crime · Detective · mystery

*BLOG TOUR* Dead Woman Crossing – J.R. Adler *EXTRACT*

Blurb;

She threw open the door, running to the crib. When she looked inside, she gasped. The world around her went silent. Inside, there was nothing but a small stuffed elephant. Where was her baby?

When young, single mother Hannah is found murdered by the banks of a twisting Oklahoma creek, her one-year-old daughter sleeping in a stroller near her body, the small town of Dead Woman Crossing reels in horror.
Detective Kimberley King, recently relocated from New York to Oklahoma, with her young daughter Jessica, can’t ignore the similarity of Hannah’s death to the case of Katie James, the woman that the town of Dead Woman Crossing is named after. Katie was murdered in front of her small daughter in 1905, on the banks of the same creek, and it seems that someone is drawing inspiration from the crime. Could this killer be a copycat?
But as she interviews suspects, Kimberley is met with blank faces and closed lips. In a small town, people won’t talk and when she pursues a promising lead, her own family turn their back on her. Kimberley isn’t afraid to ask questions, but when she receives a threatening note, she realises that, as a single mother to a young daughter, she might be putting herself dangerously in the killer’s sights …

A gripping, atmospheric crime thriller inspired by true events, about a town on the edge of collapse and a murder that shakes the community. Dead Woman Crossing is perfect for fans of Rachel Caine, Lisa Regan and Jane Harper.

Author Bio; Originally from Wisconsin, J.R. Adler currently lives in Ithaca, New York with her husband, Drew, and her English Bulldog, Winston. When not writing, you can find her reading, playing board games, travelling, and binge watching The Office for the umpteenth time.

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Extract;

CHAPTER ONE

As the tires slammed onto the hot asphalt, Detective Kimberley King instinctively positioned her arm in front of her sixteen month-old daughter, bracing her. Her sleeping child did not wake. Having been born and raised, thus far, in New York City with its constant squealing sirens and blaring car horns, it would take more than a rough plane landing to wake her resting cherub. A few of the passengers toward the back of the plane clapped when the tires were firmly planted on the runway. Kimberley couldn’t help rolling her eyes and shaking her head. Simpletons, she thought, but she quickly had to remind herself… simple was her life now. These were no longer the plain inhabitants of the flyover states, but rather they were now her neighbors, her new people. She would no longer be Detective Kimberley King, NYPD, but something quite different. In New York, she worked homicide, the worst of the worst cases, the things nightmares were made of, but where she was going, murders would be few and far between she presumed given the size of the town. As soon as she stepped foot off the plane, it would be official; she would now be the newest chief deputy of Custer County, residing in Dead Woman Crossing—a town named for its grizzly history of an unsolved brutal homicide. Perhaps Kimberley would feel more at home there than she thought she would. She believed she’d always be a New Yorker at heart and would cling to that as long as she could, but that wasn’t her identity anymore. She was now an Oklahoman. “Please be careful when opening the overhead bins as items may have shifted during flight. We hope you enjoyed your flight, and we thank you for flying American Airlines,” the flight attendant announced via the intercom. Immediately, most passengers rose from their seats as if the stewardess had given a powerful sermon rather than simple disembarkation instructions. Kimberley turned toward her daughter and unbuckled her. Jessica stirred awake, rubbing her sleepy eyes. Her face began to crumple as she adjusted to the unfamiliar surroundings, but Kimberley acted quickly. She knew that look, the look that signaled Jessica was about to throw a tantrum. Her daughter had seemed to learn in recent weeks that crying could be used as psychological warfare against her mother. Kimberley planted several kisses on the top of her soft head and pulled Jessica into her lap with a hug, quickly soothing her, before she erupted like a volcano full of tears. She had woken her daughter earlier than usual and opted not to put her down for a nap, all to ensure the plane ride had gone smoothly and it had. “Jessica, baby, we’re here,” Kimberley said, bouncing her little girl. Looking at her daughter was like looking in the mirror; she was the spitting image of Kimberley. Rich dark brown hair, vivid blue eyes, and pouty lips. Kimberley was thankful her daughter had taken after her and not her ex, Aaron, who looked like the poster boy for the Aryan race; blond hair, light eyes, fair skin. He was no longer in the picture. If she was being honest, he was never really in the picture, so she was happy Jessica didn’t serve as a constant reminder of him. She hoped she’d get her strong personality as well, instead of her father’s, who was more concerned about working out in the gym than taking care of his own child. When she told him she was moving out of state and that he could see Jessica as much as he wanted but would have to travel, he had responded with a shrug as if she had asked him something as simple as do you want bacon or sausage with your eggs? Motherhood had changed her, but fatherhood hadn’t changed Aaron. When she first had Jessica, Kimberley developed almost a sixth sense. It provided more than any police training had ever done for her. The instinct, many called maternal, translated well into her detective work. It made her notice everything, sense danger. Every situation, she could look at it and find a hundred different ways something could go wrong. Jessica changed Kimberley for the better. But with Aaron, fatherhood shone a light on his true colors: selfish, childish, and narcissistic. Kimberley quickly brushed the memory from her mind before it affected her mood, the roots of her life left behind trying one last time to pull her back into despair. She tied her long hair into a ponytail, readying herself to trek off the plane with half of everything she owned. Kimberley stood from her seat and lifted Jessica, her little legs wrapping around Kimberley’s petite, yet strong body. She was used to handling everything by herself, so grabbing her luggage from the overhead bin, Jessica’s diaper bag, and her tote bag all the while holding her daughter looked like a magic act to the untrained eye, but to her it was easy. Jessica tightened her arms around her mother’s neck and laid her head against her shoulder, letting out a soft coo. Kimberley smiled and kissed the top of her head while edging her way into the aisle. A middle-aged man with a bald spot the size of a grapefruit on the back of his head stood in front of her. He turned around and gave Kimberley and her juggling act a once-over. “Do you need help with any of that?” he asked, pointing to her bags. Kimberley’s eyes widened and her brow creased. She wasn’t used to others offering their help, especially coming from Manhattan. In New York City, people are just too busy to stop and help. They’ve got places to be, traffic to get through, subway rides to make, lines to stand in. Everything there is go, go, go. They’re not mean. They just don’t have the time to be nice.

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chick-lit · Content posts · romance

*BLOG TOUR* Coming Home to Hope Street – Marcie Steele (EXTRACT)

Blurb;

Step across the cobblestones, pull back the curtains and peek behind the doors in the second instalment of The Hope Street Series. Catch up with old friends and fall in love with new ones in a story of friendship, second chances and new beginnings.

Livvy has no choice but to return to Hope Street, the childhood home she left over twenty years ago. Along with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Pip, she turns up on the doorstep, hoping for forgiveness from her sister.

Hannah thought she’d never see Livvy again. She’s overwhelmed with emotion but locks away her real feelings. How could Livvy stay away without any contact? And why has she come back now?

It isn’t long before the charm of the market town of Somerley begins to work its magic. Hannah is opening a book shop in the square, adjoining The Coffee Stop, and Livvy’s offer to help out brings the sisters closer together.

But when someone from Livvy’s past arrives unannounced too, he threatens everything she’s built up since her return. Can Livvy convince her sister, and her new friends, that her intentions to return were good ones? Or will her dreams of settling down and being happy again become nothing but a closed book?

Author Bio;

Marcie Steele is the pen name of Mel Sherratt. For as long as she can remember, she’s been a meddler of words. Born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, she’s a romantic at heart and has always enjoyed writing about characters that fall in and out of love, have good friends to hang around with, and live in communities with great spirit.

She can often be found sitting in her favourite coffee shop, sipping a cappuccino and eating a chocolate chip cookie, either catching up with friends or writing on her laptop. Whether she writes crime or women’s fiction, she loves making up things for a living.

You can find more about Marcie Steele on Mel Sherratt’s website www.melsherratt.co.uk at Twitter: https://twitter.com/writermels and at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MelSherrattauthor/

Extract;

One Month Ago

Livvy Perkins let out a dramatic sigh. Working at Pizza Palace wasn’t the jazziest of jobs, but it was a good fit for her circumstances. She’d worked there three nights a week between six and ten p.m. for the past six months, as well as working part-time during the day in a local café. It meant her daughter, Pip, nearly sixteen, wasn’t alone often, and not for too long. And if she did need her mum, Livvy was always on the end of the phone.

Livvy looked forward to, as well as dreaded, her last shift of the week. Fridays would always find the staff in the takeaway rushed off their feet, orders coming in rapidly and Roberto, the owner, expecting her to deliver everything on a Fast and Furious basis that she could never do to his satisfaction.

Pizza deliveries seemed to have become the new going out. Not that Livvy knew anything about that anymore. All her days, weeks, and months were rolling into one at the moment.

She pressed the handle down on the door and went inside, the smell of grease, garlic, and a hint of burning hitting her immediately. Pizza Palace was your typical takeaway, a few plastic tables and school-type chairs at the front and a high counter with a fridge showing drinks and salads to accompany the meal at the far end. A large board on the back wall listed everything they served, and the ovens to her right were already churning out a good heat alongside the first orders of the evening. Above everything, she could hear Roberto yelling.

‘They asked for two medium cheese and pepperoni and one large mushroom. Not the other way round. You need to listen more on the phone!’ He turned to Livvy, rolling his eyes as if to say, ‘I might as well do it myself.’

She couldn’t help but shake her head in jest. Honestly, if Roberto employed a manager rather than trying to do everything himself, and failing dismally, he wouldn’t look like a stress ball all the time. Now his arms flapped around, his dark hair was messy and there were sweat patches underneath both arms on his T-shirt.

‘Livvy,’ Roberto cried. ‘Come and sort this rabble out, will you?’

‘I’ll do my best once I’ve done a few deliveries.’ Livvy reached up for a pile of order slips. There were four, all within a mile of the shop. Quickly, she routed them out in her head. If she left now before Roberto collared her, she could be there and back within forty minutes.

A scooter was the best solution for the small and narrow streets of Manchester. Roberto provided them, but they were all old and decrepit.

The traffic was light as she made her way along the main road. Pizza Palace covered most of the area and had the monopoly on lots of other takeaways. Luckily for Roberto, his establishment had a reputation as one of the best.

Livvy parked outside the first address, knocked on the door, and only waited a few seconds for an answer. The next stop was a few streets away, and after pressing the doorbell twice, that too was delivered.

As she walked up the driveway of the third address, the door was opened by a woman in her thirties, heavily made-up, wearing heels and a black dress. Lucky her, Livvy sighed. She couldn’t even recall the last time she’d been anywhere that entailed dressing up so special.

‘Pizza delivery!’ Livvy put on her best sing-song voice.

‘That’s more than obvious,’ the woman snapped, almost snatching the box out of Livvy’s hand. She thrust a note at her and waited impatiently for change.

Livvy handed it to her, knowing it was useless making small talk.

She took it all and closed the door in Livvy’s face.

‘Thank you, and have a nice evening,’ Livvy replied, with the heaviest hint of sarcasm.

She was back on the scooter, helmet in hand, ready to head to the last stop when the woman came out of her house, screaming obscenities at her.

‘What is wrong with you people?’ She pushed the box at Livvy. ‘I ordered a plain cheese, but this has mushrooms.’

Livvy’s shoulders dropped. ‘I’m so sorry, let me check the other order to see if I’ve got them the wrong way round.’

‘I’m not giving my children anything that you’ve had your hands all over.’

‘I won’t have to touch it.’ Livvy couldn’t stop herself from answering back. ‘I just need—’

‘Save it.’ The woman put up a hand as if to dismiss her, then held it out. ‘Give me my money back. I’ll have to pop some chicken nuggets in the oven now, which means I’m going to be late. And it’s all your fault.’

‘Chicken nuggets. My favourite,’ Livvy enthused. But the woman wasn’t having any of it.

Her fingers curled greedily around the money Livvy gave back to her and then, turning on her pretty stiletto heels, she marched off.

Livvy could see from the state of the box that the pizza had been handled and shoved back in. Even if it was someone else’s order, it would have to be remade.

She tried to start the scooter up, but it wouldn’t kick in.

‘Useless thing,’ she protested, just as the woman from the house came out again and got into her car. She glared at Livvy as she reversed out and then was off in a screech.

Livvy looked at the woman’s house, her car, and had a guess at her lavish style. She reckoned she’d never had to work hard to make ends meet. And even then, she didn’t need to be that rude.

A tear rolled down her cheek, quickly followed by one on the other side of her face. She wiped at her eyes.

With resignation, she rang Roberto to tell him she wasn’t going to make order number four and the fate of order number three. Then she took a handlebar in each hand and began the mile-long walk back to the shop with the scooter.

Why was life so unfair? She was working two jobs but was in debt up to her ears, yet she grafted as hard as she could.

Bloody Kieran. This was all his fault.

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A little message.. Please read.

I thought I should put up a little post because I have been struggling with my reading a lot lately. I’ve tried my best with my tours ive committed too. But im struggling. So if I ask for a content/extract please don’t think im an idiot or one of those bloggers. I’m having a hard time trying to keep ontop of life, school and covid situation. My mind just cant focus on ANYTHING at the moment except kids and normal life… Surviving basically. I am so sorry. But I will not give up trying with books. They have been my escape for sooo soo long and I cannot lose that. I won’t. I refuse. So please bare with me. Thank you. ❤ – Between the pages book club.