May 212014
 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

THE PRESENT: In Utah, the fabled remains of Mormon pioneers whose nineteenth-century expedition across the desert met with a murderous end have been uncovered. In Washington, D.C., the official investigation of an international entrepreneur, who is also an elder in the Mormon Church, has sparked a political battle between the White House and a powerful United States senator. In Denmark, a Justice Department agent, missing in action, has fallen into the hands of a dangerous zealot—a man driven by divine visions to make a prophet’s words reality. In a matter of a few short hours, Cotton Malone has gone from quietly selling books at his shop in Denmark to dodging bullets in a high-speed boat chase.

All it takes is a phone call from his former boss in Washington, and suddenly the ex-agent is racing to rescue an informant carrying critical intelligence. It’s just the kind of perilous business that Malone has been trying to leave behind, ever since he retired from the Justice Department. But once he draws enemy blood, Malone is plunged into a deadly conflict—a constitutional war secretly set in motion more than two hundred years ago by America’s Founding Fathers.

From the streets of Copenhagen, to the catacombs of Salzburg, to the rugged mountains of Utah, the grim specter of the Civil War looms as a dangerous conspiracy gathers power. Malone risks life, liberty, and his greatest love in a race for the truth about Abraham Lincoln—while the fate of the United States of America hangs in the balance.

Read an excerpt:

“I have not left anyone in doubt. My task is to save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be the Union as it was. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it. If I could save it by freeing all slaves, I would do it. If I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union. What I forbear, I forbear because I don’t believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.”

“Then you are not my president, sir. Nor would you be the president of those who voted for you.”

“But I am president. So take this message back to the general. He was sent west to move the army to Memphis and keep advancing eastward. Those are still his orders. He shall either obey them or be removed from his post.”

“I must warn you, sir, that it could be hard if you continue to oppose the general. He could set up for himself.”

The federal treasury was empty. The War Department a mess. No Union army anywhere was prepared to advance. And now this woman, and her insolent husband, were threatening revolt? He should have them both arrested. Unfortunately, however, Fremont’s unilateral emancipation had become popular with abolitionists and liberal Republicans who wanted slavery ended now. A bold strike at their champion could be political suicide.

He said, “This meeting is over.”

She threw him a glare, one that said she was unaccustomed to being dismissed. But he ignored her sneer and stepped across the room, opening the door for her to leave. Hay, his personal secretary, was on duty outside, as was one of the stewards. Mrs. Fremont passed Hay without saying a word, and the steward led her away. He waited until he heard the front door open, then close, before signal-ing for Hay to join him in the parlor.

“That is an impertinent soul,” he said. “We never even sat. She gave me no chance to offer her a seat. She taxed me so violently with so many things that I had to exercise all the awkward tact I have to avoid quarreling with her.”

“Her husband is no better. His command is a failure.”

He nodded. “Fremont’s mistake is that he isolates himself. He does not know what is going on in the matter he is dealing with.”

“And he refuses to listen.”

“She actually threatened that he might set up his own government.”

 

Excerpted from THE LINCOLN MYTH by Steve Berry. Copyright © 2014 Steve Berry. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

BOOK DETAILS:

Series: Cotton Malone
Number of Pages: 448 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: May 20, 2014
ISBN-10: 0345526570
ISBN-13: 978-0345526571

PURCHASE LINKS:

           

Steve Berry

STEVE BERRY is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of nine Cotton Malone adventures, four stand-alone thrillers, and four short-story originals.   His books have been translated into 40 languages with more than 17 million printed copies in 51 countries. A 2010 NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.

History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel.  It’s his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures raising more than $750,000 via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and their popular writers’ workshops.

In 2012 Steve’s devotion to historic preservation was recognized by the American Library Association, which named Steve the first spokesman for National Preservation Week (a role he reprised in 2013).  Among other honors that came his way in 2013 were the Poets & Writers’ Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award; the International Thriller Writers Silver Bullet Award; and the Spirit of Anne Frank Human Writes Award. The first two awards honored Steve’s philanthropic work with fellow writers and historic preservation. The latter is given to the writer who best exemplifies the spirit of Anne Frank in their work. In addition, Steve was asked to write the forewords for the 2014-2015 re-release of the novels of James Michener, his boyhood idol and one of America’s foremost storytellers.

Steve was born and raised in Georgia and graduated from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years.  He is a member of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries Advisory Board and a founding member of International Thriller Writers—a group of more than 2,500 thriller writers from around the world—and where he served three years as its co-president.
Connect with Steve at these sites:

WEBSITE       

DISCLAIMER
I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

 

May 082014
 

 

Angel Whittaker earned his scars the hard way, but the scars that can’t be seen are the ones that haunt him the most. Since he moved to Fool’s Gold, California, he’s cobbled together a life for himself as a bodyguard trainer. If he’s not exactly happy, at least his heart is safe.

Working with pro-football superstars taught tough-talking PR woman Taryn Crawford one thing—she can go toe-to-toe with any man. But then dark, dangerous former Special Ops Angel targets her for seduction…and challenges her to resist his tempting kisses.

Even in four-inch heels, Taryn never backs down. Unless, somehow, Angel can convince her that surrender might feel even better than victory.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

 

“We both know where this is going.”

Taryn Crawford glanced up at the man standing by her table and ignored the rush of anticipation when she saw who he was. He was tall, with broad shoulders and gray eyes. But the most compelling feature—the one she would guess people pretended didn’t exist—was the scar on his neck. As if someone had once tried to slit his throat. Taryn idly wondered what had happened to the person who failed.

She supposed there were plenty of women who would be intimidated by the man in front of her. The sheer volume of muscle he had might make someone apprehensive. Not her, of course. When in doubt she put on a power suit and killer heels. If those failed her, she would simply work harder than anyone else. Whatever it took to win. Sure, there was a price, but she was okay with that.

Which was why she was able to stare coolly back and ask, “Do we?”

One former of his mouth curved slightly in a sort of half smile.

“Sure, but if you’re more comfortable pretending we don’t, I can make that work, too.”

“A challenge. Intriguing. You don’t expect that to be enough to make me defensive so I start saying more than I had planned, do you?” She made sure she was plenty relaxed in her chair. She would guess the man was paying as much attention to her body language as her words. Maybe more. She hoped he wouldn’t make things easy.  She was tired of easy.

“I would hate for you to be disappointed,” she murmured.

The smile turned genuine.  “I’d hate that, too.” He pulled out the chair opposite hers. “May I?”

She nodded. He sat.

It was barely after ten on a Tuesday morning. Brew-haha, the local coffee place she’d escaped to for a few minutes of solitude before she returned to the current chaos at her office, was relatively quiet. She’d ordered a latte and had pulled out her tablet to catch up on the latest financial news. Until she’d been interrupted. Nice to know this was going to be a good day.

She studied the man across from her. He was older than the boys, she thought. The three men she worked with—Jack, Sam and Kenny, aka “the boys” –were all in their early to mid-thirties. Her guest was nearer to forty. Just old enough to have the experience to make things intriguing, she thought.

“We’ve never been introduced,” she said.

“You know who I am.”

A statement, not a question. “Do I?”

One dark eyebrow rose. “Angel Whittaker. I work at CDS.”

Otherwise known as the bodyguard school, she reminded herself.

For a small town, Fool’s Gold had its share of unusual businesses.

“Taryn Crawford.”

She waited, but he didn’t make a move.

“We’re not shaking hands?” she asked, then picked up her latte with both hers. Just to be difficult, because being difficult would make things more fun.

“I figured we’d save the touching for later. I find it’s better when that sort of thing happens in private.”

Taryn had opened Score, her PR firm, eight years ago. She’d had to deal with unwelcome passes, assumptions she was an idiot, being asked who the boss was, pats on her butt and people presuming that if she worked with three ex-football players, she must have gotten her job by sleeping with them. She was used to staying calm, keeping her opinions to herself and gaining victory through the unanticipated side run.

This time Angel had been the one to put the first points on the board. He was good, she thought, intrigued and only slightly miffed.

“Are you coming on to me, Mr. Whittaker? Because it’s still a little early in the morning for that sort of thing.”

“You’ll know when I’m making my move,” he informed her. “Right now I’m simply telling you how things are.”

“Which takes us back to your comment that we both know where this is going. I’ll admit to being confused. Perhaps you have me mixed up with someone else.”

She uncrossed, then recrossed her long legs. She wasn’t trying to be provocative, but if Angel got distracted, it was hardly her fault.

For a second she allowed herself to wonder how she would have been different if she’d been able to grow up in a more traditional home. One with the requisite 2.5 children and somewhat normal parents. She certainly wouldn’t be as driven. Or as tough. Sometimes she wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not.

He leaned toward her. “I hadn’t taken you for the type to play games.”

“We all play games,” she told him.

“Fair enough. Then I’ll be blunt.”

She sipped her coffee, then swallowed. “Please.”

“I saw you last fall.”

“How nice,” she murmured.

When she’d been scouting locations. Moving a company required time and effort. They’d only truly settled in Fool’s Gold a couple of months ago. But she had been in town the previous fall, and yes, she’d seen Angel, as well. Found out who he was and had wondered about…possibilities. Not that she was going to admit that to him.

“I watched you,” he continued.

“Should I be concerned you’re a stalker?”

“Not when you were watching me right back.”

He’d noticed? Damn. She’d tried to be subtle. She thought about lying but decided to simply stay silent. After a second, he continued.

“So we’ve finished sizing each other up,” he said. “Now it’s time to move on to the next phase of the game.”

BOOK DETAILS:

Series: Fool’s Gold (Book 13)
Number of Pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
ISBN-10: 0373778651
ISBN-13: 978-0373778652

PURCHASE LINKS:

           

 

 

SUSAN MALLERY is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 80 novels, with more than 25 million books sold worldwide. Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans. Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived.
Connect with Susan at these sites:

WEBSITE        TWITTER   

Q&A with Susan Mallery

WHEN WE MET’s hero Angel Whittaker appeared in your 2005 book Living on the Edge. What made you decide to bring him back?
I never forgot about Angel, and I always knew I’d write a book for him when I found the perfect woman for him. When I started brainstorming this year’s Fool’s Gold romances, Taryn Crawford came to me. She’s a very powerful, confident, self-made woman. She started her PR firm from nothing, and she is the clear leader over her three NFL-star partners. She needed a man who was equally strong, someone who would stand up to her when need be, and someone who would cherish and protect her when she wasn’t feeling all that strong. Angel, who’d been hovering in my subconscious for years, stepped forward and claimed her.

The idea was a little disconcerting, to be honest, because Living on the Edge is a romantic suspense, and Fool’s Gold is sooooo not a suspense-y series. Which meant Angel, this very serious, hard-core sniper type was going to have to move to a quirky small town in California. I paired him up with buddies from the military who opened a bodyguard academy in Fool’s Gold last year.

Angel grew up in a small town, so in some ways, Fool’s Gold felt very familiar to him right away. After a few months of living there, he decides that he wants to give something back, to contribute, because that’s what people do in small towns. A decision he lives to regret… the project assigned to him by the all-knowing Mayor Marsha isn’t exactly what he has in mind. I think readers are going to really laugh when they see what he’s gotten himself into. Fortunately, Taryn will help him over the rough spots.

What book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
I’d love to spend a weekend on Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street. I wouldn’t even have to travel far—I live in Seattle, where that series is set. I’m hopeless at knitting, but since this is fantasy, let’s pretend that I’d whip up a gorgeous sweater during my weekend visit.

With the release of WHEN WE MET, as you look back, what was the biggest surprise that occurred while you were writing the story?
I was a little surprised by how hot things got between Angel and Taryn. I tend to write sexy, but Angel and Taryn are a little older than my typical hero and heroine—40 and 34, respectively—and significantly more experienced. They know what they want, and they’re not afraid to ask for it. There were times when these two were so in-your-face with their sexy repartee that I was sort of gasping and laughing as I wrote.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to face or as a writer? How did you overcome it? 
The hardest part of what I do is making sure each book is better than the one before. In the beginning, when I was still learning, it was pretty easy to improve. But now, after over 100 books, it’s challenging. But that’s always the goal. That the characters are more real, the dialogue funnier, that the story draws you in even faster. There’s not a single day that I sit down to write without thinking about how to do it better than I did yesterday.

You wrote in a recent Facebook post that you started writing a new Fool’s Gold book for 2015 and rewrote the beginning a few times because you didn’t know the heroine well enough yet. Can you explain this process and how you are able to finally get to “know” the character you’re writing?
I first start thinking about a book somewhere around 18 months to two years before it’s released. This is particularly true with a series like Fool’s Gold. I need to know what’s coming so that I can set up the stories in advance, so the characters feel naturally integrated into the town.

When I’m ready to really get started, I write until the characters click for me, usually about a chapter. I have to know who they are so that I can know how they will react to whatever might happen in the book. Once I know them, I stop writing and thoroughly plot the story.

Because of all the prep work, once I get to the actual writing of the book, I can write pretty fast. But it’s kind of like when you ask an artist how long it took them to create a beautiful painting—a few hours… plus years of practice and study.

You often turn to your fans to help you come up with names for your characters. What makes you decide to do this and how do you pick?
Oh, I loooooove asking my friends at facebook.com/susanmallery to help me brainstorm, whether it be character names, business names, or even country music song titles for a heroine who will be coming to Fool’s Gold next year! Sometimes a character comes to me complete with a name, but mostly, they come with heart and soul, and I have to think of a name. I could easily look at naming websites for ideas, but I think my Facebook friends love being involved, and it’s fun for me to see what they come up with. I choose the name that I think best suits the heart and soul of the character in my head. Whenever possible, I give that character the last name of the reader who suggested the first name I selected.

If WHEN WE MET were made into a movie, who would you have play Angel Whittaker and Taryn Crawford?
Have you heard of an actor named Sullivan Stapleton? He’s British, but with an American accent, he’d be perfect as Angel. Tall and dark, with a dangerous edge. His pale gray eyes are almost hypnotizing, like the cobra in Jungle Book. Except, you know, sexy guy, not at all a snake.

For Taryn, I’ll go with Sandra Bullock. Taryn’s a high-powered fashion plate. She likes what she likes, she wants what she wants, and she makes no apologies for it. Everything she has, she has earned. She’s not just smart, she’s street-smart.

What makes Taryn stand out from the other heroines you’ve written?
Contradiction is what makes any character come alive, and Taryn is full of them. On the surface, she has it all together. She runs a very successful PR firm. She has a wardrobe that couture fashion models would envy. Your first impression of Taryn is that she wants for nothing… but she went through a lot of pain to get where she is today. She’s a survivor. She has pulled herself up from very tough circumstances, and to do that, she has had to guard her heart. But there’s a softness, a vulnerability inside her that no one but Angel can see. He will treasure her forever.

What’s next for the town of Fools Gold?
Up next are BEFORE WE KISS and UNTIL WE TOUCH, featuring two of Taryn’s partners at Score PR. In BEFORE WE KISS, Sam Ridge, a former NFL kicker, has to hire Dellina to help him plan a major company bash. He’s very reluctant to work with her because a few months ago, they had a little fling that went terribly (and comically) wrong. Dellina’s going to make him pay a little bit before she forgives him. So much fun to watch a strong man grovel!

At the start of UNTIL WE TOUCH, former quarterback Jack McGarry is shocked when the mother of his personal assistant and best friend Larissa Owens tells him to fire Larissa because the big-hearted beauty is in love with him. That’s news to Jack… and when he tells Larissa what her mom said, it’s news to Larissa, too! She’s not in love with Jack. Except, just by saying the words, her mom has opened both their eyes, and things between them suddenly get very hot.

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ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

 

May 022014
 

WELCOME BACK ALLAN TOPOL


ALLAN TOPOL

Allan Topol is the author of nine novels of international intrigue. Two of them, SPY DANCE and ENEMY MY ENEMY, were national best sellers. His novels have been translated into Japanese, Portuguese and Hebrew. One was optioned and three are in development for movies. His new novel, is the next in the Craig Page series, following the successful THE RUSSIAN ENDGAME, CHINA GAMBIT and SPANISH REVENGE.

In addition to his fiction writing, Allan Topol co-authored a two-volume legal treatise entitled SUPERFUND LAW AND PROCEDURE. He wrote a weekly column for Military.com and has published articles in numerous periodicals including the New York TimesWashington Post, and Yale Law Journal. He is currently a blogger for Huffington Post.
Connect with Allan at these sites:

WEBSITE        TWITTER   

ABOUT THE BOOK

Hard on the heels of The Russian Endgame comes author Allan Topol’s next great thriller. Rife with the exotic backdrops and hairpin plot turns that put Topol on the best-seller list, THE ARGENTINE TRIANGLE is a heart-stopping foray into human vice coupled with power accelerating towards catastrophe.

After a fall from grace and drastic cosmetic surgery in Switzerland, former CIA director Craig Page is enjoying a new, exhilarating life racing cars across Europe. But when new dangers threaten America and an old friend goes missing during a covert mission in Argentina, will Craig be ready to step up to the plate?

Undercover in the glamorous world of Buenos Aires’ wealthy elite, Page finds himself on the brink of a terrible discovery. General Estrada and Colonel Schiller have plans for Argentina, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. A world of brutality hidden in the classified secrets of Argentina’s Dirty War comes to light, painting an image of the cataclysmic future awaiting Estrada’s South America. To expose Estrada and put an end to his plot, Page is forced to implement every instinct, skill, and tool in his arsenal. But when it comes time to close in for the kill, Page meets with unexpected complications—love, lust, and a lethal game of cat and mouse.

In a world fraught with global conspiracy, Craig Page is king.

BOOK DETAILS:

Number of Pages: 336 pages
Publisher: SelectBooks; 1 edition
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
ISBN-13: 9781590792537
ASIN: B00JS8HFNA

PURCHASE LINKS:

           

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ADDENDUM
I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

 

Apr 242014
 

WELCOME CYM LOWELL

CYM LOWELL

Cym Lowell was born in Montana to academics with a youth of traveling the world. To be polite, he was an undistinguished student, rewarded with assignment to the U.S. Navy at 18. After two years in Vietnam, college and law school were a challenge. Being a veteran in the political turbulence of the late 1960s and early 1970s taught humility. Raising three children in the Midwest and Texas brought love and responsibility. An international tax practice in the financial crises of the past 40 years provided insight into motivations of actors on the global stage. Friends, clients, adversaries, and colleagues, like victory and defeat, added color and context. The result is a thriller writer with a treasure trove of experience to frame compelling characters enmeshed in heart-thumping challenge about endearing people caught-up in events that one would never dream possible.
Connect with Cym at these sites:

WEBSITE        TWITTER   

ABOUT THE BOOK

In his newest novel, JASPAR’S WAR (Rosemary Beach Press; April 2014; $12.99), author Cym Lowell takes readers on a thrill ride to the most unexpected and dangerous of locales to uncover secrets that could bring down the U.S. government.

The recent economic collapse of the Western world is not as vague or nebulous as most of us think. It has been initiated by those with close ties to the sitting American president who have been rewarded by various governments for their stealth efforts. Now, with the capitalists’ own money they are preparing to take the economic attack to another level.

However, there’s one woman who can unravel their plans.

Set in Greenwich, Connecticut, JASPAR’S WAR is the compelling story of an American woman who lives a life of happiness, privilege, and wealth. Wall Street success preceded the president’s request that her husband, Trevor, become Secretary of the U.S. Treasury to rescue a failing global economy.

Now, Trevor has been murdered when the government jet he is travelling in crashes and her children kidnapped. She is told to be silent or else they will disappear like their father. Jaspar doesn’t know it, but she has evidence that can bring these people to justice. Yet, her own government is suspicious of her reasons, suspecting she may know more than she’s willing to tell. To save her children, she is on the run in Italy with an unlikely ally, and will go to the brink of hell and back, joining hands with assassins, traitors, and the devil himself, in a most terrifying and psychological cat and mouse game of intrigue and deception.

Hunted from all sides and unsure of who to trust, Jaspar races around the world in an attempt to stop a madman’s disastrous plans, reclaim her life, and find her children. With a host of characters caught up in thrilling circumstances, the storyline comes alive at breakneck speed as readers are taken on a wild and unexpected journey from the quiet backcountry of Greenwich, the picturesque countryside of Tuscany, the magnificence of the Eternal City of Rome and to the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. With alarms sounding off around the world, hero and villain alike twist and turn in and around each other, encountering threats suspiciously similar to current world events.

READ AN EXCERPT

Chapter 1

Greenwich, Connecticut

 

POCK!” The distinctive sound of a plastic bat driving a Wiffle ball into the outfield triggered shrieks from children as they ran and played. My ten-year-old daughter Chrissy dropped the bat and raced toward first base, actually a luminous orange Frisbee.

“Run, Chrissy,” I shouted as she rounded first, heading toward second. Auburn ponytails, woven with my fingers, flew in her wake. Theo, my twelve-year-old son, played shortstop. Chrissy watched his face.

“Go!” he telegraphed. I clasped my hands, hoping that she would not slide face first into base. Scratches and cuts were no deterrent when she was so focused.

It was Easter weekend, a time for relaxation and family in Greenwich, Connecticut. Neighbors, friends, and local dignitaries filled our park-like estate. We had room for a ball field where neighborhood kids could congregate. Private security personnel were out of sight.

It was an annual celebration of faith. Parents and grandparents sat all around, absorbing the beautiful sunshine and mild weather. They brought coolers of drinks, soda pop for the kids, beer and wine for the adults. It was my version of a neighborhood tailgate party. My dream of family and community had come true.

“Throw the ball,” the other team yelled as the outfielder cocked his arm.

“Down, Chrissy!” Theo yelled.

Their father had taught her to ignore the ball and watch the coach.

 “Your agility will always give you an edge,” he said.

Small thin legs churned as the ball was launched. I cringed watching her dive. Dust flew from the infield side of the base. The second baseman caught it just as the little fingers touched safety, and the catcher’s hand smacked her hip.

“Safe!” the father serving as umpire shouted, crossing outstretched arms in exclamation.

I jumped for joy. Theo stood back, pride on his face. Chrissy brushed grass and dirt from her bottom, beaming at her brother. She gave me a thumbs up. No blood. I was relieved. Taunts from the other boys about coddling his sister only amused her proud big brother.

Neighborhood kids enjoyed the afternoon Wiffle ball game on the lawn between our pool and tennis courts. I organized the games just as I had played them as a child. My dad called it “scrub.” As a player made an out, she would go to right field and the catcher moved up to bat in the prescribed rotation.

“Jaspar, when will Trevor get home?” my best friend Crystal Jamison asked about my husband. I took my seat, still reveling in the joy of observing my children care for each other. She sipped a glass of Sancerre, basking in the sun and relaxing in a rocking chair brought from the pool.

“Trevor is so good at teaching passing techniques,” she said watching her own son. “Joshua will be a senior this year, so he needs to make a strong showing for college scouts. Trevor is his hero.”

I remembered Trevor dropping back to pass on the sacred turf of Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, then stepping forward to deliver his trademark bullet to a receiver streaking across the goal line to seal a national championship. The memory was so strong. I longed for him to be back at my side. Before departing, he told me of his fear that his fabled career on Wall Street had been a fraud. Our conversation had to be completed.

POCK!” brought my attention back to the kids on the grass. They all raced to field the ball. Chrissy was on her way around third as the batter ran to first, the wobbly ball flying just over the head of Theo. He ran after it, looking over his shoulder at Chrissy racing toward the plate. Reaching the ball, he turned and launched a strike to the catcher, doing his best to nail her.

“Run Chrissy,” I yelled rising again. She jumped on home base in triumph as the floating ball was caught too late.

“Batter up,” Theo yelled as I returned to my seat.

“Trevor’s on his way home from London,” I answered my friend’s question.

Crystal and I first met when we came to New York after college. Her husband Raymond played football with Trevor at Notre Dame. They were quite a team. A fleet, sure-handed receiver, Raymond caught the passes that Trevor threw. Trevor’s career ended in a national championship game. Raymond came to New

York drafted by the Jets. Trevor took an entry position on Wall Street. I dated Raymond early in college before I met Trevor or he began dating Crystal. She and I were kids just off campus coming to the big city. Neither of us had any real preparation for the strange new world. We found jobs in finance, me at the Federal Reserve on Wall Street and Crystal in a research office of a secretive private equity firm owned by an Indian tribe. Similarity of situation and background facilitated fast friendship. Her drawl from rural Georgia complimented my odd mixture of Australian Outback and Northern Indiana twang. As our husbands succeeded, we searched for a place where we could live in relative obscurity. Greenwich was perfect. Our children grew up together, like the extended family of my dreams.

“He’s gone so much now,” Crystal responded. “You seemed excited when he went down there. Almost as if he were answering a call to duty.”

“He’s been seeking European agreement for the president’s stimulus plan.”

Trevor took to Wall Street. He began as a runner for energy traders and became fascinated with learning to anticipate market movements. His skill expanded in a master’s program at Columbia, propelling him to a position where he implemented a strategy to take advantage of an inconsistency in risk pricing. Successful exploitation brought us success.

Trevor’s firm, Westbury Madison & Co., became the pre-eminent Wall Street investment bank, profiting whether the economy flourished or crashed due to what Trevor believed was his own strategy. When the financial world crashed, President Hamilton Henrichs asked him to lead the effort to resurrect the economy of America and the world as secretary of the Treasury, a position once held by Alexander Hamilton. The financial press criticized the appointment. “Wolf Hired to Rebuild Hen House?” asked

headlines in the financial and popular press.

“I am proud of him,” I answered, anxiously twisting the everpresent bangles at my left wrist. They were gifts I’ve treasured from my Indian friends. “He works hard and travels constantly trying to plug holes in the economic dam of the world.”

Inside, far different feelings had germinated. Something was wrong. What happened to you, Trevor? He was distant, ignoring me in ways that I had never experienced. He seemed to avoid me. Is he having an affair? I wondered, fearing that a slowly ebbing sex life could be a marker of something more than job stress. Have I become less desirable or is there something troubling in his new life in Washington that he cannot find words to tell me?

 

“You seem distant, honey” I finally said as he was leaving days earlier. “Have I done something?”

“I know,” he answered, with an unusual tone of resignation in his voice. “It’s not you, sweetheart. Please don’t think that. I’m sorry. I’ve discovered treachery that you may be able to understand better than me. I need your help,” he blurted out, taking me in his arms with a grip that felt desperate.

“Is it something at Treasury?” I asked, relieved that his distance was due to business. But his distance troubled me. It was so unlike anything I had experienced in our life together.

“Yes, it’s there and also in the White House. It’s unbelievable,” he answered in a voice that trembled as his hands shook. “I’ve been used by people I trusted. It began at the firm.”

“At Westbury?”

“Yes. I’ve tried to piece the story together. We can discuss what to do when I return.”

My relief soon gave way to fear. Trevor was afraid; I had never seen that in him. Was my intrepid hero cracking?

* * *

“Hey Mom, come pitch,” Theo yelled as one player jumped into the pool. The scrub game was more fun with full teams in the field and at bat. The kids liked me to pitch because I threw softly. “Like a girl,” Theo would say, happy that he could always whack my pitch. His friends tried to throw curves or fastballs with the plastic sphere with holes on one side. I learned from my dad how to pitch so the ball hung right in Theo’s sweet spot. Of course, I did the same for all the kids; unfortunately I usually struck out as batter. My father was a missionary. After my mother died when I was just three he raised me. For many years we lived in the Australian Outback. When it was time for college, we moved to South Bend,

Indiana. I was the first member of my family to go to Notre Dame on a scholarship. Dad was proud. He lived long enough to express his pride. His greatest joy, he often said with breaking voice, was that I had grown as a woman of faith: “Your mother’s heart would burst with thankfulness.”

“Gotta go,” I responded to Crystal, touching her shoulder and grabbing my mitt. Theo was the next batter. I picked up the ball as I marked my territory around the luminous strip of plastic that served as the pitcher’s mound. Theo looked like pictures of my dad at the same age.

My son stepped to the plate, pointing the bat at me. “Gotcha, Mom!” he declared for the entire neighborhood to hear. I had to play the role. Glove on my knee, I leaned forward with the ball behind my back as if I were looking for a signal. I glanced at runners on base, then the batter.

“Strike the turkey out!” Crystal yelled.

“Yeah, yeah!” our friends echoed.

“Strike one!” the umpire shouted as Theo’s bat slapped the back of his shoulder, so intense was the swing.

“Mom?” his lips mimed, looking at me.

“Strike two!”

The words roused cheers from parents ringing the field. Beer and wine had flowed long enough to produce a boisterous mood. Adults always lost in these games, so the prospect of me striking out the best of the kids triggered excitement.

I gripped the Wiffle ball, knowing where to place my fingers for an underhand throw. It could be a screwball, twisting into the right-handed batter, as I had done on the first strike then reversed for the second. Or, I could push the ball with my knuckles, and it would drop as he was getting ready to swing. Theo’s focus was like his father’s. He looked straight into my eyes, curious. I was jolted back to the moment. In throwing strikes, I had allowed my anxiety to overcome Theo’s needs.

“POCK!” The sound rewarded me as the ball sailed over the head of the left fielder. Theo winked as he ran to first. It would be a home run. I had thrown his pitch. Maternal pride filled my soul.

“Yeah, Theo!” Chrissy yelled in a squeaky voice. He also leapt on home plate in triumphant exclamation, ending the game. My boy led them all to the pool with Chrissy at his side.

* * *

After the game, Crystal and I organized the food brought by our friends and neighbors. Fathers and older boys unloaded tables from a rental company trailer in our driveway, arranging them in a horseshoe around the pool so we could eat and talk.

 “Have you seen the kids?” I asked her when Theo and Chrissy seemed to have been absent for a long time.

“Oh, come on, calm down,” Crystal responded. “What could happen here?”

We joined our neighbors at a tent erected on the ball field. One of our traditions was to have entertainment as the late afternoon set, so the children would not be so impatient for darkness and the fireworks. I had arranged with the local Mohegan tribe to have a troupe perform traditional dance routines of celebration. Crystal and I worked for many years with the tribe. Our project was developing job opportunities, which had evolved into a business of creating replicas of art, apparel, and pottery from their rich cultural heritage. Our work was gratifying and successful. Members of the troupe mingled in the crowd entertaining the kids. On stage, each child was outfitted with handmade costumes complete with colorful feathers and leather trim. Tribal artists applied face and body paints to duplicate markings from the proud history of the Mohegan people. We were all lost in the magic. It became difficult to separate child from tribal dancer.

“This is amazing?” Raymond declared, enjoying the collage of color and laughter. His career with the Jets ended suddenly when a vicious cross block broke his ribs and punctured his heart muscle. He became a youth counselor in the Greenwich school system, close to home and family.

I searched the faces of dancers and children trying to find Theo and Chrissy, ignoring the conversation surrounding me. I had not seen either since the game ended. Always in the midst of the children, they should be playing and laughing. I tried not to panic, but was failing. When the exhibition was at an end, darkness began to envelop the scene. “Crystal, they’re not here!”

“Raymond, get the officers,” she directed, taking my arm.

“No child has left the grounds,” the head of security detail assured me, deploying his team to search. As the fireworks display began, the Greenwich police, as well as the Connecticut State Police began checking cars, trucks, and the equipment of the Mohegan troupe. No one was allowed to leave. Backup security teams arrived as the dark sky was illuminated by a kaleidoscope of color.

I barely heard the increasingly anxious discussions of friends and security people. Chrissy did not like chaos and always curled up in my lap at such times. “Where are you, sweetheart?” I asked pacing back and forth.

Neighbors were herded onto the driveway as officers checked each person. Police cars with emergency lights blocked the entrance to our property. Flashlights illuminated fence lines as the search broadened.

“Who delivered the tables?” the senior security officer asked, trying to confirm all who had come and gone.

“I, I, I don’t know,” I stammered, my mind not able to focus on even a simple question.

“Where are they officer? They can’t be hiding this long. They wouldn’t run off. Who would take them?” I asked.

“Ma’am, we’re trying to . . .”

“Mrs. Moran?” a man in a suit asked politely, interrupting the security officer’s response. In the midst of the chaos, a dark sedan had been allowed to enter the driveway.

I was drifting into shock.

“Mrs. Moran, I need to speak to you,” the man repeated gently taking my arm.

“Who are you?” the security officer asked.

“I am Peter McGuire with the FBI,” he said, holding out identification.

“What’s going on here?” he asked, looking at dozens of flashlights sweeping grounds and trees. Neighbors stood by the garages. The Indian troupe clustered by their vehicles.

“My children have disappeared,” I blurted out.

Crystal had called my priest, Father Michael O’Rourke. He was the priest in the rural Australia diocese of my childhood and my dad’s best friend. When I got to Notre Dame, Father Michael was there as a youth pastor. “I am your guardian angel,” he often declared. The image was an essential element of my faith. He had been present throughout my life. He came at the first hint of trouble or joy. Father Michael explained the situation as the security leader departed to check how the search was going.

Something passed over the FBI agent’s face. “Mrs. Moran, is there someplace we could speak in private?”

“Let’s go in the house,” Crystal suggested as she and Raymond led us inside.

We stepped in the front door. The FBI officer motioned for Crystal and Raymond to sit on either side of me on a sofa.

“May I get you anything, Mrs. Moran,” he asked.

“No, what is it?”

He knelt and took my hand. “Mrs. Moran, we regret to inform you that Secretary Moran’s plane en route from London has apparently crashed into the ocean near Iceland. Search planes are on their way. It will take several hours. The conditions are horrendous in the remote area where the plane disappeared.”

I barely heard the words. The rest of the evening was a blur. Friends took turns staying with me throughout the night. Father Michael was at my side when I awoke to the distinctive cathedral chime of my phone.

“Theo or Chrissy at last!” I said grabbing for a ray of hope.

“They must have gone to a friend’s house.”

The chime continued. My mind cleared enough to sit up, hold

Father’s hand, and look at the phone.

“It’s Trevor!” I blurted. His name was on the caller ID. My mind jumped to the conclusion that he was safe after all. “Thank God!”

“Honey, where are you?” I asked. He’ll take care of this.

Long moments elapsed in silence as I pressed the phone to one ear then the other. “Trevor? Honey?”

“A text message will arrive momentarily,” a mechanical voice enunciated slowly. It sounded as if the words were spoken from underwater. The connection terminated, leaving only a cold dial tone.

I looked at the phone.

“Jaspar, what is it?” Father asked, standing next to Crystal and Raymond. I looked up at each of them. Their eyes narrowed with questions. Anxiety blew through me like a chill Arctic wind.

“I . . . I don’t know. The caller ID said ‘Trevor Moran.’ Then there was this scary voice.” I startled when the chime for a text message sounded. My eyes riveted on the words:

Your children are gone because you asked about something not your business.

Your husband started to answer and is being digested by sharks.

If what he believed becomes public, your children will also become ocean shit.

Your silence is their only path to life.

BOOK DETAILS:

Published by: Rosemary Beach Press
Publication Date: April 2014
Number of Pages: 352 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9914913-0-8

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Mar 192014
 

WELCOME ANDERSON HARP

ANDERSON HARP

Anderson Harp served 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising through the ranks to become a Colonel. His stations included: the Pentagon, South Korea, Central America, the Persian Gulf, Europe, Camp Pendleton, the Marine Mountain Training Center, Fort Benning, Fort Sill, and Camp LeJeune. He has served as the Officer in Charge of Crisis Action Team for Marine Forces Central Command. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Navy Commendation Medal. As an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve, he was mobilized for Operation Enduring Freedom and served with MarCent’s Crisis Action Team. Anderson Harp lives with his family in Columbus, Georgia.
Connect with Anderson at these sites:

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Anderson Harp served 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising through the ranks to become a Colonel. He has served as the Officer in Charge of the Crisis Action Team for Marin Forces Central Command. His decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Navy Commendation Medal. As an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve, he was mobilized for Operation Enduring Freedom and served with MarCent’s Crisis Action Team. Using his up-to-date knowledge of cutting edge technology, and the kind of military experience that a make for great thriller writing, Harp has created a fast-moving and totally riveting thriller that will make Anderson Harp a leading name, like Ludlam and Brad Thor, in the military/political thriller. RETRIBUTION (Pinnacle Books, March 2014; $9.99) by Anderson Harp, a book in the Will Parker thriller series will be published in mass market by Pinnacle Books this March, now with full national distribution.

The remote and impenetrable Pakistani mountains have offered refuge to the worst

enemies of civilization since the time of Alexander. Now, the world faces a new challenge. Reared from birth to harbor a seething hatred, a lone man is about to unleash a firestorm that will rage for centuries. And the window of opportunity to stop him is shutting much faster than Washington D.C. can hope to deal with.

A top operator, Will Parker is embedded within the terrorists’ ranks to stop this catastrophic disaster. But with a nuclear core on its way to the U.S., Parker will go to any length to stop a devastating threat to the homeland, more lethal than anything the USA—and the world—has ever faced.

BOOK DETAILS:

Published by:Pinnacle, an imprint of Kensington
Publication Date: March, 2014
Number of Pages: 528 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7860-3421-5

PURCHASE LINKS:

            

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