James M Jackson: Empty Promises

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James M. Jackson will be awarding the chance to name a character who will appear in FALSE BOTTOM (Seamus McCree #6) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.



Author Interview

1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?

I am an eclectic reader, but my first love is the mystery/suspense/thriller genre. When I decided to become an author, I figured I’d write the kind of books I like to read.

Empty Promises is the fifth book in the Seamus McCree series. I’m a pantser and with my novels, I usually find out what issue I’m writing about only after I complete the first draft. Seamus McCree has lived by the belief that his word is his bond. In Empty Promises I discovered I was exploring how he reacts after he takes a series of actions that increasingly conflict with his core values. Like most of us, he self-justifies his decisions, but as they accumulate, they begin to wear him down. His personal consequences are wrapped inside a page-turner of a story with all the twists and turns of a suspenseful thriller.

  1. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world?

I am the first born of three children. My sisters are five and ten years younger than I. To a considerable degree I reflect the first child syndrome: motivated to succeed, a need for control, something of a perfectionist, occasionally bossy, and boringly responsible.

In the Seamus McCree series, my understanding of these characteristics shows up in Paddy, Seamus’s son and only child. He displays all my characteristics, plus he’s always been comfortable in the adult world. Seamus has an older sister, but their father died when he was a youngster. As sometimes happens, he assumed the “male” role of the family at an early age, and so exhibits many of the characteristics traditionally thought of as first-born traits and few of the “baby in the family” traits. That he and Paddy are alike in many regards also means they can both be stubborn and at times overly sure of themselves.

  1. Where is your favorite place to write?

In the summer my study is in a second story loft that looks out a wall of windows through the trees and onto a small inland lake.

  1. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?

My dead darlings fall into two categories. Sometimes I write wonderful scenes that are cute or funny or provide social commentary. Usually around the third draft, I’ll realize they have only a passing relationship with the plot or character and don’t have requisite tension for a good scene. I hit the delete key and forget about them forever.

I use real places in my novels, and in early drafts I can wax poetic when describing a location. Sometimes I only realize I’ve gone overboard when my editor points it out. Then my task becomes choosing the salient points and letting the reader fill in the rest of the picture.

  1. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?

I’ve been lucky to meet many of my favorite living authors, so let’s assume I can meet Ben Franklin during a séance. I’ve admired Poor Richard’s Almanac, his Autobiography, and his letters to newspaper editors, so, there’s much I’d like to know. But since I’m entangled with the dynamics of the McCree family in my writing, I’d ask him why he never reconciled with his son, the loyalist governor of New Jersey who exiled himself to England after the Revolutionary War.

  1. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.

I don’t’ do heights. My theory is that if we were meant to be high above the ground in places where we could fall, we’d have wings.

  1. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a back pack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?

I want to live through this. I’m taking a charged pre-paid satellite phone with GPS tracking to call someone to come get me, a filled water bottle, and a water purifier to replenish my supply.

  1. If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be?

Here’s where my innate “ability” to look a gift horse in the mouth and worry about the negative consequences makes me shy away from the normal kinds of superpowers. However, I love being in new and interesting places and traveling can be a real hassle. I’ll accept the ability to safely teletransport myself and whoever I’m with to wherever I’d like to go.

  1. Favorite snack?

If I’m not careful I can eat a lot—I mean a lot—of trail mix.

  1. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit?

Sometimes I have no clue where I’m headed, but I’m still doing seven miles over the speed limit. Thanks for having me today, Danita.

Empty Promises

by James M. Jackson

GENRE:   Mystery/Suspense/Domestic Thriller



If you love the suspense and plot twists of domestic thrillers, this page-turner will be for you. Seamus McCree’s first solo bodyguard assignment goes from bad to worse. His client disappears. His granddog finds a buried human bone. Police find a fresh human body.

His client is to testify in a Chicago money laundering trial. He’s paranoid that with a price on his head, if the police know where he’s staying, the information will leak. Seamus promised his business partner and lover, Abigail Hancock, that he’d keep the witness safe at the McCree family camp located deep in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s woods.

Abigail is furious at his incompetence and their relationship flounders. Even his often-helpful son, Paddy, must put family safety ahead of helping his father. Seamus risks his own safety and freedom to turn amateur sleuth in hopes he can solve the crimes, fulfill his promise of protection, and win back Abigail. Wit and grit are on his side, but the clock is ticking . . . and the hit man is on his way.



Had Owen returned my call? Had Abigail found anything? Any word from Bartelle after Owen ratted me out? My phone claimed it had no voice or text messages. Sometimes the signal is so weak the phone doesn’t receive messages, so I brought the remainder of my drink to the deck, where the signal was strongest, and dialed voicemail. The sun-heated decking was uncomfortable on my bare feet. I shifted weight from foot to foot to minimize the discomfort and keyed in my password.

You have no messages at this time.

Back inside, I booted up the computer and checked email. Nothing relevant and no help for my situation.

I had a long, positive history with Sheriff Lon Bartelle. Was it strong enough for him to cut me some slack over my initially lying to him? Surely, the best way to tell him of my malfeasance was face-to-face. Like a man mounting the scaffold for his hanging, I forced leaden legs to return me to the deck. My call to Bartelle brought the information that he was in the office but not available to come to the phone.

I put Atty on a lead to do her business and then shut her in the house. “Sorry girl, I need to leave you home for this one. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

She trotted to the living room and, without a glance back, crawled onto the couch, where she didn’t belong. She pawed the throw pillow resting against one arm, knocking it flat, and stretched out, snuggling into the back of the couch and resting her head on the flattened pillow. Her eyes met mine and she grinned, as if to say, “What? I’m just following orders.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree series consisting of five novels and one novella. Jim splits his time between the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Georgia’s Lowcountry. He claims the moves between locations are weather-related, but others suggest they may have more to do with not overstaying his welcome. He is the past president of the 700+ member Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime. You can find information about Jim and his books at http://jamesmjackson.com. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and/or Amazon.






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S. B. Redstone on Tour: Stardust Dreams



S. B. Redstone will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


Abstract Image Of A Planet With Water. Find New Sources And Tech

Interview of Characters

In Part I of my romance novel, Stardust Dreams, Lance Forrester: scientist, astronaut, and dreamer who has terminal cancer is embarking on a one way journey into the galaxy to seek immortality. In his spacecraft, he will be cryogenically preserved for the long journey into his unknown future, hopefully to be saved by an advanced alien civilization. He has asked Sage Saint Charles, an old high school acquaintance, who is in hospice care, to join him. Once an actress and super bad girl of Hollywood, she became a social isolate. Lance’s compelling request has her following his dream.

After taking off on their secret quest, I am interviewing them on my radio show.

Dr. Forrester, where are you going?

“To seek our destinies in the stars.”

Could you clarify what you hope to achieve.

“Since childhood, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut and reaching distant alien civilizations like Flash Gordon. Now that I have terminal cancer, it was time for us to board my spacecraft, Forrester’s Folly, and soar into the unknown galaxy to fulfill our dreams. So far we are having a successful flight.”

What kind of spacecraft do you have? How did you keep this a secret?

“It’s an obsolete jumbo jet that was redesigned for space flight. And keeping it a secret was no easy task. I had a secret ranch in New Mexico.”

Why was the air force trying to shoot you down?

“A stupid misunderstanding. They thought I was a traitor, selling aerospace parts to our enemies. It’s been clarified and all is forgiven.”

Distant stars are really far away. How will you reach them? How will you survive the journey?

“Sage and I are going to be cryogenically preserved. Our bodies will not deteriorate further. And Forrester’s Folly has engines that will have us attain great speed.”

What technology have you invented?

“That’s a secret. As I said the rocket technology will allow to attain great speed, but in the hands of the military or terrorists, it could become a weapon of mass destruction. I can’t let that happen. That’s why I’ve destroyed all evidence of its design and nature.”

How do you know you’ll find these aliens?

“Oh, I have great faith that we’ll be found. The galaxy, as in all galaxies, in all universes, must be teeming with life. It’s been a belief of mine that whatever power or powers created these wondrous universes would not have done so, if no one would be present to see creation. It would be a pointless exercise. Think of making a movie without any audiences. It would be silly. And that’s why I believe an advanced alien civilization will see our light show, and when they do, they’ll bring us back to life.”

Let’s agree that you’ll be successful. Will you ever return to Earth in the far off future?

“I don’t know. Forrester’s Folly has not been designed for a return trip. So, if friendly aliens find us and return us, that will be one further miracle.”

Ms. Saint Charles how do you feel about all this?

“Help! I’m being abducted by a mad scientist! Only kidding folks. I can only say that Lance promised me one helleva ride into outer space and he kept his promise. He’s an amazing man. We have a bet. If we wake up on some crazy planet and they’re bloodthirsty monsters, they eat him first.”

Have you taken copies of your films with you?

“We have a spaceship full of Earth culture. Even Lance’s golf clubs.”

What are your hopes?

“I’m not as optimistic as Lance. In truth, I think we’re going to die in space. But that doesn’t matter. Only dreams matter now. And he’s made me a dreamer. Should I get a second chance of living life over again—well, I’ll think about it then.” 

Is there anything you’d like to say to the people of Earth?

“Yes I do. Take care of my planet. From up here in space it looks so lonely and isolated. And it wasn’t put here for all of you to destroy. You have no right to do that.”

“I agree. If you destroy your only home, you have no other. Future generations, my grandchildren of many generations, deserve a chance for life and happiness. So stop living for the moment. Stop caring about your narcissistic pleasures. Do all you can to reach the stars as we are doing. Come and explore the great unknown with us.”

Do you think you’ll meet God?

“Why not?” Sage answered me. “Lance says God wants us to find him. That’s why he’s given us the ability and intelligence to seek him. I don’t doubt him.”

Do you have people you wish to say good-bye to Dr. Forrester?

“All great endeavors entail sadness. I am already missing my family and all my friends. But, I believe, one day, should I return, I will meet my grandchildren of many generations. And that would be my greatest joy.”

And you Ms. Saint Charles?

“I have no one to say good-bye to.”

“Bon Voyage,” I said.

“So long from two dreamers. We love you all.”


Abstract Image Of A Planet With Water. Find New Sources And Tech Stardust Dreams

by S. B. Redstone



Lance Forrester is a dreamer. After a celebrated career as an astronaut and engineer, he and a friend build a secret spacecraft to seek their destinies in the stars. But his friend dies and Lance is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Desperate not to succumb to his fate, he convinces an acquaintance, ailing actress Sage Saint Claire, whom he hasn’t seen since high school, to join him on his quest to reach an advanced alien civilization which can heal them both.

Unfortunately, true life is not a Hollywood movie, as much as Sage might want it to be, and problems abound. Mistakes in the past have turned Sage into a bitter old woman, and she turns out to be a less-than-perfect traveling companion which no amount of optimism, youth, or good health can cure. Can these two intrepid octogenarians-turned-immortals overcome the emotional scars of their pasts and achieve true happiness, or are they doomed to suffer for their mistakes, no matter how far from Earth they go?



I knew that the truth in my heart reflected in my old, weary eyes. “Yes, I do. Look, I’m no slick-talking salesman, as you can see. I’m just a scientist and engineer, but I truly believe there is a statistical probability of success. But even if I’m wrong, and our voyage ends up to be pointless, so what? Think of the fun you’ll have. Imagine the excitement and wonders of space travel that come before our long sleep.”

I paused to dramatize my resolve and let a burst of quixotic energy erupt from me. “Cherish the adventure!”

It wasn’t her fears that I was battling against, but a lifetime of distrust. My confidence in a successful mission collapsed.

“Of course, you have no reason to believe a word of what I’ve told you. You don’t really know me, except through my noted accomplishments. But I can’t disappoint you because I’m only offering friendship and hope.” I pushed my point harder.

“Sure, we can die here on Earth. We can die in space. Or we can awaken on a remote and caring world that saves us! We are the captains of our fate, not the Grim Reaper—yet!”


AuthorPhoto_StardustDreamsAuthor Bio and Links:

Steven Rosenstein, penname S. B. Redstone, had a career as a school psychologist and private practice Licensed Clinical Social Worker on Long Island. Always seeking the truths of human nature, he wrote a personal improvement book, Taming Your Inner & Outer Bullies: Confronting Life’s Stressors And Winning, published by New Horizon Press Books. He has written articles on human nature and relationships, given lectures, and appeared on radio shows. Always having a vivid imagination, he first became a successful writer of short stories. His mystery thriller, A Sinister Obsession, was published by Black Opal Books. As an expert in the field of human psychology, he has an exceptional ability to develop realistic and exciting characters in his novels. Many of my characters have been taken from his clinical experiences. Stardust Dreams is his first romance novel, although romantic relationships stand out in his other works. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Org and Romance Writers of America. He resides with his wife in New York and Florida.


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R. Scott Mackey on Tour: Courage Resurrected



R. Scott Mackey will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


Author Interview

1. Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author. I’m persistent as hell. I’m not sure where that comes from, maybe my dad, or maybe from playing competitive sports through my youth and into college. Even when I’m most discouraged, within 24 hours I try to get back out there, whether it’s pitching a book for sale or review, or developing the next big idea.

2. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you? I very consciously decided to write in the mystery/suspense genre. I read a lot of mysteries and felt that is where I could do some very good work. It’s a very competitive genre, but I firmly believed that if the work was high quality if would be appreciated by readers. So far that’s held true with all of the Ray Courage books.

3. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter? I’m a plotter. I outline my novels meticulously. And then I deviate from the outline, sometimes quite a bit. But having an outline lets me know that I can get from beginning to end without any stumbling blocks. My current book, Courage Resurrected, is quite complicated. Without an outline I would have driven myself crazy trying to keep everything straight.

4. Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline? Yes, but only in the sense of those being common fears most of us have. In Courage Resurrected, Ray must stare down and defeat some scary people. I’ve never been in that situation, but I tried to put myself into Ray’s shoes and have him react emotionally in ways that I might.

5. Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you? Sometimes it can feel overwhelming. For me I prioritize everything then work as hard as I can to complete the highest priority items before they are due. As an Indie Author, I have to wear a lot of hats. Writing is only part of what I need to do to be successful. I work closely with a book formatter, cover designer, editor and proofreader. I need to give some love now and again to my website as well as to social media. There’s a lot to pay attention to and I feel that I’m getting better at balancing all of the components.

6. Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention? I’m ashamed to say it but if I was put into many of the scenes Ray Courage was put in in my books it would be a disaster. I have written Ray as a common person. He’s in his fifties, can’t punch out people or withstand much physical violence. He has to escape certain situations using his smarts and his guile. I’m not so sure I could be as successful as he is in doing that. For example, when he is in the park meeting the crazy girl and Mastrov’s men chase him, Ray is able to accomplish what I could never do.

  1. Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without. I do ninety percent of my writing at my desk in my home office. When I’m not writing there I go to a local coffee bar about a quarter mile from my house. I haven’t recently, but I used to order one of their fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. They’re about six inches in diameter, warm and gooey on the inside, and just about unbeatable with a cup of their French roast.

8. Writing inspirations? Everyday life. I like to observe people and places.  I don’t journal anymore, but I take a lot of mental notes about people I encounter and how something about them might work its way in to a character in my books. Same with settings and locales.

  1. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them? This is a tough question because I like so many different authors for so many different reasons. Because I also am interested in non-fiction storytelling, I would like to meet Laura Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit and Unbreakable. I would really like to know how she does her research, how she organizes it, and then uses it to create such seamless stories that read like fiction.

10. I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t. I can’t watch a television show or movie without trying to out-think the writer. Most of the time I figure out the story outcome before the writer wants us to. It’s not because I’m smart, it’s because I’m looking at the story through a writer’s eyes, not that of a typical viewer. I used to announce these revelations midway through the story, much to the chagrin of friends and family. I still do the story analysis and try to one up the writer, but I’ve learned to bite my tongue and not spoil things for anyone watching the show or movie with me.



Courage Resurrected

by R. Scott Mackey


Ray Courage’s wife Pam died thirteen years before in a car accident. Or did she? Ray’s world is turned upside down when he receives a series of e-mails from someone claiming to be his dead wife, accusing him of attempting to kill her and vowing revenge. Ray sets out to find the identity of the e-mailer only to discover the circumstances of his wife’s apparent death appear to be all but accidental.

Soon Police Detective Carla Thurber comes to suspect Ray of killing his wife, and of a subsequent murder of Pam’s confidant. Meanwhile, a murderous predator who does not want the facts of Pam’s death to surface aims to stop Ray. In the greatest challenge of his life, Ray must outrun the police and elude those who are out to kill him as he seeks the truth about his wife’s death.



Walter Heffner told police that night that he thought an airliner had crashed on the road in front of his house, the sound so deafening, the eruption of flames so huge that only an object that large moving that fast could explain it. By the time he put on his shoes and coat he saw what was left of a car straddling the center stripe of the two-lane country road, the heat from the fire so great that he could not get within a hundred feet.


AuthorPhoto_CourageResurrectedAuthor Bio and Links:

Scott Mackey lives in Northern California, where he writes both fiction and non-fiction. His first book, Barbary Baseball, achieved critical acclaim from baseball historians for its quality research and writing. He followed that with two young adult novels. His popular Ray Courage Mystery Series includes Courage Begins, Courage Matters, and Courage Resurrected. The fourth book in the series, Courage Lies Beneath, is scheduled for release later in 2015.

Scott’s career arc has included stints as a corporate communications manager, college professor, copywriter, bartender, and youth sports coach. In addition to obsessing over punctuation and grammar, he cares about his family (including his dog and cat), the San Francisco Giants, and his rather sad golf game.


Follow him:

Twitter: @smackey17

Facebook: Facebook.com/rscottmackey

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1tMtfF8
Web: rscottmackey.com

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Michael Sheldon on Tour: The Violet Crow

MBB_TourBanner_TheVioletCrow copy


Michael Sheldon will award a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter a $10 Amazon/BN gift card.




by Michael Sheldon


How do you solve the ultimate mystery, where the murder victim has no identity and there’s no physical evidence? You go psychic—deep psychic—and hire Bruno X. Sure, you’re going to have to put up with some Yiddish trash talk and recycled borsht belt shtick. But he’s the only one who can who can stop the crime spree in the ordinarily placid Quaker community of Gardenfield, New Jersey.

Follow Bruno X in Michael Sheldon’s fictional debut, THE VIOLET CROW as he fends off rabid journalists and feckless politicians; untangles webs of deceit in Professor Littlejohn’s Deviant Behavior 101 class; reveals why the Quakers are still fighting over decades-old military medical experiments; and finally, uncovers the secrets of the biotechnology firm whose symbol is The Violet Crow.



Introducing Gardenfield and Chief Buddy Black

The borough of Gardenfield is home to some 35,000 peaceful souls nestled in the friendly confines marked by Tiny’s Package Store to the north, the J. Kilmer Pub to the east, Lillian’s Tavern to the south, and the Tiki Lounge to the west. A Philadelphia suburb, it is a prosperous community with colonial roots and a variety of pretensions, including a prohibition on the sale of alcoholic beverages within Gardenfield proper. In fact, thirsty Gardenfielders simply have to drive past the town limits on any of the major roads, in order to enjoy a beer or a cocktail.

Buddy Black was not a drinking man by habit. Nor was he averse to dropping by a tavern from time to time, to see what the locals were up to and let off some steam after work. Tonight he made a beeline for Lillian’s. It had been a while. Lillian greeted him at the door. Rail thin and dyed blond, she appeared to be in her 60s and to subsist on nothing but whisky, cigarettes, and conversation. She welcomed Buddy with a hug. “Hi, hon. Nice to see you again. She’s expecting you.”

“How could she be expecting me? I only decided to come here 10 minutes ago.”

“We read the papers, too, y’know.”

“I’m that predictable…?” The Chief freed himself from Lil’s embrace and headed for the bar. “Daisy, did you really know I’d come here tonight?”

The woman behind the bar was dressed in tight jeans and a low-cut flower-print top. She was busy polishing a wine glass, and didn’t look up until she’d finished her task. Then she flashed a smile that was warmer than Lil’s rather spectral hug. “Buddy! I haven’t seen you since—what?—Bay of Pigs. It’s about time you came to see me.” Without asking she opened a bottle of Rolling Rock and set it down in front of the Chief.


MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheVioletCrowAuthor Bio and Links:

Michael was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey. His father was a dentist, which accounts for his sense of humor. His mother, a Jewish mother without peer, instilled in him the idea that the world doesn’t owe you a living—and a love of raw oysters and dry martinis. His training in the craft of storytelling came from reading the masters beginning with Chaucer and Rabelais, through Sterne, to MacDonald and Westlake.







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Tanya Anne Crosby’s Speak No Evil

Welcome Tanya Anne Crosby to the blog for a look at her first book in the No Evil series:


Speak No Evil (No Evil #1) by Tanya Anne Crosby

Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Categories: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Kensington

Release Date: March 7, 2013    Heat Level: Sensual    Length: 283 pages

Available at:  

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00AKI4IPU     B&N: http://bit.ly/1azcZk2

iTunes: http://bit.ly/17rjJcJ   Kobo: http://bit.ly/135V3Yz

 Tour link: http://www.cblspromotions.com/2013/08/booktour-speak-no-evil-no-evil-1-by.html



“Dangerously addicting. “-Sherrilyn Kenyon #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Crosby serves up suspense, secrets and Southern scandal like no one else! “ – Harlan Coben #1 New York Times bestselling author


Lifting the veil of secrecy on a grand Southern family in decline, New York Times bestselling author Tanya Anne Crosby explores the lives of Caroline, Augusta, and Savannah Aldridge, three sisters who share a dark past and an uncertain future…Caroline Aldridge was surprised by the number of mourners at her mother’s funeral. Evidently the newspaper heiress who had caused her children so much pain was well-loved by everyone else in Charleston. Now she was gone, leaving behind countless secrets–and a few demands: Caroline and her sisters must live together for one year or lose their inheritance. And Caroline must take over The Tribune. But a killer is making headlines, and Caroline may have unwittingly stepped into the crosshairs…

A series of kidnappings and murders resurrect the sisters’ memories of their brother’s disappearance as a child–and Caroline fears she may be next. Yet in the midst of her turmoil, she may be rekindling a romance she’d extinguished long ago. With Jack back in her life and the tattered bonds of sisterhood slowly mending, Caroline hopes the family can restore its position in Charleston society–unless a sinister force beyond their control tears them apart forever. . .




He took another swig of his Guinness and reached into his pocket to grab his cell phone. Three missed calls from Kelly. Zero from Caroline.

Then, again, he hadn’t expected Caroline to call. She was as prideful as her mother—damn her! Even ten years later, she wasn’t about to forget a stupid mistake. He set the phone down on the counter and drained his glass, eyeing the cell with some malice.

The bartender eyed him curiously. “Bad day?”

Jack shrugged. “Buried a friend,” he said.

And fought with the woman who somehow still managed to consume his thoughts even after all these years, but he didn’t offer up that part. It was nobody’s business.

Caroline was the sole reason he couldn’t settle down with Kelly, he realized. Every time he’d considered it, Caroline’s face popped into his head—like one of those annoying carnival games. He didn’t think that was the way it was supposed to be—married to one girl, obsessed with another.

There was nothing wrong with Kelly.

She just wasn’t Caroline.

“I’ll take another.”

Kyle nodded and complied.

Okay, so maybe as a description of the past several years, “obsessed” was a bit of an overstatement, because he had pretty much managed to put Caroline out of his head—except whenever life-changing decisions were about to be made. This minute, however, it was a full-on obsession, complete with phantom touches that were hijacking his body. Just seeing her had done that to him. It left him with a sense of longing that was acutely disagreeable, and he couldn’t shake it.

Eyeing the phone again, he considered calling her—just so he could stop thinking about her—and it dawned on him that she was probably the reason he had never changed his number. That thought had never even entered his brain before this moment, but he was pretty sure it was true. He wasn’t over her. Worse, he was afraid he was never going to be over her, and the thought of living his life in limbo made him feel like chain-smoking half a dozen packs of cigarettes right in front of her.

His cell phone rang and his heart thumped hard. Then he saw the number and felt the letdown: Kelly.

He couldn’t avoid her forever.

Draining his glass once more, he took out his wallet, paid the tab, grabbed his cell, and almost as an afterthought, reached into his pocket, digging out his last pack of cigarettes, still half full, and tossed them on the bar, then walked out. The phone stopped ringing, but he would call her back. Now that it was all clear in his head, he realized holding on wasn’t fair.

It was time to let go.


About the Author:

Tanya has written seventeen novels, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including the New York Times and USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor, and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two dogs and two cats in northern Michigan.


Connect with Tanya Anne Crosby

Email: tanya@tanyaannecrosby.com

Website: http://tanyaannecrosby.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tanyaannecrosby

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TanyaAnneCrosby

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