Photo of the day, day 261

Random PRIDE flag we saw in the woods on our walk.

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Photo of the day, day 260

saw this little guy on our morning walk around the neighborhood. Maple was very intrigued….

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Photo of the day, day 259

dead doggy sleep. And she’s snoring,too.

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A new #bookrelease from talented author C.B. Clark FORGING FORGIVENESS #romanticsuspense

You all know – because I say it all the time – but I lovelovelove when my Wild Rose Press sistahs come to visit and bring me their new books. Today is a treat for me and you! C.B. Clark has a new romantic suspense out titled Forging Forgiveness and she is allowing me to share a bit of it with you! Take a gander at this sure-to-be-a-bestseller novel…

When small-town college instructor Candace Cooper discovers bloody, bare footprints in the snow while running in a state park deep in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, it brings back the horrific nightmare of her past.

Detective Aiden Farrell is determined to redeem himself in his new position in Colorado, even if that means ignoring his growing feelings for the beautiful professor he meets during an investigation. His fear that the footprints she saw are connected to a recent spate of missing teens intensifies when Candace is assaulted on campus.

Aiden and Candace join forces, but as they start unraveling the truth, they get closer to each other—and to a killer who’ll stop at nothing to achieve his nefarious goal. 

Caught between duty and love, Aiden fights in a race against time to save the woman he loves.

Candace Cooper’s breath fogged out in plumes in the frosty, late afternoon air as she pumped her arms and loped along the narrow trail. Yesterday’s rain had turned to sleet, and overnight, two inches of fresh snow blanketed the path and weighed down the limbs of the tall pine trees.

Hey, what was that?

She slowed to a stop, turned around, and walked back three yards.

What the heck?

Indentations—a heel, the pad of a big toe, and the four, smaller indents of the other toes—were clearly formed in the smooth dusting of snow. The set of small, narrow footprints tracked along the snowy trail, veering into the deeper shadows of the forest. Someone had walked in his or her bare feet down the cold, snow- covered path.

The wind gusted against her damp face, and she shivered. Late November was too cold for anyone in their right mind to be out in the mountainous backcountry of northeast Colorado walking around without proper footgear, let alone barefoot. She squatted for a closer look.

A smear of dark red, stark against the white snow, marked the heel depression of each left footprint.

She touched the red splotch with the tip of her gloved finger. A rust-colored smudge stained the light blue cotton. Her heart rate kicked up.

Blood!

Sinking back on her heels, she peered into the forest’s deepening shadows and shuddered. Only four o’clock in the afternoon, and the sun was already disappearing behind the mountains. Nothing stirred. Even the squirrels were quiet, as if the silent forest watched and waited.

She knew this area of the park, ran the trails in the summer and snowshoed over the flatlands in the winter. Nothing manmade existed out there—no houses, no cottages, nothing but trees and wild animals.

Most visitors to Creighton Springs State Park stayed on the well-groomed gravel walkways and didn’t venture far from the parking lot. She never saw anyone on the hilly trail, not in winter. Yet, as recently as this morning, or early afternoon, someone had gone this way—and in bare feet. They’d left a blood trail. If that person was injured, maybe they needed help.

She slipped off her gloves and traced her finger along the impression. Too small to be an adult male or female’s footprint. Her gut clenched.

A child?

God, no! Please don’t let it be a child. The unspeakable horror of the past reared over her like an attacking beast, and she sagged onto her knees, her heart pounding as if threatening to burst from her chest. A piteous moan escaped her lips. Not again. Dear Lord, please, not again.

Hot tears burned her eyes.

A loud crack reverberated throughout the silent forest.

She bit back a scream and surged to her feet. Gunshot?

An instant later, another sharp boom filled the air.

The piercing sounds of distant rifle fire were unmistakable. But no way would anyone be shooting. It was illegal to hunt in the park. Besides, it was too dark for a hunter to see his target.

Her heart thundered, her breath frozen in her chest. Seconds passed, turning into minutes. Her back tingled with the certainty she was being watched, but she couldn’t move, could only stand there and listen, waiting for the next shot.

The forest remained hushed.

The sun dipped behind the mountains, and the valley filled with dark shadows as night settled in.

A snap of a branch breaking shook her out of her paralysis. The breath she’d been holding whooshed out, and she fumbled in her backpack and drew out her headlamp. Slipping the elastic strap over her forehead, she switched on the light.

Following the thin beam of light cast by her headlamp, she jogged down the trail. Her legs wobbled, and she stumbled over slippery roots and rocks, staggering, almost falling, but she dug deep and kept running.

The parking lot where she’d left her car was an hour’s walk, but if she ran, she could make it in half that time. Heart thumping, her lungs burning, she raced around a bend in the trail but lurched to a stop at a flicker of movement in the trees on her right.

A large shadow separated from the trunk of a fir tree and formed into the shape of a man.

She shone her headlamp into the forest.

The beam of light revealed a tall man with broad shoulders wearing a camouflage-patterned coat and baggy, green cargo pants. A gray woolen toque hung low over his forehead, and a thick black beard covered the lower half of his face. A rifle was strapped over one shoulder.

“He…hello?” Her voice was thin and reedy. He wasn’t a park ranger. Not in that getup, but he had to be the person shooting, considering the enormous rifle slung over his shoulder.

Not one part of his body moved. He didn’t even blink.

Hands shaking, she peeled off her gloves, letting them fall to the ground, and yanked out the can of pepper spray she carried in a canvas holster strapped around her waist. Sliding off the safety guard, she held the can up, the nozzle pointed at the unsettling stranger. “Who are you? What do you want?”

The man remained still and unspeaking.

Her heart thundered in her ears. “Hey, I asked you a question. What do you want?”

Behind the beard, he smiled, his lips stretching wide, his teeth gleaming in the headlamp’s beam. In the encroaching darkness, his muscular frame appeared larger, his demeanor even more threatening.

Fear clawed her throat, and her primal instincts kicked in. Run! The urgent command roared through her, but her knees locked and refused to obey. Her breath puffed in and out in frantic huffs. “Don’t come any closer.” Gripping the can of pepper spray so tight her hand ached, she shifted her finger on the trigger.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ASuXim

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3Rc1Vje

Apple/iTunes: https://apple.co/3BeiN3E

Google: https://bit.ly/3PSWbd3

Also available for purchase at Kobo.com and all other major online retailers.

Forging Forgiveness is award-winning author, C.B. Clark’s eighth novel published by The Wild Rose Press. When she’s not busy traveling around the globe or hiking and camping in the wilderness near her home in northern British Columbia, she can be found in front of her laptop plotting her next story.

Social Media Links:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cbclarkauthor/

Blog: https://cbclarkauthor.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbclarkauthor

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15029617.C_B_Clark

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/C.-B.-Clark/e/B01BK61TQG/

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/c-b-clark

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Photo of the day, day 258

yeah…I am.

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Another LAST MAN STANDING takes the fall as DONOVAN releases today #sweetromance #LMS

My good friend KARI LEMOR has the latest LAST MAN STANDINGDONOVAN, which releases today.

Like sweet revenge?? This book’s for you!

DONOVAN – Kari Lemor

Going, going, gone, to the lady who wants sweet revenge.

Magnolia Popham never forgot the way Donovan Sinclair humiliated her when she worked for his family. Years later, he’s on the auction block to raise money for the children’s hospital, and she’s got the perfect plan to pay him back. A month mucking stalls and feeding chickens is just the thing to make him see what it feels like to be the hired help.

Donovan never meant to embarrass Maggie, yet now he’s paying the price. He didn’t know one stolen kiss years ago could cause so many problems. Toiling beside her at Popham Farm shows him the successful woman she’s become, and he’d like to get closer. Even with the drudgery of working the land, he wants nothing more than to bid on her love…and win.

“Eight thousand for this strong, strapping man to do with as you please. According to our rules, of course,” Cissy clarified, but Donovan wondered how vigorously they enforced those rules. 

“Do I hear nine thousand for Donovan Sinclair?”

“Nine thousand.” Mrs. Wisenthall was determined. The others seemed to have dropped out of the race. 

“We have nine thousand dollars for this handsome man. Any other takers?” Cissy waited and glanced around. Donovan couldn’t see more than shapes sitting at the tables due to the lighting. 

“Okay, then. Going once, going twice—”

“Fifteen thousand dollars.” 

Donovan froze. The voice wasn’t one of the ones who’d been bidding before. This one was soft as a breeze and sweet as honey with a lilting southern accent.

“Fifteen thousand. Any other bids?” Cissy cocked her head, but Mrs. Wisenthall remained silent. “Going once. Going twice. I think we have a winner.”

Donovan could make out the shape of a woman walking toward the stage. And what a shape it was. The dress was classy, floral, and hugged her figure lovingly, stopping about an inch above her knee. High heels accentuated her long, trim legs and clicked on the wood floor as she approached. A white, large-brimmed hat perched on top of her head, covering all but a long curl of brunette hair that swirled across one shoulder, then dipped between her breasts. 

Well now. This was a new circumstance. Maybe he could forgive his mother if he got to spend some quality time with this exquisite creature. Provided she knew it was a temporary situation.

Cissy cleared her throat as the mystery woman sauntered closer and tipped her head up. As Donovan took in her features, memories drifted through his mind, and the blood drained from his face.

“Donovan Sinclair sold for fifteen thousand dollars to Magnolia Popham.”

Find all of Kari’s books here: 

https://www.karilemor.com/

Kari Lemor has always been a voracious reader. One of those kids who had the book under the covers or under the desk at school. Even now she has been known to stay up until the wee hours finishing a good book. Romance has always been her favorite, stories of people fighting through conflict to reach their happily ever after.

Writing wasn’t something she enjoyed when young and only in the last few years began putting the stories that ran rampant in her head, down on paper.

Now that her kids are all grown and have moved out, she uses her spare time to create character-driven stories of love and hope.

She spends her time with her husband divided between a small town in New England and beautiful St. Augustine.

See all the LAST MEN STANDING hunks here: LMS

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Photo of the day, day 257

There was only one left so I snagged it!

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#tuesdayteaser from THE JANE AUSTEN MURDERS #kindlevella

Just a little something to whet your KINDLE VELLA reading appetites. From THE JANE AUSTEN MURDERS a fan favorite for over 30 weeks.

“Detectives,” the officer at the apartment door greeted them, touching a finger salute to his cap.

“What ya got?” Frank asked.

While he referred to his notepad, the young officer read, “Vic is Charlotte Lucas, twenty-two, senior at Longbourne College. Discovered this morning by her roommate, Lucy Steele, at approximately seven-thirty.”

“Is the roommate still here?” Frank asked.

“Yes, sir. In her bedroom. The girl’s pretty shook up so I left my partner with her.”

“Anyone else here?” Lizzy asked.

“ME just arrived. CSU’s on the way.”

Frank nodded. “Thanks. Keep the door secure.”

Together, the detectives entered the apartment. Frank crossed his hands behind his back while Lizzy folded hers into her jacket pockets.

The front door opened into a living room that was a wide L shape, an efficiency kitchen forming the bottom part of the letter. Full-length floor-to-ceiling windows spanned one wall, the professional treatments open, letting in the early morning sun. Two sofas were a cocoa-colored leather, a detailed ornamental rug under them. The lamps on the two end tables were crystal, and the paintings on the wall were large and bright. Lizzy’s gaze flicked over one twice. It was a confusion of colors and strokes, all blending together to form an obelisk in the center of the canvas.

Modern art. Weird.

Both rooms were painted a stark, antiseptic white.

“Furniture’s not cheap,” Lizzy said. “My sister Jane would kill just for the couches. Place like this usually doesn’t go for less than three grand a month. Furnishings tell the vic must have money.”

Frank hummed a simple, “mmmm.”

The room had an order to it that bordered on perfection.

“There’s nothing personal in here at all,” Lizzy said, looking around.  “No photos, no mementoes. It’s like a hotel.”

“Check the kitchen,” Frank said.

A quick glance at it and Lizzy saw a juice glass and a bowl in the sink, a drizzle of milk in the bottom of it.

Someone had time to eat.

The coffee maker was empty and spotless. The countertops glistened.

“Wonder if she had a housekeeper?” Lizzy said.

They found the victim’s bedroom at the end of a short hall, the pungent smell of her death guiding them in the right direction. Lizzy blew out a few quick breaths. The acrid and metallic smell of blood always made her queasy and she’d found that clearing her mouth and nose helped abate the nausea. From his squatting position next to the bed, Lizzy could make out the bald head of the county’s medical examiner.

“Detectives,” Dr. Hurst said, never raising his gaze to them. “This one’s messy. Be careful coming around.”

Paying close attention to where she stepped, Lizzy walked around the bed.

“Talk to us,” Frank said.

Hurst impaled the skin on the victim’s abdomen with the spiked end of the liver thermometer, stabbing it through with a purposeful, deliberate shove until it reached its mark. “Basically, her head’s been pulverized. Beaten to death with something long and hard.”

“Like what?” Lizzy asked.

Hurst shook his head. “Can’t tell for sure. I need to get exact measurements. Something like a baseball bat maybe. The splatter on the walls tells me the whole incident took place right here.” He removed the thermometer, a wet, sucking sound following it out on a path from her liver, through the muscles and fascia, to the outer skin.

The noise made the bile Lizzy was trying to keep down jump in her gullet.

She didn’t look at the victim. Couldn’t.  Not first.  The aftereffects of death on the surrounding area were easier for her to deal with than viewing the actual body from the onset.

Easier to deal with the facts, she thought. With the evidence. The victim wasn’t going anywhere.

 Her gaze followed the bloodstream staining the wall and across the curtains and bedspread. Fat, gorged globules of brownish, rusty tinged streaks marred the wall in an inverted triangular pattern, with the higher droplets less dense, thinner, and elongated.

“He was angry,” she said, scrutinizing the splatter from top to bottom and back again.

“Understatement,” Hurst replied, a caustic chortle escaping with it. “Lotta rage here to cause this much damage. Her face looks like oatmeal with ketchup.”

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Photo of the day, day 256

Dinner out. Date night, post Covid Pandemic.

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It’s release day for CHANCE -LAST MAN STANDING #fakedating #LMS #sweetromance #laterinliferomance

Finally!!!

I feel like I’ve been talking about this one for evah!!! HAHAHA

But, seriously, I’m so happy CHANCE is finally out in the romance reading world. Did you pre-order your copy? The early reviews on the story have been wonderful – and make me thankful I got it right, hee hee!!

Chance Miller, divorce lawyer extraordinaire, knows the whole happily ever after dream is an urban myth. He deals with miserable and wedded warring couples every day and swears staying single keeps him sane and happy. His friends and family consider him the last single man standing and fear he’ll never find someone and settle down. But Chance relishes his carefree status and unencumbered lifestyle and has no plans to change anything.

If only his relatives would stop trying to set him up with their version of the perfect woman.

Fredrika Poole already experienced her one great love, and the widow can’t read any future romance in her tea leaves. She’s content to bake, run her business, and care for her daughter.

When Chance meets Freddie and discovers her marriage thoughts run on the same road his do, he realizes she’s the answer to his prayer for keeping the relatives at bay. But the pixie barista has a way of making Chance question everything he’s always thought about love, marriage, and wedded bliss.

Will his last man standing status go unchallenged? Or will Freddie be the one woman he wants…but can never have?

And you can find all the LAST MAN STANDING guys, here: LMS

Oh and wait! Did you know there’s a recipe book with all sort of LMS snacks and goodies you can get for FREE??? COOKBOOK

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