also sneak into every manuscript. Her work has earned nominations for a number of prestigious awards, ranging from RWA’s Golden Heart for Romantic Suspense to Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion for Best Cozy Mystery. A long-time member of Sisters in Crime and former chapter president, Lovely also belongs to International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For many years, she helped organize the Writers’ Police Academy. She lives on a lake in Upstate South Carolina with her husband, and enjoys swimming, tennis, gardening, long walks, and, of course, reading.

Catch up with the author:

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Visit the tour page at Partners in Crime for reviews, author interviews and more.

Spotlight & Giveaway: MUSIC IS MURDER by B.J. Bowen

As part of a virtual tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight shines on Music is Murder (A Musical Murder Mystery) the first book in a new cozy mystery series by B.J. Bowen.

About the Book

When a symphony musician is murdered—bashed with her own bassoon—flute player Emily Wilson becomes the prime suspect. To save herself and secure justice for her murdered friend, she must find the killer.

In the close-knit, unforgiving environment of the symphony orchestra Emily makes her way through the tender egos and warped relationships of her fellow musicians to find tantalizing clues. Blackmail, the victim’s abusive ex-boyfriend, an angry neighbor, and a shifty Symphony Board member all lead her to feel she is on the right track.

With the dogged Lieutenant Gordon on her trail, she must flee from the police so she can continue her search. She unexpectedly finds a loyal female friend and the possibility of a new man in her life. But she must learn to trust again after her failed and abusive marriage. With time running out, will she be able to evade the lieutenant, face her personal demons, and clear her name?

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

About the Author

Barbara Bowen is a freelance writer. She was a finalist and Honorable Mention in the 2018 Focus: Eddy Awards for her article, “Letting Go with Grace,” published in Unity Magazine. Ms. Bowen is also an accomplished professional oboist who played with the Colorado Springs Symphony for nineteen years.

Drawing on her quirky fellow musicians and orchestral experiences, she created the mystery series, “Musical Murders.” The first is “Music is Murder” (Release date, 6-9-21). The second is “Ballistics at the Ballet” (Release date TBA) The third is “Fireworks on the Fourth” (Release date TBA).

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, lives in Colorado with two canine friends, and has a stock of musical puns and a song for any occasion. Contact Barbara at: www.barbarabowenauthor.com or www.bookbub.com/authors/b-j-bowen

Author Links

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Bookshop  – Target 

Review & Giveaway: DRAW AND ORDER by Cheryl Hollon

As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am happy to let you know about Draw and Order (A Paint & Shine Mystery) by Cheryl Hollon, which released last week.

About the Book

Appalachian artist and local guide Miranda Trent opens a new murder investigation after her Paint & Shine tour group discovers the remains of a missing hiker along an ancient trail . . .

For her latest excursion, Miranda is thrilled to take a close-knit group of rock climbers, the Risky Business Adventurers, up the challenging Battleship Rock Trail to paint and sample moonshine. But the outing is cut short when they discover a skeleton near the trailhead. Even more startling, the bones belong to Howard Cable, Miranda’s cousin…and a former classmate of the Risky Business group.

The sheriff chalks it up to a hiking accident, but Miranda isn’t convinced that Howard, an experienced woodsman, died within sight of a well-marked trail. So, with the help of Ranger Austin Morgan, Miranda sets out on her own investigation and discovers that the Risky Business group is keeping plenty of secrets. But is one of them hiding the truth about Howard’s death?

My Review

Miranda is an artist living in the process of establishing a distillery on the farm she inherited. She works hard to get what she wants, even in the face of setbacks. She seems to have a great relationship with her mom. Her new business – Paint & Shine – is the perfect way for her to combine her two loves – art and moonshine. And spend lots of time out on the trails with her art students. When her cousin’s body is found during one such outing, Miranda is eager to figure out what happened and, with Austin’s help, pursues her own investigatation, which has the added benefit of bringing them together more often. The plot unfolds at a steady pace, in the process exposing readers to a taste of life in rural Kentucky, its people, and its folklore. Sounds like a cool place to visit.

A well-written, enjoyable. cozy mystery.

FTC disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley. This has not affected the content of my review.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for you chance to win a print copy of Draw and Order (US only) from the author.

About the Author

Cheryl Hollon now writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks.

Visit her online at http://cherylhollon.com, on Facebook or on Twitter @CherylHollon.

Purchase Links: Amazon    B&N    Kobo     Google Play  IndieBound 

Visit the tour page for more reviews, guest posts, and more.

Review: THE BONE CODE by Kathy Reichs

This week marks the release of a new book from Kathy Reichs featuring my favorite forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan Novel. Of course, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to read an ARC of The Bone Code when it became available on Net Galley.

Description*

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her twentieth gripping novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, whose examinations, fifteen years apart, of unidentified bodies ignite a terrifying series of events.

On the way to hurricane-ravaged Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, Tempe receives a call from the Charleston coroner. The storm has tossed ashore a medical waste container. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Tempe recognizes many of the details as identical to those of an unsolved case she handled in Quebec years earlier. With a growing sense of foreboding, she travels to Montreal to gather evidence.

Meanwhile, health authorities in South Carolina become increasingly alarmed as a human flesh-eating contagion spreads. So focused is Tempe on identifying the container victims that, initially, she doesn’t register how their murders and the pestilence may be related. But she does recognize one unsettling fact. Someone is protecting a dark secret—and willing to do anything to keep it hidden.

An absorbing look at the sinister uses to which genetics can be put, and featuring a cascade of ever-more-shocking revelations, The Bone Code is Temperance Brennan’s most astonishing case yet—one that gives new meaning to today’s headlines.

* Description as appears on Amazon.

My Review

Unlike the previous book in this series, the focus this time was mostly on the case and less on character development. The original, highly complex plot of this book features events spanning miles and years – and an investigation into what most would seem to be distinct cases, if it weren’t for Tempe’s gut telling her otherwise. True to form, she is like a dog with a bone and insists the two cases must be related. Sub- and side-plots, including a strange request from an elderly twin, add to the intrigue. Although it started out a bit slow, the pace picked up as the story built. Strange coincidences and unpredictable twists made for an interesting and enjoyable read.

FTC disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This has not affected the content of this review.

Click here to read my review of A Conspiracy of Bones.

Spotlight & Giveaway: FRAMED AND FROSTED by Kim Davis

As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book tours, today’s post shines the spotlight on Framed and Frosted, a new culinary cozy mystery by Kim Davis. And with its colorful, patriotic cover, it’s just in time for America’s Fourth of July celebrations next week.

About the Book

Framed and Frosted, the third book in the Cupcake Catering Mystery series, finds cupcake caterer, Emory Martinez, working at a Laguna Beach society Fourth of July soiree, with her sister and their new employee, Sal. With a host that seems intent on accosting both catering employees and guests alike, things go from bad to worse when he accuses Sal of murdering his long-dead son.

As the crescendo of exploding fireworks overhead becomes the backdrop for cupcakes and champagne, a deadly murder occurs. Can Sal and Emory explain why the cupcake the host ate, after shoving a trayful of buttercream frosted cupcakes onto Sal, resulted in his death? Or will the guests and detective alike believe that Sal is a murderer? Emory and her octogenarian employer, Tillie, whip into action to find out who framed Sal after being frosted by the victim.

Includes recipes!

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card plus 1 print copy of book (for U.S. residents only) from the author.

About the Author

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband. When she’s not spending time with her granddaughters she can be found either writing stories or working on her blog, Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder or in the kitchen baking up yummy treats.  She has published the suspense novel, A GAME OF DECEIT, and cozy mystery, SPRINKLES OF SUSPICION and CAKE POPPED OFF. She also has had several children’s articles published in Cricket, Nature Friend, Skipping Stones, and the Seed of Truth magazines. Kim Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

Website:  http://kimdavisauthor.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Kim-Davis-Author-1532277473479031/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Kookiesandbooks
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/kimdavishb/

Purchase Links: Amazon 

Check out other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts and more.

Excerpt & Giveaway: TRUFFLE ME NOT by M.K. Scott

As part of an online event organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, today’s post spotlights Truffle Me Not, which promises to be a delightful mystery by M.K. Scott.

About the Book

The future of Cupid’s Catering Company hangs in the balance. With a rival bakery, owned by the queen of all mean, rich girls, Della is at a distinct disadvantage.

Della hinges her financial future on winning the local truffle contest. As if there wasn’t enough on her mind, additional problems arise, including missing cats, jewel thieves, and her desperate attempt to find the incredibly kind man who’d lent her hand when she had tire trouble.

Can she solve all these problems and find time to whip up a cookbook at the same time?

Read an excerpt:

Della inhaled, knowing what she was going to say next wouldn’t go over well. “Tony should have been on a leash. I know Prince should have been in his own yard but consider this. Your pup could run out into the street and be hit.”

“There’s not much traffic on our street. Besides, Tony never leaves my side.”

She could point out the dog had done just that, but she didn’t. Seeing her mother so happy with Tony brightened her day, but even Della acknowledged her mother could be a trifle unreasonable about the newest addition to the family. “If he got loose, someone could take him.”

“Oh, my!” A long pause continued after the exclamation. Some rustling and footsteps carried over the phone line. “Just checking. I thought I saw some strangers in the neighborhood earlier. They could be potential dog nappers. They had that look about them, three-day old beards, night watch beanies, dark hoodies, disheveled. You know the type.”

The scruffy look may have gained popularity with the introduction of grunge bands, television shows with unshaven actors, and male models who appeared to have just rolled out of bed, but it never appealed to Della’s mother. Even her detective father had been more accepting of current fashions than Mother. In Mabel’s mind, scruffy equaled criminal or the possibility of being influenced by one.

“Mom, there are no dog nappers in your neighborhood. Someone probably had company leaving. Keep in mind, living with a detective may have made us all a little paranoid. All the same, try to keep my little brother on a leash.”

“I will,” her mother grudgingly agreed.

“How was your day?”

“Good.” No need to mention the arrival of a foul wind in the form of Lacey Dankworth. The Delacroix family could only handle one crisis at a time. After all, it may all come to nothing.


Buy the book on Amazon – only 99 cents for limited time only.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $40 Amazon gift card from the author.

About the Author

M. K. Scott is the husband and wife writing team behind The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries and The Talking Dog Detective Agency. Morgan K Wyatt is the general wordsmith, while her husband, Scott, is the grammar hammer and physics specialist. He uses his engineering skills to explain how fast a body falls when pushed over a cliff and various other felonious activities. The Internet and experts in the field provide forensic information, while the recipes and B and B details require a more hands-on approach.  Morgan’s daughter, who manages a hotel, provides guest horror stories to fuel the plot lines. The couple’s dog, Chance, is the inspiration behind Jasper, Donna’s dog. Overall, both are fun series to create and read.

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Review: DEAD SPRINT by Caroline Fardig

I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Dead Sprint, the third book in the Ellie Matthews series by Caroline Fardig. A traditional/police procedural mystery, Dead Sprint released earlier this week.

Description

Criminalist Ellie Matthews has turned over a new leaf. For the first time in her life, she’s working on herself and putting the past behind her with the encouragement of the new man she’s seeing, FBI Agent Vic Manetti.

Her first attempt at competitive running is cut short when a woman is found dead along the trail. At first, the case seems to be open and shut. But when a gruesome photo of the victim goes viral, tagged with a chilling caption threatening more violence, Ellie must delve into the mind of a deranged killer to get to the truth.

Though Ellie’s relationship with Detective Nick Baxter has been strained to its breaking point, the two find themselves teaming up once again in a race to bring down the killer before he takes another life.

My Review

Ellie Matthews is a likable character. She takes on challenges and faces her personal struggles without flinching. At least, not much. And she is smart and gutsy. The mystery pulls you in early on, and the crisp writing holds your attention. As fitting the genre, as the story progresses, a myriad of suspects and motives emerge and the plot takes twists and turns en route to a satisfying resolution.

A great choice for fans of traditional mysteries – well written and fast paced from start to finish.

Note: Although this can definitely be read as a standalone, I suspect I might have to go back and read the first two for added insight into the evolution of Ellie’s relationships with both Nick and Vic.

FTC disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book from the author. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

About the Author

Caroline Fardig is the USA Today Bestselling Author of over a dozen mystery novels. Fardig’s BAD MEDICINE was named one of the “Best Books of 2015” by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, coffeehouse owner, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

Follow Caroline at:

Buy the book:

Spotlight & Giveaway: WHOLE LATTE MURDER by Lena Gregory

As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post features a new cozy mystery from Lena Gregory – Whole Latte Murder (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery). Don’t know about any of you, but I love the cover!

About the Book

Ex-New Yorker and local diner owner Gia Morelli is still getting used to the sweltering Florida sun. But this summer she’ll have to deal with a more dangerous kind of heat—when she’s hot on the trail of another murderer . . .

Summer in Boggy Creek has arrived, and Gia’s best friend, successful real estate agent Savannah, is getting hitched. Now she’s enlisted Gia’s sleuthing talents in a desperate search for the perfect wedding dress. But when Savannah mysteriously vanishes after showing a mansion to a bigwig client, Gia investigates the house Savannah was trying to sell. The first clue she finds is Savannah’s car in the driveway. Inside the house, they stumble on Savannah’s potential buyer—dead. Someone had apparently closed the deal—with a two by four full of nails to the client’s head. Soon afterward, a woman’s body is fished from the lake near the same house. The townsfolk are now sweating bullets over the murders, and the heat comes down on poor Gia to find her missing friend, and track down the killer . . .

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

About the Author

Lena Gregory is the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which take place on a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, and the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, which are set on the outskirts of Florida’s Ocala National Forest.

Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

To learn more about Lena and her latest writing endeavors, visit her website at http://www.lenagregory.com/ and be sure to sign up for her newsletter.

Author Links:

Purchase Links:
Amazon    Barnes & Noble      Kobo    Kensington     Apple    Google Play

For more reviews, guest posts, and more, visit the tour page.

Showcase & Excerpt: THREE MISSING DAYS by Colleen Coble

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight shines on Three Missing Days, the latest addition to the Pelican Harbor romantic suspense series from bestselling author Colleen Coble. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it sounds great to me.

About the Book

A chilling murder.
Chief of Police Jane Hardy plunges into the investigation of a house fire that claimed the life of a local woman as well as one of the firefighters. It’s clear the woman was murdered. But why? The unraveling of Jane’s personal life only makes the answers in the case more difficult to find.

Her son’s arrest.
Then Jane’s fifteen-year-old son is accused of a horrific crime, and she has to decide whether or not she can trust her ex, Reid, in the attempt to prove Will’s innocence—and whether she can trust Reid with her heart.

Her stolen memories.
Three days of Jane’s past are missing from her memory, and that’s not all that has been stolen from her. As she works to find the woman’s murderer and clear her son’s name, finding out what happened in those three days could change everything. It all started with one little lie. But the gripping truth is finally coming out.

Read an excerpt:

“I know what you did.”

The muffled voice on her phone raised the hair on the back of Gail Briscoe’s head, and she swiped the perspiration from her forehead with the back of her hand. “Look, I’ve reported these calls. Don’t call me again.”

She ended the call with a hard finger punch on the screen and stepped onto her front porch. The late-May Alabama air wrapped her in a blanket of heat and humidity, and she couldn’t wait to wash it off. She should have left the light on before she went for her predawn run. The darkness pressing against her isolated home sent a shudder down her back, and she fumbled her way inside. Welcome light flooded the entry, and she locked the door and the dead bolt with a decisive click that lifted her confidence.

She stared at the number on the now-silent phone. The drugstore again. Though there weren’t many pay phones around anymore, the old soda shop and drugstore still boasted a heavy black phone installed back in the sixties. The caller always used it, and so far, no one had seen who was making the calls. The pay phone was located off an alley behind the store by a Dumpster so it was out of sight.

The guy’s accusation was getting old. Counting today, this made seven calls with the same message. Could he possibly know about the investigation? She rejected the thought before it had a chance to grow. It wasn’t public knowledge, and it would be over soon. She clenched her hands and chewed on her bottom lip. She had to be vindicated.

But who could it be, and what did he want?

Leaving a trail of sweaty yoga shorts and a tee behind her, she marched to the bathroom and turned the spray to lukewarm before she stepped into the shower. The temperature shocked her overheated skin in a pleasant way, and within moments she was cooled down. She increased the temperature a bit and let the water sluice over her hair.

As she washed, she watched several long strands of brown hair swirl down the drain as she considered the caller’s accusation. The police had promised to put a wiretap on her phone, but so far the guy hadn’t stayed on the phone long enough for a trace to work. And it was Gail’s own fault. She should have talked with him more to string out the time.

She dried off and wrapped her hair in a turban, then pulled on capris and a top. Her phone vibrated again. She snatched it up and glanced at the screen. Augusta Richards.

“I got another call, Detective. Same phone at the drugstore. Could you set up a camera there?”

“I hope I’m not calling too early, and I don’t think that’s necessary. The owner just told me that old pay phone is being removed later today. Maybe that will deter the guy. It’s the only pay phone in town. He’ll have to use something else if he calls again.”

“He could get a burner phone.”

“He might,” the detective admitted. “What did he say?”

“The same thing—‘I know what you did.’”

“Do you have any idea what it means?”

Gail flicked her gaze away to look out the window, where the first colors of the sunrise limned the trees. “Not a clue.”

“Make sure you lock your doors and windows. You’re all alone out there.”

“Already locked. Thanks, Detective.” Gail ended the call.

Ever since Nicole Pearson’s body had been found a couple of months ago, no one needed to remind Gail she lived down a dirt road with no next-door neighbors. No one wanted to buy the neighboring place after such a lurid death, so the area remained secluded other than a couple of houses about a mile away and out closer to the main road.

She stood back from the window. It was still too dark to see. Was someone out there?

Pull back the reins on your imagination. But once the shudders started, they wouldn’t stop. Her hands shaking, she left her bedroom and went to pour herself a cup of coffee with a generous splash of half-and-half from the fridge. She had a stack of lab orders to process, and she couldn’t let her nerves derail her work.

The cups rattled as she snatched one from the cupboard. The coffee sloshed over the rim when she poured it, then she took a big gulp of coffee. It burned all the way down her throat, and tears stung her eyes as she sputtered. The heat settled her though, and she checked the locks again before she headed to her home office with her coffee.

No one could see in this tiny cubicle with no window, but she rubbed the back of her neck and shivered. She’d work for an hour, then go into the lab. The familiar ranges and numbers comforted her. She sipped her coffee and began to plow through the stack of papers. Her eyes kept getting heavy. Weird. Normally she woke raring to go every morning.

Maybe she needed more coffee. She stretched out her neck and back and picked up the empty coffee cup.

Gail touched the doorknob and cried out. She stuck her first two fingers in her mouth. What on earth?

The door radiated heat. She took a step back as she tried to puzzle out what was happening, but her brain couldn’t process it at first. Then tendrils of smoke oozed from under the door in a deadly fog.

Fire. The house was on fire.

She spun back toward the desk, but there was nothing she could use to protect herself. There was no way of egress except through that door.

If she wanted to escape, she’d have to face the inferno on the other side.

She snatched a throw blanket from the chair and threw it over her head, then ran for the door before she lost her courage. When she yanked it open, a wall of flames greeted her, but she spied a pathway down the hall to her bedroom. Ducking her head, she screamed out a war cry and plowed through the flames.

In moments she was in the hall where the smoke wasn’t so thick. She pulled in a deep breath as she ran for her bedroom. She felt the cool air as soon as she stepped inside and shut the door behind her. Too late she realized the window was open, and a figure stepped from the closet.

Something hard came down on her head, and darkness descended.

***

Excerpt from Three Missing Days by Colleen Coble. Copyright 2021 by Thomas Nelson. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at:
colleencoble.com
Goodreads
BookBub: @ColleenCoble
Instagram: @colleencoble
Twitter: @colleencoble
Facebook: @colleencoblebooks