Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thoughts about the public's "right to know" and social media

I’ve been dodging my social media a lot lately, and it’s starting to be noticed by a lot of people who normally interact with me on a daily basis. “Why?” is the first question I’m asked, and for the most part, I merely tell friends I’m tired and want to concentrate on writing without the distraction of the internet. The truth is really even more simple, unfortunately. I’m just tired of the anti-socialness of social media, and the constant stream of negative posts and ignorance on many issues that really don’t even belong on social sites.

When I first began using Facebook years ago, it was pleasant, fun chatter with friends from all over the world. These days, more and more I find myself hitting “unfollow” and “hide this post” from my newsfeed. There are topics that are beat to death, resurrected, then battered into the ground again–repeatedly! People go nuts and report if a naked breast appears, or a butt curve, but it’s apparently social to post pictures of women, children, and animals beaten half to death. Post rants about wanting politicians lynched, hate mongering over whatever is the trending target of choice. Go for it, it’s your social media–but it’s also my social media, and I’m not feeling the love, believe me.

My inbox security is as tight as it can be made on Facebook, if I could shut it down to all but a handful of people, I’d do it. Recently, I have been asked the most amazing, intrusive, rude questions I’ve seen in a long time, and people are angry when I tell them I will not discuss the topics they wish to chat about. Frankly, the public does NOT have the right to know my personal business, or my personal views. If I choose to share them, you will see them, otherwise, don’t be surprised when I tell you politely that I won’t discuss my views and opinions. That IS my right, after all.

Public figures owe their audience the best their talent can produce, and their gratitude for those who invest their time and money into any artist’s talent, be it books, acting, singing, painting–or any other art form. What they do not owe their audience is their personal lives, and their personal thoughts. I see so many of my fellow authors popping off about subjects that are guaranteed to incite controversy and confrontational anger. They jump on the trending headlines, and everyone gets in on the act. The internet never forgets, and that is a phrase all public people need to remember. If you have aspirations, and goals you hope to meet, be circumspect at all times.

Ironically, this social issue is a laugh in many ways for me, because people close to me don’t know my views on many things. I am a private person, and I don’t generally voice my opinions on things I’ve been asked about recently. Why does it matter what I think about anything? Frankly, in many cases, I am a foreign entity who is not affected by US political decisions. My views on gun control, abortion, celebrities behaving badly… none of this matters. And, again, the public is not entitled to anything of this sort unless I choose to put my foot in my mouth–and it has been known to happen, rather too often in the past. In this age of entitlement, what you are entitled to is polite interaction on a social level. You are not entitled to anything else unless it’s volunteered. I recently had some idiot attempt to draw me into his childish snit because I asked him to remove a tag from a photo, when he was blocked, he took his crap to another social media site–why? I refused to engage, and that’s my choice, isn’t it?

I write. That is my public obligation to readers who choose to trust me to entertain them with a good story. Beyond that, why does anyone think they have the right to invade my privacy and then get pissed off when I won’t discuss their hot topics? You have the right to ask–but I have the right to say no. That simple, isn’t it? This is social media, not the halls of justice, or a debate.

Friday, November 21, 2014

FREE for a limited time on Amazon the ARe Best-seller PIRATES!

(Formerly called ROGUES, revised and re-edited)

Three stories, one kind of hero, pirates anyone? Includes the short stories:

Angel-Fire: A short intro to the world of Captain Jack Stanton, an honourable man with a tarnished reputation. Stranded in Nassau, caught up in a pleasant interlude with a barmaid, Jack has a vision that will lead him to his past and his future, if he can survive to get back Tortuga to discover what it all means…

Storm-Singer: The Isle of Nyx has become the dread of all sailors who must dare the waters surrounding the mythical island. Local legends say a vampire prince resides in the ancient castle that can be seen from the harbor of the island. At his side is a powerful sorceress whose song can control and summon storms.
In a desperate attempt to end the eternal threat looming over them, the people of the Aurora Islands sacrifice their greatest treasure, the princess Sarita, entrusting her with the task of seducing and destroying the dark prince who has been plundering their wealth and their people for centuries?

The Phantom’s Lair: Upon her arrival in the pirate port of Tortuga where her father is acting as Governor, Katheryn Hollinsworth is determined to choose her own path, and follow her heart wherever it may take her. On the streets of Puerta de la Plata, she encounters the mythical buccaneer known as The Phantom, and very quickly loses her heart to the handsome rogue.

Jack Stanton is a man who has never fully come to terms with his past, and in the Governor's pretty daughter he finds a most unlikely champion. But when his past threatens her life, and any chance of a respectable future, The Phantom must face the demons of his past, and accept the dictates of his own reawakened heart...



“Relax, Jacques,” she purred softly as she rained kisses over his face and chest. “Let your mind accept the gift I have given you.”

Swept along on a tidal wave of sensuous excitement, Stanton struggled despite her pleas. He made a half-hearted grab for her when her soft lips trekked further downward, and she effortlessly slapped aside his attempt at restraint.

Jack’s hips rose from the bed, the reaction totally beyond his ability to control, if indeed he had truly wanted to stop the barrage of sexual delight pounding through his veins. He twisted, tried to pin her, but laughter met the awkward movement of his sluggish limbs.

Angelique pressed the expanse of his naked chest and pushing him onto his back as she straddled his hips and grinned down at him.

Stanton opened his mouth, but no coherent words passed his lips.

She lowered herself onto his straining erection and his body convulsed with new euphoria. When the surge of sensory pleasure threatened to suffocate him, his mind finally rose and found freedom.

Through a haze of smoke and mist, Jack’s beloved ship, The Scarlet Thorn, sailed away as he shouted obscenities and anything else his fertile imagination offered him. On Thorn’s quarterdeck, the newly appointed Captain DeBeaupre’s laughter rang out and taunted him. Gold, spinning wildly, glittering wickedly, always out of reach. Blood tinged the brilliance of the shining metal and Jack drew back from it. Engulfed in crimson, a skull grinned from the golden surface.
Was this part of the notorious curse that he’d been hearing about for years?

As quickly as the thought crystallized in his mind, it was lost to swirling mist again.

Slowly, the fog cleared and the Thorn, under attack and badly damaged, shrieked rage into his brain, echoing into a darkness that obscured everything.

“Breathe deeply, my love,” Angelique whispered, riding his bucking hips wildly as she held his wavering gaze. “Let my angel-fire bring forth your destiny,” she moaned, losing her hold on his gaze as her desire peaked and exploded.

The Phantom’s Lair:

Stanton stopped a few feet from the two people squared off against each other. The girl’s sword moved like a shimmering sliver of moonlight as she parried and feinted with careless grace, easily deflecting the less disciplined thrusts of her opponent’s blade. She was dressed like a buccaneer, but he sensed she was anything but what she appeared to be. She slipped on wet ground. The drunkard gained an advantage and made to deliver a fatal strike.

Cutlass drawn, Jack intercepted the other man’s sword on its downward arc. Sparks flew as the blades clashed, and Stanton circled until he stood between the woman and her attacker.

“Taking advantage of a lady when she’s down.” Jack shook his head in mock despair, while his mouth curved into a roguish smile. “That’s hardly fair play.”

“Stay outta this.” The sailor snarled in reckless fury. “It’s between me and the lady.” He tried to shove Stanton aside.

Jack pushed back and waited. The stumbling man to recovered and had a new target, as Jack had anticipated. He raised his weapon and edged closer to Stanton.

“Do you really think this wise, mate?” Jack smiled, enjoying himself now.

His opponent lunged.

Jack sidestepped and the other man hit the building and staggered. Jack tapped his shoulder with his sword. The man whirled, growling his fury, and attacked like a madman. Jack hadn’t calculated the ferocity of the other man’s anger, and he was nearly run through.

The swordplay began in earnest, and Stanton had no time to consider if he should have left this situation to the people involved. A few well-chosen steps gave him the advantage and he parried awkward thrusts with more ease as he drove the fellow backward. When he struck the man across the face with the hilt of his cutlass, he thought the contest over. Until a slash of fire tore up his arm and he had scant seconds to realize he’d been struck. Stanton’s annoyance went up another notch and he spun around, intent on ending the impromptu confrontation. The woman spared him further effort when she slammed the back of the sailor’s head with the butt of a pistol and he went down with a groan.

Jack looked at her, a quizzical tilt to his head.

“I didn’t think it necessary to kill a man simply for being stupid,” she explained with a flash of pearly-white teeth. “But I thank you for your assistance, sir.” She stepped closer and peered at her rescuer. He stepped back, sheathing his cutlass, with suspicion in his pale eyes.

“Do I know you?”

“I think not, m’lady.” Jack smiled.

Now that he could see her clearly in the torchlight, Jack knew they had never met. He wouldn’t have forgotten a woman as lovely as this one. The flicker of the torch flames found responding tongues of color in her long, tumbling mane, presently slipping from the leather thong she’d tied at her nape. The cloak she wore was open, and his sharp gaze took rapid stock of her clothes. His earlier opinion was confirmed in his sweeping appraisal as he inventoried silk shirt, close-fitting pants of heavy cotton, polished leather boots reaching her knees, and a wide belt from which hung the scabbard for her handcrafted sword.

“Jack Stanton.” She positioned the pistol at her hip. “You’re Captain Jack Stanton, aren’t you? The one they call The Phantom.”

Jack’s head tilted as he met her bold brown stare. What he saw there amused him. She was curious, and faintly excited by her discovery of his identity. “And you are?” 


Magic thrummed in the icy pitch of the night air. Sorcery and song combined to create a powerful and potent spell, one that promised to be all Jaden had demanded.

Arrah contained her wrath, pushed it into the darkest corner of her soul, as she concentrated on the binding harmony she was weaving with the winds. Power surged within her, and she breathed in the sweet, pure essence of earth-force, captivated now by the mystical rapture that the music stirred and sent spiraling into the night.

Waves rose and battered the ebony shores of the Isle of Nyx, their crashing voice another rhythm of power in the enchantment. The winds coalesced, added their resonant wail to the sounds filling the air, and she shuddered, savage spirit attuned to the maelstrom of forces engulfing her. She shifted the tone of her song, weaving greater torrents of madness into the music, and the night darkened further.

With the blackness came vision.

And Jaden.

She caught his unique scent, heard the whisper of silk moving rhythmically with each step he took toward her. She felt the power of his very presence long before his graceful hand came to rest at her shoulder.

“The Spectre is ready for launch.”

Jaden’s smooth, sensual voice caressed her, as silken and alluring as the power that vibrated within her body. His arms glided around her waist, and the soft, evocative stroke of his tongue on her neck made her tremble. His hands roamed freely over her, everywhere at once, lighting fire and hunger in her veins as he touched and explored familiar curves. She arched away from him, and he pulled her back against the solid steel of his body. When his mouth covered the throbbing pulse at her neck, her voice reached a new crescendo of furious power. She felt the sharp piercing of her skin then their thoughts merged and reached outward as he sought beyond the storm she’d conjured for him.

Long minutes later, he released his hold on her and turned her to face him, dark eyes glittering. He smiled, tenderness in the shift of his perfect features. She kissed his cheek, then bent her forehead to his chest, faintly aware of the stolen heartbeat that was hers, hearing the even cadence that was a flawless echo of each thump of life within her.

“How long will you need?” she asked, her earlier anger faded for the moment.

“We will return before dawn,” he replied with faint laughter in his rich tone.

“Is this treasure worth the risk you take, Jaden?” She wasn’t as certain as he appeared to be. An indefinable and worrisome element that remained out of her reach nagged at her.

“This treasure is far more than gold and jewels, Arrah,” he purred.

Startled, she met his gaze. “What did you see?”


Her eyes grew huge as he smiled down at her.

“Have faith.” He kissed her lips, a slow, erotic caress tasting faintly of blood and magic. “Wait for me.” He winked then vanished in an inky swirl of mist and silken cloak.

Available at:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

WIN a copy of @MaryBurtonBooks best-seller The Seventh Victim


If At First You Don’t Succeed

It’s been seven years since the Seattle Strangler terrorized the city. His victims were all young, pretty, their lifeless bodies found wrapped in a home-sewn white dress. But there was one who miraculously escaped death, just before the Strangler disappeared...


Lara Church has only hazy memories of her long-ago attack. What she does have is a home in Austin, a job, and a chance at a normal life at last. Then Texas Ranger James Beck arrives on her doorstep with shattering news: The Strangler is back. And this time, he’s in Austin...

And Kill Again...

He’s always craved her, even as he killed the others. For so long he’s been waiting to unleash the beast within. And this time, he’ll prove he holds her life in his hands—right before he ends it forever...

Bestseller Burton (Before She Dies) delivers action-packed tension as a cold case becomes new again… a compelling romantic thriller.”
— Publishers Weekly on The Seventh Victim.

An excellent thriller, as well as a blooming romance, the author does a wonderful job of drawing readers in with the rapid pace and plot that include exciting and interesting back stories on all the victims. This is really a very twisted saga that readers will find unbelievably hard to put down!”
— Suspense Magazine on The Seventh Victim

Burton’s latest novel has a calculating villain at its center, plus a strong yet vulnerable heroine and a tough Texas Ranger who is determined to protect her and root out a killer. Burton’s crisp storytelling, solid pacing and well-developed plot will draw you in, and the strong suspense will keep you hooked and make this story hard to put down.” – RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

“Dark and disturbing, a well-written tale of obsession and murder.”
— Kat Martin, New York Times bestselling author.

Read an interview with Mary and see her newest book in The Texas Rangers series in these posts:

Enter to win a copy of THE SEVENTH VICTIM in Audio

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Romance for Christmas By @KayelleAllen #MFRWauthor

About the Book
A Romance for Christmas
By Kayelle Allen

A cop at the door on Christmas Eve brings an unexpected gift.

A sweet holiday romance showcasing love, loss, and the spirit of giving.

It's Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves has been lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to survive. When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he brings another gift she never expected to get.

Music: O Christmas Tree, piano performed by Vladimir Sterzer, licensed by Jamendo.com
Images courtesy of PhotoXpress.com and RGBstock.com


Peek inside the book for background on the story, the reason for the names, excerpts, buy links, and more: http://is.gd/rom4cmaspeek

Buy Links

About the Author

Kayelle Allen is a multi-published, award-winning author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.

Website  *  Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Goodreads


"Mommy?" Christine's young voice broke in on her thoughts.

Dara put down the romance she'd been re-reading, the favorite she'd had since she was sixteen. She'd sold all her others at a yard sale the previous week. "What is it, sweetie?"

"Why don't we has a real tree for Chribmas?"

"Why don't we 'have'," she corrected. "Come sit by me." Dara patted the couch and tucked her chenille robe closer around her.

One arm around Matilda, her cloth doll, Christine climbed up beside her mother and cuddled.

Matilda's going to need stuffing before long. Her head flopped forward, face against her flat chest. When did the lace on her dress get so ragged? Dara smoothed the doll's dress. "Remember when Daddy went home to heaven before Christmas last year?"

Christine knuckled her eyes and yawned. "I 'member."

"And then Mommy got hurt in the car accident and couldn't go to work?"

"Uh huh."

Dara took a deep breath. "Well, it meant there was no money for a real tree this year. But I'm sure Santa will still bring you presents." Gifts Dara bought by selling her entire collection of romance novels at a yard sale at her friend Sherilyn's house. "And we drew a tree, right?" She pointed at the crayon-bright drawing taped to the wall. Construction paper ornaments decorated each branch.

"But it doesn't smell like a Chribmas tree."

Dara hugged her. "I know, baby. I know."

"How will Santa leave his presents?" Christine pulled away and got on her knees. "He can't put them under the tree, Mommy."

"Oh, honey!" She ruffled her daughter's hair, swallowing the lump in her throat. "Santa will find a way." She leaned forward and kissed her little girl. "We should get you in bed so he can come. He can't leave presents while you're awake."

Suggested Tweets

Tweet: A Romance for Christmas: 3 Amazon top 100 lists http://ctt.ec/bGf6q+ Sweet #holiday romance #amreading @kayelleallen Tweet: #amreading A cop on Christmas Eve brings an unexpected gift. http://ctt.ec/1o6eE+ A Romance for Christmas #holiday #MFRWauthor Tweet: A Romance for Christmas | A sweet holiday story http://ctt.ec/Pk9b8+ #amreading #holiday Tweet: A Romance for Christmas | A sweet holiday romance http://ctt.ec/478L0+ @kayelleallen #amreading Tweet: A sweet holiday story about giving - Peek inside http://ctt.ec/9668f+ @kayelleallen #amreading #MFRWauthor

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Seek - a new book from @RosBaxter #RomFantasy

Coming November 22nd

When everything else is gone, all you have is hope.

The year is 2098, and the people of New Earth have been homeless for seventeen years.

Ruled by a mysterious Council, and adrift in a fleet of space stations, their sole mission is to survive long enough to find a new home. They call it The Seek.

Kyntura is the first and only female Avenger – one of the secret, separate elite who stand on the frontline between the refugees of Earth and a universe that would do them harm. For Kyn, fight and pain are the only things that drive out memories of the Apocalypse, and of the boy she left behind when she enlisted.

But a young recruit called Mirren and a deadly mission will bring her face to face with all she has tried to forget.

As she leads a squad of Avengers in The Seek, Kyntura must face her demons, join forces with the boy whose heart she broke a decade before, and confront the truth about New Earth.

Also from Ros Baxter:   Fresh, funny fiction

Sister Pact - Harper Collins 2012
Fish Out of Water - April 2013
White Christmas - Dec 2013
Beached - April 2014
The Seek - Nov 2014

Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Unleash Your Passion @Denysé Bridger #RomFantasy

This is a sneak peek at what I'm working on, my very first wolf shifter story... meet Vasya, a mysterious prince with a dark secret, and a destiny he really doesn't want to meet:


The air on the tundra was cold, the kind of icy that went straight to the bones and froze a body into a state of near coma-like stillness. Soft puffs of living breath rose from the sleeping form, low whimpers of distress occasionally stirred the silence, and shudders of emotion rippled the otherwise motionless presence.

Vasya twisted, his mind's eye forcing vision he did not want to acknowledge. Trapped in the prison of his dreams, he knew there would be no escape until he accepted whatever was struggling to be seen. The part of him that had always been able to detach from emotion watched, calmed the unease, and then the dream was free inside him, unfolding like a movie played out on the screen of his mind.

Haze began to clear, and images coalesced, reaction surged forth. The depth of the hatred spilling into the dreamscape might have been unnerving, but Vasya had long ago learned that this level of rage meant only one thing. Resignation made his heart weary, but it was instantly banished by the stunning beauty of the woman who filled his mind. He shifted, uneasy even while he was drawn to her essence.

Her confusion hit him first, a tremor of reaction that was muted, probably by her efforts to control it, but she was failing in her determination, and rapidly. As he allowed his senses to reach deeper, he touched the first hint of pain that was waking beyond her present awareness. There would be more emotions stirring soon, needs she hadn't permitted herself to acknowledge, but they would all be overshadowed by the agony of what was waiting inside her–if he was correct. Vasya had never been wrong about this particular scent.

Still, something kept him from fully opening to what he was seeing, and bitterly he met his own fear. This was different from other visions, and his pounding heartbeat mocked him for his desire not to know.

© 2014 Denysé Bridger

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Reluctant Prince @DaniLynAlexande #RomFantasy

Reluctant Prince
Kingdom of Cymmera
Book One
by Dani-Lyn Alexander

Betrayal lies cloaked in shadow.

Seventeen year old Ryleigh Donnovan is certain her life is cursed. Nothing ever goes smoothly, and her first job interview is no exception. An earthquake rocks the building, sending Ryleigh on a frantic search for her younger sister, a search which lands her in the hospital. Terrified they’ll push her for answers she can’t afford to give, Ryleigh flees with a mysterious stranger.

Jackson Maynard is about to be ordained as a Death Dealer, a warrior for the Kingdom of Cymmera, but first he must pass one more test. When he fails to acquire the human girl the prophet has chosen, he’s forced to stand trial for treason. Banished from his realm, he seeks out the girl from the vision, Ryleigh Donnovan, and together they embark on a journey to save his dying kingdom.

Buy Links:

Amazon    Barnes and Noble    Kensington    Kobo


Jackson clutched the stone wall of his chamber and gasped for air. What had just happened? He had returned to Cymmera, of that he was certain, but how? He hadn’t accessed the gateway. At least he didn’t remember opening it. A vision of her assailed him, beat at him, reminded him that he’d failed.

Oh, man. He was in trouble. He pushed away from the wall.

Images of his target taunted him.

He shoved a chair aside and tore through the pictures scattered across the table in a desperate search for salvation. There. He pulled the shot from the mess but found only condemnation. The long blond hair flowing behind her in the snapshot had not been visible to him, but there was no mistaking the deep blue of her eyes.

The pounding of a fist against the heavy wood door released him from whatever spell she’d cast.

“Jackson.” Another loud thud punctuated his name.
He struggled to get his bearings, tried to slow the racing of his heart. “Yeah, one minute.”

“Now. Your father wants to see you, immediately.”

Kai, his father’s most trusted warrior. He was in more trouble than he’d originally thought. Was it possible the king would sentence him to death for ignoring a direct order? Surely not without offering him a fair trial, or at least granting him the opportunity to explain. But what could he say? What explanation could there be for failing to deliver the girl? None.

“I won’t knock again.” The warrior would soon break down the door and drag him before the throne.

He crumpled the offending photo, the evidence of his disgrace, into a ball. Instead of tossing it in the trash as he’d intended, he shoved it into the small leather satchel he wore at his waist. With a deep breath, he released the latch and pulled open the door.

“Come.” Kai turned his back on him and strode purposefully down the corridor, their footfalls echoing through the silence of accusation.

The thought of escape taunted him, but he would never make it out of the castle. He had only recently completed his warrior training under Kai’s watch and would be no match for the seasoned soldier. Besides, Kai was a stickler for the rules. If he tried to run, the warrior would surely take him down, protégé or not.


Dani-Lyn Alexander lives on Long Island with her husband, three kids and three dogs. She loves spending time with her family, at the beach, the playground, or just about anywhere. In her spare time, which is rare, she enjoys reading and shopping—especially in book stores. Some of her favorite things include; Bernese Mountain Dogs, musicals, bubble baths and soft blankets. She’s an incurable insomniac and has an addiction to chocolate.

Website    Facebook    Twitter

Amazon    Barnes and Noble    Kensington    Kobo

Monday, November 03, 2014

Best-sellers and other titles currently ON SALE! #RomFantasy

My OmniLit Page

Champagne and Chocolate
(Historical Western, erotic)

Descent Into Darkness
(Novel, historical and contemporary, vampires)

(Contemporary, erotic, novella)

The Domino Effect
(Contemporary thriller, erotic, novella)
The Gates of Infinity
(Fantasy, erotic, adventure)


(Action Adventure, espionage, non-romance)
Omnilit Best Seller  

Another Man's Wife
(Historical Western, erotic)
ARe Best Seller

Glass Slippers & Jeweled Masques
(Erotic Fairytale, Cinderella)
ARe Best Seller

Hunters' Game
(Vampires, ménage, erotic)
ARe Best Seller

(Three stories, pirates and paranormal, erotic)
ARe Best Seller

Stolen Rapture
(Vampires, ménage, erotic)
ARe Best Seller

(Contemporary, ménage, erotic)
ARe Best Seller

Winner Takes All
(Historical Western, erotic)
ARe Best Seller – Amazon Best-seller)

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Cover Your Eyes - a new thriller from @MaryBurtonBooks (Giveaway)


Burton’s Nashville Police Department Hunts the Vicious Killer of a Rising Singing Star and Goes Head-to-Head with a Lawyer Determined to Free a Convicted Murderer in Cover Your Eyes on Sale October 30th

“Fantastic work with never a dull moment.” ¾Suspense Magazine

“A well-crafted mystery and an intricate plot . . . strong, dynamic storytelling and crisp dialogue . . . good pacing, distinctive secondary characters and chilling suspense make this story one heck of
 an exciting ride.”¾RT Book Reviews

“Burton’s trademark is providing the serial killer’s viewpoint without giving anything away, and by feeding the reader tiny details one at a time, she keeps the tension building.”¾Publishers Weekly

COVER YOUR EYES kicks off Mary Burton’s quartet of Nashville-set suspense novels exploring Music City’s dark side, pitting Detective Deke Morgan against Rachel Wainwright, the lawyer whose fight to free a convicted killer threatens the department’s and his father’s reputation.  Burton has been compared to Steig Larson**, Lisa Gardner*** and Lisa Jackson****, and was recently dubbed “the modern day Queen of Romantic Suspense” by Book Reporter.  She is the author of several national bestsellers, including  You’re Not Safe and The Seventh Victim, and her novels have been praised as “excellent” (Suspense Magazine), “compelling” (Publishers Weekly) and “deliciously thrilling ” (Fresh Fiction).  COVER YOUR EYES is being published as a paperback and eBook original, on sale October 30th.

                 DNA is at the heart of the controversial murder verdict challenged in Burton’s latest. The case, the killing of a rising star on Nashville’s music scene, was closed thirty years ago by Deke’s illustrious father, Buddy Morgan. Deke, protective of his colleagues and his father’s legacy, and Rachel, determined to reopen the case, are at odds¾both hold out for their own interests, unwilling to share new information or potential evidence. Neither anticipates the decades-old killing to reverberate in the present, but it does when the seemingly unrelated beating death of a young, destined-for-success singer leads to a string of violent slayings linked by broken dreams and echoes of the past. 
As brutality and fear escalate, the stakes rise.  Long-held beliefs begin to fray, including those of Deke’s siblings, all of whom follow in their father’s law enforcement footsteps. When anonymous clues, new evidence and continued attacks make it clear that no one involved is safe—especially Rachel, already assaulted twice—the time for secrets is clearly over, and  Deke and Rachel join forces, risking everything to stop the killing.
Once again, Burton blends forensic science, criminal profiles and human frailty to create a suspenseful tale of pursuit and capture, layering fact and fiction to build for a story of relationships, love, loss and the quest for justice.
                 Her next Nashville set novel featuring the Morgan family, BE AFRAID, is second son Rick’s story. Recovered from the gunshot that nearly killed him and now part of the homicide team, he and partner Jake Bishop pursue an obsessed killer ruled by fantasies. It will be published in May 2015. In October, her novella A Ranger for Christmas will be featured in the trade paperback original holiday anthology OUR FIRST CHRISTMAS along with stories by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson, Mary Carter, and Cathy Lamb.

*Book Reporter **Publishers Weekly ***Library Journal ****Library Journal


Mary Burton is the author of twenty-two published novels and four novellas, including  her latest, CLOSE YOUR EYES, the first of four stories set in Nashville featuring the city’s preeminent law enforcement family, the Morgans, and her “Texas Ranger” books, You’re Not Safe, No Escape and The Seventh Victim.  Her earlier work includes I'm Watching You, Dead Ringer and Dying Scream, set in Richmond, her hometown, Richmond, and Senseless, Merciless and Before She Dies, set in Alexandria.  Mary’s intensive research has led to interviews with law enforcement, seminars and classes, and the firing range.  She is a graduate of the Henrico County Citizens Police Academy and the Richmond FBI Citizen's Academy, and has attended Sisters in Crime's Forensic University program and the Writers Police Academy in Jamestown, North Carolina.
                 A Richmond native whose family roots run as deep as the nation's, Mary has lived there for most of her life.  She graduated from Virginia's Hollins University and had a career in marketing before committing to write full time. Her first manuscript, a historical romance, was published in 2000. She is a member of Thriller Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She travels often for signings and other appearances.  She is a frequent speaker regarding writing and genre fiction, and continues to present her "Unraveling Romantic Suspense" workshop and her day-long program "Writing Your Book...The First Step."
                 Mary is currently at work on her fourth Nashville-set suspense novel. 


Rachel dropped her gaze to her talking points.  Stick to the facts.  Add emotion.  Eye contact.

The facts were: thirty years ago a young mother, Annie Rivers Dawson had been brutally murdered.  Annie’s younger sister had arrived for a visit and discovered the house covered in blood and Annie’s newborn wailing in her crib.   Police had been summoned.  No body had been found but police concluded Annie could not have survived such blood loss.  The case had gone unsolved for three months. 

The public had been in a panic knowing a young woman and new mother from a good neighborhood had been brutally murdered.  The press had put tremendous pressure on the cops.  There’d been extensive searches for the body until finally a tip led cops to the remains of a woman wearing Annie’s clothes and jewelry.  The outcry for justice grew louder.  Even the governor had weighed in on the case.

Rachel’s client, Jeb Jones, had been a handyman in Nashville at the time of Annie’s death.  He’d had an eighth grade education, was considered a good, if not, an inconsistent worker who drank heavily at times, and had been married with a nine-year-old son.  He’d never made much money but he got by.  And then one night cops, acting on a tip from a paid informant, had searched the trunk of Jeb’s ’71 Cutlass sedan and found a bloody tire iron.  Jeb had been arrested.  Under interrogation, he’d confessed, though within twenty-four hours had recanted.  The blood testing available at the time, crude by today’s standards, had indicated the two blood samples on the tire iron matched both Annie’s and Jeb’s types.

Further investigation revealed that Jeb had known the victim.  He’d worked in her apartment building and witnesses had later said he had been caught staring at Annie once or twice. 
His trial was set a month after his arrest and it lasted five days.  Dozens testified that Jeb had a drinking problem and had cheated on his wife.  Though Jeb had never denied he was a bad father and husband, he swore that he’d not killed Annie.  He didn’t know how the tire iron ended up in his car.

Rachel wouldn’t discuss science tonight but would stick with her emotional plea to the public: we need to pressure the cops for a DNA test.

Christ, Rachel, these people could care less.

Her brother’s voice all but hissed as she stared at the uninspired crowd and her stomach knotted another twist.  She might not muster passion in this group, but the right television airtime could turn up the heat on the cops.

The news van arrived and Rachel now coveted Colleen’s smoothness.  Rachel had no soft edges.  Life had sharpened those edges into razors. . . .

Rachel scanned the crowd one last time hoping for a flicker of excitement.  Off to the left she spotted a man she’d missed the first time.  He stood apart from the crowd, partly concealed by a shadow cast by the building protecting his back.  Given his dark suit, white shirt, red tie and black western boots she’d have cast him as a banker or another lawyer.  His short dark hair and square jaw fit the possible scenarios.  However, the hard angles of his face, frown lines that cut deep and a battle ready stance dashed her theories.

For a moment she wondered why a man like him would be here and then the pieces fell into place.  He was Detective Deke Morgan...

Her stomach clenched.  She’d seen him once in court eight or nine months ago.  He’d testified in a drug case and though his hair had been long and his beard thick, the eyes held the same intensity as the man edging the crowd.  The Deke in her memory had a Tennessee drawl, adding a quiet authority the jury did not ignore.  After he’d testified he’d remained in his chair, stoic and watching.

Now his gaze skimmed her meager crowd, studying them until he seemed satisfied that this group was not driven enough to pose a threat.  His gaze settled on her . . .

At exactly six fifteen as the sun set she stood on the curb, lifted the microphone to her mouth, moistened her lips, and began to tell the story of Jeb Jones. 

The crowd grew quiet and news cameras rolled.  Several times she paused to gather her thoughts, which kept trying to skitter ahead.  More people stopped to listen and the flicker of the candles in the crowd grew brighter.

She could see disinterested faces grow solemn as the impact of her words settled.  Passersby stopped to listen.  “He deserves to have the DNA test.”

When she finished, the reporter, a woman with a tall lean build emphasized by a red body slimming dress, moved to the front of the crowd and held out her microphone.  A closer look revealed the woman was well into her fifties.  “So do you blame the Nashville Police Department for a possible miscarriage of justice?”

“I can’t speak to what happened thirty years ago.  I can only talk about now.  And today the Nashville Police Department has DNA evidence from the Dawson murder trial.  They’ve yet to respond to my requests for retesting and my fear is that the test will be forgotten or worse, swept under the rug and my client will die in prison.”

A murmur rumbled through the crowd.  More hands shot up. 

“What can we do?” Colleen shouted as if she too were part of the crowd.

“Call the police department.  Call you councilman.  Let them know that Jeb Jones deserves to be heard.” . . .

“What about Annie Rivers Dawson?  The victim!”  The angry voice shot out from the edges of the crowd.

Rachel studied the cluster of people and settled on a woman dressed in a dark, loose fitting dress stepped forward.  She wore her dark hair in a bun and no makeup adorned her pale angled face.

Rachel had thought someone might remember Annie and had prepared comments.  “My focus today is on Jeb Jones.  He’s been a victim of the system for thirty years.”

“Annie Rivers Dawson is dead.”  The woman moved forward clutching a well-worn purse close and moving to within feet of Rachel.

The reporter and her cameraman had also moved in closer.  If Rachel dodged this woman or her question, it wouldn’t play well.  The eyes of Nashville were upon them.

“Annie deserves to have her real killer behind bars,” Rachel said.

“Her real killer is behind bars.”  Despite a mousy demeanor, the woman’s voice reverberated with fierce anger. 

“Her death was tragic,” Rachel said.  “I’ve never denied that.”

The woman fished an eight by ten picture out of her large purse.  The image was a publicity shot of a young smiling woman and Rachel recognized Annie Rivers Dawson’s face immediately.  Annie had had long blond hair that billowed around a face with the perfect blend of porcelain skin, a high swipe of cheekbones and smiling full lips that added a joyous spark to bright blue eyes.  “She was a talented beautiful new mother and she was brutally beaten.  Her house was covered in blood and her body was found in pieces because of your client!”

Anxiety singed Rachel’s skin leaving her cheeks flushed.  “Annie’s death was a great loss.  Tragic.  But the police never adequately proved that my client was involved in her death.”

“The murder weapon was found in his car!”  Her voice had grown louder and her face flushed with anger.  “How can you stand there and defend that human piece of garbage?”

Aware of the crowd’s intense interest, she clung to her control with an iron grip as she lowered her microphone.  “This vigil is about Jeb and his right to have the DNA testing.”

“His right!”  The woman advanced a step.  “What rights did Annie have?  She had the right to live and raise her baby but those rights were stolen from her by Jeb Jones.”

“The DNA—”

“The cops found lots of evidence against him, including witnesses who said he stalked her!” she shrieked.

“He concedes that.”

“Of course.”  Her voice had grown louder and sharpened with a dramatic edge as she now played to the crowd.  “Poor murderer.  He’s the victim.”  She spit on the ground.  “The media loves to focus on the perpetrator.  They always forget the victim silenced by death.” 
Rachel stepped off the curb and moved toward the woman.  Her hope was to calm her and dial down the energy in their conversation.  Later they could talk in private.  “I haven’t forgotten about Annie.”

“You might remember her, but you don’t care about her.  All you care about is him.”  The woman’s fingers fisted around the edge of the picture so tightly, her knuckles turned white.
“What if Jeb didn’t kill Annie?” Rachel reasoned.  “Have you ever considered that the real killer is still out there and perhaps killing other women?”

The woman shook her head, her gaze zeroed in on Rachel.  “The real killer is not out there.  He is rotting behind bars as he should be.” . . .

The Channel Five camera caught every word of the argument.  Later the reporter would pluck chosen sound bites for the eleven o’clock news.  “I want justice, Ms. Miller.  DNA testing will prove once and for all if Jeb killed Annie.”

“No test is going to change what I know in my heart!  That bastard killed my sister!”  More tears welled in her eyes.

Rachel, drawn by the tears, missed the woman’s right hook, which rose up as quick as a viper.  The bare-knuckled fist struck hard against her jaw sending pain reverberating through her head.  Thoughts scrambled, she staggered, nearly caught herself, but teetered on her heels and dropped to her knees.

The sounds from the crowd grew distant as her head buzzed and popped.  She was aware of Colleen calling for the police as she pushed through the crowd . . .

Rachel’s head cleared and she planted high-heeled feet, wobbled and pulled back her shoulders.  She balled her fingers into a fist, focusing on Margaret Miller now being held back by a Nashville uniformed officer.  The woman’s screaming pounded inside her skull.

“Call an ambulance.”  Colleen’s command snapped like a whip, prompting several to fish in their pockets for a cell. 

Rachel blinked, worked her jaw.  “That’s not necessary.”

“It is,” Colleen said.  “You could have a head injury.”

Rachel readied to protest again when she saw Deke Morgan glaring down. 

He looked amused.  “She clocked you pretty good.” . . .

“You want to press charges?”

The cameras still rolled but now she wanted the press to go away.  She’d meant what she’d said about talking to Margaret in private.  She didn’t want a war.  “No charges.”

A restrained Margaret shook her head.  “You better arrest me!  I’ll hit her again given the chance.  She is a menace.”

The verbal threat earned the woman a set of handcuffs, which constrained her arms behind her back.  She sneered at Rachel and spit.  Spittle landed inches short of Rachel’s feet. . .

“Sure about those charges?” Detective Morgan asked.

© 2014 Mary Burton COVER YOUR EYES

COVER YOUR EYES by Mary Burton
Kensington Books/Zebra Mass Market Original/Fiction
November 2014/On Sale 10-28-14/$7.99 ($8.99 Canada)
978-1-4201-3211-3/eBook 978-1-4201-3212-0