Friday, November 17, 2017

S.R. Mallery - GENTEEL SECRETS is featured in the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.

The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES S.R. Mallery's Book: GENTEEL SECRETS.

Author S.R. Mallery is the award-winning author who writes stories with authentic characters. Sarah writes Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, and Mysteries.

Genteel Secrets

Author: S.R. Mallery

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What do a well-bred Southern Belle and a Northern working class Pinkerton detective have in common? Espionage . . . and romance. At the start of the U.S. Civil War, while young men begin dying on American battlefields and slavery is headed toward its end, behind the scenes, female undercover work and Pinkerton intelligence are alive and well. But in the end, can this unlikely Romeo and Juliet couple’s love survive, or will they be just another casualty of war?



“The best portion of a good man’s life: his little nameless unremembered acts of kindness and love” ––William Wordsworth

James had had enough. His final medical exams finished, he was traveling home to New York soon, and the mere thought of drinking himself senseless with his graduating cronies seemed pointless somehow. Especially with all that was happening around the country in early 1861. In just Washington D. C. alone, he could see how much the city had changed since his arrival at the medical college the year before. And with the tall, lanky Lincoln newly elected, a tension was growing between his many Republican supporters and the few diehards who were quietly holding on to their southern sympathies.

Exhausted, James decided not to think of such matters this afternoon. With two pieces of leftover bread lodged in his pocket, he hurried along the streets to his favorite park bench. He chose to ignore the busy shopkeepers, the abolitionists handing out more potent leaflets, and the intermittent hammerings of the White House’s reconstruction.

No books, no note taking, no worrying about his future, this excursion was going to be his very own moment of peace and relaxation. He plunked himself down on a bench. Eyes closed, his face tilted up toward the sun beaming down its layer of warmth as he relished the calm after so many months of concentration and tension.

Soon, he became aware of another’s presence nearby and frowned. How dare someone invade his privacy at this park on this day, in his hour of need? He opened his eyes to spy on this person, this interloper. What he saw was a lovely girl sitting on the bench directly across from him. Absorbed in a book, she was obviously in her own world of words.

He could feel his heartbeat changing pace. No longer steady and slow, it was erratic and gathering speed at an alarming rate. When she casually lifted up her face to look at him, the rapid throbbing in his chest was threatening to take over his breathing. Her outfit spoke of generations of good breeding and money, yet her intelligent eyes hinted at something deeper, more original than the girls to whom he had been exposed.

He was riveted.

Tongue-tied, he sought a good way to best spark up a conversation. Nervously, he withdrew his thick wedges of breakfast bread and started breaking off tiny pieces to toss onto the ground in front of him. Immediately, the flutter of pigeon wings sounded as a group of three landed in front of him, eagerly pecking at the treats before them.

“Oh, my, what a delight!” The girl clapped her hands and laughed.

“May I try it as well?”

“Of course.” He stood up to make an approach. “Mind if I sit down?” For a split second, her eyes flashed wariness, but it was fleeting. He sat down at a respectable foot and one-half distance from her as more and more pigeons clustered around their feet. But when he handed over to her half of what was left of the bread, he quickly forgot about the pigeons and simply concentrated on her.

Up close, he analyzed her eyes. Visions of the complex tiger iron gems on his mother’s employer’s necklace so long ago came to mind. These girl’s eyes, these light brown ‘gems’––luminescent, unique––so reminiscent of the gems around the rich lady’s neck, drew him to her, clearing his brain of all else.

Unconsciously, they set up a mutual rhythm: a toss of a bread bit from him––peck, peck, peck––then a toss from her––peck, peck, peck, as the frenzy of birds gathering at their feet grew exponentially.

“See how earnestly their heads bob up and down!” She laughed.

He loved the deepness of her laugh. Not the weak giggle or titter of so many of the girls to whom he had been acquainted, but a surprisingly full, from-the-belly laugh that anchored him to her that much more.

Author: S.R. Mallery

Author Genre: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, Mystery

Website: S.R. Mallery's AND HISTORY FOR ALL
Twitter: @SarahMallery1
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Author Description: S.R. Mallery, Gold Medalist winner of the 2016 READER'S FAVORITE Book Awards for Anthologies and 2017 READERS' FAVORITE Gold medalist for Historical Fiction Personage, has been labeled nothing short of 'eclectic'. She has been a singer, a calligrapher, a quilt designer, and an ESL teacher. As a writer, History is her focus and is woven into her stories with a delicate thread. When people talk about the news of the day, or listen to music, Sarah's imagination likens the story to a similar kind of news in the past and is conjuring up scenes between characters she has yet to meet.

Author's Book List
Trouble In Glamour Town
Hollywood, 1926. Where actors’ and actresses’ dreams can come true. But do they? While silent screen movie stars reign supreme, a film producer is gunned down in cold blood. Enter Rosie, a pretty bit-player and her bitter, stage-mother, Beatrice. As real celebrities of the time, such as Clara Bow, Lon Chaney, Gloria Swanson, and Rudolph Valentino float in and out, a chase to find the killer exposes the true underbelly of Los Angeles––with all its corruption.

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Love in Times of War - Boxed Set Romance Bundle - 12 Romance Stories
At no other point is passion put to the test as in dire times of war. From the American Civil War to WWII, from Vietnam to the War in Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf, the stories in this boxed set summon the strength of true lovers. Written by bestselling, award-winning, and USA Today authors, the novels and novellas in this collection tell of overcoming the odds to celebrate the victory of love.

If you like Military Romance, Wounded Warrior Romance, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, or Romantic Suspense, this anthology invites you to triumph over the worst of conditions. Together with these unforgettable lovers, go through coping with loss, struggling with injuries and rehabilitation, and facing difficult homecomings. And just like them, inspired by desire, find the courage to bring forth the best in us.

Dancing with Air by Uvi Poznansky In WWII London, Lenny is involved in a covert intelligence ploy. His task must remain confidential, even at the risk of Natasha becoming suspicious of him. Will their love survive the test of war?

Two Hearts Unspoken by Tamara Ferguson Beth Bowen is a single mom of an autistic son. Zach Logan is a wounded warrior searching for a life after Iraq. Can two lonely people discover that love is that something unspoken, missing from their lives?

The Rebel's Redemption by Jacquie Biggar When an old enemy follows him from Iraq and causes mayhem in Tidal Falls, can Jared overcome the odds to protect the woman he's always loved?

Broken Wings by D.G. Torrens Joshua, a bomb disposal expert in Afghanistan. Angelina, an editor of a local newspaper. Both avoiding love at all costs, until they are unexpectedly thrown together. Tested beyond belief… Can their love survive?

A Soldier’s Promise by Angelica Kate Ryker is most comfortable in the regulated world of the military. When he is sent to Darby’s doorstep to keep a promise to one of his fallen team members, every rule he holds will be challenged!

Returning Home by the Sea by Traci Hall Brayden and Zoe wed before he went to Iraq. Once united in passion, a lot has changed in the six years he's been away. Will their love survive his homecoming?

A Weldon Family Christmas by Jennifer St. Giles A frightening event with an uncertain outcome sends Emma and John's memory to the past, where her helicopter went down in Vietnam enemy territory, and he risked everything to save her. Can she save him now?

The Magic of Snow by Regina Puckett When Staff Sergeant Charlie Prince’s letters stop arriving from Afghanistan, Sarah White waits in agonizing suspense to discover what has happened to the man she loves.

Mademoiselle by Suzanne Jenkins To Philipa, working at Mademoiselle Magazine is more important than anything, even love. Her friend, Walter, hopes for a change, but not until his trip to the Persian Gulf does she begin to listen to her heart.

Genteel Secrets by S.R. Mallery In 1861 America, can the love between a Confederate female spy and the Pinkerton detective hired to shadow her survive, or will their story become just another casualty of war?

Moving to Forever by PJ Fiala Danny Schaefer returns from Afghanistan broken in body, battered in soul. Tammy Davis, betrayed in a most personal way, struggles against her tormentor. She and Danny must help each other heal, by the power of love.

Lovin’ Those Navy Games by Susan Jean Ricci Michael Burke has two passions: his high-school sweetheart and baseball. When someone dear to him perishes in Vietnam, will the shock alter his future goals? Will it isolate him from Ellie or deepen their love?

Book Trailer: Love in Times of War

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The Dolan Girls
The Dolan Girls by S. R. Mallery has it all. Set in Nebraska during the 1800s, whorehouse madams, ladies of the night, a schoolmarm, a Pinkerton detective, a Shakespeare-quoting old coot, brutal outlaws, and a horse-wrangler fill out the cast of characters. Added to the mix are colorful descriptions of an 1856 land rush, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, Annie Oakley, bank/train robberies, small town local politics, and of course, romance. Two, in fact!

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Unexpected Gifts
A TRUE AMERICAN FAMILY SAGA: Can we learn from our ancestors? Do our relatives’ behaviors help shape our own?

In "Unexpected Gifts" that is precisely what happens to Sonia, a confused college student, heading for addictions and forever choosing the wrong man. Searching for answers, she begins to read her family’s diaries and journals from America’s past: the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and Timothy Leary era; Tupperware parties, McCarthyism, and Black Power; the Great Depression, dance marathons, and Eleanor Roosevelt; the immigrant experience and the Suffragists. Back and forth the book journeys, linking yesteryear with modern life until finally, by understanding her ancestors' hardships and faults, she gains enough clarity to make some right choices.

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Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads

2016 GOLD MEDAL WINNER of Reader's Favorite contest in Anthologies, these eleven short stories range from drug traffickers using hand-woven wallets, to a U.S. slave sewing freedom codes into her quilts; from a cruise ship murder mystery with a quilt instructor and a NYPD police detective, to a couple hiding Christian passports into a comforter in Nazi Germany; from an old Salem Witchcraft wedding quilt curse to a young seamstress in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; from a 1980's Romeo and Juliet romance between a Wall Street financial 'star' and an eclectic fiber artist, to a Haight-Ashbury love affair between a professor and a macramé artist gone horribly wrong, just to name a few.

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Curl up and enter the eclectic world of S. R. Mallery, where sad meets bizarre and deception meets humor; where history meets revenge and magic meets gothic. Whether it's 500 words or 5,000, these TALES TO COUNT ON, which include a battered women's shelter, childhood memories, Venetian love, magic photographs, PTDS fallout, sisters' tricks, WWII spies, the French Revolution, evil vaudevillians, and celebrity woes, will remind you that in the end, nothing is ever what it seems.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cathy Perkins – The Holly Price Mystery Series is featured at the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

Today the HBS Author's Spotlight is showcasing Author Cathy Perkins A Holly Price Mystery series. These are some of the BEST DEALS from outstanding Authors for the Kindle at Amazon.

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The Holly Price Mysteries

Author: Cathy Perkins

Author: Cathy Perkins
Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, Suspense

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Author Description:
An award-winning author, Cathy Perkins works in the financial industry, where she's observed the hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. She writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship aspect of her characters' lives. A member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America (Kiss of Death chapter) and International Thriller Writers, she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, handles the blog and social media for the ITW Debut Authors, and coordinated the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, the setting for CYPHER, HONOR CODE and THE PROFESSOR, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Double Down

A Holly Price Mystery Novella

Author: Cathy Perkins

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Murder isn’t supposed to be in the cards for blackjack dealer Maddie Larsson. Busted takes on a new meaning when her favorite customer, a former Poker World Tour champion, is murdered. His family claims—loudly and often—Maddie is the gold-digging murderer. She better prove she’s on the level before the real killer cashes in her chips.

If the victim’s body had been dumped five hundred yards up the road, Franklin County Sheriff’s Detective JC Dimitrak wouldn’t have been assigned to the Tom Tom Casino murder case. Instead, he’s hunting for suspects and evidence while dealing with a nemesis from the past and trying to preserve his own future. He better play his cards correctly and find the killer before an innocent woman takes the ultimate hit.

DOUBLE DOWN Excerpt – Meet Maddie Larsson

The group shuffled away and Maddie glanced at the remaining players. Fascinated shock splayed across the woman’s features. The last guy rose, winked and slid a chip toward her. His behavior flashed across her mind as he moved in the opposite direction from security. Purposeful but discrete, he walked with the same under-the-radar style he’d displayed at the gaming table. Now that she thought about it, he’d been counting cards as well, but using the more obvious, inexperienced guys for cover. She turned to signal security, glanced back, but the guy was already gone.

“Well. That was different.” The woman gathered her chips and also slid one forward for Maddie. “I think I’ll call it a night.”

Maddie smiled her thanks while scanning the casino for possible players. Having the entire table empty wasn’t the way to attract people. It screamed both “problem” and “cold table.”

The gamblers at the surrounding tables turned back to their cards, as if the scene were part of the evening entertainment. The other dealers kept their focus on their own tables. She wasn’t sure if it was deliberately distancing themselves from a train wreck or making sure their own charges weren’t cheating.

An empty table.

Keeping a warm smile pasted on her lips, she let her eyes drift over the crowd, looking for the pit boss. It was almost time for her break. She could use the rotation of dealers as a way to attract a new group of gamblers afterward. Just as she located the pit boss, a man dropped into one of the chairs.

“Daniel.” The warmth in her voice was real. The old man came into the casino often and always sat at her table.

He dropped some cash on the table.

Maddie tucked the currency into the drop box and pulled chips from the rack. As Daniel Kaufman place his first bet, she automatically slid two cards across the table and dealt her own.

A two and a ten for Daniel. She had a five showing. Her hole card was probably a face card. Not that she was counting or anything.

Daniel’s lucky charm appeared—a World Poker Tour championship chip. A nick marred the bold blue border surrounding the tour’s logo. A chip in the chip. Her smile broadened. An image of Daniel clenching the disc in his teeth, testing it like gold, immediately surfaced. One day she’d ask him how he’d damaged it.

He rolled the chip across his knuckles like a coin, then tapped the uppermost card. “Hit me.”

A five joined the twelve he had showing. With a laugh, he waved her off. “What do you have?”

She flipped over a queen to pair with her five, and then threw a seven to bust. She slid chips to Daniel and cleared the table. “You okay? What did you do to your eye?” A yellowing bruise marred the left side of his face.

Daniel sighed and looked away. His sigh ended in a deep cough, a rattling, rasping sound that would’ve made Maddie haul Caden into the pediatrician’s office. With Daniel’s cough, she would’ve called it a smoker’s cough—they still had too many smokers in the casino—except she knew Daniel didn’t smoke.

“It’s time for my break. I could use a soda. Come on. Join me.” Maddie signaled the pit boss. A moment later, another dealer stepped up to the table.

Maddie led the way to the snack bar. Minutes later, they were seated at a small table tucked into the far corner of the lounge. “What happened?”

“Why can’t that kid be more like his older brother? Or like you? Look at you. Working. Going to school and taking care of your son.”

“This isn’t about me. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine.”

He stared into his drink and swirled the scotch over the ice cubes.

She sipped her soda and waited, quietly studying the older man. Beyond the black eye, his color looked bad. Now that he was still, without the usual animation lighting his face, she noticed the fatigue and sheen of perspiration. “Is your insomnia kicking in?” teetered at the edge of her tongue.

“My youngest, Owen, hit me up for money again.” The words were abrupt. He still wasn’t looking at her.

She joined his wince at the word choice.

“I’d had it with him. Had a Come to Jesus session about working and responsibility.” Daniel’s fingers gingerly poked his face. “He didn’t take it well.”

“I’m sorry. Is that why you haven’t been in this week?” Stress, she decided. It did bad things to your body.

Daniel nodded. “I had some decisions to make. About me. About the kids. The older three are fine. Ryan works hard. He’s got a good job, a nice place for his family. My daughter’s able to work part-time while her kids are in school. Her husband’s got a steady job. Same for Jeremy. So how in the hell did Owen end up such a slacker?”

Maddie shook her head. “Asher’s the same way. Always an excuse why something—a job, a class, you name it—wasn’t working for him. I made the mistake of pointing out the operative word was ‘work.’“ Asher had hauled off and hit her too. She should’ve throw him out then. Part of their divorce decree had been a restraining order that mandated he couldn’t see her—or Caden—unless he participated in AA. He’d been pretty consistent until last week when he’d fallen off the wagon. She rubbed the bruise on her forearm. It was still sore where he’d grabbed her when he showed up drunk last week.

“Yeah. It’s like the kid expects me to support his lazy ass instead of getting out there to earn his own.” Daniel took a long swallow of his drink, then carefully positioned the glass in the center of the napkin. “Look, I wouldn’t have said anything except...well...I made the mistake of using you as an example since he’s tired of hearing about ‘Saint Ryan.’ Owen made some...wild accusations.”


“You and me. Mostly you. I don’t think he’d do anything, but I wanted to warn you.”

“He threatened me? My job? My family? My child?” Her voice rose as outrage warred confusion.

“No, no, no.” Daniel made patting gestures with his hands. “Nothing like that. He.... He claimed you were ‘after’ me. That you were after my money.”

Heat flooded her cheeks. “I never—”

“I know you didn’t—you wouldn’t—but in case Owen shows up here looking for me. Says something.” He lifted one shoulder. “Causes a scene. I wanted you to be prepared.”

“How do you prepare for something like that?”

So About the Money

A Holly Price Mystery

Author: Cathy Perkins

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When Holly Price trips over a friend’s dead body while hiking, her life takes a nosedive into a world of intrigue and danger. The verdict is murder—and Holly is the prime suspect. Of course, the fact that the infinitely sexy—and very pissed off—cop threatening to arrest her is JC Dimitrak, Holly’s jilted ex-fiancé, doesn’t help matters.

To protect her future, her business...and her heart...the intrepid forensic accountant must use all her considerable investigative skills to follow the money through an intricate web of shadow companies, while staying one step ahead of her ex-fiancé. She better solve the case before the real killer decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass...and the next dead body found beside the river is Holly’s.

So About the Money Excerpt – meet Holly Price

Holly Price never expected to be back in Richland, Washington. She’d bolted out of the small town in eastern Washington for college—with no intention of returning. She also never expected her father to have a mid-life brain-fart and run off with his yoga instructor. His defection stranded Holly’s mother both personally and professionally. Without Holly’s CPA license, her mother would have to close the family accounting practice.

And absolutely the last thing Holly expected was for a hike to turn into the date from hell:

Big Flats, eastern Washington

Holly Price picked the wrong moment to admire the Snake River. She managed a quick glimpse of blue water rushing between barren black cliffs before she tripped and staggered off the narrow trail.

Alex Montoya glanced back. “You okay?”

“Yeah.” Her hiking boot caught another of the rocks littering the sagebrush-studded plateau. Arms windmilling, she fought to stay on her feet. Don’t face plant. Do. Not. Face plant.

She stumbled through a clump of tall grass and a pheasant burst out the other side.

“Rooster!” Alex snapped his shotgun against his shoulder, pivoting to track the bird.

The pheasant struggled into the air with a flurry of feathers. A handful of pellets dropped as it made a break for freedom. Who knew “scare the crap out of you” could be literal, was Holly’s next thought—and probably the bird’s last.

Two seconds later, a head-rocking blast hit Holly’s ears and the pheasant tumbled from the sky.


“Did you miss?” She tried to suppress the hopeful note.

“I winged him. Find him, Duke.”

The German shorthair raced ahead, intent on the falling bird.

“It’s alive?” She gave the rocky field a dubious inspection—not many places for an injured bird to hide.

“Don’t worry.” Her date tossed the words over his shoulder. He jogged to the edge of the cliff. “Duke’ll find him.”

Holly’s shoulders sagged. “Great.”

She followed Alex, but stopped a cautious two feet from the dropoff. Below her, Alex scrambled toward the mushiest patch of ground she’d seen since moving back to godforsaken eastern Washington. “Why are we going down there?”

“That’s where the bird went.” His teeth gleamed against his tanned skin. “Stay close.”

Feet sliding on the rocky soil, he charged after his bird dog and vanished into the tangled foliage lining the Snake River.

Well, damn.

When he’d invited her to Big Flats, she’d heard “hike,” while he meant “hunt.” Given the glorious fall day—sunshine and a blue sky that went on forever—she’d expected another picnic. Two weeks ago, Alex had taken her to a mountain meadow. A sandwich and a bottle of wine later, they’d kissed like teenagers and she’d thought about throwing both caution and her clothes to the wind.

Today, he’d morphed into some kind of Neanderthal maniac—me mighty hunter, you Jane. It was a mixed metaphor, but a slow burn started in her belly. She’d tried to be a good sport, but this was ridiculous.

She checked the land behind her—a dry plain dotted with stunted sagebrush, cheatgrass, and jumbled rocks—as if a giant “exit here” sign might appear.

No such luck.

She could probably find the parking lot.


Ditching Alex held a huge appeal, but the thought of quitting chaffed as badly as the grit in her boot.


Hands spread for balance, she eased down the goat trail to the boggy tract. She dodged some blackberry canes and stepped onto a line of broken reeds that marked the path through the underbrush.

Alex had been so proud of the first rooster he’d shot that morning. He’d held it out, expecting praise the way her mother’s cat, Fonzie, did when he laid something brown, furry, and dead at her feet. All Holly had seen was the beauty of the mottled breast feathers, the brilliant bands of neck color, and the lifeless flop of the pheasant’s head.

She sighed, resigned. Chasing birds and shooting at them didn’t even register on her Fun Things To Do list. She and Alex really didn’t have much in common. Maybe she shouldn’t keep dating him.

Even if he was fun.

When he wasn’t playing with guns.

She shoved further into the thicket and followed the faint trail of bent stalks. Getting lost was so not on her agenda. She never had trouble with directions in the city, but out here she couldn’t tell one bush from another.

The trail split, the narrow ribbons churned to muck by hunters’ boots. She glanced behind her. She didn’t have any breadcrumbs to mark the way back to the cliff.


Only vague thrashing sounds answered her.

Okay, she could figure this out. The left-hand side looked slightly more trampled, so she pushed past the leaning cattails. Willows, canes, and some kind of bushes towered overhead, crowding the boggy track. Soft mud sucked at her boots. The air stank of rotting vegetation and gulls squabbled in the distance. A dozen yards later, the trail divided again.

She peered forward and behind. “Alex,” she called, louder this time. “Where are you?”

She might be the commitment-phobe in this relationship, but surely Alex wouldn’t leave her out here. Everywhere she looked, dangling leaves and dried canes blocked her path. The sharp staccato of a dog’s excited bark broke the silence. Duke—ahead and to the right. The dog must have found the wounded pheasant.

She edged past a mushy spot. A harsher tang that reminded her of the dead fish they’d passed earlier grew stronger with each step. Nose covered with her hand, she rehearsed choice phrases to unleash on Alex when she finally found him, starting with a sarcastic, “Thanks for your concern,” before descending rapidly to “asshole.”

Something big rustled in the dense undergrowth behind her. Heart pounding, she spun around and peered into the thicket. They had coyotes out here. And drug grower/dealer guys. The only person they’d seen between the gravel parking area and this jungle was an Aryan Nation skinhead dude. Her heart stutter stepped. Oh, crap. What if this was his territory?

The noise from something plunging through the brush grew louder, closer. Blindly, she turned and crashed through the tangled foliage.

The rushes ended at a mound of dirt. She staggered into the clearing, her gaze zeroing in on Alex. Leaning over something on the ground, he tugged at Duke’s collar. The dog struggled, twisting his body in a muscular objection.

“Alex. Thank God.” Her knees felt weaker than she wanted to admit. “I heard something in the bushes back there.”

“Probably a deer. Stay back.” He wrestled the dog to the side.

His brusque tone shattered her mini-panic.

Well, don’t I feel silly.

A quick glance around registered the details. A drooping cottonwood canopied the clearing. Sunlit water lapped at the muddy shore. Gulls whirled overhead in a protesting flurry, lingering in a swirling complaint of dirty white feathers. The clearing looked like a teenagers’ party spot. Tattered food wrappers and empty beer bottles littered the ground. Filthy, torn clothing formed a soggy heap at the water’s edge.

The wind gusted off the inlet, carrying a stench across the clearing.

“Phew.” As bad as it smelled, she wondered if a dead fish was caught in the trash. A few birds remained near the river, their wings raised high, voices screeching defiance.

The pile of clothes had female-shaped contours. Eyes narrowed, Holly gave it a closer look. A pale, mud-streaked foot extended toward her. “Is that a woman?”

She moved closer, curiosity overriding her earlier fear. “Is she drunk?”

“Don’t come over here.” Alex clipped a short leash to Duke’s collar.

Harsh, abrupt. He’d never spoken to her like that before. A hint of unease coiled around her chest. She took in his grim expression. “What’s wrong?”

One of the gulls lunged. It stabbed through the matted hair screening the woman’s face and pecked at a glittering object.

"Stop it." Holly rushed forward, flinging out her arms. "Leave her alone!"

The birds scrambled away.

Alex grabbed her arm. “Don’t.”

Tugging against his restraint, she took another step, then gagged as the condition of the woman’s body registered. Unnatural stillness. Carrion birds. Waterlogged, rotting skin.

Missing parts.

Not drunk.


“Oh my God.” She backed away. Bile crept up her throat.

Focus on something, anything except the body.

Unable to look away, the golden shape at the woman’s throat caught Holly’s attention—a pair of hearts, a large diamond at the juncture. Recognition rippled a chill through her that had nothing to do with the wind. She immediately rejected the possibility—dozens of people could own a necklace like that.

The breeze ruffled the corpse’s dark hair and revealed more of the ravaged face. Memory replaced the dead woman's missing features. Laughing eyes filled empty sockets. Rosebud lips covered gaping teeth.

Holly’s head acknowledged what her heart already knew. The necklace was a custom piece—and she’d seen it a dozen times.

“It’s Marcy.”

A roaring started in her ears and her breakfast splattered her boots.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

James Moushon – Operation Sundowner is featured in the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.

The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES James Moushon's Short Story: Operation Sundowner.

Author James Moushon is a self-published Mystery Author of the Jonathon Stone Mysteries. Also, he is a Short Story writer and an Author Advocate. James is the creator of the industry blogs: The eBook Author's Corner, the HBS Author's Spotlight and the HBS Mystery Reader's Circle.

Operation Sundowner

Author: James Moushon


A bomb explodes at a country club in Southern California and Jonathon Stone is right in the middle of things. Jonathon and fellow CIA agent Chuck Chun are assigned to protect Russ Evans, their boss from San Francisco, at a retirement party and things go terribly wrong. Several guests are killed and Russ is hurt. As the two CIA agents try to find the perpetrators, they end up with an op filled with out of the way places and superstition.

Excerpt from Operation Sundowner
It was a pleasant winter evening in Southern California. We’ve had a marine layer covering the area for the last couple of days. I found myself standing outside of the new Pacific Coast Country Club in Pacific Palisades with fellow Agent, Chuck Chun from San Francisco. Our boss, Russ Evans, was here to attend a retirement dinner for the Assistant Director of the FBI. Chuck and I stood there watching the dignitaries arriving in their limos and as usual the press was there capturing everything on camera.

“Jon, how did we get stuck with this security detail? Look at all the Agents in the area. There are more Feds carrying weapons than our soldiers do,” Chuck said.

I laughed. Russ was already inside. Chuck did have a point. It seemed like every other person had an earpiece.

“We should stick around here and play some golf tomorrow,” I suggested.

“I would rather go to that Casino you go to all the time,” Chuck returned.

“You mean the Ocean Queen?”

“Down in Long Beach, right.”

“Correct. Really that’s not a bad idea, Chuck.”

“Jon, have you seen that FBI chick you have been fooling around with.”

“You mean Jodi Shannon. Now that you mention that, I haven’t. She must be inside. It is her guy and her turf.”

“That’s right. She is the head of the LA FBI office.”

“Yes. She got promoted about six months ago.”

I walked away from Chuck toward the main entrance. This was really an upscale place. The driveway was a circular affair with bright colored flowers and shrubs in the middle.

There was a commotion across the street. I tapped my earphone. “What’s up across the street? It sounds like the natives are a little restless.”

I waited a second.

“Jon, it is a pro-gun group having a loud discussion with some FBI agents.”

“I don’t understand. This isn’t a political affair,” I said.

“It is all about the agents carrying guns and the protesters having restrictions.”

“Do I need to keep an eye on that?”

“Actually there are some FBI agents on the way to reinforce that side of the street. This place is turning into a nightmare to secure. I guess one of the top FBI guys is a member here so he got a deal.”

I turned and looked at Chuck across the entrance way. He was standing steadfast, not missing a thing. I waited for a departing limo to pass by and started walking along a path through the garden area.

The ground started to rumble and then a large explosion blew the windows out of the left side of the building. I dove behind a tree and at the same time drew my weapon. Ahead I could see people running out the main door and smoke billowing from the windows on the west side of the main structure. I heard a muffled sound beside me. Chuck dove to my side on the ground. I could hear a man from the security command center shouting in my earpiece.

“Secure the perimeter. Secure the perimeter.”

“I’ll go get Russ. Chuck, try to keep these people from leaving. Block off the entrance. No cars in or out,” I instructed.

“Got it.”

I started running toward the entrance of the Country Club with my badge held high in one hand and my Beretta in the other. It seemed like all the agents reacted the same. They were already corralling the people as they left the structure. The explosion had been on the left side of the building and as I remembered from my walk-through, the ballroom where I saw Russ last was on the right. I could hear sirens in the distance as I entered the main foyer. People were running in all directions. The wall on the left side of the room had been completely destroyed. There was rubble all over the marble floor. I turned to my right and headed toward the ballroom.

As I entered, I could see several people still hiding under tables but the inside of the room seemed intact. I scanned the area. I could see Russ standing in the front, talking on his cellphone. In fact, that was what most of the people were doing.

As I approached him, I could feel broken glass on the floor, probably from the concussion of the blast.

Author: James Moushon

Author Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Website: James Moushon - Mystery Writer
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Author Description: James Moushon is a Mystery writer and an Author Advocate.

Starting over 15 years ago, he helped lead the startup of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products and training seminars.

In 2003, Moushon changed his focus to ebooks and their development.

He is the author of the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels. He has published three books: Black Mountain Secrets, Game of Fire and The Cajun Ghost plus several short stories including Operation No Sanctuary (June 2017), Operation Camp Navajo (July 2017), and Operation Asian Tiger (August 2017). All featuring CIA Agent Jonathon Stone.

A Jonathon Stone Mystery Short Story Winter 2017 is being released currently:
Operation Sundown (November 2017), Operation Little Havana (December 2017), and Operation Listen Close (January 2018). All featuring CIA Agent Jonathon Stone.

James is currently wearing two Hats. He is a Mystery Writer and a Book Publishing Blogger. You can find his blogs at:

HBS Author's Spotlight
The blog's purpose is to help authors get exposure in the book publishing industry. He has interviewed and showcased over 600 authors to date.

HBS Mystery Reader's Circle
The HBS Mystery Reader's Circle provides information about the latest novels and what is coming next from a collection of Bestselling and Outstanding Authors in the Mystery, Thrillers, Historical Fiction and Crime genre.

eBook Author's Corner
The Corner is a collection of Author advice and studies including Marketing, Social Media and other major topics created to help writers in today's ever changing world of book publishing.

He has spent the majority of his adult life developing computer systems and thinking about writing mysteries.

Author's Book List
Operation Asian Tiger - A Jonathon Stone Mystery Short Story
Chuck Chun joins Jonathon Stone in a mundane assignment in Singapore. The dull surveillance op quickly turns from boring to the search for terrorists and the solution of an international tragedy. The Royal Malaysian Police are going in the wrong direction as Jonathon uses the vast resources of the CIA to zero in on the truth.

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Operation Camp Navajo - A Jonathon Stone Mystery Short Story
Camp Navajo Weapon Station near Flagstaff, Arizona is robbed and Jonathon Stone and fellow agent Dale Oak are dispatched to the area to insure that CIA weapons stored at the site are intact. Upon arrival he finds the FBI has taken charge and has quickly caught the thieves.

Case closed. After a drive through the area and listening to the details of the crime from the FBI, things just didn’t add up. A complete search of the facilities finds explosives are missing and Jonathon is tasked with finding them before they are used.

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Operation No Sanctuary - A Jonathon Stone Mystery Short Story
A gang war erupts in East LA between neighborhood gangs and the notorious MS-13 gang from San Salvador and a Mexican cartel from Tijuana is right in the middle of the conflict. Drug trafficking, gang shootings and politics all play a role as Jonathon Stone battles the sanctuary city LA which seems to protect the innocent and the guilty.

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The Cajun Ghost - A Jonathon Stone Mystery

CIA Agent Jonathon Stone’s purchase of an old rifle from a gun dealer leads him on a search for the owner of the gun. When he finds the owner, a Cajun gun for hire, he discovers that he was one of the shooters in downtown Phoenix the day Senator Ted Closen was assassinated.

The rifle purchase leads to a chain of events that threaten Stone’s CIA cover, his life and puts the CIA Long Beach undercover operation in jeopardy.

As the search accelerates, fellow agent Carol Haney joins Stone on a journey that goes from California to the French quarter in New Orleans to Phoenix to the mountains in Northern Arizona.

Jonathon follows the trail through murderers, land barons, politicians and the mob to find the truth about the Cajun Ghost and the murder of Senator Closen.

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Game of Fire - A Jonathon Stone Mystery
An explosion and fire rocks a Southern California mall and it is quickly determined it is arson. The timing of the incident is special because it interrupts the Tet New Year’s Festival and Parade in Little Saigon, an area just east of Long Beach.

Had the old wounds of Vietnam been opened again or was there a different game being played?

Enter veteran CIA Agent Jonathon Stone. Already in pursuit of the gun-running Minh family, he connects with a special FBI task force to assist in the investigation of the explosion and Minh quickly becomes their number one suspect.

Stone teams up with FBI Agent Jodi Shannon to pursue the people behind the arson fire. Jodi is a serious, no nonsense agent who leads the FBI Arson Task Force. While she fights to solve the mystery, she also fights Stone’s advances. As always, he tries to mix business with pleasure.

As the game takes its twists and turns, Stone’s assignment leads to a shootout in Las Vegas and a car chase down the coast of Southern California.

Jonathon Stone battles his love for gambling and drinking and the ladies to help solve the Mystery of the Game of Fire.

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Black Mountain Secrets - A Jonathon Stone Mystery
CIA Agent Jonathon Stone goes undercover to help in an FBI investigation after a fellow agent is murdered on the Colorado River.

Stone continues the agent’s investigation of suspects who are stealing top-secret documents from a secret Army base in the middle of the Mohave Desert. The trail leads him from the rugged Black Mountains of Nevada to Laughlin, a gambling oasis on the Colorado.

As things heat up in this desert paradise, Stone dodges bullets and attempts on his life until he reaches the ultimate showdown. Jonathon Stone truly needs lady luck on his side to catch the spies and get through this ordeal alive.

Mystery Writer James Moushon brings to life Jonathon Stone, an undercover CIA agent assigned to the off the books CIA division – DOT.

He throws Stone right into the middle of action. As the mystery unfolds, Stone uses his wealth of knowledge and keen analytical mind to complete his dangerous assignments, while at the same time battling his love for gambling and drinking and the ladies.

Book Trailer: Black Mountain Secrets

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