Saturday, June 15, 2019

Book Hooks - Circle of Friends #MFRWHooks, #MFRWAuthor

Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current WIP or previously published book by possibly new to you authors.
This is book 1 in the Mystical Wonders Series!

BLURB

Madison Morina, college professor, meets Sal at the college’s pep rally. They hit it off, but Madison still has her doubts regarding their relationship. Shari Stafford, a clairvoyant, hairdresser, finds love when she hires a carpenter to do renovations on her house. She has a special gift of reading minds. Private Investigator Cassie Scott has an on and off relationship with Dennis. When family secrets are revealed, her life is changed forever. Bad boy Angelo Esposito sweeps Fay Odina off her feet. He has a dead wife and an ex-wife, along with a secret past and an agenda. Angelo finds his perfect mark in Fay, who owns the family Vintage Clothing Shop. Despite her friends’ warnings that she is in imminent danger, she runs off and marries Angelo. It’s up to the girls to juggle their own relationships and dig deeper into Angelo’s past. Four friends, four lives intertwined together.
EXCERPT

     There wasn’t a lot of time to waste so he drove directly to Fay’s store and parked his car around back. He had everything set up from earlier when he brought her boxes down to the basement right before she closed the store.
    Everything worked out perfectly. He had outlined the whole day and pretty much stayed on the schedule he’d made for himself. His personal satisfaction wasn’t on the list, but it sure did feel good.
    Angelo didn’t foresee any problems. During his last trip to the basement, he made sure he distracted her from checking the backdoor. Smooching, thoughts of an expensive dinner, and sex had preoccupied her. He was relieved.
    Angelo opened the basement door, turned on his flashlight and grabbed the splintered banister. Earlier, he hadn’t noticed that some of the stairs were warped, cracked,
and one or two only had half a step remaining. He didn’t need to fall down and have Fay come into work the next day to find him lying on the bottom of the stairs with a broken leg and a concussion.
    Once he reached the bottom step, he opened the door, thankful he remembered to leave on the light. This way there was nothing out of the ordinary to cause anyone alarm. He went directly to the file cabinet in the corner, opening and closing the drawers looking for past bank statements or any other vital information.
     He removed the December files, knowing these would be the final figures for the previous year. This was easier than he thought. Finally, he had planned something out the right way and it hadn’t cost him that much to woo her. Fay was so blinded by his charm, she didn’t see him for the man he really was.
    The last two broads he was married to had to be lavished with expensive gifts, Broadway plays and vacations to the tropics. God forbid if there wasn’t diamonds in the piece of jewelry he bought them. But that problem was easy to amend. He would take a piece, sell it and buy something new. What made this little ploy pathetic was his wives had so much jewelry they didn’t even realize when something went missing.
    Fay was a whole different story. She never asked for anything. So when he brought her the smallest of gifts, she would make a big deal over it. She had turned into the perfect score.
 
                                                               ***
     Angelo finished copying the files and carefully placed them back where he retrieved them. Covering his tracks was imperative. He started walking downstairs when he remembered the papers in his pocket. Returning to her office, he made a quick copy of them. Once he got back to her house, he would return the envelope. Sooner or later she’d have to use the bathroom or he’d send her down for a snack.

     Shutting the light off, Angelo made his way down the stairs again. He put away the original file he had taken from down in the basement, sliding the box that blocked the file cabinet back in front of it.

     These papers were going to be the key to his future. It would be the deciding factor on what he wanted to do about his so-called relationship with Fay. If she was worth the money he suspected, then he would just have to fake his way through a loving relationship while finding his restitution with his lover Tina.


KAREN'S SOCIAL MEDIA

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Book Hooks - Another Side of Perfect - #HFRWHooks, MFRWAuthor

Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current WIP or previously published book by possibly new to you authors.
 This is Book 3 in the Seaside Boulevard Series!


BLURB 
Richie and Francine’s marriage takes another hit when his dad dies of a massive heart attack. Angelina, Richie’s mom is distraught, not leaving her house. When Francine finds herself pregnant, everyone is ecstatic, especially Angelina. However, their excitement turns into worry when Francine falls putting her pregnancy in high risk, restricting her to bed rest. Gary Thompson gets traded to another team on the west coast. Toni needs to make the decision to go with him, or stay home and end their relationship. Amy and Jason’s wedding invitations are sent out. The question is will their families accept their wedding? A surprise guest the eve of the wedding will put the spin on the next day’s festivities.

EXCERPT 

Carefully Amy walked up the path. She stopped in her tracks when she saw Francine lying on the floor at the bottom of the steps, her head on the grass and her body on the pavers. The bags fell from her hands and she let out a shrill cry.

            “Francine,” she nudged her, “what’s wrong?” No answer, no movement. “Oh my God.” Reaching into her back pocket, she pulled out her cell phone and dialed 911. “I need help,” she cried into the phone.

            “Calm down. I need to know what the problem is.” “My friend is down on the floor outside unconscious.

            She’s pregnant, oh my God, her baby. Please help me. Francine, talk to me.”

Her eyes barely opened. She mumbled something, which Amy couldn’t understand before closing her eyes again.

            Amy gave the woman on the other end of the phone Francine’s address. The woman told her not to move her and an ambulance was on its way. Amy got up, ran to her car and took out the beach blanket in the trunk, returning to cover her.

            “Please, Francine, wake up. How did this happen? Don’t worry, I’m here for you. I’m not leaving your side. Everything is going to be all right. Please stay with me.”

            Out of the corner of her eye she saw an open book and a bag with what looked like clothes. She reached over for the book and it turned out to be Sally’s sketchbook. Why would Francine have Sally’s sketchbook? Francine hadn’t said anything about Sally coming over when they spoke this morning.

            In the distance, Amy heard the ambulance approaching. She took hold of Francine’s hand and started to talk to her about all their antics they pulled throughout their friendship. She didn’t know what else to do. At least if she kept talking to her maybe she would open her eyes or respond by squeezing her hand.

            The ambulance arrived. The EMTs started taking Francine’s vital signs, shielding Amy from seeing what they were doing.

            “Let’s get her on oxygen,” one of the men commanded. “Oh my. Is she okay? Is she all right?” Amy cried. “She’s fine. After doing a quick assessment, it seems

that she slipped and fell down the stairs. It’s possible she has a concussion. We won’t know anything until we get her to the hospital for additional testing.”

            “What about the baby?”

            “She’s pregnant?”            

            “Yes. Please don’t let anything happen to the baby.”

            Ignoring her, he said to the other EMT, “Let’s get her on a stretcher.”

            “I think something else happened here. These items,” Amy pointed, “do not belong to her. It might be possible someone pushed her down the stairs.”

            “That isn’t our department. You’ll have to wait for the police to come to file a report.”

            “I’m not leaving my best friend alone. I’ll call the police on the way to the hospital.”

            The EMT strapped Francine down to the stretcher and put her seat belt on. Amy followed the stretcher onto the ambulance. She sat on the bench next to her. As the ambulance raced down Father Capadanno Boulevard, Amy called Jason and then 911 again. By the time the ambulance arrived at the hospital, the police had arrived as well as Jason.

            Amy followed behind Francine. Along the way she grabbed Jason’s hand, leading him into the emergency room.

            The first thing the nurse did was check all Francine’s vitals. Next, the doctor came in and ordered a CAT scan of her head, along with an ultrasound of the baby. Amy told them Doctor Taylor was her obstetrician. When the transporter came to bring Francine up for her scan, the doctor told Amy she couldn’t go into the room with her and she had to stay in the waiting room. They would come get her when they were done.

            When they wheeled Francine into the elevator, she turned and fell into Jason’s arms. Amy cried for the longest time. Her thoughts kept going to Francine. If anything happened to her baby, Francine would never recover. What worried her even more had been why she had been unconscious for so long. She was no medical doctor, but she knew this wasn’t a very good sign.

            “Ms. Mills?” a deep voice said. Amy turned around to face Officer Miller.

            “Yes.”

            “You placed a call to us.”

            Amy took a deep breath before sliding into the leather waiting room chair. “I did because I suspect that Francine wasn’t alone when she fell down the stairs. I found her friend’s sketchbook and shopping bag with clothes at the bottom of the stairs. If I was to make a calculated guess, I would say Sally Britts was at the house.”

            “Who is Sally Britts?” Miller asked. “She is a friend of Francine.” “What would cause you to believe she had something to do with the fall if she was her friend?” he asked, resting his hand on his gun.

            Amy gave him Francine’s address. “Just a feeling I have.”

            Miller scribbled something on his pad before flipping it closed and placing it back into his pant’s pocket. “I will be in touch with you.”

            When Miller was out of ears reach, Amy said, “He’s so full of shit. He thought I was a nut job. I bet he doesn’t follow up on this.”

            “Babe.” Jason turned her around to face him.

            “Let it go. What’s important here is Francine.

                                                                        *****

            Amy walked into Francine’s room. When she saw that Francine was still not conscious, she called Angelina.

            “Hello,” she yelled into the phone.

            “Angelina, this is Amy, Francine’s friend.”

            “Of course. How are you?”

            “Not too good. I’m at the hospital with Francine.”            

            “What? Why is Francine in the hospital? Is it my Richie?”

            “No. It’s Francine. She’s had an accident.”            

            “What kind of accident?” Her voice raised two octaves.            

“I’m not sure. I think she fell down the front stairs. I found her on the floor.” “Where are you?” “In the emergency room.”

“I’m on my way.”

The phone went dead. Amy slid her phone into her back pocket and crossed her arms tightly against her chest, staring out the glass window at the flock of turkeys walking across the street, holding up traffic. This day had turned into a complete disaster. The one question, which kept going through her mind was why Sally’s things were on the floor near Francine. She needed to talk to Francine to get answers. “Oh my God. Where’s my daughter-in-law?” Amy heard Angelina’s voice echo down the hallway about a half hour later. Within seconds, Angelina walked into Francine’s room

hugging her. Amy felt Angelina’s hot tears fall against her neck. She held onto Amy tightly, rocking back and forth in Amy’s arms.

            “It’s okay, Angelina. Francine should be returning any minute. The doctor took her upstairs to do a CAT scan.”

            “Why?”

            “Because she’s unconscious.”

            “Oh dear God.” Angelina covered her mouth. “What about the baby?”

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Book Hooks - A Different Side of Perfect - #MFRWHooks, MFRWAuthor

Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current WIP or previously published book by possibly new to you authors.

This is Book 2 in the Seaside Boulevard Series!
     It is the grand opening of The Perfect Pitch. All the pieces fall into place until Francine's diagnosis of breast cancer, throwing their lives upside down. While Amy and Jason deal with the reaction from her family to their interracial relationship, Toni finds herself in another overbearing relationship with Pelicans third baseman Gary Thompson.
     In the mist of taking care of Francine and working at The Perfect Pitch, Richie gets a call from the owner of the Pelicans. He is offered a job as pitching coach for the team. Richie accepts the job, putting a huge strain on his marriage which affects all of them.

EXCERPT
     The sound of machines beeped above her head. Francine tried to open her eyes but couldn’t. Her body felt paralyzed. Why couldn’t she move? What if something went wrong and she was paralyzed for life? She wondered what happened during the surgery. Did they find something else? Did she have one breast or none? Right before she counted backwards from ten, Doctor Taylor handed her a clipboard with paperwork that needed to be signed. She remembered asking him why he waited until the last minute to sign the paper. His answer, “Procedure.”
     Over the sound of the machine, she heard Richie talking. She had no idea what she was going to face when she totally woke up. “...I need you to open your eyes. I’m not leaving this room until I see your big brown eyes. From the moment I laid eyes on you, my heart skipped a beat and you stopped me in my tracks. You were always smiling even in your darkest moments. You’re my love, my best friend. Your hugs are precious especially when you hug me for no reason at all. Your kisses make me melt. I can kiss you all day long. You are one of the most unselfish women I have ever known. You listen to me, share in all my glory at the ballpark every time I pitch. Funny, I can always hear your cheering and chanting through the crowd. My favorite part of the day is at night when I’m wrapped in your arms because I know in the morning I’m going to wake up beside you, sharing another precious day with you. Please sweetheart, open your eyes, let me know you are okay so we can plan our future together. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit...”
     Richie was praying. She couldn’t make out which prayer, because his words were mumbled. With all her strength, she was able to move her pointer finger. She lifted it up and down hoping Richie saw the movement. But he didn’t or else he would be yelling with excitement. She needed to get his attention, let him know she heard him. All at once she felt her eyes water. The love in his heart couldn’t be any more evident. Hearing his voice soothed her. She knew she was alive and would soon be wrapped in Richie’s arms.
    “Nurse,” Richie yelled. “She’s waking up. She moved. There are tears in her eyes.”
 
KAREN'S SOCIAL MEDIA

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Book Hooks - The Perfect Pitch - #MFRWHooks, #MFRWAuthor

Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current WIP or previously published book by possibly new to you authors.

The Perfect Pitch is book 1 in the Seaside Boulevard Series.
BLURB

     Francine and Richie Ragglio are high school sweethearts. Francine owns her own real estate business and Richie pitches for the New York Pelicans. Richie hurts his shoulder while pitching the first game of the season, not the way he wants to end his career. When Francine is left an abandoned restaurant from someone from her past, things begin to spiral out of control. The mystery of a hidden basement brings Francine and her friends together to do their own investigation, which puts them in the middle of a smuggling ring.
     Will Richie's get through his surgery so he can retire on top of his game? And will Francine and her friends solve the mystery of the hidden basement?
EXCERPT


Francine went along with the laugh. No way would she try to explain to them what they were up to. As far as Francine was concerned, they were just appeasing Toni. If the basement had been closed, then there would have been another blueprint in the book. Or maybe Marvin closed it up and never bothered to change the blueprints, so he didn’t have to hire an architect and file permits. He might have said screw it in order to save money.

Francine walked out the backdoor and there was Amy along with Toni on their hands and knees, pushing grass with their hands off the concrete.

“Well if it isn’t the Nancy Drew dream team.” Francine laughed, resting her hands on her hips.

“Are you going to help us or are you going to stand there watching?” Toni asked.

“I’m going to help you. But I think before we go crazy, we take another trip down to City Hall to see if there is another blueprint beside the two of them.”

“Just keep looking,” Toni snapped. “I went through the book twice.”

“Okay, I believe you,” Francine said. “I didn’t mean to agitate you.”

“I think the opening has to be over here somewhere,” Amy said, pointing to the metal tape measure. “I’ve followed the dimensions on the blueprint to a ‘T.’ If I calculated right, the opening should be right around here.”

Francine dropped to her knees. She joined Amy and Toni in pulling the overgrown weeds and grass off the back of the building, exposing the concrete foundation.

“We’re going to have to dig some of the dirt away from the building,” Amy concluded.

“I think we should take another look at this.” Francine stood, shaking her right leg that had become stiff. “I’m going to grab the shovels. Using my hands isn’t cutting it.”

“I agree with her.” Amy stood. “I’m thinking something is here. A basement just doesn’t disappear.”

Francine handed Amy and Toni a shovel. Immediately, Francine and Amy began, while Toni tapped her shovel around the area. As she shoveled, Francine kept her eyes on Toni who seemed to be on a mission of her own.

“What’s she up to?” Francine asked, nudging Amy.

“I don’t know. She didn’t say a word to me.”

“I’m going to keep digging.” After digging a foot down and six feet wide, Francine finally was able to see the difference in the concrete. The smooth concrete had turned into unleveled bricks held together sloppily by cement.

“Hey, I found something here,” Francine called out.

“Where?” Amy asked.

“So have I,” Toni said.

Francine leaned her shovel against the side of the building. “What did you find?” she asked walking with Amy toward her.

“I’m not sure if it’s anything. But listen.” Toni banged the shovel two feet behind her to the dirt and then three feet in front of her. “I hear an echo. Do you?”

“Do it again,” Amy ordered.

Toni tapped her shovel again in front of her and behind her. The sound was different. But how could it be? Francine thought.

Toni lifted her shovel. “Let’s dig over here.”

All three women started digging. After a few minutes, they hit something hard. They dropped to their knees and used their hands to move the dirt, to reveal a metal plate with a big thick round metal handle.

“I knew there was something fishy about those blueprints,” Toni gloated.

“What should we do now?” Amy asked standing.

“Open it, see what is under the door,” Francine said.


KAREN'S SOCIAL MEDIA





Friday, May 17, 2019

Book Hooks - Drama Club Chaos #MFRWhooks, #MFRWAuthor

Book Hooks is a weekly meme hosted by Marketing for Romance Writers as part of the MFRW Authors Blog. It's a chance each week for you the reader to discover current WIP or previously published book by possibly new to you authors.
Dram Club Chaos is the third book in the Cookie Cutter Cozy Mystery Series. 


BLURB
All is quiet at the fifty-five and older community where Connie Acosta is running her illegal bakery out of best friend Sara Mazza's garage. Both women swore off getting involved in any police business at the compound. Just as the two amateur sleuths are enjoying a night out in the clubhouse ballroom, a scream from the lounge draws them into the middle of a police investigation with Warren and Brett, their current partners. Who said seniors can't get into trouble and fall in love again.

EXCERPT 
 

“Come on, Connie,” Sara said, grabbing her arm. “It’s disco time.” She pushed Jack toward Vic. “We’ll be right back.”
       Connie got lost in the music. There were so many memories attached to these songs. She could recite the title, artist’s name and year it was released. That’s how much she loved the music. The DJ played five disco songs in a row and then immediately cleared the dance floor when he played a country western song.
       “What is it with this DJ? I’m totally over this,” Sara said, walking over to the table.
       “I got us some snacks from the kitchen,” Jack said. “I have a tray of cheese and crackers that I forgot at home. Do you want me to go get it?”
       “You don’t need to.” Sara ran her hand up his thigh. “Sit tight––”
       Connie watched their playful exchange, as did the woman sitting next to Jack. Jack smiled, slid out of his seat and walked over to Vic.
       “Sara! People can see you. Behave,” Connie warned.
       “Don’t tell me you are talking about these people here.”
       “I am. I hear the way they talk about Lizzy, calling her an old whore. These women get really graphic.”
       “Without a doubt. They have nothing else to do than to watch what other people are doing. If you pay close attention to the house across the street from us, you can see Lucy peeking through the blinds over here,” Sara said.
       “Now how would you know that unless you’re doing the same thing?”
       Sara’s cheeks turned red. “Okay, you got me. I’m just making sure no one is getting too close to the house. The last thing we need is for someone to find out we’re running an illegal bakery in the garage.”
       “You’re right. That’s why we have to watch what we say and who we get friendly with.”
       “You’re always one step ahead––”
       “What are you two whispering about now?” Vic asked with Jack standing next to him, shaking his head.
       Before Connie or Sara could answer them, the DJ slowed the music down. Vic took Connie’s hand and led her out onto the dance floor.
       “I have to ask. Why didn’t you tell me you were coming tonight?” Vic asked, holding her in his arms.
       “Because most of the time Sara and I are on the dance floor. Sorry I didn’t mention it. Don’t be upset.”
       “I’m not. I like spending time with you and enjoy watching you have fun.”
       “You’re really different. I’ve never met anyone like you,” Connie said.
       “I can say the same thing, but I’d be lying. I was with my ex since we were kids. We were married almost thirty-two years when she served me with divorce papers. But that’s in the past,” Vic said. “You’re my future.”
       Vic’s words echoed in her mind. Connie liked him, but wasn’t ready to start any kind of serious relationship. Since they met, their relationship was casual and Connie liked how things were. She was looking for companionship, nothing more.
       Connie wanted to say, “Slow down cowboy,” but instead said, “Vic you’re jumping ahead of things. I like things the way they are. Let’s take it one day at a time and enjoy the night.”
       It was as if the DJ read her mind as he played another slow song. Connie took a step back to gaze at Vic. She smiled. “Another slow one.”
       “Shall we?” he asked, extending his hand.
       “Absolutely.” She slid her hand into his. How’d you learn to waltz?”
       “I took dance lessons before my daughter got married.”
       “Of course. I’m sure you danced to Daddy’s Little Girl.”
       “What father doesn’t?”
       “You’d be surprised.”
       Vic placed his hands on her waist, pulling her closer to him. The dance floor was crowded as the DJ played another slow song. Connie relaxed in his arms, feeling his breath on her cheeks. Vic gave the impression that he was serious about her. It seemed that he was always bringing up subjects relating to marriage and how he felt content whenever he was around her.
       “I can hold you like this all night. Sorry I don’t know any disco moves,” Vic said.
       “You don’t give me the impression that you were the disco king back in the day.”
       “You’re right. I wasn’t. I always leaned toward country western music.”
       “Not me. I was the disco queen.”
       “Hmm. Us Jersey boys had a label for you gals.”
       “Not me. I was already with my husband. No playing mind games with the guys from me.”
       Vic stared into her eyes. “You have put me under a serious spell.”
       He lifted her chin with his finger. Just as their lips met, the shrill of a woman’s voice was heard over the music. After another scream, the music stopped and the room went silent. This time the words, “Oh my God, she’s dead,” echoed throughout the room.
     
KAREN'S SOCIAL MEDIA