Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm Thrilled to Welcome Joseph Max Lewis


A warm welcome to my friend and a wonderful critique partner!  

Is there a story behind The Diaries of Pontius Pilate ?
The story behind The Diaries of Pontius Pilate is it always makes sense to follow God sooner rather than later. For the first few years I was writing secular thrillers (after one non-fiction book). In the back of my mind, I suspected the Lord wanted me writing fiction with an explicit Christian message and I just didn’t want to. After a few years in the wilderness, I got the message, wrote “Diaries” and that’s when things started to happen.

What started you on your writing journey?
The terror attack on 911. Everyone was running around, wondering “why do they hate us,” “what did we do?” as though the whole thing just came out of the blue. That started my writing journey and was the topic of my first book.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?
My day job. I practice law and write a bi-weekly opinion column. My clients and editor count on me to give them my best. When in doubt, writing takes a back seat. 


What kind of books do you enjoy reading?  
Thrillers, with Dean Koontz type horror a close second.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
Pontius Pilate–although he’s only a peripheral character. I was always struck by the lengths he went to “rescue” Christ. He had no good reason to do so. An individual life, especially from a conquered people, was not considered valuable then in the way it is today. Despite that fact, Pilate went to some trouble to save the life of a “nobody,” risking his own position in the process.
 
If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Rock and Roll.


What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?  
That’d be telling.
 
What is your strangest habit?
Chewing the inside of my lip when I’m thinking.
 
What is your favorite season of the year?
Fall – I’ve been around the world, but there’s no place better to be in the Fall than Western Pennsylvania.
 
What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
Any and every Christmas day right up to when I left for the Army.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Answering personal questions.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Stuffed Chicken (stuffing in the bird, no bread crumb casseroles, please) with mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and hot rolls.


Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?   Christians acting as salt and light in a fallen world.
 
Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
John 3:16. It’s been my favorite verse since childhood and though others were important in different seasons of life, that’s the one that stands the test of time.


Buy his book at:

Website:
http://josephmaxlewis.com/

For Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6467151.Joseph_Max_Lewis

For Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joseph-Max-Lewis/390366621022306


About Max:
Joseph Max Lewis served as a member of an Operational Detachment in the U.S. Army's Seventh Special Forces Group, the storied Green Berets. During his service Lewis received antiterrorist training and his detachment was tasked to "Special Projects." Afterward, he served as an instructor at the Special Forces Qualification Course. Lewis attended the Pennsylvania State University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the University of Tel Aviv in Israel, and the University of Pittsburgh, receiving degrees in International Politics and Law while being certified in Middle East Studies.

After living and studying abroad, first in the Middle East and then Southeast Asia, Lewis returned home to practice law. He’s a columnist in the New Bethlehem Leader-Vindicator and currently lives, writes, and practices law in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



Max is giving away a copy of Diaries of Pontius Pilate. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.










Happy holiday Reading!
Caroline Brown


Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Diaries of Pontius Pilate by Joseph Max Lewis



http://www.josephmaxlewis.com/.cm4all/mediadb/.Diaries-Commercial.mpg/video.mp4

 

Book description and reviews:

THE DIARIES OF PONTIUS PILATE

The Diaries of Pontius Pilate opens when a member of an archeological team is murdered along the shores of the Dead Sea. We learn that the murderer and victim are both spies, observing the expedition and grappling with the fact that the team has just discovered some controversial artifacts.
In fact, Archeologist Kevin Elliot and his Deputy, Jill Gates, have unearthed twenty copper scrolls etched with the results of Pontius Pilate’s year long criminal investigation into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They manage to open one scroll far enough to take a series of digital photographs of the etchings. Unaware of the scrolls content, they email the photos to a Professor of Ancient Latin for translation. The Archeologists are unprepared when they’re caught between an ancient conspiracy of global power that’s determined to destroy the scrolls and everyone connected to them, and a small, fledgling volunteer group, the only force on earth that stands between Kevin, Jill and certain death.

Advance Praise for: The Diaries of Pontius Pilate

"Lewis has written a nail-biting thriller that jumps into action on page 1 and doesn't stop until you reach the back cover. Don't open this book unless you're sitting in a comfortable chair with good reading light, because you won't want to move." - Thom Lemmons, Christy award winning author of Jabez: A Novel, and Blameless.

“Pontius Pilate’s diaries . . . would rock the world if discovered today . . . Lewis’s characters are muscular, violent, dedicated . . . and faithful . . . Good and evil remain at war . . . while an archaeologist possessing Pilate’s scrolls is hunted down - Denny Bonavita, Editor and Publisher, Courier-Express / Tri – County Sunday (McLean Publishing Co. - Pennsylvania).

“Joe Lewis and The Diaries of Pontius Pilate tantalize . . . as did “Raiders of The Lost Ark”. . . The archaeologists who discovered the Diaries travel through a gauntlet . . . to bring those records to the public. Don’t wait: . . . follow them in their quest!” Major Anthony F. Milavic, U.S.M.C. (Retired) and founder of MILINET.



Buy It:
www.amazon.com
www.barnesandnoble.com



Chapter 1

Dead Sea, Israel, 10:30 p.m.
His target was one of the most dangerous men alive, but the killer told himself he held the advantage.

| Click here to read more |



About the Author

Joseph Max Lewis served as a member of an Operational Detachment in the U.S. Army's Seventh Special Forces Group, the storied Green Berets. During his service Lewis received antiterrorist training and his detachment was tasked to "Special Projects." Afterward, he served as an instructor at the Special Forces Qualification Course. Lewis attended the Pennsylvania State University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the University of Tel Aviv in Israel, and the University of Pittsburgh, receiving degrees in International Politics and Law while being certified in Middle East Studies.

After living and studying abroad, first in the Middle East and then Southeast Asia, Lewis returned home to practice law. He’s a columnist in the New Bethlehem Leader-Vindicator and currently lives, writes, and practices law in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



Max is giving away a copy of Diaries of Pontius Pilate. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


 
 
 
 
 
 
Happy Holiday Reading!
Caroline Brown

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Weekly Winners


Welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft.

Before we announce the winners we’d like to offer a special thank you to Margaret Daley who offered her book Christmas Stalking
Thanks go to Jude Urbanski who offered her book Nurtured in Purple.
And thanks to Kinnie Kindig who offered her book Trinity


And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:

Jackie Smith has won Margaret Daley’s book Christmas Stalking
cjajsmommy has won Jude Urbanski’s book Nurtured in Purple.
And Lane Hill House has won Kinnie Kindig’s book Trinity

Winners, it's your responsibility to contact me  sharonalavy {at} gmail {dot} com) with your address so the author can send you a book. 

Subscribing by email will ensure you don't miss the winners list. ;-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Carole Towriss Visits the Loft

Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, writes, watches chick flicks and waits for summertime to return to the beach. Her first novel, In the Shadow of Sinai, released November 1. 
Hello, Carole, thanks for visiting with us. Is there a story behind your new release, In The Shadow of Sinai

Bezalel’s name means “in the shadow of God.” It was a circuitous route, and it wasn’t the first title.

Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why? 

Kamose is the captain of the guard in Ramses’s palace and his personal guard. Originally he was to die in Egypt, but so many of my crit partners loved him, I kept him alive and brought him along in the escape from Egypt! Now he is the hero on Book Two.

We'd like to learn a little more about you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I’ve been married for 29 years, and we have four children. Our oldest, Emma, just started college where she is earning her BFA in photography. Our younger three were adopted from Kazakhstan. They are 13, 11 and 11—the last two are four weeks apart. We have the most chaotic house, but it’s also a lot of fun.
What is your favorite season of the year?  

My favorite season is summer. I love to go to the beach. We go to Bethany Beach each year.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? 

I absolutely dread making phone calls. I would rather email or do it online I just hate making appointments or doing tasks by phone.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about? 

The message of Sinai is the sovereignty of God. Bezalel has to learn to accept what God has done in his life, good and bad, and there are some pretty bad things. But the trials in our lives often have a purpose, even when we can’t see it. Bezalel’s grandfather tells him, “You can trust God, or be blown about like a leaf in the wind.”


When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? 

I’ve basically finished the second book of the series—it just needs editing. It’s called By the Waters of Kadesh, and it picks up where Sinai leaves off. Many of the same characters are in it. It’s the story of the spies who go into Canaan, especially one of the ten who come back and say, “We can’t take the land.” I wanted to explore why they would say that.

Connect with Carole at:





In The Shadow of Sinai: Bezalel is a Hebrew slave to Ramses II. An artisan of the highest order, Ramses has kept him in the palace even when all other Israelites have been banned. Bezalel blames El Shaddai for isolating him from his people.

When Moses and Aaron appear one summer, and El Shaddai shakes Egypt to its core, Bezalel must reexamine his anger. Over the course of the next year, Bezalel’s life becomes intertwined with those of an Egyptian child-slave, the captain of the guard, and especially a beautiful, young concubine.

When spring arrives, all of them escape with the young nation of Israel. But that’s only the beginning…


Carole Towriss is giving away a copy of In The Shadow of SinaiTo be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your e-mail address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.

Read wherever you wander.
The Wandering Writer,

Monday, November 26, 2012

In The Shadow of Sinai - Carole Towriss

Bezalel is a Hebrew slave to Ramses II. An artisan of the highest order, Ramses has kept him in the palace even when all other Israelites have been banned. Bezalel blames El Shaddai for isolating him from his people.

When Moses and Aaron appear one summer, and El Shaddai shakes Egypt to its core, Bezalel must reexamine his anger. Over the course of the next year, Bezalel’s life becomes intertwined with those of an Egyptian child-slave, the captain of the guard, and especially a beautiful, young concubine.

When spring arrives, all of them escape with the young nation of Israel. But that’s only the beginning…

About the author: 

Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, writes, watches chick flicks and waits for summertime to return to the beach. Her first novel, In the Shadow of Sinai, released November 1. You can find her at www.CaroleTowriss.com.



EXCERPT:


Chapter One
Pi-Ramses, Egypt
Late 13th Century BC 
First month of Ahket, Season of Inundation

   The crash of the drum echoed in Bezalel’s ears as he slipped out from behind his pedestal on the portico and hastened to the throne room. He dared not risk the penalty for being late—again. His tunic still stuck to his wounds from the last beating and ripped them open whenever he moved the wrong way.
   He dropped to the cold limestone floor on one knee and lowered his head, raising it just enough to watch pair after pair of bare feet shuffle west toward the dais. The heavy scent of perfumed oil stung his nose.
   The old king ascended his throne as the bare-chested attendants silently lined the walls on either side of the spacious hall then turned toward their sovereign and bowed low.
   This daily routine was absurd, pretending that Ramses was a god. He was no more a god than Bezalel was, although Bezalel couldn’t say that El Shaddai was doing him much good at the moment either. In fact, he seemed utterly incompetent. Or callous.
   Bezalel rose. From the tiled hall that led beyond the throne room to the private quarters beyond the dais, he heard the jingling of bracelets and anklets. A young girl emerged from the entryway be- hind a number of women who had no doubt dressed her, perfumed her, painted her face, and adorned her with the excessive jewelry of a concubine.
   She was roughly twenty strides away. As she neared he saw she was Egyptian and quite young, several years younger than he—perhaps no more than fourteen. A vague scent of jasmine hung in the air.
   She glanced at Bezalel as she passed and his mouth went as dry as the desert surrounding him. She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
   Even behind the heavy kohl he grasped the misery in her eyes. His chest constricted in a way he had never felt before and an inexplicable urge to grab her and pull her away from the group overwhelmed him. The king used to take consorts often. Why was she different?
   Guards led her to the center of the room. The other girls retreated to the rear. She knelt and bowed low to the king, her head nearly touching the floor.
   Bezalel’s face grew hot and his breathing became shallow.
   The girl—for though she was to be a consort, he could hardly call her a woman—stood.
   Ramses stepped off the dais and walked stiffly toward her. He circled her like a vulture, looking her up and down. He lifted her chin with his wrinkled hand and studied her face. Her shoulders tightened beneath his touch.
   Bezalel’s hands curled into fists. The others had seemed more than willing to become part of his harem. Why take one by force?
   “She is acceptable. Take her to my chambers.”
A guard grasped the girl’s arm and started toward the hallway.
   She stumbled along behind him.
“N—!” Bezalel rushed toward her, but a harsh yank on the neck of his tunic cut off the word as well as his progress. He spun around, putting his hands to his neck and choking.
   An older man came toward him, scowling. “Bezalel!”
   Forcing his breathing to slow, Bezalel glanced sideways at him then looked at the floor. He put his hand to his throat again and winced.
   “Bezalel, you are under my protection here, but I cannot save you from your own foolishness.” “But Ammon, did you see her? She is but a child!”
   “And he is Pharaoh! Her age is irrelevant. He can marry an infant if he wishes.” The man’s voice softened. “You are lucky I was here to stop you.”
   Bezalel sighed and turned back toward the private hallway. His stomach revolted as the guards led the girl into the elderly king’s private rooms. He closed his eyes and tried to shut out his own imagination.
   Ammon put a hand on Bezalel’s shoulder and led him away. The man looked older than the last time Bezalel had seen him. His paunch had grown, and almost all of his hair had disappeared. Sunlight bounced off the large jeweled ankh hanging around his neck.
   “Why don’t you show me what you’ve been working on while I’ve been gone?”
   They strolled toward the long, narrow portico that ran along the back of the throne room. Pillars separated the two areas, and the east side of the portico opened onto a large, airy courtyard that let in the sunlight for most of the day, making the portico an excellent place for the artisans to work. Beyond the courtyard, the Nile rushed toward the sea.
   They neared a pedestal that stood on the north end of the long workspace.
   “Used to people watching you work yet?” Ammon chuckled as he removed a cover from a sculpture nestled in a sandbag.
   “That is why I am here, isn’t it?” Bezalel turned up one side of his mouth.
   “Ah, finally a smile! Or at least the start of one.”
   “Do you like it?” Bezalel searched his teacher’s face for approval as the man scrutinized the work. He craved the old man’s blessing, even after all these years.
   Ammon nodded. “It’s a lovely beginning. What a stunning piece of alabaster!” He drew his hand over the stone. “You’ve only roughed out the face, I see.”
   “I started the eyes yesterday. I love that part—they bring the life out.” Bezalel rubbed his thumb over the beginnings of an eye.
   “You always did. Come, Bezalel, let us go to your workroom.” Bezalel followed his teacher back across the portico toward a whitewashed hall. Opposite it, on the other side of the throne room, the corridor to the private areas extended west. This hallway ran east and contained workrooms and storerooms. Ammon opened a door and entered Bezalel’s room. He pulled a high stool away from a large table and sat down with a sigh. A large, south-facing window set high up on the wall showered sunlight on the table. A bed hugged the wall under the window. Bezalel grabbed two cups from a shelf and filled them with pomegranate juice.
   “I didn’t know you were back from Memphis already.” He handed Ammon a cup.
   “I returned last night. I intended to see you this morning, after my visit with the king.”
   “You already saw him?”
   “Yes. Bezalel, I am afraid I have some news you will not like.” He looked down at his cup and traced the rim with his finger. “I am leaving here. I will no longer be a craftsman for the king. Ramses has awarded me a plot of land ... and I am going to live on it.”
   Bezalel furrowed his brow. Surely he didn’t mean right now. “What about the Colossi?”
   Ammon drained his cup. “They are far enough along to be finished without me. And the trips to Memphis are too hard on me anymore.”
   Bezalel sank to a stool. Air left him as if he’d been punched in the gut. “But why?”
   “I am old, Bezalel. You can’t see it because you love me. But I am old and tired.” He stretched the fingers of one hand wide. “My hands ache all night after I carve for even a short time. My back hurts constantly.” He smiled. “But I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed I would. The Colossi are my greatest work, my legacy. There is nothing left for me to do.”
   
Bezalel set his cup on the table, stood, and walked toward the door. He whirled around to face Ammon. “But there is always more to do! Ramses needs you. I need you! You can’t leave.” He spread out his arms.
   “You don’t need me.”
   
Bezalel’s head spun. How could Ammon do this to him? “I do! You are all I have...almost. I have lived in this palace since my eighth summer. You have always been here for me. I have been with you more than my own parents!”
   Ammon put down his cup and twisted in his seat. “Yes, I know. And I have loved you like a son, even though you are a slave and a Hebrew. I have trained many artisans, but I have not loved any of them as I have loved you. None of them lived with me here as you have. But it has been twelve years and now you are grown. You are a man. I haven’t even been around much for the last three years, and you have done very well. I heard about you even in Memphis.”
   “And Ramses is willing to let you go?” “He has you. He knows of you and your work, which is the only reason you were not severely punished just now.”
   “But I cannot compare to you!”
Ammon stood and crossed the room. He put his hands on Bezalel’s shoulders. “My boy, I have taught you—and you have mastered—everything I know. And before me, you exhausted the knowledge of three other teachers. You have surpassed us all.”
   Bezalel closed his eyes and sighed deeply. This could not happen. There must be a way to change Ammon’s mind.
   “I have always felt you had a special ability. There have only been a few who can work with so many materials. None had your creativity. Your work decorates many rooms in this very palace, even the king’s own rooms. I believe Ptah has blessed you.”
   Ptah. Bezalel shifted his weight at the mention of the Egyptian god. Why did Ammon always have to bring him up? Bezalel might be angry with Shaddai, but that didn’t mean he worshipped Egypt’s false deities.
   Ammon sighed. “I know you do not worship our gods. You have your own gods—”
   Bezalel frowned.
   
“No matter.” Ammon took a deep breath. “I have to leave you now. I doubt I will see you again. My new home is too far away to come here often.”
   Bezalel wrapped his arms around his teacher. He closed his eyes tightly against the tears.
   After several moments Ammon pulled away gently, his eyes moist as well, and laid his hands on Bezalel’s face. “Know that you will always be in my heart. And I look forward to hearing many good things about you.” His voice was soft.
   He opened the door and left.
   Bezalel stared at the empty doorway. Emptiness filled his heart. Just knowing Ammon was there—even if “there” was far away in Memphis—had always been a comfort. Now he was on his own. Alone.
   His ability had given him an easier life in the palace, but it had taken him away from home. He knew precious few people in the village other than his family, whom he saw only once a week at most.
   Almost all of the Israelites thought of him as a traitor—as if he had a choice of where to work. Now his closest, perhaps only, ally was gone. How would the new chief craftsman treat him?
   He walked to the table and reached for his cup. He held it for a few moments then sent it sailing. Red juice exploded onto the wall and trickled down in rivulets as it made its way to the shattered cup. Then he did the only thing he knew to do, the only thing that gave him pleasure. He left his room to return to his art.

Book Trailer for In The Shadow of Sinai

Purchase Books at:

Amazon.com 

Barnes and Noble.com 


Carole Towriss is giving away a copy of In The Shadow of SinaiTo be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your e-mail address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.

Read wherever you wander.
The Wandering Writer,

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dead Wrong by Susan Sleeman



As often happens with my plots, I came upon the germ of an idea for Dead Wrong plot while reading news stories on the Internet. The article that sparked the idea talked about people who keep cell phone accounts for loved ones who had died active so they can call the loved one’s voicemail to hear their voice. As usual, my mind took a weird twist and I asked the question, what if when the grieving loved one called the phone number someone answered the phone? In Dead Wrong, a woman does just that. Mourning the loss of her brother who committed suicide, she calls the voice mail and a man answers. She knows it’s not her brother on the end of the line, but she’s long thought her brother wouldn’t end his own life, and she’s now certain that the man who answered the phone is her brother’s killer. She hires the Justice Agency to find the man who possesses her brother’s phone.

--Susan Sleeman

BLURB:



When her client and old college friend is murdered, P.I. Kat Justice knows the killer will come for her next. Her survival depends on finding her unknown enemy first…and working with homicide detective Mitch Elliot, her onetime crush.

It’ll take all her professional skills to ignore the sparks between them, but Kat can’t allow the handsome cop to get close. She’s seen too many people she loves die, so she vows just to do her job without getting emotionally involved. Yet keeping her distance may not be the best way to protect her heart—or their lives.

Excerpt:
 


Dead Wrong - Chapter One

   Something was wrong. Seriously wrong.
   Kat Justice flipped the light switch again. Once. Twice. Three times. Click, click, click.
   Nothing.
   She held her breath and listened. No hum from the refrigerator on the other side of the wall. No bubbling of the aquarium. She couldn’t even hear the heater that should be running on this unusually cold Oregon day. Just silence, pulsing in the dark.
Someone had cut the power to Nancy’s house. Were they still here, hiding in the murky shadows? Should she continue going forward or back out of the house?
   A fresh wave of concern sent a shiver down her back.
   “Easy, Kat,” she whispered as she often had when she’d served on the Portland police force. But calming her nerves wasn’t so easy anymore. Not since she’d left the force to work as a private investigator in the family agency. Now she rarely faced danger.
   But this new case was different. A man had followed her friend Nancy home. She feared it had to do with her brother Nathan’s recent death. She believed he’d been murdered.
   Kat had told Nancy to call 911, but the police weren’t here. Had Nancy been unable to make the call? After finding the house dark, Kat called 911 herself, but she couldn’t stand outside and wait for them to rescue Nancy. She had to protect her friend at all costs.
   Gun in hand, she slowly set off, putting one foot in front of the other and hugging the dining room wall to make herself less of a target. Her heart thumped wildly as she felt her way to the kitchen doorway.
   “Nancy,” she whispered.
   No response. She took another step, sliding her foot along the floor. It thudded into something soft yet solid. She knelt down and felt along the floor. A leg. A jean clad female leg.
   Her breath hitched in her lungs as she moved toward the spicy scent of her friend’s signature perfume.
   “Nancy?” she whispered again, fear ripping open her heart.
   She located her friend’s neck and checked her pulse.
   None.
   For a moment, she could only sit in horror. Nancy was dead. Her old college friend, the woman she’d just reconnected with after seven years was gone. Kat had failed her.
   No, God, no. Not this. Not Nancy.
   A sound drifted through the darkness. The barest of sounds like a whisper. Kat held her breath and listened. Soft footfalls. One then another, moving on carpet in the next room. Step after slow step. Heading her way.
   He’s still here.
   Hands trembling, she jerked back against the wall.
   Think, Kat. Think.
   She couldn’t help Nancy now. She needed to retreat to safety and then apprehend the killer if she could do so safely.
   She searched the shadows, straining her eyes. Darkness and more darkness split only with a slice of light from the open doorway. She heard the sound again. Slow yet stealthy. He was closer now. She had to move. If she sat here, she’d die.
   She stayed low, crossed the room and followed the wall retracing her steps toward the door. She glanced around the corner.
   A hulking male stood in a shadow cast from a streetlight. Dressed all in black with a ski mask covering his face, he closed the door behind his back, plunging them into complete darkness.
   “So glad you could join our little party.” His voice was low and gravelly, yet oddly excited.
   Her mouth went dry, and her throat tightened, cutting off her air. She had to get out of there.
   The back door.
   She rose and backed away, tripping over Nancy. Her arms flailed in the air searching for anything to break her fall. Her fingernails scratched down a wall, but she couldn’t grab hold. She landed with an oomph next to her friend. Her gun slipped out of her hand and skittered across the wood floor.
   She turned over. The moon broke free of heavy cloud cover. Shivery light filtered through the window making her assailant look otherworldly. Large, muscular he took slow measured steps as if he had all the time in the world.
   Father, please. Don’t let me die. The prayer filled her mind, but panic dragged it away in a flash.
   Rolling over, she scrambled toward the kitchen.
His heavy footsteps followed, faster now. Clunk, clunk, clunk. Swift and sure. She felt him near her. Heard him breathing, raspy and harsh.
   She risked a peek behind. He was close, standing over her. She gave one more lunge into the kitchen, the back door only a few feet away now. She clasped the cool doorknob, but a hand shot out and grabbed her by the ponytail, jerking her head back and dragging her toward Nancy.
   “No!” she yelled and kicked, hair ripping from her head.
   He slammed a knee in her back, forcing her face down into the ice-cold tile. Air rushed from her lungs and she struggled to gain a breath as he caught both of her hands behind her back.
   “No,” she wheezed out and freed one. She grabbed for anything she could touch, connecting with latex gloves then reaching higher and clawing with her fingernails. Digging deep and hard.
   He swore and yanked her hand away, wrenching her arm and pinning it next to the other one. She bucked, but he was too strong. He bound her wrists. The slash of thick tape pulling from a roll the only sound besides the thudding of her heart echoing in her ears.
   Please, God! Please don’t let this happen!
   Hard fingers dug into her arms as he flipped her to her side then straddled her hips holding her in place with iron muscles. “You’ll pay for that scratch, Kat.”
   How did he know her name?
   “Do I know you?” she asked though she was certain she’d never heard his voice before.
   “Nancy told me all about you and your little part in this. So glad I can clean up all of her messes in one night.”
   He thought she’d discovered something about Nathan’s death, and he was going to kill her before she could act on it.
   “I don’t know anything,” she said filling her tone with as much conviction as she could, but it came out breathless and wispy.
   “You think I believe that?”
   “It’s the truth.”
   He bent low. Got in her face and laughed. Rumbling. Horrible. Sadistic. His breath was stale with cigarette smoke and mixed with cloying aftershave. For some reason that made it all abruptly real, and she realized she was about to die.
   Terror took hold. Terror beyond her wildest imagination. Her heart threatened to burst from her chest.
   “No.” She bucked harder, upsetting him for a moment.
   He had to grab the wall to steady himself. “Just like your friend. Fighting when you have no chance.”
   He drew back and sent his fist barreling into her face. She felt her nose give. Blood poured freely down her cheek and into her mouth, tasting metallic and thick. He laughed as he wedged a small flashlight under his arm then pulled an elastic cord from his jacket.
   “Nancy had no business talking with a private investigator. Your death is on her hands, not mine.” He aimed the light at her arm and secured the cord just above her elbow.
   He pulled something else from his pocket and held it up. The beam from his flashlight shone through it.
   A syringe!
   A sob rose in her throat, wild and desperate.
   “This is more fun that I thought it’d be,” he said thumping the vein at the bend of her elbow. “Don’t worry. You won’t feel a thing. You’ll just slip off to Never Never Land.”
   She looked up at his blistering, angry eyes, and prayed. Prayed for Nancy, dear sweet Nancy, but mostly, mostly she prayed he wouldn’t succeed in killing her, too.

  


DEAD WRONG CAN BE PURCHASED AT ANY BOOKSTORE WHERE LOVE INSPIRED BOOKS ARE STOCKED OR ONLINE AT AMAZON OR BARNES AND NOBLE. MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND BY VISITING THE AUTHOR AT:



Website           www.SusanSleeman.com
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Review Site     www.TheSuspenseZone.com

Susan Sleeman is giving away a copy of DEAD WRONG. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.


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